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Showing posts from 2007

movie talk

Vidhu Vinod Chopra seems to have lost it. After all this Eklayva nonsense, he's just shooting his mouth off. And Sajid Khan hasn't taken kindly to some of his rants. Read Khan's 'open letter' to Chopra.

And going back, here's an interesting interviewChopra did with Tehelka back in June.

"Last rites of a pianful career," surmised a friend at the office.

Snippets cont'd ...

I was flying back to India after watching the two semi-finals of the 1999 cricket World Cup and the line for check-in at Heathrow was, as expected, full with plenty of Indians.

This particular line included a sizeable Punjabi contingent, ranging from crying infants to bow-legged grandparents. This distinguished family, joint and double-jointed (okay, bad pun), was clearly too overwhelming for the pretty young British lady behind the counter, evident by her flustered look at having to handle a dozen tickets at one time and struggling to understand the different accents.

I noticed quickly that each of those Punjabis, from toddler to aged, had a British passport. What seemed to compound the young lady’s hassles was the fact that the elderly, dressed in typical Indian attire, couldn’t speak great English despite being in the UK for a long time. I watched, amused and admired, by the way she handled the situation. After checking all the passports and tickets, she let them all pass and took a…

"India is great!"

It was the night India beat Pakistan to win the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa. After wrapping up my ball-by-ball duties I headed out with a friend to pick up something to drink on the way to a colleague’s house.

It was getting close to 10.30 and we were worried the liquor shops would be shutting. We found a place on some seedy back lane and stopped the office car. My friend goes up to the hole in the wall and quickly places the order. There were a few chaps standing around the counter and I stood on the pavement.

Suddenly an old man stumbled out and faced me. Oh great, I thought. He sizes me up and stepped forward.

“India is great!” he cheers, reeking of the good stuff. "India won match!"

I have no option but to agree with him, but his next line is classic, after looking at me somewhat pitifully and extending his hand to shake mine.

“America … America also good ... but India is great!”

My friend hears this and turns around and grins goofily. He’s seen me confronted …

Another snippet ...

I commuted from home to work and for a year in Bombay before moving to Bangalore. That included a five-minute walk to the station, a wait of anywhere between two and ten minutes for the fast train, an 18 to 30-minute travel thereafter, if all went well, and anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes in an auto rickshaw from my stop to the office.

As you can imagine, a white guy in a compartment of a local train will draw attention. I won't go into the gory details of what it was like on a packed evening, or the foul stuff I would hear from the obligatory loafers, but there were some funny incidents during that year of traveling on the Bombay trains.

I was coming home one evening, from Andheri to Bombay Central, and met a friendly sardarji. Now I’m totally used to being gawked at when I step – or leap, as often the case was – into a first-class compartment and this time was no different. Except that said paape, in designer jeans and snazzy white and black t-shirt and carrying a couple large sho…

Snippets from my life, part 1

Okay, so I hear there's some interest in these pages. Apologies for not regularly updating them. Been travelling for work and had other stuff to sort out.

I've had to answer a lot of questions recently, while covering games in Delhi, Bangalore and Cochin, as to where I'm actually from, how I came to India, how I learnt Hindi, yadda yadda yadda ... but the most interesting one I got was 'whats the funniest incident you've had in India?'

Now there have been many, too many to recall even at the ripe old age of 26, but I'll try and sort out a few classics. Today on the way to work I caught an auto inside the Manipal Hospital compound as always (you never know what sort of autowala youre going to have to deal with each day here in Bangalore) and the chap who acknowledged my wish to go to MG Road with some sort of grunt looked normal enough. Except his auto chugged along at about 15 kilometres an hour down Airport Road as the rest of the world, cyclists included,…

Kumble!

Who'd a thunk it? Anil Kumble scored his maiden Test hundred today. And it confirmed India's first series win in England for close to 22 years. It was a fighting, assured innings, dotted with predominantly off-side boundaries. Seriously, he frustrated the heck out of England, adding 97 for the second wicket with Dhoni, and 62 and 73 for the eighth and tenth wickets. Well played, Jumbo.

Notice the difference in batting averages of the two sides so far (up to day two of the final Test) - England's batting order: Strauss 35.80, Cook 32.75, Vaughan 60.50, Pietersen 50.75, Collingwood 23.75, Bell 15.00, and Prior 15.25. India's batting order: Jaffer 37.00, Karthik 51.00, Dravid 28.50, Tendulkar 45.40, Ganguly 48.00, Laxman 39.75, and Dhoni 57.66. The key difference? The last three of each. Thats made all the difference.

Spare a thought for Prior, who dropped a couple of catches and let through 33 byes, which is the second-highest in a single Test innings.

Remembering Azhar

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Helping a friend and colleague form a Sachin Tendulkar quiz, I popped the question: "Sachin Tendulkar was the first player to score 10,000 runs in one-day internationals. Whose record did he break?" The answer, of course, is Mohammad Azharuddin. I wanted to see how many ODI runs Azhar finished with, so I went to his player page, and soon found myself looking through images of him. It brought back memories of a batsmen I used to love to watch. Forget Tendulkar, on his day, Azhar was the man to watch.

I didn't watch cricket when he scored those hundreds at Auckland, Lord's and Old Trafford (England couldn't stop him from the moment he made his debut) early in his career, but how can I forget that century against South Africa at Eden Gardens, off just 74 balls? India up against it, 119 for 6, and then bang! Lance Klusener is hit for five successive fours as he tries to pepper Azhar with the short stuff. Or the hundred in partnership with Tendulkar at Cape Town? Or t…

Slow Barracks Forever!

After Aap Ka Surroor and Partner, I watched Anjan Dutt's Bow Barracks Forever! and was thoroughly frustrated. After two masala movies, with cliched dialogues, insane situations, lavish sets and dollops of thumkas, I suppose I wanted a film more in touch with reality. The premise of this picture promised as much, seeing as it's based on an Anglo-Indian community in a ramshackle, claustrophobic paada (dwelling)in Kolkata.

But it was not to be so. Kudos to Dutt for tackling a community-specific topic, and as a director he's in good touch, but its Dutt the screenwriter that lets the story down. He's chosen to depict people whose livelihoods are under threat if their building is taken over by real estate sharks. But Dutt doesnt etch out the characters well enough. Yes, he has a lot of them bus still, they're not meaty enough. We don't know why a few of them are the way they are. They're zombie shadows, either lolling in the background of a bustling city and the …

Cricket banter

Sachin Tendulkar went past 11,000 Test runs on day two at Trent Bridge. He looked sluggish, but finished the day unbeaten on 57. He needs a big hundred.

Anyways, enough of that. There should be a season for cricket. Not the scattered, ICC-drawn calendar we follow now.

Its not next to impossible, as we're made to believe, given the international teams that play, split by hemispheres and climates.

Look at sports in the United States. There are spring, fall and winters sports. One ends, another begins. Some run simultaneously.

In that sense, there's a certain charm to the English county season. Games begin when the snow has thawed, the greens have been cleared. Thats the romance missing in the international calendar.

Sample this para written by Ed Gammons, one of the best baseball analysts and writers, in the fall of 1975 after the Boston Red Sox lost the race for the World Series.

"We have postponed autumn long enough now. There are storm windows to put in, wood to chop for the w…

Himesh bhai nu

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Okay, I’m back. A lot has happened since I last got on this page. India elected its first female President in a muckraking political poll, Tony Blair left office, Australia won its third consecutive World Cup, and Paris Hilton went to jail, and the seventh and final Harry Potter book came out.

But yeah, I’m not here to discuss all that. Saw Himesh Reshammiya’s debut film, Aap Ka Suroor – The Real Luv Story yesterday. Sold-out show at 11.00 a.m. in Bangalore, of all places. And get this, there was an auto rickshaw parked on the second to last floor of the mall, smack between an SUV and one of those fancy little cars.


I can just see the rick driver, collar up, taking the morning off and driving through the gate, telling the security guard that he was a paying customer here to watch a film, and that like all the other customers, it was his right to park his vehicle in the space allotted. Awesome!

But yeah, back to the film. You don’t expect much walking into a picture like this, right? I m…

Just shoot it

Just shot for my second short film, after Shadows in the Andamans back in January. This was a little different, being a zero-budget student film shot on a campus here in Bangalore, but interesting nevertheless. It took two all-night shifts and a third, six-hour night. Lots of mosquitoes, time spent waiting for lights to be adjusted and other glitches, but I’m glad I did it.

Its just a short student project, not more than seven or eight minutes and revolves around three characters in a cafe shack in Goa. A young girl, waiting for her boyfriend to join her, shares a table with an older hippie-type, who's been in Goa for a few years and has certain issues in life.

The director, Bharti, has a good head on her shoulders and I wish her all the best. The others too were dedicated and its encouraging to see the passion that kids in their early twenties have for cinema in India. They’re trying to be different, thinking out of the box.

And here’s a small write-up on me and others that sort …

MLB round-up

Tim Wakefield and Doug Mirabelli made a great combo once again, and the Red Sox enjoyed a six-run eighth inning in a 10-1 win over the Angels at Fenway. Barry Bonds continued his march towards Hank Aaron with the 736th and 737th homers of his career as San Francisco beat the Pirates 8-5. The dinosaur Julio Franco pinch-hit a single to carry the Mets past the Nationals. Toronto's Roy Halladay pitched a beauty to do one over the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees are third in the AL East. And oh, the Arizona Diamondbacks lead the NL West 7-3. Wow.

A foray into something new...

Rugby Dirt, the other website I write for, is now live. Under 'Featured Articles' all the international, non-US collegiate news articles are mine. Enjoy!

Click here to go the site.
अरे वह! क्या बात है, बॉस। तीख है, शायद मैंने यह हाई-फुन्दा टेक्नोलॉजी के बारे में काफी देर में सुनह, लेकिन मज़ा टोह आ गया। अगर तुम यह नहीं पद सकते होह, टोह माफ कीजीये । प्रणाम।

UP, UP and away

The fate of 881 candidates in Uttar Pradesh rests in the hands of 1.60 crore voters, including 75 lakh women. The second phase of elections is on.

Security has been tight in the 58 constituencies spread over ten districts of western UP. There's a reported 8, 479 polling centres being used, plus central observers, micro-observers, and some 65,000 personnel of paramilitary force deploted. Much fun will be had.

Flop acts

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The Super Eights are getting pretty interesting. New Zealand lead the points table, Australia are surefire semi-finalists, and Sri Lanka - hit hard by the injury to Lasith Malinga - will also sail through. Its at the bottom that it gets interesting. South Africa have two wins, and England and Bangladesh each have one. The West Indies are virtually out of the tournament, having failed to win a game in the second phase.

While we've seen some success stories, there have also been some big flops in this World Cup.

1. Justin Kemp - Looks a decimal point of the hard-hitting batsman he is. His bowling is useless, so he plays as a specialist batsman in the lower middle order. Still cant buy a run. Looks so out of play when he comes in and early, and if he's there to have a swing, he's a waste in the XI. South Africa have the likes of Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher and Andrew Hall to do that.

2. Habibul Bashar - Six games, five innings, 57 runs, a best of 24, and an average of 11.40. T…

Bond. Shane Bond.

A good piece on my man Shane Bond.

Tracking the UP polls

This year's Uttar Pradesh polls look poised to be interesting, even though my affinity for the state has lessened with each trip through it on the way to Mussoorie. I'm glad Mussoorie is a part of Uttarakhand. Not that there's a helluva difference between the two states, but all this ruckus about minorities, an overwhelming population and new legislature doesnt seem to have gotten all the way up there yet.

I noticed that the UP government has moved a special appeal against the Allahabad High Court ruling that Muslims could not be considered minorities in the state. The message coming out is clearly, "Muslims are not entitled to be recognised as a religious minority." Thats all well and done, but UP has a history of making statements and then failing to follow through.

And then we have the Congress Party's young [half-white] Indian hope, Rahul Gandhi, heir of India's greatest political dynasty. Yes, he's drawing crowds ahead of the elections, but does h…

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

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Flipping channels once again - is that my calling? - I caught the last ten minutes of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar.


That cycle race still kicks me.

When Sanjay wins the race, there's just so much going on in that scene. As he crosses the finish line, his arms go up in triumph, the stadium erupts, Deepak curses himself, and Sanjay loses control of his bike and falls to the ground. His father and girlfriend look to get up and help, for a split second, but then realize its not their place at the moment. Its Sanjay's.

As he lies there on his back, hurting, bleeding, a smile breaks out on Sanjay's face - something he hasn't done for most of the movie's second half - as he hears the din, and sees the appreciation all around. He sees, in is father's teary eyes, pride. The man who's looked at him like a lost cause now spreads his old chest and salutes his son. In his brother's eyes, he sees accomplishment. His brother helped coach him, and believed in him. His broth…

Time for change

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Greg Chappell has resigned. Wow. For Sachin Tendulkar to speak out was unthinkable. He's never uttered a word his entire career. Chappell spoke/leaked information to the media many times. Sachin spoke out once in his career and Chappell is out. Amazing. But Indian cricket is in for a torrid time. I hope the selectors have the guts to relieve Rahul Dravid of the captaincy, get Sourav Ganguly, Sachin, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh out of the one-day side, and bring back Mohammad Kaif. India's fielding/fitness is abysmal. There is no way they can compete in the field with Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Their bowling is shoddy, perhaps above just West Indies and Bangladesh, from the Test sides, though even a bowler like Darren Powell took 2 for 35/40 every match of this World Cup.

Fitness must be assessed. It is the way of the future. Now is the time; wipe the slate clean. Get rid of any unfit, uninspiring, potentially disruptive elements (most of the nam…

Bollywood's Cassidy and Sundance

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Okay, so you probably think all I do is watch cricket and movies; more hindi movies than English, too.

You're right.

While sitting at work entering some tour diaries and covering the latest update in the Woolmer murder, one of the production chaps chose Sony Max to try out some new video recording stuff, and mixed work with pleasure by recording the better half of Ram Lakhan. A classic Subhash Ghai (no, I'm not a fan of his, this is just coincidence) potboiler from the Eighties, this movie had it all. This was the biggest hit that the Anil Kapoor-Jackie Shroff combo had, though they combined for many better movies.

Watching the two of them, young, handsome, fit and in their prime as heroes, made me wonder about their longevity. Both debuted well over 25 years ago (Kapoor in '79 with a bit role in Hamare Tumare, Shroff in '82 with a similar role in Dev Anand's Swami Dada) and are still ticking in 2007, though in very different modes.

Kapoor is at the top of his game, …
An interesting piece in The New York Times about the Red Sox's signing up Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Malinga, Malinga! [or How South Africa nearly choked again]

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Chasing 210, South Africa need four bleeding runs from 32 deliveries with five wickets in hand. Jacques Kallis batting on 85.

Would a fool bet on them to win?

Probably. Enter Lasith Malinga, who'd bowled seven overs for close to 50. Over 44.5, he slings a slower one that pegs back Shaun Pollock's leg stump. Okay, no sweat, Andrew Hall is in, he's got a Test hundred to his name. 44.6, another slidey, slingey, slowey thing, that Hall lobs straight to cover. Hmm. Heart rates increasing in the South African dressing room?

Over done, the South Africans manage one run from the next over.

Back to Malinga, on a hat-trick. Kallis on strike. Three runs to get from 24 balls now. Easy. The ball is full and furious outside off stump, Kallis goes for a square-drive and nicks it behind. A loud appeal. Kallis stays rooted. An even louder appeal follows and umpire Daryl Harper raises the fatal finger. HAT-TRICK.

Just two wickets left. Sri Lanka on fire. Hang on a second, they can actually wi…

The Shotgun Show

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At 2:48 in the morning, one of my flatmates bangs on my door like the Chinese have invaded, all because Lasith Malinga took four wickets in four balls. Lovely stuff, except I couldnt get back to sleep. And I had to be at work by 8. Ended up staying awake.

Anyway, another surfing session brought me to the opening scene of a film called Vishwanath on Sony Max. Its probably the first Shatrugan Sinha flick I've sat through. Its a decent film, veteran film-maker Subhash Ghai's second. Apparently it was a big hit when it released in early 1978.

Ghai has always turned out potboilers, with big stars, lavish sets and hit music. It proved to be his downfall as a director as the years turned over and Indian cinema awoke to the benefits of technology and professionalism on the sets. To sum up, Ghai realized this too late and his last few films have been pathetic. He was a master of the VHS era; he couldnt keep in touch with the DVD generation. In 2005, he opened a center called Whistling …

Apocalypto

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Just watched Apocalypto. Stunning movie, visually and aesthetically. Gruesomely violent, but that’s how life was back then, you're meant to believe. Many will say Gibson loses credibility when he tries to manipulate historical facts to prove a political point. That’s what critics are there for. And come on, its an unabashed story, not a factual documentary.

I left the theatre disgusted on some level but stunned on another. The film may be growing on me.

The film is, to put it bluntly, pure adrenaline. The action sequences are stunning. Rudy Youngblood, who plays the main character, Jaguar Paw, is really a find. The other actors don’t get much scope – in fact, there’s a lot of grunting and growling, and the native characters aren’t as deep as the ones in say The Last of the Mohicans - but its not a movie relying on histrionics. It’s raw, and has to be, given the brutality inflicted on the villagers and in the insanity that plagues the massacring tribe. You’re made to feel the shock …

Cricket buzz

Lets play ball

And so, with a lack of interest in the World Cup - barring, of course, my ranking in the office Super League standings - I turn back to baseball and the Red Sox.

Down in Ft. Myers, Curt Schilling had a good outing in a 3-2 win over the Orioles, Jason Veritek hit his first homer of spring training, and Jonathan Papelbon will return as closer for the coming season. Schilling tossing hard in seven innings, in his most extended start of the spring, is a great sign for the Sox.

Varitek, who turns 35 on April 11, ended an 0-for-17 drought and has stated that he wants to go back to a more simplified approach that helped him rise to All-Star status in both 2003 and 2005. More power to him.

Remember, Papelbon suffered a serious shoulder subluxation last September, and at the end of last season, the Sox announced that he'd be best suited, at least in the short term, to go back to starting. Thankfully, he's progressed faster with his conditioning program than the club expected.

And then the…

Bye bye blues

So this is what Greg Chappell's 'Vision of Excellence' came down to.

India out of the World Cup. Two innings and not one score in excess of 200.

Sri Lanka crushed an Indian side miserably low on confidence. The two crafty veterans, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, ripped the heart out of a brittle batting order.

Pretty numb right now.

Just hope all the ads stop. No Sachin selling glucose biscuits. No Dravid riding mobikes. No Zaheer and razor blades.

Rabbi da jawab nahin

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I first heard Rabbi Shergill over a year ago, when I came across his "Bulla Ki Jaana" on B4U one night while surfing the channels at some ungodly hour. The video was interesting, and the music was sufi-ish, but sung by a Sardar, which I'd never seen before. Interesting, I thought. I don't speak Punjabi, but having listened to so many different songs over the years and admittedly, having gone through a Sukhbir phase - there, I've said it - know enough to get the jist of what's being sung. There was a reference to Bulle Shah, who I've always been intrigued by, which I suppose also drew me to the song. And the video was pretty neat, with scribbled words flashing roughly across the screen while this sardar, clad in white, travelled through Bombay.

Anyway, I think I downloaded the song later on, but that was it. Then, when in Mussoorie, by good friend Tashi asked me if I'd heard Rabbi. I said I had, and he asked me if I'd heard a song called "Tere…

Woolmer's death 'is suspicious'

To feed the appetite of those who think Bob Woolmer's death was more than what it seems, comes the news that the Jamaican police are treating the unfortunate incident as suspicious.

Mark Shields, deputy commissioner of the Jamaican police constabulary, said there was sufficient information to continue a full investigation into the death.

The Pakistan team are now discussing whether to pull out of their World Cup match with Zimbabwe, a spokesman said.

When the investigation is completed, Woolmer's body will be taken back to his home in Cape Town, accompanied by team trainer Murray Stevenson.

The ICC is expected to hold a press conference later today.
Bob Woolmer is no more. The former Kent and England Test batsman, and recent Pakistan coach, was found unconscious in his room at the Pegasus Hotel in Sabina Park yesterday morning, a day after Pakistan's World Cup defeat by Ireland, and was immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he did not recover.

The cricket world mourns his loss.

Still sick, still wrong

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The loss to Bangladesh has given India a major headache and highlighted the frailties plauging this side. It didnt' hit me until a few hours back, when I observed a few friends reacting and dissecting the game, how pathetically India had played, and how it would effect the World Cup, and their interest.

As my colleague and friend Anand Vasu pointed out today, here's what India need to do to stay alive in the tournament. Have a look, it makes for painfully interesting reading.


















The immediate task at hand is to beat Sri Lanka on Friday. Then, they have to beat Bermuda by a heavy margin - I'm talking thrash/pulverize/decimate them - to improve their run rate. Assuming India achieve even that, the passage to the Super Eights is still not assured; all eyes will then turn to Bangladesh-Bermuda match on March 25. That's the last match of the first round of the World Cup. Who'd have thought so many people would pay attention to it?

Meanwhile, you can hear the knives sharpenin…

Khalbali hai khalbali!

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On the very day that Ian Chappell criticized the World Cup participation of minnow countries, in his column for Cricinfo, Ireland knocked Pakistan out of the World Cup and Bangladesh shocked India in their first game with a five-wicket win.

Bangladesh aren't minnows anymore, as wins over India (twice), Australia, and Sri Lanka prove, and the dedication with with they approached yesterday's game was immense. Its a telling statement on the hard work done by the untiring Dav Whatmore.

You had three kids - 17, 18, and 19 - scoring valiant half-centuries. You had Mashrafe Mortaza, 2006's highest wicket-taker, bowling some great deliveries and getting four; you had Syed Rasel backing him up in an unbroken ten-over spell; you had the great Mohammad Rafique, getting Rahul Dravid with his first ball; and you had the ever-improving Abdur Razzak, teasing and turning the ball. This was the best I've seen Bangladesh play.

Before this game, they'd only once beat India in 14 meetin…
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Okay, so I'm clearly not getting around to blogging about the World Cup everyday. One reason is that the interest just isn't there yet. Odd, I know. India hasn't played yet, so that's one fickle reason. But just seeing the size of those ridiculous grounds in the West Indies, and the number of minnows, and Australia, just dampens it all.




Still, a round-up of the first week's games is a must. The West Indies beat Pakistan comprehensively in the Cup opener; Ricky Ponting scored another hundred as Australia overpowered Scotland; captain Steve Tikolo led by example as Kenya began their World Cup campaign with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Canada; a ruthless Sri Lanka beat Bermuda by 243 runs, the second biggest margin of defeat in World Cup history (and big man Dwayne Leverock so wasn't worth the hype, despite breaking into a little jig after a wicket); then we had a tie, as Ireland marked their first World Cup appearance with a come-from-behind salvage effort…

Warm-up woes

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The best thing to happen ahead of the World Cup was the five consecutive defeats Australia suffered at the hands of England and New Zealands. It broke the aura of invincibilty that surrounded them.

Warm-up games, especially those against minnow nations, don’t tend to be taken too seriously but we’ve been given a glimpse into how things will pan out in the World Cup.

India beat the Netherlands and West Indies, but Virender Sehwag still hasnt impressed one bit. He would have been tempted to have a bit of a biff against Holland's unthreatening band of slow medium-pacers and spinners, but he restrained himself only to throw it all away. He got a duck against West Indies, chasing 86 for victory.

Then there's Irfan Pathan, who hasnt bowled anything out of the 105-115 kmh range. Against West Indies, he sprayed the ball around, overpitched to the extent that some balls bounced well past the stumps, and generally, appeared to do his cause no good. India have some worries.

There was ple…

Appreciating Amitabh Bachchan

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I just saw Nishabd while in Hyderabad, and was again impressed by the range of Amitabh Bachchan, at this age and in this phase of his career. It’s a sensibly handled movie, with Bachchan towering above all else. The complete understanding with which he essayed a 60-year-old man infatuated with an 18-year-old girl was excellent. You don’t need to understand his character’s nature, or the details of his 27-year marriage, or why his passion is photography.

Critics have panned the film’s abrupt ending, where we see Bachchan’s introverted character lost for all good; the man has severed ties with his wife and daughter, cannot erase the girl from his memory and even contemplates suicide. He just wants to live out his days thinking of the tender moments with the girl. The story ends on that note. What, did you expect his wife and daughter to accept him back into their hearts? No, he went through some emotions that were never going to be understood by anyone but himself, he made a mistake and…

Cricinfo article update

The Old Monk fan club

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Rum is good. Old Monk rum is very good. Seriously, leave the beer, gin and bloody marys be - this stuff is the best. You're going to have your white rum gang - Bacardi is good now and then - but for sitting around and doing jack, or to get the convo going, stick to the Monk. Its just got a different taste. (FYI: its the world's third largest selling brand of rum.)

I've tried various types of Bacardi, as well as Royal Stag and Captain Morgan's, and though I like some Jameson when I'm in the States, my loyalties lie with Old Monk. After I first tasted it, there was no going back. Its a religion. If straight up's your poison, drink up, but a little Thumbs Up or Coke ain't bad. Pepsi, nah. Too sweet. If you're up in the hills during winter, have it with hot water. If you're adventurous, add a drop of lemon squash. Nice.

I just recently came across a more expensive and better quality type called Old Monk Gold Reserve. Good stuff.

Whenever I'm up in Mu…

Mussoorie

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Just got back from a very, very short break in Mussoorie. Went up with three friends from work - Sriram, Sid and Monga - and an old friend from school, Ronjoy, and his girlfriend, Farrah.

Had a great time. My cousin Shibani was up there as well to add to the madness. Weather was nice and cold, it rained too, and we did nothing but eat, drink, play cricket, gamble, hit the old haunts, and eat at char dukan every day. Awesome.
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It's that time again. World Cup is coming up and predictions are everywhere, people posting their favories, etc. I'm not saying anything about India this time. They don't look like a winning unit, sadly. My money's on Sri Lanka and South Africa...yes, South Africa. Sri Lanka, under Tom Moody and Mahela Jayawardene, have taken the aggressive, frenetic style of play associated with the 1996 World Cup side and more to a new level. They have exciting bastmen, effective allrounders (spinners being the strongest point) and Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga in the pace department.

On those small, turning West Indian pitches, Sri Lanka are the most likely to succeed. South Africa are the best fielding unit in the game, their pacers are in top form (oh, Pollock, thank you for the memories and the return to form!), but their batsmen are a bit dodgy against spin. I just feel there's something about them, that puts them in a good spot. They're still chokers, in some manner …

Bangalore

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I don't come to this page nearly enough as I should. No excuses on offer.

Moved to Bangalore in the beginning of November, after a year or so in Bombay. Like the place. Very small compared to Bombay, but fab weather in the winters, and some good pubs. I like the feel of the place, though I'm afraid its already mellowed me and I may be in danger of retiring within the year. Most places shut by 10:30, believe it or not. Most of the time its head to someone's house and chill there.

Have a nice place though, shared with two friends from work. Good dig. The commute to work is about 15 mins max by rick, which is so much better than what I was doing back in Bombay. Yeah, much better. Centrally located office, next to the mall, restaurants, pubs, and so on. Haven't really explored all of Bangalore, but what I've seen I've liked.

Work's going well. Been busy. Will get busier with the World Cup coming up in March. Planning on taking a few days off at the end of Febru…