Month: July 2005 Page 1 of 3


I wrote the previous piece on 27th, many things have happened since, blast on the Shramjeevi Express, Maharashtra still facing its worst downpour, Konkan has collapsed, Railway tracks and Highways under water, Mumbai is still facing the aftermath of the torrential rains that hit the city on 26th July, and in times like this Ganguly’s ban reducing from 6 to 4 matches is DEFINITELY NOT A BREAKING NEWS!!!!

I’m a cricket fan but right now I care two hoots about whether he plays or not, whether he captains or not!!!! It is not a priority news for the nation!!

For heaven’s sake will the news channels and newspapers ever grow up???

Why were they covering Aamir Khan stuck in Traffic Jam in Mumbai and what the other stars were doing on Mumbai’s fateful day?

I could care less, would you?

The Graveyard Shift…

Ideally I would’ve liked to have this post up as early as possible but due to connectivity problems and electricity fluctuations it comes a few days late. The whole experience has been tiring, mentally and physically exhausting. Mumbai they say is not a planned city and the way it is expanding with no disaster management in place, it looks like a ticking time-bomb. Mumbai faced its first of a kind, natural calamity on 26th July, 2005

I’m proud the way the common man handled it and faced every hurdle and most appalled by our authorities. The Government, The BMC, the MMRDA, The Police, The Firemen, The Special Squad, the Great Mobile Networks. Anytime Anywhere is what all of them preach, Nonsense (and trust me that is a mild word I use for all of them) Not one connection was working when people needed to get in touch badly and none worked till afternoon on 27th July! What great technology, 24 hours on, are we talking about? If you cannot work at times like this, we really could without any of them!

After hearing the experiences people went through including my dear sister-in-law I felt really lucky! I was stranded in office along with 300 odd colleagues and we spent the night at our office. First the AC and lifts were off, then systems were shut down (My only connectivity to the outside world, and that was also taken away) and then lights went off on all floors except the ground and 1st floor to conserve energy. Our canteen guys handled the situation well and kept serving us hot upma and later dinner. Not that we ate much due to being tense but their effort was appreciated. The Security guys were up all night guarding the office and taking care of our needs. Not one slept a wink the whole night.

People kept the spirits up by playing Antakshari, Dumb Charades, and talking into the night. None gave up any hope and everyone was sure Mumbai would be fine by next morning, only if the rain stopped. The rain had come crashing down since 2.00 in the afternoon and continued non-stop till 2.00 in the night. It was devilish, it was pouring, and it was destructive!!! In my 25 years in Mumbai I have never seen rains like this and the old generation, the likes of my granny said they had seen nothing like this in their entire life spent in this city!!

At our office the Admin people were hurrying around frantically, assessing the situation every hour, to decide what time would be suitable to send people off in the buses. They finally got us out at 5.00 a.m. on 27th July and I reached home at 7.00 a.m. safe and sound! Much lucky compared to those who struggled their way home.

Water flooded at most places and people waded through neck-deep water. Highways were jammed, trees broke down, walls came crashing, trucks toppled, cars floated and there were scenes of destruction everywhere! It was scary, it was frightening and seemed like it would not stop. Public services came to a standstill and traffic refused to budge. People left their vehicles and started their walk home, along the roads, along the railway tracks. People walked all the way from V.T. to Thane and Churchgate to Dahisar, i.e. almost 50 Kms. They started their journey back home at 3.00 in the afternoon on 26th July and reached home on 27th July at 3.00 in the afternoon!!!

No person gave up, they fought, they fought hard, and they were not fighting the rain god. They fought our stupid authorities who as always failed to be ready for the rains. These authorities relax and have their way and only the common man suffers. People will be agitated for few days, authorities will inspect few troubled areas and life will be same again. Nothing will be done to preempt disasters like this. The common man will continue to suffer! It’s really appalling that the authorities did not realize the enormity of things that were taking shape and no relief operations were started! People sought their own!!!

My dear sis-in-law walked bare feet form Andheri to Borivali. She lost her chappals in the water at Andheri owing to the strong force, she was caught between the devil and deep blue sea when she realized she could not return back to office nor come near mine. She walked the whole night taking some stops in between and finally reached home at 8.00 in the morning. She was so shocked from her ordeal that it took her sometime to tell us about her journey home. She was fine after that, she was just happy to be home!

People helped each other in this tragedy and that was the most heartening aspect. Mumbai is one big pool of water right now. I don’t know how soon we will recover from this. But the common man has learnt to fight and he will survive.

26th July was one of the days which tested the survival of the fittest and most passed the test!! There is something about this city and its spirit that is united, endearing, warm, compassionate and really special. It is our good old Mumbai.

However that does not mean our authorities slack and relax. This just a warning of bigger things that could happen. If we do not learn lessons from this downpour which was the highest ever recorded in the country, higher than Cherrapunji at 94 cm I doubt how long Mumbaites will sustain these disasters!!!

Is anyone listening there????

P.S: In a discussion in office a friend pointed out Minal what’s with 26 and India? I don’t believe in these things but seriously what is the link?

26th Dec 2004: Tsunami,
26th Jan 2001: Gujarat Earthquake,
26th August: Latur Earthquake
26th July, 2005: Mumbai Faces its worst rainfall ever!

Situational Song???

I switched on my radio for traffic updates, almost all channels provide that and it’s good info in these times!

Guess which song is playing…“Barasja-E-Badal” from Fareb. Couldn’t be more apt!

How well the Rain God is obliging to the request!!!

Trapped in Torrential Rains

Mumbai is experiencing the worst rains since afternoon today.
Roads are blocked and communication is at a standstill. No phone lines are working.

I’m still safe in office and wondering how to get home. Will stick to my office transport, safer and more company. Won’t venture alone!

Will manage somehow!
It’s pretty worrying the whole situation.

Current Favourites…

Warning: I’m putting up a ‘Current List’, so this is not to be mistaken for my ‘All-Time Favourite List’.
That list will come a little later. I shall need a lot of thinking and choosing to do, and it will be an arduous task for me! It’s never easy to pick up favourites if you’ve tuned into songs from the 50s decade onwards!!

Anywhere for the time being, the current ones:

Album: ‘Parineeta’. The melody is back, more on it read here.

Hindi Song: ‘Naam Ada Likhna’ from ‘Yahan’. I listen to it atleast twice on the radio daily. The lyrics touch your heart and the music; well it reminds you of Parineeta! Shantanu Moitra’s new composition, Parineeta’s shadow falls on this song, but that only makes it more soothing to listen to. Shreya Ghosal and Shaan are once again at their best.

English Song: ‘Don’t Phunk with my Heart’ by Black Eyed Peas. It grew on me since I kept hearing it daily on the radio. It’s cool and it’s funny. It’s not your regular rock, pop, whatever. It’s plain fun to listen to. I like the way the lady swoons ‘No No No”. Just listen to it;-)

Once More Please: ‘Mangal, Mangal’ from ‘The Rising’. Wonderful rural feel to the song, and Kailash Kher is awesome. After “Allah ke Bande”, this should be one landmark song in his career. What a voice!

Rap Song: Bunty ‘n Babli –Title Rap by Blaze. Sorry folks haven’t listened to English music much, but clearly my favourite for its video. The Big B has “STYLE”…note the CAPS LOCK!

POP Number: ‘Nadiyon Paar Sajan’, again cool song. Neat beats! Don’t ask me why, I sometimes like the odd one 😉

Soothing Number: ‘Yeh Lamhe’ by Jaal, not the remix. The slow, original version is lovely to listen too. The kind you should listen to, more often on way home after a tedious day at work!

Most Irritating Song: I feel like pulling out my hair on listening to this song! They still make these kinds and they go down with the audience! God give me a break. I could handle “Garam Chai Ki Pyali ho” any day over this one! I’m talking about ‘Aarah He Arrah Ha, Just Love Me’ from No Entry!!!
Everytime I here it I find myself saying “Just Spare Me”!!!

So there it is, my Current List, an All-Time List sometime this week:-)

By the way what about yours? Go ahead list one!

My Music Mania

Music is a must for me. I’ve had my own walkman since I was in 3rd Standard, a precious little gift from papa. Perfect discretion was exercised when I needed to use it then. Parents felt constant hearing first would damage my ear-drums (A reason vociferously told by my mumma, and she tells that to me till date!) and second that it would affect my studies! None happened.
I obeyed their orders to the tee like a good girl! And as I grew up, and my father believed I had understood what is important and not, what are my responsibilities and not, I was allowed the freedom to full rights to my walkie!
It was my constant companion especially when I did my Maths and problems in Science, the fact that I topped left little excuse for my mom to shout at me for listening to music while studying. A habit that stuck till I gave my final paper of MBA!
Papa somewhere understood my love for dance and music, mumma could not fathom why I needed to carry that walkman everywhere I went. My elder cousin sis ( More like a real one, we lived in the same building, both only children and that did not give us much of a choice but to stick around with each other despite the age difference of 8 years!! Over the years I think we have grown close, but we still love to fight! It’s still fun!!) added to my woes by saying that she just wants to show off! Well I did think it was cool because then not many carried it around like a glue 24 hrs and that made me different;-) That sis of mine is one hell of a mind-reader and it was often irritating when she would be vocal about it to my parents! It did not make things easy for me!
Papa’s nicest gift was a small deck and speakers in my room. It was my little dream to own one and he had it placed the day my SSC exams ended, just as he had promised! It is 10 years old now and still occupies its place in my room and still is in excellent shape. I’ve given my building neighbours a harrowing time when I would play it at full volume. It was never intentional just that I enjoyed it and often mum would be banging on my closed door asking me to lower the volume. I simply enjoyed the drama!
Another precious gift came from my jijajee( yup same didi’s hubby), a disc-man, another of my prized possessions. As for the inputs into the players, a collection of audio cassettes was built that only expanded as I grew up and now they are slowly getting replaced by mp3s and audio CDs. I also thanked the mobile phone companies and the inventor who thought of including the radio facility in the phone, today I cannot do without it, the radio I mean! The phone I could do without easily! I wish a hundred times in day it would just stop ringing!!!
Music never restricted me to a particular era, I love the 60s music, the romance was so clean and the songs so melodious. I love RD Burman who brought hip-hop into Hindi film music. AR Rehman an all time favourite that got me hooked to Tamil music. Kandukondain Kandukondain and Alaipayuthe are absolute must haves in your collection if you are a Rehman fan. Having South Indian friends helped understand that genre of music better. The 80s were a slack period but music picked up from 90s, with pop songs becoming a rage, things were finally looking up. Shankar , Ehsaan Loy and Shantanu Moitra are my current favourites.
Bryan Adams rocked, ABBA and Beatle’s collections began to grow, The Corrs were a must have and a must listen to. John Denver & Eagles soothed your mind. You swooned to songs of Eric Clapton and tapped your feet to Elvis. Generations passed their songs onto the new ones such that oldies remained immortal and never faded away. Over time songs kept on adding to your collection which were exceptional, just got to listen to, cult songs, nothing like this one…the list was endless.
I’m not an expert on music but the next blog chapter will carry my favourite songs, a few years down the line when I return to that post I want to see how much of that list would’ve changed:-)
That’s the beauty of blogging, it takes you into a nice trip down the memory lane; and with that blog on songs, there will be fine music running along with it in my mind!

Ganguly the 16th man

I was planning to write on the selection woes and crimes committed by the selection committee but I won’t, after reading this man who has put things in the right perspective.

There is a reason why he is where he is today. There is a reason why most people will prefer to take a backseat and let him do the talking. There is a reason why he is one of India’s most loved and respected commentators and sports writers.
He puts things in the right perspective, no bias, no favoritism. Just Perspective. Read on

p.s: There is also the reason why the espnstar sports commentator hunt was labeled ‘Harsha Ki Khoj’ and everyone who was there including yours truly was completely in awe of this man.

LOC-Kargil…A Disconnect

I caught the movie finally on Sunday night on TV. I had missed it when it hit the theatres and every time later when it showed on TV.

I love war movies, watched quite a few foreign as well has Hindi films. All these films connect with you. You feel for their plight, you take pride in their victories and you cry when they die on the battle field defending their land. You get anxious about the plans they make, the strategies they draw, you cheer them, you pray for them, you sing along their songs which become almost an anthem for you. The films get you so involved that you feel you are living the war.

That’s how war films should be. Connect with the audience’s pulse and touch the heart. Not many war films have been made in India. Haqeeqat and Border are the ones that stand out. Prahar dealt with the Army but it involved fighting internal terrorism and corruption and till date it’s a movie you cannot miss! It was not an out and out war film but depicted the life of soldiers to some extent. I did not catch “Dhoop” entirely but parts of it and even that film connected somewhere.

LOC-Kargil did not! It just did not. The characters were never well defined because they were too many. The battles kept switching on and off and you lost the connectivity and continuity. Every soldier had the same story and actors did not have their heart in the characters they portrayed. They were going through the motions and there was no involvement!

It was a war that shook the nation. A war where India lost too many young soldiers. A war that was fought in the most difficult conditions. A war where Pakistan refused to acknowledge their own soldiers and whose bodies were abandoned, and who were given a respectful burial by the Indian army.

LOC-Kargil the film was believed to have captured that war so that it would reach thousands of people.

The film lacked sensitivity, emotion and just failed to strike a chord! Not a line stayed in memory, not a scene can be recalled, and not a song could be called an anthem. Recollect “Kar Chale Hum Watan Tumhare Hawale Sathiyo, Sandese Aate Hain”, LOC-Kargil had none!

Even news anchors put in emotion when they cover a war, how come J.P.Dutta failed so miserably?

Disappointed, most disappointed! LOC-Kargil had no soul, and when you make a movie without a soul, it will never go down in history as one of the greats! Too much indulgence in details and events probably ruined Dutta’s fine attempt.

The intention was noble, the heart just not there!

The Battle Begins……Today!

Vaughan begins his campaign today. He will lead his team to try and win the Ashes back from the Aussies. It’s going to be a tough, tough challenge but his team’s performance has given the Poms some hope and a chance to put the Aussies in serious trouble.

Ponting on the other hand is glad that Australia picked up its game in the last two matches. Gilchrist and he were in their usual devastating form. They love to walk into a series as favourites and enjoy living up to that tag. In all probability they should retain the Ashes and then ask the MCC to finally hand them over, so that they can carry the Ashes to the Aussie shores.

Who have you placed your bets on to become McGrath’s 500 test victim? Strauss or Trescothick? There is some serious betting happening there. Tremendous achievement for a fast bowler, considering only one has got to that landmark before him and the other two leading wicket-takers are spinners!

Walsh was phenomenal, not everyone expected him to get there and he did. McGrath has only ripened with age and looks in golden touch this time around too.

What a series this should be.

  • Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff at no.6 & no.5 respectively hammering the Aussie bowlers
  • Steve Harmisson troubling the batsman no ends
  • Trescothick, Vaughan and Strauss building partnerships steadily
Yes, England finally putting up a challenge!
  • Gilchrist smacking the ball all around the park
  • Hayden-Langer blasting century stands
  • Ponting adding that dazzling double in between
  • Clarke building himself up in the international era, what a batsman! Such a pleasure to watch
  • McGrath bowling relentlessly near and about the off-stump compelling the batsman to make mistakes and fall in his trap, and they sure do! How he manages to get that accuracy going ball-after–ball, over-after-over is a real mystery!
  • Gillespie doing his eagle run-up with hair all over the place, his sight is frightening and I don’t blame the batsman if they get out;-)
  • Finally sheer pace by Brett Lee
Can’t wait to catch the action on TV

Mumbaikars Where Art Thou???

The Team for SL ODI Series was announced yesterday:

Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh,Mohammad Kaif(U.P.), Suresh Raina, Venugopal Rao, Mahendra Singh Dhoni , Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Laxmipathy Balaji, Ashish Nehra, JP Yadav.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a proud Indian and it does not matter to me if the Indian team is full of players from Karnataka, Delhi or just about any part of India. It is hurting me because Mumbai known for its legacy of cricketers does not have a single representative in the current squad, not even in the reserves! The team hasn’t fared too bad in the Ranji seasons and yet fails to have a single guy on the team.

Mumbai has given India it’s finest two batsmen in Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. It has given the country stalwarts like Vijay Manjrekar, Ramakant Desai, Eknath Solkar, Ajit Wadekar, Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar. India’s middle order often comprised of Mumbai batsman. Till date India always had atleast one Mumbai player in the team.

For a hard core Mumbaikar; cricket is extremely close to the heart.
Pu.La. Deshpande (Finest writers in Marathi Literature) describes the peculiarities of a Mumbaikar and his cricket passion:

‘Kon mhanta cricket ha maidani khel aahe, aamchya Mumbait chalichya gallery madhye sudha test matches chaltat.’
(Who says cricket is a ground sport, in our Mumbai, test matches are also played in our chawls’ galleries)

‘Cricket ha khelnyacha vishay nasun bolnyacha vishay aahe.’
(Cricket is just not a ground sport, it’s a talking sport, cause everyone talks only cricket in Mumbai!)

Another point he makes, ‘When you say History to a Punekar, he will start talking about Bajirao, Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa (The famous Peshwa Dynasty that ruled Pune) and if you say History to a Mumbaikar, he’ll start off with names like Manjrekar, Solkar, Wadekar, Gavaskar etc.

The point Pu. La. has made was simple, that Cricket is in Mumbai’s blood.

The Kanga League matches in the heavy monsoon, the hoards of matches at Shivaji Park, the Oval & Azad Maidan hosting school-college level matches. It’s cricket round the clock, 24X7, 12 months a year in this city of dreams. Then why are this city’s cricket dreams shattering?

Mumbai has had the finest cricket culture in India but somewhere it is declining, the system is flawing and we are not producing the kinds we used to. It is indeed heartening to see guys from small towns making it to the big scene. With little or no facilities at their disposal they have come up through their own hard work and determination and set a fine example for the rest to follow.

What is keeping the Mumbai guys back? Have they become complacent? Have they lost the fighting spirit that the city is well known for? Have the lost the determination to make it big? What is it? He was the answer to the question, ‘Who after Gavaskar?’ But now who after Sachin Tendulkar? How can a Sachin fail to inspire his own city-mates? Any answers?

Come on guys this a huge wake-up call, it’s time you are up on your feet and put Mumbai back onto the map of Indian cricket! We need to carry that cricket heritage forward, keep it alive and never let it fade away!

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