Friday, March 1, 2013

The Age of Kali

I always thank my college for one thing that it gave me during my stay there – my reading habit. It’s been almost nine years now when I firstly picked up a book and started reading as a casual reader. By now, I have touched upon and glanced through almost all type of literature – be it fiction, nonfiction, history, politics, current affair, business or children books. Whenever I am outside or on travel and I see a bookstore, I get inside to have a look of new arrivals and spend quite a lot of time. My friends called me paranoid or book-worm. Though I did not reach to the level of voracity and call myself a guy having extensive command on literature or subject or topic, I love giving reviews, giving critical points and suggesting good books to my friends. Literature is a powerful tool. It makes you know many things that you would have not known otherwise. Last to last week, when I was ogling around in the Deloitte library or ‘communication gym’ in Deloitte lingo, I came across a book called ‘The age of Kali’ written by William Dirlymple, a Scottish journalist, who spent an important part of his life in exploring Indian subcontinent. His sheer audacity and persistence to search India and bring her in his writing is so powerful that you feel awestruck in surprise and disbelief. When every second or third educated graduate, be he engineer or MBA or doctor, wants to move out of the country in search of comfortable and peaceful life, it is quite recognizable that a British came to India, stayed for almost nine years, dug out so many manuscripts from the dusty racks of old and decaying libraries and read them and put them in simple words so that people like us can access his writings and avoid the pain.
Reading ‘The age of Kali’ was like going back in India and her neighboring nations of 90s and seeing hue and cry all over the place. It hurt me when the book started with the story of Bihar and went on detailing incident by incident which made Bihar notorious. Interview with Bihar then CM Laloo Prasad Yadav was hilarious as well as ironic that how a person of such stature can talk like this, then followed the stories of glory of Lucknow, Gwalior and Hyderabad. It was surprising to know that the Nizam had two trucks of jewelries loaded for the emergency that he anyways ignored later on and never felt any need to put them back in the lockers. The interviews with LTTE folks, Imran Khan, Benazir Bhutto and her mother and brother were important insight to understand the condition there.
Overall, the author tried to define Kalyug – Age of Kali, the fourth and the last era for humans. He seems to have justified how people of the country are becoming brutal and uncivilized and moving towards the end of last Yug. The book is certainly worth reading as it gives the insight of many hidden things which we never come across in normal life. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

5 super human achievements in Cricket:

I remember I started watching Cricket with India-England ‘92 world cup match in which Indian team was attired in dark blue outfits, in fact the darkest one, which could have been more suitable for white players of Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa (all players were white in SA team in 92 world cup) or even Pakistan than for dark Indian players. After that Cricket become my continuous obsession that changed into a passionate love which held me in its grasp for almost a decade, for my childhood to adolescence. Though I have left following cricket religiously, here, from my memory, I am trying to list down 5 achievements which I think are super human and very difficult or rather almost impossible to break.

1.       Maximum number of centuries in First class Cricket: What was your reaction when AnilKapoor asked the same question in Slumdog Millionaire’?  Jamal chaiwala, the slumdog to be millionaire, would have been happy and would have stroke out, when Anil had hinted him to answer Ricky Ponting as Anil, Jamal would have known, could not have given the right answer. The record is with Sir Jack Hobbs for more than 78 years with 199 centuries and 61K runs. With modest bowling ability and great skill in fielding, he was a complete package for a team with his batting abilities. He was the most sought player, who became one of the richest sportsmen of the UK. He could surely have crossed magical 200 mile stone if his career had not been halted during First World War. So, when you applause Sachin Tendulkar for his ‘century for centuries’, you should remember Jack Hobbs for his contribution to Cricket.

2.       Best bowling performance in a Test match: Anil Kumble shares a unique record of taking all 10 wickets in an inning with Jim Laker. Incidentally both made their records in the second inning. The only difference is Jim had taken 9 more wickets in first inning to the contrast of 4 taken by Kumble in his match. This makes the count of 19 wickets in a test match which has stood unbeatable till date. The 20th wicket was taken by Tony Lock, a left arm orthodox slower. It is interesting or you may call it fate that Tony bowled 69 overs for his single wicket whereas Jim 68 for his 19. If it gives you the impression that Tony was just a mediocre then let me tell you that he has 174 wickets in 49 matches with an average of 3.55, better than the average of most of Indian bowlers of the current team. Score card is here.

3.       The Hat tricks: Chetan Sharma suddenly became famous ( or notorious) when he was hit for 6 by Miandad on the last ball and the match slipped out of India’s hand which looked to be sure shot victory before the last ball. I mean in how many matches in those days the team batting second would make 40 plus run and win with a SIX on the last ball. Very rare and very disappointing for the losing team! After a year, Chetan Sharma became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the world cups. Now coming to the main focus area - the hat tricks. I summarize you some of the important and unusual hat-tricks that happened till now.

a.       4 hat-tricks by Wasim Akram: Wasim Akram is the only bowler who has 4 hat-tricks under his name – 2 in one-days and 2 in Test matches. The gap between ‘first and second’ and ‘third and fourth’ was within half year, though the gap between second and third ones was around 9 years. Though LatishMalinga has got 3 in ODI but he did not start his account in test cricket. With 4, Akram still tops the list of best bowlers the cricket world has ever seen. 

b.      Double hat-trick in a test match: Jimmy Matthews from Australia took two hat-tricks on the same day in the first and the second innings against South Africa on 28 May 1912. Interestingly, he took all six wickets by himself (b, lbw, lbw & b, c & b, c & b). 100 years have passed till now but no one could break this record.

c.       3 wickets in 3 different overs: Though CourtneyWalsh had to wait for more than 48 hours to complete is his hat-trick and his one is considered one of its kinds, the credit for the most bizarre and unusual one goes to Merv Hughes. He took his three wickets in the different overs. Being unaware of it, He had to be informed of his achievement. For more details click here.

4.       Maximum score in a one-day match without a boundary: In October 1994, New Zealand team came to India to play in a tri-series with India and West-Indies. The tri-series was placed between India-West Indies ODI series, in which both were 1-1.  New Zealand under the captaincy of Ken Rutherford played their first match against India in Baroda. With 27-2, touring team was in trouble when Ken and Adam started taking their ship for sail. However, Sachin’s Second century wasted the efforts of aggressive 108 from the visiting captain, what became significant is the score of 96 by Parore on 138 balls. Considering that he did not hit a single boundary his strike rate was not bad for the match of the 90s. Though anything can happen in Cricket, with very high scoring ODI matches, aggressive players, long batting orders make this record invulnerable. Check out the scorecard of this match.

5.       Centuries by two players on debut in the same inning: In ’96 summer, both India and Pakistan toured England, but it was not as favorable for India as it was for Pakistan. India did not even win a single match whereas Pakistan thrashed England by 2-0 in test matches. Anil Kumble struggle to take wickets whereas Mustaq Ahmed made feasts on English batsmen. The most positive output for India was the entry of Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguli in the team. Both had a dream start with 96 and 131 respectively in the Lords test match, the second one of the tour. But what they could not achieve were the centuries by two batmen in the same inning playing their first matches. If Dravid had made 4 more runs, India would have been the first country in the test Cricket to make this record. Later on, Ali Naqvi, a lesser known name, and Azhar Mahmood, number-8 batsman in the match, made this record against South Africa in Rawalpindi. You can check the scorecard here. It is worth mentioning that Azhar Mahmood made it against fiery pace of Allen Donald and Shaun Pollock, supported by McMillan and Kallis. His inning of 132 against South Africa in Durban 8th best inning of all the time and probably the best one by any number-7. He seemed to have enjoyed SA bowling attack as his all three test centuries came against South Africa. He was one of them who could fit in the Pakistani side like pieces of a Jigsaw-puzzle, but for some unknown reason he was left out of the team. No matter what, he shares a record which looks unbreakable.

            There are many records which you can see with awesomeness and expect them to be included in this list, but what I tried here is to bring out the ones which are less known or have been forgotten. Please feel free to comment and mention about such records which you think are rare, unknown and impossible or difficult to achieve.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Year 2012

After a long time, all of a sudden, I opened my long forgotten blog page and thought of refreshing it by adding a new blog, the first one in year 2012. Who knows whether we will survive to see the arrival of 2013. :) Though I am not as anxious as I was twelve years back before the start of a new millennium, when I read of Nostradamus, a french astrologer, who in his own verses had predicted that the humans would never see the new millennium. When most of the world was busy in solving Y2K bug, cricket world was surprised by Herschelle Gibbs and Lance Klusener, Europe was keen to convert local currencies in Euros, Harry Potter was getting his shape, Steve jobs was giving birth to smartphones, Windows were getting new identities, my mind was curious to know if we would ever see the new year 2000.

When I realise it's been more then twelve years now, I feel myself getting older. Gone are the days, when had I the excitement of getting promoted to next class that would fetch me new books, specially a new school diary, which used to be my companion for that year. I was luckier than my brother in this case, as I always got new books and he got mine. I remember his frustration on my old books that he anyways would read in next class - classic example of Hobson's choice. :-)

2012 is special for me. I am going to lose my bachelorhood. :) Though I am not excited very much, but I can see how my thought process is changing. I know things will not be the same as before. I don't know how many surprises the new year will give me. Nonetheless, I am waiting to face to it.

It's 1:54 AM morning of 3rd Jan right now. Today the long weekend got over and after few hours I will be in office to work. I know I am little late in penning this and weird to choose the time to publish it. But, it's time not to think such things, but to welcome the new year. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Delhi Belly.. Shit does not happen until you produce it....

Did you like Delhi belly??

You must have, if you are a school or college student, mostly in the range of higher secondary to graduation. This is the time when you feel you are becoming liberal in your behaviour, for you have started using infamously famous 'F-word', initially intentionally then casually and then frequently as if it has become a part of your vocabulary. You start using it as replacements of words you don't know or you are not able to remember.

When I used it first time while talking to a girl, it was my intention to look cool and to be abreast with new generation at every untouched aspect. When she looked into my eyes as if she questioned me 'Do you know what you said?', I felt my attempt was fishy and therefore complete failure. My friends could not teach me how to use it, as they always preferred deshi versions. They were the smarter lot than me. I still wonder how they used to talk to girls without using any smear words, when they use it very frequently amongst boys. I feel it's magic of split personality – clearly defined and visible, almost like a coin whose faces don't see each other ever. Things changed with time. So do boys and girls and their behaviour and vocabulary. And, so do I. Girls are now equally comfortable with boys as boys are with them in using 'F'. Addition of 'WTF' in Oxford dictionary is the sign of revolution, which we made possible. If you want you can acknowledge this, make a big grin and feel proud for your contribution to the society.

Fuck, I wandered a lot... Let us get back to the movie.

I saw Delhi Belly in English; biggest mistake to ruin my evening by listening F in every sentence, even when it was not required. It should have been used as a weapon to emphasize some dialogues, not all. Indian cinema don't know the meaning of cacophony; and it is true. Imagine a person sitting in a closed room is bound to listen same cacophonous word in every minute. Many would have felt the same thing. Even English movies don't use this much. Take any good standard English movie and check the dialog. You will realize the difference.

You can say that Indian movies are making us psuedo-liberal or we ourselves are converting us like this and giving a chance to movie-maker to do some experiments. Whatever may the results be, many things related to them have lost it meaning.

For me, Delhi belly was a disappointment, as it could not show me anything but a pile of shit. When shit happens you should know how to flush it; if you don't know, people will put handkerchiefs on their mouths and noses and turn the faces before giving you disgusting looks.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Welcome 2011

I was bashed out by the crowd rushing towards the cynosure while I was trying to compile a beautiful panorama with help of the camera parallel to my roaming eyes. My eyes and mouth were wide open, almost equating themselves to same dimensions, keeping them agape and hypnotized by colossal and articulated structures. There was congeries of people from across the sphere as if everyone gathered to peep and witness the moment for that they have waited so long. I, along with my friends, was one of them. 

I looked upon my watch and it just clicked 10:00 PM. We expected to complete rest of the distance in half hour and reach London eye, where everything was waiting for the momentous time. After two hours, for us it would be 00:00 1/1/11 at banks of Thames near London eye – what better would we have expected than this to say good bye 2010 and welcome 2011? We were eagerly waiting for the moment when clock-hands meet their countenance to hug each other and announce the arrival of New Year. 

We were a group of eight Infosions, who decided to go to London after many sessions of brainstorming and all sort of calculations. Having completed 3 hours of journey from Macclesfield to Embankment, London, from there to London eye we had to walk along with crowd. We were the participants of quarter million people, who were moving along with us. Though roads were of significant width, it was so densely populated that we had no option but to line and creep slowly. Everyone was happy enough to cheer and cry loud in celebration. Roads were filled with empty liquor bottles and cans. There were people from all over the world, of approximately every ethnicity, just came to London-eye for 10 min show. 

Finally, we reached to our destination, but got divided into two factions due to so much commotion. I was left with 4 friends and rest 3 got lost somewhere else. We were in front of London eye by 10:30 PM. After that, it was a waiting period for one hour and half. Thanks to DJ, organized by BBC, and cheerful crowd, it was not as boring as anyone could have supposed to be. With every click of the Bigben-clock, crowd were becoming denser and denser and louder and louder. We also were presented a toast in the form of some Hindi songs that truly delighted us. Certainly, it was symbolism of complete euphoria, and we were witnessing it.

It was about to be 00:00 of first day of 2011. Everyone started cheering in synchronization. My hands went automatically into my pocket and fetched the camera. I put it on recording mode. Countdown started from 10 and everyone started counting in harmony - 10 9 8 ........ with every digit pitch was getting amplified. With the bang on zero, fireworks started at the full blow. London eye was illuminating under the light of fireworks. Fireworks continued for 10 minutes in the midst of music, which included Queen's We Will Rock You, The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and Blur's Song 2.

It was dead silence after fireworks. It was time to go back and sleep or remember the moments we just witnessed. Everyone started rushing back towards his destination. I still remember whatever I saw on first night of this year. Undoubtedly, it was one of the best celebrations I ever had, which I lived it for a moment and will remember forever. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

An amateur attempt

How will you define the movie? Movie, if you exclude the list of super natural, sci-fi ones, is depiction of real life with fictional characters that moves before you as a real life story as if everything is squeezed within a limited time-frame  For that time period, you suddenly become secondary and someone else takes your place to become primary to show his life – bad or good, left to you to decide. You watch the movie in one go, without taking breaks and mostly once. It suddenly transmits you in a different world that might be completely alien for that period. You laugh, you cry, you frustrate, you anger – all the feelings within few hours of time span that you otherwise would have felt them in your entire life. Certainly, it is one of the wonderful inventions of mankind.
After such a long time I watched a movie in a theater and the first one in the UK – interestingly, a Hindi one – Aakrosh. It was nice to see Priyadarshan taking a break from his routine comedy viands and moving into serious cinema. How can one forget that he had proved his dexterity on serious concepts with movies like Gardish, Virasat, Kala Paani and his National Award winner, Kanjeevaram? This one also is of same genre. It made me learn the word ‘Honour Killing’. And, after the movie I wondered whether it meant ‘killing for honour’ or ‘killing of honour’. Aakrosh is one of the movies that exerted a force on my emotion and almost made me cry.
The movie starts with a scenic view of Celebration of Dussehra in which the effigies of Rawana and his family are burn to ashes with fireworks, showing conquest of good over evil, followed by chaos created by Delhi college students for three missing students, Vinu and his friends, since 2 months then entry of two main characters, A Major and a CBI officer, who are given the charge of investigation. Then the movie goes on for further revelation and broadens itself to bigger perspective than missing boys. The story reveals one of sad love stories which moves toward tragic end. The hollow esteem tries to endure by all brutal means; in the end, virtue triumphs, but after losing everything. I leave rest of the story for you to watch, explore and feel, otherwise you would curse me for spoiling your entertainment.
This movie is more than a movie to me. My last three blogs are related to issues related to this. But, my blog may not quiver you from inside, but this movie can. It made me remember incidents that took place in the name of faith and honour.  For example, while watching the brutal genocide scene, I remembered Bathe massacre in 1997 that swept away a whole Dalit village within few hours. Besides, its cinematic synchronizations which give you a nice roller coaster ride of impotence, anger and vengeance. Vinu’s friends being of upper caste and killed by their own men by caste shows everything comes after human’s greed. Bipasa is bruised by her husband, unabashedly corrupt cop Paresh Rawal, who in turn is beaten for revenge by Ajay Devgn. Even the last scene was quite touchy, when devastated mother and wife took final step of killing everyone involved. There are many more. Although, there are some flaws e.g. a CBI officer with very high authority, is made mockery by local policemen and vicious gang lords, reporters are beaten before the heroes, but they did nothing and waited for appropriate moment, this movie is worth watching.
Now, you must be wondering why the subject line is ‘AAA' or 'An Amateur Attempt’. This meant my attempt of providing a review not Pridarshan’s attempt of making it. He can never be an amateur as long as movies are concerned. This is my attempt to move on from amateurism to purism. Your comment are always invited as, for me, they value more than my blogs.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ayodhya: An eye opener to every Indian

In last 6 months, I have read almost 6-7 books on India. Before reading the book, I flipped the pages of preface in curiosity to know what provoked the writers that they put their vital time and energy to write about India. Some referred its growth in last 20 years and its claim of becoming super power in next 20 years, while some mentioned its diverse culture and rich history. While going through the book, I realized that their claim of their books were paeans of Indian achievements and valued culture vanished after every one or two pages. They moved towards the genuine topic they see in our everyday life. For them, one of the hot topics was Ayodhya. They could not resist themselves from discussing about RSS, VHP, BJP, Lord Rama, Babri Masjid and many topics associated to it. Yesterday, Verdict came out after 18 years of long wait that usually happens in Indian court. But this time, It was good for everyone as in last 18 years many would have moved much ahead for some important necessity of life than sticking to it for justice. Many of them, who have firm belief in what should have been the verdict, don't know what their justification is.

I am neither a journalist nor a historian, who can provide you minute details of what happened in last 2000 years, so that I can conclude whom the disputed land belongs to - Hindus or Muslims or both. But, I can say for sure, 1992's Babri Masjid demolition was a sign of pure cowardice to achieve greedy political edge. Whatever happened was a sharp blow on the face of secularism, in which India believed. Many claimed their favors by strongly stating that it was a process of restoration of one of the Hindus' most sacred places by wracking and ruining 550 year old monument. These people did not even know if Lord Ram ever existed on earth or he is just an art of fiction whose legacy was old and strong enough to disguise anyone. Even though, if suppose Ram took avatar, quite long before, what was the point of destruction? A religion never expects us to do something of this kind. A religion never asks us to attack on others' belief or take revenge.

When I was in second year, I was told by one of my seniors about ragging. He told me if I wanted to control our juniors and instill fear inside them then I should find the weakest link. In other words, remedy was to find out a shy, introvert and scared guy and slap him hard in front of his other batch mates. 99% were the chances that I could control them for entire ragging period without any fuss. Those words made me remember how I had been hit first time in front of all. I had to swallow that humiliation without any resistance as I had not had enough confidence and courage to oppose. Though it was just a part of college ritual and it ended after sometime, but when I see this scenario in context of what happened in Ayodhya, I feel the situation of minorities was as good or bad as first year juniors. If Hindus has been in minority in this country, I suspect that anyone would have thought of restoring Ram in this way.

We can't go into the past and change it, but definitely we can change the flow of future by doing good in our present. This is a time of realization that digging old cemeteries will give us rotten dead bodies, nothing else. There are many creative and positive things to do, then why to waste time in such fights. I wish there would not be any more Ayodhya anywhere. It is a wakeup call not only for Indians, but also for every human being.