Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Damn it, Sachin !!

I distinctly remember it, the 1994 Singer series. My grand-dad sat in front of the television, with a calculator to watch Cricket - the practice that has dwindled only in the recent years. Conscious of the calculator keys that he would be meticulously tapping after every ball, I sat beside him trying to help him solve his mathematical trivia. This was my pristine encounter with the game of Cricket and its true harbinger.

From the wisecracks and hearsays that kept floating in my home and school, I committed to my memory the sequence, “Sachin out --> India loses” to “Sachin out --> TV off”. Those days, my room used to have an animal chart and my favourite animal was the Leopard, “The Indian Tendua”. Whenever Tendulkar used to bat, I, a 7 year old, and my little brother would run to our room to knock the leopard in the chart and shout “Tendua, chaukka maar” (Hit a four). The joy when he actually did this was immense. We actually used to pat our backs and believe that by doing this, we are somehow contributing to India’s win.

And so came the 1996 world cup. I took pride in the fact that I had become more mature and understood cricket better. But it still made no sense to me as to how India won the quarter final against Pakistan when Sachin got out early – that simply wasn’t how I had understood cricket. I still laugh when I reprise my thinking process as a kid, but deep down I still believe a part of it. For me cricket had always been “Sachin Tendulkar” and I admire people who are not like me, who are not a part of the cursed bandwagon. The bandwagon whose members believe that watching the master's straight drive would cheer up any dismal face, who believe that a red "MRF" sticker on their bat will help them hit sixes and who believe that 5 feet 5 inches is an ideal height to become a batsman.

Before I write further, let me make it crystal clear that this post is not meant to praise Sachin or eulogize his ‘Hercules like records’. This post is not meant to pull in the atheists into the bandwagon. This is just a selfish post where I, by assembling some random thoughts, am trying to unmask and unravel my apathetic attitude to ODIs all of a sudden. Probably I am not a true Cricket fan. The demise of one man shouldn’t have vaporized the interest in me and I will try to resurrect myself.

How stupid was I as a kid. I had loathed everyone who was black and named ‘Ramesh/Romesh’ when Kaluwitharana stumped HIM in the 1996 semi-finals. I settled my qualms with Dharamsena only recently when he helped us get rid of Mr Cook twice by raising his crooked finger, which I had dreamt of breaking once. Late Mr Ramesh Tendulkar had to take my blame for India losing out to Zimbabwe and eventually bowing out from the 1999 W’Cup.

The cinema hall in my hometown where I had watched the 2003 WC Finals live is now ‘a cinema hall where I haven’t stepped into since that day’. I don’t know if the hall still stands erected, but whenever I go next, I will make sure to step in and relax on the seats - the seats which saw people sitting immovably on them even when Australia had posted 359. Because they believed in one man. He was a God like figure uniting people in their joy and sorrow and that day was a sorrowful one. By the end of the 1st over of Indian innings, the theater was empty and I could hear a few sobbing, muttering and cursing. A little kid was shouting in one distant corner ‘Why God, Why!!’

And then the 2011 world cup happened, and the tears flowed incessantly. None of us knew what struck us - fans broken, faces painted, throats choked, walls smeared, guys kissing guys and then he showed up on the shoulders of Yuvraj Singh. I thank my heart out to Dhoni and Gambhir for bringing us that moment, for bringing him that moment.

Before I finished my high school, I already knew this man was no God. Why would a God need a duty free Ferrari! How could God suffer from a Tennis Elbow! Why would a God need others to realize his world cup dream! And I was then left with no other option but to respect my idol tenfold more. If he were God, this would have been his job. But for a human doing something he loves and in the course bonding an entire nation of a billion people is beyond my simple mind. I respect you, sire!

I envy you all, the lucky ones who could still watch cricket with same or enthused vigor. I pity my brother and a couple of my friends who are still trying to come out of the trauma. I know some, who have cancelled their upcoming match tickets and some who have manhandled their laptops.

The fault is simply ours to consider the man immortal, to believe he would play forever, to believe that he would keep his hairs curled for ever. To believe that the number 10 jersey will bleed blue for ever. Damn us !!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The pooh-poohed "Seconder"

Coming second is the only sugarcoated self-inflicting crime in this world. You earn accolades but you loathe your very own existence. A bronze medalist is more content than the silver ribbon holder. He doesn't expect the world to remember him and is just ecstatic to reach the podium. What about the one standing on the block labeled "2", our dear seconder? The answer lies probably  in another question - "Who will be more crestfallen, the one bowing out in a semi-final or the one who lost out in the finals?" Just when the trophy was so near....

Everyday life exhibits many instances of the dismissed seconders. If you are planning to board an air-conditioned bus in India, that bus has to be a "Volvo", regardless of the manufacturer. Yes, it feels strange sitting in a Mercedes built bus holding a Volvo ticket. And Likewise it is eerie to land into a photocopy shop with big bold "Xerox" printed all over but running a "Canon" machine. Yes, you have got it absolutely right. No matter what imprints Canon machine or the Mercedes bus leave upon the Indian market, seconders will always be laggards because they were not the first to arrive.

There is a saying - "Either come first or always remain a shadow of the former". Only if Edwin Aldrin had known this, I am sure that he would have run out of the capsule ahead of Neil Armstrong to become the first ever moon-walker. Sometime I wonder if it is invention of the superlative terms - fastest, richest, earliest etc  that has made this discussion all the more complex. Until we get over this consummate mindset of ours, one will always prefer to fail rather than to come second.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Taste the Indian Flavor, Olympics

The exhilarating highs and lows of the biggest sporting actions will continue unabated today. Where as US and China are fighting out for the coveted top spot with 18 golds each, India will be looking to climb up the medal tally bagging up a few more. Action Today :


Athletics events will finally blow the bugle today. If Krishna Poonia manages to better her personal best, one can expect her to pull a bunny out of the Olympics hat. Om Prakash Singh and Mayookha Johny should be looking forward to leave a mark.


After receiving a bye in the previous round, Vikas Krishan takes on Errol Spence (USA) in the Round of 16, late night today. After Vijender Singh, he can become another Indian boxer to make it to the QF, if he manages to pull this through.




After a dismal defeat against the kiwis, Indians are left in a do-or-die situation. They will take up the formidable Germans in the evening today. Only if Nobbs waves his magical wand...


Shooting has been India's forte so far. After getting India a bronze, Gagan Narang will be hoping to better the feat in 50m Rifle Prone. Accompanying him will be Joydeep Karmakar.

Vijay Kumar must believe that he can continue his good run in the 2nd stage of 25m Rapid Fire Pistol.


After a series of ego clashes, controversies, first round exits, I must say that watching Leander Paes and Sania Mirza beat the Serbian pair yesterday was a treat to the eye. They jelled up well and complimented each other perfectly. However their task will be cut out when they meet the 1st seed, Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi in the QF today evening. Official start for the match is not announced yet,  but it should be somewhere around 1800 hrs IST.


And finally, the biggest of all, Saina Nehwal taking on the World No 1, Yihan Wang in the Women's Badminton Semifinals today. Saina has already created history by becoming the first Indian to enter the Olympics SF in Badminton. And as they rightly say, it is CHINA vs SAINA.

The complete guide for the Indians in action goes as (click on the yellow links to follow action):

Individual Events

1330 hrs   Saina Nehwal                                          Women's Single Badminton SF
1330 hrs   Gagan Narang and Joydeep Karmakar       Men's 50m Rifle Prone
1430 hrs   Om Prakash Singh                                   Men's Shot put Qualification
1455 hrs   Mayookha Johny                                      Women's Triple Jump Qualification
1500 hrs   Vijay Kumar                                             Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol
1800 hrs   Paes/Mirza                                              Tennis Mixed Doubles, QF
 0200 hrs  Vikas Krishnan                                         Men's Boxing (69kg), Round of 16

Team Events

1815 hrs   India vs Germany (Hockey)

Friday, 27 July 2012

Winds of Change

The country might have become blind to corruption, nepotism and terrorism but I would like to believe that I am not the only eye to witness the change. The transformation is gradual but inevitable. Some fanatics ( including me ) might not approve the shift, but even they can't rule out the titillation that London Olympics has kindled and the dud that the current Cricket affairs have managed.

Can this be the beginning of the end of the "Epoch in Indian Cricket"? I believe "No". At least not until a few generations have passed. The Sept T-20 World Cup could very well render this blog absolutely baseless and flimsy. But the plummeting interest, empty grounds and the shallow media coverage definitely blow the bugle.

But what is more scintillating to observe is the hype that the Olympics has built-up in the country this time around. The five circles are almost omnipresent. There are many catalysts that might have triggered this transition : Medal prospects, Cricket overdose, Arcelor Mittal's Orbit or even the end of Kalmadi.

But I annex this more with goose bumps that every Indian got when Abhinav Bindra walked up the podium and the melody of the Indian National Anthem that brings along with it nothing else but pride and honor. 

This can be an awakening or just another display of our fickle character. This can get good or worse. But I can hear the Bells ringing, Winds of change blowing, slow yet steady !!!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

You don't deserve if you don't reserve

Of late, there has been a lot of rant and chant about Reservation for minorities. Divine children of God have predicted the world to end in 2012. But if it doesn't, those days are at hand when the following sarcastic quote by Mr Azim Premji might actually turn out for real :
"The four hit by an SC/ST/OBC player would be considered as a six. ICC would make rules so that the pace bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar should not bowl fast balls to our SC/ST/OBC players....."
'Dalit' was a term coined up to a refer group of people regarded as Untouchables. But do such myths still hold ? Many of you must be lamenting having born to a 'General' class family. Some might even post questions such as "Why don't they ask for reservations in Indian Army. Equality needs to exist at all levels then and not only for luring hot-seats".

Is Indian constitution jeopardizing its own values of equality and secularism? To find answers to such questions, the 'Potboilers' team conducted a survey. Please find the excerpts below:

Interview with Mr R (OBC), after he was admitted to IIT :

Potboilers: "Sir, You belong to an educated family. Your father earns above the PPL (Poor Parsi Line).."
Mr R: "Yeah yeah, but that doesn't mean that I should be deprived of my birth-right. Reservation runs in my blood"

P: "But Sir, what about the other more deserving students who might lose out because of reservation laws"
R: "If they are so deserving, they will find a berth in some university or the other. We have suffered so much. I deserve a place in IIT"

P: "Sir, we heard that you were planning to go abroad for higher studies?"
R: "Yes, I traveled the entire US and almost half of Europe seeking admission. But those ruthless western colleges have no respect for backward classes. So I returned to India".

When Potboilers implored the Society's You know whos: 

 Mayawati : "Why the entire circus ? There should be a law mandating one statue per dalit on every Indian street"
Potboilers: "Err...Ohhhk".

Swami Nithyananda: "Please, spare me. Had she been a dalit, I wouldn't have done anything such as this"
Potboilers: "What this sir ?" 

Angela Merkel: "If Greece adopts the Indian Reservation system, I vow to soften austerity terms for all the Greek Dalits"
Potboilers: "God save the Eurozone now !!"

Sunny Leone: The reserved ones takes the opportunity away from deserving ones like me willing to flaunt.
Potboilers: "Aaah... a new aspect to reservations "

Albus Dumbledore: "Following the footsteps of Indian Govt, Ministry of Magic has proposed a law to reserve 40% Gryffindor seats for under privileged witches and wizards"
Potboilers: "10 points to Gryffindor"

Tushaar Kapoor: "I myself have some experience. I am a Kapoor by reservation. You don't believe that I would be getting films otherwise. Do you? "
Potboilers: "What was your last film by the way !!!."

and last but not the least

Navjot Singh Siddhu: "Oye Guru!!! Tu kamaal hai yaar, chha gaya tu. In the next Loksabha session, I will put forward a proposal to reserve a person from minority community to host Extra Innings. A nation without a reservation is like a ...."
Potboilers: <faints>

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Hot Waitress Economic Index

What get onto your nerves when you see a super hot sizzling waitress bringing you food !! It won't be a fortuitous stroke of a genius if I say that most of the guys reading this must have conjured an image, already dumped in a swarming corner of their brain.

But when talking meat and potatoes, it takes time to gulp down the fact that hotness factor of the same waitress could decide the fate of economy in your country, Goofy!!, right ?

A bizarre theory, " Hot Waitress Economic Index", states:

                           Confused !!! Ok, time to shed a basic doubt that used to bother me often - making Madonna and Jolie dead-ringers wear the waitress's shoes will not make a country an economic super-power. 

The financial eggheads who we despise had devised this fun seemingly theory called "Hot Waitress Economic Index" which posits that :
When times are flush, hot people have no problem getting work. They have ample opportunities to make money through marketing gigs, modeling and other eye-candy jobs. When economy tanks, the opportunities dry up, and they are pushed to service sectors—to wait tables and to attract diners who like being served by hot waitresses, paying tips at their seductive smiles.

Most of we lady-wooers may like to interpret this as - worse the economy, hotter the waitress at your service will be.

I believe there are few fallacies and assumptions associated with this theory :
  •  The term "Hotness" is very subjective. Hot for one might be a cold dud for others. I have even overheard some Big Bang Theory followers say how seductive Amy Farrah Fowler is.
  •  Countries such as Maldives, Thailand whose economy is tourism independent would place priority to hire hotter attendants to lure tourists. Now I am not sure if they switch  to ugly staffers when the economy is on a boom.
  • The theory might not be applicable to Islamic oriented conservative countries where you can't see beyond the black 'burkas'.

Now that we know what the index signifies,still some of us when out for a dinner and greeted with a not-so-attractive smile, would smirk and shower praises on policy makers for bettering the economy. I commiserate with them and with their imbecility.

Next time when all you bloated nuts see a sensuous hot female serving you Lobsters Roll Rumble and Mexican-Style shrimp cocktail, don't panic, don't sell-off your mansions and don't head to the Holy Ganges for a spiritual dip.

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Judgement Day

The Judgement Day
Last night, when my favourite television channel played "Terminator 2 : Judgement Day", my mind unthinkingly conjured a calendar with June 17th - The Judgement Day scowling at me icily as if to stamp the significance of the day. This June 17th, when hot summer dragon will lay its claws over most of Asia, it is Europe that will be set to fire. After the May 6 vote left the Greek assembly on an even keel between groups who support the austerity measures and those who do not, Greece is now driven into re-elections  on 17th June.

 Alchemists, Shamans and Occultists believe that Dec 21st, 2012 is "The Judgement Day" which will decide the course of the survival of Mother Earth. Some have even towered above the magnitudes to predict that Earthquakes caused by Tsunamis will wipe out the planet in its entirety. Economists and Alchemists have always been like nights and days, poles apart - Satanic for one, Recession for another.187 days prior to the heralded apocalypse lie a day that can decide the course of the turbulent financial tide in Europe.  

The dilemma facing Greeks is downright: To support pro-bailout parties ( New Democracy, PASOK ) and quaff austere measures, or To back anti-bailout parties ( SYRIZA ) and put the ECB cushion they have in jeopardy. The far left leader Alexis Tsipras ( SYRIZA ), who wants out of the Euro, has gained in popularity since the May election which has sent world financial markets in a spin. But the exit poll discloses that pro-bailout conservative party lead over the anti-austerity radical leftists, and over 80 per cent of respondents state Greece needs to stay in Eurozone 'at all costs'.

The reverberations of the elections can be :
  •  1) Pro-bailout party comes into power and Greece stumbles along in Eurozone  - Clouds of market  uncertainty might linger on but EU integration should keep building up. 
  •  2) Anti-bailout party become the kings and Greece resorts to Drachma - Possible boycott for Greece and focus might shift to other bed-ridden countries like Spain, Portugal. Financial bedlam might worsen.
  • 3) None of the parties succeed to power leaving the country in a political turmoil - Party with the largest number of seats will be asked to form the government, and if none of them succeed re-poll is on the cards.

So, one might be coerced to think about the amicable outcomes for Greece from this election. There are times when one is locked in an asphyxiating room and the only way out is to shatter the glasses and jump from the 10th floor. In a nutshell, a lose-lose situation. But cracking the window open and making yourself resilient enough to survive till the smoke clears sounds the most rational. Greece's best shot would be to keep itself off the radar, win the confidence of European leaders, appease Angela Merkel and ECB to amend the bailout terms and stay in Eurozone.

Amongst all the chaos, the big lump in the everyone's throat is how will India survive if Greece exits and Eurozone bumbles down further. Depreciating rupee and weak GDP don't help the cause either. But the sweet truth is that Indian along with other Asian countries is better placed to withstand the EU blow. Indian trade relations with Greece is lilliputian and few Indian companies are exposed. All depends on the policymakers with whom we have surrendered our plummeting confidence.

Europe is some-one who is ill and is conscious of it. India on the other hand had a running temperature as well, but it never comes to light until Mr. Statistics goes down on its knees and pleads the government to come out if its chimera. India can come out of this box only if government keep aside its whim for power and make policy reforms to strengthen the economy.

Nonetheless, all financial know-it-all will have their eyes fixed on 17th June and will keep their fingers crossed for the doom before the DOOM.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The mighty clouds (Part II)

So, I planted the jackpot under my shirt and darted into my room, bolting it from inside. Dawn was good 7-8 hours away and I was determined to burn the midnight oil. My jittery heart was thumping and I could almost hear the turbulent young soldiers marching and pounding their way through it. Scary images of sitting proctor squads breaking into my room began pouring in my nervy brain.

Struggling to overcome my fears, I placed the questionnaire on my study table. There was something bizarre about the paper. It donned a resemblance to fabric and was at odds with any other paper that I had ever seen. And then it happened.

The moment I fixed my eyes onto the enchanted piece of paper, the words vanished as if by a supernatural eraser. Then in a jiffy, there was a blaze and the entire draft was incinerated. "No! No!" I screamed, but all in vain. Then there was silence and all one could hear was the birds bawling the same sorrowful songs of lost love.

I know that all you highbrows must be wondering -  'Birds at night' ?? Yeah yeah, you all are correct as always. It wasn't night and it weren't the birds singing either. I was in my bed, coming back to life out of my deep slumber and the alarm was howling. It was two days prior to my "graphics" paper and my mind was clouded by a plethora of questions -'Had I been dreaming' ?? 'Did that supernatural parchment had actually provided me with two days of time to prepare'??

The edacity to escape the guilt of stealing made me believe the former one. So the paper was still two days away and I had ample time to avoid flunking out. But was I really gladdened?? Had I really buried my hatchets with Mr Einstein ?? And then I looked up at the clouds from my window. Strange!! A figure conjured out my brain but it wasn't an elephant. It was a pen. Probably this must be the reason for all my potboilers.

The mighty clouds (Part I ..)

It was one of those murky mornings which must have indubitably crossed paths with most of the eggheads reading this post. Sleep had eluded me like an estranged lover the entire night. I haplessly marveled at the prerogative of examinations that can turn even a narcoleptic like me into such an insomniac.

Yes, all you rocket scientist have hit it on the nail. It was nothing less than horror when I found myself vis a vis the day, I was supposed to give my "graphics" paper tomorrow. I didn't have an innate talent for calculating angles, manipulating 'potentials of energy' or determining  'kinetics of work'. At that very moment, I had detested Mr Einstein, whose permed hairs and comical stories were the the sole reason that I had chosen to be a mechanical engineer.

I went out in the garden to perk up my dejected soul. Birds were whining the lugubrious songs of lost love. Finding it difficult to chew over the greek sculptures in the sheet, I looked up at the clouds in oblivion. In the limbo of lost dreams, I managed to conceive an elephant like figure in the clouds. Sometimes I wonder if the mystery behind people always conjuring an elephant out of clouds, or juvenile kids always beginning their venture in the painting world with a neat picture of setting sun, will ever be unraveled.

Allow me to skip the chronological turn of events and jump directly to late evening when it all actually started. My momma was yelling at me for supper and I shot back with " you guys have it and sleep. Don't bother asking me". This act of rebellion, at any other time, would have been considered nothing short of blasphemy. But even my mother pitied me for my condition.

Against the run of play, came the word about the papers being leaked. The news was like a new lifeline to my dying spirit. I have a strong network of friends who never fail me in such scheme of things. I confirmed the news, found out a trustworthy source from whom I could grab a copy and proceeded to execute my master-plan.

Let me tell you that it takes nothing less than a lot of courage and death of self conscience to break into your parent's room and to plunder cash from your mother's purse. But I could envision my doom and after having suffered the repeated ignominy of kicking in the dirt, this seemed the only resort. It was difficult to come to terms with my course of actions and I had sworn to tell my parents everything once I get my results. In next hour or so, I had that magic paper in my hand....

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Deja Vu

It was a hot Sunday morning. I was nauseous when I woke up. There was something unearthly  about the dream I had, but no matter how much I tried, I couldn't recollect it.

I went out to grab the newspaper. There was something quirky about every piece of news that flushed down my brain. Every word and image that my troubled mind tried to process, seemed to be already present there in a dark corner waiting to be explored and recalled.

I knew the wimbledon scores, the sensex , the politics and everything else . It seemed as if I had known all these before dwelling into the white and black pieces of paper.

Defeated, I decided to indulge myself  into a shower. As the transparent drops were falling and dancing on my torso, I slipped and fell. Whoaah !!!. I knew this would happen. In fact this had happened earlier. But  when!!!. I had stumbled literally the same way recently. Was it in my dreams. Have I been through everything, I am doing now in my dreams ???

On spur of a moment, my life to me was  a gemination of all that I had done somewhere, sometime  in past. Trying hard to tranquilize myself, I sat down to revive my dream. The images started flashing - My company, my friends, my lover. I was running in a street, shouting, a lighted torch in my hand. My eyes self moved to a leaf of newspaper describing about a torch parade held yesterday. My eyes were fixed to my image in the newspaper as the same, I had seen myself in my dream.

Sweat trickling down my cheeks,  my legs refusing to move
Debilitated and destitute, It seemed I was frozen by the same magic glue
Tormented by the force of thoughts, stranded without any clue
I was hit with DEJAVU