Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Vroom Vroom Redux

This is one of the last pics in my camera from US GP 2003. I came back with a couple of souveniers, one of them being deep disgust at seeing desi support for that damned Michael Schumacher rival the Colombian support for Montoya and Brazilian support for "Rubinho". I think I was probably only one of a handful of non-Ferrari supporters and probably one in a dozen McLaren fans among the desi crowd (definitely over a couple of hundred there) in the Brickyard on Sunday. I even spied some of them shouting "Go Ambassdor" with a fervor that would have charmed the Hindujas. This led me to seriously doubt if they ever have looked beyond the Ferraris in F1 and if it was all because of the "Me Tifosi too" frame of mind, just to feel part of the crowd. Whatever, I had a good time and barring the weather, I am sure nothing would have come between the Iceman and the chequered flag.

Montoya was (in the words of Speed Channel talk show host, Dave Despain) screwed royally by the race stewards and with all their fawning over Ferrari in the recent days, I am sure Montoya and Berger would be, in the hindsight, be grateful that they escaped with just that drive-through penalty. Its all a plot! There was talk (in the commentary box at the Brickyard) that Montoya would have to finish 6th or higher to keep alive his championship chances. But that proved to be erronous. Its all over for this year, Juan!

As for Suzuka, that damned place is the home GP of Bridgestone - a place where the !@#$%#% has been doing good over the last couple of years. But Murphy's law is very active in F1. Remember Mika San's infamous last lap blow out with a 45 second lead in Catalunya in 2001? Actually the day after the 2001 Spanish Grand Prix, one of the websites had featured a video of the last lap of the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix. Race leader Nigel Mansell was actually waving to the crowd on the last lap with a comfortable lead, when his car blew. I am still hoping for such an event to happen to Michael at Suzuka. More better would be for a second string driver stalling in the start taking Schumacher Sr. out with him. It ain't over until the fat lady sings. So am still having my fingers crossed.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Vroom Vroom!

I woke up on this morning with a splitting headache. Mebbe its because of this trip I made yesterday. I was just opposite the podium. But would have been happier with a different winner. Whatever...Tremendous experience, all the same.

And I missed this on Saturday here at OU - something that has caused a ruckus here on campus, mainly among the parents who were in town for the Parents Weekend. This was their first campus appearance and someone said - might be their last too.

Friday, September 26, 2003

The winds of change!

I recently heard and glanced through an editorial that had appeared in The Hindu about a month ago. It appeared two months after N.Ram's taking over as Editor in chief of the Hindu Group and announced a re-structuring of The Hindu and its sister publications and sought to inform the readers of its re-orientation. Now about a month after this editorial, comes the first public hint of the change. An article covering a function marking the 125th day of the release of the Vikram flick - Saamy. Is this for the good or the bad? This is but a very tiny indication of change in the newspaper and can by no means construed as representative of the magnitude of such a change. There was, as far as I know, no coverage of the recent fracas involving a couple of out-of-work actresses and their subsequent arrests, but then these events happened much closer to that editorial mentioned about. So will The Hindu go the TOI way? I hope not!

Coming back to the event that was covered. Too much praise on each other from Rajini, Surya and Vikram. The King and the heir-apparents. Another poseur - Vijay, was around too, but I think he got invited on stage just out of politeness. That he had just two words (apart from reading out a list of names) to speak did not add any sheen to his presence. Vivek apparently got mentioned in the same breadth as Kamal and Rajini, straight from the mouth of the big boss, KB. Vivek, in case u did not know, is a KB discovery from Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal. Dunno if he did any more with KB though.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Andy Flower's hypothesis on the Wall

Harsha Bhogle, whose comments make so much sense and who never fails to amaze me with his insights informs us about what Andy Flower has to say about Dravid's batting after becoming the ODI wicket keeper for India.

Andy Flower points out that Dravid's ODI batting average has actually improved a lot since he started keeping wickets for India. He explains this statistic with this reason - Dravid has the opportunity to observe the wicket when he keeps. This helps him with his batting.

But my point is, this can happen only if India decides to chase. A good way to understand if this really happens would be to see data pertaining to India's chases. If India has been chasing targets for a large percentage of the matches since Dravid has started keeping wickets, then this could be good reason why. Will try to hustle some numbers on this.

Am at work and since I answer phones, I have sometime in my hands right now to do what I want. Since heavy thesis work is out of the question (I will be disturbed at least once every 5 mins), this is the right kinda work to do when I am here at the front office at the OSA. Be back in sometime....


Am back after like an hour since my post. No matter where I search, i cannot find the original peice by Flower. If any of you know how to find it, do tell me. But from the stats I culled off Cricinfo, I just found out that Andy Flower's surmise cannot be backed up completely by the numbers. Found some other interesting peice of info too.

Interestingly, while Dravid's batting average has actually indeed gone up from when he was not keeping, this rise cannot be attributed to Andy Flower's surmise that he reads pitches better after he has kept wickets. Read on to understand why.

Dravid has actually kept wickets for 47 matches in which India has chased targets 21 times (45 percent). Now his performance as keeper is not different whether India has bowled first or not (28 and 29 dismissals respectively). But his batting is actually better when India set a target, with 966 runs @ 50.84 (2 centuries and 5 fifties) with a highest score of 145. When India chased, his stats are, in 21 matches, 575 runs @ 47.91 (1 century and 4 fifties) with a highest score of 109 not out.

So that would mean that his batting actually suffers when India chases. Obviously the fatigue factor. But hear this. India actually won 14 of the 21 matches that we chased with Dravid having to bat after keeping for 50 overs. That's exactly two thirds of the matches we chased. And we won 14 out of 26 games that we defended targets in. Which is around 54 percent. This indicates that though his batting has suffered, we have actually become better chasers when Dravid is keeping. This would mean a number of things, the major point being that the team is more balanced and also that Dravid's contributions are helping India win.

So Dravid has started batting better now (an average of 39+ against 32+ when he was not keeping, would indicate this) and since he has proved that he is no slouch behind the stumps, this should a added interest in Ganguly wanting him to keep wickets for the ODIs. But this can't go long too, in the interests of India's prospects abroad.

So maybe we could let Ratra/Patel/Naidu keep when we are playing at home with Dravid as a specialist batsman. A couple of changes would have to be made, but we are always better players at home and hence this should not be a problem.

But Rahul, you can do it. The Wall just moves a couple of feet from one half of the match to another. Just believe it. Just Do It!

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Enakku oru kadhai sollu

After this happened sometime ago, this was born in the last couple of days. All the best guys. Maybe me think of something to tell you too. Well, as long as one of us is not a psychopath - a la Darna Mana Hai. Okie, that was a poor joke, but a joke by any count.
The Core Competency model and Indian Cricket

When C.K.Prahalad and Gary Hamel proposed the concept of core competency in 1990, little would they have imagined that it would take at least a dozen years or so for their pet concept would have such a bearing on Indian businesses! They should be disappointed that, while a focus on core competency helped companies like Cisco in the even in the early 1990s, it has just slowly started getting prominence in India, with the rise of so many call center operations and R&D hubs in the last year or two. But one area where it still does not play any role what so ever, is Indian cricket.

Australia is just one fine example of a number of teams that have reaped the fruits of the core competency model. Ok, my use of the phrase “core competency” here (in a cricketing sense) can be defined as follows – every player does what he does best. In that sense, in Australia, you shall definitely not see Andy Bichel open the innings in the place of Hayden (though I am sure that the versatile team man that he is he would rather do well). Regardless of how good an ODI opener Gilchrist is, he shall not be asked to open in Test matches. He does what he does best – come at the fall of the 6th wicket and thump the ball around and set/continue the good platform for declaration. So, as far as Australia is concerned, the openers pick themselves by virtue of several record partnerships and fine individual performances. The numbers three and four are attacking batsmen who can pulverize any attack into submission. Number five is a dour fighter who always takes the fight into the opposition. Number six has always been fighting unsuccessfully for a place into the team and when his chance came, has been a great success. Number seven is a wicket-keeper and perhaps the worlds best all rounder. The lone spinner (traditionally) has picked himself and when he's unavailable due to either cricketing reasons or otherwise, his perpetual understudy has performed so well that critics of the master spinner wonder why he keeps his place. The three pace bowling places have been traditionally rotated between two/three permanent fixtures and a pool of 4 to 5 second stringers who have always justified their inclusion making it tough to leave them out when the regulars come back. On top of this pool, there are at least half a dozen no-shows who make us wonder every time on why they were excluded. Some of them are a regular part of the one day team and would be a part of any other test team barring this one. A couple of them are captains of their state teams as well. Now with a team like this, where at least 10 out of the 11 pick themselves automatically (with two or more claimants for each spot, barring perhaps the wicketkeeper's), the selection panel can afford to leave the selection of the captain to the last moment, till the 12 has been picked. But can it happen with India? Certainly not!

What happens in India would leave Prahalad and Hamel shaking their head in regret. People are moved about in the order perpetually to “find the right balance". But wouldn’t balance come by itself if people are picked to do their own job? The latest news is that people like Yuvraj and Sodhi decide that they can be openers and people are prepared to listen to them. Why should a batsman practice bowling out-swingers and why should the tail-ender focus on his footwork against the spinners. This does not go to say that McGrath does not bat in the nets, only that he does not have to do it as seriously as Hayden or Langer.

So here is the “core competency” model for India. Pick two openers from a pool comprising of Das, Jaffer, Ramesh and any other hopeful who has opened for his state team for at least a period of two years now. And if their first class career has not been that long, then at least the hopeful should have been opening for his state for the whole of his first class career. This should be acceptable because with Das, Ramesh and Jaffer having played decently, there is a need for the selectors to back these people now. Number three and four would be Dravid and Sachin who would pick themselves. Numbers five and six should be a choice between Saurav, Laxman and Sehwag. If these three are not satisfactory then people like Kaif, Yuvraj, Bangar, Badani, Sriram etc. should be brought into the pool. The wicket keeper should be chosen from a pool comprising of Ratra, Parthiv Patel and any other wicket-keeper who has kept wickets for at least two seasons for his first class team. Again capability should be the key and hence people like Dasgupta with proven faults should not be chosen just because they can bat. The spinner’s pool would comprise of specialist spinners like Harbhajan, Kumble, Kartik, Sarandeep etc. Pace bowlers shall be Zaheer, Nehra, Balaji, Agarkar, Srinath etc.

There are some eternal questions that will be answered by this model. To summarize, for an away tour, we should pick 4 pace bowlers, 5 batsmen, 3 openers, 2 spinners and 2 wicket keepers on each tour, which leads to a 15 member squad. If it is a home series, we pick three pace-men and 3 spinners. Alternatively, we could pick just two specialist openers (which will not go well with our selectors) and pick an extra batsman. This is true of any international team except India. I am leaving Pakistan out of this equation because in terms of volatility, Pakistan ranks much worse and there is change every second. By the way, did you notice that in this model, I have mentioned neither the word “all rounder” not the word “captain”, which I will now.

The “all rounder” is dead as far as cricket is concerned. But was there ever a description similar to that what the BCCI was always looking for? The word for that kind of “all rounder” is superman. In cricket, there are only men, no supermen. Well, if you exclude the likes of Tendulkar, Lara etc. So why are we still looking for someone who can do a number of jobs. The age is of the “bowling all rounder” and the “batting all rounder” – people who can one job very well and the other without looking stupid at it. So while Bichel would be a bowling all rounder, Bangar will never qualify in that respect.

As for the captain, when the team picks itself by virtue of current form (we can use current form as a yardstick because of the pool of talent that we are dealing with), then the choice of captain is not critical. You need an aggressive (or in-the face, as Saurav has been described) captain only to balance the non-functioning of some of the arms of the team. If the bowling/batting is below par, aggressive moves from the captain could make the opposition vary. This happens a lot with India and hence we need such a captain. But if the team does live up to its individual potential, the team does not need a Saurav – an introverted Tendulkar would do just fine, but only because the team does what it needs to do without being prompted to do so.

But none of the above has been happening so far. Right from the selection of the team to the performance of some of the players, things have not been going that well (the World Cup performance not withstanding). So India needs a Saurav Ganguly, more for the “in the face“ captaincy than for his batting. Speaking of his batting, it has suffered, but his average is still just below 35 and if the other batsmen play to their potential, this would still be enough in the long run. But other than all this, the best reason to let Saurav stay on as captain is the fact that one major rule in anything is that you never disturb a winning combination. And even though we have not won everything in sight, we have actually been doing better than ever. For that reason, Saurav will still be a part of my team – yeah, only till my version of the "core competency model" is adopted.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Koothu podu!

I am strong backer of dappan koothu! The term dappan koothu probably originates from Dappa Koothu or dance (koothu) accompanied by percussion beats from the back of a dappa (tin or box). For those of you who's knowledge of Tamil is perfunctory, Dappan Koothu is nothing but the common man's (read as someone with zero knowledge of classical music) idea of music - the Tamil equivalent of rap. Hence, most other people (incl. my father) dismiss it as trash. But if you want to dance and you lack the moves, then the best music for you would be dappan koothu.

I am a great fan of dappan koothu - the versions strongly promoted by the likes of Thenisai Thendral (LOL) Deva. For a period of time during my undergrad years, Deva produced a steady stream of such songs that have probably entered my Koothu Hall of Fame. And there have been several other composers too who have contributed lately to this list - The Raja siblings, Bharathwaj etc.

I am not a good dancer per say, but koothu electrifies me. And this is my koothu Hall of Fame (in no particular order, I should add). If you want to hear these songs, just go to Raaga.com and search for these movies. And be sure to have some empty space in your room when you hear these numbers. I am sure that you are gonna start dancing.

The Dappan-Koothu Hall of Fame.

1. Anna Nagar Andalu - Kaalamellam Kadhal Vaazhga (1997) / Deva / Deva etc.
2. Kasu Mele Kasu Vandhu - Kadhala Kadhala (1998) / Karthik Raja / Udit Narayan, Kamalhaasan
3. White Lagan Kozhi - Priyamudan (1998) / Deva / Deva etc.
4. Kothavalchavadi Lady - Kannedhirae Thondrinal (1998) / Deva/ Deva etc.
5. Vethala potta sokkula - Amaran (1992) / Adithyan/ Karthik*
6. O Podu - Gemini (2002) / Bharathwaj / SPB, Anuradha Sriram (the remix rocks too!)
7. Sarakku Vachirukken - Shah Jahan (2001) / Mani Sharma / Shankar Mahadevan, Radhika
8. Site adippom - April Madhathil (2002) / Yuvan Shankar Raja/ Silambarasan, Karthik
9. Kaathadikkudhu Kaathadikkudhu - Ninaivirukkum Varai (1999) / Deva
10. Laalakku Dol - Sooriyan (1991) / Deva / Mano

* the Tamil actor

Btw this is just my personal hall of fame - songs I enjoy dancing to. My father would not appreciate these songs as much as i love them, but if you share similar sentiments with him, I would actually ask you to see (the video) of one song - the ninth in the list.

This song is actually a fine example of what can be conveyed through these songs. Songs of this kind are quite common in street theatre and this particular song incorporates a sequence from the Ramayana (the kidnapping of Seetha), which literally comes out of the blue.

Anybody who says such songs are trash should see this song to understand the messages that can be possibly expressed through this medium. Maybe then Deva and his ilk would get the respect they deserve. But for that to happen, Deva should probably first lose the "copy cat" tag that has overshadowed even his best work.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Answers please?

Is there a cure for disillusionment? If so, please tell me!

Friday, September 19, 2003

Avast, All ye land lubbers, scurvy rats and bilge rats!

This day's for all ye privateers and sprogs to learn to speak like Old Davey Jone's himself. He's gone to his locker and so tell no tales. But all ye blue blistering barnacles say "Aye Aye Captain" and go fore now. Else ye be walking the plank on aft soon. That after ye face rope's end. Go starboard now or if ye wish, you'll feel the hempen halter.

Ye bilge rat.. Yo-ho-ho, shiver me timbers! What you staring at? Go fore now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Six Degrees of Separation!

Ever heard about the Six Degrees of Separation game? The basic premise is any Hollywood celebrity could be linked to Kevin Bacon within 6 steps. Let me try this one. Fairly simple, but just to establish the game - Steven Speilberg to Kevin Baco.

This is done off hand with no info, so there might be a shorter connection.

Speilberg directed Tom Hanks in "Catch Me If you can"
Tom Hanks was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon.
So the number of steps is 2.

This can probably be done with any Hollywood celebrity, but Kevin Bacon is typical because of his fairly large number of ensemble movies.

The reason behind this post is that, with the amazing rise in the number of blogs/bloggers, it might just be possible to link two bloggers similarly. What say Quatrainman?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


I found this link on the personal blog of Evan Williams, the co-founder and CEO of the now-defunct Pyra, the company behind Blogger. He "works on Blogger" at Google these days. Interestingly, he still has a Blogger Pro button (even know?)on his blog. Amusing!

Anyways, if you try to keep up the act of being immersed in work all the time, you might want to see this. I once saw a email forward like this, but this is specifically for blogs and webpages. There's even copy and paste code to incorporate into ur own blog/website. Well, you might see one of these on my blog soon.

Monday, September 15, 2003


The reason behind the term "obVSly" is blogging. And I did not know that so far. Thanks machi for linking to me. Will reciprocate that before the end of the day.....

Sunday, September 14, 2003

125 years and going strong

The Old Lady of Mount Road is celebrating her 125th birthday. I have a been reading it for atleast 15 years now. Yeah, I was a early starter with it and usually headed for the last pages to get the daily update on my cricket and other sports as per the season. These days, I usually go to the Tamilnadu section of the Southern States page of the online edition.

In my house, The Hindu was usually handed to me via my cousin. My father left early in the morning, often meeting the newspaper boy at the door when he left. But sometimes, if I was lucky I got it first when my cousin was brushing his teeth or heading for his morning ablutions. But he was sure to snatch it from me as soon he was ready to read it. But after he got married, I got first shot almost everyday, spending a quality 15 minutes everyday. And according to my mother, everytime I got delayed for school, it was always because I chose to spend time with the "Hindu paper" rather than putting my school books into the bag or filling my water bottle. And whenever it was our class's turn with the news during the morning assembly at school, I had to spend another 10 minutes at least to make sure that I got valid reasons to say "This is Ananthanarayan with the morning news hoping that your news isn't bad news", a la-Clark Kent. Hence the Hindu was as good a part of my life as cricket or the Hardy Boys.

When in college, I spent time each day at the college library checking out the news in the Hindu and also for other unmentionable reasons. And in college I also became hooked on the word games, the Sunday crossie and the weekly Discovery Channel Quiz in the Indian Express. So much that even in Chennai, I bought the Express every Sunday much to my mom's chargrin that I read not one, but two newspapers.

Here in the US, its the online editions. Though I have almost stopped reading the Express, due to the time zones, The Hindu is almost always my first read in the early afternoon, when it is usually updated. I wish they would improve the design of the online edition, but then the whole charm would be gone.

The Hindu has always had a reputation of being a staid newspaper without any sensationalism. So much that even when a certain N.Godse broke a million hearts by killing Gandhiji, The Hindu still was calm enough to put news of this incident and subsequent happenings not on the first page, but in one of the inside pages. Its another fact that in 1948, The Hindu used to have only ads on the first page. But its exemplary that they did not want to change their usual activities even at the face of such extraordinary news. Btw, does someone know whether this same practice was followed when India became independent?

Closer to present, I heard that R.Mohan, one of the foremost cricket journalists in the nation, had to resign his position in The Hindu's staff when his name came up in connection with the match fixing scandal. Though his name was mentioned only in passing and he was never really even censured, he still had to leave on the instructions of the Hindu's top brass.

The Hindu is one of the familiar sights that I remember from my childhood and reading it is one of those things that I hope to do for a long time now.

UPDATE: Dunno how i missed this, but there are atleast two instances of highly sensationalised investigative journalism from the Hindu, one of which I keenly followed. The other, I learnt after reading the special supplement today. I don't know how I missed mentioning about Chitra Subramanian and her Bofors investigative peices filed from Stockholm. I keenly followed the case and for a time was the in-class expert on the Bofors 155mm Howitzer. I have heard she was pregrant during the time she spent in Sweden covering the case. In that way, she reminds me of Chief Marge Gunderson from Fargo

The second case (which predated the above mentioned Bofors series by atleast 80 years) was the The Crash of Arbuthnot & Co.. Arbuthnot & Co was one of the Big Three companies in the then Madras Presidency, the other two being Binny and Co. and Parry and Co. and was a big player in South Indian commerce and had financial interests even in the American Railroad and South African gold mining. It was a banking firm, the precursor of the numerous nidhis and chitfunds of the recent past. The Hindu then was just finding its feet and when Arbuthnot & Co. crashed, it became the mouthpeice of the affected investors who ranged from small families to Maharajas of various princely states. This opposition indirectly led to the incorporation of the first ever "Native" bank, "a bank which depended on the savings of those in the South had to be incorporated locally and managed by Indians who were locally known and respected", which a couple of years ago, ironically fell into the bad times that befell its predecessor too - Indian Bank. If that is not irony, what is ?

Friday, September 12, 2003

Whole-some fun days at Somas threatened?

If you were ever a resident of T.Nagar and if you are a cricket fanatic, then you will never forget "Somas". "Somas", as the Corporation ground off North Usman Road is/was fondly called, has been for quite some time now, the breeding ground for budding cricketers in the adjoining areas. I have been hearing about the IDPL ground lately (courtesy the Cooling gang), but Somas still occupies a special place in my heart.

Somas was one of the places (the other being the Corporation Ground in Venkat Narayana Road, opposite Natesan Park) where I started my competitive cricket. By competitive cricket, i mean the war types where every wicket is like a drop of blood and you have to fight for it. I have been involved in certain fiascos as well. The first of these that comes to mind is the "Recall the batsman" incident. The match is still etched into my mind, because i was in the thick of things right from the word go.

The above mentioned incident is from a match between the 9th standard A and B sections in my school. I was in the A section and was part of the team as well. The A and the B sections were always in logger heads, till our 10th standard when the sections were mixed up to ensure "common educational levels" (as my Vice Principal said a couple of years later when I met her). Now the match was a part of a series of tennis-ball cricket matches that were played almost ever weekend throughout that year or part of it.

This guy Satish (fondly called Nattai, meaning Tall, because of his gangling gait), was the most technically perfect batsman in the B section (if not the whole school) and also the most competitive. He was also the best bowler, again because of his height and he had very good bouncer (if i remember right). He was batting, in the 20s when there was this terrible mixup and both batsmen were stranded out of the crease. The umpire (who was from the battting side) could not figure out who was out and there was extreme confusion. We were obviously claiming the wicket of Satish and he was not ready to walk. Being a pre-teen, the other batsman was more worried about getting his gachi (popular lingo for "quality batting time") and hence was claiming he was not out and that Satish had to go. So the ensuing confusion the B section team decided that they were not going to play anymore and they walked out. We said "fine" and we walked off too. None of us were getting off from the ground and we were just milling about.

I don't know what got into me then, but I just suggested why dont we forget everything and recall the batsmen. Nobody from my own team opposed me. Atleast the majority seemed to think that it was better in the interests of the game, to continue. and after quite a bit of discussion we decided that the ball was to be re-bowled.

After this the whole match turned around. Satish decimated the bowling. I think I bowled a few overs too (why, I will tell soon) and though I want to think otherwise, I feel I was not spared. But personal consolation comes when I think about Satish's dismissal, sadly only after he scored a century. He was caught brilliantly, a running catch taken inches off the ground by yours truly in deep cover. But the damage had been done and Satish probably holds the record for the only century ever in all forms of cricket between the A section and B section. But more consolation comes from the fact that when we batted, I top scored with 21 (playing with a bye-runner as usual, I should add). But this incident was/has been repeated whenever there was talk about inter-class cricket.

Another cricketing incident that has made me famous among my classmates was the "Mine" incident. I don't know if it was the same match mentioned above, but the teams involved were the same. And even the batsman in question was the same Nattai. I was bowling my gentle medium pacers (or was it my off spinners, that I used to bowl till I dramatically lost the ability) to Nattai when he stepped out and tried to pull me to the mid-wicket fence. He got, but a top edge and the ball went high up in the air over the pitch.

What happened then has been repeated zillions of times, much to my embarassment. Apparently I waved my hands like a duck flapping its wings and ran down the length of the pitch, shouting "Mine" at the top of my voice (which is really loud, if you have not heard me). And promptly the ball slips through my cupped fingers and every one looks at me like my fly was open all day and they had come to know of it just then. That was so embarassing. I have taken some wonderful catches from then on, but the stigma of the "Mine" incident has stuck to me since then.

But I remember the stage for all these incidents fondly and most of my friends spend a lot of time there in the evenings talking, sitting in the wall next to the floodlit basketball court.

Somas has apparently fallen into bad times as this article in today's Hindu mentions, but its heartening to see the residents take up the cudgels to protect this place. I am sure a lot of us, who have grown up playing cricket there at Somas would be glad to help.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

R.I.P Blogger PRO

Here lies Blogger Pro,
Was a child of the first January,
Of the new millenium;
When the whole world was going y2k+1,
Evan Williams went Blogger plus more;
Was a joy when it was,
And a joy it will be,
Now that it isn't;
R.I.P Blogger Pro,
May your soul live well,
Over every Blogger's heart.

My pictorial eulogy to Blogger Pro is here!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Remember this anyone?

Does anyone remember this eventful over ? I am sure that every Indian cricket fan remembers this Test match, but this particular second inning dismissal? Have seen any talk about it lately. Read on. The following is from a Cricinfo ball-by-ball commentary.

41.1 Saqlain Mushtaq to Tendulkar, no run, a step forward, aggressive shot, played to midwicket fielder.

41.2 Saqlain Mushtaq to Tendulkar, one run, bounces and spins a lot, turned to backward short leg, quick run.

41.3 Saqlain Mushtaq to Ganguly, no run, short ball, cracked very hard at silly point fielder. both silly point and short cover turned their backs the ball bounced off silly point's back but short cover was not ready either turning his back too.

41.4 Saqlain Mushtaq to Ganguly, no run, pushed to offside

oh no....

41.5 Saqlain Mushtaq to Ganguly, OUT:
India 82/5, Partnership of 9
SC Ganguly c Moin Khan b Saqlain Mushtaq 2 (25b 0x4 0x6)
Saqlain Mushtaq 14.5-5-19-2

Interesting, what if India had actually complained to the match referee (which I think they did not). Btw, Cammie Smith was the match refree in this match, but with two sub-continent teams involved, just like "la-affaire Latif", we could have had some success. Even the mainstream Pakistani media termed the decision the worst of the match

It is also interesting to see two similiar incidents involving the same team. Speaks volumes about the tendency of the team in question to do such things when the tide is against them. They won on both cases and in both cases the victory was as close as it can be. If only Azhar and Co. had been clever enough to approach Smith with a protest!
Must Watch Movies

I watched Speilberg's Duel a couple of days ago. My only comments are that no Indian movie has come even close to beating this movie in this genre. It's an awesome "highway movie". RGV's "Road" came close, but the insertion of the "item" number(s) spoiled an effort that was shaping up to becoming a classic. I am, however, unware at the moment whether "Road" has/had an Hollywood "inspiration" at all. Someone fill me in please.

This is my list of "must watch" movies. Each week, I am watching atleast a couple of movies in this list and am constantly adding more as and when I hear of stuff that I have no idea about. "Duel" was one such pick.

This list does not, however reflect on the quality of the movies mentioned, but is an indication of just how much the other efforts of these individuals have captured my attention. This might not turn out to be the online equivalent of Oprah's book list, but it my own wish list, all the same. So people, feel free to suggest more movies.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Swimming with Sharks
Glengarry Glen Ross
Consenting Adults
Big Kahuna, The

Apocalypse Now
Working Girl

Brian De Palma
Bonfire of the Vanities
Wise Guys

Jackie Brown

Bird on a Wire
Air America

Schindler's List
Artificial Intelligence: AI

Tigerland (2000)

Brad Pitt
Seven Years in Tibet
Meet Joe Black
Cutting Class
Happy Together
Cool World
Devil's Own, The
Twelve Monkeys
No Man's Land

Wall Street
8 Million Ways to Die

R.De Niro
Once Upon a Time in America
Angel Heart
Wag the Dog

Bachelor Party
Man with One Red Shoe, The
That Thing You Do!

Matt Damon
The Talented Mr.Ripley

Ed Norton
Primal Fear

P.S I haven't linked to any of these movies. To know more about these movies, Just go on to IMDB.com and search for the movie.

Sunday, September 07, 2003


Did some long intended updates to this blog. Some long overdue additions to the Blogroll. Added Lazy Geek, Ramz, Mahesh Shantaram, Yodhan, Kumaraguru, Ravi Kiran, Shobha, Ranjith, Dill and Raapi. I have been visiting these blogs for a long long time now and I have to give them their due. Thank you guys, for keeping me occupied for the major part of a hour each day.

Have also linked to the Script News blog, the Bharateeya Blog Mela and the Unoffical Blogger Support Yahoogroup. I might have left out some more links that I should have entered. Will do the necessary updates as and when I realise what i have missed.

Update-kke Update-a?
Ooops, Now i know who I missed - Anand !!!

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Encounter with Gangsters

Was almost through with my morning dose of blog reads today when I came to this post. It’s the first time I have been on this blog and its mighty interesting. The above-mentioned post features a special story on the Washington Post about encounter specialists in Mumbai. The article instantly reminded me of Gautam Menon’s Kaaka Kaaka. I saw it a couple of days ago and was immediately impressed by the no-nonsense screenplay and some strong portrayals from the intense Surya and the University guy – Jeevan.

Anbuselvan (Surya) and three of his police training school buddies are “encounter specialists”. They eliminate all but one of their targets, before Pandya (Jeevan), the brother of the last remaining target (Sethu), a virtual unknown in the eyes of the Chennai Police, but a hardened gangster himself, escapes from a Mumbai prison and lands up in Chennai and proceeds to infuse new blood into the activities of his brother Sethu. After the quartet gun down Sethu, Pandya vows to mow down all of them and proceeds to wreck havoc in each of their lives. Anbuselvan finally kills Pandya (as in all movies), but not before losing his wife (as does his friend) and one of his buddies. Harris Jayaraj’s music has not yet sunk in, but he seems to be an expert in “recycling” tunes and one of the songs seems uncannily similar to a koothu from Saamy. My roomie does not agree though. Listen (open them in a new window) to Arumuga Saamy from Saamy and Ennai Konjam from Kaaka Kaaka and tell me what u feel.

Surya seems to excel in these intense roles and this has been a good change of image for him (not that he was ill-suited for those lover boy roles). Nanda, Mounam Pesiyathey and now Kaaka Kaaka have made him rise up in my scale. Only an ineffective storyline (as in Mounam Pesiyathey) seems to hamper him these days. He has the rugged looks, expressive eyes and a good physique, all of which are essential for any serious actor. He and Vikram (not to mention Dhanush) seem to be the saving graces for an otherwise insipid film industry in Chennai. The careers of the once hot Ajit and Vijay seem to be in the doldrums, now that their efforts to ape senior stars have failed. And Madhavan seems to be in one day and out on the other. Hence, the key seems to be originality. But in an industry where even a intelligent film maker like Balu Mahendra tries to pass Hollywood lift offs as original stuff (like he did with his last offering Julie Ganapathy, which was a straight lift from Misery, a Rob Reiner adaptation of a Stephen King screenplay starring Kathy Bates and James Caan), this seems lacking to a large extent.

Speaking of liftoffs and remakes, heard that Feroz Khan has roped in Gautam Menon to remake Kaaka Kaaka with son Fardeen and Preity Zinta playing the leads, in Hindi. Jeevan plays the villian in the Hindi version too. Looks like the dude might have to regrow his recently shorn long locks. In a recent feature in The Hindu, he remarked that producers who approach him with roles over the telephone gently ask to be excused when they hear about his short hair. Dunno what he feels about growing his long hair back for Gautam Menon.

QOTD: "Now every gang wants to kill me. I am like the World Cup for them." - Mumbai Police encounter specialist, Pradeep Sharma (with 97 encounter hits to his "credit")

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I hate Ferrari

Being a McLaren Mercedes man, I have always hated Ferrari, just for the fact that the &@$%@^% Schumacher (the elder) drives for them. But this hate has not extended beyond Formula 1, at least not until now.

Fiat's decision to gift a Ferrari 360 Modena to Sachin Tendulkar and the subsequent controversy has changed the status quo. Throughout the fracas and the spate of PILs that have been added to the already flooded Indian courts (the latest being this),Fiat's only response has been a statement offering to pay the import duty for the car. This was about three weeks ago. But since then the PIL's have only doubled and the company has been strangely silent in this regard. If the Ferrari was "meant to felicitate and honor him for his achievement" (equaling Don Bradman's 29 Test centuries), then the company is doing him more harm by not backing him aggressively. So much that Sachin (already the most introverted among the ranks of the Indian cricket team) is is staying away from the media in a manner that has raised eyebrows. Surely, someone could sit beside him when he meets the media and tell the media before hand that only questions pertaining to the camp and other cricketing issues will be entertained. Or worse, questions can be planted. I am sure Sachin knows quite a few people in media rank and these people could be coerced to ask only those questions. In fact, the BCCI has a media manager appointed - Amrit Mathur, who himself writes columns and hence is known in the fraternity himself. But strange are the ways of Indian cricket and strange they will be till professionals take over the management.

And it is now known that the Government had in fact changed laws last year, enabling such exemptions on a case-to-case basis. While the Sachin issue set precedence (the law was changed to facilitate this case), surely this will be done to other individuals as well on a deserving basis. And I am sure that no person is more deserving than Sachin in this aspect. Hence this issue might be nothing after all.

Coming back to Fiat and their original offer. Come out to the open guys and get back on that offer. Let the people and the media know you are still behind Sachin. It looks as if he is a Lone Ranger now. However after all the mud racking, it is best that Fiat owns up and pays the money on Sachin’s behalf to ensure that Sachin is vilified no more and can concentrate on cricketing issues.

QOTD:"There was no championship, but equalling Sir Don Bradman's record of 29 centuries is [a] landmark achievement. The spirit of the exemption notification is that the prize should reflect a landmark achievement. The duty exemption may therefore be granted." - Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, elaborating on the reasons behind the exemption.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Nada Anuboothi

One of the femme-fatales (btw, this is just to humor her and yet to keep it anonymous, lol) in my circle of acquaintances sent me this link. I have not seen the whole of this page, but the little I have seen, has got me hooked. All ye connoisseurs of carnatic music, see and hear this. Couldn't find any of Swathi Thirunal's compositions which I have been hooked on ever since I heard the sound track from the eponymous 1987 movie. However I did find a set labeled Golden hits of M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar. Should be a nice hear anyways. By the way, you might need to get a login for the site. It is free and takes no time.