In defence of Nadal

Let me begin by saying that I am not a huge Nadal fan, or a huge Federer fan. Nah! That spot remains reserved for Agassi,  my all time favourite – the flawed genius. This post is inspired more by a long discussion that Parul and I had last weekend while watching Nadal steam roll his way to his fifth French Open title.

Nadal is not the most graceful player we have seen. Nor is the most skillful. But he is one helluva hard worker and all his matches reflect this where he seems to carry on despite all the sweat and grunting. 7 Grand Slams, including one on hard court, and an Olympic Gold, along with numerous ATP titles, are a testament to his game. Add to this the fact that he is perhaps the only player to have a upper hand against Federer, and that too consistently. Even on grass, Federer’s favourite surface, Nadal has proven to be a worthy competitor.

To say that he isn’t a tennis great as he hasn’t won much else on surfaces other than clay is akin to saying Bjorn Borg isn’t a great as he hasn’t won the Australian or US Open. To be fair to Nadal, his style of playing isn’t too conducive for the hard surface, or for that matter a long career. Despite that, he went on to win the Australian Open in 2009, beating none other than the great Federer. Says something, no?

In fact, he has beaten Federer to win 5 of his 7 titles just proves how good he is. To be a worthy competitor to Federer when no one else has come close is an achievement in itself. When the two have met in Grand Slam finals, Rafa has won five times, losing thrice.

I don’t know if Rafa will be counted as an all time great, but I know for sure that if I am asked to list players I enjoy watching play, he would be on it!

As he says often (hat tip Jabberwock), “We gonna see, no?” – Yes, we are!!

PS: What is it with tennis and men crying on court?? Federer, Murray, and now Nadal. I know you need metrosexual fan following to sell all the products you guys advertise. But for Christ’s sake, stop being sissies!!

Rajneeti: The Review

The Good:

  1. The pace – the movie moves quickly and doesn’t feel dragged except for parts of the second half. Having said that some scenes could be removed and others extended for more impact.
  2. Nana Patekar – wish he had some more meaty scenes!! Btw, same goes for Naseeruddin Shah – would have loved to see him as the Shakuni to Nana’s Krishna.
  3. No songs – no unnecessary song and dance sequences! Love that. But the background score could have been strengthened.
  4. Never thought I would say this in my life, but, Arjun Rampal. He looks good in his role as Sonny Corleone.

The Bad:

  1. Copying from the Godfather – Ranbir may be good, but he ain’t no Al Pacino (broken jaw, reluctant mobster, don’t insult my intelligence, etc) or Marlon Brando (the legendary peacemaking scene). Pacino’s character had a lot of conscience even though it turned rouge. In Rajneeti, Ranbir goes from the PhD student to a conniving politician without and guilt whatsoever. Not convincing. Other attempts are bad too – death of Arjun Rampal, etc.
  2. Attempts at imitating Mahabhrata – The Ajay Devgn (what the hell is this crap about numerology) angle is useless and only ends up in a pathetic scene with the use of word “Jyest” (sanskrit for eldest). WTF. Who uses the word anyway??
  3. Manoj Bajpai – you are better than this dude!

The Ugly:

  1. All the women characters in the movie. Under-developed. Horribly played. And total doormats. Katrina’s imitation of Sonia Gandhi for moments is good though.

With love… From Mumbai!

Random collection of notes from Mumbai.

## I love the fact that the city is always abuzz with activity. Be it the middle of the night, you will still find people on streets. Autos and taxis are not as difficult to get. A lot of food joints are open till very late.

## I love the fact that autowallahs travel by meter. If you have ever been in Delhi you would know what this means. There is no haggling over price, and they do not take you through a convoluted way. The latter of course is the result of the structure of the city which does not allow too much change in the routes.

## I love that Parul can go to her house in an auto late in the night without us being worried about her. Again, Delhi walas would know what this means. The city is safe, no matter what time of the day it is. This again stems from the fact the city is always active.

## The Mumbai local – the lifeline of Mumbai. These things allow you to get from place A to B in the quickest and the cheapest way. There are people of all classes in it, right from an office boy to a high level exec. They all use it. I have still not gotten used to taking the same train everyday, but some people do. I saw a gang of people playing cards on one of them a number of times, and when I asked they told me that they all take the same train after work. The 7:14 to Borivali I think it was. Also, it’s amazing how they concept of private space exists in such crowded place. No one is peeking into what you are reading or tries to eavesdrop on your conversation. Having said that, it could have been much better done. The stations are a mess. No effort has been made to manage the number of people who use the local every day. Public services are absent and no effort has been made to streamline the flow of passengers.

## I hate the stench the city has. For someone who lands for the first time it’s very easy to detect. Even for someone with as little a sense of smell as me. And every morning as I take the train to work I can feel it.

## I hate the fact that Parul will not be here in another couple of months’ time. Same might be true for Sandy. In a place that can make you feel very lonely despite the crowd, these people will be sorely missed.

## I hate the crowd in Mumbai. The ‘gardi’ as they call it. It’s everywhere. From the train station to the malls. From food joints to coffee shops. Everything is crowded!

## Finally, I hate the fact that I can’t seem to get a place to live here. No one seems to be willing to rent out a decent place to bachelors. I would have seen at least 30 flats, and have been close to paying the deposit thrice. And yet, no luck! Meanwhile, I have happily stationed myself at Jeete’s place, but hope to get a place soon. Pray for me people!!

As for work, it’s a different experience altogether. It’s my first time at a place not full of engineers, but Pharma and Med grads. And most of them quite senior to me. Their way of thinking is very different from what I am used to. While I miss the earlier bunch a lot, I also like learning about their perspective on business in general and the industry in specific. My VBA coding skills are immensely helpful, both to me and my team mates. Thanks for that Bansal. Overall, keeping my fingers crossed for a great experience!

Calling Wisden’s bullshit

Had it been printed in TOI, I would not have bothered to respond. However, when a respected publication like The Wisden Almanack says something as outrageous, I think it warrants a few words. And no, it is not about selecting four Englishmen in the top five cricketers of the last year. The piece I am talking about, appears as “If the ICC move to India, we might as well say ta, ta” in the current edition under “Notes by the Editor“. Some lines and my response below.

Were the ICC to be based in New Delhi or Mumbai, the power-base of their next president Sharad Pawar, the staff would become predominantly Indian as the main current administrators would find it too difficult to relocate their families there, and the organisation would cease to reflect the attitudes and values of all its members.

Where would you, Mr. Berry, have it relocate to? One would think it has to be one of the Test playing nations, given the lack on interest in cricket in the neutral venues like Dubai. If so, would not a city in the sub-continent, with four of nine test playing nations, be more representative of the members? And I would stick my neck out and say that Delhi or Mumbai would a top choice in the region. Also, with a large number of expat population, I see no reason why administrators would find it difficult to relocate here vis-a-vis London or Sydney or Johannesburg.

It is not a business, or an industry like steel, to be taken over.

In case you have missed the memo Sir, the game is a business, and the clout of India is proof enough. Unless Mr. Berry wants to stick his neck in the sand and pretend that we are still in the 50s, he should know that the game needs money to be run efficiently and ensure the further development of the sport.

All said and done, I believe the piece was out of place. While I agree that India wields more than necessary influence on the ICC, one has to be cognizant of the fact that India is where cricket gets most of its audience from. So get over your fears and accept reality.

And for God’s sake, please let Tata and Corus be in peace. It’s not like we have made you slaves.

Goodbyes and all that…

Its been a month and a half since I last wrote anything here, and more than two since anything substantial. The single longest break I have taken since I started blogging. But then I am back. I had written the post below a day before I graduated but hadn’t gotten around to posting it. Anyway, this one extremely long vote of thanks if I may say so.

It was just about a year back that I was writing about leaving Evalueserve, and how I would miss them so much every day. To be honest, I did miss like crazy for a month or so. And then the schedule of ISB got the better of me. There was very little time to miss people, or reminisce about old days. Yet whenever I had a good chai (thanks a ton Megha), watched an F1 race, a football match, or a tennis game, used Excel or Word, and in general had a good time, those memories came flooding back! I still miss you guys a lot!!

I hadn’t been psenti about ISB so far. But then a friend sent a mail today that made me realize that there are just a couple of more days to go for what has been an amazing roller-coaster of a ride that is ISB! It’s been just about a year, and as promised, it has given memories and friends to last a lifetime. There are so many people to thank for it that using names is going to be difficult. But some must be mentioned.

My quaddies. Much like the wingies in Pilani, quaddies at ISB are your safety net. These are the people you end up spending most time with, and in general having a lot of fun with. Sam – my partner in crime, be it movies or music. Shared so many brilliant moments watching crappy movies before exams with him that it almost became a ritual. What F.R.I.E.N.D.S was to Pilani, House MD was to ISB. Good movies too were watched together. Raj – the nawab of the group. He taught us what alfresco dining was, but could never convince us about the difference between cartoons and animation though. Avin – the most reclusive of us all, also perhaps the smartest. With his cap and shades, Avin was the man to watch when we went for treats. He was the one responsible for a lot of aching muscles when he got the quad addicted to Wii Sports! Damn you man!! And don’t get me started on his choice of places to take his girl to 😛

My study group. My family at ISB. Kirti, Megha, Malavika, and Sunil. Love you guys! Kirti – the smart guy of the group. No academic problem was too tough for him. Sarcasm his best weapon, I gelled a lot with him, and we accounted for the most time pass during team meetings. Best of luck for married life dude!! Megha – the organized girl. As someone said for her, seems like she has Hermione’s Time Turner. Also known for her fabulous voice, amazing mimicry skills, and awesome chai making skills. Sunil – CA sahib, was the source of most gossip on campus. Wrote the most formal emails ever, and coined the term “Megha’s chai quad”. We will miss you on graduation day dude! Malavika – the dreamer, poet, and our very own IT person!! She has been a source for sanity in the group. The only one who understood FB, Twitter, Reader, Harry Potter, FRIENDS, and much more. The most enthu person in the group, she was the driver behind most group outings.

The extended study group. Gogo – the taller of the two Goyals. With his amazingly correct Hindi, and Rajasthani, he was the source of most comedy!! Supra – boodhi haddiyon mein abhi bhi bahut jaan hai. With endless stories, the old man of the group usually gave us a lot of gyaan. Jasnoor – the other IT engineer. Shared most geekery with him. Also, introduced me to the dhaba, and we went out for food a lot. With his almost alien vehicle, he was the most unlikely of Sardars one can ever meet. Kshitij – CP partner. We had a lot of common courses, and made life miserable for many. Also, his quad was the source of many get togethers. Diwali, New Year, CTB meetings, you name it. The lovely Radhika – ensured that we were well fed most of the times. Also, worked harder than most of us for the CTB.

RockEE – my section at ISB. Full of wonderful people, to single anyone out would not be fair.

CTB – the final study group, and most fun assignment. Kshitij, Radhika, Malavika, Sarosh, and Renu. One of the most fun group to hang out with! Sarosh – the One! This girl had so much energy and enthu that she spent most of her time at ISB ensuring that we enjoyed every moment of it. And always had fun doing what she did. The CTB was her brain child. Thanks for everything Sarosh! Renu – she ensured we worked, never ran out of chai, coffee, or Maggi, and wrote the most difficult write-ups of them all!! Hats off to you girl. Based in Mumbai, be sure that I will keep dropping in once in a while for some grub, and lots of psenti-putting sessions 🙂

Various study groups I had in electives – Mummyji, Mayank, Ashish, Yev, and others. You guys were awesome! Need to mention Mummyji & Mayank – you two were sooper fun!! INMK and MGCP was so much fun because of you. Thanks!!

Modi – I have become so used to him being around that it just seemed poetic justice that he also got a job in Mumbai. Thanks for hanging out with me at Apollo and all the help here at ISB. See you soon in Mumbai 🙂

Everyone at ISB I have missed. There are people from my SV, my ELP team, various elective sessions, the clubs, and many more! Thanks for making it one memorable year!!

Special mention of the entire ISB staff in general, and housekeeping in particular, for making the ISB experience an exceptionally smooth one. The levels of service this guys provide is just mind-blowing. I still wonder how I will get used to life in Mumbai without the serviced apartment 🙁

Akanksha – can’t believe that you weren’t present for my graduation. The first known face in Hyderabad, ISB experience would not have been the same without you. Thanks for driving me around, the Batman poster :P, home grub, getting me all the stuff I needed from the city, and always being willing to listen when I cribbed about life at ISB. Thanks a ton!!

I know I will be in touch with most of you, but it will not be so with a few others. For them, something I remember from long back,

सितारों को दमन में छुपा के रखना
बड़ी दूर तक रात ही रात होगी
मुसाफिर हो तुम भी मुसाफिर हैं हम भी
किसी मोड़ पे फिर मुलाकात होगी