Month: November 2005

Missing Wankhede…

India finally set their ODI record straight at Wankhede. As far as I could remember, after the memorable Titan Cup win and the one–off match against SA in the 96-97 season Wankhede has proved to be a graveyard for the Indian team when it came to ODI matches. The added security measures made watching the match anything but a memorable experience. Indian victories could have proved to be a balm on these discomforts but even they were hard to come by except the one victory against Bangladesh in 1998 where I’m sure the stadium did not overflow with spectators. (Two reasons: Opponents were Bangladesh and the torturous May heat!)

But seeing the second innings on TV on Monday 28th November brought back tons of memories and I started missing Wankhede all over again!

  • The long queues (to get into the stadium) that begin at 9.00 in the morning; when the stadium gates are slated to open at 12.30.
  • The colourful crowd dressed in their sporty best
  • The huge Indian flags flowing all along
  • Little flags painted on cheeks and hands
  • Young little tots on their way to experience their first match live at the stadium, all excited and lost
  • Teenage girls screaming and yelling to catch a glimpse of their cricket heroes
  • Despite seeing them several times the excitement to catch the cricketers in flesh and blood
  • The mad rush to get the best of the seats (Seat numbers rarely matter in any of the stands except the MCA Pavilion and Garware)
  • The frenzy to get hold of all the water bags and eateries cause there won’t be a break or a chance to get out once the match starts
  • The loud cheers that welcome the two captains for the toss
  • The never ending wait between the toss and match to start
  • The discussions across age-groups; almost like a pre-match analysis
  • The deafening cheer to mark the start of the match when the bowler comes in to bowl the first ball
  • The chants for fours and sixers when the Indian batsmen are on a song
  • The sudden silence when the Indian wicket falls and the next moment a loud applause if the opposition batsman has played a fine knock.
    (Yes, the Mumbai crowd has still not lost the spirit to applaud the opposition. I hate the silence that follows a good stroke or a wicket-taking ball from the opponents! Come on cheer a good player and the game!)
  • The outstanding live commentary that is going on, in and around you, trust me you learn a lot of cricket there by listening to the people around. Yes, most of them do know their stuff
  • The hilarious moments when you see people passing themselves off as experts when they don’t even know ABC of cricket! I know it’s sadistic but it’s fun to hear them yap away to glory
  • The fear that you will miss the shot to the boundary or the fall of a wicket because there aren’t any replays at the stadium
  • The thundering roar that marks the arrival of local boy Sachin Tendulkar, ‘Amchya Mumbaicha Mulga’ (Our Mumbai’s Son) to the batting crease. (If Tendulkar is slated to bat one-down or two-down, Wankhede must be the only ground in this country that cheers the fall of the Indian wicket the loudest! Yes, they are human at times and can be partial!)
  • The chant to cheer individual players which goes for e.g.: ‘Dra-vid, Dra-vid (clap along in the beat) and followed by quick three claps, accompanied with loud whistles in the same beat.’ (Drums and dholkis have been banned since the Mumbai blasts, else the beat and sound was phenomenal, you got to witness a fine example of unity in diversity)
  • The Mexican waves splashing across stands and the crowd booing the stands that refuse to show the energy to continue the wave in the same vigor (Garware stand is often the target!)
  • The chanting of ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’, every time the Indian team is in trouble
  • The entire ground singing ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’, when ever the team needs encouragement
  • The chants and discussions that follow post the match, when everyone is tired yet energetic, relishing every moment of the day ; hoping to see one and all the next year once again to cheer their team and see the best of cricket yet again.

Sigh! It’s noisy, it’s discomforting, it’s maddening, it’s crowded, it’s frightening, but all the moments above make these small complaints look miniscule compared to the tremendous atmosphere at the stadium. One walks in as any other spectator and walks out only as an Indian and a true sports lover (where one learns to appreciate a good play even if it is by the opponents). The one quality that binds one and all coming to see the match. Yes, it’s one of the smallest things of many important ones that makes one proud as an Indian and unites one and all.

Savour the experience for a lifetime and keep visiting again to relive it. I have surely tried it in the last 14 years of watching cricket. I would give anything to be at the stadium rather than watch the match in close comfort at home on TV. The two are simply not comparable!

Go Goa…

The biggest mistake I did was that I just managed a weekend trip to this lovely place, and at the end of the two days I could not help but feel miserable for having to leave so early!

We started off for Goa on Friday night by the 11.00 p.m. Konkan Kanya Express and were to return by the same on Sunday night at 7.00 p.m. from Thivim. Before I go on to narrate my travel experience, I must say I was pretty impressed with the service in the train. The attendants were polite, quick to respond and extremely good at their work. The food quality was amazing. No oily stuff and not too spicy either. It was just right. We tasted most of the items. Well, when you are in a family that loves to eat and taste new stuff you bet there was not a single item on the menu that would be left without being tasted! We had chicken fried rice, chicken biryani, chicken masala, chicken lollypop, dosa, sandwich, omlet, veg cutlet, tea,coffee, and not to forget gulabjamun. Instead of the traditional paper wraps they gave the food in decent plates and tiffins which made it so much easier to have the food.

We landed on Thivim station at 10.30a.m. The train was slightly delayed. We took a taxi to our hometown Nanora. Now, Nanora is a very small village. The houses are still built of mud, and the verandahs and floors are still done the traditional way by smearing cow dung on it. Cow dung is one of the best natural fertilizers; it keeps the house disease free and maintains a cool temperature in the house. I must say it is one hell of a task to do up the whole house on alternate days with it! I do admire the ladies there!

Our small house is a house of 4 rooms and a kitchen with a small verandah outside. It’s so peaceful and quiet. It’s right in the midst of nature with a jungle behind and river flowing right nearby. (I’m also sorry for not being able to upload snaps will do so over the weekend.) Once we landed and freshened up, we went to visit the village goddess and take her blessings. Some of the houses lie empty. Vast and spacious ones with no one to care for, as most of them are settled in big towns and cities. The heritage is dying and no one seems to care. How can one ignore such a beautiful place? It is just about the perfect get-away you need from your busy city life. People fail to see the importance.

Post lunch my husband’s cousin and his wife came down with their car to drive us around the Goa. Thy were feeling really bad that we had just come down for two days and since I was visiting the first time they thought they would make the most of it. We left our village at 4.30 p.m. only to return by 11.30p.m.! For the first time in many days, I was left wondering if it were possible to have more than 24 hours in a single day.

We left first for the the Kalangute Beach, which is close to Panaji, the capital city of Goa. Being in Mumbai one forgets what a clean beach is, so if you want to know go head towards the Konkan, Goa, Mangalore, Kerala beaches. Pure water, huge waves hitting you and lovely breeze blowing all around. My brother-in-law and his wife are very enthusiastic. They love to talk and never seem to tire out. They speak Konkani so well, and speaking of Konkani; I have absolutely fallen in love with that language and intend to learn it from my mom-in-law, she is the only one in our house who knows it. It’s such a sweet language, and when they speak it sounds as if they have only words of love for you.

My sister-in-law just hinted she wanted to try para-gliding; we were not so sure to let her try it, so my husband and his brother thought speed boat ride was another good option. On came the life jackets, we climbed into the boat and we took off into the sea! What a ride! The water kept splashing into our faces. I did not feel messy and loved every moment of getting wet in the sea.

Out of the sea and walking back to the car, on the way we had a couple of halts; one to have ‘butta’ (hot roasted corn with red chilly and lemon…yum!) and second for some shopping! What cool pieces of junk jewellery, lovely wrap around skirts, bags and purses with embroidery and mirror work, lots of handicrafts, showpieces, all of which sent my husband and his brother into a frenzy seeing us go from one shop to another. We then finally decided to have some mercy on the two and relieve them of the torture and set away for my brother-in-law’s house in Old Goa to freshen up. On the way we even saw the old church where the body of St.Francis is kept. Sadly we did not have time to visit it.

The drive to his place and back to Panaji was heavenly. Dark skies, clear sea, small lanes with houses on both sides, turns and twists, bridges on the water, cruises below, street-lights on the road, and coconut trees all around. Panaji was all lit thanks to IFFI. Huge hoardings, film screenings at public places, trees decorated with lights, festivities on, fairs all over. It was indeed a lovely time of the year to visit Goa. I loved the street lights all along Miramar beach, Old Secretariat and Inox Theatre. They had the ancient British look and added to the beauty of the lovely streets.

We then visited a place well-known for Goan specialties. The Ritz Classic. I have never been a sea-food person, and not too enthusiastic about trying new stuff. Staying with my husband’s family has rubbed of some the niceties onto me. I decided that I shall taste all sea-food specialties. So here is what we ordered and I tried all of them. The prawns fried and in curry, were out of this world. I also tasted Chonak(Barramundi) Masala Fry, Squids in Garlic Sauce, and Shingane. We ended the delicious dinner with an icy cold ice-cream. Suddenly all the cold and cough seemed to have disappeared.

The next day we took the ride to visit our Family Goddess ‘Kamakshi Devi’ in Shiroda which is about an hour’s ride from our village. The temple is huge and has a small pond, a well, another temple, marriage hall, and dharamshala in its premises. The Goddess was kept inside a room whose three doors were done up of pure silver and the dome of the temple in pure gold. The aura of the Goddess filled up the entire temple and you did not want to leave so soon.

Post the ‘darshan’, we left for Old Goa again to pick up my brother-in-law to go ahead for lunch. We went to a small place nearby which offered food similar to homemade food. Again sea-food ruled. Prawns, Pomphret, King Fish, Oysters, you name it and it was there. I had tasted enough sea-food in two days which I had not managed in 25 years of my life!

We then left for our shopping spree of Kokum Sherbet and Cashew nuts. On the way back we passed through Parvari and Mhapsa. Some of the bungalows I saw there left me mesmerized; the vintage structure, the expanse, the architecture, the lawns outside, the whole locale. It made me more than determined to build one of my own there someday in the future. Yes, it’s one more addition to my list of dreams that I have to fulfill.

We reached home by 4.30 only to realize that we would be saying good-bye in another hour; time had just flown by!

I did not want it to end, the whole experience was so enriching; in terms of the place and the people. My husband’s relatives were such a sweet lot and so hospitable, someday I hope I can return the love they showered on me. I was meeting them for the first time but I did not feel like a stranger at all.

Man is a greedy animal they say, well I’m greedy for the beautiful heavenly abode in Goa and the love the people there gave me. Yes I would want more and more of that in the years to come.

Guhagar and Goa…

One is a place where my roots are and another is a place where my future roots will be.

I’ve never been a village person. My husband though is the exact opposite, a complete outdoor person. He simply loves the nature and could spend aeons and aeons enjoying it. He loves nature trails, treks, camping, has amazing knowledge of the wildlife and hates it when people disturb their peace. In his village, he would go along with his cousins and uncles to observe the wildlife at night by sitting on a machan!

I on the other hand, have hardly visited any villages, except mine, which is Guhagar, situated on the shores of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. I’ve not spent many vacations there but a few spent gave me memories that will last a lifetime. I cannot stay on for more than 10 day there because you begin to miss the hustle-bustle of city life. Sad but true, we are hard-wired that way. But those 10 days suffice to bring back all the energy and vigor needed to face the daily routine again.

Our house is situated just at the beginning of the village with the river behind and the vast sea-shore just five minutes away. The beach is clean and the water is as pure as you can get. In front of the house, a small stream flows. It overflows during the rainy season and is surrounded by trees all around. You look around and all you see is lush green surroundings. A well in front of the verandah where the guys simply enjoy taking a bath! Boys, first the sea-shore, then the river, then the well, they never seem to get away from the water. My brothers and nephews are amazing brats who refuse to let me be dry whenever we visit the river or the beach and it is one time when I don’t blast them for throwing me into the water:-) It is also the one time I don’t complain of sleeping in the aangan(verandah). Under the clear skies and the cool breeze blowing, it’s one of the most soothing experiences.

Our house of 4 rooms with a common hall and verandahs in front and back becomes a home when my father’s family resides there during May vacations and comes to life during Ganapati festivities. My father’s family and his first cousin’s share the small house and both families have kept the Gods common so Ganapti is huge festivity time for my family. I’ve not been able to visit owing to no vacation during that period but I have visited our small festival where we celebrate our Kuladaivat(Family God/Godess) Bhairi Bhavani. Guhagar is a fairly small village and people know each other around fairly well. We term that family god celebration as ‘Gondhal’, it’s meaning in English is ‘Chaos’. Well it is literally, considering that there are around 100 family members alone in that house during that time 🙂

Lights are lit, pooja is done and the Goddess worshipped. The whole village is called in to celebrate and it is followed by dinner for all. Newly married couples perform the pooja seeking the blessings of the Kuladaivat. After the pooja and dinner is completed, the story-tellers or ‘Gondhali’ arrive. They narrate tales of the goddess and other family Gods and the reason to celebrate ‘Gondhal’ . This story-telling carries into the night till it dawns. The story-telling is not merely a narration but there are songs, there is music and fair bit of acting too. It takes place every three years and since we could not make it this year my husband can’t wait for it to come again so that he can go attend it. Honestly I cannot wait either to attend it myself.

There are so many other stories you get to hear from all uncles and aunts and they bring back so many memories as well. Mumma has so many things to tell me from her visits to the village when they were newly married and every year she tells them as if they only occurred yesterday. It was a wonderful gate-away for them from the life in Mumbai and a fun time spent with all members of the family. Papa visited the village twice a year, he just loved that house and every year kept doing something new to it. It is so true when they say you can take a man away from his home but you cannot take the home out of the man 🙂
It’s the only village I’ve known and today I’m out to discover another which will become an integral part of my life. It’s in another beautiful part of the Konkan stretch. It is a small village called ‘Nanora’ in Goa. It’s my husband’s village. (Unfortunately due to our hectic work schedules we can only manage a weekend trip.) We are going there to visit his (and now mine too) Kuladaivat ‘Kamakshi Devi’ .

I hope to capture as much as I can in these two days, a few more memories from the lovely villages in India. These are the places where the true beauty lies and are often forgotten by all.
Have a wonderful weekend, and more about my experience there once I’m back Monday morning.

Cric Recap…

Too much cricket happening around and it is just the beginning of a new season in full swing.

Have to start off with the Indians. Okay though the ODIs have never been my favourite form of cricket, I must say I really enjoyed some of the moments. Irfan’s all-round skills. Agarkar’s accurate bowling( what a change!), Bhajji’s & Karthik’s twisters and not to forget RP Singh’s emergence as a third left-armer! I didn’t see much of him live in action though:-(

Sachin started off with a bang, followed by Rahul’s consistency, Dhoni’s Dhamaka and ended with Yuvraj’s explosion. Gambhir, Raina and Venugopal Rao(He impressed me when he managed to pull of a six in the square region a la-Sehwag/Sachin in the 4th ODI Vs SL) played their parts well. Fielding was a huge improvement and having got Kaif back certainly helped matters. That little Suresh Raina is a rocket in the field. He seems to have mastered the two As pretty well: Agility and Accuracy, consistently hits the stumps!

Overall impressive. One crib, why is it Greg’s team? Surely Rahul is not doing a Cronje here. (Remember SA Vs India World Cup 1999- The microphone-earphone episode!) Oh!Come on, don’t make Rahul the ‘Best man’ here too! He lead from the front and he has showed good captaincy skills. He has not been tested yet; but I think, now that he is getting a full assignment on hands he is easing into the job.

Aussies are getting into their destruction zone, WI are slumping to further depths. It really hurts to see this team play today. I see no challenge for the Aussies and a series that has no fight-back is really not worth watching.

I thought the Pak series will test the Brit character. And what a tough one this is proving to be. Am I surprised? Not really, cause England during their winning streak has not been tested enough by the two biggies of the sub-continent. Even the Aussies took a neat three decades to win here.

In the first test, on a lifeless track, the Freddie-Harmisson duo bowled England into the match and their batsman batted them out of the match in the last innings! Pretty disappointing.
The second test looks headed for a draw after a spirited fight from Bell, Pietersen, Jones and the tail.

I think Shahid Afridi should be banned for life! Mistake how can it be a mistake? Tampering the pitch so openly with your shoes was a mistake? Do you not read the rules or do you simply not care because you are playing in your own country!

Before I end, Ganguly’s tenure as the most successful test captain of India ended yesterday.
He is in the team now. Was he not a better ODI player than tests? Hopefully he will answer with his performance. Why do I still want that? Well, yours truly has been his vociferous supporter until this happened.)

And if indeed, it is the end of the road for you Saurav, despite your shortcomings, I have admired you as a captain, and honestly, I think you deserve a better farewell. Don’t you think so too? By your selection in the test squad you have been given that opportunity. Grab it with both hands and play like there will be no tomorrow. Atleast say good bye with your head held high!

A Story of Courage- Defiance-Honesty- Truth-Integrity-Guts-Determination

All above values we aspire to have. Very very few people manage to stand by them in real life. Extremely few, cause in this country more often than not the reward for possessing these is ….DEATH.
Read the news on Gaurav’s Blog. After Satyendra Dubey’s case one hoped the country would open itself to the corruption that lies within and try to eradicate it , sadly it has not and sadly it has consumed another honest person. What will be done about it? Nothing…

When students pursue IIT-IIMs, Engineering-MBA degrees, it’s truly in search of greener pastures. The colour green becomes extremely important. Once you enter the institutes, 50% of the lot is driven by money and lack the above values; stating that they don’t really help you in life. Having been part of the MBA-Engineering clan, trust me it’s tough to find people driven by them, honestly it is.

Then why is it that some of us believe in them, why are some of us still willing to sacrifice lives in a hope that the things and ways of life will change?

I did not know Manjunath. I’m too shocked to say anything. I know a couple of colleagues who knew him and I don’t know how to react.

Here is a guy, who having acquired the best of the education in India, could have opted for a job abroad or any MNCs in India in a cool AC office. Yet he chose to go into a PSU. Despite politics and corruption around he had the courage to stand by his values, defied corrupt petrol pump owners, was honest to his officials, had the courage to speak the truth , the determination and guts to stand by his decision, and trusted his integrity. What did he receive in appreciation for this? Death as a reward!

I do hope his sacrifice is not forgotten. For me he is a hero. He really his. May his soul rest in peace. I know our words of condolences will not help reduce the pain of his family, but all I want to say is he will be remembered as a martyr for fighting this cruel corrupt system, very few of us manage that today!

And on another note, all government officials and politicians crib about the so called brain-drain in Indian PSUs and Civil Services. IIM-IIT, Top MBA-Engg. grads opting out of joining these services in search of greener pastures.

But when the few honest ones like Satyendra Dubey and Manju do opt for them in the process to ensure a change, what are they rewarded for their honesty? Death? Is that a motivation for people to step in? If government or their employer can’t ensure their protection for being honest and no justice is served to the injustice done to them how do they expect anyone of the future generation to step in?

There is so much to think about…….
Update: Telegraph carries the story here

Fantasy comes to life…

I maybe late on the review but I had to write about it. The Fourth Potter Movie surpasses the previous ones in terms of everything: The Picturisation, The Acting, The Direction, The Graphics, The Magic, The Sets, The Grandeur and last but not the least, The Emotions of Joy and Sorrow. Don’t compare it to the book please. A book should never be judged by its movie. A three hour film can never do justice to a 700 page book or for that matter any book. How can it? But this movie atleast has tried to capture the most of it and credit must go to the Director, Mike Newell.

The opening haunting sequence of the old man‘s death by the just surviving Dark Lord is a hint of things to come. It is going to get scarier as the next movies come in and I’m not sure how many little minds will get to see it in the theaters. In India they might, not sure abroad. Then the movie shifts base to the Quidditch world cup, oh it felt like being at the Olympics. Though I wish they had shown some moments of the match. Sigh! After cricket it’s the one sport I’ve become crazy about and sadly I’ll never get to see one live. (Drifting away slightly I’m feeling pretty bad that I’ll miss the ODI at Mumbai on 28th Nov, and that too out of my own choice!!)

The next moment I enjoyed was the entry of the other two schools to Hogwarts, the unicorn driven carriage and the magnificent ship that arose from underwater. The sight was marvelous as was the revealing of the Goblet and the trophy. Dumbledore declares the tournament open and when Harry’s name is thrown out of the goblet, you heart goes out to him when he is scorned by one and all and almost loses his best friend in Ron.

There are many moments in the film you take away with you. (Quite a few humorous ones, especially with Mad Eye Moody around.)

  • The one where Moody turns Malfoy (He does look quite handsome though;-) Excellent casting!) into a ferret.
  • The one in the study room where Snape keeps whacking Ron and Harry in their heads and they simply refuse to learn.
  • The time when Ron tries on his robes for the ball. Oh they really do take the cake! What was Mrs. Weasley thinking when she packed them off?
  • Harry’s reaction when he sees the blooming romance between Olympe Maxime and Hagrid.
  • Fred and George trying to get their names into the Goblet. The twins are a delight and I think they have some of the finest brains.
  • The Yule ball is a hit, Hermione looks stunning and we get a first glimpse of the tension between Ron and her.
  • You get a first look into Dumbledore’s Pensieve as you tread along with Harry and Moody’s Mad eye drives you a little insane!

The tasks are well shot and the final task is scary and it turns even worst for Harry. I loved the portrayal of Voldemort’s transformation and Ralph Fiennes shines in his brief role. Looking forward to seeing him more, the portrayal of Voldemort could not have been more apt.

Snape is another favourite character in the series and I have been pretty impressed with Alan Rickman. He has little to do in this movie and I was a bit disappointed, but I’m sure as hell waiting for the Half-Blood Prince to hit the theatres, oh it is going to be one long wait!

I felt a tear roll down my eye when Cedric died, when his dad anguished in the loss of his dear son and when Dumbledore told his wards the truth about Cedric’s death.

The cast has done their parts well. Ron is my eternal favourite, the character in the book as well his portrayal by Rupert Grint. Emma Watson is her usual best and Radcliffe is maturing. I also thought the Patil twins looked beautiful and Cho-Chang is pretty as well. In all, the casting is pretty satisfactory.

But you enjoy the movie for Brendan Gleeson’s Mad Eye Moody and Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort. I think the casting director hit a bulls-eye!

I can’t wait for the next movies to come and if you are a Harry Potter fan don’t you dare miss out on this one. It is surely the best of the lot.

P.S: But my moment of the movie came from this little episode…

A couple of families had come along with their tiny tots. The interval post one-half hour into the movie came up and the youngest of those little ones,(she must be 4) said out aloud, ‘Mumma is it now recess time?’

Her innocent question and relating it to school break so cutely just about made my evening. Though I’m sure she must have enjoyed this long Harry Lesson much more compared to her school ones.

Cute little wonders, I wonder what happens when they all grow up?


Long break from blogging and I really missed it:-( Most of all I missed reading other blogs!
First half of the break dedicated to a fun-filled Diwali celebrations. First after marriage was special and boy I wish it would be the same every year!
Second half dedicated to some serious studies and getting back to the books after a break can be nerve-wrecking!!
Anyways am back to regular business. Too many things to discuss, and yes cricket is on the top of the list. Regular blogging will resume. Watch this space for more…

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