Sunday, December 19, 2010

End of T10

Thought would sign off the year with one last blog. A look-back (early one at that) at some of the things in 2010 - the first year of this decade or the last one, depending on which algorithm you follow to define decades – and what a year it has been. It was a year when Ravindra Jadeja scored 130 more ODI runs than someone who goes by the name of Sachin Tendulkar - and still people go gaga over Sachin and call for Jadeja’s head. Well, life is never fair, is it? (Now don’t you dare point out that Jadeja played in 19 more matches than Sachin did – this is the only time I’ll write something ‘positive’ about Jadeja, please let me do it.)

It was not the fairest of years if you are a Yuvraj, or A Raja or have anything to do with the movie Prince - all these were ‘royally’ screwed in the year. The Chennai Super Kings were an exception though, winning the IPL and Champions League. (Even Larry King chose this year to retire).

This year was also a year of shameful scams and controversies. Towards the end of the year, JPC replaced IPL as the most abused three letters. As Cyrus Broacha put it in TWTW, "When our leaders don’t work in Parliament, the nation loses ` 250 crore; and when they do, we lose ` 17000 crore”. And, given the way, our chosen leaders behave in Assembly; the time has come to start a swearing-at ceremony instead of a swearing-in ceremony.

Talking about money, the rupee also got a new symbol this year, and a cool one at that. Am I the only one who gets reminded of the Roger Federer logo, after looking at the rupee symbol? Perhaps Mr Udaya Kumar was also a fan of the great man.

I won’t end without a word about Swami Nityananda, someone we all secretly admire and wish to be. Now, this was one of the rare controversies this year which was not exposed by WikiLeaks. I was actually wondering why didn’t Julian Assange expose Swami Nityananda. You got to watch HIMYM to get the answer. It’s called “Bro Code”.

Enough said for now. Wish you all a Merry Christmas, an entertaining Boxing Day and A Happy New Year. Enjoy Maadi.

PS – As the countdown to the new year began, the world waited for two milestones to be knocked off – Sachin getting his 50th test ton and Anshat getting 2000 Facebook friends. Sheer genius Sachin is, whaddaplayya. Now I know why the world will end in 2012 - Sachin might just announce his retirement then. Coming back to the two milestones, The God has done it today, now it’s your turn Prabhuji.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
If my first post didn’t impress you, this must.

Well, my first blog post was a review of the 2009 Ashes, so thought would write one previewing the next one. You know - the circle of life, and all that. So Ashes is here again, and this time, after ages, it is a contest between two evenly matched sides (I’m not talking about the rankings – No 4 and No 5 – alone).

If you look at the team line ups and compare them man to man, there is nothing separating the two teams. Only Greame Swann enjoys an edge in the spin department when compared to his counterpart Xavier Doherty, the surprise inclusion in the Aussie squad. On current team form, England look better, but Australia’s home advantage neutralizes this. The bookies are sure going to have a tough time going to predict the favourites (for a moment let’s forget that they might have other means to help them decide on their favourites). Who are you putting your money on?

Ricky Ponting has been at the receiving end of criticism from all quarters. Even his old buddy Warnie did not spare him. He surely isn’t the best of captains to have done duty, but then, a captain is as good as his team is – and his team lacks good players. It becomes evident when you see them struggling to replace someone like a Marcus North. The following line from Andy Zaltzman’s blog perfectly sums up Ponting’s state.
I have heard rumours that every night Ponting goes back to his hotel room, makes little papier-mâché dolls of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, and says to them: “Right, Glenn, you bowl from the bathroom end, and Shane, you take the bed end. I’m going for a snooze, and when I wake up I expect you to have bowled the opposition out. Night night.”

But you have to give it to Ponting for allowing Laxman a runner in the Bangalore test. He was well within his rights to deny him one. Andrew Strauss had denied Greame Smith a runner not too long ago.

Ricky Ponting said in an interview before the India series that teams produce their best cricket against the Australians. This can’t be very far from the truth. It can’t be merely a co-incidence that most come-from-behind victories in the history of the game are against the Australians (be it winning after following-on or last wicket wins). There sure is something about the Aussies which spurs an opposition on.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul had once said (during the era of Australian dominance) that Australians had all the marginal decisions going their way, which was greatly instrumental in their success. Remember all the drama surrounding the Sydney test? Has the situation reversed now? We know the Bangalore match could have tilted either way if any of the close umpiring decisions been any different. And remember, it is not the Aussies who oppose the umpire decision review system.

Australia find themselves at No 5 in the rankings and the cricketing world is loving it. Nothing better than watching Australia lose, right? But I will be supporting them in this Ashes. India play Australia in 4 away tests end of next year. I hope to see India beat an Australian side which is No 2 in the world. It will be some series if that happens. Plus, I have a gut feeling it could be Sachin’s last test appearance (on second thoughts, nah.. Sachin won’t probably retire so soon).

Well turned out to be another blog in defense of the Aussies. Enough said about Australia, let us look at the English perspective now. On second thoughts, let’s drop the idea - even the English media does not write about their team, why should I bother.

May the best team win.

After all this seriousness, thought would end with a joke: PCB

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sorry, but I missed the point

First some ads:
Yahoo! has launched a new version of its mail. If you’re still using Yahoo! Mail, I strongly recommend you to migrate to the latest version. You can try it here. Trust me, it is fast and GOOD – and FREE.

Then the news:
Herschelle Gibbs recently came out with his autobiography ‘To the point’ and like most people do, he had to write something controversial about an Indian cricket star in a bid to publicize his book in India. (Remember Gilly’s comment about Sachin in his book and the subsequent cry of being misinterpreted?). Gibbs wrote that Dravid had panicked in the IPL 2009 finals, which was responsible for RCB’s loss. Perhaps he is justified because we all know how calm Gibbs can remain during pressure situations. He sure was an embodiment of composure when he dropped the all-important catch of Steve Waugh in the 99 World Cup (see video here) which eventually led to South Africa's ouster from the World Cup, (and also gave birth to the most abused clichés in cricketing circles – dropping the World Cup). And did he forget that it is he who plays for a team known for being chokers. Dude, when you take a stab at someone after whom even Mark Zuckerberg named the main page of his website – The Wall, do make sure the recoil of the sword does not hurt you.

And now a mandatory ‘phatta’:
Gibbs also wrote in his book that South African team had indulged in sex orgies in the past. On hearing this, out of inertia, the Pakistan team and board denied it. It was only later when someone told them that the accusation was not directed at them, did they deny the denial.

Kuch meetha ho jaye:
Diwali is here. Wish I were at home. Really missing everyone and everything there. Anyways, hope you guys have loads of fun. Do eat lots of sweets and stay healthy. Hope you all have a safe and crackling Diwali. By the way, Sehwag did make sure today’s day was crackling and Dravid ensured it was safe. What synergy! What players! Just hoping that we get a good Diwali gift tomorrow in the form of a 50th Sachin ton.

The Post Script:
I’m just quoting Gibbs - “I think that they should cut down on the amount of 20-over cricket played worldwide so that the interest levels are even higher when the IPL comes around”. Oh Lord, what has the world come to!!!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

All is not well

Cricket is going through a tough time - again. As if the placid wickets, the one-sided matches and the half-filled stadiums were not enough, we now have cases of ball tampering and spot-fixing, in newer ways that could make any out-of-the box thinker proud. While we may go on cracking jokes on it (like I have done here), the truth is that it is upsetting for a cricket fan. While the Pakistani authorities have accepted ‘Ignorance is bliss and deny to stay in biz’ as their tried and tested mantra, it would be foolish to imagine that the plague has been confined to Pakistan only. Thanks to the ICC Anti Corruption Unit (ACU), for a moment the CWG organizing committee can perhaps celebrate because they might not be the most inefficient body after all.

Talking about the CWG organizers, their attitude hasn’t been something that one can be proud of. Check out this still from the movie Prince (it’s showtime) – the greatest movie ever made (ain't it Ankit, Ashish?). The greatest tragedy and the difference between Vivek Oberoi and Manmohan Singh is that while the former can’t act, the latter just refuses to do so. It is worrying that no one in the administration is even worried about it. The icing on the cake came from Lalit Bhanot who said that Westerners have a different standard of hygiene than the Indians. Yeah right. Perhaps the Congress headquarters has two bathrooms – one for Sonia Gandhi and another for all the Indian members.

All said and done, like every Indian, I pray that the event would eventually be remembered for the right reasons and that the organizers are not the only Indians who walk away with gold.

Moving on to something else, Google came up with a ‘new’ feature (which was actually started by Yahoo! some 5 years ago). I don’t want to start anything on that because that would trigger a ‘Being First’ vs ‘Being Best’ debate, But I happened to read the following statement by their PR – ‘If every Google user around the world switched to Instant, we'd save 3.5 billion seconds a day, or 11 hours per second.’ Now, if there was ever a moment where one particular acronym perfectly summed up a statement, it is this - WTF!!! So what’s next? I guess Kayam Churn coming with a line that will say, “If every individual around the world had Kayam Churn before sleep, they would have quicker motions which would save ‘googols’ of seconds per second”. Ah, this would give us enough time to organize a Common Wealth Games Event every second.

Coming back to the cricket fiasco, I am devastated not because they cheated, but because it would be difficult to trust them again.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

When you are on the wrong side of 25, even the good titles betray you

I would start by congratulating Aashish who has just ‘lit his own bulb’. While others in SMDO were busy discussing trivial things like who would be the first to get married in the group, Aashish had other plans. He is now officially the first entrepreneur in SMDO. Kudos dude! May you have all the luck (and of course, clients) to take your venture to new heights. Make us prouder.

Meanwhile, the Indian team did nothing to make us proud at Dambulla today. But while India lost miserably, there were a few silver strings attached. India won’t be playing Sri Lanka again for quite some time (at least not unless they meet in the knock out stage of the World Cup). Isn’t that what you call relief? Also, India FINALLY dropped Ravindra Jadeja from the squad today. Isn’t that what you call justice? Just hope this isn’t like those Spiderman movies where the villain is killed in the end, only to be back in a sequel. Hope there is no Ja'deja vu'.

Also wanted to write about my visits to a government-run school in Bangalore where I go to teach on Saturdays. Not sure how much I actually help them learn any spoken English, but it sure is a wonderful experience being with them. It feels great with the way they greet you when you enter the room, or hang by the bus just to shake your hands (or even make fun of your hand-writing :( ). Trust me, these kids are so full of energy. They always remind me of the following lines which I had read somewhere: (a web search did not reveal any concrete source, so I was tempted to take the credit myself)

“Haath badhakar in bacho ko kuch taarein choo lene do
Chaar kitaabe padh kar hum jaise ban jaenge”

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm not getting any younger

I’ve been missing from this space for quite a while, so just thought would write something to feel a sense of being alive. Well, I just celebrated my 25th birth day a couple of days back. This is the oldest I've been so far. Trust me, 25 is a scary milestone to knock. Suddenly you start associating with all the stuff you read about things like the quarter-life crisis. You know you’re just kidding when you say you’re still a kid at heart. I wouldn’t dare refute Bryan Adams when he says it’s about what you feel inside, but then there are no fairy tales which have a 25 year old in them, are there? (Michael Douglas would definitely disagree because the exact day he turned 25 saw the birth of Catherine Zeta Jones, his second and current wife).

Don’t want to start sounding like some Agony Aunty, so better stop here. Instead, like a birthday boy would, I did draw a ‘wish list’ for the next year (this is at least better than writing your quarterly goals). Anyways here a few *sharable* things from the list (not in any order):
1) India winning the World Cup. I've already poured my heart here.(And wouldn’t this turn into a fairy tale if I get a chance of being at the Wankade to witness the event).
2) Federer winning a grand slam… and defeating Nadal in the finals… (This one is starting to sound more like a fantasy, so I better stop here).
3) A trip to Andaman. This (alongwith Kashmir) is one location in India which is missing from my resume. (The places for which I can proudly tick the checklist include, the backwaters of Kerala, the beaches of Goa, the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, the white waters of Rishikesh, the jungles of Jim Corbett, the raw beauty of Tawang – and of course, last but not the least, the awesomeness of Shillong).
4) Sending my parents to a vacation somewhere.
5) Writing a ‘farewell mail’ in Yahoo! :) (This would actually be a consequence of something else). If you’re reading this blog from the corp network, please ignore this. :D

Hmmm… If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!!! Anyways would end with a quote from a movie I saw recently (ironically, the name of the movie was ‘Grown-ups’)
“In life, the first act is always exciting but it is the second act – that’s where the depth comes in.”

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

A crook; and something from my old book...

Well this week, for a change, saw me at the receiving end of plagiarism as the article i wrote was copied verbatim by another blog. (Good thing they even copied the first comment otherwise the needle of suspicion could have boomeranged back to me). Well, I'll show some restraint and control my emotions, and give those bastards the benefit of doubt. Maybe they are environmentalists and this is their idea of 'going green' - by recycling the same article.

UPDATE: The article was removed after a few days. Like I said, they were environmentalists and the article probably just bio-degraded.

Anyways I was scanning my mailbox and I managed to dig up a short story I had written quite a while back; thought would share it.

Karan merely managed to avoid hitting a fat lady trying to cross the road as he pressed the accelerator even harder. He realized it was the first time he had crossed 80 kmph while driving, let alone touch the 120 barrier. He tried the phone again but still no answer. As he took another sharp turn, he tried to recollect all the weird things that had happened to him in the last six months. It all started when he purchased a weird looking second-hand television set from an even weirder looking man; a bit too cheap he had thought. He soon found, much to his horror (and later to his amazement) that the TV aired the programmes an hour earlier than their stipulated time. He used it to gamble on cricket matches and horse races and had carved a fortune for himself. He had never been happier; having a bank balance he had never even dreamt off and was soon to tie the nuptial knot with his fiancé, Anjalee, a TV reporter. But all that changed 55 minutes earlier. He wiped the sweat off his face as he remembered watching the 'live' coverage of Anjalee's show in marine drive - on the very place he had popped the question to her. He recollected the day when he had gone on one knee and professed his love to her - she had just smiled then, but that had been enough. Today in the TV show, just as she was signing off, wearing the same smile, a long black car had driven straight into her and the next thing the camera showed was blood - all over. He found something strange about the car but could not recall what it was. He tried calling her one more time to warn her of the impending danger but no response again. He glanced at his watch – the accident would happen anytime. As he loudly uttered another swear word, to noone in particular, he did not notice the bus in front of him. Without warning, he steered left and crashed into something. When he gained senses a few minutes later, he found himself sitting in his black BMW with a pool of blood around the car. Just then it struck him what was so strange about the car he had seen in his TV.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The epilogue

So my first article is finally out (my grammar teacher would definitely argue that this was my fourth article considering that she had already taught me ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’). In 22 hours it already has 324 views which I deem quite an achievement because I personally refreshed the page just 311 times. It means 13 of them were actually genuine readers (now atleast my mathematics teacher is going to be very proud of me for this flawless computation).

There is one mistake in the article which I realized only after submitting the piece. Saurabh Tiwari has been picked for the squad which will tour Sri Lanka, and not Bangladesh. The site hasn’t bothered to correct it as yet despite me contacting them. So if any body of you have booked tickets for Bangladesh after reading the story, please change it immediately. I offer my apologies (it is as unconditional as Ravindra Jadeja’s).

Another joke on the same lines, just for this blogger page:

Once Yuvraj used to lift weights, now he is the weight.

All said and done, I think we all know what Yuvraj is capable of doing when he is on song. So here's a prayer for him - Yuvraj, sing!!

Thanks once again to whoever read the article. It does feel good. :) Will try and come up with more.

Enjoy maadi!!!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

And the winner is...

The news is out everywhere. I’ve topped the IPL Cricinfo fantasy league among my college folks. And as expected, the media is after me. Instead of giving multiple interviews I just thought I’d post excerpts of the interview taken by a leading daily (name withheld due to copyright reasons)

Interviewer (I); Rahul (R)

I: So Rahul, you’ve done it. Is there something you’d like to say to our readers?

R: Oh yes. I attribute this success to a lot of people. First of all, I would like to thank my parents for having me. Without them, I would have been nothing - trust me on that.

Next, I’d like to thank all the losers for being more worthless than I could ever be. What's a winner without the losers.

And yes, a word for my fans. Whatever Rahul Saraf is today is because of all you people out there. Without your continued support I could easily have been just one of the 13 losers in the league. It’s a scary thought.

And last but not the least, I would like to thank God. He was in my team and gave me 1867 points. The message to take from here is “Do not lose faith in God. Ever.”.

I: Ok so if you would want to pick one turning point in your league, what would it be?

R: Dropping Gilchrist after two matches. Not an easy choice when you consider he had given me 408 points in those two matches and gave a whole lot of points in the last edition. I was 9th in my league at that stage and was faced with a situation similar to what Sam Worthington was in Avatar.

“Loser. Laggard. Outcast. To ever face them again, I was gonna have to change the rules. Sometimes your whole life boils down to one insane move. The way I had it figured, Gilly is the most explosive batsman in the IPL. Nothing stops him. So why would he ever fail? But that was just a theory.“

I dropped Gilchrist to accommodate some of the other expensive buys. The rest, as they say, is history.

I: The tournament saw Sachin rise as a T20 player. Any comments on that?

R: It was wonderful to watch him bat the way he did, and hardly a surprise actually. I was, of course, disheartened because he could not win it for Mumbai. Just to further show what mettle he is made of, I’ll take the example of Gilchrist and Hayden. Now most people would select them over Sachin in the shortest avatar of the game, and you can’t blame them for doing so. But both of them were woefully out of form in this tournament and the only thing they did was try to hit their way out of trouble. They kept repeating the same mistakes time and again in the hope that it would come off. Contrast this to someone named Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. In the series against Australia in 2003-04, he kept getting out caught in the slip cordon while trying play the drive. He turns up in Sydney and what does he do? He scores an unbeaten 241 at a strike rate of 55 without a single shot through covers or mid-off.

Andy Flower summed it up when he once said, “There are two kinds of batsmen in this world - Sachin Tendulkar and all the others”

I: What about the controversy surrounding the IPL? Any thoughts on that?

R: For a moment forget about what the officials have done and are doing. If Dhoni can hit a six with one hand; if Sachin can score a solid 48 with a split webbing between the fingers of his hand; then you know that Indian cricket is in safe hands.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Three Idiots? Not quite

Hello World!! (All right, I know just a few people will be reading this, but just wanted to prove that my readers mean the world to me.)

Just saw the first match of IPL 3.0 between a team which won the trophy last year, and another which won the wooden spoon. Sounds like a mismatch but it turned out to be anything but that (unless you consider the four 10-over slabs in isolation). Now close matches always thrill you but this one provided all the more excitement because the man in the commentary box was Harsha Bhogle. Don’t know how many noticed but he was at his best, even by his own standards. He truly is a genius and you can’t miss him when he adds punches like “Shah Rukh will be tweeting every two seconds” or like “Wasim Akram would have learnt to swear in Bengali” in moments when tension is at its peak. Real gems, these are; and a real gem he is.

One of my priciest possessions in the small library which I have developed, is this book ‘Out of the Box’ which is a collection of the best articles he’s written over the course of 5 years. And just for the records I had obtained a copy the day it hit the stands. :) Truly India’s (in fact the world’s) first cricketing icon among people who haven’t played the game. (Lalit Modi could well be considered second). Now, one of the best ways to make your blog interesting is by quoting Harsha Bhogle and I’m going to do just that. This one is the opening paragraph of today’s edition of Indian Express. (For the ignorant, he writes for them every Friday). Read it and be awed by it, just as I was.

Pakistan hand out bans like toffees, those handing out the ban pretend they are pristine; Australia’s vice-captain leaves his team behind to offer solace to his girl suffering the after-effects of a dubious relationship; another South African storms his way into world cricket — for England; the world’s most hyped tournament slithers, rather than storms, in. That’s a lot of unusual things for a sport played by so few!

Coming back to the match, I was actually supporting the chargers (the team representing the city of Ashish Garg and N.D. Tiwari :P)- and the only reason was to irritate my sister who is a die-hard fan of SRK and hence KKR. Now any argument involving SRK generally leads to a comparison between him and Aamir Khan. I would’t want to jump into the debate here, but I did mention to my sister that three of Aamir’s last four movies (not counting Luck By Chance where he had a role as small as Dada’s stay in the crease today) – RDB, TZP and 3 Idiots – were probably better than any of Shah Rukh’s; and even she looked convinced about it. But then there is no denying who a better showman is between the two. Just to gauge what being witty means you just need to watch the show when Shah Rukh won the NDTV entertainer of the year in 2007 - the way he handled the barrage of seemingly tricky questions that were doled out to him. But sorry Di, Aamir is the better actor for me.

But again, Aamir is not a complete perfectionist that he claims to be – he didn’t undergo a sex change operation for his role in Baazi, did he?

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The God of all things

Sachin became the first man on the planet to score a double ton in a limited overs international. I could not share my thoughts through the medium of a blog because of two primary reasons - A) I was traveling and hence did not have easy access to the internet and, B) I had no words to match his feat. The first is now taken care of, but the second is still an issue. But I've always been taught in my workplace that there is a workaround for everything. So here I am - after all a picture is worth a thousand words.

Repeating what I had said in an earlier post:
It is difficult to imagine what life would have been without cricket and it is impossible to imagine what cricket would have been without Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010


Zindagi bhi hamare saath kabhi kabar ajeeb o’ garib khel khelti hai”. This is perhaps Bollywood’s oldest clichés. Even to me, it was no more than a cliché; until a few hours ago.

Let me take you to flashback mode (which happens to be Bollywood’s favourite tool). The year was 2008 - the year when India thrashed Australia in Perth, the year when IPL made its debut and the year when Love Story 2050 was allowed to release. The story is about two great friends – Rohit Chawla and Rahul Saraf (who by the way is me) – both of different shapes and sizes, but both world famous (or rather infamous) college-wide for their well-earned reputation of being PJ stalwarts. The former, the teacher and the latter, a disciple. The former was known for being very slow and the latter just for being ‘low’. Both had to choose between a job offer and an admission offer (in the same B-school). What choice they made is history now. Both lived on with their without reflecting too much on their decisions, for approximately 20 months.

Cut to the present: The fateful day of 4th February 2010 arrived. Rohit Chawla gets a dream campus offer from KPMG – one of the Big Four in auditing (which makes him a direct rival of my sister, and - I have this sinking feeling - of the Shiv Sena too, who off late have a problem with everything). But destiny chooses the same date for the announcement of Monster’s acquisition of Yahoo! HotJobs (which by the way is the property I work for) – subject to approval by the regulatory bodies, which does not include the Shiv Sena.

Now this reminds me of another famous Bollywood dialog which goes as follows (after omitting the lisp defects): “Zindagi mein watt isse nahi lagti ki humne kaunsa rasta chuna, balki isse ki humne kaunsa rasta chchora

And before the curtains roll, the disclaimers: “Aal izz well”. I’m so happy for Rohit who deserves every bit of his success. And mind you, things are not as bad from my end as have been projected here. I still have the job. And I did misuse some of the literary license to dramaticize the whole affair. And by the way, another story to share – another of zindagi’s ajeeb o’ garib games: Just a couple of days ago, Tanushree (who is one of the very few readers (which includes Google’s crawlers) of this blog) asked me when would the next blog come. I confessed that my life was drab and I have nothing to write about. Well, I had no idea that Destiny so desperately wanted me to write that it would go to this extent.

And just for the records, I don’t have many regrets about the decision made two years ago. As Bollywood would have said “Woh kehte hain na ki jo bhi hota hai achche ke liye hota hai… sahi kehte hain

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