Categories
Cricket Movies Quotes

Sports writing

American History X remains one of my all time favorites. And there is a line in the movie which I really love.

Derek says it’s always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can’t top it, steal from them and go out strong.

Dileep is one of the best sports writer of our times (and you guys might want to look up Aakash Chopra as well), and he has followed this rather good piece of advice to the hilt in this tribute to Murali.

Neville Cardus once said of Learie Constantine: “When Constantine plays the whole man plays, not just the professional cricketer part of him. There is nothing in the world for him when he bats, save a ball to be hit — and a boundary to be hit over. When he bowls, the world is three wickets, there to be sent spinning gloriously. Cricket, indeed, is Constantine’s element; to say that he plays cricket, or takes part in it, is to say that a fish goes swimming. Constantine is cricket, West Indian cricket…”

For nearly two decades, Murali was Sri Lanka’s Constantine, the prime factor in his nation wresting respect from a grudging world. There are a few more one-day scalps to claim and Twenty20 batsmen to embarrass. But for now he can put his feet up and contemplate a job that no one could have done better. Top of the world on the field, and a different class off it. Truly one of a kind.

Go read this piece on Murali. And to Murali: You Sir, will be missed!

Categories
Sports

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!!

Categories
Movies

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.
Categories
Personal

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!

Categories
Crib Cricket WTF

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.