Weekly Wrap Up – 07/29/2005

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Salaam Bombay !

As most of us know by this time, Mumbai has been lashed with torrential Monsoon showers, that has resulted in the loss of so many lives. I cannot but help feel sorry for them. My cousin brother Ganesh (a.k.a Swami) stayed and taught in Mumbai for more than 8 years and he wrote a lovely email about the place and the spirit that it has.

Here is the excerpt from the email:

The last four days all of us who have watched any of the Indian TV channels, be it NDTV, Aaj Tak, DD, or whatever, have been (electronic) witness to the results of near-catastrophic or shocking events in many forms: the Honda incident at Gurgaon, the deluge (rain would be too mild a word for the occasion) in Mumbai, the fire at the Bombay High oil rig, and so forth, to an extent where news of a street accident where a couple of lives were lost, might seem camomile ! The news of the explosion in the Shramjeevi Express did not seem as shocking as it might have been, so immune have we become to news of casuaties.and loss of life !

I believe one event that has seen the true triumph of the human spirit in the face of natural calamity, amongst these recent events, is the response of the people of Mumbai to the unprecedented rains and subsequent flooding that paralysed life in “the city that never sleeps” ! The stoic unwillingness to yield submissively to havoc wrecked by the forces of nature, the grit and determination to find a way out (and home), of all those who were stranded at one point or another (children returning from school, adults homeward-bound from work), the helping hand lent by those who could, to those who could not, help themselves, speaks volumes of the spirit of these people to rise to the occasion in the face of the “potent” combination of Nature’s fury and a lack of preparedness on the part of the government to deal with such calamities.

I lived in Mumbai for some eight years, and have myself seen many a monsoon fury lash this city time and again, and have always marvelled at the spirit of the people living there, to “bounce back” from such calamities. I have lived in other cities in India, too, most recently Bangalore, and I hope and pray that the kind of calamities that have struck Mumbai, never strike other cities, for though one may hold the government to task in Mumbai, for being unprepared, they are are still in far better shape infrastructure-wise than in a place like Bangalore, where the infrastructure is so pathetic and the government civic agencies so incompetent, that it would require a superhuman effort from the people here to even try and deal with such situations.

Here’s to all you spirited Mumbaikars – may you never have to face such a calamity again !

In the end, I just have to say – “Salaam Bombay” !

1 year Blogging anniversary

I was wanting to write this on the exact date of the anniversary (June 25th), but it somehow slipped my mind. Anyway, it has been more than a year since I have started Blogging and I must say that it has been a pleasurable experience. Sometimes, I do not get the time to Blog – work, studies, inertia, lethargy – you name it. But I have tried my sincere best to keep posting at regular intervals. I want to thank all of you who have read my Blogs and also been grateful enough to send me some feedback – I really appreciate that.

Hopefully, this year I shall be able to Blog more and more – hope to keep meeting all you wonderful people out there.

Happy Blogging !

Lucky Seven for Armstrong ….

One more year, one more Tour de France, one more gruelling 21-day tour on bike came to an end in Paris around a couple of days ago. Not surprisingly enough, the winner was Lance Armstrong – he has now won this tournament 7 times in a row. If you think about the course of the Tour de France, it is quite amazing to know how a person can do this year after year and that too a person who had to overcome physical hardships such as cancer. Achievements such as these truly embody the spirit of the human being and I really salute his sprit and determination. Hope we get inspired by this true life story and do something amazing in our lifes.

Way to go Lance !

Aussies go 1 up

I had mentioned in my last Audio Blog that the 1st test was shaping up to be a fascinating game. Well, it didn’t end in that way unfortunately. England went down tamley to the Aussies and well, who do you think were the tormentors ? – the same old pair of McGrath and Warne, who ended up with 4 wickets each in the 2nd innings. Although Warne may be cursing himself for taking the catch for the last wicket (it effectively meant that he would have never taken 5 wickets in an innings at Lords and so his name wouldn’t be amongst the greatest cricketers in the Lord’s pavilion), he surely would have been delighted with his performance, considering the enormous pressure he was in because of his off-field personal problems. No such issues with McGrath, who just keeps getting better with age.

As for England, I think they need to go back to their drawing boards again and chalk out their plans and strategy. Whatever it is that they had is abviously not working. Although experts may be gunning for the necks for some of the players, I don’t think England really needs to panic. So, here is my mantra for England for success against the Aussies:

  1. Play aggressive against them at all times – 5 days in the test, 3 sessions in a day, 2 hours in a session … down to every ball. The moment you relax, the Aussies will sense that and will claw their way back into the game. Clue: Look at the video highlights of the exploits of Sachin, VVS, Dravid against the Aussies in the last couple of series and you will get the answer or better still, talk to Sanjay Manjrekar, who was brought to earth because of his ever defensive yet solid technique. You need to have “fire with fire” attitude.
  2. England’s top-order needs to click especially Strauss and Vaughan. In the last series against the Aussies, Vaughan had made a mockery of the Aussie bowling attack. So, getting him out so cheaply this time is really a bonus for the Aussies.
  3. Improve the fielding – 5 dropped catches and that too a couple from the wicket-keeper. As Geoffery Boycott would say, that is “Ruubbish” and against the Aussies, it is sacrilage. Be tight and tidy in the field – make the Aussies fight for the runs and push them in a not-so-comfortable zone and wait for them to do the mistakes.
  4. Play with a clean mind and never mind the reputation of the bowler – if you think the bowler is that famous Shane Warne who bowled the “Ball of the Century”, then you will never do good. But if you think that he is the same bowler, who was pulverized by Sachin and Co, then you are better off. Summary: Forget reputation, treat the ball with respect, not bowlers !
  5. Take a cue from Kevin Peterson – his attitude was heartening. Debut test, Lords, McGrath and Warne on fire – yet he managed to do well. That was primarily because of his aggressive attitude. He didn’t allow the Aussies to be on top of him at any time.
  6. Keep bowling the same way as before.

I don’t know whether this is the right mantra or not, but I sure do know that England needs to improve in some of these areas, if not all. Can they do it ? – well, that is the answer that the whole of England (and the world) is anxiously waiting to see.

Here is to another great game of cricket.

Tiebreaker in Twenty-20 cricket

Twenty-20 cricket is gaining in popularity a lot – the fact that most of the international teams now play “friendlys” with each other is a testimony to the fact that this form of the game is here to stay. I am not really a big fan of bang bang cricket, but if this is what is going to make the game more popular, then I guess, it is ok. I just hope, we still produce players such as Sachin Tendulkar, whose batting can mesmerize you and take you to another level and bowlers such as Shane Warne, who make you feel that spinning is not all that diffcult. Anyway, I shall leave that for some other discussion.

What is interesting about this form of cricket is the “Tie-breaker” rule. It is similar to that in soccer, where players in each team try to score goals. Ultimately, the team with the higher number of goals win. In cricket, the competition is among the teams to find out who can hit the stumps the higher number of times. Don’t believe me ? – check this highlights package out.

I would be interested to know whats your view on Twenty-20 : send me a note.

Weekly Roundup – 07/22/2005

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