Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sachin - End of an Era.

Sachin Tendulkar - I will surely miss you. You were such an integral part of my life all these years.

  • My tryst with your batting started in 1992 when you scored that century in the 3rd test at Perth against Oz. Coincidentally that was the only test we could draw in the series which we lost 0-4. 
  • 1993 - You conjured that last over in the semi-finals against South Africa in the Hero Cup.
  • 1994 - Thanks to Sidhu's stomach upset, you opened the batting first time against New Zealand and scored 82 in 49 balls. Rest is legendary. You scored your first ODI century in Sri Lanka the same year.
  • 1996 World Cup - 500+ runs; I cried when you were stumped in the Semi-final. I think i knew already that we lost the match.
  • 1998 -"Operation Desert Storm" at Sharjah - Australia and Warne had to face Sand Storm first and then you. Back to back centuries to take the cup. And the same year you took a 5-for against Oz at Kochi. I would one day definitely compile and write a post about all those matches where you spinned the opposition to your tunes.
  • 1999 - Fighting century against Pakistan at Chennai Test. Lost the match so closely. Same year World Cup. India lost first match against South Africa and then Henry Olonga of Zimbabwe defeated us in the 2nd match. And then you lost your father. You rushed to India and came back immediately to England to play 3rd match against Kenya.Emotions - Pure & Raw emotions. I think you were 140 not out in that match.
  • 2003 WC - We lost the first match against Oz and players houses were targeted back home. Captain Ganguly requested you to address the press conference. And then you scored 673 runs. Yeah we lost in the final again to Oz, but that upper cut six of Shoaib against Pak and the subsequent win over arch rivals more than made up for the loss. We lost only 2 matches in that WC, first and the last (final) - both to Oz. 
  • There are so many things - your 184 against New Zealand in Hyderabad ODI, your another 5-for at Kochi, your first ODI double century, 50 centuries, 2011 World Cup and then 100 international centuries.

I definitely don't want to project that it was always hunky and dory. I hated when you couldn't play for at least 2 sessions and save test matches. I hated your 240 in Sydney test where your selfishness costed us time to enforce a win and i hated your timidness against Pakistan in Bangalore test where you tried to play defensive with 10 Paki's surrounding you. I didn't feel bad when Mumbai crowd booed you and i hated when you asked for a tax exemption for your Ferrari.

But i always consoled myself  that these are some minor aberrations where you just wanted to prove to the world that you too are human. Now as you hang up the boots, Indian Cricket is in safe hands. But will Cricket be the same for me? I doubt. Thanks for entertaining Indians for 20+ years and thanks for all that confidence you gave to India.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Musings after reading Aravind Adiga's 'The White Tiger'

I wanted to get back to the habit of reading books and recently took membership from a library. I started with 2008 Man Booker Prize winner - 'The White Tiger'. The book is definitely worth reading and below are some of my thoughts after reading.

  • Rooster Coop - Author uses this word liberally in the book. He uses it to symbolically explain how most Indians don't get out of trap even though they are aware of what lies ahead for them. He also says that others in the Rooster Coop (i guess he means the 'system' here) doesn't allow you to get out even if you want. 
  • Edward Luce in his book 'In spite of The Gods' also uses a similar analogy. He compares with 'crabs in a bucket with out any lid'. The other crabs in the bucket ensure that  no crab can climb out of the bucket.
  • Analogy of this 'crabs in a bucket' or 'rooster coop' fits fine with frog's Well of Ignorance. But I personally feel that we cannot paint all Indians with this view. Many people these days want to get out the coop/well/bucket/rut and others genuinely encourage and feel happy when they come across stories of people who took the 'leap of faith'.
  • Author's view on corruption in government offices also is similar to Edward Luce's view. Both of them say that though most Indians hate the corruption, they would definitely do the same if they are given a government job. Sadly, this is a reality.
  • Protagonist in the novel wants to get out of the rut (though by crooked means) and he comes across a fortune-telling chit from a weight machine. It says:
'Respect for the law is the first command of the gods'.
          Narration here is amazing - usage of words like 'threshold of a man's freedom', 'boarding a train to a   new life', 'sirens of the coop ringing' etc are simply too good. 
          Later the protagonist escapes to Bangalore and there he reads a slogan:
'Government Work is God's Work'.
          This analogy is mind-blowing. Author chose Bangalore as Protagonist's destination because it symbolizes a new India and is different from the NCR (National Capital Region)/Gurgaon he depicted before. But i believe this quote written on Bangalore's Vidhan Soudha and how it's related to that fortune-telling chit above might be another reason. (If Aravid Adiga didn't think about this and  if it is my imagination - Well, now you are reading a future master story-teller :))
  • Above two quotes made me feel that today's politicians are similar to Brahmins of Vedic period who abrogated more powers to themselves. Politicians themselves increasing their own salary is in a way similar to Brahmins writing that they should be respected. Well, this my analogy :)
  • I recommend this book and am waiting to lay my hands on his next book. 
Hopefully i will continue this habit of reading books and will try to post my review comments.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rajiv Gandhi & The Mysterious Connection With Hyderabad

Love it or hate it, IPL is here to stay and a big medium to convey messages. So i thought of using it to convey a grouse i have for some time. Below is a screenshot from iplt20 website giving the list of venues. Anything unusual ? In our School exams we used to have questions like 'Find the Odd One Out'? I am talking about that kind of exercise here.

See the names of different stadiums where IPL matches were played. All the stadium names are associated with local people except one. Wikipedia helped me to find the below details about them:
  • Bangalore - M. Chinnaswamy Stadium - Named after the person who served Karnataka State Cricket Association for 4 decades and former president of BCCI.
  • Chennai - M.A. Chidambaram Stadium - Named after the former president of BCCI and TNCA.
  • Mumbai - Seshrao Krushnarao Wankhede Stadium - Named after secretary of MCA.
  • Delhi - Feroze Shah Kotla - Named after the King who ruled Delhi once. I guess the stadium is in the area where the King built his fortified city. (One of the 7 cities of Delhi)
  • Jaipur - Sawai Mansingh Stadium - Named after the Maharaja.
  • Mohali - Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
  • Kolkatta - Eden Gardens - Named after the area which has some association with British history.
  • Dharmashala - HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association) Stadium.
  • Ranchi - JSCA (Jharkhand State Cricket Association) Stadium.
  • Hyderabad - Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium -Hmm, Rajiv Gandhi ! What is his immense contribution to Hyderabad Cricket or Andhra Pradesh Cricket ?-- Mystery 1
Now let us talk about Airport names of some IPL cities:
  • Mumbai - Chatrapathi Shivaji International Airport.
  • Kolkatta - Netaji Subash Chandra Bose International Airport.
  • Delhi - Indira Gandhi International Airport.
  • Chennai - Chennai International Airport. The domestic and international terminals are named after Kamaraj and Annadurai.
  • Hyderabad - Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Hmm, Rajiv Gandhi again !! Mystery 2

So what is the secret connection behind Hyderabad and Rajiv Gandhi? Is he from Hyderabad or Andhra Pradesh? Had he served all his life for the benefit of Andhra People? There's got to be some logic for this 'naming convention' right ! Well the mystery is simple - AP Congress members or at that time their supreme regional leader wants to prove to Madam the extent of Brown nosing they are capable of. Sycophants wants to prove their loyalty to the 'dynasty' and therefore even changed the name of stadium.

One of my habits is to observe the names of places, events or schemes and the logic or story behind them. They give us a glimpse into the history of the place, people and their perspective. So when we come across names like Chaudhary Charan Singh Lucknow Airport or Birsa Munda Airport Ranchi or KempeGowda Bus Terminal (so-called Majestic of Bangalore) - they tell us the story of the local people, their history and their legacy. And i believe this is the best way to initiate ourselves or even children into history.Now if we start naming everything after the 'dynasty', what happens to the so-called 'diversity' of India ?

Below tweet sums up our reaction regarding the dynasty naming scheme:

And for a change we do have some Congress leaders who think about local leaders also when it comes to naming airports or stadiums. Below is an old tweet from MP Shashi Tharoor and my reply to him.

I humbly request people to enlighten me regarding the contribution of Rajiv Gandhi to Hyderabad, AP etc that can justify this naming scheme. And i hope the logic will be more reasonable than the one used by Maharashtra Congress for naming Bandra-Worli Sea Link after Rajiv Gandhi. (Reason they used is - Rajiv Gandhi was born in Bombay !! )

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Avatar -- Hindu Connection?

Watched some scenes of 'Avatar' movie yesterday. Few thoughts that came across:

1. The Na'vi say that every person is born twice. The second time is when you earn your place among the people, forever.

Is this 'Dvija' (twice-born) concept of Hindus?

2. Utraya mokri - the Tree of Voices. The voices of ancestors in the movie.

According to Hindu belief, ancestors wake up in Uttarayana (from January 14 for six months )

Not sure if it's my wild imagination or James Cameroon got this much inspired by Hindu mythology?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Telugu Movie 'The Businessman' - Review

First of all i should thank this movie for making me write a post on my inactive blog. This movie has stirred that much emotion (read anger, despair etc ) in me. 
1. The movie starts with a disclaimer that though the story happens in Mumbai, for the convenience of the audience all the characters speak, romance and fight in Telugu. I guess this is the result of the feedback of "Dookudu" movie, where characters were speaking in Telugu even in Turkey. Fair, enough.
2. But after watching the movie, i thought they should have added the below disclaimers too:
  • Please stop using your brains for the next few hours.
  • Though the movie shows the abundance and ease with which guns are available, during times of necessity the goons cannot find guns. Even if they find, they lack the ability to 'load' their guns and even if they load, the hero snatches them just-in-time.
  • The heroine who is not from Andhra speaks excellent Telugu, but a sidekick of hers speaks in some irritating accent.
  • etc etc 
3. In the old days, they used to stitch some music, dance and fights and create a Telugu movie around these. But times do change. Now they write some catchy, crappy dialogues, analogies and punchlines and  stitch movie around them. Add a dash of 'item' song. And also show your creativity in finding 'new ways' of killing people in a gruesome way. 
4. Mahesh Babu needs to literally grow up. I am seeing the same stories of him right from Okkadu. Dude, can you play any other emotion other than delivering some punch lines and roughing up people?
5. Absence of the great Brahmanandam is surely felt. I guess Mahesh took it to heart the banter on social networking sites where 'Dookudu's' success was attributed to Brahmanandam & M.S. Narayana.
6. In a way my ranting is not just about this movie alone, the sheer crappy content being served to Telugu movie lovers. Guys, already Tamil flicks  are kicking your ass, add to that the ease with which people are making short 10-15 min videos and going viral on social networking sites. Get your act straight and stop exploiting Telugu audience's love for movies.

We deserve better than some punch lines, gross fights, item songs and irrational movies. Please start showing a small percentage of reality.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Contagious Wordplay

               One of my pastimes is to observe the changing ‘vocabulary’ of our times and their context. The word ‘contagion’ caught my fancy these days. Actually it’s difficult to ignore this word as it’s in the news in one way or the other - either in its traditional context like a bird-flu or H1N1 virus or in its new context of a financial contagion and sovereign-debt contagion. We had an Indian context of honour killings contagion also. And now there’s a 'revolution contagion'.
              This contagion is spreading like a wild fire in the Middle-East and Arab world and its victims - the ruthless dictators are increasing. Some of the victims were quarantined and some others immunity system (tacit US support) is slowly wearing down. Everyone wants a sniff of ‘Jasmine’ revolution.
               India is not in danger of catching this revolutionary contagion yet, but there is already an indigenously developed 'virus' spreading its tentacles. I am not referring to New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 that enraged many Indians. NDM-1 is a bacteria and i am talking about a virus. The reason why NDM-1 enraged our Government, Media and middle-class could be one of the causes of the virus I am referring. NDM-1 affects health tourism and thus our GDP and foreign exchange reserves. Glossing over GDP and ignoring many of the poor health indicators churned by different organizations is one of the causes for a virus called Naxalism. Another difficult thing to ignore is the bullying power of Indian Media in support of renaming the NDM-1 virus. One more instance of a ‘misplaced priority’.
             Indigenisation and Innovation are other words that caught my fancy recently. Indigenisation is what we strive for eternally and no matter what President Obama thinks we all knew about our Innovation. Coming back to the gravest internal security threat and the 'virus' i referred, Ms. Arundathi Roy and others have a point when they complain of vocabulary like infested, combing operations and COBRA forces. Talking about contagion and terror reminds me that terror is indeed colour-blind. No wonder then ‘colour revolution’ term is coined for peaceful revolution. The Arab diagnosis reveals that providing and defending ‘right to dissent’ is a reasonably good vaccine to start with in this fight against revolution contagion. This is one area where India needs to watch out against misuse of section IPC 124 (A) called Sedition. Sections 124(A), 304, 304A and 377 of IPC are also catching my attention these days.
            Just like words and numbers, I observe acronyms also. Recently US announced its support for India's membership to some of the multilateral bodies that control exports like NSG, AG, WG and MTCR. Is NATO a logical conclusion so that we also can start exporting democracy? It’s quite a paradox that US exports only democracy and military arms. And US want's India to join in this club so that they can outsource some work to India. US's dislike towards the word outsourcing is case-specific. It has no qualms about outsourcing wars to drug lords and mercenaries.
            In all these contagions, the words coherent, synchronized and coordinated are often used. The genesis of Tunisian revolution is food crisis and unemployment. Two areas which need coordinated efforts by all countries. The word ‘contagion’ highlights the interdependence of the day and implores for a coordinated action plan by all countries. Hope the wise minds are listening and are not interested in taking over the fight to ‘Kepler’ – the newly discovered solar system.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Retreating State

                I wonder sometimes why Indian Government needs to struggle so much to enforce a good decision for the benefit of the larger public. See the helplessness of Aviation minister and the way Airlines are browbeating him. Mind you, these were the same airlines begging a few months back for 'Bailout' packages and permission for late payments of dues to AAI. Forget Airfares, even Private Bus operators are also making hay and taking the 'aam admi' literally for a 'ride'. On a busy weekend a typical Bangalore-Hyderabad , Bangalore-Vijayawada or a Hyderabad-Vijayaward Private bus will cost more than 3 times the normal price.
              In this article  in 'The Hindu' the writer clearly explains how this kind of "Corruption" in Neo-liberal regime is getting unnoticed. I guess this is also crony-capitalism (Tata's (talk of )Crony-Capitalism will be a different post altogether). The writer in above article is bang on when he talks about the 'retreating role of the state'. This is clearly outlined by Shri. Pranab Mukherjee himself in 2010 budget: The role of government more as an enabler and less of a provider. So as per this new policy the 'State' goes 'all out' in helping and enabling the Private Companies to garner profits. It colludes with them for land acquisitions in case of Public-Private Partnership projects. There are already enough reasons to worry about even retreating from PDS by using food-coupons and UID. I am not against these measures as long as they improve the 'Public Services Delivery', Transparency and Accountabiliyt.  But the problem seems to be 'Government is unable to rein in these corporations after 'liberating' them'. In true 'liberated' style they challenge the government and 'aam admi' is the loser again. Also i am against this 'blind belief' that 'liberalization' or Privatization is the ultimate panacea for all our problems and the 'not so cool' impression about Public Sector. [ I agree Public Sector should get leaner, younger, trendier and cooler soon to counter this]
                 Land acquisition seems to be the classic case that shows how 'retreating' state can be a bad thing. Recent agitations in UP and Haryan against forceful land acquisitions bought the debate of bringing back 'Right to Property' as a fundamental right. Its a pity and irony that a right which was removed from Fundamental Rights to help in 'distributing' more land from rich to poor and achieve Socialism needs to be resurrected back to protect the 'poor' from acquiring their land forcefully. Things come full circle and Strange things do happen in India.