Month: January 2006

Dead End at Faislabad…

Surely that’s how everyone must have felt watching the final day of the second test match. But I don’t agree with everyone that it was Lahore Part II. Did we not get some action on Day 3 Session 2 and what about the last day when Pakistan suddenly collapsed to 490 all out? Not enough you say? Well we have been used to such wonderful cricket produced in the last decade that it is but natural that this is one is proving to be a dampener of sorts.

I don’t want to sound too critical but the fact is that the test series touted to better the Ashes rivalry in modern day cricket has so far been plain boring. I never thought that I would say this about India-Pak matches. It feels like we are back in the 80s where India-Pak matches always ended in boring draws, as loss by either side was not acceptable in their respective countries. I thought the picture had changed in the late 90s what with we playing Pak almost every year. The 2004 series and the 2005 series proved that the teams were playing to win. So what changed this time?

How could Pakistan who were riding high on confidence post their bashing of England, get into such a defensive mode? India’s batting line-up is superior no doubt, especially in the sub-continent conditions; but it seems their bowling which is strictly decent seemed to scare the Pakis off. You need to take some calculated risks to win. No risk no return. You can never win a match by batting your way out; who will take the opponent’s wickets?

I thought that Pakistan would make the match a wee bit interesting by giving India a target of 300 to chase at 6 per over; but it seems they are too wary of losing and also of this Indian batting line-up. In fact, I was hoping Rahul would declare some 50 runs short of Pak’s total, have a go at the Pak batsmen, as they were short two batsmen. Neither of the two scenarios happened. There was absolutely no hope for some excitement or to see something innovative!

The nature of these pitches is killing the spirit of test match cricket. To make things worse what we saw on the final day was cruel mockery of this wonderful game. Oh it broke my heart! It was meant to amuse the spectators, bring in some excitement. Was that the idea? Sorry folks that didn’t not go down well with us. Dhoni and Yuvraj bowling with the new ball and later Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi! Please don’t put us through this after the 4 ‘exciting’ days of batting. As I have said before this series refuses to acknowledge that bowlers need a fair game too and I’m not surprised that Shoaib refused to bowl when India stepped out to bat again. Why should he waste his energy in an inconsequential match?

I’d rather have a nail-biting draw where one team is fighting to win the game and the other is fighting even harder to save the match. That kind of a draw is worth savoring. Remember the current Ashes series match 3?

The nature of the pitch is what makes this game interesting. There in comes your skill as a bowler and as a batsman to tackle the variances of the pitch. What would be left in the game if all countries produced the same kind of wickets? Cricket would lose its charm. The most important thing though is that the pitches must give bowlers and batsman a fair chance, prepare a sporting wicket is all we ask.

Allianz the main sponsor of this test series has an advertisement for its insurance products that says will you prepare a fair pitch or not. Take the right decisions in life. What an irony that the PCB does not seem have to have taken any clue from its main sponsor!

Do you think Dravid will rank his two hundreds in this series among his greatest ones? He would rather be pleased with his 27 on a fiery pitch in Durban 1996 or his 148 on a seaming Headingley wicket in 2002. Come on, give the batsman also something to savor about. Even he knows a rank local batsman would have a got a hundred on this kind of pitch and which is why my next target of criticism is the Master Blaster himself!

How could he, oh how could he walk away? First of all how could he not play Akhtar well on this kind of wicket? Agreed he was bowling a fiery spell, but there was nothing in the pitch to get ruffled up. Tendulkar, who has scored hundreds on greener faster tracks, ought to have handled Shoaib well here. The situation demanded it. India needed him to stay on with Dhoni and get some runs; instead he got out for 14! Ughhh it was so damn frustrating and later we see he was technically not out. What did he achieve by his generous attitude? Nothing! This is precisely why I don’t agree to batsmen walking off on their own! There is an umpire there, let him do his job; don’t try to do his job, why don’t you do your job of batting!

Dhoni and Pathan’s counter-attack worked wonders for India what with Bhajji and Zaheer adding their own to see India past the Pakistan total which looked seemingly impossible at one point. The knocks by the lower order also supported the team’s decision to go in with 5 regular bowlers dropping Ganguly. Yes I was surprised they dropped Ganguly (How much more humiliation that man will go through no one knows! Not fair is it? ) and even more surprised that the two openers are still warming their pads in the dressing room! Atleast you could have sent Jaffer back home. Maybe he would have helped Mumbai fight out UP. What a tragic match that was for Mumbai and full Kudos to Kaif’s team. If you don’t intend to take Ganguly in the final match atleast let him enjoy playing the Ranji final!

Another disheartening aspect was the attitude of Pakistani players. Shahid Afridi, he is anyway known for his sledging ways and it is expected of him. Shoaib’s ego and tantrums are well known by now. But the two carried it a wee bit far in this game. Needless and not required. Shoaib was amazing, you bowl a goddamn beamer and don’t even apologize! Dhoni should have given him back there and then. He should not have even bothered to say at the press conference that maybe it slipped! This one surely did not seem to have slipped! The attitude showed by Shoaib is bad for cricket! Inzy take note. Ranjan Madgulle, The ICC referee will let them go with a warning and if it was any Indian player god knows how many suspensions and fines would have honored the Indian team.

On another note it’s a delight to watch Inzy bat, I even like Asif Kamal (wonder where he is) but somehow Younis Khan and Shahid afridi don’t evoke the same emotions in me! At best I think Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan are average batsmen. It’s only our team that allows them to pile up monstrous scores; and yes I know I’m being a real sadist when I tell you that it gave me endless joy to see Younis Khan not get his double centuries in both matches and falling short of it after being so tantalizingly close!

Now the entire pressure is on Karachi. On the groundsmen to come up with a sporting wicket; on Pakistan to win the series and on India to not lose the initiative it has taken. I don’t have much hope from the finale. Karachi is not the luckiest ground for India. We were never keen to play there in the first place and I don’t see things changing much in the last match of the series. Defensive attitude never helps you win a series. Attack they say is the best form of defense and it’s high time both teams realized that!

Patriotic Fervor …

I eagerly wait for these two days in the year; 15th August which marks our Independence Day and 26th January, which marks our Republic Day. For the obvious reasons, they mark the most important events in my country’s history. They remind us of the great freedom struggle and the freedom fighters who laid down their lives so that the generations to come would live in a free democratic India.

India’s freedom struggle was marked by slogans and songs, which have now become immortal. Songs we learnt at school and will never ever forget. It’s a little tragic that post-school we get to hear those songs on radio or view them on national television only on these two days. To crib is not the intention of this post.

On the eve of India’s 56th Republic Day the intention of this post is to relive those magical songs.

There is not a single Indian I know who does not know the following songs by heart.

  • A tear strolls down the cheek every time we hear Lata Mangeshkar sing ‘E Mere Vatan Ke Logon’ written by Kavi Pradeep and composed by C. Ramachandra. It reminds us to never forget those who lost their lives defending this country, a fine tribute to the men who guard our country risking their lives day in and out.
  • Kar chale hum fida‘ from Haqeeqat on of the finest war movies made and ‘Taqat Vatan ki Hum Se’ from Prem Pujari reiterate the praise for our nation’s pride, our defence forces.
  • E mere pyare vatan from Kabuliwalla depicts the pain of being away from one’s motherland and his craving to be back home whereas ‘Apni Azaadi Ko Hum Bhula Sakte Nahi’ from Leader tells us to take pride in the freedom we have achieved, to never ever forget its importance and to never give it up even though we might have to sacrfice our lives to keep it.
  • And there are the ones, which praise India and define its beauty to the rest of the world. A lovely place to be in. Songs like Sare jahan se aacha, Jaha dal dal per sone ki, Mere desh ki dharati , Hum Sab Bhartiya Hain, Jhanda Uncha Rahe Hamara, and Yeh desh hai vir jawano ka
  • There are the others which inspires the children (Nanna munna rahi hun), the youth of the nation to realize the importance of their motherland (Aao bachoo tumhe dikhaye) to realize their duty to walk the righteous path (Insaaf ki dagar pe bachho dikhao chalake) and aspire to work hard to make their nation a better place to live in (Chodo kal ki baate)
  • There is also a beautiful song that praises Mahatma Gandhi the father of our nation for his non-violence strategy.(De di hume azadi bina khadga)
  • Not to forget the ever-inspiring Vande Mataram; a source of inspiration for freedom fighters of this nation.

These and so much more, all from the decades of 50s, 60s and 70s.One wondered if any would come in the future to carry forward this legacy and inspire the generations to come with some more patriotic songs.

Just when you thought none would; came a young composer who gave us a few we could be proud of. The intention of this post is also to thank a music director who is largely responsible for giving the modern generation a few patriotic songs. Songs that the next generations to come will definitely sing along with the immortal ones that have been handed over to us from our past generations.

A.R. Rahman makes me proud for giving my generation some of the finest patriotic songs that we can proudly hand over to our next generations.

  • His very first film in Hindi (all though dubbed) had one of my all time favourite patriotic number. Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyara Hain from Roja
  • Along with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan he rendered a meaningful number “Gurus of Peace” in his private album titled Vande Mataram. Though I will always be critical of him for modifying Vande Mataram (One should not alter the national song) in his song Maa Tujhe Salaam. The song though turned out to be one of the popular ones that praise our motherland.
  • Then came Lagaan, which had a number though not exactly patriotic but was inspirational for us Indians, so much that it almost became an anthem for our Cricket World Cup 2003 campaign. ‘Chale Chalo’, another inspiring number.
  • In a film (Legend of Bhagathsingh) that did not win much box-office acclaim AR Rahman rendered a mesmerizing number, ‘Desh Mere, Desh Mere, Meri Jaan Hain Tu’. It had the infuence of the Roja number but the song is worth remembering nevertheless. He also brought alive ‘Mera Rang De Basanti Chola’.
  • In another historic epic, which again failed to achieve any box office success, he did not fail to render an apt number to signify Subhash Chandra Bose’s freedom struggle. ‘Azaadi’ from Bose-The Forgotten Hero also deserves a place in our patriotic songs.
  • Then there was Swades, which had a song that reminds each of us, of our duties towards the nation. The nation that has given us so much but owing to our selfish pursuits we often fail to give back its due. A song that tells us ‘Ye jo des hai tera, swades hai tera, tujhe hai pukaara…Ye woh bandhan hai jo kabhi toot nahin sakta.‘ Indeed the bond can never be broken.
  • And finally when Rang de Basanti releases tomorrow (a film I’m looking forward too) AR Rahman comes back with another winner in its title track. The song has a terrific beat and the lyrics remind you of every aspect that make up for this beautiful nation called India.

Wishing you all a Happy Republic Day and leaving you with my favourite part of AR Rahman’s new number.

Thodisi dhuul meri dharti ki mere watan ki,
Thodisi dhuul meri dharti ki mere watan ki,
Thodisi Khushbuu baurai se mast pavan ki,
Thodisi dhondhane waali dhak-dhak dhak-dhak dhak-dhak saansein,
Jin mein ho junoon junoon voh boonde laal lahuu ki,
Yeh sab tuu mila mila le phir rang tuu khila khila le,
Yeh sab tuu mila mila le phir rang tuu khila khila le,
Aur mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara,
Mohe tuu rang de basanti,Mohe mohe tuu rang de basanti

Sapne rang de,Apne rang de,
Khushiyaan rang de, Gam bhi rang de,
Naslen rang de, Faslein rang de,
Rang de dhadkan, rang de sargam,
Aur mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara,
Mohe tuu rang de basanti,

Basti rang de, hasti rang de,
Hans hans rang de, Nas nas rang de,
Bachpan rang de, Joban rang de,
Ab der na kar sach much rang de,
Rang rez mere sab kuchh rang de

P.S.: I could have missed out on a few ones and would be really happy if you all could add to the list.

Lahore Fiasco…

I never thought that post 6 centuries in a match I would be bored to death. Of all the dull draws witnessed this should take cake! Even Virender Sehwag’s blitzkrieg did not pull the match from the depths of boredom it plummeted to. Let me get this right; ever since I started watching this game and understood it; I was told it is supposed to be a fair contest between the bat and the ball. Contest? There was none here! At Lahore, the pitch-curator probably thought that only the batsmen would be in the playing eleven from both sides!

I’m sure the bowlers would have preferred to not play at all after seeing the pitch at Lahore. It simply would not have mattered; be it a Shoaib bowling or Irfan or some local bowler. Even if you called upon the greats like Denis Lillee, Jeff Thompson, Richard Hadlee, Glenn Mcgrath, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Allan Donald, The Fearsome Foursome of WI, India’s Spin Quartet or Pakistan’s very own Imran, Wasim, Qadir, nothing would have changed! The goddamn pitch was as dead as a dodo! I kept waiting for that one odd ball to speed up, to bounce, to turn, to stop awkwardly at the batsman, to skid, to stay low, to do something! Damn nothing!

How on earth can you prepare such a wicket when you are bragging about your speedsters? And by the way a message to Inzy and all his Pakistani supporters, Shoaib Akhtar makes no difference to India. Every time you hype him, we go ahead and tackle him extremely well. So for a change stop doing that. He is fast, super-fast but he is not accurate and I’ll trade McGrath’s accuracy for Shoaib’s pace. His resilience atleast pays me rich consistent dividends. Shoaib gives me no guarantee, especially against India. Too early to say? Okay. We saw how Sehwag and Dravid handled him (on a dead pitch you might say). I think they are ready to take the bull by the horns and the earlier Pak realizes the better for them.

On a comparative note, India got 7 wickets in 2 days compared to Pakistan’s one wicket in 2 days (I’m accounting for the session’s lost). On a pitch like this, I think it’s worth a mention. The curator sure had great faith in Pakistan’s bowling attack to prepare such a track or rather they were petrified of giving us some advantage.

I’m glad Sehwag and Dravid took full advantage of the lifeless track and made the most of it. I liked every bit of Dravid’s captaincy. Today when they needed just 13 runs to break the 50 year record, he saw to it that he got the Pakistani players out on the field; despite light being worse than yesterday. As soon as Sehwag got out (I wish he had showed a little more patience. Greedy aren’t we! Come on, they were only 4 runs short!), Dravid was offered the light and he took it, adding more irritation to the Pakistanis. Inzy tested his patience during the press conference when the cup was displayed to the press, made him wait for some half-hour. Dravid gave back very well in the match and not only by way of his batting. India pretty much got the psychological advantage in the manner they posted a reply to Pak’s total.

Now for something important, I don’t know how many of you agree but I felt it was huge injustice to Gambhir and Jaffer, two genuine openers in form. Neither is Sehwag an opener nor Dravid or Ganguly or Yuvraj. I don’t want to see Dravid open; it’s neither fair to the two openers waiting in the wings nor to the team and Dravid. There isn’t much to choose between Ganguly and Yuvraj. So take a tough call and drop Yuvraj. Ok stop blasting me for thinking so. Give Ganguly the ultimatum. See how he performs at no.6 in the series throughout. If he comes out with flying colours works well for the team; if not you have legitimate reason to drop him for the next series and have Yuvraj fill in. No point axing openers and shuffling with opening combination. I never agree with middle-order batsman opening the innings. It’s a goddamn specialist position and India should learn to deal with this perennial problem. Not everyday do we get a Sehwag. Who, by the way I think however successful, has his flaws as a test opener. He too will face some music as he matures in his cricket career.

What’s the point in taking both Yuvraj and Ganguly and having Dravid open? It’s silly and it’s pointless. We are doing no one any good. Asking Ganguly to open is unfair and too open a ploy to get him out of the team, so the team management can’t ask him to open however ready he might be. In his heart though, he must be dead scared to go face a racing Shoaib with the shining new red cherry. He would have liked doing that on this dead Lahore pitch, but him being successful here as an opener would have been a false alarm.

Honestly we need to resolve this issue once and for all, come on drop the axe on Yuvraj for once, I’m sure we would not lose much! Get Jaffer or Gambhir to open, it’s simply not fair them. Let Yuvraj supporters shout ‘Unfair’ for once. Why am I not calling for Ganguly’s head? I think they guy has been treated badly enough, and this after all that he has done for Indian cricket. I think it’s been pretty unfair, so give him one last chance to prove his guts. He deserves at least that!

And to another important issue, can we have a change of commentators please? Rameez Raja gets my goat! He is so damn partial and biased! Nothing India does deserves any praise or are only Pakistanis the Kings of cricket? I thought India batted with more supremacy than Pak did and our bowlers atleast got more wickets in the same time! Somebody protest and get him off! His presence is not good for either teams and we could really do without his biased opinions.

To end, this comment stuck in my head today and unfortunately I can’t remember who said it.

‘Dravid played very well within his limitations’
What limitations? Getting 128 in 223 balls in a test match is playing within one’s limitation? Simply cause Sehwag got 247 of 240 balls at the other end at end of day 4. Do we even understand Dravid and Sehwag? Do we understand what test-cricket is all about? Dravid has limitations?

Dravid is the only batsman after Steve Waugh to have had a century in every country that has test match status. Every time Dravid has got a double century India has never lost! He has been involved in most batting records set by India.
Yes, the man with a 10-year test career, a career test average close to 58, regarded as one of the best players at the No.3 position, the man to step up every time India was in crisis, The impregnable WALL has limitations in test-match cricket! You bet he does.

Thanks for the enlightenment you cricketing expert!

Run Mumbai Run…

I wanted to write this little post before the Mumbai Marathon began but unfortunately bad health did not permit me to!

Since the Mumbai Marathon commenced, I often wondered why was ‘Aamchi Mumbai’ the chosen one of all the cities in India. I have finally come to the conclusion why we were the privileged ones. Mumbaikars are the best prepared for this Marathon. They prepare for it everyday, every minute of their lives and require no special preparation when the marathon arrives. All that they have to do is change into the right sporting suit and shoes and they are on their way.

You are wondering why? Well here are a few reasons to convince you of the supreme athletes we are:

  • We are running through our daily chores like brushing, bath, eating breakfast etc. in the morning so that we catch the train/bus in time to reach our offices/school in time. However early we try to get up time is simply not enough.
  • Women are running in the kitchen to get the meals and tiffins ready and then later running to get themselves ready to prepare for a tiring work day ahead.
  • Once out of the house we are either running to catch the auto-rickshaw or the cab to take us to our destination, which is the railway station, bus-station or our office if we are lucky enough to live near by, most of us are not!
  • On reaching the station we are running to catch the 7:57, 7:51 Borivali Train to Churchgate so that we are not late for office.
  • If we arrive well before time we are running to jump into the train to get the proper seat!
  • Once the train arrives at its destination and knowing well that it is the last station we are still running to get out first and running to get to the cab or the bus queue first.
  • If there is a queue it means some amount of rest to our athletic bodies else it’s back to the running and jumping into the bus before others can.
  • We run while crossing the road, waiting for the signal to turn green and walk at peace is something we do not identify with, especially during the peak office hours
  • Once we reach the office there is still some running to be done to get to the lift queue.
  • So you think we rest once we are in office? Think again. We are running to enter the boss’s office before the other colleagues can so that our work gets done faster.
  • We run to get to the canteen first to avoid long queues and spend lesser time at lunch.
  • We are constantly hurrying up our work so that we can pack up in time for the day and get to catch our regular bus/train home.

Even a moment of rest is a strict no-no. We can’t wait for the office to get over and begin our final lap home. We refuse to stop and take a breath. We are running, and running and running!

Now it makes sense to have the marathon in Mumbai, doesn’t it? Who else but the ever-running Mumbaikars would be better prepared for it? What’s your say?

Having lived my entire life in southern Mumbai, what they call the city, the townside;I never experienced this running till I shifted to the suburbs after marriage. The lives of people are tied to their watches, to the train timings and the bus timings. You miss one and life could go awry that day. I have consciously tried to avoid that and so far succeeded a little bit; but also realized that you can’t completely quit running in this fast-paced city!

Run Mumbai Run; no wonder that it is our motto:-)

Dubai Experience– Shop Till You Drop!

After a week’s trip to the city of shopping fantasies I have come to the conclusion that even a lifetime won’t be enough to look around each and every shop in Dubai.

Dubai is famous for its malls which are really huge. I was amazed at their size. The smallest of them were huge. Sounds like an antithesis but I hope you get what I mean. To name a few, the ones I could visit were Lamcy Plaza, Burjuman, Avenue, Citi Centre, Gift Village, and my favourite the Ikea Store. I missed out on the ‘Mall of Emirates’- Dubai’s latest attraction. They have built a skiing facility within the mall. You can play in the ice, build a snowman and play with the snowballs. I was there for a short time so the next time around I intend to visit that place first!

The shops in the mall have steep prices and normal people won’t shop there unless there is a Sale. Now in Dubai ‘a sale is a sale’ where you get some awesome deals and which is why the people there wait for the Sale to hit the shops. If you are stinking rich then I don’t think the prices in those Malls would make a difference to you 🙂

Apart from the high-tech Malls, the one place I really liked shopping at, was the Deira Market. Dubai is divided into Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai by the Dubai creek. You can either drive down over the bridges, the under-water tunnel or travel through the Abra– the water taxi. I suggest you take the Abra atleast once. It’s fun even though the ride lasts hardly 5 minutes:-)

The Deira market reminded me of our very own Fashion Street or Linking Road. The bags and the junk jewellery had an awesome variety and the prices were a steal. If you are fond of artificial jewellery (I’m for one) then you must visit this market. It’s crowded and can get to you but one visit is worth the hassle. You must take a local with you so that you can get some good bargains. I went along with my sis-in-law’s friends who have been in Dubai for a decade now and we got some excellent shopping done; be it dress materials, jewellery, purses and glares. I freaked out on the rings available there. There was a clear Arabic influence and though huge, they were a designer’s delight, and made your fingers look even more beautiful.

One item that got me completely hooked on was the Pashmina shawl. Now that is one collection I look forward to increase in number. The material is exquisite, with style and class written all over it. They were available in plain colours with some design as well as a combination of colours with lovely borders. I felt like picking up the entire collection in the shop but then I don’t think my husband would have been too happy about my escapade 😉 And since I needed to buy a lot more I let the idea fade away.

Now it was time to think more about my house and a little less about myself. If you are fond of home appliances, utility items, crockery and items that will make your house look beautiful then Ikea is one store you must visit. The store first amazed me with its size and then with the variety of the items it had. You could set up your entire house after buying things from Ikea itself. I also liked the idea of fix-it yourself furniture.

The variety of taps available for the kitchen sink is something that I’m yet to get over. The one tap that caught my husband and brother-in-law’s fascination was priced at 895 AED and both looked keen on buying it sooner than later. My sister-in-law and I failed to understand how men thought women shop recklessly; now why would you want to spend 895 AED on a tap!! Before they turned positive about it we had them taken away to another section! I’m sure they always hope of doing the same every time we move out to shop, but somehow the will-power of women is much stronger than men when it comes to shopping;-)

I just stayed glued in the lights and candles section. The lamps came in all shapes and sizes and so did the candles! Yes add those two items to my collection list. Though the size of the house will be a restricting factor on the amount of show-lights you can keep I’m not so sure about the candles. I think in the years to come that will grow as well. In all shapes and sizes, in different colours and fragrance, candles have completely taken over my mind. I think it must be hereditary, mum has always had a fascination for candles and used to pick up some lovely ones from the places she visited, I think it’s slowly beginning to show in her daughter as well.

If my legs and stomach hadn’t given away I don’t think I would have moved out of Ikea. I really enjoyed the shopping experience there; shopping for your own house and close people was more fun than shopping for oneself.

It’s only after I began working and earning my own buck that I’ve developed interest in shopping. If something attracts my eyes I pick it up if it is value for money. Obviously anything in excess is always bad and yes I do know how to curb my shopping instincts; but when you are in Dubai for a short time my advice would be to make the most of it. It’s one experience I think you will enjoy if not overdone!

Punter Packs a Punch

Now that’s how you answer your critics! Having faced severe criticism for the Ashes loss, Ponting hit back with a bang. WIs were an easy target but it’s no mean feat to repeat 2 centuries in both the innings of a match in space of 6 matches. To be the first ever cricketer in history to achieve the feat in his 100th test does call for some special celebrations!

I’m not sure what I should make of Graeme Smith’s decision to declare since I did not see the match. Going all out is great but SA did have a chance to speed up the runs and set a better target; unfortunately they goofed it up a bit. He does make for a gutsy captain though having asked Aus to chase 287 in 76 overs at a run-rate of 3.77. That is tempting enough!

Considering the form they have been in off late; they must have felt it was an achievable target. After all the Aussie spirit does not believe in drawing a match even if you are already leading the series. They love taking risks and going all out; that has always been the difference between them and the other teams.

This will be Ponting’s match. What a captain’s innings he has played! He is already in the Top-10 leading test runs scorers of all times, the third Australian batsman behind Bradman and Steve Waugh for highest number of test centuries, and among the current playing ones behind Sachin who has 35 and Lara who has 31. The contest is gaining some momentum with the kind of form Lara and Ponting are in. 2006 should make up for some interesting chases. Sachin are you watching:-)

As for Ponting when he looks back at his career, he will be a fairly satisfied man, apart the one huge regret of being the first Australian captain to surrender the Ashes in 16 years. Sigh! Nothing and no one is perfect; life as they say is not always fair. But as of now enjoy the moment for Punter!

Talk to Me…

From the Fridge Magnets I picked up in Lifestyle at Centrepoint, Dubai:

For my husband:

  • Love conquers everything, even snoring
  • So many men, none as good as mine
  • When I count my blessings, I count you twice

For myself:

  • Women who seek equality with men are not setting high standards for themselves

For my mumma:

  • A mother is friend you never outgrow in your life
  • If mothers were flowers I would always pick you

Give a Thought-7?

  • I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out
  • There are three sides to any argument: your side, my side and the right side
  • Where there is a will there are five hundred relatives
  • I could not repair your brakes so I made your horn louder
  • The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to office.

Source: The table mat at Kamat’s in Sharjah

Desert Safari in Pictures

Destiantion Point for deflating the tiers before we commenced our wild ride!
The Barren Desert

The race begins

All the paths look the same

People flocking to see the camel, sorry just got the hump!

Other land cruisers trying to catch up with ours

The lovely sun about to be set. The sight was beautiful

Dubai Experience– The Desert Safari

It’s tough when you land in a country known for its shopping experience for only a week. It’s great when your husband and relatives make all the days count so that you take back home some amazing experience. Last week was one of those times.

I traveled abroad for my second trip after 16 years. Singapore-Bangkok was one of the best trips I ever had and even though it’s been eons I still remember it vividly. I was but obviously excited for this one. The one thing I did not go with, was thinking 8 days is too short a time. All that I kept thinking was I’m going to make the most of it and I did. In the days to come I’ll narrate my experience there but the first episode has to begin with the freaking adventure trip I had along with my hubby to celebrate our first anniversary. The Desert Safari! I expected this for the outdoor freak that he is.

The Royal Sands Tourism, our organizers picked us up at our doorstep at around 2.30 p.m. in the afternoon. I had been warned by my husband’s sister and her husband to not eat too much before I started the drive. I do not have car-sickness but it’s always better to be safe than sorry; so all morning I was surviving on two slices of bread and tea. We also took the precaution to sit in the middle seat of the Toyota Land Cruiser. What a vehicle! I do hope I own it or the likes someday.

On the way to the desert we picked up the remaining 4 passengers and we were on our way. Before entering the desert, the tiers of the land cruiser were deflated so as to ease the driving in the sand dunes. After entering the desert what began, was a crazy roller-coaster ride up and down the sand dunes that lasted for an hour or so. The drivers are extremely skilled. They drive horizontally. They speed upwards and downwards and apply the brakes at the right moment! How they managed to go up over those steep dunes and come down without crashing is a mystery I’ll never unravel even if I go on the Safari a hundred times.

I even asked our driver Arif how he started driving. He said that he did not get any formal training. He would come down to the desert with his friends. The most important thing was to overcome your fear, if you can’t do that you could never drive in the desert. Also it was important to understand the desert, getting lost could be very easy as there were no prominent landmarks and most importantly one has to stick to the group as it prevented one from getting lost. That was the reason the tourist companies asked their vehicles to hang around together. Once the drivers were confident, they would go and apply to the companies, who tested their skills. Once the companies were confident they would give the job because one has to remember that the tourists’ lives were the drivers’ responsibility, they could not afford to be reckless.

He took great care of us by asking us every time if we needed to stop and if anyone of us was feeling dizzy. None of us did because we were really enjoying the ride. Arif was pretty a safe driver.

The first halt was near a caravan of camels. They were not tied but let free. I thought they were one of the calmest animals and did not get scared by the arrival of so many humans. People walked up to them and touched them, played with them and they did not budge. But among them all I saw a camel flocked by people crying. Tears were dropping from his eyes and at that moment I wish it were able to speak out why there were tears in its eyes. It moved us both and we just walked away from them, letting them be by themselves.

The second halt was at the top of a dune to watch the sunset. My husband took some excellent video recording of the sunset and the dune driving and if I can figure a way out to put it up; I sure will. Maybe some of you can advice how I could do it?

The sun sets early there around 5.30 and 6.00 seems like 8.00 p.m. here. Post the ride we were driven to an Arabian camp. The camp was a common ground for multiple activities and the dinner. We first drank the super hot Arabian tea and then decided to go camel riding. Sitting on the camel is the toughest thing I have done. It’s like sitting on another roller-coaster. First it goes forward on his front legs, as a result of which you are leaning forward, then it rises, and you keep swaying back and forth! The ride is excellent but once you have to get down the horror begins! Our camel refused to sit down and its owner gave it a jerk, the result my husband who was sitting behind me had his chin banged into my head when the camel leaned forward to sit! Ouch it hurt!

Then we decided to get ourselves shot in the traditional Arabian costumes. The white robe for men and the black robe for women with head covered in black scarf! After that I went ahead to get some mehendi done on my hands and by the time it was over the dinner begun. The dinner was amazing. Chicken Kebabs, Mutton Seekh Kebabs, Lamb Chops, Roasted Chicken, Chicken Gravy, Biryani Rice, Sphagetti, Rotis, and my husband’s current favourite Hamus ( the vegetable) with Khamus(The Roti). I’m not mentioning the vegetarian menu because I did not taste any:-)

Once the dinner was over, the final program of the evening started; the belly dancing show. I was most impressed by the lovely dancer. First if all it did not look vulgar at all and secondly she was beautiful and aesthetic in her presentation. She balanced a stick on her head and moved her body without losing her balance. Then she balanced a sword on her waist! How on earth she did that I do not know. She then invited various people to dance along with her and the Arabic songs in the background added to the exhilarating atmosphere. The best part was an uncle aged about 60 who danced in sync with the young dancer. I think he stole the show.

The whole journey was an experience I’ll savor all my life. We were dropped back home; both of us wishing the evening had never ended!

P.S: I know you must be wishing for some pictures. I hope I get the time to upload some.

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