Tag Archives: Cricket

Books, Blogs and Cricket

This post is a culmination of my thoughts for over 5 minutes, so you have to forgive the gibberish that you are about to read.
Books : After what feels like an eternity, I have managed to get hold of a book that I have wanted to finish as soon I read the first page. ‘The immortals of Meluha’ is to me the book that has brought back the interest in reading and writing. I first heard of this book from my father in law. The very next day Kunal ( a dear friend and now a famous writer, hence the dear-before-friend – get used to it πŸ™‚ ) reviewed the book and wrote about how enjoyable it was. It did seem like a worthy buy. However, one of the problems of living in Pardes is, the scarcity of English books. The most famous Book store here has a collection of 5 English books, neatly stacked in the most obscure corner of the store, collecting dust and inviting spiders. Expecting to find a book written by an Indian author here is like expecting Dolly Bindra to shut up (Yes, am still not over her .. the after shocks of watching her wake me up in the night, perspiring). Anyway, my In laws were here for a visit, and one of the unexpected perks of their visit was that they gave ( / I stole / they forgot ) the book to me.


As for the book, it holds so many unexpected surprises that I just could not put the book down, at the cost of being accused of ignoring the wifey by the wifey (I wasn’t, swear to you sweet heart πŸ˜› ). To me, I judge a fiction book by two parameters, possibility and relatability (I know that’s not a word, but inventing words makes you sound smart and competent – Just ask Barney Stinson). The demystification of Indian myths is done in such a matter-of-fact way that you (an even an atheist like me) can accept it. The Somras, the so-far larger than life characters, the events, all seem possible when put this way. About the book itself – It manages to detach Shiva from the mythical, heavenly creature, known for his rage and make him seem human. His faults exist, his love is as real as any, he too bleeds and for the life of his, can not understand why is he being treated god-like by everyone.
I think Amish has done a fantastic job at two fronts. One, He has stuck to the myths but has not tried to hide behind them. He has not tried at any point to get away by saying something in the book and then throw it to the readers as obvious because it was related to religion (or mythology). Second, he has accepted the science factor in everything. A particular passage in the book that I enjoyed the most is the conversation between Bhraspati ( a scientist , not a god ) and Shiva ( a human, but still looked upon by everyone as a saviour) about the importance of science when following religion and the reason why people do not look up to science, the same way that they look up to Religion for answers. This is the relatable part that I talk about.
Kudos to Mr Amish Tripathi for penning down one of the most fantastic books of recent times. If you still havent read the book for whatever reasons, I suggest you grab a copy now.

Blogs: My personal blog post count has gone down like a house on fire – in self-destruct mode – being crushed by the Hulk at the same time. However, the joy in reading what others are writing hasn’t diminished. However, the problem that I face now is that everyone whom I knew as a good writer, has either stopped writing altogether or started writing 55s. As enjoyable as 55s are, they do not really spur me on to comment, respond or commend people on a job well done. I know it is a pretty tough task, to finish telling a story in 55 words (and looking at the size of some of my previous posts – I should be compulsorily made to write a few), but it gets over before it begins. The fascination of going from the build up to the twists to the climax is just not there (and I am still talking about 55s and blog posts – not anything else). So, I request friends, foes, jackasses, weirdos, to come together and contribute the ever-growing blog database at wordpress or blogspot (whatever catches your fancy). The joy of actually knowing the author of a well – written post should be experienced by everyone.

Cricket : I finally have a reason to look forward to cricket, again. The Ashes are back, and for the first time – in what feels like a zillion years – England look like a serious threat to Australia. I know they have won it a couple of times, and also managed to draw some matches, but they have not looked threatening at any time. Australia on the other hand, has never looked as vulnerable as they do now, even at home.

Let me be a little more honest here. The real reason I am so interested in Ashes is also because of the Cricinfo fantasy leagues, where my wife is kicking my ass (At the moment, I am at some 6k and she is at 500 – damn you Peter Siddle).

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Of Monkeys and Maa-Ki’s

I find it hard to believe that Bhajji would have called Symonds “Big Monkey”.
And I think I am right to assume that what he would have actually said was “teri – BIG – Maa – Ki”.
Come on .. he is an Indian .. Monkeys are gods here (Hanumaan) .. we have animation movies made here , one very year, to make sure that the young generation worships and adores the god. And more than that .. he is a jaat .. From Jalandhar .. Punjab. Calling people monkeys is almost a respect there .. nothing derogatory about that .. Thats more like girl talk .. I am of the opinion that if Bhajji really wanted to insult Symo .. he could have used lot more things than just monkey .. Maa-Ki being one of them.
And considering Symo’s general tendency to run to big mommy (Match Referees) when he hears people monkeying around, its no wonder that he actually went to the extent to first locating Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Gilchrist, Hayden ont he field and telling them “Listen .. he just called me a Monkey” .. In Bhajji’s jaat accent .. its really not surprising that Maa-Ki would sound like “Moneky”.
Clarke, Hayden, Gilli and Ponting all said they heard the words “Monkey” .. of course .. only from Symo .. Referees didnt’ hear a thing .. Sachin .. of course .. didn’t hear a thing. But still .. its the case of Australian word against Indians. And this is not the only case.
Remember how Symo was out caught behind to Ishant .. only that he wasn’t given ??
Just tally that with the case of Ganguly being given out caught by Clarke in the slip. Is it that in Ganguly’s case, the fact that the catch was taken by an Aussie makes it an authentic catch ??
What the bloody FUCK was the umpire thinking in asking the Australian slip cordon if the catch was completed .. Was he expecting that the Aussies would say “Oh no .. we didn’t complete the catch .. we just got together to celebrate the 4th ball of the over”
After the match .. Ponting lost his cool talking to an Indian journalist who apparently questioned his integrity. I do not question Ponting’s intentions .. he was probably just playing it fair .. taking his chances as and when they come. He thought he completed the catch .. and he asked for the catch. I even remember that while Clarke was celebrating the Ganguly dismissal, Ponting first asked him if he had completed the catch .. and then told Umpire that the catch was completed fairly. He trusted his team mate .. its not his fault if the team mate was the same ass who stood his ground after nicking the ball to first slip during his batting .. a deviation of about 70 degrees .. waiting for the umpire to send him back. Probably he expected similar favors as Ponting and Symo got .. not this time .. even Steve Bucknor could not give him not out.
Weird as it seems .. I see the scrappy Australians begging for a win, and gutsy Indian standing tall at the end of the match .. and irrespective of the outcome of the match … my belief in the Indian team has only grown stronger.
Am happy that our team has pushed the Aussies into such a tight corner that they had to virtually stoop to such low levels to win a match. I am happy that Sachin has finally got to his 38th Century. I am happy that Laxman has once again showed the Aussies what he is capable of. I am happy that Rahul and Ganguly both sportingly went off the field when given wrongly out. I am happy that Kumble let his words do the talking at the post match conference by saying that “Only one team played in the spirit of the game today” .. But you know what .. I would have been happier if Bhajji had slammed his bat at Symond’s over sized head and Kumble had broken Clarke’s jaw, and if Australians had shown little respect for the game.

PS : Update from a friend -> tour suspended .. I am happy .. finally BCCI is learning something from the Cricket team and showing some stomach for a fight.
PS_2 : Ohh .. and something totally unrelated .. have you guys seen Michale Clarke chase balls to the boundary .. if you haven’t, follow him closely the next time and tell me if he doesn’t remind you of the girls in primary schools running after boys who pull their hair.

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A Day well Spent

Some might call me lazy .. but I actually wrote half of this last Sunday and was too lazy to finish this πŸ˜›

They say that a day spent reading is a day spent well .. I didn’t actually do any reading last Saturday .. but I did witness the best possible display of visual prose and poetry.

For the uninitiated, I was at the Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Let me first tell you that I was seated in the corporate box which was only 5 rows from the boundary line (Yes, I know I did message half my friends in my phone book with the above information, that doesn’t mean I can’t show off anymore πŸ™‚ ) , and the first thing that surprised me was the clarity at the stadium. Every thing was so obvious that I felt perplexed about how could the door-darshan cameras miss the ball so many times in a day.
By the time I had stepped inside the stadium, Gambhir was already cooling his heals in the player’s balcony and Dravid had greeted my arrival with an exquisite cover drive. The stadium seemed pretty small, but I am told that this was the normal stadium size. I guess things do look larger on Television.
Lets take a moment and admire that Cover Drive for a moment. You hear on the commentary all the time that everything was right about the shot. How right, it actually was .. you can appreciate that only when you are seeing it in person. The stillness of the head, the free flow of the bat, the elbow pointing to the cover boundary, the lean forward to get the the pitch of the ball .. pure poetry. I know it all sounds clichΓ©d, but you really have to see it to appreciate it. You can take a picture of any of his shots and put that in a coaching manual. Even Jaffer put one away in the same fashion pretty soon after that, but still .. I preferred the Dravid version, more for the visual beauty than anything else.
Dravid departed soon after that, and to my utter dismay .. so did Laxman and Jaffer. In came Yuvraj Singh in the midst of the loudest cheers that you can imagine. You see on TV people jumping up and down all day … they really do. I do wonder though why do the sound sensors switch off on batsman’s arrival. Yuvraj might not be a local boy, but still he got the same reception that Dravid or Kumble or Uttappa would have received. Its no secret that he is adored by millions because his one day success has not still got him a permanent seat at the Test Level. He probably gets the same treatment at Tests that Laxman gets at One Dayers. While he does seem like a misfit at the test level with his excellent fielding and hard hitting batting, he showed on Saturday that he can adapt very well.
The hard hitting shots were still there, but were played with the discretion of a monk. You could almost see him concentrating on every ball he was facing. The play back to the bowlers was as sweetly timed as was the clean hit through the covers. The sound of ball hitting the meat portion of the bat was to be heard to be believed. Anyone who has played cricket with a leather ball would vouch for the fact that you need not be a powerful player to get the runs, you just need to time the ball and the rest is taken care automatically. Yuvraj showed his entire range of shots, except for the sweep slog for six to mid wicket (that is where I was seated). the best shot of the day was probably the cover drive from Yuvraj.
Ganguly on the other hand, was more restrained for a large portion of the day. He did hit his shots, but it was pretty obvious that he had decided that he would not try to hit a cover drive off the balls that were pitched up to him. All his shots were from the balls that were marginally or largely short pitched. If they pitched the ball on the stumps at the full length area, he didn’t try to hit. Yuvraj usually stepped out to hit back at the bowlers, Ganguly never did. It was rather obvious that he was waiting for a short wide ball when he was batting in 90s. Call it concentration, or call it cutting down your shots to make sure that you get to your 100, either way .. his knock was as entertaining was was Yuvraj’s.
The Bangalore crowd is very appreciative of good cricket, Shoaib Akhtar’s bouncers were also cheered (at least for the time he bowled). He does seem to be trying to get extra attention on himself at all times. When he was fielding near the boundary, People crowded near him to get close to him to get an autograph. The Idiot of the day award has to be given to Yaseer Arafat, who didn’t respond to crowd calls for autographs and turned back and sometime made mocking faces when India were down four wickets. All this went away once Yuvraj unleashed a spectrum of shots in the late afternoon.
There was honest clapping every time a ball was well fielded, but the loudest cheers (yes, louder than Yuvraj’s arrival) were reserved for Yuvraj’s century. Ganguly’s century seemed a little less violent , more of a poetic assault. His timing on the off side was there to be seen. You see him hitting the shots on the off side and most of the time, what comes to my mind is that he only uses the bowler’s pace. But on Saturday, the cover drives and pulls were all reminiscent of the golden Tendulkar Era, though only in patches (No one replaces Tendulkar πŸ™‚ )
All in all, it was a day spent with excellent entertainment in excellent company at the lovely Chinna Swamy stadium, the place where I saw for the first time, a LIVE cricket match, the way it is actually meant to be seen. No disturbance of ads, no one trying to sell me a bike, a tooth paste, a mutual fund scheme, sanitary napkins .. nothing. Cricketers were doing what they do best, play cricket and entertain.
Before I forget, Let me also tell you about the stupid food situation at the stadium.
The normal 10 Rupee chips packets are priced at 20 each, coke bottles also go for double the normal price. Since we were in the corporate box (See, how I bring back your attention to the fact that I was seated in the CORPORATE box for free πŸ˜› ), we were supposed to get free lunch. It wasn’t so free actually, if you don’t just consider money as a criterion. We had to stand in a loooooooong line, sort of like refugees. At the end of the queue, the people distributing food put random stuff in your plates, whether you want them or not. The curry was highly objectionable, the rice was smelly and the parothas were probably prepared at the same time when it was decided that Bangalore would host the test match.

Bottom line –
10 Rupee Lay’s Packet at the stadium – 20 Re.
45 Rupee Coke Bottle – 80 Re.
10 Rupee Coke – 25 Re.
Watching Dravid, Yuvi, Ganguly live in Action – PRICELESS

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