Sunday, January 30, 2005

Am I crazy??!!


I am getting more and more eccentric by the day. Last night at 2340, I decided to go all alone to watch National Treasure, Nicholas Cage's latest adventure flick. Now trust me, this is a helluva movie. One of the biggest and best adventure movies that I have seen in a long long time...Nicholas Cage walks and looks the man all throughout the movie, and was as much worth the excitement as Ocean's Twelve was a damp squib.
Tonight, I plan to go watch Finding Neverland. All alone, obviously!! ;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Hail the monstrous nerd!!


I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Sahil's Married




Not that I didnt expect it!! Would have rather he stuck on to the "Bachelors' Club"!! Another warrior from the Bachelors' Bastion bites the dust!! s

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Debates

We were having this friendly debate as a brain break during our training session today and it didnt end up on a really friendly note, what with Kenneth getting a bit too intrusive and personal with his interjections and wisecracks. It started out as a debate between Rashmi and me. The motion was Marriages are a better option than Live-in relationships. Contentious as the topic was, people couldnt help joining in and it eventually turned out to be a four way debate between Rashmi, Myself, Shell and Kenneth. Too many cooks spoil the broth, and thats what happened to the debate that was otherwise progressing in a pretty healthy fashion. Well anyways, I stood forth on my stand in favour of live-in relationships. I havent ever been an opponent of marriage. But I believe marriage is an institution that one should be sure about, before stepping in. Nothing could be truer in the modern age, where men and women are increasingly independent and tend to have a set of beliefs, fundamentals that they hold dear to each other. Marriage without understanding, trust and assured compatibility, is nothing but a live-in relationship, with a legal paper indicating social ratification, attached. Such marriages are as brittle as live-in relationships, and when such relationships end unsuccessfully, they leave indelible scars. On the other hand, if one experiments with a live-in relationship, one has the option of easing in and easing out, without the burden of excess baggage. I share a love-hate relation with love itself, and I dont consider myself to be the right person to speak about an emotion like love, cos I feel I am a bit too practical for that. But then, it is but natural that people either married or unmarried, choose to live together, because they feel some kind of love to each other. And as far as my limited understanding of what love happens to be, goes, one wouldnt want any action of his/her to hurt his/her partner. I wonder how many people would agree with taking a risk of getting into a relationship, where one ends up hurting someone they love, when the relationship is unsuccessful. I dont know how much sense I made with that sentence, but what I want to say is just that a broken marriage hurts both the man and woman. OTOH, while a broken live-in relationship does hurt, it leaves both the man and woman with the strength to pick up the pieces and move on with life.

All said and done though, marriage should ideally be the culmination of any successful live-in relationship. And no live in relationship (where love is the motivating factor) should sacrifice commitment. There cant be an excuse for not being committed if you claim to love the person you live with, be it marriage or not.

Monday, January 17, 2005

We the people....



I usually come to the party a little late, when its about movies and I was really late to join the "Swades" bandwagon. Now I am going to rubbish any movie critic that says "Swades" isnt an entertaining piece of art. Swades is, by any standards, is Shahrukh Khan's most polished performance of his movie career. And if Ashutosh Gowariker set a standard with Lagaan, he has just raised the bar with Swades. The movie as most of us would already know, is about an NRI, Mohan Bhargava (SRK), who happens to be a scientist with NASA, who returns to India in search of his childhood nanny, Kaveri-amma played by Kishori Ballal. His search leads him to a small village in UP, called Charanpur. His experiences in the village, which are a result of his efforts to get his nanny to migrate to the USA with him, make him realise his responsibility towards his nation and give him more than one reason to return to his country. Now this might seem to be a 3 and 1/2 hour moral science lecture to some and for those who can appreciate the emotions that Gowariker has tried to portray through his movie, its a 3 and 1/2 roller coaster ride. I cant help admiring the performances of the support cast, that includes the charming debutante Gayatri Joshi (playing Geeta), Daya Shankar Pandey (Mela Ram) and Rajesh Vivek (Nivaran). They have done a tremendous job in packaging the movie to what it has turned out to be.

Swades, also has an excellent music score, which one could call its only drawback as well. The movie loses its tempo at times, due to inappropriate insertion of song sequences. I must point out though, the attempt to knit the music sequences to the story itself and its pretty obvious that Gowariker hasnt forgot this art which he showed in Lagaan. The athiest in me, was especially pleased the song, "Pal Pal hai Bhari". Now this may seem ironic, but it isnt. The dying moments of the song have Shahrukh Khan saying, "Man se Ravan jo nikale, Ram uske man mein hai". I have believed that it isnt necessary to believe in God or a religion as long as you can keep your mind free of all evils. Religion happens to be a way of life and is a way of bringing peace to a community. Therefore the advocacy of a religion over another and the very advocacy of religion itself, given a human being's ability to cleanse his mind of evil, makes little sense.

Coming back to Swades, I think the movie comes with a very strong message. It is an inspiration to every viewer to live his dream and be the miracle. It shows that nothing is impossible when an inspired individual leads a team. It shows that while we might have a rich culture and heritage, it is no excuse for our inherent shortcomings. It makes us realise that every citizen, no matter how powerless, is responsible towards making his country a better place. No contributions are small and dispensible. Ashutosh Gowariker should be heading for the Oscars again, for a splendid directorial venture, yet again. I would say encore on that count and hope he can bring back the Oscars this time round.

On a more personal note, I dunno if I am falling in love all over again, but I must say this girl is really special. I am trying my best to resist. But it hurts when I do that. Maybe my mind's just playing games with me... once bitten, twice shy, they say... maybe I'll never learn... maybe I will. But "girl" all I wanna say to you, if you're reading this, and know its you I am bloggin about; URABUT!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Hockey, reloaded!



I watched a very keenly contested match between the Bangalore Hi-Fliers and Sher-e-Jallandhar in the Premier Hockey League(PHL) yesterday. While both sides squandered away quite a few good chances, I guess the forward line and the penalty corner conversion duo of Len Aiyappa and Sandeep Michael, from the Bangalore side would be pretty disappointed with their performance. As a result the turks from Punjab, did well to keep the Hi-Fliers at bay and eventually won the match thanks to a superb deciding strike from Prabhjot Singh, after the two teams had drawn level. I must say though that the Bangalore defence was amazingly effective. They had a simple game plan to keep the danger men from Sher-e-Jallandhar, Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur and Gagan Ajit Singh marked, and at bay. In fact all K S Vinay did throughout the match, was stick around Gagan and as a result the fiery forward wasnt able to produce any magic for his side. One just wonders what the Hi-Fliers could have done had the forwards gone about their task with the same dedication as their comrades in the defence line. Tushar Khandekar for me, was the dissapointment of the day considering the number of chances that he missed when he was just inches away from the Jallandhar goalpost. I am sure Sher-e-Jallandhar would want to tighten up their defence for their next match.

I think the PHL is a step in the right direction if one wants to see the resurgence of hockey in the Indian sporting culture. For two decades, a bat and a ball have kept the nation in raptures and we have come to be a one-sport nation. Forget about Vishy Anand, he is now a resident of Spain. Forget Leander Paes, he is a resident Florida, USA. I am sure someone would want to point out Vijay Singh. But hey, lets get real! He aint even an Indian national! The only sportsmen of international stature that we produce seems to be in cricket. Yeah, yeah we have had Karnam Malleshwari-s, Jaspal Rana-s, Anjali Bhagwat-s, Anju Bobby George-s, Rajyavardhan Rathore-s and the list tends to be endless... But lets take a closer look. How consistent are these heroes? Are they crowd pullers? Do we have a sporting culture in our country just like they have in the USA where people go for an NBA game just the way we go for a weekend movie? Like England, or Germany where a football game is like a family outing? Like Brazil, like Australia, like China, like Russia. The sports a country plays greatly define its own character. As it turns out, we prefer watching a game that may or may not produce a result after being played for 5 consecutive days. Seems like us, doesnt it? To build the a nation of our dreams, a sporting culture, no matter how frivolous it might seem, needs to be nurtured. The PHL wont make miracles happen overnight. In fact, nothing might ever happen. But we still are giving ourselves a chance to enjoy sport and to make it popular across society. Someday you might just happen to see people wearing the Hyderabad Sultans and Maratha Warriors gear and walking into a packed stadium to watch a PHL match. Maybe someday, we will back our local teams just like people across in the USA back the New York Yankees. Just like people in England back Manchester United. Just like they in Germany back Bayern Munich. Just like folks in Spain back Real Madrid. Maybe I am a dreamer. Maybe, just maybe...someday my dreams...our dreams would come true. And India can once again be the unbeatable team in international hockey.

I think the PHL is right for many reasons. First and foremost, all PHL matches would be played on astro-turf, which acclimatises our players to the kind of surface they would encounter abroad. Also, we are in a position to identify 60 of our top players and have a pool of talent to pick from, based on current form. So someday we might be able to say goodbye to zonal politics, favoritism, and witch hunts. With a credible performance metric in place, we can ensure that only the best talent makes way into our national side. Also, the fact that there are quite a few foreign players around this time, and more expected the next time around, the arena is a lot more competitive and would resemble the contests in county cricket, the Italian Serie A, the Spanish League or the EPL. I believe that the reasons for Dutch supremacy in the world of hockey is simply because they host one of the most competitive hockey leagues in the world. I guess the fact that the IHF has been able to pull out something from the hat, could mean great things for Indian hockey. The PHL has an amazing format; made for TV and made for the crowds kind of entertainment. The fact that the game is played in four quarters instead of two halfs gives players time to recuperate and rethink their strategy every 17 and 1/2 minutes. Add to that the ability to take time-outs and you have teams going at each other at full blast, every few minutes. The game never loses its tempo and what you eventually get, is 90 minutes of entertaining, high-speed hockey. I wouldnt want to imagine that there can be anything more exciting than this. Yeah, seeing Michael Clarke on song maybe an alternate sight, but I am gonna put that sight back in the closet for now. PHL rulez d00d!!

While we are speaking of sport, I guess talking about India's past year's performance on the cricket field, from a statistical point of view wouldnt do much harm. I must say, while we were apalling in the one-dayers, our performances in tests, were right up there. We just lost 4 test matches, of which 3 losses were to the Aussies. Now think of it, we won 2 tests and lost 3 against the Aussies, which is an extremely good show, considering that no one else gave the Aussies as much competition. As far as the other one goes, that was against Pakistan, in our memorable series victory. I must say, that if we consider the kind of opponents we have faced in the previous calendar year, India has been the best test team in the world, second to Australia of course! The only worrying factor for me now happens to be the fact that all our stars would retire in a couple of years. Where are the replacements to the Ganguly-s, the Kumble-s, the Sachin-s, the Rahul-s come from? We hardly experiment with our team, and those coming in are hardly experimented with much. Maybe, we need to overhaul our domestic tournaments and allow foreign players to come in and play on quick, green wickets. Maybe we need to devise a proper rating system to rate our domestic players. Get a major like PWC to do it for you, and then use those metrics to quantitatively analyse performances and come to a consistent selection procedure. If we need to keep our position in the world of cricket safe, then we need to start thinking out of the box, before it is too late.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Love, Actually!!

Love -- a word that we use very often, but understand very little. How many of us truly comprehend the value of this four lettered word? And do we really value love when we finally find it? I guess we are in a generation wherein the less we understand the word, the more we try to use it. We expect love to come from just one quarter, from someone we seem to like in more than just a platonic sort of way. What we fail to realise is that love is already a part of our life, from our friends, our family, our work, our passions. Yet, the craving for more drives us to crazy things, sometimes stupid acts. And then we find ourselves in a position, where we neither have a friend, nor do we have love. We hate being in such a position, but yet we continue to not learn from our mistakes. Love often turns out to be like sand on a beach. The more you grab at it, the more it slips away from you. The best way to keep that sand with you, is to pick up very little and leave it loose on the palm of your hand. We often find love from someone special as well, and this isnt entirely undesirable as long as one knows what he/she is upto. But then we try to keep our love and our loved ones on a tight leash. We do this with good intentions. We do this to ensure that we dont lose the love that we found with much difficulty. But then love isnt exactly governed by borders and boundaries. And again, love isnt quite the kind of beast that can be kept tied with a leash. Its more likely to be lost than be kept, if one does that.

Sometimes, in our quest to find someone special, we forget the people that already love us, our responsibilities towards them, and our ownselves. The kind of love thats based on just the attraction of two members of the opposite sex, is likely to be fallible. One would want to bank on it, but if one really introspects, you cant bank on something that has so fragile a foundation. Yes, over a period of time with a great friendship amongst the two, one could trust such a relationship. But then how sure are we, that every relationship we get into, would end up the way we want it to? Yet we are ready to sacrifice the love we already have to chase the pot of gold at the end of the horizon. GB Shaw once said, "You see things that are and say,'Why?'. I dream things that never were, and say, 'Why not?'". We as a race in the Space Age, share his optimism. Maybe that's what makes us human. However optimism is no substitute for pragmatism. And the bottomline remains that our friends, our family and those that we already have by our side, need their special spots reserved in our heart.

Love is the ability of a human being to realise the importance of the people who matter, and those who care. With love comes responsibilty for the simple reason that love itself comes with great power. While our nature itself keeps us on this neverending quest for love, let us spare a thought today, for the people that have stood by us through thick and thin. Let us try giving back what they gave us. Let us look beyond ourselves and start caring for them. Let us water the little sand that we have in our palm instead of trying to grab for more. And like magic, life will seem so much more beautiful.
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