Friday, November 25, 2005

The problem with Sourav Ganguly

The man is back. Again. But Saurav Ganguly's star is slowly fading.
I have been a huge fan of the man and the spirit he's brought to the Indian team, but he pretty much dug his own grave by going to the press with his dirty linen (even though it was wrong on Chapell's part to ask him to step down before the first test in Zimbabwe). One could have expected restraint from the skipper. To top it all, the man proceeded to get injured and then was sidelined for the next couple of series. The team, since then, has done exceedingly well and the man who built this team, now finds himself alienated. 'Dada' has since then done a decent job in the domestic matches that he has played, but that might do little in getting him back into the side. The selectors have, under pressure, got him back into the test team, with the explanation that he is a batting allrounder! uumm...they could have as well said that he was their fitness coach or reserve wicket keeper or something...Ganguly has traditionally made good use of chances offered to him and one hopes for his sake that he uses this chance well. Its ironic, that he has to sit out of the one day game and make a comeback in tests, an area he has been weaker at. I would have felt that slowly bringing him back to the opening slot in one dayers would have been the way to go. Get those two boys, Sachin and Sourav back at the top and perhaps hope for some magic of the old. But the selectors cannot select on hope and must carve out a team for the 2007 World Cup soon.
The seeds of the problem might have been sown with the successes of the Indian team. Carried away with the accolaes and the wins, Sourav had perhaps let his own personal development as a cricketer slip. He developed the demenour of ownership of the team. Being the leader started meaning more, I guess. His missing test matches on account of injuries and bans didn't help his cause either. His work ethic to fitness was also deplorable. The man could field, at one point. I have seen him pull of some fantastic catches in his time. All that is now a thing of the past.
In his defence, I would also like to say that there are other team members (namely Tendulkar and Sehwag) that have not really lived up to their superstar billing over the last year or so and they have been excused time after time. Saurav's record over the last year or so in ODI's has been better than Sehwag's. If performance is the only benchmark then these players should also get the same treatment. Also, what Chapell thinks of Ganguly is now playing a huge part, which I think is unfair. His inclusion in the test side could be as politically intriguing as the 'Mahabharata'. Who do the younger payers side with? How will the coach handle his inclusion? What statements does Dravid, the new captain come out with?
All I hope is that all this is caste aside and Sourav and Team India perform to potential. Sourav should realize that he must play well as a batsman and contribute as a player first. Team India should focus on playing a good game and Dravid and Chapell should look at strategy and developing a good work ethic.
I have been a huge fan of the Bengal southpaw, and I would love to see that blazing cover drive, that lofted six off the spinner, those gentle medium pacers and that combative spirit...there's a lot left in the Prince of Kolkata yet, but this, perhaps, is his last chance to prove it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Songs of a lifetime - 4

Remember this one? The famous 'ek anek' song. I found the lyrics to this, surfing the web the other day and I just had to do a ctrl c - ctrl v. This song brought back so many memories. Of a simpler and more innocent time gone by. When wants were modest, and there was wonder and joy in most things we did. There was learning and discovery to action and most things made us smile. Just imagine, all the kids in my colony gathered around the TV to watch this one, whenever it came on. And ya, we used to sing along as well! "champaaa chameliiii!!"
Don't laugh...This was high entertainment television once.

Didi ye anek kya hota hai ?
Anek…. anek yani bahut saare….
Jaise…suraj ek…chanda ek…taare anek…
Achcha to taron ko anek bhi kehte hain ?
Nahi nahi!! dekho phir se batati hoo
Suraj ek…chanda ek…taare anek…
Ek gilhari, …ek aur gilhari...ek ek ek karke ho gayee ab anek gilhariyaa
Ek titali, anek titaliyaa…ek chidiya.. ek ek anek chidiyaa
Anek chidiyon ki kahani sunoge …?
Haan sunao…
Ek chidiya anek chidiya….dana chugne baith gayee thi …..(chorus :)
Didi humen bhi sunao...
Phir se suno…ek chidiya, anek chidiyan dana chugne baith gayee thi …..
Wahin ek byaadh ne jaal bichhaya tha…
Byaadh, byaadh kya hota hai didi?
Byaadh … chidiya pakadne walato phir kya hua, usne chidiyon ko pakad liya,unhe maar diya
Himmat se jo jute rahe to bada kaam bhi hove bhaiya..bada kaam bhi hove bhaiya …1..2..3.. (furrrrrrrrrrr)
Chatur chidiyaa sayaani chidiyaa, miljul kar, jaal le kar bhaagi
Chidiyaa door ek gaaon mein chidiyon ke dost chuhe rahte the
Unhone unka jaal kaat diya…dekha ekta mein kitni shakti hai
Didi agar hum ek ho jaayen to kya koi bhi kaam kar sakte hain? Haan haan kyon nahi
To kya is ped ke aam bhi tod sakte hain ?Haan magar jugat lagani hogi
Achchha ye jugat … wah bada mazaa aayega
Hind desh ke niwasi sabhi jana ek hain, rang-roop vesh-bhaasha chahe anek hain

Bela gulab juhi champa chameli…
Phool hain anek kintu mala phir ek hai …ek-anek-ek anek suraj ek, chanda ek, taare anek,
Ek gilhari , anek gilhariyaan, ek titli, anek titaliyaan, ek chidiyaa , anek chidiyaa
Are bela gulab juhi champa chameli..phool hain anek kintu mala phir ek hain…


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Movie Marathon!

The last few days have seen me do the following. Work a little bit on my new internship, apply to a multitude of companies and watch a gazillion movies! Since I find the first two too tedious to write about, I shall write about the movie marathon that I have indulged in over the last few days...
It all started with a waste of time called 'Chot', which had a promising start but was pretty much a disaster from minute number thirty one. The premise seems plausible, marginalisation of UP-ites in Mumbai (I've known this to happen) and their subsequent fightback. Ashutosh Rana and Sharad Kapoor do decent jobs, but the film, after a while, became an excuse for blood and gore. Then came the excrutiating 'Rain' (we got this from the library solely because there was nothing else and a few of us had to see something!). Less said about that, the better. Meghna Naidu's ample bosom was the true protagonist there. An empty house, a blind lady and a suspicious reporter all built up the premise well for this low budget titilator, but again execution is not something that our filmmakers are very good at. The day after we picked up a few DVDs from the school media library. I caught up with Mira Nair's seminal work, the bittersweet 'Salaam Bombay!', which was a pleasure to watch! The street children, the streets of Mumbai, Nana Patekar and Raghubir Yadav and L.Subramanium's music kind of restored my faith in cinema after the suffering of the last day! The DVD also had a special feature tracking the lives of the street children and how their lives had changed for the better thanks to the movie. A well spent couple of hours. After that it was on to Bollywood again, with Hriday Shetty's 'Pyar Mein Twist'. Watching Rishi Kapoor and Dimple again after 'Sagar' was a breeze. The actors were pretty lovable and by the looks of it, must have had a ball making the movie. However, I felt that the relationship between the aging couple could have been developed further rather than spending frame after frame on the lives and bickerings of the loud and insensitive children. The music of the film wasn't too bad either and had a cover of the naughty love long of yesteryear, 'Khullam khulla pyaar karenge'. The marathon neared its conclusion with Peter Weir's 1975 eerie classic, 'Picnic at Hanging Rock', a supposedly true tale about the mysterious disappearance of 3 college girls from a picnic site. The film is brilliantly made, with great footage of the Australian outback and fantastically atmospheric music. Though slow paced and ambiguous in its explanation of the disappearance, the film itself is an education in the art. Convincing performances from the cast also helped. The last film was Mira Nair's 'Vanity Fair'. The film had colour, good performances from its cast and lots of India in it. Becky Sharp has been explored, but not enough, I felt.

Anyways, enough of movie watching...have to send out a few more applications!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

House hunting horrors

Given that we need to move out of Graduate Hall soon (end of this month, to be precise), three of my similarly afflicted friends and me commenced house hunting last month. I was meaning to blog about this in one of my earlier posts but I came to the conclusion that this one deserved its own space. Since we started searching for that dream apartment, we've had some amazing, and some downright hilarious experiences, and since this is the first time I have been part of such an enterprise, I have enjoyed the ride thus far tremendously!

House#3: We walk in to be greeted by the house owner. Huge guy, 6 ft plus, built like a tree trunk. Clad in a 'lungi' and a sando 'ganjee'. Indian or Malay, we guess. The tattoo on his arm says 'KILLER'. The house is dark and has a funny smell. Scenes from 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' and 'The house of 1000 corpse' play out vividly in my mind. Apparently Brij is thinking the same and is already looking around for creaky floorboards and bloodstains. Our agent tells us to take a look around. Mad axe murderer says nothing, just stares. We look around. The place was nice but we had already decided not to be tenants of 'KILLER'. Our agent tells us to talk about rent. We look at the owner and then look at each other...silence...the owner finally speaks. The voice is shrill and weak and almost like a girl's! 'Oye yaar, terah sau se kam nahin loongaa!'. Apparently he was a sardarji from Amritsar who moved here in the 80s. We ran out and burst out laughing! Final outcome: we didn't get the place because of budget constraints on our part.

House#5: We are in Holland Village. The agent from the owners' side is with us. Since we are 4 people, we had clearly mentioned that we would need atleast 2 functional bathrooms. The agent had assured us. We see the first toilet. There's a commode, but no shower. We see the second one, there's no commode, only shower. That was the end of that!
Final outcome: Left hurling abuses at both the agents.

House#9: Good place. Duplex. A mansionette, they called it. We are ready to finalize the deal, when the sound of a local train thundering by takes us by surprise. The place is right next to an MRT track! It was night time and hence it wasn't visible when we came in. We had mentioned in our specifications that we would ideally like a place close to a tube station. However, I guess we needed to be more specific! With 2 of us having lived in Mumbai and roughed it out in local trains (one of us actually lived close to a train track for bit!), this was too much. Loving home and all I can understand, being woken up at 12.30 pm by the sound of a rushing train, I cannot!
Final outcome: Begging agent to work harder!


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Songs of a lifetime - 3

I'm sure there are times when we think about the 'what ifs' in life. There are times when we wonder if things could have been different had we turned another corner. I guess only the hardcore optimists would think otherwise. I love this song by the Stereophonics which sums up this feeling perfectly. Chances missed, decisions taken, things said. Are there things you would have done differently? Even then, at some level, just thinking about this stuff makes you appreciate what you've done so far, take heart from it and move ahead a stronger person. I guess I've had a pretty comfortable time to date, but yeah, I would love to go back in time and change a few things. Wouldn't you?

It's your time
It's your day
It's never too late
To change lanes

How's your life?
How's your place?
Was it where you wanted
Your head to lay?

But wait, you can breathe
You can see what I can see
Don't waste your time
You can't make back

If you could rewind your time
Would you change your life?

Do you like you?
Do you love your wife?
Or did you pick what
You're told was right?
Dream and be
What you feel
Don't you compromise
What you wanna be
Cause change is okay
What's the point in staying the same
Regrets, forget what's dead and gone

If you could rewind your time
Would you change your life?

If Jesus rode in on a camel today
With your cross on his shoulder
Time to take you away
Have you done all you wanted?
Are you happy and warm?
Do you miss someone special
You don't see anymore?
Have you blood on your hands?
Do you dream of white sands?
Can you sleep well at night?
Have you done all you can?
The place I was born in
Stays crooked and straight
I see innocent blue eyes
Go blind everyday

Rewind your time
Would you change your life....Today....


Monday, November 07, 2005

Global Risk Analysis

My last course in the MBA was a subject called Global Risk Analysis. The course gave us an amazing insight into the volatile world of macroeconomics. All of us study the subject some time or the other, but this time it was very practical and we could actually relate it to everyday events. The fact that the course was taken by a visiting faculty from MIT, made it all the more special. He introduced a concept called 'teleology', where managers should be able to look forward a few steps from any event and hence make strategic decisions accordingly. He ighted the example of Nokia, the cell phone giant, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Managers at Nokia, sensed an opportunity that with two nations coming together, there would be need for seamless communication. Nokia put all its eggs in the Cell Phone basket. And the rest as they say, is history. It was riveting stuff. Given below are his predictions for the year 2006 and the future in general:

Global Trade: It is in danger, thanks to an unstable dollar (undermined by Bush's twin deficits), and US's undermining of the WTO. Global trade, the main driver of global growth, might slow down.

Trade Blocks: The future shapes up not as a common world market, but a set of three trading markets, with single currencies - Asia (yuan), Americas (dollar) and Europe (euro). There will be therefore only three exchange rates. There may well be tough non-tariff barriers between the blocks. Any country not in the three blocks is doomed to stagnate.

Accounting: There should be one set of global accounting rules. Its happening already.

Global Teams: Teams will continue to get more and more global. Companies which use global teams will leverage each country's competitive advantage. Experts in America will define customer requirements, British will define product attributes, Australians will define technology architecture, Indians will do the software, Germans the manufacturing and the Taiwanese will take care of the packaging. Happening? Oh ya!

Nanotechnology: The next big thing. Will be used in laptops,tennis racquets, glass and suntan lotion.

Global optimism and values: An economic survey shows 34% of respondents think 2006 will be better than 2005. Optimists outnumber pessimists 2 to 1. Still 29% expect the dollar to tumble and 41% predict the house prices to tumble. Basic values remain strong. When asked 'what is most important to your personal happiness?' in 2006, 78% said health, 62% said family relations and only 13% said material well being. 'I'm a material girl', sang Madonna ' a material world'. Happily, only 2 in 15 people think the same.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Some conclusions...

This week has been slow. Very slow. Its been a holiday week here in Singapore. So things have been kind of on and off, if you get what I mean. I mean its like watching life in slow motion. You want to make it move fast, perhaps get in on the action happening all around, but somehow even a part you doesn't want to and you just want to see it all go by, even with the knowledge that it might pass you by if you don't get more proactive.

Don't know if I made sense there, but there have been some goings on this week and some conclusions. These are:

1. The man-woman relationship is the most complex relationship there is. Its full and final. No two ways around that. I was looking for a theme on which to base my script (yes, that's right, I can write!). And now I'm sure that this is going to be it. 'that's tha one!' as we say here in NBS.

2. Job hunting is no cake walk either. Trying to make contacts, following them up and sometimes plain groveling can be tough. Sending out resume after resume, cover letter after cover letter, making call after call and waiting for a response is gruelling and can be frustrating at times. But I'm sure there's light at the end of the tunnel.

3. 'Kasak' is by far the worst film I've seen in a long time. It makes Bengali jatras like, 'Shidir Tolay Bidir Dokaan' (The Bidi Shop Under The Stairs) and Italian giallo flicks like 'Strip Nude For Your Killer' seem like works of high intellectual accomplishment. Lucky Ali should stick to singing and Meera should well...perhaps return to Pakistan, because I'm sure she would get much better offers there. There's no point traveling all the way to India to act in pure drivel, is there? Special mention of the dialogue writer though, for classic lines like, 'Tum shocked ho? I hate shocked people!' and 'Tumne mujhse revenge liya?' MM Kreem too, who generally does a good job of making music, seemed to give up on this absolute piece of tripe. No point wasting time writing a review for this one.