Monday, March 26, 2007

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

So the inevitable has happened. Our team of ‘super heroes’ has just been knocked out of the World Cup. They have been beaten by teams like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (yes, i don't rate them as highly as some of the other top teams). The whole nation is in mourning. How could a team of champions lose in this manner? One didn't hear a tiger's roar or a leopard's snarl. The only sounds we heard were that of a kitten purring in fright. We all love to live in a dreamland, don't we?

Honestly, it has come of no surprise to me. This team was never a bunch of all conquering gladiators that they were made out to be. They are a bunch of ordinary players with rich natural talent but poor mental strength. They have always succumbed in the face of adversary. No point in comparing them to the Aussies, who save their best for the biggest occasions. Pressure is like a blacksmith's coal fire. The best come out shining and stronger, the rest turn into ashes.

Predictably, the media has gone into an overdrive in blaming the players and coaching staff. Every former player/expert worth his salt has been called upon for airing his views on this debacle. The very same people, till a few weeks back, were hailing the Indian team and were favorably rating its chances to win the cup. Their changing colors would put a chameleon to shame. They conveniently forget that they were involved in similar debacles in their playing days. As I am prone to say often, the media is the biggest culprit behind all the hype. They pick a promising guy, place him on the altar all too quickly and then sacrifice him the moment he falters. Ordinary men's ordinary feats are extra ordinarily portrayed by the media. And the same media ravages these players when they fail to perform to the lofty expectations bestowed on them.

And then, we have the all too familiar sight of demented men on the streets vandalizing public/private properties, burning effigies and shouting slogans. Such acts are a way of venting out the frustrations of personal failures in life, rather than the team's performances. How often would you see a fairly successful and content man coming out on the streets to protest on things as trivial as a fun sport? Moreover, we don't get to see these people protesting after a bomb blast or for rise in prices of basic commodities. Ironic as it may seem, such men talk of national pride being hurt by the team's performances and then showcase their savage and boorish acts in front of national and international television. A whole nation's honor resting on the shoulders of 11 contracted individuals? Naah. India is much, much more than a cricket team.

The common fool on the street is a mere pawn. The real brains are behind the scenes; the ones in the television studios, raking in all the moolah.
We will now hear the need to dump the older players in favour of younger ones. These younger players will then be pushed up the pedestal by all and sundry, and brought down to earth when its their turn to be sacrificed. It's a cyclic process. The faster we get used to it, the better.

Another common grouse we hear is of the players shooting for ads and promoting products instead of honing their skills. If we don't like them doing it, then let's stop watching these ads. The ad-agencies will automatically stop using the players for their campaigns. As simple as that.Is it the player's fault when people and companies demand such adverts? The players can't be blamed for capitalizing on this hype. Who, in his right mind, would turn down an opportunity to earn good money? Not me, not you. Then why them?

Cricket like any other game, is a team sport. If the individuals click as a team, then they win. Else the other team wins. It's not a matter of life or death or even national pride. The media won't change its ways, so its up to the common man to see reason. Our team was never good enough to win this World Cup. And in any case, its just another tournament. Its better to be a good test team winning all around the world, than being a one-cup wonder. Probably the worst thing to happen to Indian cricket was winning the 1983 World cup. Not because it has set a bad precedent for the public to expect the team to win every world cup despite form or talent. But more so, because we all are tired of seeing and hearing from that group of players, on how well they played, how great they were, blah blah. An event that occurred more than 20 years ago is still being celebrated at every given opportunity. That probably highlights our failures as a sporting nation. Who wants to see Kapil, Madan Lal, Amarnath, Shrikanth etc go on and on about that win? Give us a break guys!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Move over, all the Yokozunas..

..Dwayne Leverock is here! Who would have imagined a player of such proportions would ever grace the World Cup? He makes Ranatunga, Romesh Powar, David Boon and company look like anorexics.

But don't let his huge frame fool you. He is a handy left arm spinner and evidently an agile fielder, as his stunning catch against India proved. And oh yes, he is a mama's boy.

Cricket,at the moment, needs such characters. This edition of World Cup would probably be remembered in the future for the unfortunate events surrounding Bob Woolmer's untimely demise, protests/violence of the fanatic Indian and Pakistani supporters, Flintoff's drunken misdemeanors etc. Characters like Dwayne are needed to draw the attentions of people to where it should rightly belong. On the field. After all, it's just another game.

The attention Dwayne is getting is another argument in favour of the inclusion of minnows in the World Cup. I love watching countries like Kenya, Bangladesh, Ireland beat the likes of Pakistan, India, Australia, NZ etc. There is a certain romance in seeing the underdogs beat the favourites. We all love David more than Goliath, don't we? The only difference here is that in Dwayne's case, we have a David who looks like Goliath. Triangle will no longer be the shape that i would associate with Bermuda again. No sir, never ever :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When slapped on one cheek..

..bash the living daylights out of the aggressor, instead of offering the other side. Mahatma Gandhi may not approve of this approach, but i have always admired people who refuse to buckle under criticism or hostility. That is why i liked the way Ricky Ponting , captain of the Australian cricket team, responded to Sunil Gavaskar's remarks on his team's behaviour.

I personally think that the Australians do push the line when it comes to sledging and that, at times, they are an arrogant bunch of individuals. However, they back it up with performances on the field where they have been the undoubted champions for the best part of the decade. One of the reasons behind their success is the self belief and confidence that they have in themselves. Its a fine line that separates confidence from over-confidence; assuredness from arrogance.

Gavaskar himself is no pushover and he did retort to Ponting's remarks , albeit on the back foot and with lesser venom compared to his earlier comments. Ponting has made his point.Critics will think twice before commenting on his team. Could the same be said of the Indian players like Dravid, Sachin, Kumble et all? Ganguly was the honorable exception. And maybe Sreesanth ( remember the mock dance directed at Andre Nel?). Probably the epitome of Indian team's meekness was Srinath. He actually apologised to Ricky Ponting when he hit his head with a bouncing delivery. And Ponting's response? He snarled like a dog and asked Srinath to get back to his bowling crease. This incident would probably sum up the difference in the attitudes of these players. One of my fondest memory of Sachin Tendulkar was when he dished out a barrage of verbal volleys to 'Mr. Loudmouth' Glenn Mcgrath. The baffled look on McGrath's face was priceless.

Even the Indian media needs to learn from the Aussies. Sunil Gavaskar was probably the only one to condemn Barry Richards, when he ridiculed Indians in his column. Gavaskar rightly asked the Indian media to censure Barry and stop endorsing his 'paid-for' views on television or print. And what did our media do? They invited him to India to lecture us on his views on our team, players and suchlike ( NDTV being the prime culprit). No words of condemnation, no boycotting the man who stereotyped an entire nation. All we get to see is Mr. Richards walking all the way to the bank, smirking at our timidity. The irony of the matter is, this behaviour is exactly what Barry Richards deemed as 'Indian fragilities'. And we probably vindicated him. Sigh!

Note: To all S&M fans out there,
With reference to the title of this post, I was talking about the cheeks on our face, and not any other part of the human anatomy. Get those dirty thoughts off your mind, you pervs! :)

Beginning of the end?

It hasn't even been a week since i have become involved in my new project work ( actually we are just in the initiation phase), and my blogging is slowly but surely reducing.

The worst part is that i am still not completely involved in this project yet, so heaven knows how much i will be posting in a month's time from now!

But i will keep blogging, despite the lack of time and the brickbats i receive from my friends/occasional readers. I may lack the knowledge, the vocab or even the basic skills of writing. However, there are a couple of things i do not lack. Inspiration. And a desire to voice my opinions.

So to answer my own question. Is this the beginning of the end? The answer is a resounding NO.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

For those from Venus,

Like the old joke goes, chauvinists would say " Woman without her man, is nothing".
The rest of us say "Woman: Without her, man is nothing"
Keep rocking ladies!

Yours truly,
A Martian.

Happy women's day! To all the wonderful women in my life or otherwise ( no exceptions).

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sweet child of mine.

Do not let the title mislead you.As much as i would love to rant about the song by Guns N' Roses, it being one of my favourites, this post is not about that song.

It's based on some of statements being made by the parents of the students accused of indulging in drugs at the rave party held in Pune.

Agreed, it's hard for the parents to see their offspring languishing behind the bars.After all, our own children can never be bad, it's their 'company' which is bad.Conveniently ignoring the fact that their offspring is a part of the 'bad company'. And the other child's parents would be doling out the same excuse.

Some of the statements being made by such parents is laughable. Usage of narcotics is a punishable offense and since their 'darlings' broke the law, they will be punished for it. As simple as that. To say "they were just doing drugs, other big society people do it too" ; "they are not criminals, one day in prison is enough to punish them" etc, is to miss the moot point. If you break the law and get caught, you are bound to face the music. If you can't stomach it, you shouldn't get involved in the first place. I am sure all the participants of such parties are well aware of the consequences if they get caught.

Yes, the richies would hire the best lawyers and get out within days. And the poor might have to stay there for longer time. But the law has to run its course. It might be crippled with corruption, inconsistencies and endless delays. However, at the end of the day, if it wasn't for the much lamented law and order system in our country, these very parents would be mourning near the deathbeds of their spoilt li'l ones.

On an final note, i remember reading this excuse in one of the newspapers; "My son can't be a drug addict, after all he is good in his studies". Talk about stereotypes!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Strictly for football lovers.

Arsenal vs Liverpool, Quarter finals of the League cup. At Anfield, Liverpool's home ground.
Manager/coach of Arsenal have directives from the board: win the Cup or lose your job. Liverpool is a team on a roll, winning their last 5 games on the trot.

First half:

Arsenal begins the game as usual, with a series of passes. One wrong move, and the ball lands at the feet of Steven Gerrard. He lobs it to Alonso, who in turn passes it to Luis Garcia playing upfront. One sideways move, the defender Gallas goes in the wrong direction and Bam! Nothing much keeper Valdes can do about that.Time: 11 minutes. Liverpool 1- 0 Arsenal.

Arsenal tries to press ahead,but Liverpool is on a roll here. John Arne Riise gets the ball on right flank and provides a long pass to Robinho on the front. An unstoppable volley follows. Time :35 minutes. Liverpool 2- 0 Arsenal.

Second half:

The coach knows its now or never. He knows that one goal would be enough to fire up his troops.A substitution is made. Hleb is replaced by Rosicky.
Henry get a short pass from Fabregas, takes one look at the goal and wham! Gooaaal!!!
Time: 50 minutes. Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal.

Team Arsenal is lifted by this effort and the game turns on its head. Liverpool is on the defense and Arsenal creates a series of chances, but are unable to convert any.
Time: 80 minutes. The manager makes an inspired substitution. The unlucky Theo Walcott is replaced by Adebayor up front. He immediately makes an impact and creates an opening. But Fabregas messes up the chances to equalize.

Time: 90 minutes. Ball at Adebayor's feet and he is inside the D region on the left side of the goal. With a defender on his heels, he sees that there is no way he can pass to Henry. Despite the tight angle, he decides to go for it. A full blown effort, and keeper Reina spills it inside the goal.
The stadium is stunned into silence.
Time: 90 minutes. Liverpool 2 - 2 Arsenal.

Extra time:

Liverpool begins positively and get a free kick. Agger takes the kick and scores a beauty. The stadium erupts. Time : 95 minutes. Liverpool 3 - 2 Arsenal.

However Henry is a man inspired. A cross from Baptista from the left flank and a scissor kick follows. Henry has done it again. Arsenal equalize. Time: 105 minutes. Liverpool 3 - 3 Arsenal.

Arsenal is destined to win this one, and the manager knows it. Second half of the extra time, Henry gets a through pass from Rosicky. He squares up the defender and scores an easy goal. The only claps of appreciation comes from a small section of Arsenal supporters.The rest are jeering. Time: 115 minutes. Liverpool 3 - 4 Arsenal.

Final score: Arsenal 4 - 3 Liverpool.

Arsenal goes through to the semis and go on to win the cup. The manager is lauded by the board.

The manager: Me.
The platform: FIFA 2007 by EA sports.

I was playing the game last evening.One of the greatest games i have played on the computer. Move over Konami. EA Sports is here to stay. And be afraid Wenger, Binesh is knocking at the doors of the Emirates stadium.

PostScript: Every little detail i have mentioned here is an exact recap of the game i played. Players like Valdes, Robinho may seem out of place, but in the game they have been transferred to these clubs.No exaggerations here. Yeah, i know it was 'just a stupid computer game'.But i was delirious anyways and my mother was witness to my wild reactions. She and my fiancee think i am yet to grow up. So do i.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Momma, i have a question for you..

Ever wondered what is this universe? From what it has originated, why it has originated, where is it present? Even if there are infinite number of universes out there, they have to be 'in' something, rite? Why are we even here? [Now that's something even my friends who read my blog ask me sometimes ;) ]
The Big Bang theory tells us that the universe originated from a primeval atom. So i wonder, like an inquisitive and irritating kid, how was the atom there in the first place? Strong case to become spiritual and believe in God, nooo?O' Lord, thou's prodigal son has returned to thee.

My humble take on this matter is that there are so many things that are beyond the human brain. Our brains, due to the physical size and maybe structural shortcomings, can only understand and comprehend things to an extent. Our scientists will keep discovering and coming up with theories, till we reach a dead end one day. Not so much in the near future, but maybe a billion years down the road? Unless we start evolving into creatures with huge brains, this will be a distinct possibility. To fit in these huge brains, we need to start sporting big heads.In that respect, i am glad that i have at least started contributing for the benefit of mankind.To this day, i find it difficult to find a hat to fit my head ;)

Coming back to the cosmic conspiracy theories, presently we just aren't equipped to handle the heat. Today, if say an intellectually superior alien decides to be kind to us and try to decode the whole mystery for us, we still probably won't get a thing. In all probability, we are too dumb and insignificant in the larger scheme of things.No presentations, no hypnosis, no other techniques to explain these concepts would work with us. It would be kinda like us trying to explain the Theory of Relativity to a pigeon. Or the concept of Internet to a cow. Or the concept to peace to Pakistan. Not much hope, eh?

PostScript: Although i have peppered this post with silly jokes, i was always fascinated by these questions as a kid. I used to try to think deep and read stuff from books ( no Internet access those days). Towards the end, i used to get a sinking feeling and used to rush to my mom to change the topic and get back to normalcy. Wonder who the lucky bastard would be who gets to know the answers to these questions?
BTW, check out the link provided for Theory of Relativity. This is probably the first time ever that my pint sized brain got an inkling of this amazing postulate.Check it out.

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