Saturday, January 03, 2004

NY blues!

I got back last night after two days of wanderings - a journey that took us across three states to the Big Apple. New Year's eve at Time Square and a day of looking around NYC followed and then the journey home. No major hiccups barring me getting separated from everyone else at Times Square, but the astute traveler I am, I had ensured that I had enough change and knowledge of all the proper routes to get back home myself. It is much below me to get lost and I did not. Another hiccup was the speeding citation that we got for going at 80 on a 65 zone around 50 miles from Columbus on I-70, again not too serious as the road was open and we were not being unsafe drivers.

We got to NYC early on the 31st and went to bed at 7 am till around 2pm. We reached Times Square at 6 pm and after walking around, we decided to have dinner and then when we returned to Times Square at 9, we found all roads perpendicular to 7th Avenue were blocked. If only we had decided to stay back at the vicinity of the NASDAQ ticker at 6pm. But we had thought that we could not spend six hours at a stretch there. We had to walk to Central Park and then get back into 7th Avenue. It was almost a mini stampede to get forward into 7th Avenue and the police added to this by not making barricades at every intersection on 7th Ave., with small openings on opposite ends. So it was a zig zag movement with people at the far ends being almost crushed everytime. On the way, on 56/7th, the police stopped me and relieved me of my bag and asked me to collect it later from the same place.

Almost close to 11, we found ourselves in front of Carnegie Hall. We could not get any further as the crowd was backed up to that point. We stood put at the intersection of 7th Ave. and 57th street, a good 10 blocks away from where we were at 6pm, the scene of all the action. We waited for the action to unfold and when it happened, it was almost an anti-climax, but fun all the same. We were so far from the actual crystal ball that we could understand what was happening only from the fireworks and the roar from the crowd.

After the whole thing, I told my friends to wait and made my way back to collect my bag. I got it back, but found my way back blocked. I got separated and after zillions of calls, found myself back with one batch of my friends at the Port Authority Terminal where I went to get the bus back to my friend's place at Hoboken.

In the midst of my wanderings away from the group at Times Square, I seemed to have passed the "Usability King"-sley Jegan on the opposite side of a escalator at the Port Authority Terminal on 42nd/8th in NYC. Waiting for confirmation from the man himself whether it was actually him.

On the whole it was 3 days off from all the hustle and bustle of grad school and from other worries. After our Times Square sojourn on New Year's Eve, we got out early afternoon on the first and saw the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, the NYSE building, the Grand Central Station, the Empire State building and then took a walk again through Times Square.

I seem to have missed some good cricket from Sachin and Co., but as it always happens, I am not sure whether this good performance would have happened if I was around. Whenever I sit down to see a match, India always seems to do badly. So, I'd rather stay away from the TV and stick to the wretched audio commentary from Channel Nine and Cricinfo's text based offering. Last two days, however, I missed both.

But India has played well so far. It would be nothing short of blasphemy if India were to lose from this stage and I am sure at the end of the tour, we will leave Down Under, if not on a winning note, atleast in a ambivalent mood. That much is certain. As far as the Australian team's performance is concerned, my concerns vis-a-vis Zaheer Khan's comments about overstepping have been vindicated by Brett Lee's performance in this test so far. His 14 no balls have raised hell in Australia's legion of former fast bowlers and his own efforts to reduce this tendency to overstep seem to have done more harm than good to the Australian team strategy which, at Adelaide and at Sydney, seemed to be to dish out the chin music. Brett Lee's reduction in pace did not add anything to this strategy.

Prem Panicker has commented about the no-show of any comments from the match referee regarding the Australia's extra slow over rate. Considering the hullabaloo raised over India's over rates at Adelaide, which was faster than Australia's current rate, it does seem that the old fears about different rules for teams from the sub-continent might be true after all. Anyways there are three more days in this test match, let us see if the match referee comes out with a statement about possible penalties for Australia.

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