Thursday, November 25, 2010

Victory of democracy

I am a happy man today. Indian voters have finally come of age. A man who talked only about development in his election rallies has been handsomely handed a second term of government. And all others have been routed out in style. The strongmen and their spouses and their relatives, near and distant,  have been shown the way out.

It is as much the victory of democracy as it is of Nitish Kumar. The poll results must have reinforced faith in democracy in the minds of many.At least in my case, it did. Suddenly, the idea of India becoming a super power is looking realistic. It is just a beginning and a lot more needs to be done. But the beginning has begun. Hopefully.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Side effects of job

The job has taken away my blogging. Its not that I don't have time at the end of the day to write a blog. Neither am I that tired to stroke some keys on the keypad. Its just that my mind goes blank. After doing the same mundane thing all day (and for many days in continuity), all that I am capable to do at the end is to absorb whatever is coming to me. The mental fatigue prevents any response.

I really think that I need to devote some time everyday just to myself. To think about things that I used to think. To think about where the life is heading. To retrospect the past actions and to plan about the future ones.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Two Extremes of Indian Life

I have seen the two extremes of the Indian life in 2 days. While going from Jamshedpur to Ranchi, I saw the poverty of the state of Jharkhand. And today in PVR Saket, I saw the opulence of Delhi. After the scenes of yesterday, today there was a slight guilt at the way money flows around. The latter India seemed unaware about the existence of the former one. The latter one gives the foundation for the illusion that India is shining, literally too with all the lightings in the mall against the absence of the electric poles in the former.

By the way, tomorrow is the first day of my job. A new phase of life starts now. At the end of the thesis, I took some resolutions regarding this phase. And I hope that this time, against the norm, I wont break them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Who is God ?

Who is God ? Some energy. Or some spirit. Or some superhuman of distant past. No one knows. In fact the question that I would rather ask is what is God ?

God is the belief in the goodness of the world. He is the wish that comes true. He is the lucky escape from an accident. He is the last hope when everything else falls apart. He is that chance that comes unexpectedly. He is the closure that comforts us. He is the reason for the unexplainable.

One might say that in the end it is all a game of probability. Then he is the one rolling the dice.

Why do we need God ?

"Whatever may be the position of philosophy, whatever may be the position of metaphysics, so long as there is such a thing as death in the world, so long as there is such a thing as weakness in the human heart, so long as there is a cry going out of the heart of man in his very weakness, there shall be a faith in God." - Swami Vivekananda

Why do we need God ? The chance factor in life is mind boggling. To think of it, there are so many things which are beyond our control.  The uncertainties of life are beyond our grasp. So much so that we don't even think about them. And the biggest uncertainty of all is how it will all end? And what after that? It is for these very reasons that we need God. We need him not as an answer to the uncertainties but as an assurance that the answers will be sought. And we need him most when we became aware of these uncertainties. And when we feel helpless in the circumstances  around us, in our moments of weakness.

I myself remember God from exams to exams. And sometimes before an important presentation or a meeting. And sometimes when I am anxious. To think of it, its hypocritical. But I guess, hypocrisy is as inherent a trait of human beings as is selfishness.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I have observed an inequality. A strict inequality. The love that the parents have for their children is always greater than the love the children have for their parents. We might never be able to fully understand our parent's feelings, let alone feel them. But they can. They understand it. They feel it. They rejoice when we are happy. And they cry when we are in pain.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The only thing that keeps me going in the hard times is the hope that someday it will all end.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reasons I Like Books and Movies

There is a gratification that I derive in being able to understand what others want to say; in being able to relate to other people's experiences and feelings through my own experiences and feelings. Probably because it gives me the satisfaction that I understand the world better.

This is one of the reasons I like reading books and watching movies. They open me up to a whole new range of emotions, feelings and behaviours of individuals which would otherwise remain unknown. This vicarious learning makes up for what I lack in experience.I also feel happy when I think that I understand what the writer, director or the artist wants to convey. Connecting to a person's art is in a way connecting to the person himself.

The other reasons why I like movies and books is that they help me form opinions on things happening around me. I seriously feel a desire to be opinionated. And with time, this desire has actually become a necessity.

To think of it, the desire to have opinions is again linked to my yearning to understand the world, to rationalize the occurrences of the events, to give some meaning to the events that have already occurred, to differentiate right from wrong and probably also to decide upon a future course of action.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just A Thought

I wish I could just write down every random thought that comes in my mind. I would like to see do they make any pattern ? Do they have any relation with each other or not ? To me they are completely random. Most of the times, they are opinions on the things that I encounter. But I do think there is some connection. Mostly in their nature. It is a reflection of my own mentality and mindset. There are things about me which I realize only when they are pointed out.

PS: This relation between thoughts might also have to do something with the distance between 2 vectors in a metric space.I have been reading a lot about that of late.
PPS: Just ignore this post. I am really messed up right now.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I hate eating alone

One part of being alone that I dislike most is eating alone. I totally hate it. More so if I am eating in my mess or canteen or in some restaurant. I can manage it at home but not elsewhere. I do make many adjustments just to have some company. Sometimes I used to go to mess with my friends even if I wasn't hungry just so that I am not left alone afterwards and have some company while eating. But sadly, the friends that are left don't have a great faith in regular dietary habits. Though I have been successful in making one of them go to breakfast with me everyday. But lunching and dining time has gone in disarray.

I actually used to feel the same way about living alone. I used to hate it. I needed someone's company at every time. Even while studying. Sometimes, I even used to take my books along with me and go to a friend's room. And most of the times, I used to end up sleeping in their bed. As I write this, some fond memories of my fifth year are resurfacing. There was a period when I ended up sleeping in Saucy's bed every evening. Poor creature had to adjust a lot :) .

Man, I am really missing that time those days. This is somewhat a sad ending to the otherwise most joyous and happening time 5 years of my life. I would cherish those days for ever.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In Awe of Mathematicians

The more I dwell into mathematics, the more I am in awe of all those minds who have shaped it into its present form. Mankind has really come a long way.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

With a little help from my friends

I get by with a little help from my friends.
I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends.

Last 24 hours have been tumultuous. Yesterday my thesis supervisor told me that I would have to start working on a new approach in my thesis. That would have required spending at least a month more on my work which would have meant that I could not join my job on the designated joining date. Considering my aversion to join a core job and the fact that non-core jobs don't come by easily, I was feeling tensed. So I did what I normally do to cope up with such a situation. I called my friends. And they came up with suggestions that they deemed fit. The new possibilities that were shown to me by them really calmed me. Few of them called me up again in the evening to check the things with me.

I always try not to indulge my family in my problems. I know my mother gets really worried when she finds me in a difficulty. And the last thing that I want is to see her getting worried. So I gave her a rosy picture of the scenario. I was more open with my dad and told him the things as they were. His words which carry with them his experiences with the ways of the world made me realize that no matter how bad the things are, I would always have a support system to fall back on. My sister sounded jolly though I do know that she was as worried as my mother. But she did her best not to show her worries.

Today morning, I received a mail from the company HR saying that they don't have any problem with me delaying my joining and that I can join once I complete my thesis. I can't say what a relief this is. I can now start working again with a fresh mind.

But I really can't thank my family and friends enough. They are always there when I need them. I am hopeful to get pass anything with a little help from them.

Thank you all :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The old dreams were good dreams;
They didn't work out, but glad I had them. 

Movie: The Bridges of Madison County

Nature and Emotions

The only beauty in this world lies in nature and in emotions. There is beauty in plants and in animals, in water and in wind, in earth and in sky, in sounds and in colours, in the first and the last ray of the sun, in the spots on the moon, in the constellations of a clear night.

And then there is beauty in joy and in sadness, in pleasure and in pain, in fear and in fearlessness, in devotion and in submission. There is a beauty in the union of the loved ones. There is also a beauty in sadness and pain we feel when our loved ones depart.

And whenever the beauty of nature resonates with the emotions within, the best bonds with nature are formed. A chaotic mind finds its solace in the solitude and stillness of night. A peaceful mind seeks a company in the green. An adventurous mind desires a lashing from the wind and water. An exalted mind finds happiness in the falling rain.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Solace In Music

I have never find music so relaxing. I have been listening to my favourite playlist and that has rejuvenated me. It has filled me with some new found energy. It feels that all the tension and worries have been lifted. I feel more optimistic now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hail Indian Railways

I would have been traveling in the train at this moment. But I am not. I am rather sitting in my room writing this post. And this is because my train which was to come from Delhi is late by 6 hours. It is just so frustrating. Indian railways can really get onto one's nerves sometimes. But the good thing is that I checked the status of the train online and didn't go to station. Though had I checked the status in the afternoon, I could have actually book a bus ticket and would have reached home on time. But a lesson has been learned. Its always good to check whether the train has started from the source station on time. Most of the lengthy delays are due to delay in departure from the origin.

Another good thing about the delay is that I would now be able to watch match between England and Algeria. I have never followed any football tournament this closely as I have done this time. Credit for this goes to all those good people who stream sports live on the internet for free. Some credit should also be given to the BCCI and Indian cricket team. To BCCI for scheduling matches so closely that has jaded the spectators. And to the Indian team because their performances over the last few weeks have left me disenchanted with the game for some time to come. (Though I would definitely be watching India vs Pakistan match.)

Coming back to football, what makes tonight's match more interesting is the fact that the media had been very generous while bashing the England team after the draw with USA. And then there is a certain pleasure in seeing the likes of Rooney, Terry, Gerrard, Lampard among others, struggling. I will be cheering for Algeria in this game and would hope to see England joining the European club of losers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

One Fine Morning

Adorning her night gown, as she sauntered through the cobbled walk that ran in the middle of a terraced garden, some drops of dew which until then had conveniently rested on the canopies of white bougainvillea fell on her hair.  One of the drops slid through her forehead and fell on her cheeks while brushing through her lashes and leaving its imprint. She raised her neck and the drop slithered over it, only to stop as the trail thinned.

She could feel the water on her skin. It tingled her and irritated her but she left it untouched despite an impulse to wipe it off her skin. She took few steps and sat on the steps after clearing them off the white flowers that had carpeted them. She then laid down on her back and closed her eyes. She wanted to lost into nothingness but found herself smelling the air.

A gentle breeze blew but its brevity left her wanting for more. She then opened her eyes,  gave the faintest of the smiles and got up to do her chores.

Friday, May 21, 2010

From Banaras To Jamshedpur

There is a visible pattern in the transfers my dad has had in past 10 years. We are just going eastwards. From Jodhpur to Kota to Meerut to Agra to Banaras and now to Jamshedpur. This time, he has been transferred in just 6 months. Damn, I hate it. But more than me, my family hates it. My sister was actually correct when she vented out her exasperation and said "You just have to change trains. We have to change homes."

Its pretty hard to leave one place and settle in another. For me actually its no more a problem. I have been a hosteller for last 5 years and would now go to Gurgaon for the job. But for my family, its always problematic. There is packing, moving and again settling in a new home. It takes us months to adjust to a new place. And it becomes more difficult when the new place has altogether different culture. For the first time we would be going to Jharkhand. Believe me, I had never expected that. The only consolation though is that Jamshedpur, as people say, is very planned and developed city. Apparently, there are no municipalities there. The city administration is taken care off by the Tata group.

My sister was to start her CA finals coaching from next week. Her studies are our only major concern. The coaching that she was to join has a branch in Jamshedpur also. I just hope that she has no problem in settling there.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Perils of multi-party democracy

There must be a God somewhere in this universe. Because I find no other way to explain how our beloved country is not only running but also growing at 7% per annum despite the corruption in legislature, in bureaucracy and in judiciary; bureaucratic red tape, the aristocratic mentality of our government machinery, the apathy of our people, the anachronous mentality of the society at large among other things. We may be a country of several hundred (or rather thousand) dialects, we may have people from all religions, we may have terrains as diverse as what mother earth can offer and we may go gaga about having a unity in diversity but the actual fact is that it is just a false hand that we have kept at our disposal whenever someone criticizes the state of this once a great nation. 

Over the past few weeks, we have been reading a lot about Naxalite violence in some of the states. There have been all kind of statements from different sections of the society. Some of them have called this an act of self preservation whereas some others have denounced them severely. Its true that tribals in Indian have been exploited for long and the fact that successive state and central governments have turned blind eye to it had make such an upsurge inevitable. But I am still sceptic about the ideologies leaders of these movements purport. Given the way the mass media plays into the hands of the governments  its difficult for an outsider to know which side is right and which is wrong. But in between all this mess, there is a certain truth that people from both sides are getting killed every day and that our government is doing nothing about it.

There are some perils of a multi-party democracy and a coalition government. Regional parties propagates policies that are essential for their survival but are sometimes contrary to the national interest. Also the fact that they are regional ensures that they can't be held accountable in the other parts of the country. Given that one of the alliances in the UPA has in past (and possibly even now) defended and supported such movements, it is difficult for the government to take a clear stand. It seems the impasse that has been created would continue for some time to come.

Another instance of a coalition government going wrong is that of the telecommunication minister A. Raja. He has been charged for allocating 2G spectrum to the telecom companies on a first come first serve basis at a throw away price. The fact that auction of 3G spectrum has earned government an amount of Rs. 70,000 crore, several times more than what was earned from selling of 2G spectrum has brought this topic to the fore. But the fact that Raja belongs to DMK, another one of UPA alliance would ensure that he would go unhurt despite the fact that the amount the government lost is almost equal to the health budget of the country.  Abdul Karim Telgi might have been jailed for a fraud of this much amount but Raja will not be. In fact, he might even flourish in all probability.

There are many other cases in which coalition government have crippled the country. But given the structure of our democracy, a coalition government looks inevitable. We will have to continue to bear with the likes of Lalu, Mulayam and Mayawati. What India desperately needs is a national party with a complete majority at the center and also in states. Otherwise the nation may never realize its full potential.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Time To Act

Wise thinks, wiser acts.

This is what a friend told me few months ago and now the time has really come to act. After passing through another phase of prolonged procrastination and realizing that I have again been wasting my time by literally doing nothing I feel an immediate need to work. I sometimes fear that this laziness which has always been my dominant characteristic is intruding all spheres of my life. I fear that if I don't work now, I would actually lose the desire to work at all. Thus, I would now curb my natural instincts and would do things that I have been hitherto avoiding out of indolence. The real push came today morning when I got a call from my thesis supervisor asking me about how much progress have I made in writing thesis. I have asked him for two more days to finish writing the problem statement and the algorithm. Once I am done with that, I would then proceed to literature survey to provide the context and importance of my work. And this time for a change, there won't be any procrastination. This is a promise that I have made to myself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Cycle Trip

There are two images from the cycle trip which I took from my campus to the Ganga ghat at Bithoor which stand out among the rest. The first is of a narrow road which took off from the road on which we were cycling, for a place which I can only imagine. It was one of the few roads which shot off from this road. The two sides of that road were both lined by the trees. After a short distance that road turned right and got lost in the trees. It was the kind of road that gives you an impression of a village in a country side. Not the regular Indian villages with water on streets, open sewers and broken homes. But the ones with homes located at distance from each other on large sloppy grassy fields with some cattle grazing at some distances and dark woods up on the slopes. Did it remind you of the landscapes that you used to draw when you were a child ? The only thing that is missing from the scene is the river which passes passes through the village.

The second image is that of a home that I saw on my way. There was nothing particularly remarkable about this home. On a normal day I might have passed without even noticing it. But in the quietness of that cool early summer morning I did notice it. It was a modest house with an elevated facade, without a porch with windows opening directly on the road. From the door which was open I could see the interior of the house. There probably weren't any air conditioners or coolers but the home looked cozy enough. The shelves were open and there might have been a bed in the living room. There was something about the house that gave a very homely feeling. Its not possible for me to say what was it that evoked such feelings but I think we all have certain aesthetic notions and the things which are close to these notions appeal to us.

View of Ganga from a temple on the ghat

On a whole the 33 km trip was entirely worth the efforts that it took. Most part of our route passed through quiet and green neighborhood of Mandhana. Any change from the chaos of the city life is always welcome and refreshing. We will probably make another such trip. And this time I definitely intend to see where does that road go.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Disastrous Campaign

It was another day of mediocre and gutless cricket by the Indian team which has left its fans disappointed and has thrown it on the verge of exit from the T20 world cup which is being held at West Indies. The performance of the team is reminiscent of the last T20 world cup which was held in England ten months back. While the setting has changed the actors and their performances remain the same. It seems that the Indian team has learned nothing from its past mistakes. Players have again been caught off guard against the short pitched deliveries. The team which boasts of one of the most vibrant and explosive batting line up on paper has again failed to meet the standards of international cricket.

While the players are definitely to be blamed for this dismal lackluster performance of the team, the BCCI is equally to be blamed with biggest culprit being the IPL. Many people have argued that IPL has actually helped in the development of cricket in India. While the privy purses that it has to offer has certainly helped certain individuals, on the whole it has just given India more number of second-rate players who have been handy in the minor skirmishes that IPL has to offer but have failed to fight the battles of the international cricket. One can only feel anguish by looking at the performances of Murli Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja who were very successful in the different versions of the IPL but have looked thoroughly incompetent in the world cup. The one and a half month of continuous cricket has also left players like Sehwag injured. The same was the case last year when India was not able to play with its full bench strength.

While flat batsmen friendly pitches and short boundaries have helped produce some very high scoring matches and have helped sell the brand IPL, they have left the batsmen unprepared for the higher levels of cricket. Also these wicket provide almost no assistance to the bowlers and have pushed them on the back foot. There are no incentives for the bowlers to bend their backs and generate pace. They are rather forced to cut the pace and to rely on variations like slow back-of-the-hand deliveries. Over the years many fast bowlers who had initially emerged as a good prospect ended up cutting their pace.

Though India would be playing the 2011 World Cup matches at home grounds to its advantage, there is still a necessity to produce more bowler conducive pitches for the domestic level cricket to help players develop their game in the long run. Lets hope that BCCI makes the necessary changes in the future because it would be emotionally tormenting to see Indian team perform in a similar manner in the future tournaments.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A lonely moment

No matter how engaging the hostel life is with all the friends to chat with, internet to waste time on, books to read and occasional work to be done, there are times when I dearly miss my mother. Times like this when I am writing this post. I just so want to talk to her now but she must have gone to sleep by this time.

I sometimes miss those school days when she used to scold me for not studying. I miss her timely satires and sarcasms. I wish she could be around me to scold me when I am idling around. I wish she could be around pecking me when I am wasting myself. I wish she could be around me so that I could sleep with my head on her laps.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Hundred Rupee Note

The only luxury that he had ever had in his short life was a pair of sneakers that he had found abandoned near a garbage dump.  And even that didn’t come by so easily. Of all the people who were passing by from there at that time, street dogs barked at him and chased him. Even they had a sense of whom to pick. His indigence and vulnerability were equally apparent to animals as to human beings.

Mind at birth is a blank slate. What becomes of a man is the outcome of what is written on that slate in the formative years by people known and unknown and what is etched on the slate by the incidents to which voluntarily or involuntarily he becomes a party. Fortunately for the boy, the writings on his slate were honourable. He had remained unknown to deceit and deception.  He wanted to make an honest living. But earning a livelihood in that small town was not all that easy. Many of the men like his father were forced to go to the city leaving their family behind. Sometimes months passed by without family hearing any news from their boys and men.

From the center of the town passed a highway. Some shops had sprung up along it. Most of them catered to the travellers which passed by in buses, jeeps and trucks. This had actually become an economy in itself. Not far from these shops was the village Mandi. The vegetables and fruits which were brought from nearby villages or towns were sold there.

Few months ago, the boy got a job in one of the shops. His task was to sell water bottles to the passengers in the buses which stopped there. The more bottles he sold, the more commission he would get. Other shopkeepers had also employed boys of his age. Whenever a bus would stop, all the boys would start hovering around it, shouting at the top of their voices, looking into the eyes of the people sitting inside.

There were all kinds of people to deal with. Some of them would just ask for the price. Some other would even try to negotiate it. Some did it out of habit while others did it for fun. Some people would return the bottle saying it wasn’t cold while some other would still purchase it while cursing him. Sometimes the driver would start the bus before he received a payment and then he would run along with the bus to get it. Once a man acted like paying him but ditched him at the end seeing that he would not be able to catch the bus. One other time, the person just dropped the money out of the window.

But in all these months he never entered a bus. On his first day he had seen a boy being shouted at by the driver. That event had set uneasiness in him which he was not able to overcome. All other boys would enter the bus but he would not.

One evening when a bus stopped and while he was busy shouting, he saw something dropped from the bag of a man who was entering the bus. He picked it up and found that it was a purse. Immediately, as though driven by an impulse, he entered the bus for the first time looking for the man. He reached out to him and returned him his purse. He was given a hundred rupee note by the person as a reward for his honesty. But what the boy remembered most was the reaction of the people inside the bus as he returned the purse. That made him happy. That evening another incident was scribbled on his slate.

The boy had never possessed that much money in his life and that is why he was very careful to guard his newfound treasure. He kept that note with him all the time. In his free time, he made plans on how to spend that money. He once thought to give it to his mother but was soon overcome by his own desires. For once in his life, he wanted to pamper himself.

He had always thought about watching the movie in the only theatre that their town had. But he didn’t like the idea of paying all that money for a movie. After all he could watch them sometimes on the TV in the shop. He had always had a desire to taste a chocolate. He felt that it would give him a new taste, something different from any other taste that he had had or would possibly have. He thought of deciding what to do with the rest of the money after eating a chocolate.

So he went to the shop and asked his master for a chocolate. Before his master could say anything he put forward his note eagerly. The master knew that there was no way the boy could have got that much money. He thought that the boy had stolen that money from his shop. So he snatched the note from the boy and slapped him. Indifferent to the wailings and explanations, he scolded him, hurled abuses at him and told him never to come back.

The boy stood there for some time crying silently all the while. He found other boys looking at him. So he went back to his home to his mother. Another incident was scribbled on his slate.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Old Storyteller

Every time the bus hit a pit, he could sense every nut and bolt vibrating. The whole structure just looked so fragile as if it could come down crumbling at any moment. All those years of journeying on the road had really taken a toll on the machine which had embraced it from its birth. Time and again, there would form a cloud of dust through which it would come out triumphant.

Inside, he sat restlessly counting every second. The smoke, sweat and dust had concocted to give a stifling ambiance. Every now and then, he kept licking his lips. The water in his bottle was hot and just couldn't quench his thirst. There was not even a single bird or animal to be seen outside. All that could be seen were some shrubs by the road side. And then there were these milestones.

"These summers can sometimes get onto your nerves. Drink some water."

He shifted his gaze from the window to look at the old man sitting beside him who had just offered him some water. The first thing he noticed about the man were his hard yellow nails. Had it not been for the water droplets which were sticking tenaciously to the surface of the container, he might have humbly denied the offer. He didn't like to familiarize with the strangers. But .the thirst got the better of him. As he drank he could feel every gulp of water going down his throat.

His thanks was greeted by a smile. A smile so genuine that it overshadowed the redness of tobacco and the cracked lips through which it emerged. The white hair, wrinkled skin and the eyes delivered a kind and gentle visage. It was his eyes that had beguiled him. The eyes of an old man.The eyes that had aged with him. Even his eyelids could not hide the world that those eyes had seen.

The happiness that he was exuding belied his appearance. He was not a man of great wealth but he looked as satisfied as the wealthiest. The summer heat had not had any effect on him. He was a man of this desert.

As they travelled  he told him about the terrain. And about the anecdotes peculiar to the desert. In his rustic vernacular he told him about the tree with the strings tied to its every branch. And about the temple with the orange flag on a distant hill, about the well which never dries. Even the time had stopped to hear him speak, reminiscing the past to which it was witness.

It was remarkable how that seemingly common man had etched his existence in his memory. After sometime his stop came and he stepped down.  And ahead he went towards his destination to meet some more strangers, to build another memory.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Hockey World Cup

Thanks to all the advertising by Hero Honda, there has been a surge in hockey watchers in India, both inside and outside the stadium. For a change, people could be seen talking about hockey. But after 3 consecutive defeats for the Indian team, the enthusiasm plunged. People had build very high expectations from the team after the hosts defeated Pakistan in their first game.

Considering the fact that team India is ranked 10th in the hockey, I really found their performance good. Their defense against Australia and Spain was sluggish which costed them huge defeats. But except for that, the team performed reasonably well. For a team which has historically depended on dribbling than on pace, the team adapted well to the newer ways. And I personally feel that Indian fans should rejoice the performance of the team. The team is learning and improving quickly. The coach Jose Brasa has done some really good work but it would take some time before standards of team can match those of nations like Holland, Germany and Australia. After all years of neglect and mis-management of the sport can't be undone overnight.

After all these months of cricket, it was quite a refreshing change to watch a new sport. I do occasionally watch lawn tennis and sometimes football, but after watching the recent matches, I liked hockey better. After all its our sport though shadowed by the influence of cricket in subcontinent. But I believe that if promoted well, hockey has the potential to grab attention of the people. The game is fast and with 70 minutes playing time and 90 minutes running time, it can fit well into the prime time zone. Lets hope that even after the world cup, the game continues to retain the attention that it has lately got.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Unforunate One

Yes, I confess. I didn't watch him play yesterday. Rather, I couldn't watch him. And I can't believe that. The first double hundred in an ODI and I couldn't watch it. But in my defence, I was travelling yesterday. I was sitting on the Delhi Airport when I heard the sounds of cheering and clapping. At first I thought a group is celebrating some occasion on the airport. But I could hear same sounds from other parts as well. After a while, people again clapped and cheered. And this time it was louder.

I didn't realize what was happeing. Because of all the exhaustion of travelling, it didn't register my mind that it could be something related to the match. But then I got a call from a friend and it was then that I got to know the reason. I first got surprised, sat in unbelief, and when I let the news sink in, I cursed. How could I miss the occason ?

I found out later that first round of clappings were for Amla who stopped a boundary and let Tendulkar take the strike. By the way, Dhoni should go and thank him personally sometime. God knows what would have happened to him if Tendulkar was not able to score that ever elusive double century in an ODI. I do remeber how people were criticizing Dinesh Kartik for not letting Tendulkar complete his century few weeks ago and this was even a bigger occasion. No prize for guessing that second round of applause were for the master himself. Though I am not the greatest of Tendulkar fans, I still feel that he deserved it.

I redeemed my sin as soon as I came back by watching the highlights. It was indeed a flawless innings with no lucky escapes. It was all brilliant timing and placement, a flat and faithful pitch and some loose bowling. And though I liked the match, I think that the pitches should be made more bowler friendly. At least give them something to work on. But neverthless, it was a nice match and I would always regret not watching it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review of Arundhati Roy's political essays

"Listening to the Grass Hoppers: Field Notes on Democracy" is Arundhati Roy's latest compilation of political essays presented in a book. This is my second reading of her compilations after "Algebra of Infinite Justice". Both these books consist of essays written by her over a period of time on subjects ranging from Narmada Dam, Gujrat Riots, Pokhran Tests to America's war against terror.

We are, often to our ignorance, fed with news which are manipulated and which are aimed at creating a public conscience over something for the benefit of some particular groups. Very often, we get carried away by the public sentiments and create opinions which are ill informed (after reading the essays, you will realize that even courts get carried away by these things). In this era of 24 hours news channels, its impossible to know which news to trust and which not to. Through these essays (which contain proper citations), she has tried to make public aware of the happenings from which we are otherwise insulated.

Arundhati Roy in the past has been criticised for what people perceive as cynicism, over exaggeration and irrationality. I for one don't know how much exaggeration is there in her books but I personally feel that it is sometimes required to raise issues which need to be brought to the public attention. The so called irrationality arises from the fact that she has an objective opinion and she gives a third party perspective to the things. This is something which remains elusive to most of us given the deeply etched associations and opinions that we hold.

Most of the times, her essays have left me cynical about the future of our great country (and the cynicism has just not been created for selling more books) but the fact that still there are people which are resisting the suppression(I am talking not just about her but also about the groups and people mentioned in her essays) is the silver lighning in the dark cloud. The essays are a great read and the product of the immense knowledge that she possesses and her first hand experiences because of her personal involvements and once you are finished reading them, you will definitely feel better informed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another chance

For a man with such a humble beginning, what he had achieved was really commendable. But all this while, life roughed him up, worn him out, made him weak. To an onlooker, he could have been a success story. Not a glorious rags to riches story which could have found a place in a tabloid. But one which was occasionally and casually mentioned by his acquaintances. But they could not see the turmoil behind the personna. They could not see the frustration that he sometimes felt. He felt that he had fallen a victim to the circumstances. That he no longer had any say in deciding the course of his life. That he had given away this right much earlier. That his familial duties dictated his purpose of existence. Not that he wanted to run away from them. But he hated being entirely consumed by them.

He had tried to fathom the purpose of existence of a human being. He wanted to know why people do things that they do and are they right in doing them. He wondered whether or not, a life which has not improved the life of another human being, which has not created any impact in the society, a waste. He wanted to know how significant a work should be to create that impact. He wanted to know whether or not his life has served his purpose by at least improving the living standards of his family.

He was terrified by the fragility of the life. He had seen people die just like that. He was also terrified by the madness these riots have brought. It bewildered him to see people ready to sacrifice their life for their religion. He felt sorry for those who had devalued their life and have allowed themselves to get manipulated for petty interests of few individuals. He often wondered is this cheap a life is ?

He had once seen a dead beggar lying on a road side on a chilled winter morning. He was depressed by the apathy of the people who were just riding by. He himself didn't stop. He had more important matters at hand that time. But he did spare some thoughts for that begger who had otherwise gone unnoticed. He wondered what change could this man have brought in the world with his limited means. Can survival itself be the purpose of existence ?

But he himself was a man of means. And that is why when he saw the boy on the other side of the street, he felt an impulse to go down there and bring him to his house. Not that he didn't think about the attackers who may be possibly wandering on the streets. But he felt that this is his chance to make that impact. He came out of his house and then with a sudden rush, went to the other side of the street and brought that child back.

The clothes of that child were splashed with blood. But he was still breathing. He knew that the child would survive. He would see to it that he survives. May be that was one of the puposes of his existence.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Test Cricket At Its Best

The last one or two months have been good for test cricket. Some of the most exciting and close matches have been played in this duration. Whether it was India-Sri Lanka, Pakistan-New Zealand, Pakistan-Australia, Australia-West Indies or England-South Africa, every series has had few close matches. And not to forget the Ranji Trophy final that we had this year. We have truly witnessed some amazing cricket. Most of it is due to the changed mentality of the cricketers. Of late, they have started playing for the results. This combined with the effect of T20s and ODIs on the batting style has ensured that test cricket is no more 5 days of lull, boring play. Even the draws that have been played were very exciting like the ones in the England - South Africa series.

People had feared that in this fast age world, test cricket would become obsolete. That it would lose its charm and would be replaced by the shorter versions. But from what I see, it has changed for better. In fact, I like it more than the shorter version these days. And the thing that I like most about it is the fact that unlike the shorter versions, each game creates its memories. More often than not, T20s and ODIs are forgettable. Its very rare to see someone reminiscing about a good ODI or a good T20. But a good test match leaves its impact. The five day cricketing marathon has always had its takers and would continue to have it. Hoping to see some good match in the coming series, especially in the India - South Africa series. By the way, the series will have 1 ODI at Kanpur also. And fortunately, there are no exams clashing with the match this time. Hoping to finally see a match in the Green Park.