Vantage point

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Leave Ganguly Alone

Everyone in India loves a scapegoat. And while heaping muck at that scapegoat, we lose sight of reason.

The scapegoat of the moment is Saurav Ganguly, the batsman. I am mentioning "batsman" since no one seems to have any credible and sustained criticism about his strategies or tactics as a captain. There is the complaint about the team's defensive approach, but one mistake alone can't be grounds for dismissal, can it?

So the criticism is centring around Ganguly the batsman. Does Ganguly, as a batsman, deserve to be dropped from the Indian team? Its a question that should not be hastily answered. Just 5 innings are too short a period to reach a judgement. Sure, he has failed in this series, but then all batsmen have troughs. Before jumping to conclusions, we need to see whether his failure with the bat has been consistent.

We also need to check if his failure has been very glaring as compared to his team-mates. Everyone knows that Sehwag has been scoring runs aplenty. How about Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman, the rest of the middle order? If they have been doing very well, but he has been failing, then the complaint is justified.

So let us take a look at his innings between the two Pakistan series. He did well in Bangladesh, but then they are minnows, so we will ignore that.

South Africa Kolkatta test
Dravid - 80
Tendulkar - 20
Ganguly - 40
Laxman - 38

South Africa Kanpur test
Dravid - 54
Tendulkar - 3
Ganguly - 57
Laxman - 9

Australia Chennai test
Dravid - 26
Tendulkar - DNB
Ganguly - 9
Laxman - 4

Australia Bangalore test
Dravid - 0 & 60
Tendulkar - DNB
Ganguly - 45 & 5
Laxman - 31 & 3

As we can see, he hasn't done too badly as compared to the others.

So let us give him some time. If he has an extended bad run in comparison to the rest of the team, maybe he should be dropped. But judging him on just 3 tests is not right.


When Kiruba overtook me to become the Numero Uno on Blogstreet, I made this post, in which I wrote -

But remember, I have tasted blood, and I will hunt again. I shall be working to dethrone you in a manner that would make both Brutus and Lady Macbeth knock on the insides of their graves in approval. It will be one long series of conspiracies and plots aimed at regaining the spot.

My plot has succeeded!!!

Kiruba has decided to shut down his blog.

My conspiracies have worked!!!!


Seriously though, Kiruba, I wish you wouldn't stop blogging. Just take a break for a few days and then come back. You will be sorely missed, and you wouldn't want that to happen, would you?

Ever wondered....

If Puri in Orissa were to be the venue of a Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited plant, would it be called BHELPuri?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

About Gandhi

As I have written before on my blog, I am saddened at how most Indians think about Gandhiji, and how their thinking is governed mainly by propaganda spread either by Congressians or RSS folks. I have lamented about how hardly any Indians take any efforts to read enough about Gandhiji before they judge him.

A couple of years back, during a train ride from Mumbai to Lucknow, I had a discussion with some IIML-mates about this topic, and at that time my friend Yogesh Dashrath had been extremely critical of Gandhiji.

Recently, in a mail he started praising Gandhiji. As this happened just a few days after he read Freedom at Midnight, I accused him to listening to sense only when foreigners preach it. How wrong I was, has been demonstrated by this mail he wrote describing the transformation of his opinions. It is an amazing mail, and am reproducing it here with his permission -

So finally I shall write my piece about Gandhi..

Let me start from my early recollections..i remember that i hated gandhi..i felt that he was the guy who did not stand for us and brahmins in particular..that freedom was achieved not due to his struggle but blows dealt to british forces in second world war..that gandhi was the reason we had partition..that his death resulted into hatred against brahmins and also nehru screwed maharashtra in states reorganization by giving dang to gujrat and belgaum, karvar to karnataka..also non violence seemed such a idea to gain freedom..we shouldnt have been begging but it was our birth right and we should have kicked them out of india..also, gandhi was like the icon of congress adn the congressmen that we knew were all (or anyways most of them) scum..

in short, he seemed a bigoted, cranky, rigid old man who lead india into a path which lost us self respect and left us a legacy which constituted of corrupted politicians..

but as time has gone by i think that i am able to understand things much more..i have come across lot of literature (including and not exclusively lapierre and collins) which gave me fair understanding of what our country is and was as well as host of other issues..

today i still subscribe to most of the points i had then if not views..we got freedom due to lessening of british forces in second world war..gandhi's death resulted into hatred against brahmins and nehrus views against marathi people..he was a rigid old man who held to his views strongly..our freedom should have been got by kicking british out as it was our birthright..

but then i also realized a lot many things..he was only leader who touched entire nation..he practiced what he history full of violence, his non violence and satyagraha are beacons of way of thinking which is revolutionary..violence is natural so i could understand courage which he had to persevere with his views..he was against partition but second rung congress leadership over ruled him..congressmen are not his legacy but throwback on rulers of all ages who ought to be many things which brought me to a stage where i can look into him as one of the greatest human beings..

i do not like social discrimination and i know that u all also subscribe to this view..but we do not do anything for this..we do not have courage to go in front of thousand people and say what we feel..we feel dirty when we visit slums and mahar colonies..i used to feel that people in slums should be banished outside i know better ofcourse..just because i am privilagd does not give me right to think that underprivilaged do not have right to live.. gandhi spent his entire life in their upgradation and not just that he lived like them..that f**king b**ch mayawati or sonia or laloo or anybody who says that they sympathize with these guys are total shams..none of them live in slums and all of them preach from 5 that bas**** paswan who says about mahars and so on but lived in 5 star throughout bihar elections..

gandhi went to places where he was hated with all the passion alone and spoke people about even a small politician has a bodyguard..forget about ministers and PMs..his view that india lived in villages and to make it better we have start there are exactly same as mine..he knew what drove the nation..he felt it..that requires a lot of love in ur heart...

i really felt agrieved abou gaurav speaking of me being influenced by foreign views and preaching about, do not base ur suggestion on half baked stories..though there was time when i felt foreign was all great and india was all i dont think so..there are various points on which i may think so but overall i think i have grown enough to understadn the beauty of this land and its people however flawed they may be..

similarly, my views about gandhi have not changed overnight..but over the years, i realized the extra ordinary nature of his live, his transformation and his courage..i look around myself and find hatred and fear..i live in apartment complex which is guarded round the clock..then i appreciate the courage and greatness of a small man who touched entire nation..he took on their beliefs and customs..he taught us something that made us better..from mere animals he showed us a way to reach peace..he might be flawed and i might not agree to his views, but that does not stop me from saluting to him as the greatest son that india has produced in last century..

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Pakistan Cricket

I have always been a fan of the Pakistan team. According to me, they are one of the few teams who play truly entertaining and passionate cricket. A strong Pakistan team is absolutely essential to the well-being of world cricket.

So it is speaking as a fan of Pakistan cricket that I say that the Bangalore win will actually serve to be counter-productive. It will usher in a lot of euphoria and back-thumping in the Pak cricket establishment, and will postpone some vital steps that need to be taken.

Firstly, the issue of captaincy. Inzimam needs to be replaced. I don't believe all this "leading by example" crap. A test cricketer is one of only 11 players representing his country, and he should not require examples to give his best. A captain's role should primarily be that of a strategist and a tactician. He needs to have a finger on the pulse of the game, and have plots and backup plots ready. Leading by example, motivating the team, etc is also necessary, but it is a given, and is not sufficient to make a good captain.

Anyone who thinks that Pakistan won the Bangalore test because of Inzi's captaincy on the last day has got it dead wrong. The funny thing is that this is being written by people in the same column in which they write that India virtually gifted the game to Pakistan. If India gifted the game, how is the win a result of Inzi's captaincy? In fact in the first session, when the openers were at the crease, Inzi was fairly clueless, and was just waiting for a divine gift rather than making things happen. Never were the words "Sanse pehle allahtaala ka shukar" more heartfelt than on that day. In general, Inzi is just not a good captain. A brilliant batsman, but not a good captain. And he needs to go.

So who will replace him? Younis Khan, the cry will go around. But I would suggest Yousuf Youhana. Younis Khan, for all his runs in this series, is not as good a batsman as Youhana. Two good knocks on flat wickets don't ensure that he will now start delivering consistently. Pakistan will be playing a lot of cricket on bouncier pitches and Younis Khan needs to deliver consistently for a season or two to be considered in the same league as Youhana. Sadly though, the Pakistanis get swayed easily.

The opening combination has always been a problem for the Pakistanis. They need to decide on a pair and try them out for 6-7 tests at a stretch. Only then will they be able to gauge true quality. Salman Butt is an excellent option and I find it baffling that he is not an automatic selection. He is one of those rare Pakistani openers who seems to put a price on his wickets. Just one bad test, and he's been chucked out?

And why the hell is Shahid Afridi opening the innings in a test match? That the former Chief Executive of PCB, Rameez Raja mentions Sehwag and Afridi as batsmen with "similar batting styles" shows that a bunch of idiots are running Pakistan cricket. Sehwag is leagues and leagues above Afridi. Sehwag has scored 10 centuries against 6 different teams in different conditions, of which 6 scores are over 150, of which 2 scores are over 200, of which one is above 300, averaging over 55, and all this in just three seasons. Afridi has been around for eight seasons, and managed just two centuries, at an average of under 35. Sehwag is technically a much more superior batsman, and is much more talented.

And the main reason why Sehwag has done so much better is because most of his scoring shots are risk-free and hit along the ground. With Afridi, almost all his scoring shots are fraught with risk. So it is easy for an opposition captain to plot an Afridi dismissal. Unless it is Afridi's day (there seem to have been only two such days in his test career, going by his century count), he will hole out sooner or later. It is not that he lacks the maturity to play like Sehwag. he lacks the talent and technique to play like Sehwag.

So Afridi opening the batting in test matches is just not a long term solution. Whenever a captain makes that move, he is taking a huge gamble, hoping it will be his day. But the probability of that is extremely sparse.

Salman Butt and Yasser Hameed would be my choice, but only after Hameed goes through a long session with the coach in which he resolves not to go fishing outside the off stump until he has reached a score of 25.

In the middle order, Inzi needs to bat at one drop. He is one of the best batsmen in the world, and he has to get out there as early as possible. Plus, with Inzi coming in early, the game can just change in a matter of half an hour. Youhana needs to be at 4, and Younis Khan at number 5.

In Asif Kamal, Pakistan have found a superb Number 6, and they need to make sure he is picked in every test. He is like a left-handed Mohammad Kaif, and a very dangerous opponent. Kamran Akmal, a fantastic wicketkeeper is perfect at Number 7, and if Moin Khan and Rashid Latif are reading this blog, I would advise them to announce their retirement(s).

Now we come to the bowling line-up. Shoaib Akhtar, when fit, is a natural selection. Danish Kaneria too should be a permanent feature from now on. It is the other two bowling options that worry me.

I am not in favour of keeping Abdul Razzaq in the test team. Like Afridi, he is just a short term option, and though his selection paid off at Mohali, it might not for the remaining season. The only reason he is in the team is because of the legacy of Wasim Akram, wherein they had a decent bat coming in at Number 8. But Wasim was good enough to be included in the team for his bowling alone, and Razzaq is not. While both Afridi and Razzaq are auto-selections for one-dayers, their inclusion in the test team does not make sense if Pakistan is to regain its position at the top of the pile, like the 90s. They have to get used to the fact that their top 6 batsmen, with some help from Number 7, will have to make 400 runs. Having a bits-and-pieces player at Number 8 is suicidal.

Mohammad Sami has enough skill, technique and gumption to be a decent Number 8. He also bowls decently, but is not spearhead material. So whenever Shoaib is unfit, Sami will struggle. Sami also needs to bring in more variation in his bowling. He is fast, but not fast enough to just blast batting line-ups like Shoaib. A good bowling coach will really be able to make him a better bowler.

Now all that remains is the 4th bowler. The three pace options are Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Shabbir Ahmad and Umer Gul. Gul is probably the only Pakistani bowler who can get swing with the new ball. For that sole reason, I would pick him ahead of the other two if he was fit. But if not, then it would be a tough call between the other two. Pakistan need to uncover more fast bowling options.

So this is my ideal Pakistani team and batting order, and in my opinion, if they stick to this, they should improve enough to be counted in the same league as India and England.

1. Salman Butt
2. Yasser Hameed
3. Inzimam-ul-Haq
4. Yousuf Youhana(C)
5. Younis Khan(VC)
6. Asif Kamal
7. Kamran Akmal(wk)
8. Mohd Sami
9. Shoaib Akhtar
10. Umar Gul
11. danish Kaneria

Devrai Review

Devrai - Sacred Grove

It is heartening to see how Marathi cinema has grown. After the heady success of Shwaas, came Sunil Sukhthankar and Sumitra Bhave's Devrai, which also met with decent commercial success. After hearing many rave reviews, I finally bought its VCD and watched it yesterday.

The first thing that hits you about the movie is its starcast, as the opening credits are shown. The film stars the who's who of Marathi cinema, viz, Atul Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni, Mohan Agashe, Amruta Subhash, Tushar Dalvi, and even the little star of Shwaas - Ashwin Chitale.

The movie is the portrayal of the difficult life of a schizophrenic, and the difficulties that his family members have in coping with it. Atul Kulkarni plays the role of Shesh the schizo with habitual aplomb, and he is a treat to watch in his moments of rage, insecurity, and frail determination.

Sonali Kulkarni too delivers a gem of a performance, that of a diffident village girl married to a successful scientist. Her character, Sina, is torn between love for her schizo brother, and her responsibilities towards her husband and children. At times she is combative, at times submissive, according to the situation and her state of mind.

Tushar Dalvi also plays his complex character perfectly - basically a nice guy scientist who alternates between doing the right thing, and getting frustrated at the inconvenience of his schizo borther-in-law.

Mohan Agashe, Amruta Subhash and Ashwin Chitale basically have support roles, and don't get much scope to display their skills. But then, this is a movie, not an acting contest.

The screenplay and the editing betray Hollywood influences (and I use "influence" in the true sense of the word, and not in the way Mahesh Bhatt is "influenced" by Hollywood), especially in the first half, as we are brought up to speed with Shesh's life. The second half shows him and the family struggling to combat the mental illness. The story moves along at a decent pace at first, but slows down a bit in the second half.

The high point of the movie is the conversation that Shesh has with some fellow-schizophrenics in the day care centre. A lot of movies have been made about illnesses, disabilities and suffering, but this is the first time I have seen a movie trying to imagine conversation between victims, discussing the problems and solutions. It is a really touching scene.

All in all, a splendid movie. I recommend it heartily, even to the non-Marathis in Mumbai, as almost all theatres are playing the movie with english sub-titles.

Monday, March 28, 2005


It is a good thing we are not at the Number 2 slot. Any team which gives up a chase of 4 runs per over at the fall of the first wicket....yes, FIRST wicket.....not fourth...not sixth....not eighth.... FIRST wicket, should not delude themselves into believing they are Number 2.

The team has the talent and the combination to be Number 2, maybe even Number 1 after Mcgrath retires, but it showed yesterday that it lacks the self belief for it. I still can't believe that we gave up the chase at the fall of the first wicket.

Things have come to such a pass that Wasim Akram writes that Sehwag has become like the Tendulkar of the 90s. If you get sehwag out, you know India will crumble under pressure. While this is over-simplification on part of Wasim, I suspect the team itself has started believing this.

Even if the team had decided not to go for the target, was it necessary to shut shop so completely? Was the pitch bad? It wasn't. Was the attack lethal? It wasn't. Did Pakistan bowl a lot of unplayable deliveries? They certainly didn't. Why then, did we crawl to a halt?

Remember the Sydney test of 2004 when Australia was battling to save the test? They didn't go for the win, but they didn't shut shop either. If a ball was there to be hit, they hit it, rather than pad everything compulsively. Why go back so far? think of the Mohali test, where Razzaq and Akmal, two batsmen of lesser calibre than the Indian middle order, played positively against the Indian bowling, of a higher calibre than the Pakistani bowling. Yet, the Indian batsmen deluded themselves into thinking they could just pad their way to a series victory.

It is not the defeat that rankles. After all, I don't think there was any shame in losing to the Australians last year. But this was a disagracefully shocking defeat.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Aamcha Rahul

First up, let me admit that this post is partly born out of the frustration that after Tendulkar, no cricketer from Mumbai has really made waves at the national level. This post is a grudging admission of the fact that the Center of Gravity of the Indian batting line-up is gradually moving northwards, what with Sehwag going great guns, Kaif and Yuvraj breathing down the necks of Ganguly and Laxman, and Shikhar Dhawan and M S Dhoni also scheduled to make an entry.

Once upon a time, Mumbai used to be the cradle of Indian batting, but no more. And that hurts. Hence this post.

But what is this post and why is its title "Aamcha Rahul"?

Because hardly anyone seems to know that Dravid is a Maharashtrian!

Yes, he is a pure Maharashtrian, i.e his Dad's marathi, and his mom's marathi. Heck, even his wife's Maharashtrian. He just grew up in Bangalore.

I have often told this to people, and have been faced with scorn.

"How can he be marathi, they ask. He is obviously South Indian. Dravid....Dravidian....dravid munnetra kazhagham....", they all go.

To all these people, let me say that 'Dravid' as a surname is found only amongs Maharashtrians. Don't ask me why, but its the truth. In fact when Rahul made waves on the national level and became a heart-throb, it was easy for girls in Bangalore to call him up, because they were the only Dravids in the Bangalore telephone directory. This is something he himself said in an interview.

Ergo, Rahul Dravid is Maharashtrian. So is Tendulkar. So two of the top four Indian batsmen are still Marathi. Nyanyanyanyanyanya!

....the blogger stops nyanya-ing as he is reminded of Mumbai's defeat at the hands of Punjab in the Ranji Trophy Semis, and starts sobbing.

Main MICA chali jaaoongi...

Please join me in congratulating Sarika for getting selected for the Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad PGPCM batch 2005-07.

How to celebrate Holi

You could play with herbal colours, drink bhaang, and hallucinate in your back yard, but nothing beats celebrating Holi by watching Virender Sehwag score an exquisite double century. He is hands down my favourite cricketer at the moment, and Amit Varma gets it right when he says "Virender Sehwag plays cricket as if he is making love, with lust and abandon."

His innings today was a bit more restrained than usual, and I can't help thinking that it was because of his wife's presence in the stands. He didn't want to look silly getting out to a rash shot, or missing a milestone. So he slowed down after eighty. But the "slowing down" was also Sehwag-esque. By slowing down, i don't mean he played out entire overs with a dead bat. He just took quick singles and rotated the strike easily. Eventually he got his tenth hundred after lunch.

However, as he approached the double, Inzimam brought on Kaneria who has been Sehwag's "bitch" in this series, if you will pardon the unparliamentary language. Sehwag treated Kaneria the same way a prisoner denied any conjugal visits for a decade would treat Katrina Kaif if she was sent to his cell. He raced to his double hundred in no time.

Of course, Kaneria got him immediately afterwards, but then in cricket, as in prison, you win some, you lose some.

The highlight of the innings for me was when kaneria would bowl a negative line from round the wicket, and Sehwag would open the face of the bat and guide the ball to point and pick up runs. It was hilarious and stylish at the same time.

K for Kaal!

Last week I saw the trailer of Kaal. It was a very slick clip featuring Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi and John Abraham, and the movie obviously had something to do with tigers. Ahh, another experiment from The Factory, I though to myself. I wondered which one of Ramgopal Varma's acolytes had directed this one.

A few days back I got the shock of my life when I came to know that it was a Dharma Productions film!! Dharma Productions??? Karan Johar? The guy who makes the usual Yuppunjabified candy floss? He's making a truly "different" film?

First there was Dhoom from Yashraj, which was completely devoid of weddings, funerals, mothers, Sharukh Khans and the word "haDippaaaaa". And now you have a film from the Johar stable, which inspite of starting with the letter 'K', seems to be devoid of weddings, funerals, mothers, Shahrukh Khans, religious/patriotic songs (in fact it is song-less) and the words "peri pauNa".

A song-less movie produced by Karan Johar? Great!

To appreciate just the effort, I promise that I will spend money and watch this movie in a cinema hall. The first Dharma movie that i will watch on the big screen before I watch it in a Volvo bus.

P.S - I later learnt that the director of Kaal is Soham Shah, an ex-acolyte of Varma, and the music is by Salim-Sulaiman, also Varma regulars. So the Factory-ish feel of the movie is neither a coincidence, nor an "inspiration".

Bury the Helmets

This post by Amit Varma - Carrying Helmets - got me thinking about why those helmets need to be there in the first place. You don't see them gazing at the wicketkeeper's butt in Australia, do you? Of course not, because in Australia, they have small boxes that have been placed underground, so you can just keep the helmets there when they are not being used.

Shouldn't the richest cricket board in the world, BCCI, have such boxes at all Indian grounds? I'm sure it doesn't cost much anyway.

Maybe the BCCI officials like the excitement when the batting team is awarded five runs on the rare occasions that a ball hits those helmets.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Seinfeld on Helmets

Every time i visit Pune, the city seems to be embroiled in the Helmet controversy. For those of you who came in late, here's a round up. A few years back, the Pune city corporation decided to enforce the helmet law, making it compulsory for everyone riding two-wheelers to wear helmets. Ever since then, this issue has been brewing with several dates being given for enforcing the helmet law, and the same dates being ignored.

I wear a helmet, but I don;t think there should be a law for it. Jerry Seinfeld sums it up best -

"There are many things you can point to as proof that the human is not smart. But my personal favorite would have to be that we needed to invent the helmet. What was happening, apparently, was that we were involved in a lot of activities that were cracking our heads. We chose not to avoid doing those activities but, instead, to come up with some sort of device to help us enjoy our head-cracking lifestyles. And even that didn't work because not enough people were wearing them so we had to come up with the helmet law. Which is even stupider, the idea behind the helmet law being to preserve a brain whose judgment is so poor, it does not even try to avoid the cracking of the head it's in."

Talk 'em Up

The biggest difference in the Indian cricket team in the 20th century seems to be the unity in the team, regardless of any geographical loyalties. The three men at the top, M/s Ganguly, Wright and Dravid are exceptional at man management.

We can't really peek into the dressing room and listen to their conversations but one can see what they say to the media and figure it out.

The earlier generation of Indian cricket was always ready to do an "ugatey suraj ko salaam", i.e praise someone who was having good days. You can see that even now in their comments in the media. Rajsingh Dungarpur and Bishansingh Bedi, for instance, change their opinions about cricketers every few weeks. And these opinions change radically.

The current team leadership however takes care to buck up those who have been left out of the spotlight.

The first time I noticed this was when John Wright appeared on Shekhar Gupta's 'Walk the Talk' after the triumph in Pakistan. Gupta asked him about Sehwag, Kumble, Pathan and Dravid, the heroes of the series. Wright however chose to speak about the Kaifs and Chopras of the world. I am guessing the thinking was that heroes are already being applauded aplenty. It is the other contributors who need to be recognised.

A couple of days back, writing in the Times of India about the Kolkatta win over Pakistan, Dravid applauded someone whose contribution everyone else seemed to have forgotten. Dravid wrote that just before the crucial Afridi dismissal on day 4, Kaif substituting for Laxman, had dived superbly to save a boundary and restricting the batsman to just 3, thus bringing him on strie. Dravid wrote that if Kaif hadn't stopped the boundary, Afridi wouldn't be on strike, and probably would not have been dismissed.

Now regardless of how logical this is, imagine what Mohd Kaif feels when he reads this. The team management noticed his effort and considered him as one of the contributors to the win. There is an extra spring in his step the next time he fields, not that Kaif needs any incentive to give his 100%.

These comments show why we have half a dozen match-winners in this team in just 4 years when we had just two of them throughout the 90s. The team management then didn't do much to boost anyone's confidence.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

More Panipuri Gyaan

My batchmate from IIML, Ranadurjay 'Rony' Talukdar has got his gastronomic as well as creative juices flowing as a result of my panipuri post. He writes at length about the Calcutta "puchkas" here - The Delicious Debauchery

An excerpt - a career in consuming panipuris is never complete without the delicious phuchkas (panipuri) of Kolkata -pretty much like a batsman's accomplishments, which seldom command respect unless he scores a century in Perth, on a bouncy track in windy conditions, facing the greatest bowling attack in the world at present.

Go read the full thing.

And while on it, read a similar post I made a couple of years back -

The Taste of a Place

The Slower One Retires

Stop press!! Oh, the press has already noticed it? Then restart press. And start distributing handkerchiefs to all Indian cricket fans who may start bawling (pun unintended) on hearing that Venkatesh Prasad, the mainstay of Indian bowling, has announced his retirement.

As my friend Paras put it so succinctly, "Wonder why these people announce their retirement when most of the ppl think they have already retired."

Prasad's most potent weapon was the slower delivery. Experts attributed its success to the fact that it was well disguised, but I think truth be told, it was because the batsman could not imagine that Prasad could bowl any slower without making the ball stop dead mid-pitch. ;)

In all seriousness though, a brief applause for Venkatesh Prasad who delivered well beyond his limited ability, and gave us one of our most memorable cricketing moments by shattering Amir Sohail's stumps in the 1996 World Cup.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Jerry Adams Presents...


Nope, I don't have ulsters in my mouth. This blog has been started by Ira Athale, and if you knew her, you would except some funny stuff up there. A Scandinavian-looking Marathi girl, she reads a lot, treks a lot, and is currently pretending to love Bangalore.

Let's welcome her to the Blogroll.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Pune's Best Pani Puri

As a panipuri expert, I am pleased to announce that Pune finally has a panipuri vendor who can match the audacious taste of the Lucknow vendors.

The serpentine canal road that joins Prabhat Road to Law College Road is a popular spot for couples to park their vehicles and "cootchie coo". Now it has another claim to fame. Operating out of the backyard of a house flanking the road is a chaatwaala whose concoctions will blow your mind.

This establishment, whole name is either "Kalyan Bhel" or "Kalpana Bhel" (age is taking its toll on my memory) does roaring business in the evening, when the couples that frequent the canal road are joined by college students, children, folks returning from office, and pensioners out for a walk. In just a matter of few years, the chaatwaala has already achieved cult status.

While his ragda puri and bhel puri are delicious too, what really steals the deal is his pani puri.

In Pune and Mumbai, chaatwaalas will generally have teekha paani, i e hot water, with a lot of pepper and cumin, and they will have meetha paani, i.e sweet water, usually made from tamarind, sugar and dates. Up north, folks believe in using only the hot water.

This place takes the radical middle path, combining all the ingredients into one liquid, which is unbelievably tangy. As an innovation, he also adds khaara boondi to the liquid, which bobs around in the filled puri as you partake of it.

The experience sends your tastebuds into an orgasmic trance from which they will take some time to recover. Bliss!

If you live in Pune, you must make a trip to this place, and share with me the delight of the pani puri that is the city's best, and definitely in the country's top ten.

Chappel's certification for Sehwag stats

The wide gap between Sehwag's first innings average (70 odd) and second innings average (under 25) has been a topic of discussion for a long time now.

Which is why something Greg Chappell wrote in the March issue of Wisden Asia attracted my interest. The article talks about statistics being the basis of judging a player. Chappel feels that we should not blindly pick up any stat, but we should be selective in setting the criteria on the basis on which a player's worth should be gauged.

Talking about batsmen he says "have a look at which players make their runs in the first innings of a test, when the match is there to be won. That will tell you something about the spirit of the individual as well as his talent. Runs in the second innings are often important but usually they contribute towards saving the game rather than winning it. Winning is what it is really about so batsmen should be judged on their ability to score runs quickly enough to give their bowlers time to take 20 wickets."

Greatest Feeling in the World

The greatest feeling in the world, is when you step into a reasonably crowded elevator, and even then, no one from the crowd is going to a floor which comes before yours. So your floor will be the first stop of the lift! No irritating stops before yours, when the nasal female robotic voice goes through the whole routine of "second floor......doors opening......doors closing...", as people shuffle out, and shuffle in, pushing you against the wall.

Well, maybe not THE greatest feeling, but definitely in the top seven.

The Quzimaster is NOT always right

I made a mistake while asking the question. And thanks to my inadvertant red herring clue about the other double century, most of the respondents too gave the answer as the Christchurch test between England and New Zealand in 2002, when after low scoring first innings scores from both teams, Thorpe upped the ante by slamming a double century, setting Newealand a target of almost 600, and Astle, picking up the gauntlet, responded with the fastest double century in test history and made a match out of it, despite falling short by about hundred runs in the end. BV harish, Pushkar Paradkar, Siddharth Rao, Subhash Chandra and Gaurav Kanade, all made the same mistake as me.

The only respondent who got it right was Raghavan Kumara, who wrote that Jaysuriya's 254 in the first test at faislabad in 2004 is the right answer.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Another Dravid post

Rahul Dravid is one guy who takes everything seriously, and that includes getting big scores. Once the ball starts hitting the middle of his bat, only gravitational fields caused by collapsing stars can prevent its frequent recurrrence. So it has been seen that once he starts getting runs easily, he is not going to stop out of pity for the opposition.

Look at his double centuries. Two were hit in tests where India batted only once. On each of the remaining three occasions, he has gotten a 70-plus score in the second innings, two of them unbeaten. Even the 190 he scored in the first innings of the Hamilton test was followed by an unbeaten hundred in the second. He is the only player in the current Indian team to score a century in each innings.

I mention this because even though his first innings score in this test match was just 110, in terms of sheer command, it was probably his best inning. I would call it better than any of his five doubles, his 190 or his 180. If Dravid has hit peak form, then he is not going to dismount very easily.

Expect a long essay from him tomorrow, maybe his first ever second-innings double century. Won't that be a treat to watch?

And here's a quiz question to end this post. Mail me the answer. When was the last time a double century was hit in the second innings in test cricket? And lest people jump the gun by recalling a very very special innings, let me give you a clue. It happened twice in the same test.

Whose Bunny is Sachin?

Quiz Question

Who has dismissed Sachin Tendulkar the maximum number of times in test cricket?

If you don't know the answer, you can use some database at your disposal, like cricinfo, but you won't get the right answer.

If you go by cricinfo records, the honour is jointly held by Gillespie and Mcgrath at 6 each. But a bloke who must have definitely dismissed him more often than that is the star of the calcutta test. the guy who is completing hundred test matches in his career.

Steve Bucknor.

Now that he has reached the 100-test milestone, can Bucknor please retire and spend his time making wrong decisions on the football field?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dravid - Poetry in Motion

Every Jackie Chan fight sequence that I see fills me with awe. I gape at the screen wondering how he is doing whatever he is doing. Its not just that he is doing something impossible, but the fact that he is doing it so elegantly, it is like watching poetry in furious motion. Whether he is evading chops, or delivering them, rolling over an accomplice's back, or rolling under an adversary's legs, he seems in miraculous command of the situation.

Watching a fluent Rahul Dravid innings is something like that. His shots may not match Sehwag's in ferocity or Tendulkar's in ease, but they make you put your hands together and applaud for the sheer unlikely rhythm in them. His batting is like watching poetry in motion, just like the other great man at Number 3, Brian Lara.

And his hundred today might turn out to be a match winning one.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Shift ICC to North Korea

The ICC recently announced that it will be shifting base from London to Dubai. England is a democracy, while UAE is a monarchy, an autocracy, effectively a dictatorship. Which is quite fine, because with each passing day, the ICC is crossing even more ridiculous limits in misplaced dictatorships.

The ICC is an impotent body. It has no control on how to make cricket boards work together, or how to take action against erring boards. So it takes out all its frustration on the players instead. The ICC code of conduct has to be the most Draconian document around. It is more in tune with the middle ages than the 21st century. In fact, UAE is too mild a location. The ICC should shift to North Korea.

This outburst is brought to you, courtesy of match referee Chris Broad who fined L Balaji for "not looking back at the umpire" while appealing for Kamran Akmal's dismissal in the second innings. This is as ridiculous as a dictatorship can get.

Kamran Akmal was caught!!!!!!! What appeal???? I suggest the Indian team appeal even for bowled dismisaals now.

Now saying that a bowler must look at the umpire while appealing, is even more idiotic than the most psychotic headmaster of a boarding school can get.

Seriously, ICC, consider shifting to North Korea, where you can take Kim's suggestions about newer ways to stifle personal freedom.

Perfume for Sehwag

While discussing cricket with my friends, I have often wondered why no team has ever consistently attacked Sehwag with the short ball. The few occasions that they have, like the Lahore test, his discomfort has been fairly obvious.

This time, the Pakistanis did that. They targetted his jugular on a regular basis. The result was a very interesting one. While Sehwag is clearly not himself while facing short stuff, he does not appear as vulnerable as Ganguly often does.

Very few batsmen are comfortable enough with short stuff to actually attack it. But a large majority can evade harm. Sehwag seems to be one of those.

The ploy will work if the bowlers succeed in frustrating him, and inducing an injudicious shot, like in the first innings in Mohali. But if Sehwag maturely lets it go, like Tendulkar often does, then he can survive, and not become an easy target like Ganguly.

The Earth Shook...!

Felt the quake during a customer call. The customer was talking about the changing marketplace, when I felt the room shake. Me and my colleague looked at each other. I personally thought it was just a train passing by, since the building is located next to the Charni Rd station. But then the customer stopped talking, looked at us, and said "I think this is an you agree?".

By then the room was shaking considerably. All of us muttered our agreements about the quake. The room kept shaking. It is surprising how the long the quake lasted....or seemed to last. Must have been 30 seconds or so. I looked at the other people in the room, wondering whether I should lead the charge in evacuating the building. What if the building came crashing down? The uneasy looks on the faces of the other guys betrayed these very thoughts.

But then, the quake stopped. Five seconds later, phone calls started coming, from mothers, wives, girlfriends, and everyone. Five minutes later, the meeting resumed.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Second thoughts...

When I first saw the site Bollycat, I thought it would be a great repository of plagiarism in the Indian film industry. Sadly, it is run by folks who probably do not understand the meaning of the word "Plagiarism". What else can you expect from someone who spells "writes" as "rights" as seen on the Lagaan page.

Let's start off with Lagaan. Some idiotic reviewer in the Indian press wrote that the movie is probably "inspired" from the Stallone starrer 'Victory'. If you have seen both movies like I have, you will realise how absurd this sounds. Except for a vague similarity in the themes, there is nothing in common to them. "Victory" centres mainly around how the victims will escape from the stadium after the match. Lagaan spends most of the time exploring the dynamics of building a team out of diverse individuals. Except for an underdog team winning at a sport, the two movies are as different as pencils and yoghurt. In fact cinematically, Lagaan is way superior to Victory. Yet, the sitemasters insist Lagaan is a copy of "The Victory"

Going by such a half-baked definition of plagiarism, The Pianist is a copy of Anne Frank's Diary.

The owners of the site seem to have problems with basic comprehension skills, and seem keen to jump the gun without checking up on facts, contrary to all their claims at "cross-verification".

For instance, the site says - is a web-based directory that catalogs Indian movies from 'Bollywood' which have taken their concept from Hollywood movies and those from other industries worldwide without due respect to the original content or it's creators.

Then the site goes on to claim that Black is a "bollycat of" The Mircale Worker. Someone needs to tell them that The Miracle Worker is basically based on the life of Hellen Keller. And Bhansali gives "due respect" to Hellen Keller's life was the inspiration for the movie.

There is a definite need for a site like this. But such a site needs to be run by at least people with basic comprehension skills, if not cinematic knowledge.

What Bollycat ends up doing is riling up people by stupidly slinging mud at the 5% Indian films that are actually original.

A Lead for the IBM Storage Team

The IBM Storage team is always on the look out for customers who have massive amounts of data they need to store.

This site - BollyCat - has the potential to be their biggest customer. ;)

For the love of Cows....

... will the BJP drop the whole "foreigner" issue and find some real points to attack the Congress with? Using that issue while criticising the Dandi March anniversary seems stupid as well as quite ignorant of history.

Where's your Salwar, Yana?

To me this 7 Up ad is one of the most pitiful wastes of resources at hand.

Firstly, they have wasted the pulchritude of Yana Gupta. I don't know what they attempted to do with her, but she ends up looking like a European cross dresser who forgot to wear a salwar, and came wearing only a kameez.

Secondly, they have slaughtered Fido Dido, one of the most endearing and "cool" characters in the ad world. Watching him jive to a so-called Qawwali is as revolting as listening to Bugs Bunny dubbed in Hindi.


Pani Puri in Shimla

The Shimla pani puri, like from all other cities, had some unique points of its own.

The most noticeable one is that the "ragda" used is made from black chana, and not yellow. Secondly, the green water had more of jeera and less of green pepper. And thirdly, the sweet water used has dates in it.

It was delicious, and though it came nowhere close to the Lucknow pani puri, i gulped down two plates.

While on the topic of pani puris, this article from the New York Times is one of the best "Focus on India" articles in the foreign press that I have seen -

Mumbai to Midtown, Chaat Hits the Spot may require registration

It must be tough living in a country where you don't see streets dotted with pani puri stalls wrapped in that trademark red cloth.

I especially love the way the article ends, quoting Marathi author Gangadhar Gadgil

To me pani puri, with its explosive juices and racy flavors, was the most mind-altering chaat. A fine tribute to pani puri appears in a 1991 memoir about Mumbai by Ganghadar Gopal Gadgil. After several thousand words describing the process of eating and experiencing pani puri, he concludes with this tribute to the afterglow that, as I can attest, follows a pani puri binge:

"In that state of beatitude the Maharashtrians stop being surly, the Marwaris look at the millions of stars without being reminded of their own millions, the Sindhis admire the horizon without any intention of selling it, the Gujaratis speculate on the moon instead of the scrips they should have sold, the North Indians dream of things other than Hindi as the official language of the United Nations, and even the Parsi ladies stop nagging their husbands."

Need some extra nails

Pakistan is fighting back. This promises to be a thrilling test, and tomorrow it will meet with a nerve-testing climax.

As of now, Pakistan is 199/5. Let's assume they are bowled out any time before lunch tomorrow.

If they are bowled in another 150 runs, then India will surely win. But every run after that will add a crease to Ganguly's forehead. Any target in excess of 200, and things will be fun.

When we have targets in excess of 200, we can count out any contribution from Tendulkar or Ganguly. Past records indicate that neither can handle the pressure of a 4th inning chase. So it will be up to the old chase-king Rahul Dravid, to manage the talent of Sehwag and overhaul the target.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Comment of the day...

... landed in my inbox from occasional blogger Pushkar.

Pakis must be thinking that Sehwag's wife doesnt give him enough pleasure in bed! :P

Kricket Channel

BCCI mulls launching own TV channel

Now there's a rare good idea coming out of the BCCI. Why not have its own TV channel? If you had a gold mine, would you rent it out? No, you would grab a shovel.

The BCCI should do exactly that. Why spend days negotiating with bickering TV channels? Start a channel, beam the matches yourself, and pocket the moolah!

In addition, it will also give a much-wanted fillip to the domestic cricket scene. We live in a cricket-crazy country, and a channel that beams cricket for 24 hours will have both viewers and sponsors by the hordes. I, as a cricket-crazy person, am thrilled at the idea of having a 24 hour cricket channel.

A channel which would show the Ranji, uleep and Irani Trophy matches. Maybe the best of Under-22, Under-19 and Under-15 cricket. A lot of talk shows, chat shows, and commemorative shows abotu cricket. Plus international cricket without the intrusive cash-hungry scissors of Doordarshan.

I beg the BCCI to launch such a channel as soon as possible.

How the Duleep Trophy Helps

Before the series started, everyone on either side of the border was of the border was of the opinion that India are favourites. The few who still gave Pakistan a chance did so on the basis of their battle-readiness. They reasoned that any team that has just spent a couple of months down under will be playing one level above itself. It may be short of confidence, but it won't be short of match practice. The Indians on the other hand had just been on a 2 month vacation. Prior to that, they played Bangladesh, who are not exactly top notch opposition. So one would expect the Pakis to be warmed up, and the Indians to be a bit rusty.

However the Indians seem pretty match fit, and this shows the merits of having your international stars play domestic cricket. Almost all the stars have been involved in a pretty competitive Duleep Trophy, and since the tournament is zonal, it ensures that your opponents are the cream of Indian domestic cricket. A South Zone vs West Zone match is much better match practice than a Saurashtra vs Assam match for instance. So those of you who are wondering how Zaheer started off his first spell with such surgical precision, and how did our pal Viru start middling the ball so well, go check up on the Duleep Trophy scores.

Well, now that the mystery of how the Indians are so match fit has been solved, let us analyse how come they are doing well (as a caveat I should add the words "so far" because Indo-Pak games are the exact opposite of subhash Ghai films when they come to predictability). For the simple reason that the team they are facing seems no better than any Duleep Trophy team!

What does a Duleep Trophy team have? Take your regular 6 top order batsmen, plus 4 on the bench, so that's 10 international class batsmen. Similarly take 5 pacemen and 3 spinners, so thats 8 international class bowlers. Now divide them into 5 zones, and on an average you have about 2 class batsmen, and 1.5 class bowlers.

Look at the Pakistani team. You have two international class batsmen in Inzy and Youhanna. And with Sami, Kaneria and Naveed combined you have 1.5 international class bowlers. Everyone else in the Pakistani team has been struggling to prove themselves. Just like last year. Only instead of Imran Farhat, Yasser Hameed, Shabbir Ahmed and Fazl-e-Akbar, you have Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Rana Naveed-ul-Hasan and Kamran Akmal.

Last year's team was much stronger than this team, plus it was playing at home. If you go by the book, India should whitewash Pakistan, or at least win it 2-0. And that will be the true test of Ganguly's men. Though the Indian team has been improving year-on-year, it still hasn't taken tis game to a consistent level, where it will wallop a weak opposition. Losing to the full strength world champs last year was no shame. But not crushing South Africa was disappointing. The way things stand right now, India is miles ahead of Pakistan. The one bowler who can change games in a session, Shoaib Akhtar, is not playing.

To truly stake claim to the Number 2 spot, India should win by at least 2-0. And as if by poetic justice, that would actually catapult India to the 2nd position in the ICC Rankings above England.

Monday, March 07, 2005


This long break in blogging was on account of a long weekend spent in Shimla. I was there for the IBM xSeries team meet, meant to celebrate our Number 1 position in the Indian market in 2004.

We left for Delhi on Thursday, 3rd March. As a Qualis drove us out of the Delhi airport, a huge group of folks carrying black flags were seen marching in. Apparently some Jharkhand legislators were expected to land, and these fine gentlemen with the black flags were BJP workers, intending to express their disgust at the actions of a fellow named Sibtey Rizvi.

Now, Sibtey Rizvi has been getting a lot of flak from all quarters for his actions. But let me direct the blame towards the deserving parties. The fault lies with his parents. Anyone who gives their kid a name as ridiculous as "Sibtey" was doomed to a flak-ful life. Imagine little Sibtey growing up. In school, his social life was muffled in its infancy amongs peals of laughters when he introduced himself. No one wanted to hang out with a "Sibtey". No girl would play footsie with a "Sibtey".

Gradually he became an outcast, and on a dark gloomy day, he took a vow. That one day he would get back at this cruel world by inviting to form the Jharkhand government, a fellow who does not have the support of a majority of legislators. What better way to punish the world for torturing him, for condemning him just because of his name?


Blogging after a long time. So I'll start off with an apology for the Shobha De story. People tell me I need a 'sense of humour' transplant. I urge them to donate to the Gaurav Sabnis Welfare Fund to help pay for the operation.

Something about Shobha De

Here's something funny about Shobha De and her husband, Dilip De.

This happened back in the days when she was Shobha Rajadhyaksha, and had just met Dilip De. Dilip De was a famous industrialist, and had some kids from his previous wife. Shobha herself had just been divorced from her first husband, and had kids from him too. At this time, she had already made a name for herself, first as a model, and then as the editor of nari Hira's brainchild - Stardust magazine.

Shobha was one of the most famous ladies in Bombay and Dilip De was a prize catch with truckloads of money from his shipping business.

Dilip saw Shobha and fell in love with her. After some days of wooing, she fell for him as well. For Shobha, he was a great catch indeed. Her first marriage had been a failure because the hubby was a complete loser. With Dilip, things could not go wrong. even if he eventually proved to be disappointing in other departments, his money and status was going to stay.

Shobha was thrilled she had found the ideal mr moneybags. Dilip was thrilled he had found a trophy wife who could pretend to be intelligent.

But common friends always knew that the gainer in the relationship was Shobha Rajadhyaksha. Dilip could find many such trophy wives, but Shobha, given her reputation, would find it tough to get such a great husband.

Shobha herself knew how lucky she was. She often expressed the same to her friends. The courtship was going well and a date for the wedding fixed.

Then disaster struck!!!

Dilip De was kidnapped!!!!!

One evening, as the shipping magnate was stepping off his luxury launch on to Gateway of India, four masked men in a black fiat swooped on him, and carried him away.

There was panic in the De household. Shobha could not stop crying. Life was going so well. Why did this have to happen?

No one knew who the kidnappers were. Some rumours blamed an israeli gang, others said it was a jealous Greek tycoon who was behind it. For many days, no communication for ransom was received. Everyone was confused. Rumours were rife that the kidnappers were negotiating directly with the Indian government, and that their demands were not monetary.

Shobha was crestfallen. Her knight-in-shining-limo had been stolen from her, and there seemed to be no way she could get him back. Her friends stayed with Shobha night and day to make sure that she didn't take any drastic steps.

Days went by, with no word about Dilip De. Shobha had almost given up on his return. the press forgot the story, and the public too lost interest. It seemed like Shobha's perfect man had been snatched from her by destiny and faceless international criminals.

Then, three months after the kidnapping, a black fiat was seen speeding towards Gateway of India. It stopped, and out fell a tired and bruised Dilip De. The staff of the Taj Hotel recognised him and contacted the authorities. Dilip De was shaken, bruised, but unhurt.

Shobha was asleep when this news broke in the media. Her friends rushed over to her house with champagne, flowers, and chocolates. They knew she will be thrilled at Dilip's return.

They also got a special banner made, and stood outside her house. Shobha opened the door, and her friends unfurled the banner, uncorked champagne, and shouted out the very words that were written on the banner in bold cursive red letters -


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A bit more about Tully

Now I remember who Mark Tully reminds me of. His essays in the book are like milder versions of Francois Gautier's writings.

Both the author's, while lamenting how Indians seem to think of themselves and their "culture" aas inferior to the West, are actually conveying that they know better than us. They are saying they know better what is good for Indians. They know the Indian "culture" better than us, and so they will sit on a high pedestal and very humbly tell us how to live our own lives.

Both will sit and cry at how their "beloved India" is losing its "Indianness", while pretending to know what "Indianness" is.

Mark Tully is a bit more restrained than Gautier of course, who comes up with grandiose dialogues like - "Today I feel sad, sad for India, sad for the world. For India is in mortal danger, its eternal Sanatana Dharma is under threat. And if India dies spiritually, the world will also die." But essentially he is saying the same thing.

These guys are even more sickening than Dominic Lapiere and those folks who made "Born in Brothels".

The Rising Opinions

Ketan Mehta's The Rising is one of the most anticipated movies in India. It is already raising some dust in the blogworld. Read these two posts -

Mars Attack by Ramanand

The Rising : In Response To Ramanand's Post by Manish

Faulty Heroes

I have always admired faulty heroes. I guess the adage "Nobody is perfect" has been hard-wired into my brain, and so I find it difficult to swallow that anyone could be a perfect hero. As a result most of the fictional or non-fictional characters that I admire are always faulty heroes.

Superman, the perfect superhero, bores me. I prefer Spiderman, who despite all his heroics, still can't manage his personal expenses properly.

Maryada Purshottam Ram does not inspire any admiration in me. I prefer the wily Krishna, who indulged in more gamesmanship than an Aussie cricketer. I also admire Karna, even though he fought for the "enemy".

In Sholay, I can't stand the goody-goody Jay. Gimme the rogue-ish Veeru anyday. I would pick Bertram Wooster over Reginald Jeeves any day.

Perfect heroes just seem too unreal.

Sania Marches on and on....

Sania Mirza seems to have a quality very few Indian sportsmen possess - aggressive hunger. The person who has the maximum expectations out of Sania Mirza is Sania Mirza herself. Think about it, how many of us expected her to win a WTA title? And how many of us expected her to beat a top 10 player in straight sets?

I am sure not a single person can honestly claim it. The one person who believed it was Sania Mirza. It is only aggression mixed with hunger that can take her to victory over a World No. 6 after being 4-0 down, with an injured ankle.

I can't help but think that even if Sania Mirza were to stop playing right now, she would still count in my list of top Indian sportspersons of all time. But Sania's success lies in the fact that she doesn't think like you and me. She wants the moon, and I daresay, she's going to get it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

No Full Stops in India

I am reading Mark Tully's No Full Stops in India, and though I have just read two chapters so far, I am not sure I like the tone Tully takes.

Don't get me wrong. Tully loves India. Why else would he settle down here? But I think that this "love" for India often gets mixed with his dislike for the direction that the Western civilisation is headed in, and he ends up writing something that is too romantic.

The main thing that bugs me is that Tully asserts that India is being colonised "culturally" by the West and is losing its identity. Tully thinks that most of us are blindly apeing the West. I strongly disagree.

In my opnion, we are one country which has by and large accepted or rejected ideas on merit, rather than on their origin. So if we found a Western idea that we liked, we adopted it, but if we found one that we didn't like, we have rejected it.

Tully seems to be on the other extreme. He gives the impression of believing that most things connected to the Western civilisation are bad, and India is doomed if it follows them.

The innocence in Tully's writing is adorable. For instance his irritation at the english language being given so much importance in our country. But most of his writing seems to overlook the fact that before a person can be spiritually, philosophically and emotionally content, his hunger and thirst need to be quenched.

I will stop here, and write a complete review of the book once I finish reading it. But I do not find his writings on India anywhere as fascinating, moving or eye-opening as those of William Dalrymple.

BJP Piss-ed Off?

You know the BJP has been pissed off at the world in general ever since their drubbing in the general elections last year? Well, that state of being pissed off is expressing itself in extremely innovative ways -

BJP offers cow urine as cure all

So what is the BJP's newest war cry?


Mirza Marches On

Sania's Mirza's dream year continues, as she defeats a player ranked 64 places above her in a three-setter.

Sania has what most Indian sportsmen lack - aggression.