Crystal gazing on T20

Even as Lalit Modi and his cohorts continue to brag about the apparent revolution that they have brought about in cricket with the IPL and the Champions league T20,it remains to be seen whether this so called watershed actually benefits the game or kills it. If one were to go by Modi’s vision, he sees cricket entering the domain of soccer- where the club/franchise based games will emerge and push international cricket to the background. While the effects of T20 have been more than obvious now on the 50 over version with people calling for curtains on the latter ,international cricket still remains the bread and butter of the game. We still haven’t reached a stage similar to soccer ,where the various premier leagues and the UEFA champions league take centerstage.Lalit Modi’s intentions ,apparently are to popularize the game. But amid all the din and dazzle of  T20,lurks the danger of a premature extinction of the game atleast outside the sub continent.
So we potentially have two situations that could arise out of the Lalit Modi ‘revolution’. Both ways, club cricket will come to the fore and relegate international cricket to the back burner. ODIs will be part of cricketing folklore, or at best played once in 4 years in the form of world cups. The first situation would be that of the gentleman’s game treading the football-path. What that would mean is cricket being embraced in new places like Russia,China, south-east asia,africa and possibly the Americas.The Indian Premier League would then be bracketed with the great soccer leagues of the world like the EPL, the Primera Liga et al  and the CL T20 would emerge as the cricketing equivalent of its counterpart from the beautiful game.Lalit Modi’s name would go down in history as someone who opened up this game to the whole world. Sounds quixotic isn’t it? And Lalit Modi is the Don Quixote here if he thinks this can be possible, not me for writing such nonsense on this blog. 😉
The other more possible, probable or rather inevitable scenario would be the baseballification of cricket.We all know how popular baseball is outside the US, isn’t it? Cricket will most probably meet this fate,with India becoming its only home. Cricketers will turn freelance, left,right and center. Andrew Flintoff and Symmo would be the icons of their ilk. The IPL will then expand to occupy the whole calender year. And we will have teams like the Hubli hurricanes taking on the Guntur guzzlers. Or picture a Jallandar juggernauts locking horns with the Banarasi babus(no offense intended) :D. Outside the sub continent,the game would be long gone. This, unfortunately seems to be more realistic. The recently concluded Champions trophy in South Africa alludes at this, more than anything else.
I might sound like a doomsayer, but it hurts to see the game getting increasingly adulterated, for the kind of cricket that I ve come to enjoy over the years is of the type where there is a level playing field for batsmen and bowlers. Of a game where batsmen were made to earn every single run. Of a game which has seen some of its greatest thrills in the longer versions. T20 cannot provide us those moments. Even if it does, they will not linger on for too many days, unlike that of a beaming Kapil Dev holding aloft the cup on the Lord’s balcony or that of Sourav Ganguly taking off his shirt signaling a scintillating win, from the same balcony. Or for that matter Dhoni’s men winning the tri series down under.

A bulging embarrassment :D

I ve pulled out this post from Channel-One again. It was posted a couple of months back:

The other day as I was getting ready for office, I saw a guy in the mirror placed right opposite to me. The fella had an obnoxious tummy protruding out. I was absolutely shocked to see his face- it had a striking resemblance to mine. Embarrassing to the core. What a turn off it would be for my potential girl friend. Yours truly is still single (and quite desperately so), and for someone like me, it isn’t a very good sign if I hope to impress a girl or two.Time to put on my jogging shoes mate, and get running! Now that is the most I can do, I am hopelessly lazy to go to some gym-somehow I don’t like gyms-I always feel good whenever I read that just jogging will take care of that bulge. That said, well it’s been around 10 years now that I’ve been planning to start jogging. Not that I’ve never done it, in fact I can boast of a strike rate of almost 80%. Yes, I have actually gone ahead with my jogging plans 8 out of 10 times. Only that all the enthusiasm fizzled out in a month at the most. I remember the last time I had started , it lasted for almost a month. I was almost feeling proud of myself to have sustained it for so long when it was interrupted by an early morning shift that warranted me to rise at such unearthly hours as 4′0′clock. The following week,I almost had an attack of selective amnesia-that j-word had ceased to exist in my vocabulary. I mean I can still manage getting up at 5.30, but 4  is  a bit too much. Even as I glance at the keyboard to type this out I cant help noticing that pathetic convex-shaped curve. Yuck.The current state of my  physique is slowly getting me into a position where I can no longer hope to wear t-shirts and manage to look decent enough. Scary proposition indeed. I’ve been trying my best to battle the bulge in ways which do not require me to do some accelerated physical activity-like trying to survive only on fruit salads for lunch. What follows that on most occasions is  a snack-binge in the evening. So it becomes a zero sum game. And at home my aunt makes such delicious food which subjects me to selective amnesia again, as far as my diet consciousness is concerned.So the effect of the calories I manage to avoid with fruit salad is completely nullified and then over-compensated by the daily evening snack festival(consisting of stuff like mixture, murukku,bisuits  etc and then of course by the  typically south Indian veggie dinners replete with ghee-laden preparations and that irresistible thayir sadham (curd rice for those uninitiated in Tamil) .The reason I am so terrified right now is because people have started noticing that its not flat anymore(if you can tolerate a deadly PJ here, The world may be flat for Thomas Friedman, but the stomach is no longer flat for me 😛 sorry for that. Just couldn’t resist. )- actually it hasn’t been flat from almost 5-6 years , but  since the last two or three months,its threatening to break out from the shackles of my buttoned shirts in broad daylight which makes my friends tell me “hey, you got a thoppai da!”(thondh nikal aaya/aayi hai yaar!) ouch!! That hurts. All these days I was the only guy who knew about it. Now the whole world knows it.And its not a very good feeling. If you ask me what I am doing to get back in good shape, the answer is I am taking it one step at a time. I have started waking up at 5.30 somethings (See, I’m a firm believer in planning before executing and right now I am in the process of formulating a master plan which will put me on the fast lane to achieving that perfectly flat stomach 😉 ) and hopefully I ll get myself to start jogging all over again notwithstanding the sarcastic queries that I will have to confront from my aunt and sister , like, “oh you started jogging again?”, followed by smiles which eventually make way for loud uproarious laughs. But the danger is that I have a morning shift coming up in the first week of August. So should I post pone it again? The battle within continues for now…

As you can see, I started out with the intention of writing aimlessly about anything that comes to my mind, but ended up with this. What was actually  titled as ‘Just-for-the-heck-of-it post’ has now attained this name.And yes, I am certain this will see the light of the day.
p.s. : All fitness related tips are most welcome. But excuse me if it would need me to go to the gym. So anything else would be great.Actually if it can make me get up and go jogging no matter what happens,nothing like it.

Rant on!!

This one’s reproduced from my most recent blog on Channel-one, my company’s own internal blogging website. Again,for the lack of new ideas 😉

Disclaimer: Before I go on to say anything,let me add a small but important disclaimer. This post is being written under a lot of desperation arising out of not updating my blog for a long long time and lots of unsuccessful attempts at writing something. So I don’t know what I am going to talk about. Yeah, its deja-vu time again. Been there,done that. How many times have I started out on a blog and abandoned it mid-way? The answer is ‘n’. What’s more,I even published one, but deleted it immediately before anyone could get to see it. It prompted mails from some of my subscribers(1 to be exact ;)) asking me why they(he) got a notification mail in the first place. 🙂 The reason I deleted that blog was because I thought it was very,very unimaginative to say the least. I tried to do my version of the popular my-life-according-to-movies meme. Anyway, that is now consigned to the trash can.No point talking about it.Oh, and by the way, my disclaimer ended approximately 7 lines above this one. 🙂 So it was short indeed,as ‘disclaimed’.  😀 (At this point if you are thinking I am up to utter nonsense and nothing else, you are bang on target.)

What you read above were the beginning credits of a b-grade blog. The actual rants start here.

1.A bolt from the blue and a blast from the past:A few weeks back when I decided to arrange my things at home I found  a Sun java certification voucher.Approximately 6 months back, yours truly ,with loads of enthusiasm had purchased it with the noble intention of becoming a certified Java programmer.This was the blast from the past. Months passed by. Nothing happened. And one fine day the voucher presented itself, begging to be utilized for the cause it had been purchased for.The bolt that struck me was the expiry date on the voucher,rather ambiguously printed as ‘11-10-2009′. Assuming it was 11th October, I rushed to one of the prometric centres , only to be told the date was 10th Nov, and not the other way. Phew!That gives me a chance to give it a shot with some sort of preparation. Nature’s way of waking people up I guess. 🙂

2.How many passwords can the human brain remember?Of late, I’ve caught myself  typing the Cognizant password while logging into my gmail. And there are a few other websites for which I have to click on the “forgot password” link every time I login to them.Not to suggest I keep forgetting and mixing up every single password, but how many can one remember without getting confused?This one’s a filler before I come up with a better rant. I know I can do better. [:D]

3.Rahul does a Rakhi. I heard they’re planning to do one more of those sick reality shows this time with the quintessential psycho Rahul Mahajan. The great man wants to get married again now, so who better to emulate than Rakhi Sawant.Wonder who the participants are going to be, but if you are competing to marry him, I’m sorry, you’re just not in sound mental condition. Not trying to imply Mr. Rahul “Most-eligible-married-man-turned-bachelor-trying-to-find-a-bride” Mahajan doesn’t deserve anyone. Who better than Rakhi Sawant? May be he should’ve participated in Rakhi ka Swayamvar.That way he would have done great public service by not imposing one more reality show on us.Who knows, he would have impressed the folks at Stockholm and got himself a Nobel!

4.Reality bites,Reality TV sucks. The seemingly perpetual reality shows are now taking up different forms .After looking west for some inspiration(Indian idol, India’s got talent etc etc..),we  now  have some ‘original’ reality shows with a strong desi feel, like Rakhi ka swayamvar and whats the other one where couples get to take care of infants with cameras staring from everywhere?And another one just started season-3. To think that Amitabh Bachchan, of all the people is playing host is really disgusting.

5.T20: The game killer? Looking at the lukewarm response the recently concluded champions trophy got(both in terms of stadium attendance and TV viewership), it goes without saying- the 50 over version is dying a slow, cancerous death. The cancer here is T20.And did anybody notice they’re playing the champions league T20 right now?

6. Sometimes,it pays to be lazy 😀 My mobile phone charger went missing a few days back.In fact, I had lost two before. After searching almost every nook and corner , I just resigned to fate and decided to buy one more during the weekend.Thanks to my lazy ways ,I just kept procrastinating until my brother found  it out of nowhere and saved me some money and more importantly, the effort involved in getting up and going out to buy it. Yeah, I can be that lazy on weekends. 😛

7. Making a billion people proud? Not really.This one’s to do with the nobel prize.No, its not about Obama deserving it or not. I really don’t care. But when the media starts going gaga over some scientist-of-Indian-origin who is an American citizen now and starts labeling it as a proud moment for Indians, I get pissed off. It keeps happening every now and then-with Sunita Williams,Indra nooyi and so many others.No offense meant here,what they have done is phenomenal, but lets not start calling them Indian-I don’t think they really want to be called so.

So with that  I end my 1st official no-holds-barred-all-rants-blog.Looking forward to write something more meaningful very soon. 🙂

Midnight musings

What happened a few months back is that the poet lurking somewhere within me unraveled himself. The result of that was the poem I have below. This was posted in my company’s internal blogging site,known as Channel-one (Ch-1 in short). I’ve been struggling with new ideas to revive this blog,so here goes the poem , just for the heck of it,for the sake of an update.

A poem is what I want to write,
For the words and thoughts, within myself I fight….
Wondering when the time will be right,
for the poem, which I want to write!
Am not short on inspiration,
Which is a poem’s basis of construction….
Putting this together, is a lot of contemplation,
A fact it is, and no fiction…
Wanted to get back to ch-one,
Ideas and intent were plenty,but the determination,was none
Reading blogs is always fun,
But writing them is, the feeling number-one!
Is it getting silly, or long, myself I ask,
Never mind the meaning or length-as in the sunlight of satisfaction, I bask….
Looking back, writing this wasn’t really a task,
Just a means to cover my feelings with a mask…
Is this a flash in the pan, I wonder,
No, not at all, to myself I mutter…
As in being regular,
Lies the answer!!! 😉

p.s. It is titled so because it was written at the stroke of midnight. The events leading up to this poetic outburst caused a lot of frustration and disgust within me, which in turn gave way to the ‘poet’ within me. Good or bad, I was able to divert my mind for a while and it definitely made me feel better. 🙂

The tale of two newspapers…

Its been just over 6 months now that The Times of India kicked off its operations in Chennai.As someone who’s been an ardent reader of The Hindu, I was always sceptical about ToI coming to Chennai.If you’ve been following The Hindu quite seriously, the chances are that ToI will appear to be near blasphemous,with all its page-3 stuff,glitz,gossip and masala. I too had the same preconceived notions about it. It just happened that I got carried away by a ‘founder-member’ offer and got hold of a 6 month subscription at a throw away price. Actually they were offering a pretty good looking travel bag on the spot, and that tempted me to go for it.(After all, Indians do like freebies,ain’t it?)I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t be extending the subscription beyond those 6 months.Now, its been 7 months I guess, and I find myself having extended that subscription to,guess what, 1 more year!(This time there was an even better bag on offer,and a throwaway price too, but that’s a different issue altogether.)

So what made me extend that subscription?Has The Times succeeded in winning over a reader and make him switch loyalties?Naah,I wouldnt go as far as saying I have completely bowed to The Times,but sure, it has shattered more than a few myths that I had.One,it is not just about page-3,paparazzi and masala.Two, it isn’t that bad after all.What I have liked about ToI is that its editorials are fairly balanced, and mostly appear devoid of any particular political bias.Having said that, the articles are moslty elitist at the same time. Now this objectivity is what has struck a chord with me. Ofcourse it still carries a lot of crap like petty crime news and other really trivial stuff. But at the heart of the newspaper are a set of pretty objective articles.The Sunday times is replete with columns from Shobha De,Jug Suraiya,Shashi Tharoor ,et al which makes for some pretty good reading.Having said that, it must be said that The Times still leaves a lot to be desired as far as the other pages are concerned. The sports news is not exactly what you’d call high standard.Its more of images,in-your-face graphics and screaming headlines than quality stuff.Overall, the standard of language is also not that great. That is where it disappoints me.
Now coming to The Hindu-a newspaper that I’ve been following since the days Sachin Tendulkar was only 19 years old,has been part of my life like any other daily chore that I take up-like I brush my teeth everyday, take bath, I read The Hindu.Until about a couple of years ago,I had a kind of an unquestionable loyalty and faith towards this paper.But it is no longer so. Thanks to a gentleman called N.Ram, who happens to be at the helm of affairs.He has made sure that the newspaper now seems like a mouthpiece of the commies. Having a slight bias is ok, but you dont go as far as beating china’s drum in India saying that Tibet is best left to China’s red devils.Pallavi Iyer,the correspondent in China infact seems more like she is working for the state controlled chinese news agency Xinhua. Prakash karat , the bete noire of Manmohan Singh and N.Ram were actually university buddies in Delhi’s JNU, which is where the CPI and CPI(M) catch their soon-to-be comrades young.That explains why The Hindu’s articles and editorials have more than a tinge-of- red all over.One editorial that saw a severe erosion of N.Ram’s credibility is his dramatic u-turn on the nuke deal.After having given a thumbs up, Ram chose to speak the left’s language.Might well be that dear pal prakash would’ve given him sound brainwash.And in case you thought I am from the right-wing school of thought and that is why I find this very irritating, you got it wrong. Infact I would like to be as far from the left as I would from the right.Suo motu bashing of the BJP is also becoming more and more frequent these days. There is one gentleman by the name of Harish Khare, who writes a column called ‘statecraft’, is actually a sycophant of the Congress and Sonia Gandhi, in particular. After the so called ‘renunciation’ of the PM’s post, this man wrote an article in which he repeatedly referred to Mrs G as ‘Madam Sonia’…which I thought was taking things a bit too further. In his subsequent articles he seems to have consciously shied away from such explicit sycophancy , but his pro congress bias is only too evident.
These are certain things that irk me a lot when I read The Hindu. This is not to say that there’s nothing else left to read.It has a kind of seriousness that is pretty much missing in the other newspapers,which make them seem like tabloids.In an age where the line between a newspaper and a tabloid is becoming increasingly blurred , The Hindu still stands by its core values of ethical journalism. Never does it compromise on quality in the name of selling a few more copies. The standard of language is absolutely top class.It is any GRE aspirant’s pleasure. The sports and business news sections are also too good to be missed. Its sports section is populated with articles from some wondergul writers, including Nirmal Sekhar,Rohit Brijnath, Vijay Lokapally,Peter roebuck, etc, to name a few. The sunday magazine still remains a pleasure to read. So I have more reasons not to give up The Hindu . And it is very much here to stay. In my opinion, it still remains the best newspaper, if you take out the editorials.Just that I hope the editorials aren’t coloured red….

A trend-setter walks into the sunset….

As the 4th test between India and Australia enters the 5th day, one of the game’s all time greats has decided its time for him to hang up his boots. Adam Gilchrist walked into the Adelaide Oval to a round of applause that is reserved only for the best of the best.When even your rivals on field join the ceremony of ovation, you know that the person at the receiving end is a legend.Gilly is not just any other cricketer to have donned the wicket keeping gloves.He has been a trend setter as far as defining the role of a keeper is concerned.Not only that, he redefined the meaning of an all rounder-hitherto,all rounders were men who could both bat and bowl, but now it also includes the rare tribe of men who are equally adept ,whether they are in front of the stumps,or behind.As someone who started his international career pretty late(guess he was in his late twenties then), he has an astonishing record,both as a keeper and as a batsman.Very few men have charted the territory that Gilly has,for it is not everyday that you see someone with 414 victims and 5,500 plus runs at an average of around 48 per innings in test cricket.That he scaled these heights in just 10 years,and 96 tests,makes it all the more impressive. His batting was one of those sights to behold, be it test cricket or the 50 over version.A dasher to the core, people would pay to watch him play.

His oneday record is even more staggering.As an opener, he forged great partnerships with the likes of Mark Waugh and Matthew Hayden to become one of the most feared batsmen the game has ever known. Aggression was his middle name,and this is the only way he played.Never could you see him pushing or prodding around,trying to be defensive.
What makes him even more likeable is the spirit with which he played the game.The Australians are not really known for their on field behavior, but Adam Gilchrist stands out as a glaring exception in a bunch of ill mannered brats.Always the one to let his bat do the talking, very seldom would one notice him indulging in the kind of gamesmanship that the Aussies prefer to call ‘mental disintegration’.Perhaps the sydney test against India was the only grey spot in an otherwise spotless career. But then to err is human. Gilly can be forgiven for that.
Bowlers and captains around the world will perhaps breathe easily when they play Australia, for they dont have to deal with this decimator.But then you wont get to see those exhilarating innings any more.Cricket stands poorer today. More than anyone else, it is the Aussie side that will miss him. Thank you, Adam Gilchrist,for all you have given us.

Sunita williams:unnecessary hype?

Over the past few days or weeks we’ve been fed with a regular diet of news about Sunita williams creating history.While i dont contest that,as going to space is no mean thing,I have my reservations on whether we as Indians should be rejoicing over this.
All this hype in the Indian media is based on the fact that she’s just the 2nd person of “Indian origin”….give me a break guys,but she’s not Indian,and I dont think she too feels “Indian”.She may be carrying samosas,and the Bhagwad gita and other stuff normally attributed to Indians,but hang on…how many times has she been to India?What does she know about us?Does she exactly feel even remotely Indian?Having “roots” is not enough,and I dont know when our TV channels will realise this….