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.