Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tis a wonderful feeling

Tis definitely a wonderful feeling. There is a festive outlook in the air. Diwali is a couple of days away. And after a gap of four years, I'll be at home for Diwali. Well to add further joy to my festive frame of mind, I had home made food for the first time since arriving in Mumbai, a period of nearly five months. It feels great to have a meal prepared by yourself. Nothing much complex, just rice and chicken curry made at my cousin's place.
Today being Dhanteras, decided to gift myself an electric kettle (also helped in achieving the sales targets for Retail folks). Arriving home late in the evening, ran straight off to D'Mart for the neceessary purchases. Came back within half an hour armed with, a mug, spoons, coffee powder, tea bags and sweetener. Reached home and prepared coffeee for myself (for the first time). Cant imagine having tasted anything better :).
Will be off to my home town tomorrow.
Well, I can only say "Tis a wonderful feeling".

And to everyone who reads this blog, Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Diwali.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Legend called Sachin Tendulkar

If I start writing on the above topic, I could just go on and on. During the first day of the ongoing Mohali test against Australia, the Little Master became the highest scorer in the history of the game. Though this is a big achievement, it had a sense of inevitability about it. He had just achieved something which he had seemed destined to since he made his debut against Pakistan way back in 1989 as a 16 year old. Although he has been the backbone of the the Indian batting for the last two decades, I havent counted Sachin Tendulkar as my favorite Indian batsman at any time. Mohammed Azharuddin and Rahul Dravid have been my favourites. However, Sachin has been and will remain the greatest batsman of all time. I actually started following cricket seriously from that particular Pakistan series onwards (I remember the results of all Indian test matches and most of the ODIs from that point onwards). Many players have come and gone. Sachin has been the only constant. I will not even try to list down his achievements which are many. Here is a random compilation of memories I have of Him and His performances.
  • Carrying on batting after getting hit on the nose by Waqar Younis in his debut series.
  • Hitting Abdul Qadir all over the park in the festival match in Peshawar in the same series.
  • Bowling the last over in the Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa.
  • The performance throughout the 1996 World Cup.
  • The 169 against South Africa in the 1996-97.
  • His pinnacle year 1998
  • The consecutive centuries against Australia in Coca-Cola Cup (Sharjah, 1998) including a tournament winning one on his 25th birthday. I also rememeber the documentary "Tendulkar at 25" which was telecast after this tournament.
  • The century in the lost cause against Pakistan at Chennai in 1999.
  • Century against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup after losing his father.
  • An out of form Sachin scoring a double century against the Aussies at Sydney.
  • The upper cut 6 of Shoaib Akhtar in the 2003 World Cup.
  • The late cut played over the keeper's head off Lee & Johnson in the last Australian tour.
There are many more memories of Sachin Tendulkar as he went past various records. Once he retires there may be others to take his place in the line-up. But can anyone else rule our hearts as he has done for the past 19 years (and hopefully will be doing for some more time to come).

P.S. I also have a personal memory. Having dinner at the restaurant Tendulkar's, while wearing chappals while other diners were in suits.

Monday, October 13, 2008

If Only...

At the outset, I have a confession to make. I have the habit of going through the status messages on my friends' Gtalk accounts. The status messages are in a world of their own. I had written about this earlier too.
Now to move on to the current post. A friend's status read "If Only...". Now according to me, this combination of words is the most depressing one in the English language. All of us have had instances in our lives when we had wished that we had not taken some decision or done something in some other way. But we cannot just live in the past. The past is gone and cannot be changed. (Till some time machine is invented, anyway). So there is no point in these words. "If only" suggests that you are still living in the past. And that past is affecting the present and probably may have an impact on the future too. However, "if only" is not going to change anything and only adds to the sinking feeling. After all whats done is done and cannot be changed. Though t can be modified through actions later. And that is what probably one should work on.
So my key to a happy life. Never use "If only..." and live in the past. After all the present is the only time which matters.

Enough philosophy for now :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Durga Puja & Vijayadashmi

Today was Vijaydashmi, the last day of the Durga Puja. This year is the first time I realized that how much I enjoyed this particular festival. For the first time in my life, I have not seen a single Puja Pandal. And I really missed it. From the times I remember, Durga Puja has been the most important festival in my life. Having lived mostly in the eastern parts of the country, Durga Puja was the the time for a week to fortnight holiday from school, college. The things that I remember are the pandal hopping, all day and even night whether with parents, cousins or friends; the beating of dhaks, the huge pandals, the various images of the goddess, eating the bhog-prasad. Even the weather is quite pleasant at this time of the year. And this was true for all the places I have lived, Patna, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and even Duliajan. But sadly the same cannot be said for Mumbai. Mumbai may celebrate Ganesh Puja and Janmashtani with great fervor. But I still miss the Durga Pujas.

Anyways, I had a day off from work today which was spent in basically doing nothing. Watched a few downloaded episodes and followed the cricket matches. International cricket returned after some time. And there were interesting things on the field. Ponting finally scored a century in India, though after Day 1, the match is still in the balance. A depleted Bangladesh beat New Zealand for the first time in an ODI. Now will be following that series with more interest.

Being a festive holiday, quite a few SMSes went to and fro today. There were generally the usual ones wishing Happy Durga Puja/Vijaydashmi/Dussehra. But the one which stood apart from others read " Happy Vijayadashmi!! May you also win over your bosses as lord Rama won over Ravana :) "

P.S. Its now time to change the "Missing Pujas" status from my Gtalk and Orkut accounts.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pigeons & Flights of Thought

Sunday mornings are meant to be slept through. But today wasnt meant for such a pleasurable activity. Early morning I was waken up by strange noises in my room. The source of noise turned out to be a pigeon fluttering about my window. Had to get up and shut the glass window to stop it from coming inside. And then I saw another one moving along the floor. When I tried to shoo it away instead of going through the second open window it decided to fly into the hall. The hall has glass doors on the balcony side and glass windows at the other end. Now pigeons are supposed to be pretty intelligent animals, with a great sense of direction and all that. We also hear a lot about pigeons being used for delivering messages. But after what I saw today morning made me think that how could any one trust these stupid creatures. This particular pigeon went into hall. It flew across and banged into the balcony doors. Flew back and banged into the windows. And this process was repeated again before I could go and open the sliding doors. And then it proceeded to settle on the fan. It was pretty tough to make it fly away. Some bird!!!
Well, by this time I had lost all thought of further sleep and proceeded to stay in my 14th floor balcony watching the other members of the species flying around. Overhead at regular intervals aeroplanes went passing on their way to land at the Mumbai airport. And this is when my thought process started taking flight. Human beings have been always trying to copy from the nature around them. Seeing the birds they also wanted to be able to release their spirits and soar across the wide sky. This dream came to be true, albeit in a different way, with the invention of the aeroplane. Now, the though which came across my mind is would we have thought about flying if there had been no birds to teach us about flight. And if no such thought had come would there have been any aeroplanes. And without the aviation industry how different would have been the world today. And more to the point, would the progress made over the last hundred years since Wright Brothers' invention took off, have been possible.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Clash of Titans: A Preview

People may have their own arguments. But in my opinion, the India-Australia test series is the ultimate cricketing clash. People say a lot of things about the Ashes, but probably thats because the Britishers are nostalgic about everything. With the decline of the West Indies, the Wisden and Frank Worrel Trophies have lost their sheen. India-Pakistan clashes do not have the passionate following associated with them anymore. South Africa's isolation during the Apartheid period has ensured that though being tough competitors, a series against them does not attract as much attention. So finally it boils down to India vs Australia as the ultimate showdown in Test cricket.
This is the second 4 match series being played between the two countries this year following the acrimonious and highly controversial series earlier this year. In spite of the many controversies it was a keenly fought contest with India winning the 3rd test in Perth after losing in Melbourne and the controversial test in Sydney. The series ended with Virender Sehwag scoring a match-saving century in Adelaide. Eight months on, the Aussies are in India for the return series.
The Indian side remains more or less the same but there has been significant change of personnel in the Australian camp. The biggest loss has of course been that of Adam Gilchrist both behind and in front of the stumps. Gilly will definitely be missed, by the team as well as all the fans. The Australian spin attack has for practical purposes vanished with Brad Hogg and Stuart McGill retiring one after the other. The Australian search for an opening partner for Hayden is still unresolved. And Andrew Symonds, one of the men at the centre of Monkeygate controversy has been thrown out of the team for having gone fishing. So, all in all, it seems the Aussies definetely look quite vulnerable. And going by their performance against the Board President's XI, they are the underdogs in this series.
As far as the Indian team is concerned, it has a sense of familiarity around it. No injury worries, all the big names still around. This series is considered to be another chance for the Fab Five of Indian cricket to have another go at the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. They also have a chance to redeem themselves after the poor showing in Sri Lanka. It will also give them a chance to shut up the critics who have been clamoring for their retirement. Personally, I feel that the Fab 5, Sachin, Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly and Laxman should retire only when they want to and not just because people have started hollering for their retirements. In my opinion a player should quit only when somebody else is able to push them out of their slot, like Gambhir replaced Jaffer on account of his splendid showing over the past year. Players like Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Kaif, Badrinath, Raina etc maybe good enough but they have still a lot of way to go before they replace the middle order stalwarts. Similary Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra are definetely not in the class of Kumble. So lets stop all this talk of retirement and just enjoy the game while they are there.
Hoping to be able to enjoy another rivetting series between these two nations.