Apr 30, 2011

Why is Ra.One Crucial?

You must have seen stars in the sky. On a clear dark night, they look like diamonds, carelessly scattered on a huge carpet. Ever wondered what may be the life span of these stars, will they shine forever or gradually diminish into oblivion? What are the traits of an ageing star? Is the brightest one in the sky, an ageing star? Does an ageing star shine vigorously? Or it simply flickers to keep its relevance intact in the sea of other shiny objects?

Shah Rukh Khan is one such star. At 45, he is not getting any younger and can definitely not play another Raj. Last 2-3 years have been ‘lean’ for Shah Rukh, given his own high standards. His last outright blockbuster was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), which got a bit overshadowed in the company of Aamir's Juggernaut called Ghajini. SRK’s My Name is Khan got him rave reviews and the film raked moolahs internationally. But it certainly did not set new records in domestic circuit. Apart from Aamir's meteoric rise, a certain hysteria called Salman Khan is busy in reviving his career. His popularity amongst masses has strengthened considerably and he is looking like King of rural milieu.

But I am not much into number game. It is not the threat of Aamir Khan or Salman Khan that worries me, as a Shah Rukh Khan loyalist. My expectations from Ra.One go way beyond the traditional ‘who is the no.1 or which film is the highest grosser’ rhetoric.
I remember one of my colleagues in office drawing an interesting but alarming observation regarding Shah Rukh Khan. He showed to me a slideshow, which traced gradual change in looks of King Khan from 90’s to the recent times. The last picture of the slideshow showed a frail, extremely weak and tired Shah Rukh Khan, with prominent wrinkles on his face. My colleague, who himself is a SRK fan, signed off by saying “I fear he would end up like Michael Jackson when he is 50”. His last words left a deep impact on my mind. Shah Rukh Khan is a workaholic and a chain smoker, a deadly combination to have in your life.

Ra.One can act as the much needed boost Shah Rukh Khan needs in his professional and personal life. Everyone knows that industry’s leading actor is somewhat a lonely man (by his own confession), with a very few friends around. He is happiest when he does well professionally. It is in this regard that Ra.One as a film is very crucial.
  • The movie aspires to explore a territory that has been least explored in Hindi Films. Superhero films are very few in number and there is always a question mark over their potential to set the cash registers ringing. If there is a Krish, there was one Drona too. Also, mammoth success of Robot has raised the bar for Ra.one. Both in terms of box-office fate and overall technicality and special effects.
  •  The think-tank behind Ra.One has played a huge gamble by launching a nearly 8-month long promotional campaign for the film. Cricket world cup provided the much needed eye balls for the film but now the promotion needs to be continuous and subtle. The audience must not forget about Ra.One  between  all these months.
  • Ra.One’s success can give a much needed ‘franchise’ to Shah Rukh Khan. Who knows there well might be a Ra.Two or Ra.Three in the future! A successful formula can secure Shah Rukh Khan as an actor and provide the cushion for him to try out more diversified and varied roles in other films.
  • A record breaking Ra.One would set records straight in favor of SRK. He needs that one big, ruthless and thundering success, something that he was so used to till recently. IPL and TV have provided him enough failure, cinema has to come to his rescue.

Hindi Film Industry needs an active, witty and healthy Shah Rukh Khan. I believe, he has much more to offer, now that his career is interestingly poised. Aamir Khan is giving him tough competition in quality while Salman is matching him step by step in popularity. It is time that he rose up to the occasion with a resounding critical and commercial success of his ambitious superhero flick.


All eyes are set on Ra.One and the stakes are enormously high. That 10 second first look, followed by 30 second teaser generated humongous curiosity amongst the movie buffs. He looked dapper in that superhero costume but the trailer was too short and compact to deduce a critical judgement. All in all, the response to the first look was positive and it has further raised the expectations from this film. I wish the film does justice to its hype and SRK's hopes.

P.S. : October 26, 2011: Ra.One Releases, World celebrates Diwali and most importantly, the writer celebrates his birthday. Indeed, a very special day.

Apr 24, 2011


An old wooden bench, Fall and us
Parched leaves kiss your tender feet
You give me that 'Someone-will-see' look
I clarify my position and you fall in love
With the way I explain the unexplainable
I am the orator

We walk past the drowsy roads
Pavements glare at us with their eyes wide open
You look for directions, heart dancing on your sleeves
I show you the way, always taking a longer route
I am the sailor

As stars stand in line to get the Sky Ticket
You recline by my side, hair tied to form a beehive
I give you a carefree caress, shoulder to rely upon
You sleep amid the stars and I put vigil all night long
I am the soldier

Dawn is yawing at the doors and you are still fast asleep
Picking your favorite lipstick, I paint Good Morning
Drawing a sun around your naval
And you rise like a torpid devotional song
I am the painter

You see a new me each day
By your side, to make you happy, to amuse you
There have been many before and are bound to be more
But lovers of my kind are very few, because
I am Convertible

Apr 20, 2011

Celestial Towers: The Series

Celestial Towers: The Series

 Prelude and the First 5 chapters of your favorite Facebook Series, all clubbed together in a separate 'Celestial Towers' Page. A delightful offering for true Celestial Towers fans. New readers can patiently go through the chapters without bothering about the 'To be Continued' part. The series is expected to reach its conclusion this summer. Happy Reading!

"Sia, ethereally beautiful, magnanimous & charming, was tiding up the home, as Ram would be coming any moment. It was a ..."

Apr 15, 2011

Story of Knight Riders-2

Almost everything was right about KKR, a larger than life owner, an extremely popular "Idol", competent support staff and a mind-blowing marketing & campaigning team. Due to its association with King Khan, KKR was never short of media limelight. There were promotional songs, themes, merchandise and even a reality show. Everything was just so perfect expect for the 'playing part'.

Knight Riders came out croppers on the field, loosing matches after matches, some close ones, some one-sided. They started off IPL with a bang, largely due to Mcullum's heroics, but soon fizzled out like air from a cola bottle. Frictions emerged within the team when John Buchanan took over as coach in the 2nd edition of IPL. Multiple-captain theory and several other bizarre ideas came out of that wise mind of the Aussie. Saurav Ganguly was sidelined  and his own performance dipped alarmingly. (He performed well in the first IPL). And there was an asshole called Fake IPL Player too.

KKR hoped for a new beginning in the 3rd edition by handing over the captaincy to Saurav again. The team did better than previous two editions, but was woefully inconsistent. Semifinals dream was not fulfilled and sad journey of the Knight Riders seemed endless.

KKR owners were licking their wounds when time for IPL re-auction arrived. Their prestige in market was at stake despite the fact that franchise was making decent profits. After all, its not money which always matters. Saurav Ganguly was not bought by KKR. For the records, he was KKR's highest run-getter in IPL 3 and was 4th overall.

Shah Rukh has every right to expect that his team performs well. He has invested his money, faith and time in the endeavor and there is no harm in seeking some returns. If Saurav's non-selection in KKR disappointed his fans, cold shoulder by other franchises made matters worst. Moreover, the manner in which he was dumped was quite unceremonious. He would have definitely performed better, even if he played with right-hand, than many of the 'never-heard-before' players who were sold during the auction. For the records, even likes of Md. Kaif and Sreedharan Sreeram were sold.

I wish Saurav was taken into confidence before this decision was arrived at. SRK should have talked to him and offered him the mentor's role way before the actual auction. This would have helped in retention of basic fan-base for KKR. As things stand today, KKR faces an uphill task of performing well in the IPL, coping with disgruntled Kolkata fans and bringing in some crowd at Eden. Those empty stands in Eden Gardens tell the entire story. Shah Rukh Khan could have easily handled the Ganguly issue a bit more maturely. By dissociating himself from KKR's cricketing affairs, he did a wise thing. But he should have realized, Saurav Ganguly is not a mere cricketer. He lives deep inside Bengal's heart.

I wish KKR does well this season. Shah Rukh Khan deserves some glory after three years of selfless cheering and support. He says, KKR wants to win the IPL for Dada. Dada fans say, No Dada, No IPL.

There are some serious emotions involved here. Someone's pride, someone's hurt ego and a million's anger. And for me, this is the most stunning cocktail on offer, this IPL season.

Apr 11, 2011

Story of Knight Riders-1

Bengal has always been a sports loving state. Not long ago, it used to be power center of Indian sports, be it football or cricket. But soon, new centers of sports, especially cricket, emerged across the country and Baroda, Mumbai, Chennai & Bangalore started matching Calcutta's steps. This entire phenomenon was also accompanied by gradual decline in charm & prowess of Bengali society. Clutches of Marxism siphoned out vigor and enthusiasm of Bengal, and its glory and status as India’s intellectual & sports hotbed waned.

After MAK Pautadi, Saurav Ganguly was the only Bengali cricketer to make an impact in the international arena. He not only went on to become India’s best-ever left-handed batsman, world’s leading One-Day cricketer and Nation’s most successful captain, but also reignited the lost Bengali Pride. Prince of Calcutta became poster boy of the state and made heavy inroads in the conscience of an average Bengali.

Ganguly’s rise, fall and the final phoenix like resurrection became a part of the Bengali folkfore and the state was simply not ready to think beyond him. Blame it on dearth of idols in Bengali society or sheer love for their favorite son, Bengal wished to have Saurav in its life in any and every capacity. 

But all heroes are mortal and every medicine has an expiry date. When the time of Saurav’s retirement from cricket arrived, Bengal was appalled and unable to face the reality. Dada exited gracefully from international cricket, though many say that he had a couple of years left in him. Bengal took Saurav’s decision to retire in its stride but found a new ray of hope in form of Indian Premier League.

It was potentially the most lethal combination IPL could ever imagine. Shah Rukh Khan, India’s reigning Superstar and Saurav Ganguly, cricket’s adorable spoiled kid, joined hands to form the Kolkata Knight Riders. The franchise hoped to cash on Saurav’s unmatched popularity in Kolkata and SRK’s unbeatable charisma. However, three editions since 2008, proved that every tempting beginning does not have a fairytale ending.

KKR languished at the bottom of IPL tree for all its 3 editions. Controversies, Saurav’s step-brother, surfaced from nowhere and the going became extremely tough for the Knigh Riders…

To Be Continued..

Shane Watson Scores 185 in Aussie Chase of 230, Smashes Record 15 Sixes!

Shane Watson smashed a record 15 sixes in a career-best 185 not out as Australia clinched a three-match series against Bangladesh with a nine-wicket win in the second one-dayer on Monday. The explosive opener gave a superb display of power-hitting as he also cracked 15 fours in his 96-ball knock to help Australia achieve a 230-run target with 24 overs to spare for an unbeatable 2-0 lead.

West Indies' Xavier Marshall was the previous record-holder with 12 sixes against Canada in 2008. Watson's knock was also the highest by an Australian in one-day internationals, the previous best being 181 not out by Matthew Hayden.

He completed his sixth one-day hundred off just 69 balls, the third-fastest by an Australia after Hayden (66 balls) and Gilchrist (67 balls).The final one-dayer will be played in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Watson looked in excellent touch from the beginning, hammering three fours in the opening over bowled by Shafiul Islam. He raced to his half-century off just 26 balls with the help of four sixes and five boundaries.

He then reduced Bangladesh's bowlers and fielders to a state of helplessness with his onslaught, once hitting four sixes in an over from left-arm spinner Suhrawadi Shuvo.

Watson dominated an unfinished 170-run stand for the second wicket with former captain Ricky Ponting, who contributed an unbeaten 37.

Bangladesh were earlier struggling at 88-5 before crossing the 200 mark, thanks to wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim's unbeaten 81 off 80 balls which contained one six and nine fours.

Rahim's best came in the closing stages of the innings when he smashed two fours and a six off successive deliveries from paceman Brett Lee before hitting two boundaries in seamer Mitchell Johnson's last over.

He played a major role in steadying the innings after Johnson (3-54) and leg-spinner Steven Smith (2-34) had put the hosts in trouble, adding 79 for the sixth wicket with Mohammad Mahmudullah (38).

Shahriar Nafees was the only top-order batsman to offer resistance, scoring 56 off 73 balls with six fours. He fell after completing his 12th half-century in one-dayers, offering a simple return catch to Smith.

Johnson did the early damage when he removed openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes before paceman John Hastings accounted for Raqibul Hasan to reduce the hosts to 28-3 in the opening 12 overs.

Smith bowled skipper Shakib Al Hasan for nine runs and then dismissed well-set Nafees to send the hosts reeling at 88-5.

(Courtesy: HT, AFP)

Apr 7, 2011

Anna Vs Rascal(a)s!

India is a rainbow country. On one hand, we throng the streets and celebrate our cricket team’s victory in the world cup , on the other, we become mute spectators when it comes to crime and corruption. Indians are spectators of great contrast. Enthusiastic and vibrant for a cricket match, numb & mute for a ‘real cause’.

But things are taking a different turn now. The jubilation over World Cup has quickly and swiftly paved way for an unprecedented agitation against corruption. Jantar Mantar and India Gate have become flash-points of India’s fight against corruption, fight against a government that seems to be neck-deep in shit. Not long ago it was India Vs Pakistan or India Vs Lanka, Now it is India Vs Corruption. Anna Vs Rascals.

The sight at Jantar Mantar is electrifying as thousands of people, from all walks of life, have gathered to root out that one evil that has eaten away India’s wealth like a termite. A 73-year old Gandhinian, Anna Hazare, is on indefinite hunger strike to force the arrogant government to draft and implement the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’.

The Lokpal Bill has been lying in the government’s cold storage for some 42 years now. Successive governments have failed to get the bill passed through the parliament. Also, the current Lokpal Bill is nothing more than a ‘Fun Jokepal’ Bill. Anna’s Jan Lokpal bill proposes sweeping powers for the ‘Lokpal’ or the corruption Watchdog. With implementation of this bill, the Lokpal could charge-sheet, prosecute and punish the guilty.

The government is shivering in its shoes with fear of skeletons tumbling out of its own closet. It simply does not have the courage to provide teeth to the Corruption Watchdog. The dialogue between the Government (Kapil Sibal) and the activists has not paid much dividends. Agreement on two contagious issues is yet to be reached. The government has agreed to form a committee that would look after the drafting of the Lokpal Bill. It has also agreed to allocate 50% of the committee’s strength to the Civil Society. But it is simply not ready to accept Anna as the chairperson of the committee, or any eminent non-politicians for that matter. The government is also not ready to issue a public notification declaring the formation of the committee. This very fact makes one doubt the very intention and sincerity of the government. (See the picture below for better insight of the stand-off)

You simply can not have the corrupt making laws to check corruption. India’s government, its ministers, members of parliament have lost the confidence of common man. Its time the government came out of its illusion and start realizing that the power is wielded by the voter not the government itself. Its, we the people, who are the decision-makers of this country, the government is a mere representative of us.

Sadly, the representatives have let us down and the corrupt is still making merry in the sun. A rascal like Sharad Pawar, who has consumed most of India’s grains, was part of the Group of Empowered Ministers that is supposed to draft this bill. How can a thief make a law to check theft? This very government had ministers like Raja, officials like Kalmadi. How can we expect a government of Rascals to stop the spread of cancerous corruption?

Keep that finger in Check!
Anna Hazare has emerged as a ray of hope for this country of brilliant laziness. People are finally shedding their inhibitions and taking part in what is turning out to be a spectacular mass movement. Anna’s poise, determination and stubbornness remind me of a certain Gandhi. The youth, thankfully, has rallied behind the ‘Modern Gandhi’ and is ready to take the battle to its conclusion.

A nation headed by a crippled Prime Minister, a bunch of thugs & goons needs a small little Jasmine Revolution of its own. Corruption is the biggest enemy Indians would ever face. Right from registering a birth to cremating a dead body, shameless corrupt officials siphon out our hard earned money. This movement has given us the much needed momentum and, as they say in cricketing terms, we must make a good match of it.

What is Lokpal Bill - The Times of India

The Lokpal will be a three-member body with a chairperson who is or was a chief justice or Supreme Court judge, and two members who are or have been high courts judges or chief justices.

Implementation of the Lokpal bill will hopefully reduce corruption in India.

The basic idea of the Lokpal is borrowed from the office of the ombudsman in other countries.

It provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister , other ministers and members of parliament with the ombudsman.

Anyone, except for a public servant , can file a complaint and the Lokpal has to complete the inquiry within six months.

For 42 years, governments have tried to put in place the law.

The bill was for the first time presented during the fourth Lok Sabha in 1968, and was passed there in 1969. However, the Lok Sabha was dissolved , resulting in the first death of the bill.

It was revived in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008.

In September 2004, prime minister Manmohan Singh said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government would lose no time in enacting the bill. But strong lobbies blocked it.

The Lokpal Bill, 2010, awaits an okay from a select committee.

Former chief justice of the Delhi high court and rights activist Rajinder Sachar feels the bill is "shamefully toothless and meant to give a false reassurance to the people that the government is serious in its fight against corruption" .

But former chief justice of India M N Venkatachelliah feels the PM must be out of its purview.

Apr 6, 2011

Cup of Joy: An Alternate Reality

April 2, 2011 must be feeling like an over-milked cow. The day was anticipated, much before its eventual arrival, thanks to the media frenzy and those 'Kings of Cricket' sitting, high and handsome, in the studios. When the fateful day finally arrived, the world seemed to have come to a halt. India and Indians were singing, dancing and hugging each other, from Bhagalpur to Birmimgham. It was perhaps the most emotional moment for Modern India.

But is this triumph only about painted faces, hoarse voices and SMS rhetoric? Does a World Cup victory stand prominent only because it happened after 28 years? Mauling the Lankans, Taming the Aussies and overcoming the Pakistanis, is that all what we sought? Perhaps not.

  • The World Cup victory confirms, once again, that cricket is the greatest binding force in this country. Two of its nearest rivals, politics and cinema, seem to be fading away in comparison. While politicos are getting neck-deep in dirt day by day, cinema seems to be developing and defining its own varied target audience. The universal appeal seems to have waned from films, barring a few like Dabangg. However, cricket seems to be nullifying the 'niche' phenomenon. I, myself, do not remember how may people hugged me and did a high-five at India Gate on that fateful night.
  • This triumph comes as a relief for the common Indian man, who was reeling under a series of shocking scams, raging inflation and a certain degree of gloominess. This victory makes us believe that we have finally arrived, and are a force to reckon with. We have always been there and thereabout, talent sans finesse, roads sans destinations; this win is set to change all that. India has always craved for idols, those inspirational figures or role models, this world cup gifted us a squad of heroes.
  • The proceedings at the world cup final also confirm the notion that life is never perfectThe only perfect thing in this world is the word 'perfect' itself. Sachin Tendulkar realized his dream of kissing that coveted trophy but could not notch-up that 100th ton in the final. The cake was there to relish, but the cherry on the top was missing. MS Dhoni scored a brilliant 91 not out, Gambhir scored most vital 97 runs of his career, but their names would never feature in that list of century makers in a world cup final. Life gives us a lot of happiness, but attaches a small little moral at the end. We, as individuals, and Team India, as a cricketing side, have a lot to achieve in life. Sachin Tendulkar, perhaps, did the right thing by not retiring from ODIs.
  • According to me, this historic victory carried a very significant message 'for the youth and from the youth'. The sight of a Virat Kohli handing over the 'stump' to Sachin and showering praises on him in the post match interview, was truly exceptional. Young Indians are non-conventional, like to freak out, break a few rules, but are sensitive and responsible when the situation demands. So, Yuvarj Singh is not only a part hopper, he also happens to be Man of the Tournament in the cricket world cup 2011. MS Dhoni not only can sport long locks, but can also shave off his hair to fulfill a religious vow. This is a tempting blend of modernity and tradition, and in this very blend, rests India's future recipe. 
  • This world cup also proves that victory is the prerogative of a certain breed only. The victor must have control over his words, mannerisms and behavior. MS Dhoni fits this bill perfectly, while someone like a Shahid Afridi comes across as a complaining kid. His outburst against India, after arriving in Pakistan, was not at all outrageous. Rather it was extremely funny and makes me pity the atmosphere of fear and insecurity in Pakistan. It was a last ditch effort by the captain to retain his post, after being trounced by India in the semis.

A Dream Come True


P.S.: The writer thinks that having evening tea in that 'cup' is a more fulfilling experience now.

Apr 5, 2011

Kumar Sangakkara quits as Sri Lanka cricket captain

Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara speaks to fans after the cricket team's arrival in Colombo on April 3, 2011 after World Cup. (AFP Photo)
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara said on Tuesday he was resigning from the job three days after his team lost to India in the World Cup final.

Sangakkara said he told the national selectors that he would quit as one-day and Twenty20 captain with immediate effect, but offered to continue as Test captain on an interim basis if required.

"After careful consideration I have concluded that it is in the best long-term interests of the team that I step down now as national captain so that a new leader can be properly groomed for the 2015 World Cup," Sangakkara, 33, wrote to Sri Lanka Cricket.

"This was a decision I made prior to the World Cup. I will be 37 by the next World Cup and I cannot therefore be sure of my place in the team.

"It is better that Sri Lanka is led now by a player who will be at the peak of their career during that tournament."

Sangakkara, a fluent left-hand batsman and wicket-keeper, said he had no plans yet to retire as a player.

"I met with the selectors on Monday and I explained my reasons for my decision and I assured them of my fullest support in helping our new captain settle into the leadership," he wrote.

"In this regard, I have offered to continue as the Test captain for the forthcoming series with England, and possibly Australia, if the selectors believe this would help the new captain and aid the transition.
"I have no plans of retirement from international cricket at this stage and, subject to form and fitness, I would like to be considered for selection in all three formats of the game for the foreseeable future."

Sangakkara has scored 8,244 runs in 94 Tests at an average of 57.25 with 24 centuries. He also has 9,164 runs in 291 one-dayers with 11 hundreds.

Sangakkara said he had enjoyed his two-year stint as captain since taking over from Mahela Jayawardene in March, 2009.

"It has been a true honour and a great privilege to serve my country as captain during the past two years," he said.

"Although bitterly disappointed that we could not win the final, I am very proud of the performances of the team.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team-mates and the coaching staff for their hard work and support."

There was no immediate comment from Sri Lanka Cricket or the national selectors on Sangakkara's decision. 

(Source: The Times of India, AFP)

Apr 4, 2011

Afridi Spews Venom Against India After Returning Home (PTI News)

(Source: Press Trust Of India)
Islamabad, April 04, 2011

Days after winning the hearts of numerous Indian fans with his remarks after his team's loss in the World Cup semi-final, Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi has said Indians are not as large-hearted as Pakistanis. Afridi also slammed the Indian media for its "very negative approach" and said the Pakistani media was a "hundred times better" than its Indian counterpart.

"In my opinion, if I have to tell the truth, they (Indians) will never have hearts like Muslims and Pakistanis.

I don’t think they have the large and clean hearts that Allah has given us," Afridi said during a talk show on Samaa news channel when he was asked about relations between the two countries.

"It is a very difficult thing for us to live with them (Indians) or to have long-term relationship with them. Nothing will come out of talks. See how many times in the past 60 years we have had friendship and then how many times things have gone bad," he said as the audience in the TV channel's studio applauded him repeatedly.

"We don't want to fight with each other but a third country – everyone knows which one it is – is trying to spoil our relations. (This country) is taking advantage of Pakistan and wants to take advantage of India. I don't want to go into details but these people will not let us come together," he added.

Asked about the Indian media's coverage of the Pakistani team during the semi-final with India at Mohali on March 30, Afridi replied: "The Indian media has a very negative approach and very negative thoughts. The people may not be like that but I think the media had a very dirty role in spoiling relations between us and India.

"Our media, which is criticised by people, is hundred times better than theirs," he said. India beat Pakistan in the semi-final, which was watched by the Prime Ministers of the two countries, who used cricket diplomacy to boost the peace process between the two sides.

Afridi also criticised Interior Minister Rehman Malik for warning the Pakistani team not to get involved in match-fixing and Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who vowed to dedicate victory in the World Cup final to victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

"I think they were both very stupid comments by Rehman Malik and Gautam Gambhir...I wasn't expecting this from Gautam...This is all politics, what do you know about who carried out the Bombay attacks?" he said.

The Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead, were carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Apr 1, 2011

Of Faith, Religion and God

I am not a big fan of that comparison and 'drawing parallel' culture. I believe, talent is best appreciated when its left alone. But when it comes to a sport like cricket, things turn a bit emotional. What I witnessed on the night of March 30 was unprecedented. As if crackers and fireworks were not enough, young men drove around the city at midnight, in open roof vehicles, and waved flags, shouting Vande Mataram. It was a historic night that saw a new, resurgent India celebrate its win, as well as appreciate the efforts of the side that came second. Yes, innovative abuses and SMSes did fly around but all that was in good fighting and competitive spirit. Everyone hailed Afridi for that post-match speech and Pakistanis were sent off home very cordially.

Now, after packing off the western neighbors, we the Indians, have trained guns at our southern neighbors. The most innovative Lanka bashing SMS I received, read: "Sri Lanka is of no match to us. You get their map free while buying the Indian map!"

Talking of parallels and comparisons, this epic final between Indian and Sri Lanka is also being dubbed as the New-Age Ram-Ravana battle.Though quite a lame and actually silly thing to do, I could not resist myself from giving it a thought. There is no harm in being nonsensical, less critical and 'pure fun' at times. Life is short and we may never witness another April 2 in our lives.

So here I go with my Indian 'Ram Sena'. Drop in your comments if you differ on any 'character' and specify the reasons:

Sachin Tendulkar (Ram): Needless to say. The God of cricket could be no one but him. Interestingly, he also fits in almost all the mannerism and principles of Lord Ram. Extremely talented, world's best (in what he does), can single-handedly destroy the opposition, possesses umpteen weapons, is cool, composed and benevolent.

Virender Sehwag (Hanuman): The undisputed and perennial Monkey God! Has the ability to 'ash-off' (Burn) entire Lanka on his own. No less than a tornado. Attacks the opposition first up and is a great companion-cum-admirer of Lord Ram.

MS Dhoni (Vibhishan): Its an irony that the captain simply cant be called Ram. So, to make things leveled, I decided to designate a non-captain Ravan in the Lankan side. And quite predictably, the onus fell on the shoulders of the Great Muttiah Murlitharan. So both Ram and Ravan are playing their last world cups, have their eyes set on that coveted trophy (Sita). With Sachin as Ram and Murli as Ravan, the battle assumes heroic stature and significance. Sangakara and Dhoni fall short in the respective shoes of Ram and Ravan.

Ok, so now Murli is Ravan. Hence, I call MS Dhoni, Vibhishan. Remember, he played alongside Murli aka Ravan for the Chennai Superkings. Dhoni (Vibhishan) knows all the secrets of Ravana and has joined forces with Ram to plot his destruction. He is a great strategist and is behind every move that Ram takes to wrest control of Sita. Fascinating, is not it?

Yuvraj (Laxman): The extremely talented 2nd in-command of the Indian batting line-up.Is very aggressive and dynamic. Has toned down his anger and harnessed his lethal 'secret weapon' (bowling).

Virat Kohli (Angad): In simple words. He is the future King. The young leader who is set to captain this side in future.

Zaheer Khan (Sugreeva): King of India's bowling attack. Or let's say, leads a pack of monkeys. err, bowlers. Offers full support to Ram (With his limited resources) to rescue Sita.

Harbhajan Singh (Jaamvant): Both of them have plenty of hair. And Jamwant could turn a stone as much as Bhajji turns a cricket ball. (Wink)

Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra: Need I say it, Monkeys (1 and 2)!!!!!

This silly game of parallelism aside, I wish for a tight game of cricket tomorrow. Two of cricket's greatest sons would lock horns for the final time while Mumbai would smile at its great luck. It is Murali's last international game and I have a feeling that it could well be Sachin Tendulkar's last one-day match. So, who will win the battle of Ram and Ravana?

My heart says Murli had his Swan Song when he claimed that 800th wicket in Tests in form of Pragyan Ojha. Sachin Tendulkar's last laugh is yet to be heard. And Tomorrow, he will be amused.

A billion's faith in their religion and God is at stake.