Saturday, May 31, 2008

Intelligence - an elusive commodity

The IPL could have done with a slightly more intelligent scheduling of the semi-finals & finals. The teams that qualify for the semis & finals deserve to play in front of their home crowds. Similarly, people from their respective cities deserve to be able to watch their teams play in front of their eyes. So who got the brilliant idea of holding (all 3!!) games in Mumbai??

No doubt Mumbaikars love cricket & are turning out in all their strength to watch the games in spite of their home team not qualifying for the semi-finals, but that still doesn’t justify denying home crowds the pleasure of watching their batsmen loft balls outside the stadium and bowlers knocking down wickets like nine pins.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Borrowed lines...

Read this on a friend's blog...

"Once u like a person, u can’t be “just friends” with them! Someone’s heart is bound to be broken."

I've been on both sides of the fence and nothing can be more true than this.

PS & completely unrelated : Have you heard anyone saying they miss the heat of Bombay? It's so much better there than in Calcutta!

The Talented Mr Ripleys

If you’re a girl and reading this, I’m sure you will identify with it. And if you’re a guy, I’m sure you must’ve had at least one female friend crib to you about this.

Why is it that the biggest losers of men think they have a shot with any attractive girl they meet?

These are men who have no interpersonal skills. They have ZERO discretionary ability in terms of what’s appropriate & what’s inappropriate to say to a woman. The concept of space is completely lost on them. They ogle at you. They invite themselves to the seat next to you…in a bus or a train or a waiting lounge…and randomly strike up a conversation irrespective of whether you’re even bothering replying to them. These men are complete social PESTS – the ones society can totally do WITHOUT, yet ironically there are SO MANY of them!

There is one more issue that plagues men. If you’re a girl who is actually nice to them, they think you’re easy! If you bother to say hi back to them (when they block your way in the alley & refuse to budge till you acknowledge their existence), they think they've got you! And, God forbid, if you end up smiling at them, they think you’re dying to get in their pants!!

On the other hand, if you do not acknowledge their existence (either because you’re just not the extrovert-overly friendly-gregarious kinds, or because they’re just plain disgusting), you’re presumed to be a stuck-up, high-handed bitch.

Don’t kill me guys (who’re reading this)…I know plenty of cool men in this world - men who’re smart, witty, funny, interesting, great conversationalists and an absolute pleasure to be with. They have no hang ups with regards to their relationship with women, no illusions about themselves. They know what they’re capable of, and are comfortable in their skin. Strangely, it’s the loser lot that seems to think they’re God’s greatest gift to mankind. Touché.

Trust me, it’s a talent to be so defiantly self-assured & confident about your chances/prospects in life when you know you’ve got nothing going for you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bittersweet Symphony

One of my friends is on a two week trip to the UK.

It reminds me of the time when I was in college in the US. I had a very close friend studying in the UK and both of us planned a trip to Europe during the summer. We were both students, therefore money was scarce. I had a part-time job at the bookstore on campus, called the Bull’s Head Bookshop (what a nice little bookstore it was, with an attached little coffee shop that supplied the 15,000-20,000 odd students & faculty of UNC – Chapel Hill with their daily dose of java), and I’d been saving up for a whole semester for my trip to Europe!

We did such planning for the trip. We bought the Lonely Planet guide to Europe. We had a shoe-string budget, so we had to carefully select the countries and cities we could visit. We finally narrowed down on England (London), Italy (Rome, Venice), France (Paris) and maybe Spain (Madrid), if we had any money left after Paris.

We planned to fly from London to Rome and travel to the rest of the destinations by Euro Rail. Since we would’ve gone there as backpackers, we would’ve had to stay at youth hostels. We compared hostels in each city and picked the ones we wanted to stay in. We compiled their contact numbers, addresses, rates etc.

Then came the time to apply for a visa. I remember I had to send my passport along with all the papers to Philadelphia for the visa, and that’s when tragedy struck my friend’s family. He lost his dad and had to rush back to India for the funeral.

As they say, some things are just not meant to happen. I was disappointed for sure, but I’d had so much fun just planning for the trip, I got over the disappointment quickly. I was practically living Europe for the entire semester that I spent saving for the trip and planning. For those of us who love traveling, there is nothing that gives us more happiness than the thought of seeing places we haven’t seen before. All of us have our favorites. As for me, I’ve always wanted to travel through all of Europe (including Eastern Europe) & South America.

Hopefully, I’ll get to do it one day….

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet

- Bittersweet Symphony (The Verve)

N, I hope you’re having a great time on your “really long vacation”!! ;)

Monday, May 26, 2008

From the Garden of Eden

First of all, I would like to apologize to the (few) readers of my blog for not having posted anything for about a month now. After I left Mumbai I did not have access to the internet for about two weeks. Then I moved to Calcutta and got so caught up in setting up my house, I couldn’t find the time to blog. But I’m back in action now, and hopefully, this hobby of mine wouldn’t fall prey to the infamous work pressures at my new workplace.

Don’t really know what I want to write about specifically so here are some random thoughts…

Like all fans of Sourav Ganguly, I too am very disappointed the KKR (actually I prefer calling them the Kolkata Knight Riders as KKR sounds a bit like KKK – the Ku Klux Klan) didn’t make it to the semi-finals of the IPL. Going by the opening games, I thought the Knight Riders would be THE team to beat. But after Breandan McCullum & Ricky Ponting departed, the journey has only been downhill for SRK’s “warriors”. I still support them but as a fellow blogger mentioned once, I wish Ganguly made it easier for his fans to support him and his team. He bailed his team out of a couple of difficult games, made it clear he wanted the Indian team selectors to keep including him into the national team, and failed to give an equally compelling performance subsequently – until last night when it didn’t matter anymore! I do not like to see Ganguly in the place he’s at as I’m a big fan of his – both as a player and as a captain - but there are times when the captain needs to lead from the front. Like people such as MSD, Pollock, Shane Warne & Adam Gilchrist do.

The Twenty20 format has come under criticism from various current and ex cricketers. I don’t understand why people are so inherently resistant to change, and why they don’t accept facts? Fact is that everything in the world goes through evolution. If something must survive, it must evolve with the times and changing needs. Truth is, times have changed and so have the needs of spectators. Today we do not have the time to drop everything at work and sit at a stadium for 4-5 days at a stretch to watch a test match. It’s even become difficult for working people to attend one-day games if they happen on a weekday. T20 is convenient – people can go for a game after a full day of work, and if the game takes place on a weekend, they can still manage to run their weekend errands before heading for the game. T20 is a format that meets our changing needs so what’s wrong with that?

I can understand ex-cricketers not being too happy with the T20 format. Until a decade or so ago, there wasn’t too much money in cricket. Players played for love of the game and not for money. So they could be nostalgic about the game. But the present cricketers who are criticizing the T20 format are those who aren’t deemed fit for this version of the game, either due to their style of playing or because they aren’t agile enough to meet the physical demands of this game. I think they need to just accept that it’s not necessary for every sportsman to possess the same set of skills, and move on. Just as some sportsmen are good at cricket while others are good at soccer, some cricketers are more suited to test cricket while others are tailor-made for T20.

The IPL has also come under heavy criticism for being more business than cricket. I don’t deny it’s business at the end of the day for the stakeholders (team owners & sponsors) and even players to some extent. But why are we over-looking the good that it’s doing to Indian cricket? There are so many mind-blowingly talented players that have emerged from the ongoing tournament. Players who have not been able to make it to the national team for whatever reason (though it beats me why because the Indian team at any given point of time consists of at least one player that doesn’t deserve to be part of the squad). Players such as Gony, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Debabrata Saha, Ashok Dinda, Abhishek Nayar to name a few, might not have come to the notice of selectors at all had the IPL not taken place. Given that the Indian selectors are known for their favouritism, I’m not sure these players will make it to the Indian national team but at least their talent has become visible to the entire country.