Sunday, March 18, 2007

Saaad Day for cricket

March 18th will go down in the history of cricket as a sad day indeed. Till last evening, I was thinking about jotting down my thoughts about how Bangladesh outplayed India man to man. I was one amongst countless Indians whose sadness at India being beaten by Bangladesh and facing a very probable first round elimination, was in some small measure compensated by the fact that arch rivals Pakistan had lost to Ireland and were going to go home to jeers and brickbats. But the news of Bob Woolmer's death late last night overwhelmed all other emotions.

I desperately wanted to find out what was going on in the minds of the contemporary Pakistan fan, all of those who were screaming for Bob Woolmer's head a day earlier. If I had been one of them, I would have been wracked with guilt and been very angry at God who chose to grant this wish amongst innumerable others that I had asked of him. An article by Dileep Premchandran in Cricinfo went thus


We were sitting down to lunch after the depressing trip to the University Hospital when a man came by and asked: "Da coach who die? He Pakistan coach now?" When we said yes, he shook his head sadly, dreads blowing in the breeze. 'Maybe he take it to heart?" he said. "Even da biggest team can lose to little team, man. It a game, and da ball round."

As you listened to him, you could only wish that fans back home in India and Pakistan were possessed of such common sense or perspective on life. On waking up in the morning and checking mail, the first thing I had seen was an AFP report from India that spoke of angry mobs attacking a house that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was constructing in Ranchi. The story also went on to speak of armed guards protecting the houses of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and others.

It was as depressing as it was predictable. Even before Bangladesh had scored the 192 runs required to defeat India at Queen's Park Oval, Cricinfo had received feedback from so-called fans who wished to burn Dravid's house. A few hours later, Pakistani "fans" were out in the streets of Multan demanding that Inzamam-ul-Haq and Bob Woolmer be arrested."

Was it really cricket fans who attacked Dhoni's house. No, it was a group from a political outfit called Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, people who probably had no knowledge about cricket at all. For an average cricket fan like me and millions of others like me, the reaction was limited to a heated discussion over a glass of beer. All of us, of course made the usual vows to ourselves that we would stop seeing cricket from now on. This vow will be broken by today evening when we encounter "Heavy Weight" Bermuda. Cricket, for us, is a passion, but it is not something that will provoke us to extremes. This is the message that we should be conveying to our cricketers who live out of hotels continuously, travelling for months together at a time and braving injuries and complete devastation of their bodies for us.

Mr. Woolmer, as a cricket fan, I have lost interest in this world cup. I realize that my happiness that Pakistan was ousted from the world cup has taken this cruel a turn and Im ashamed of myself for it. Inzy bhai, I always enjoyed your batting, be it the late cuts or those nonchalant pulls that you played or the comic run outs that you were involved in. It is sad that you had to announce your retirement at the time when you did it, or in the manner in which you had to do it.

All in all, a sad day for cricket, one that has profoundly affected me and hopefully has put some sense into millions of effigy burners in the sub-continent.

RIP: Bob Woolmer

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gho(a)st(ly) Rider

It was pretty fitting that a movie about a hero who sells his soul to the devil lacked that very thing - soul. Absolutely soul less, this Nicolas Cage flick turned out to be one more variation of good vs. evil theme that has been made innumerable times. It lacked everything that a big budget hollywood flick has and yet turned out to be one in the end. Typically, giving a movie an open ending is one way all hollywood directors tell us that they will make a sequel, God save us if the first movie makes some money. This leads to another mindless sequel being made, which hopefully, I will avoid.

Being a bike enthusiast, I was inevitably drawn towards this movie that promised to be a treat for Harley lovers. That is was and pretty much that was what else it was. The movie was another variation of the good vs. evil theme - nothing wrong in that, but the evil here was like 4 strange, gothic looking people, three of whom are destroyed pretty effortlessly by our flaming skull. Flaming skull, is incidentally our hero, Nicolas Cage, who for most of the second half disappears to make way for a guy with a flaming skull for a head. The lack of plot is pretty much evident by the way the director crams in stunts or sfx or scenes of Eva Mendes being gobbled up by Cage.

The casting is also not at its most imaginative. The couple next to me kept cooing about how cool the younger versions of the hero and heroine looked. They were way better than Cage and Eva Mendes. Eva Mendes is beautiful and all that, but she should probably stick to modelling. I would rather see her sculpted body rather than her acting prowess. Nicolas Cage looked jaded, he probably needed to look the part, but I thought he looked a bit too careworn for a cool stuntman. The comedy was forced, the punchlines of characters were cheesy and corny to say the least. I flinched a number of times and I think so would've Cage, hadnt he required some quick shopping money. Mainly because, I dont think any major hero (if he still thinks of himself that way) would agree to disappear for half of the movie and be replaced by a flaming skull.

All in all, a pretty disappointing movie. I think Im equally to be blamed for having major expectations from a movie that was made from a not so good comic series and one that was released a full six months later than when it was actually supposed to hit the screen. If the parents dont think much of their child, what business did I have to think tht world of the same!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sea Meets Sky...where the boundaries get blurred...
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A trip always means more photographs...A view of the sunrise over the Western Ghats and a Pic of the Ghats...while we were driving into Goa.
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Im one amongst those innumerable people who cannot be prised out from in front of their television sets every evening at 9.00PM. Shahrukh Khan and Kaun Banega Crorepati are a stable part of my meal every evening.

Another one in the series of Amitabh Vs. Shahrukh writeups this is not. For me, both of them are superstars in their own right and both lend their own charisma to the show. I have a different rant. What makes millions tune into the show every evening and watch others win money. Im no psychiatrist or psychologist, so I couldnt probably dwell on deeper things, but I think it is the virtual thrill of answering all the questions posed to the contestant and telling oneself that I cud've won all that money too.

The celebrity host cannot be the only reason that we tune in day after day. The novelty, afterall wears off after a while (as was evident when not enuf people tuned into KBC 2 or KBC Dwitiya as the Big B called it). The thrill of answering all those questions hit me hard last nite when I was watching the show. One of the contestants who was stuck on a relatively easy question used a lifeline and then used some logic to get to the right answer. I was on my couch shouting out at that guy to think right and when he finally did, I was slapping my thigh and telling him, though he could never hear me, Yeah, way to go, think like that.

Who this guy was who was winning a few thousands of rupees thanks to all my encouragement, I will never know. Its just that for those few moments, I was transported to his world and wanted him to think right. I was imagining myself sitting in front of Shahrukh on the hot seat and winning all that money without wasting my lifeline and wanted this guy to do the same.

Whoever designed this show must've thoroughly studied some human psychology (or must've had a lotta money). Whatever the reason, KBC has one of its most loyal viewers in me and the fact that I have never won a paisa from the show will not deter my loyalty!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Loooongggg Time

Its been a long time since Ive been on the blogger. Been busy with stuff, setting up anything on ur own is not easy afterall. Neywayz, amidst all the things I've been doing these days, Ive found time for a trip to Goa (Found time...made time...same difference, u see). I had an interview at the Goa Institute of Management and very frankly...that is the only reason I went to Goa, yeah yeah Boo all u want, but that is the only reason I went to Goa.

The sole purpose of my going to Goa, namely the interview took up a full four hours of my 3 day trip. What did I do the other two and half days, u ask? Well, all the time before the interview was spent preparing for it and the remaining time was spent recovering from it. So, all the activities centered around the interview. I can almost feel all the pats on my back...thank you thank you.

I willl not waste time describing how beautiful a place Goa is, I could as well give u the URL of Goa Tourism or a DVD of Dil Chahta Hai (the latter better than the former of course), so I will instead plunge into some of the things that struck me on this trip. First thing was watching the sunrise over the Western Ghats while on our way to Goa. Nuthin can match that feeling and after a sleepless night as a navigator, nuthin better to rejuvenate you. The other thing that struck me once I entered Anjuna Beach (this is where I stayed) was the number of liquor stores in the area. 60% of the houses there had liquor stores in them. I mean, does a license almost cost nothing? The other amazing part in Goa was the seaside shacks. U cud feel the spray hitting you even as u sit on an idyllic evening sipping some excellent wine. Wine was plentiful, from the best variety to the home made one, all types of wine make their way into the menu. Also, the way people start treating u like frnds in almost no time was amazing. We went to the same shack a couple times for drinks and the next morning when we went there for breakfast, the guy there instantly recognises us and gives us a friendly hi instead of the standard 'kyaa chaahiye' lines.

Overall, a tiring though funtastic trip that will stay in memory until....the next trip!

PS: One heartwarming incident along the way. So, we get lost in this place called Kolhapur in the middle of the night with no clue as to how to proceed. We see some one parking his bike, presumably in front of his house and we call out and ask him. This guy tells us that it is slightly difficult to find the route and instead takes his bike and shows us until the outskirts of the city, this at 2 in the night. He mustve travelled an extra 6+6 km atleast to show us the way. At the outskirts, we asked him his name and he happily replied Eijaz Khan and just when we were about to leave asked us for matches to light his cigarette. Meraaa Bharat Mahaan - we said to ourselves and went our way!