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Archive for June, 2006

Imran, Sanjay and the Straight Drive

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During the last India-Pakistan series that conlcuded in Pakistan a few months ago, Ten Sports came up with a studio show called “Straight Drive. It had an impressive lineup of experts, the great Imran Khan and Nasser Hussain to name a few. They both are great thinkers of the game, an attribute that they must have inherited from their cricket playing skills coupled by the experience. So things like good, valid arguments, reading the fine print etc could be expected and so it was. In particular, Imran Khan’s argument about Irfan Pathan’s bowling stance (and the position of his thumb at the point of delivery) turned out to be a valid one, an observation even the best of the experts would go on to acknowledge as one of the finest ever made from the media.

Another thing that Imran Khan stated, reinstating it throughout, was for Younis Khan to bat higher in the order. Younis had been in great form and treated Indian bowlers like they were club players. It made no sense to bring him lower down the order. Furthermore, it was important that the experienced players take up responsibility and face the heat, rather than sending the “young studs”, up the order to face the likes of Irfan Pathan and Anil Kumble. The argument fell on deaf ears, invariably, till the end of the series. When they implemented what the great pathan had said, the results changed for the better.

In fact, such was the influence of Imran’s words that coach Greg Chappell, in an interview, acknowledged Imran’s suggestions/tips as something that could be substituted for a bowling coach! He may have said it lightly but to even mention it in that manner shows the worth of Imran Khan’s comments.

All said and done, I think, it would have been fair to expect a never before insight of the game. When Imran Khan talks the world listens. It has to. But it was Sanjay Manjrekar, at least to me, who was the surprise in the show.

But Sanjay? The former Indian middle order batsman who once was expected to lead the Indian team has been a terrific host. He does not put his own little piece of greatness in the talk show, he does not have his own theories. Basically, he doesn’t act smart. On the contrary, he accepts where he can’t argue. Sometimes he even listens like a student. He doesn’t fake his accent or try to use complicated words. In fact, a couple of days back he did something that prompted me to write this post. After the pitch report of the first day of the ongoing test match against West Indies, the first ever to happen at the newly constructed St.Kitts cricket ground, our host, with a grin accepted that he failed to understand a few english words! They “bounced” over him, he admitted. One word, in particular, was something he did not understand at all. One of the experts on the show, Ian Chappell, repeated the word (it was “perambulate”, its meaning here) and explained the meaning, on the show. When was the last time you witnessed a host like that on Indian television?

Meanwhile, as I write this, the Indian team has just put life in a test match that looked a drag. They have just given the opposition a lead of 219 runs. There it goes.

Written by aditya kumar

June 26th, 2006 at 12:42 am

Posted in Cricket

Tough Times

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A little more than 3 months ago, the company I worked for, had worked for since I started working, filed for bankruptcy. The organization was based in America and we had a setup in Bangalore which allowed us to work from here.

Sitting here in Bangalore, I was told, in a chat window, that the company had closed down. Everyone had resigned there. As I said, we had an arrangement with a company in Bangalore, a rather complicated one, though I could not care less about it at that time for I still could come to office. The new thing, of course, was that I had no work and no salary. With me, in the same boat was another friend. Our lives, as they say, were screwed up.

And so began a new test of our lives. A test that would go on for almost two months. We had no money. We had no savings, surprising since we were never the pub-going kinds. And its hard to ask cash from home once you start maintaining your own life. Movies came and went but we never visited the cinema. We spent our weekends at home. We delayed all our bill payments as much as we could and sometimes it got embarrassing. I had no money to pay for the hosting fees for this website. I did not pay my cell phone bill and I used to get those messages — the one which threaten disconnection with nice words (“The amount due is xxxx, we value your association”).

A few cheques got dishonored and so did I.

I could never imagine that all I had worked for would go down like that. Who would have thought that an association spanning more than a couple of years would be terminated in a chat window? And that one day it would be an unending source of embarrassment was unthinkable.

That was the hardest thing to swallow. Not the money, not the absence of work. It was what we got in return for our loyalty.

Some people who knew about it helped me with their soothing words at that time. They did not know the exact picture, they don’t know about it even now but they knew I was in deep trouble. That they were concerned about it was evident in their emails, their phone calls, their text messages. I want to thank all of them for that. To everyone who emailed, to everyone who paid for the coffee. They know who they are.

Things changed for the better after some time. But, for my vocation, it is yet to recover from this debacle. Maybe now, a part of it is my fault. Things are yet to be in total control but I think it would be okay in some time. This time, though, I stand alone.

Written by aditya kumar

June 24th, 2006 at 12:25 am

Posted in Personal

Delhi, its metro and Langdon

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This post, written on the 6th of June, posted tonight.

Now, to talk about Delhi.

First of all, I think a lot of people don’t know that I am from this city :P Though I have not stayed here much, I have done a substantial part of my schooling from Delhi (5 years) and have visited this city every year for the last 24 years. (Apart from a period while I lived here for 6 years, that is). So I, kind of, know this place.

I have seldom mentioned about my Delhi connections on my website.

I went ‘exploring’ the city today, all by myself. I went to Connaught Circus/Place and I must mention, that it is the only other place in India that reminds me so much of the fountain area in Bombay. The pavement book-sellers, the cloth merchants, the water-vendors, the snack-sellers, the list does not seem to end. Of course, this time around, there were a few surprises. In my 30 minutes walk around the place, I came across two McDonalds restaurants (or were they three?) and one KFC. Three American junk-food restaurants, packed to the maximum, within a radius of one kilometer. See, this is the kind of foreign invasion we are dealing with here. That is, of course, if you think of it as a foreign invasion.

New Delhi has changed. More for the better than for the worse. The better: The roads are wider, the city is flaunting its gleaming new metro rail, the new fly-overs keep welcoming the traffic. The worse: Delhi has less power, lesser water, as always. And yes, the people are ruder. Sorry guys, I think you really need a crash course in politeness.


Now that I have mentioned the ‘gleaming’ new Metro rail, more on it has to be impending. The Metro, I feel, could be termed as the capital’s pride. I liked the fact that its actually not running empty. It was full capacity during my short afternoon journey from “Rajiv Chowk” to “Chandni Chowk”. More than the fact that it is a top quality product, I think to complete the work schedule on time, cutting the red-tapism is in itself, is a bigger, better achievement. This is how plans should work. If you think about it, its a simple thing. It is nothing but a plan that has worked right on schedule. If this is what it can do for one city, the possibilities could be endless.


Evening, I watched “Da Vinci Code” at PVR Rivoli. Every old cinema hall nowadays has a “PVR” prefixed to its name. Put in good interiors, add a little polish, a little ‘garnish’ and sell the tickets for Rs.200. Coming back to the movie, what a waste. No, not just the money. I am talking about Tom Hanks. You don’t need Hanks to play the role of Langdon. How to play Robert Langdon? Just keep popping your eyes in curiosity, appear to think all the time, keep mumbling to yourself, say “code” most of the time and keep listening to Sophie. Heck, even Tom Cruise could do it!

Written by aditya kumar

June 14th, 2006 at 12:48 am

Fold the Baby

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The sign, in Hindi, in front of my seat in the airplane says, “mausam kharab ho toh kripya shishu ko fold karke rakhen“. Meaning, if the weather is bad, please fold, right, fold, the baby. Yes, the baby.

The same sign below, in English, says, if the weather is bad, please keep the baby wrapped in blankets.

This, my dear readers, denotes the state of our own language, in our own land.

Written by aditya kumar

June 4th, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

In Delhi

with 3 comments

I will be in New Delhi for a week, starting tomorrow. Unlike my other trips, I can’t say that I am ‘travelling’ since this is not the usual ‘Adventure_&_Explore’ trip. Also, no train travel this time around.

Air Deccan, this time, is my carrier of choice. I hope I get the ATR to fly in, since all the times I have travelled in Indian Airlines, I have only got to see the A-320s. (Thats more-or-less all that Indian Airlines has, right?).

Next post, from New Delhi.

Written by aditya kumar

June 2nd, 2006 at 6:01 pm

Posted in Personal