Saturday, December 29, 2007

Falling Like A Pack of Cards

The Indians capitulated, rather meekly by 337 runs, to the Australians in the Boxing Day test match in Melbourne. If they had played another inning, they would have still have lost. Such was the domination by the Australians.

The day India landed in Melbourne, Harbhajan Singh was graceful enough to talk to the media. He made some remarks stating that India would want to see Brad Hogg play in the test matches, that they would get after him and hit him out of the attack and that he was not good enough spin bowler. Well, Hogg responded by getting Sourav Ganguly, the best batsman in the Indian team on current form, in both the innings. Harbhajan Singh, ended up with a below-par performance(an understatement!!) in the match. This is what separates Australia & other teams. Teams like India, they are very good at Talking the Talk. But, when it comes to Walking the Walk, they get found out almost always.

The MCG pitch, was more sub-continental in nature and it was as if India was playing in Bangalore rather than Melbourne. But, our batting still collapsed. Why? Its inexplicable. Not even the batsmen would have the answers. There are three things which separate Australia from India. Skills, Temperament & Desire to Win. I think they lacked all these ingredients.

So, here we are, 0-1 down with Sydney, Perth & Adelaide to go. As far as India is concerned, they need to get in Sehwag into the side. I think the selectors did a good job heeding to Ian Chappell's advice and got him into the squad. If there is a batsman who can put the fear into Australian bowlers, it is him. Agreed that he is not in good form, but he is a better bet than a Yuvraj who is not troubling the scorers much anyways. Dravid, has sacrificed himself for far too long in the interests of the team. He shouldn't be messed around with and should come in his usual position at one down. Yuvraj needs to carry the drinks until he can prove that he is a good enough player in test arena. But, he cannot be given too many chances in a series like this when you need all your best batsmen playing at their best. Yuvraj, sadly, does not fit into the picture here. Sehwag, if he fails, will not make such a big difference because the others are anyways, not doing much. But, if he fires like he did last time in Australia, we could see bit of a fight from the Indians.Tough situations demand tough decisions and India are in much more than just a spot of bother at the moment.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Henin Beats Serena & Venus in US Open

The US Open 2007 is in its final leg with the women's final & men's semis and final remaining. The match between Justine Henin & Venus Williams in the semi final yesterday was a match for the ages. Even though the scoreline read 7-6,6-4 favoring Henin, it was one of the most diffucult matches ever played by Henin & it was certainly THE match of the tournament on both the men's as well as the women's side.

Henin's achievement is even more creditable as she became only the second woman to beat both the Williams sisters in a grand slam. This feat was achieved by Martina Hingis in the Australian Open in 2001. However, Justine has a chance to make it even better by winning the Final in which she has to be the overwhelming favorite tonight. She would become the first player to beat both the sisters and also win the title, a feat Hingis could not achieve as she lost steam in the final losing to Jennifer Capriati in 2001 in Australia.

Now, coming to the match yesterday, it was an instant classic right from the outset as Henin broke serve in the opening game of the match. Both players held serve from then on and as Henin served for the set, she lost her serve for the first time. In between all this, we saw some superlative tennis by both players with winners pouring like a cascade on all corners of the Arthur Ashe stadium court. It was tennis as its very best at one gut-wrenching & spellbinding. It was Henin who held her nerve in the tie-break to take the fist set. The second set too followed the same pattern as Henin broke Venus in the very first game. Venus, suffering from fatigue looked to be in discomfort as she called the trainer but that did not deter her from breaking Henin back when she was serving for the match at 5-3. However, Venus once again lost steam in her next service game as Henin clinched the match at 7-6, 6-4. One of the most memorable matches in US Open history for sure.

Venus' was gracious in admitting that she lost to the better player on that day, a stark contrast to her spoilt & ungracious sister, Serena. Serena even had the guts to call Henin's victory in the quarterfinal against her, "lucky". Well, let me tell you that there was nothing lucky about Henin's performance in both these matches. She played some astonishing tennis and should be able to hoist the US Open trophy on Saturday night unless she has an emotional let-down after beating both the Williams sisters in the same tournament.

This could be a historic US Open what with Federer just two wins shy of winning his 4th straight US Open title and his 12th Grand Slam title. We'll know in a couple of days time and I will be back then to post my thoughts on the remaining matches. So long.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Left or Right - The Nuclear Debate

The recent signing of the 123 Civil Nuclear Co-operation agreement between India & the USA seems to have finally snapped the already building tension between the ruling UPA government & their supporting Left parties. The spark seems to have ignited by the comments of Sean McCormack, the US Spokesman that the nuclear co-operation would be off if India conducted tests. And the Indian side of the story is that India was a sovereign nation and had the right to conduct tests.

The left(communist) parties led by Prakash Karat have come out with an ultimatum to the government asking them to stop negotiations with IAEA or else they would withdraw their support to the government. The government, in its part has been adamant in its stand and is going ahead with the negotiations with IAEA starting in September. This could mean the end of the government & that India could be headed for mid-term polls. This could be disastrous for the Indian economy as the kind of money which is spend on polls goes into crores of rupees. It would mean an unstable political scenario which could lead to the stock markets going down even further as an unstable political environment would drive the FII's away from the country. As it is, the stock markets are witnessing one of their worst meltdowns because of the US Sub-prime mess.

It is very much imperative for the overall welfare of the Indian economy that the government at the center complete its term. The nuclear agreement is actually going to do only good for India and strengthen its position as a nuclear powerhouse. Not only this, India would get to use technology which could be used to produce nuclear energy with clean fuel in return for allowing IAEA officials access to our nuclear facilities. So, this agreement promises much to the Indian cause. The left stand seems more to be on terms with their opposition to everything american. Their claims that this agreement is part of a larger US designs to impose their foreign policy on India is a little immature. Let's consider the situation that would arise if India were to conduct nuclear tests after the agreement is operationalized. India has claimed that the agreement would still be in place. However, there is some ambiguity as far as the US position is concerned. There are reports that claim the agreement could be called "off" in such a scenario. Yet, another report claims that the agreement would be in affect even in the event of a nuclear test by India. So, what happens if the agreement is "off". India would be in a situation it was before the agreement was signed. Nothing alarming as far as the country is concerned. Also, when the government is signing such an agreement, there is going to be no need to conduct tests in the first place.

Hopefully, common sense would prevail and we will see light at the end of this dark tunnel and that the welfare of the Indian citizen is kept first and foremost in mind of those concerned, whatever happens in this saga between the left and the government.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Not Quite Roger's Cup in Montreal

Immediately after his loss in the Rogers Masters Final to Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, told in a Press Conference that the defeat was "insignificant" when compared to the big picture of his goals for the year. Federer expressed that his goal for the year was to retain the Wimbledon crown and try to stay number one in the ATP Rankings. So, he has achieved much more than what he had set out to achieve at the start of the season. And now, the aim is to defend his US Open crown, starting in a fortnight's time, and the Masters Cup in Shanghai.

To be fair to Federer, he was not at his best throughout the week-long event, just coming back from a 5-week rest after Wimbledon. And, we all know that Federer beats most players in the world even when he is playing only at 50%. In the final, he did show glimpses of his genius but they were just that, glimpses. There were two aspects in the match which could worry a Federer fan, though. One was the way Federer played the big points in the match. Rarely have we seen Federer missing on so many big points as he did today. And the other aspect is the way he played in the Tie-breaks. Its almost shocking when Federer loses a Tie-Break. Even if he is not able to close out a set with breaks of serve, he changes gears, almost effortlessly in the Tie-break. Rarely do we see him lose a tie-break and it was astonishing to see him lose two tie-breaks in the same match.

Credit to Djokovic, who looked really composed almost throughout the match. With the win against Federer, Djokovic beat the worlds top three players in the same tournament, Roddick & Nadal being his scalps in the Quarter-final & Semi-final. He does look the player capable of causing a lot of headaches to Federer & Nadal. Federer, still thinks that Nadal is the main threat to his throne, though he feels that Djokovic maybe closing in on a Grand Slam title. These are exciting times in men's tennis with a number of young players queueing up to be the number one contender to Federer's reign. Nadal, Djokovic,Murray & Gasquet could be the ones to challenge Federer. I for one, am waiting in anticipation of a 12th Grand Slam title for the great Federer in the City that never sleeps, New York.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Tale of The Bench

Definition of Bench :
1. a long seat for several persons: a bench in the park.
2. a seat occupied by an official, esp. a judge.


These are the most common definitions that come to mind when you come across a bench. This holds true when you are not anywhere closely connected to the IT Industry. However, if you are someone who is well-versed with the IT Industry, this would be one of the most common terms you would be coming across apart from the other obvious words : meetings,bandwidth,deadlines,etc.

However, this post is only to discuss the dreaded word, Bench from the IT industry perspective. Non-IT people need not be too disinterested because they can learn a new meaning for a word. IT people who are not on bench can see the funny side of this post & IT people on bench can see the not-so-funny side of it.

So, what does someone mean when they ask you "Are you on Bench?". Well, they mean to know whether that person doesn't have any work. That means that that person is not billable to the company and that means that that person is not earning any revenue for the company. In short, it means that that person is getting salary for doing precisely, nothing. Now, all you non-IT guys must be thinking that you ought to join an IT company, right? No, guys, its not that easy being on the bench. Yes, there is no work when on bench but that feeling is not at all good. Trust me, I have lots of experience. Or else, ask the IT guys.

One of the worst fallouts of being on bench is that you are pointed continuously for not doing any work. This is the conversation I had with my PM,Swamy(name changed for obvious reasons!!) few days back.

"Hi,Swami. I just wanted to know whether the proposals which you were talking about got approved?"
"Er, I am sorry to say that they were rejected. We have submitted a couple of proposals. Let's see if it gets approved".
"So, any idea when that approval would come?"
"I think we should get an idea few weeks down the line".
"So, any idea what I should do till the project work comes?"
"Why don't you undergo some trainings".
"I have been taking trainings for so many times now. There are no more to be taken".
"Oh! Then do some certifications".
(Oh No, not again!!) " Well, thanks Swami. Thanks a lot for your suggestion".
"You are welcome.Best of luck with the certification".

And this kind of conversation goes on and on with the same person. And one fine day, the PM comes up to me and says that my performance appraisal rating would be affected because I have been on bench. Aren't you as baffled as myself at this reply? I was shocked. Ultimately, its my responsibility to get off the bench even though no work has been allocated to me after repeated discussions with my PM.

So, the next time you sit on that bench in your neighbourhood park and are having a generally relaxed time, do take a minute to pray for all the poor souls of this world who are not exactly having a fun time sitting on some different kind of a bench in some part of the world.

PS:- You don't exactly sit on a bench when you, well,eh.. sit on a bench. Its invisible!! :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007


The recent second test match between India & England at Trent Bridge proved once again that most of today's cricketers are hypocrites. Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and everyone knows that and part of the charm of the game is because umpires make the decisions and so there is a human element involved.

Incorrect decisions are part and parcel of the game. If we cannot take it, then it is better not play the game in the first place. Simon Taufel has proved time and again that he is the best umpire in the world today without a shadow of a doubt. However, the best of umpires make mistakes because they are humans just like the cricketers themselves. The manner in which Taufel's name has been tarnished by the Indian & international media is a shameful act to say the least. Just because the batsmen at the receiving end of two wrong decisions were two (stroke makers) batsmen who have come to a stage in their careers when they are just playing to score runs for themselves & not for the team. If you take the strike rates of Tendulkar & Ganguly in recent times, you will get the picture I am trying to draw. It can be said that the two wickets were crucial and that the match could have gone England's way. However, how can anyone explain the numerous near-misses & lbw shouts against these players. Ryan Sidebottom would have missed Tendulkar's bat by less than an inch almost 50 times during his innings. And the fact was that when Tendulkar became out, he was padding up to the ball & not offering a shot. This sends out a wrong signal to the umpire.

The final point I am trying to make is that when batsmen who do not walk when they know 100% that they are out and the umpire does not give them out, do not have the right to show dissent when they are given out incorrectly.Tendulkar used to the first batsman who used to "walk" when he knew that he was out but gone are those days. In today's cricket Adam Gilchrist is the only cricketer who "walks". This is why I feel the first line in my post holds true.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Munnabhai - Reel over Reality

Sanjay Dutt aka Munnabhai MBBS has been sentenced to 6 years in Prison for illegal possession of arms in connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Apparently, there are many Indians who believe that Sanjay should have been let-off with a warning instead of being given a jail sentence. And do you know the reason for such sympathy towards him? He is Munnabhai and he taught every indian Gandhigiri. So, does this mean that if Osama Bin laden acts as Gandhiji in a movie, then his crime should be condoned as well? Where else other than India do movies influence a society so much. We build temples for our actors & worship them even though the actors themselves haven't done anything good for us other than running behind trees with a co-actor. And now, we want to absolve a person of criminal actions just because he acted in a movie in which he preached the virtues of Mahatma Gandhi. Are you reading, Osama & Al Jazeera? :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

One Fine Day

This happened more than a year back and I started this blog site when I was sitting in my room and typed the first post with just my left hand. So much for craziness. If you want to find out why I typed with a left hand, you have no choice other than reading on.

It was a clear summer day in Phoenix, AZ. It was an odd day because we did not have our car(a white Ford Escort 2001) which we had given to Bruce, the mechanic for repairing the transmission. It was a weekend and there were no groceries for the coming week in our room. So, we called up Sarma, who incidentally had got a Blue Kia Spectra 2006 model recently from his friend and asked him to help us with the week's shopping. So, Yours Truly, Siva & Suresh,Sarma & Dhruv started off to Asiana Market situated on 43rd Ave & Union Hills Drive. We generally go to Asiana Market to get rice, pickles, dal and any other Indian items. Incidentally, that week we needed to get rice so we went to that place. We had made quite a big purchase that day. Sarma was at the wheel of the car. We were coming out of the store and were heading to Fry's where we purchase the other groceries like milk, juices,etc.

Now, Sarma was a little new to driving on US roads. For all those, who are not aware, on US roads, it is right hand driving/left hand steering.There is a weird rule there that when taking a left turn, in certain junctions which are not busy, when it is Green for the person taking a left turn, it would be green for the person who is coming straight-on as well. The person who comes straight-on has the right of way to move first and the person taking the turn has to yield and then turn. Our friend, somehow had forgotten this rule or whatever happened I don't know but, this is what happened. He started to turn left and was in such a situation that he couldn't have come back. Every one of us(5 in all) could see an SUV coming from the other side. The driver of that car would have been drving at least at 45mph. And she had a right of way as she was coming striaght-on. We were not fast enough to move away before the SUV hit us. And HIT us it did on the right side. The impact of the hit was such that our car went and hit another car with the momentum which in turn got damaged in a major way.

And what about the poor souls inside the car? We couldn't even come out of the car because it was badly mangled. Suresh, couldn't move his two sides, I couldn't move one side & Dhruv was the worst hit. He was almost unconscious with blood coming out of his head. Siva & Sarma were free of any injuries, thankfully. Next thing we knew, a fire engine was on its way. The firefighters somehow pulled out of the debris of the car and put us all in the ambulance. I had previously seen these scenes only in a movie. Never had I thought in my wildest imagination that I would once be taken in an ambulance in front of so many people. Believe it or not, this was the thought in my mind when I was being taken in the ambulance. We were taken to an emergency room in a nearby hospital and X-Rays were taken. It was finally revealed that I had a minor collar-bone fracture. Suresh had broken both his collar-bones & Dhruv was put into ICU because of his situation. He had multiple fractures in his ribs, shoulders,etc. He later came back to India and I wouldn't like to discuss the situation in which he came back. Poor Siva ended up taking care of us for many many weeks after that incident. I was able to use only my left hand as the other hand was in a sling. After a week of rest, I started going to office but using only a single hand.

So, all those going to US in the near future, do remember to follow the road rules. Its very easy to drive in US but, following the rules is a must because of the speed at which people drive vehicles there.Even today, I can't help but thinking what could have happened if we hadn't given our car to Bruce, that day!!It was one hell of a day,literally & figuratively!!

PS:-I would be attaching the police report on this incident which is there on the internet as soon as I find it out. So, that would give a more visual picture of the accident to you :).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Checking into a Rehab Center, A Fashion Trend?

I don't know why I am blogging about something as trivial such as this but all the same, I am. Some people just can't get enough of Rehab centers. It seems to have become a fashion statement if you have been to one of California's famous rehabs. Of late there has been a steady increase in the number of party-holics, socialist & pop singers checking themselves into these so-called clinics across the United States.

First there was Britney Spears who seems to be sufferring from mental problems caused out of her divorce with Kevin Federline & her wild partying manners. She came to a point in her life where even attempted suicide & even ended up shaving her hair off her head. Then there is the social-butterfly, Paris Hilton, for whom life just means partying-rehab, partying-rehab & more partying-rehab. Not sure if anyone can count the number of times she would have been to a rehab. And what does she do in rehab. Taking a wonderful sunbath in Malibu beach in bikinis. The papparazzi just don't seem to get enough of her. If you thought that her recent jail stint for driving with a suspended license would have sobered her up a little bit, think again. After her release, she has been seen hitting the beach with her new bodyguard-cum boyfriend & also seen attending a lot of social functions(parties). Then, you have Lindsay Lohan, a perfect example of how an 18 year old girl shouldn't be. She has now been charged with multiple counts. Driving under the influence of alcohol & possession of cocaine. Just to add a bit, she has been charged of these offences when she has a suspended license. Can you get any better example of recklessness? I haven't been able to. Then there is the case of Nicole Richie who has been charged with driving under suspended license. She is lucky in that her case has been put on hold for a while. She is sure to get a jail sentence as well. Well, the first thing any of these girls do once they are out of jail is to check themselves into one of the posh rehab facilities. Maybe they do this so as to create public sympathy for their earlier actions and that they are on their way to mend themselves. But, doesn't convey the message at all.

It seems like rehab centers are no longer meant to rehabilitate people from a certain addiction, whether smoking, drinking or drugs, they are meant to provide relaxation to that individual so that he can go out once again, rejuvenated to do the same things for which they were in the rehab in the first place. Well, who is the next celebrity to check his/herself into a rehab?I am certainly not queueing up to see that!!!. But one thing is certain, this is my last post on these personalities!!!

We Will Miss You, Mr.President !!

Yesterday(July 24,2007) was President APJ Abdul Kalam's last day in office. For all practical reasons, he could be hailed as the best President we have ever had. The closest, any other President I can think of was Dr.S.RadhaKrishnan who was another exemplary First Citizen. Dr.Kalam had all the qualities which one can associate with a President and a perfect role model for the youth of the country. An 'F'(the highest) grade Scientist, he emphasised that its upto the youth of the country to make India a developed country. The kind of speeches he has given in various forums has always emphasised that youth are the future of the nation. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the speeches given by him when he visited our college. It is his dream to see that India becomes a Developed nation by 2020 and has also laid out a vision 2020 plan for the government to follow which could take India to great heights. Whether his vision will be put to task or not, that is an issue which we would not discuss here.

One more point I would like to discuss here is the manner in which he was insulted by the political parties. Having been told by Congress that they would not be supporting him for another term, he was very much ready to step down from his post, before the UNPA decided to float his name for another term. And for his part, he made it clear that he was ready to contest in case it was sure that he would be win the contest. I can't see any mistake in his statement here but this did not go down with the powers-be and a lot of hue-and-cry was raised over this issue. The effect was that the President's name was tarnished. Such is the state of Politics in India that even a person of Kalam's stature is not spared.

There is a thought process that it was in some ways better that Kalam has stepped down. He can give to the nation far more being a scientist than being a President whose role in the Indian politics is nothing but a farce. Now that he has stepped down, we can hope for some big contributions from him in the field of science & technology. I would also like to congratulate the new President, Prathibha Patil on her election, the first woman President of India, though her credentials for the post may not be spot-free. Anyways, here's wishing Mr.APJ Abdul Kalam, a very best in his future endeavours. He can live peacefully in the knowledge that he has given to the Indian public more than any other President has ever had. Thank You, Sir!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Attrition Rates in The Indian IT Industry

With the recent declaration of the results of the leading Indian software companies has once again brought out the issue of rising attrition rates in the Indian IT industry. While it is a known fact that this has been a perennial issue for the big companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro & the others, I am not sure if any steps have been taken by these companies to reduce the attriton rates. The demand of higher salaries seems to be the primary cause of high attrition rate. In this scenario, its imperative on the companies to bring out employee-friendly policies which would make the employees think twice before they quit. There are a number of expectations which a would-be employee would have before joining an organisation. Some of these are salary, wok satisfaction, brand name of the company & on-site opportunities. It is a well-known fact that that Indian IT companies would not be able to match the salary levels of their multinational counterparts because of their revenue limitation & their huge employee base so it makes even more sense for the indian companies to make up in other areas like work satisfaction & on-site opportunities. There should be a strict rotation policy when it comes to on-site opportunities which when not implemented causes a lot of dissatisfaction among employees leading to exodus from the company.

The management should be open to the suggestion of an employee and not impose themselves. I am not saying that this happens in everyplace but the immediate management has a big role to play in a employee sticking to a place. As has been found out in many surveys, the number one reason for an employee to leave a company is "the immediate supervisor/manager".

If this was not enough, there is the problem of the rise of the rupee which is hitting not only the Indian software companies but all the export-based companies. I have seen recent reports that some indian companies, namely, Wipro are planning to introduce Saturday as working day in order to compensate for the loss due to the rising rupee. As correctly put by a Wiproite, "Were they asking us to work only for 4 days when the rupee was doing well?", this arrangement can potentially be hazardous both for the companies & the employees too. The one elusive luxury on every employee in the IT industry is Work-Life balance and how to achieve it and working on saturdays is certainly not going to solve this issue.

Taking a leaf out of the way Google operates would give companies an idea as to how to keep employees happy. 24-hr food facility, 80-20 working hours wherein each week, you put in 20% of your efforts on an area which interests you, employee stock options are just some of the facilities which a Googler is given. Obviously, we cannot implement each and every idea which Google implements but just goes to show the levels to which they are ready to go in order to maintain employee satisfaction. The attrition rate puzzle is one which is yet to be cracked. One hopes a solution is right around the corner.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

I was wide awake at 2:00AM on Monday early morning. I was reading HP7. The action was nearing the climax and the suspense was palpable. The secrets just kept tumbling out of Snape's memory as Harry looked inside the Pensieve. It had been Snape all along. It had been Snape after all, the only person apart from Voldemort himself, that Harry hated the most, who had protected him from the Dark Lord all these years. That revelation was enough for me to shake off the sleep.

No one would have expected such a spectacular turn of events in the final book. That one twist was enough to proclaim this the best book of the series. Hat's off to JK Rowling to have completely stumped all the gossip-mongers and the fakes who were spreading rumours ranging from the death of harry to someone even mentioning a further eighth book. How can anyone have possibly imagined that it was Snape who had sent the Silver Doe Patronus & help Harry find the Sword of Griffindor. How can anyone have imagined that it was Snape who had sent Lord Voldemort after Harry on the day he was being transferred from the Durseley's to The Burrow only to make sure that Harry is safe. And Snape went ahead with these actions JUST because he LOVED Lily James. Amazing, what things love can make you do. Its not like he really liked Harry. In fact, Snape used to detest Harry as much as Harry used to hate him. This was imagination & creativity at its best from Rowling, the billionaire author. The other revelations like Dumbledore's life history & The Deathly Hallows were shocking too but The Prince's Tale takes the cake with a nice cherry on top. I could sleep for only 2 1/2 hours on Monday, knowing fully well that office beckons, early on Monday morning. Sitting in my cube and typing out this blog makes my bloodshot eyes burn. But, they are not as red as the Dark Lord's.This book was one helluva adventure ride and I have to admit that I am going to miss Harry Potter,Ron & Hermione, as much as others around the world are going to miss them, if not more. Long Live Harry Potter & his friends. Long Live JK Rowling.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Big Brother Race

All's Well That Ends Well.That is what Shilpa Shetty, who won the celebrity reality-show Big Brother, must have felt after winning the contest ahead of 13 other contestants including Jermaine Jackson, the "Big Brother" of Michael Jackson.Over the past week or so this reality-show has been subject to a lot of international scrutiny particularly from India and the Asian community in England,because of the alleged racist remarks by some of the contestants,most notably Jade Goody towards Shilpa.

The remarks by Jade seems to have ignited passions.This came on the heels of the Herschelle Gibbs's racist remarks on the Pakistani fans.Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar had also remarked that Barry Richards had made a similar comment on indian cricketers a while ago.Time and again we have seen Indians/Asians being made the subject of racial slurs.It feels really damning to be at the receiving end of these remarks and can put a person down mentally.

Racist behaviour is more visible in cricket.Who does'nt remember the Michael Slater incident in India where the player was clearly shouting at Rahul Dravid asking him to leave the field(umpire told not out) and he even indulged with heated argument with the umpire.But,the guy was let off with a warning.The same behaviour from an asian player would have brought about a ban for a few matches at the very least.We also remember the infamous Mike Denness incident with Sachin Tendulkar who was accused of Ball-Tampering.That was surely a joke from every angle,Mr.Mike.

So, the question arises,is there a way we can penalise a person if he/she indulges in racist remarks/behaviour?We do have officials(or referees) to make sure that the spirit of competition is not broken.But, what if the officials themselves are the problem or what if the complete organisation is itself racist?It was good to see the British come out and raise their voice against the racism.The issue was even brought up in the British parliament urging the politicians to act.It was no surprise to see the chief tormenter, Jade out in the very next eviction.And Shilpa's ratings started to soar.Jade has been offered a 'soul-cleansing' course in india.Somehow, I feel pity towards Jade.Maybe she just said the words in a fit of rage and actually did not mean them.Whatever the case, the damage has been done.Jade is now struggling to save her career after this episode.I for one really hope that she comes out of this mess,a cleaner and stronger person.As for Shilpa, this has turned out to be a double-edged sword.The racism row has led to manifold increase in popularity in the international market which could mean a ticket to Hollywood glory.We will wait and watch.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Magician called Roger Federer

Well,I had to blog about him one day or the other.ROGER FEDERER.After seeing his semi-final match against A-Rod today,I could feel that I was witnessing a piece of tennis history.Federer destroyed Roddick with some stunning & brilliant tennis mixed with his usual grace & style never witnessed by most of us in our lifetime.

If The pre-match hype was to be belived, we were in for an epic encounter with Roddick matching Federer-Express shot for shot.As it turned out, we did witness an epic encounter but the shots came only from the magical wand of Federer.And what shots they were.I had taken half a day off at office faking sickness and I was certainly not disappointed.I think all the tennis fans the world over should count themselves privileged to be in the Federer-era.I certainly feel that way.The way he played today,it was unbelievable.Even, Federer could'nt believe the way he played."I had one of these days when everything worked, I was unbeatable," Roger said. "It's just unreal. I am shocked myself, I don't know what to say. The tournament is not even over yet. Let me do it one more time".Its not as if Roddick had not been playing good tennis.He even managed to break the Federer serve to get the first set back on serve.Then, Federer took 11 straight games which included a 6-0 score in the second set which had Roddick screaming and what not.You could'nt help feeling pity for Roddick.There were some stupendous shots none better than a backhand pass.That point had Federer scurrying to retrieve the ball from the baseline and on the run and he just connected the ball almost miraculously and whipped a backhand pass.Today was a day when whatever King Federer did turned Gold.He could make no mistake.The Australian Open 2007 is surely going only one way, the Federer-Way.Long Live the King !!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Scooter and How it was Almost Towed!!

When this incident happened to me a week ago, I promised to myself that I will blog about this.So, here goes.

It was a cool evening and all of us at home wanted to order something from outside for dinner.As usual, we thought of the most obvious place,Adyar Anand Bhavan which is situated on CMH Road in Indira Nagar which was around 8 Kms from our home.Also,I had got a new scooter,Honda Activa Vroooooommmm recently, so I had no hesitation in agreeing to get the food parceled so that we could eat at home.So, I ventured out on my scooter and headed to CMH Road.I should say, the traffic situation in Bangalore is pretty worse than most other places in India(as if you do'nt know !!).So, I was pretty happy that I could reach the place safely without any (major!!) hassles.Once there,I parked my vehicle next to another vehicle with some difficulty and went inside and got the food.When I came out, I could'nt find my vehicle in the location I parked.I was momentarily shocked! Where did my vehicle go?I thought maybe I was looking at the wrong place and searched for my dear scooter(it was the first week,damn it !!) feverishly.But, I could not find it.Frantically,I asked one of the guys who was standing nearby,"Sir, Did you see a Black Honda Activa here ?".The guy replied,"Oh! that vehicle was just towed by the police.They are taking it in that Tiger.Run after it".I galloped after the police vehicle as if my life depended on it.For my good luck , the vehicle stopped at the signal.The truck was a Mazda kind with the top open so that vehicles can be placed into it.And there it was, among the 3 other vehicles, was my dear scooter.I thanked God.Once I told the guy that the Honda was my scooter, he asked me to hop in the vehicle.So, here I was, one hand clutching the dosas & idlis & vadas that I purchased,getting on top of the open top van.There were 4 guys in the van(one each for the 4 vehicles).They told me that my vehicle was parked in a "No Parking" Zone and so it was being towed.But, if I paid 300 bucks(bribe,of course) to him, I could take the vehicle and there would be no case.I was ready to pay anything to get my scooter back !! Then came the most embarrassing part.We had to go till the police station where the scooter would be given back to me and the route which we took led us through the crowded market place with its horn blaring.It was almost as if we were the Australian cricket team going on a victory parade through the streets of Sydney on an open-top motorcade but the only difference here was that I was the subject of ridicule and not adulation.I could hear two guys chuckling,"Hey,look here, this is the guy who's bike has been towed"!All through the ordeal, I was trying to avoid eye-contact with any of the hordes of people(who have no better job than standing and staring at urs truly who looked out-of-place with Adyar Anand Bhavan food packets amongst these guys,I would put it differently, I was like "a shining beacon in the darkness!!").Finally, the vehicle came to a stop at the end of the market road.As agreed, I paid the guy what he wanted and stormed out of the place.I had quite a story to tell when I reached home.Nowadays, I try not to ride through CMH Road and even if I pass through,I try not to park there.But still, I end up doing both and also end up purchasing food from Adyar Anand Bhavan every other week.The Food there keeps me going !!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Blessed are those who are not supporters of the Indian Cricket Team since they do not suffer bouts of despair and depression whenever the Indian team loses a match(which is almost, always!).Privileged are those who are the ardent supporters of the Australian Cricket Team because they are happy all the time since their team hardly loses any match.Amen".

New Year Celebration

Finally,I have thought about what I will blog today.My new year's eve night.Let me describe the evening/night for you.The talk about the new year celebrations started a week early and we decided that we would welcome 2007 in a good resort where we get good food & drinks & music and some eye-candy as well.One thing to be noted that we were all singles and so we can't just get into any of the clubs/resorts as single guys entry is not allowed at most of the places.We zeroed in on two places.One with entry fee of Rs.1700 and another with entry fee of 400 bucks.In such a scenario, we could not resist the temptation to go for the 400 bucks option.I must say that the publicity was also good since they were offering a massive dance floor,welcome drinks,great music,surprise gifts(whatever that meant!!),unlimited food,etc,etc.My thought was that even though it may not be as good as the 1700 option, it was worth trying it out.

So,the four of us got dressed up to the nines and started for this place.All of us(not including me,of course!!) had planned to get drunk so, we decided to hire a cab to this place as we did not fancy paying the Bangalore police any bribes.When we reached there, we were greeted by a huge throng of people standing outside the gates of this resort as if they were freshers out of college waiting outside the company gates hunting for jobs.Believe me, I have seen quite a few such crowds during "my" time.Apparently, the resort guys were verifying the tickets before allowing people in.Such a thing can't last forever and the crowd barged in through the gates in hordes.We were forced in through the crowd just like passengers getting pushed in a Mumbai local train in rush hour.That was just the starting point.

The so-called welcome drinks had exhausted.Not exactly a warm welcome,one should say!!There was some loud music playing and there was also a DJ(can u belive that !!) with the whole lot of singles dancing to the tunes of the DJ.We got a few drinks and settled down in our chairs.There was a lot of unhappiness within the crowd because the drinks were getting over, the food was not being refilled.The host of the show said this sentence,"Ladies & Gentlemen, the food will be refilled in a short-while.We want to entertain you.So, please help us entertain you".I wondered whether he asked the crowd to entertain him or was he asking us to co-operate.But, I guess the crowd thought the other way.So, they decided to entertain him and the organisers.The drink stalls were raided and drinks were flowing & pouring all over the place.One guy who was a party in raiding the drinks stall was boasting to his friends, "Maga(Buddy), I got a Bacardi & a Cobra.Let's celebrate".We were getting drenched with the drinks of others and then we started to hear the clatter of glass.The bottles were getting broken now.

We decided that enough was enough and headed to the exit.On the way, we could see people raiding the kitchen looking for left-overs of the Fried Rice or whatever it was.And comically, there were people still coming in through the gates.One guy asked me the reason people were heading out and what the issue was.I just adivced him not to venture inside for his own safety.While waiting for our cab-wala, we saw some really nice looking females with their body-guards(oops,boy friends) smiling and laughing and what not, going inside.We watched them come back out in few moments, the smiles from their faces wiped out.With rats running around in our stomachs, we stopped in the nearest restaurant and satisfied our taste buds before we went home.I was particular about reaching home before 12:00AM 'cos I did not want to start the new year on a "BAD" note.We reached home just in time for the countdown.HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007.We had our customary toast for the new year and waited for SLEEP to come by watching some movie(I think!).It did come.At around half-past one.Phew !!Now that was some New Year celebration,is'nt it ?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Team or Self

Hello everybody.Wish you all a very Happy & Prosperous New Year,2007.Its been a long time since I blogged,so I sincerely apologise for being so lazy.One of my new year resolutions is to blog regularly,so do watch out for this space from time to time.This time I am back with the favorite topic of argument among Indians.Yes,you guessed it right,CRICKET.

I was watching the Test Matches between Australia & England as well as the matches between India & South Africa.One thing which struck me immediately was the scoring rate.Australia for most part of their innings was scoring consistently around 3.5 - 4.0 runs per over.Whereas the average runs per over for the Indians was almost never more than 2.5-3 per over.Granted that the conditions prevaling in Australia & South Africa were different.But, the most glaring thing was that India was not trying to force the pace of the innings at all.Despite the fact that a test match is played over a period of 5 days, does it mean that you need'nt take the sharp singles or 2's or 3's to keep the scoreboard moving.We hear a lot that most of the Indian players are natural stroke players.Then why does the scoring rate almost never go above 3 per over and we take 150 balls to score 50 runs?And,then,when the need of the hour is to save the match by staying in the wicket for as long as possible,as was the case in the Durban Test,we try to play audacious strokes and get out.

The sight of Laxman taking a single of the first ball of the over to get to his 50 when the number 11 batsman is at the other end,made me think, is this really what cricket is meant for?Individual records?Is'nt it the right thing to do to take most of the strike when the guy at the other end is a number 11 batsman?And expectedly, VRV Singh who was the number 11 batsman bit the dust the very same over. Similarly, when Ganguly made a good 50 in the first test at Wanderers and was batting with the tail and again singles were being taken in the very first ball of the over.Is'nt it prudent for the better-known batsman to take upon himself to take maximum strike and try to score as many runs as possible before the tail-ender is taken out?If you analyse the ashes series, Australia could win the Adelaide match only because of the stupendous scoring rates that they maintained throughout the match which gave their bowlers enough time to take 20 wickets.Is the individual record which matters or the team record?Some time back,Australia's opening batsman Matthew Hayden had made a comment in a newspaper that Indian batsmen are "Selfish" which was rebuffed by the Indians.But,somehow I feel Hayden was not entirely wrong in his comments.