2

2017 Bangalore Test


BEML end, Chinnaswamy

BEML end, Chinnaswamy

I am tempted to say that Bangalore 2017 is the best test match of our lives. But the heroes of Calcutta 2001 won’t let me do that.

I am glad that the test match got over, though I would’ve secretly wanted it to carry on for ever. Let me rephrase it, when was the last time, we followed every ball of every session of every day of a test match, from the edge of our seats? I don’t remember. Or simply, there hasn’t been a test match, as good as this one at the Chinnaswamy, in the last 15 years. When I came out after having watched the Day 1 action from the N stand at the BEML end, I was tired and worn out, much like the players, and was cross because 8 of our batters had gifted their wickets to Nathan Lyon. I sought answers for so many questions. “How could you let a visiting spinner dominate you? How could you bring back the horrors of Panesar and Swann? We have attacked even Warne and Muralitharan in their prime and aren’t O’keefe and Lyon lesser mortals?” I thought the test was over and the Border Gavaskar trophy would simply stay in Australia. But, everyone including the Umpire’s call had other ideas.

I followed the Day 2 action on TV, Day 3 on Hotstar, Day 4, again on TV and not going to the stadium in these 3 days, will remain one of the massive regrets in my life. I should’ve been the 12th man from the stands. India’s resurgence and discipline in the first session of Day 2 took us back to Calcutta. But the turning point of the game has to be Ishant’s spell to Steve Smith and the funny faces that followed it. It was fodder for the meme makers, fans and Virat Kohli. Oh, and before this, Ashwin produced the mirror image of his ball to Amla in the T20 semifinal, to send back David Warner and made millions, like me, join the send off party.

None of the defensive strokes bored anyone. There was action in every ball, literally. Every leave drew comments from close-in fielders. Funny faces followed every time the ball beat the willow. Kohli loved the scenes. He would have paid millions, even his IPL contract, to be in this moment. The moment even got to Pujara, of all people. Yes, even to Cheteshwar Rahul Dravid Pujara. The cameras captured him involved in the chatter. Day 2 saw only 197 runs scored off the 90 overs. But that was already the best day of the Home Test season. Chinnaswamy showed the world that it loved its test matches like Lords and MCG, as the crowd swelled even on a weekday.

When the going gets tough, classical test batsmen know how to survive. They will negate the naughty bounce by shuffling. They will negotiate the flight, loop and classical off spinner’s wicket taking trajectory. They will not poke outside the off stump. They know exactly when to drive and when, not to. They play with the opposition’s patience. They prod. They defend. They leave. They grind it out. They survive. And slowly, they notch up the runs. That’s what Dravid and VVS did in Calcutta. That’s what Dravid did in Jamaica and Leeds. And that inspired two shy young men in Rajkot and Mumbai, who saw these knocks on TV. Fifteen years later, they pull off the unthinkable. They produce the partnership of the decade, which the knowledgeable fans rate, as the best since Calcutta. No wonder that Kohli rated Pujara and Rahane as the team’s best test batsmen. But it all started with KL Rahul, the prodigious dude from Bangalore, who can switch with ease, from batting like Dravid to batting like Sehwag. 90 and 51 when the bowlers were all over the batters, should inspire him to emulate the gentleman with whom he shares his name and city.

I couldn’t miss the Day 4 action. It would’ve been criminal. So, I decided to work from home. But I could barely work. I knew where my thoughts were. And just like that, the Aussie pacers orchestrated our batting collapse. It was breathtaking fast bowling. I had the best seat in the house on Day 1 in the N stand to see Starc ‘air’ swinging the red cherry. It was quite a sight. I could see how it curved, sitting 80m away. But it didn’t find the timber then. And when it did, on Day 4, it looked beautiful, like it had found its rightful hang out place. We were down from 4-down to all back in the hut.

188 to win. Plenty at stake. Kohli’s pride. Ashwin’s pride. Chinnaswamy’s pride. India’s pride. And yeah, the frigging Border Gavaskar trophy. Recent stats showed it was unconquerable. But Warner could conquer it in a session and a half. Smith could play on for ever and make runs. Renshaw could carry on despite, having to answer the nature’s call. Defending the score wasn’t going to be easy. And then it all began to happen. Renshaw fell. Warner looked to end Ashwin’s career. He tried to sweep, slog-sweep, paddle-sweep and even the reverse sweep, but couldn’t connect. And when he did, it sailed over long on. Ashwin, for the first time in the test, felt the pressure. Kohli would’ve been tempted to take him out of the attack. But he somehow, gave him another over. Warner’s eyes lit up. He could’ve sent the ball to Brigade Road or even the metro. But he loses his balance, almost falls over and importantly, fails to connect. Trapped. Leg Before Wicket. Umpire’s call seemed like a thing of beauty to billions. Two down. The bounce was uneven. Even Ishant Sharma was unplayable to Steve Smith. Everyone wanted the ball be given to Umesh Waqar Younis Yadav. Kohli acknowledged. Umesh came charging in, from his short run up. The ball skidded. It kissed the worm in the pitch, after pitching. It bounced that high. All this happened at pace, at 90 miles an hour. The shooters continued. One of them traps Shaun Marsh well outside the off stump. Trapped. Leg before wicket. Cacophony followed. A miscommunication during the DRS discussion saw him walking back. Umesh’s next shooter, rolls of the pitch and fetches him the wicket of his career. Steve Smith’s third brain fade moment in the match happens. He was not good at abbreviations, from school days. Dressing Room Review System is going to haunt him for the rest of his life. Pujara rushes in. Kohli is animated. He gives a mouthful to Smith. Umpire shows Smith the way. Kohli has a lot of things to say. Chinnaswamy is on its feet. The boos begin. Four down. It’s India’s game to lose now. I compose a couple of tweets to express my displeasure at Smith’s behaviour. Another wicket falls. And in a matter of another 15 minutes, Ashwin runs through the Aussie line up. Another game. Another fifer. Kohli starts sprinting. He gestures his celebratory pose towards Kumble and the entire Chinnaswamy. The series is squared. Michael Vaughan is elated. So, are the poms. Border Gavaskar trophy is alive. Ah, Bangalore 2017 is the best test match of our lives, along with Calcutta 2001. I am going to preserve the match ticket. It is Gold.

Advertisements
0

Our Jallikattu. Your PETA. Our Culture. Your Nonsense.


Who is PETA? Like, who the hell are they? Who let them all in? Don’t blame Manmohan Singh just because he opened up the gates for foreign parties through the economic reforms of 1991.

The past few days have turned even the otherwise uninterested North Indian media restless. The reason I accuse them of being uninterested is the obvious truth that they don’t give a damn about the events happening in the south of Vindyas. While some struggle to pronounce Jallikattu correctly, the other half, I am sure would have merely passed off the topic thinking Jallikattu were some South Indian dish made of coconut.

Is Jallikattu really cruel on the bulls, as it is made of in the media? There have been incidents of brutal violence like biting the tails and feeding alcohol but that is not true for all places. I genuinely believe that there has to be a regulatory body, that ensures the fair treatment of bulls. But an outright ban? No. These are part of a rich tradition and the various inscriptions and cave paintings suggest that it was perceived as an act of bravery. Spain still has its love affair with bull fighting and haven’t let PETA or any of the jokers to have a say in that.

It’s not about Supreme court because there are eminent lawyers and the matter will be dealt with legally. The discussions and suggestions will go through a legal channel. But my problem is with organizations like PETA, their supporters and motives. People cheering for a ban on Jallikattu are the same ones who are going to have a chicken lollypop and beef fry the next minute. Yes, Kamal Hasan hit the nails hard when he asked for a ban on Biryani too, if you are banning Jallikattu. The animal welfare army do not have any problem with non-vegetarianism. Not that I am for vegetarianism, but going by their logic, they should have gone to the supreme court for a ban on non-vegetarianism too. They use products made from the skins of animals. This ‘selective’ campaigning is abhorrent. Pamela Anderson once voiced for curbing the practice of parading the elephants during the temple festivals in Kerala. Luckily the matter was trashed by the Govt. of Kerala. And she was trashed in facebook by the “Pongala” warriors. I wonder what the elected Govt. of Tamilnadu was doing since 2013 when Jallikattu was banned. Why didn’t it find suitable lawyers to defend the cause? The matter gained mileage only when Kamal Hasan said those strong words.

Meanwhile, it’s heartening to see all the peaceful protests that are going on in Tamilnadu. They have done their bit in letting everyone know about the power of masses, in the most civilized manner that this country has seen in sometime. It’s up to the nominated lawyers to present the case responsibly. Justice for Jallikattu. 

0

Welcome to India, Obama!!


Dear Obamas,

Welcome to the most interesting nation on earth. I am sure you’ll take back a lot of good memories with you. First things first, you have been invited as a Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations and thanks for accepting our invitation. The Republic Day parade will leave you spellbound. You’ll get to see the cultural representations of our states, after which you’ll realize that it’s not the similarities that defines us but it’s our differences, our diversity that binds us. The bike stunts and pyramids by our police and Army are a visual treat. They are the Guiness World Record holders. Sadly though, your Hollywood hasn’t made a film on that yet. Once you’re done with the formalities in Delhi, please read these recommendations on the places to visit in India.

1. Hyderabad: Hyderabad is a must visit. You know why? Because just like Washington DC, Hyderabad too is the capital of USA (United States of Andhra). Ah, forget Telengana da. Telengana and Andhra are like your Mississippi and Missouri only. Unofficially United States of Andhra is your 51st state. But you guys seem to be content with rounding it off to 50. Your country has been generous enough to let everyone in from this part of India, irrespective of their proficiency in English. But they’ve given you Satya Nadella.

Things to do:

  • Every one will suggest you to taste Hyderabadi Biriyani but let me tell you it is hyped. Go for proper Andhra meals and demand Gongura Chutney. Don’t blame me for what might happen the next morning though.
  • Go meet a shy gentleman with the name ‘Vangipurappu Venkata Sai (VVS) Laxman’ who has the most incredible wrists in the world. You can even hire him to improve Cricket in your country.

2. Bangalore: Once you’re done with Hyderabad, get into KSRTC’s Bangalore-bound club class Volvo and you’ll reach the Garden City next morning. As soon as the bus enters the city limits, all you see will be the offices of companies that you normally see in the Silicon Valley. Yeah dude, this is the Silicon Valley of India. The city’s software engineers are the pioneers in offering 24*7 tech support to your companies and clients. We love our coffees and Kingfisher beers here. So, don’t be surprised at the countless Cafe Coffee Day outlets and pubs.

Things to do:

  • Make you way to the Mavalli Tiffin Room for yummy Masala Dosas, Bisi Bela Baths and filter coffees. Advise the attender to not add sugar to Sambhar.
  • Spend a night at Kingfisher Dude Mallya’s UB City. It’s a symbol of luxury. It’s a completely different image of India, to the one which you saw in Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

3. North Eastern India: It is the most neglected part of India. Yes, not even in the Indian Cricket team. North Eastern India consists of 7 beautiful states- Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. The Chinese are more fond of these places than some of us. Ironically some folks end up at Gangtok (capital of Sikkim) after having mistaken it to be Bangkok. But the North Eastern India is quintessentially India. It’s people have the most liberal mindsets in the country. After your visit, most of us would come to know of it and would start to give them more importance.

Things to do:

  • Click selfies with young Buddhist Monks in Sikkim.
  • Meet Tripura’s Communist Chief Minister Manik Sarkar who leads the simplest of lives among all the politicians in the world. He’s the real Aam Admi.
  • Drive to Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. It receives more rainfall than all the 50 states of yours put together.

I would’ve suggested Tamilnadu but unfortunately ‘Jallikattu’ (our answer to Spain’s bull fighting) is banned. People who are against ‘Jallikattu’ cite that the animal is harmed but they have no issues with the existence of mutton and beef stalls. Also, there is no Thalaivar Rajinikanth film release in the next 10 days. So, I’d suggest you to come to Tamilnadu during your next visit. Yes, when Amma is back to her office. Take along Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Don’t go to Kerala too. You never know when they’ll call for a strike/hartal. To understand the ordeals of a hartal day, watch Fahadh Fasil’s film ‘North 24 Khatam’. Some of the Bars have been ordered to shut down. More over people there are busy with Kiss of Love campaigns and KM Mani. So, they’ll have no time for you. I’d advise you to check out any functional Kerala Samajams in either Philadelphia or Chicago.

As for the rest of India, there are so many tourist destinations but you can reserve them as part of your post-retirement plan.

So, enjoy your time here, Obamas. Click pictures, do a lot of check-ins in Foursquare, tweet your experiences and sum it up in a blog post. And what do we expect from you in return? Simple. Ease out the H1B visa approval process. Nothing else.

Thank you.

8

Travel- The green and serene Wayanad


Just when I thought that 2014 was ending on a boring note (like the year itself), I headed to Wayanad on the 26th for the annual festival in our family temple. Wayanad has always been a fascination right from the childhood- for the lush green coffee estates, for the wisps of smoke from the mouth in the nights and for its absolutely nature-friendly setting. I’ve always cherished my visits and every visit made me feel envious of my Dad, who grew up here. Can you imagine a world where people do not have time for smart phones, social media and digital life? Those people exist in Wayanad. And that’s why I love to come over here again and again. We, in the city life, are struck between complexities and often end up complicating stuff, instead of keeping it simple. I think that has been one of my interesting learning whenever I’ve traveled to these mountains far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Soak in the serenity of coffee estates

Soak in the serenity of coffee estates

Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, Costa.. it all starts from here :-)

Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, Costa.. it all starts from here 🙂

Our family temple in the middle of a bog

Our family temple in the middle of a bog

Talk about Symmetry!!

Talk about Symmetry!!

When I am on road, the possibility of bumping into offbeat locations are always a thrill. There are travelers everywhere, so the only way you can carve a niche for yourself as a traveler, is by taking the road less traveled. So we drove our way to the scenic Krishnagiri International Cricket stadium. This one would mislead anyone into thinking as if he were in a country side in England and New Zealand. With so much greeneries all around, the stadium is so picturesque.

Panoramic View of the Krishnagiri International Cricket Stadium, Wayanad

Panoramic View of the Krishnagiri International Cricket Stadium, Wayanad

View from the Media Centre in the stadium

View from the Media Centre in the stadium 

Other pit stops in the trip were the Phantom Rock and Regional Agricultural Research Institute, Ambalavayal. Not many would have Phantom Rock in their itinerary. It doesn’t give you the impression of a potential tourist spot, for reasons better known to the Tourism board. But it presents a beautiful view from the top, of the other rock structures and of the vast greeneries around. The climb to the top is as thrilling as the rock itself.

Phantom Rock, Wayanad

Phantom Rock, Wayanad

Gatecrashing the Regional Agricultural Research Institute was another understanding that this hilly town is so much in love with its flora and farming. Its an eye opener for the rest of the lot to preserve and respect nature. It was worth spending the last few days of 2014 in Wayanad. Needless to say, I feel a sense of freshness as we head to 2015.

0

Looking back at 2014


The Sun is about to set on 2014. It is time to look back at the year which promised a lot and which began with a bachelor’s party in Bangalore. As 2013 had presented me with more happening 365 days than any of the years before, I was really looking forward to 2014, but it just fizzled out like Rohit Sharma. Not that the year was bad but 2014 was less interesting.

There were good times. In fact, plenty of them. With friends around, I did have one heck of a year. Be it, the night at Kingfisher Dude Vijay Mallya’s palace UB City or be it dragging Ashwin, Murali and Vysakh for a French breakfast on an early Sunday morning. Be it cheering for Yuvraj Singh during an IPL match at the Chinnaswamy stadium or be it showing the iconic spots in Bangalore to Vishal. Or even the bowling session at Amoeba with Priyanka, Aradh and Chinchu. Even the California Dude George who had busted his ankle was here to meet us all.

What is life without friends!!

What is life without friends!!

image

Appa Amma's 25th wedding anniversary!! Shiva Temple, Murudeshwar

Just like in 2013, Internet and Social Media dominated my life in 2014 too. Though I had contemplated deactivation of my Facebook account, I wasn’t just courageous enough to do it. Twitter, on the other hand, continued to be my most preferred Social Network. The findings of one of the apps in Google Play, left me startled. It showed that I access Twitter about 75-85 times a day. What the fuck was I doing with my life? Am I not having a life or what? 75-85 times a day meant that I was hardly missing any of the tweets of 400 people I follow. Seriously, refreshing Twitter button is not going to lead me anywhere, unless of course I am a Ramesh Srivats or a Sidin Vadukut.

I got myself a Moto-G which was my first real Android experience. I started using Instagram, Zomato and Foursquare voraciously. Instagram turns almost everyone into a professional photographer or at least makes us feel like one. And despite lashing out at Zomato for their ‘Delhi better than Bangalore’ blog last year, I found their mobile app to be an interesting concept. Foursquare reaffirmed that I was now a 24*7 smartphone chap.

One of the sensible decisions of 2014 was buying a bicycle. I started cycling the streets of Bangalore which gave me a lot of joy. Getting to see a lot of characters in the chill mornings lifted my spirits and there was no stopping since then.

All we see are the sights of the beautiful sea around

Traveling to the Ghost town of Dhanushkodi was one of my most memorable 2014 event

My biggest regret of 2014 is my failure to travel more. I did manage to squeeze in a few trips to Chennai, Dhanushkodi and religious towns of Karnataka. Apart from that, it was basically getting tied up at my cubicle in Bangalore or at the comfort of working from home. I missed out on a dream trip to Goa with my friends despite Air Asia offering me tickets as cheap as 999 bucks from Bangalore to Goa. None of the foreign trips too kicked off. It was a pain in the ass to see all these buggers in facebook either snorkeling in the waters of Maldives or setting off to Malaysia and Thailand for a holiday.

Even my blogging took a hit. Blog Archives indicate that I had not even penned 20 blog posts. Partly it is attributed to the knowledge reception mode that I turned on. I had read more books in 2014 than ever. I’ll blame the Flipkart folks for spamming me with book recommendations.

But on the whole, I would give around 5.5/10 for 2014. Taking the unconventional route has always thrilled me and also inspired me. May be in 2014, I had wanted to be a good boy and fell prey doing conventional things. I must confess that in my professional work, I played the waiting game and didn’t do much to make things happen. Hopefully 2015 will have interesting answers professionally. And I wish my personal life continues to thrill in the coming year as well.

Dear 2015. Be kind on me. Be adventurous. Be thrilling. I’m stuck. Help me out in completing my book. Aid me in expanding my horizons. Give me a kick on my bum if I stay conventional. And importantly, let India win the World Cup in Australia.

12

Cycling the streets of Bangalore


I got myself a brand new bicycle a few months back and since then, my mornings have changed. From conveniently staying put in my bed, tapping the notifications of all the social networks, I would be out to explore Bangalore and get a feel of its morning calm. I would meet the early risers and the morning heroes- the newspaper vendors, milk suppliers, vegetable vendors, retired men, joggers and morning walkers. Pedaling around the beautiful Ulsoor Lake in the heart of the city would refresh me and I would then come down for a stroll at the park in Richards Town. Its a pleasant sight to see the roads of Bangalore without cars and other vehicles. Its our rare chance to cycle around the MG Road as if we are the Kings of the roads.

Good Morning, Bangalore. Rise n Shine!! 🙂

Ulsoor Lake and its Morning Calm

Ulsoor Lake and its Morning Calm

Take a stroll by the lake side. Get closer to the nature.

Take a stroll by the lake side. Get closer to the nature.

 

Empty Roads- a Bangalorean's dream

Empty Roads- a Bangalorean’s dream

Bangalore is just awesome in the mornings!!

Bangalore is just awesome in the mornings!!

0

Get the facts right, CNR!!


Eminent scientist and Bharat Ratna winner Prof. CNR Rao has lashed out at the IT Boom in Bangalore, here- http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-eminent-scientist-cnr-rao-hits-out-at-bangalore-s-it-culture-calls-it-intellectual-garbage-2036036

Of course, I do not subscribe to his views here. But I won’t resort to filthy abuses or trolling him in social networks just like how Indian fans reacted when Maria Sharapova said that she wasn’t aware of Sachin Tendulkar.

So, with due respect to Dr. CNR Rao, I’ve decided to voice my opinion through this blog post.

Yes Sir. There are lots to hate about the new Bengaluru. The traffic is terribly managed here despite the efforts of traffic police. The city has added more cars and bikes to its relatively narrower roads than any other city in India. Pollution is on the rise. The lakes have been encroached to reside IT campuses. The land value has soared. Trees have been swelled. The city isn’t that clean as it used to be. The tag of being the Garden City is questioned. So, is the case with the tag ‘A Pensioner’s paradise‘.

But is IT the main culprit? What would have happened to Bengaluru if IT hadn’t come?

I agree when you say that IT Parks should have been planned on the outskirts rather than in the heart of the city. The authorities concerned should have made sure that specific towns were created like the Electronics City or should have commissioned IT Parks in places like Devanahalli or Kengeri.

But I believe, your other remarks on the IT is myopic. First and foremost, the IT exports contribute a major chunk to the economy. IT has given Bangalore, a global image. The world knows Bangalore, for its IT exploits, not for the pre- IT days. Global companies come all the way to Bangalore and set up their offices here. When they say Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India, it’s a token of appreciation of the city’s IT Talent. I was shocked when you said, “Our society has created a bunch of icons and role models who are distorting not just the future of this city but of India and our sense of values.” Of course, you were taking a dig at Infosys’ NR Narayana Murthy. I do not know if you are ignorant or act if you do not know. When you look deeper into the origins of big Indian businesses, it would either be with the government aid, foreign investment or a family business. Murthy and other co-founders of Infosys were the first ones to break that myth and went on to creat Infosys. There lies the success story of Infosys. No political connections were sought and Infosys went on to become the first such company to foray into the NASDAQ National Market in the US. That to me and my generation, is a humungous achievement in itself. It justifies the icon status of Murthy, the very thing you had ridiculously taken potshots. More than the NASDAQ listing, why do you turn a blind eye on the job opportunities that are generated by Infosys and other IT companies. At a time when the Unemployment was on the rise (it still is), it was the IT boom which had employed lakhs of our youths.

Yes, Bangalore’s life style has changed. Just like that of any other Indian city. Pubs and breweries have sprung up. Quaint cafes have come up in almost all the streets of Bangalore. But Bangalore continues to welcome everyone and makes them instantly feel at home. Namma Bengaluru pride still remains in tact, just like our awesome weather.

Time for some retrospection, Dr. CNR Rao!!