Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When is the New Year?

So I was gone for a month from the blogspot but I am back. This time the festive atmosphere has brought a new and crazy idea into my mind. When should I celebrate the new year?
The question is simple and valid. for the past 22 years I had celebrated new year's eve (NYE) at 23:59 IST, but here in Abu Dhabi the clocks have shifted by 1.5 hours and I am in a fix. Should I celebrate according to the law of the land and disturb my yearly cycle by 1.5 hours or should I celebrate all alone at my usual time and end up feeling stupid and weird? This is a very tricky situation as the first option would mean I would be backstabbing all the happy memories of the past 22 years. I would be separated from my friends and my family and break that invisible heavenly connection and who knows what would happen as a result of all that. The second option would be embarrassing to say the least as I would be raising a toast and embracing 2010 with full enthusiasm while people will think I have gone crazy. Suggestions are invited especially from experienced NRIs.
and before I forget a very happy and prosperous new year to all.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How tolerant are we??

I was there. In the city of Bombay, forgetting all about my placements, end semester exams and my parents' anniversary. I witnessed the city come to an abrupt standstill at the hands of terrorists like never before. Heroes were lost and not for the first time. The turmoil lasted for 4 days some would say but for many across India and Bombay it still continues. My point however is not "What happened on 26/11?", but "How was it different?". Agreed the magnitude and method was very different, but how WE handled it was much the same. Blame games, sacking of useless politicians and then their reappointment, money being wasted to keep the main accused alive and once again getting manipulated by Pakistan are things that have happened every time. So why is 26/11 any different?

It forced me to think how tolerant are we? How much can we take? Why do people still live in India after all this? Why does everyone who has an opportunity to run away from the country doesn't go? Some would say everything is the same everywhere. Terrorism is everywhere, true, but in other places your leaders do everything in their power to bring the guilty to justice. Some of you would say, that western countries are racists and look at all Asians with a look of suspicion. I remember during my Europe trip my passport was checked at least 3 times on every train and every cop looked at me like a piece of filth. But in my opinion, this life is still better than no life. Moreover, if they didn't look at US like this, they would be terrorized just the same. It is only people looking like you and me who make bombs and blow them too.

Maybe because I am in a different country, maybe it is the 26/11 thing getting to me, but I am feeling a lot more safe here in UAE. I maybe wrong but I havent really heard of many terrorist strikes outside India/Pakistan. Leaves me wondering how much do we Indians can tolerate.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shukran Allah

This blog post is dedicated to people preparing for placements and endsems back in India. I wish to thank GOD for giving them me and giving me them. Do well junta and make me proud like I made you proud 1 year back :) God Bless you all.

Some updates from my new life in the middle east:

Food: Mixture of Arabic, Irani, Pakistani, India, Filipino, Chinese and Continental.
Accommodation: Pretty cool, quite literally. Thanks to the pleasantly weird weather, I have to sometimes increase the temperature of the AC.
Work: Getting interesting to say the least.
Football: 2 matches, 3 goals, 2 assists. I don't think anyone can stop me from playing for the company's team :)
Cricket: Can get interesting. Inter Consultancy cup matches take place at the Abu Dhabi International Cricket Ground. However, practice matches are held outside the ground on a cemented pitch where the outfield is sandy. The ball doesn't bounce at all so it is quite horrible to say the least.
Company: As I said before pretty awesome people to hang out with. Played pool and saw Kurbaan. Only 7 working days in the next 2 weeks so should be plenty of fun :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

How old am I??

In India:
Some arbit fellow (SAF): hello how do you do?
IITian: I am good thanks.
SAF: So what are you doing?
IITian: I am working for an MNC in AbuDhabi.
SAF: wow. How old are you?
IITian: I am 22, am a fresh graduate from IIT.
SAF: nice nice. You IITians are the cream of the country. You must be so proud. Your parents must be so proud.....blah blah blah blah for 20 mins....ends with.... Are you people from the ET??

SAF: hello how do you do?
IITian: I am good thanks.
SAF: So what are you doing?
IITian: I am working for an MNC here in AbuDhabi.
SAF: What?? how old are you?
IITian: I am 22, am a fresh graduate from IIT.
SAF: (shocked, after 5 seconds). Why are you here? Didn't you get a job in India? Did you not study well at college? Do you have some relatives here? Whom do you stay with? It is very important for you to do......blah blah blah blah blah.....

This has happened with me at least 20 times till now, both in India and Abu Dhabi.

Friday, November 13, 2009

20 years of Sachin Tendulkar

There is so much that has already been said about Sachin and his 20 years in international cricket that anything I blog will be redundant. People have and will talk about the world record he shared with kambli, the last ball over in hero cup '94, the swashbuckling 1996 WC, the desert storm of Sharjah '98, the broken back innings of Chennai '99, the melodious flowing dominating 2003 WC, the latest centuries in Sydney, Chennai and Hyderabad, the Everest of runs in all forms of cricket and the eventuality of him hanging his boots. But nevertheless here is my tribute to my hero and undoubtedly the best cricketer of all times.

What we often forget is that he is a normal human being. He has his family and may need some peaceful privacy in life. Its like in the movie "The Truman Show". He has been constantly observed, loved, criticized, praised, worshiped since he was 14. And how well he has taken the pressure. Just to give an example of the pressure he faced at that time: He was presented batting pads by the world's leading test run scorer and told by many legends of the game that he would play for India. He was sent letters inked in blood saying please don't retire because of the back injury. When Sachin bats trains have been known to stop minutes just to let everyone on board catch up on the action. When he made 15000 runs in ODI cricket the sensex rose to a new high. Every match he plays in the TRP fall down drastically when he gets out.

It will be stupid to say he doesnt realize how much we love him. Of all the people he will know the most how his countrymen have risen and fallen with each of his innings and with each twist and turn of his life and career. We all thank GOD like he does, after reaching a 50/100 or a major landmark. We all wept with him when he lost his father and dedicated the next 100 to him. We all dance with joy at his every dive, every catch, every run he scores. He might just hit one four and get out but for us it is all worth it.

I think the only demon he has left to fight is retirement. And he will fight it with his own style, just like he has been fighting his own demons for the past 20 years. I am not sure if anyone can thank him enough for his contribution to sports in general but Knighthood for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is the least that should be done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thank GOD its Thursday !!!

I have been dying to write a piece with this title since I came to know that I will be working on Sundays for some time to come. But now that I have started it I don't quite understand what is so special about working on a Sunday. So what you might miss some F1 races and some early starting EPL matches because of office but that's about it. On the plus side you don't have to go through the monday morning blues and you already are having fun on the weekend when the entire world is just waiting for it. So I think its a positive thing.

So, I landed in UAE after 2 days of sleepless turmoil and in the midst of thick fog. I didn't know whether I was dreaming or flying when I came out of the airplane at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The temperature was about 20 degrees and I was shivering to say the least. The city is awesome to start off. Huge multistory buildings, infinite luxurious taxis, rich people around you all the time, Indian restaurants and shops at every corner and the most important thing is people do know Hindi (or maybe it's Urdu) here. The office is nice and the people around me are too good. I met 4 IITB guys and all are typical IITB junta, I just had to mention that I am from the UK wing and I was accepted. It seems Muchhi-Dopa-Sagu-Khan-Shanty-Anni-Kunnu are internationally famous these days.

After 1 full year I will have the opportunity to wear those thick leather gloves again and stand behind the sticks to keep wickets. Apart from cricket, inter-company football tourneys also occur and the center forward in me is getting excited again. I do miss some people back in India. I have their pics on my comp and on my table here. Don't know if all the feelings are reciprocated but I guess in life you can't get everything you want. To end on a brighter note, some more guys are coming from IITB and after that there is no stopping this gang of chilled out Indians in a chilled out place.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We’re all the same people, yaar

While watching the Pakistan vs New Zealand cricket match taking place in Abu Dhabi, I was wondering what people of Pakistan think about the situation there country is in. Daily suicide attacks killing hundreds of civilians means no cricket can be played in Pakistan because no country thinks it is safe enough to tour. The situation has definitely worsened after the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked some months ago. I wonder why people agree (or should I say don't hesitate as much) in touring India and Sri Lanka where the terror threat is still there, even if not as pronounced as it is in Pakistan. Is it because of the mindset of people of the respective countries or is it because of the very different history of the two countries?

History: Post 1947 Pakistan attached itself to the US and became a toy in the hands of the US authorities. On the other hand India did not align itself to any of the cold-warring countries and headed the Non-Alignment-Moment. It was because of this approach that both countries progressed so differently in the years following independence. Pakistan was constantly used as a playground by the US for keeping watch on erstwhile USSR and Afgan rebels and Chinese development. India on the other hand developed independent trade policies and laid the foundation for an economic superpower.

People: The difference of mindset in people is evident from the fact that Indians value and respect heroes from all religions and cultures. In India a Dilip Kumar can change his name to A.R. Rehman at the age of 21 and still be worshiped. In India Sampooran Singh Kalra changes his name to Gulzar so as to not lose himself in blind religious prejudice and fanaticism, and then go on to be the most successful and praised individual in his field. Rehman, Gulzar and another muslin Resool Pookutty won oscars early this year and the entire country went mad. I cannot remember any such incident in the history of Pakistan. In fact Yousuf Yohanna concerted to Islam and became Mohammad Yousuf.

We Indians define ourselves by nationality, they define themselves by religion. We often hear that people from India and Pakistan are the same in every sense just separated by a border. Both countries and people have similar lifestyle, similar tastes, similar perspective about things. But really??

Acknowledgments: "Counterpoint" by Vir Sanghvi (must read, though some opinions are very harsh and might be unacceptable to many)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

32 Beautiful Moments

So the day started and players came out to warm up. The maestro came and the crowd erupted. He carried two bats under his arm, some would say a child carried two toys, some would say a warrior carried two swords. Each catch he took, each ball he fielded and each time he rolled his arm during the hour long warm up it was as if the crowd was already getting their money's worth.

And then it was time to field. Ponting opened the innings, powerplays happened and there were 15 men on the field; my eyes were set on Sachin and Sachin alone. To be frank I don't know when I will see him in action live again.

  • He fielded at short midwicket and tried the underarm back flick (azar style) to run out watson. On realizing what he had done, he sheepishly looked at Sehwag and giggled as if to say "Am I not allowed to have fun".
  • Whenever he went to the boundary and about 1000 people went mad.
  • During the drinks break, all the foster girls came to him first and offered him a drink.
  • Bhajji got angry at everybody who misfielded and always looked at Sachin as if to say "kuchh to sikhao inko "
And then he batted... 32 beautiful runs to say the least. The square cut for four, the flick of the hips for four, the square drive and the cover drive, that ever so sweet sound only one bat in the history of cricket can produce (and I could hear it even from the third tier). But alas like all good things it ended. One bad judgement and it was over. Maybe it was the appetizer before the big one at Mohali.

The fact that I left the stadium soon after Sachin got out, makes me think what I will do once he retires. Maybe then people in my life won't get jealous of him.

Friday, October 30, 2009

You will never walk alone

Yesterday I had a dream. I was walking alone, wondering why I am so alone always. I was wondering what I did to deserve this, to be left alone in each and every step of my life. I wanted some answers so I turned to GOD. Here is what happened.

Me: Dear GOD, why am I always so lonely?
GOD: Why do you say so dear? Just close your eyes and look around you.

I did. I saw a pair of footsteps behind me.

GOD: See. I am always with you. Wherever you go, wherever you are and in whatever you do. Don't worry you will never walk alone.

I was calmed. I walked on peacefully. But then after a moment I realized I was standing on the edge of a raging river. I looked around again, hopeful. But alas, there were no two sets of footprints, only one, mine. I started to panic. I asked GOD "where are you? You said you will always be with me".

GOD: Son, I am always there with you. I am carrying you on my shoulders and will help you cross this troublesome river. Those footprints aren't yours, they are mine. Don't worry you will never walk alone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2 states

Being an IITian it was very difficult for me to like Chetan Bhagat's earlier books. Maybe that was the reason I did not complete "5 point someone", took weeks to complete "One night at the call centre" and gave "The 3 mistakes of my life" a total miss. So when I got "2 states" as a birthday gift I could not help but show a little frustration. Only because this book was about 250 pages and that I had some really pressing issues which I did not want to think about, I buckled up and started the book mainly as a distraction from my worldly troubles. I thought "how bad can a real life story about a love marriage be".

Well to say the least it was awesome, totally awesome. Every page has that subtle humour which you will appreciate if you belong to a punjabi family or if you are pissed off easily by south indians. Some would call the book racist, but I think Bhagat has made fun of both the states without actually making anyone mad. Punjabis are projected as outgoing, happy chaps but too concerned about their image in the society. Tamilians are projected as down to earth people with such a simple lifestyle that they tend to get boring most of the time. For me the highlight of the book was the troubled father son relationship and how they come around in the end. Another good thing about the book is that at no place does it talk about IITians being Gods or superhumans.

Give it a read, you will definitely smile a lot (if you manage to get the humour) and if you really connect you might shed a tear or two.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things I will miss and won't

As I prepare to leave India, I can't help but jot down things which I will and will not miss in Abu Dhabi

Things I will miss for sure:
  • Having someone who cares for you and whom you want to care for, near you and reachable all the time
  • Watching cricket matches live at Kotla and Wankhede
  • Homemade kheer, halwa and rajmachawal
  • Gossiping with college friends about college friends
  • Standing up for the national anthem before movies in cinemas
  • Comparing Delhi with Bombay and concluding that both are cooler than Chennai and Calcutta combined
Things I will not miss for sure:
  • Crazy noisy traffic in Delhi, Bombay, Chennai and for that matter every bloody road
  • Sad bureaucracy (read corruption) in every aspect of life
  • Sick mentality of Indian men to overpower Indian women by hook or by crook
  • Stupid family values which make children hide things from their own parents
  • Even more stupid family values which make sure you are surrounded by relaitves when you want to be alone
  • Friends who show care but don't really care about your existence
  • People looking at you after you have told them you are from IIT as if you told them you are from ET

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Love is Life

Wrote poetry after ages. Was afraid people might find it funny and childish but someone told me it was good. So posting it here.

Love is revelation, Love is jubilation

If you find true love, your life becomes a celebration.

You want to ride the wind and soak in the rains,

You don’t care about lack of sleep or ever-lasting pains.

Priorities change, thoughts and ideas transform

Your friends think you’ve gone bonkers; it’s as if you are reborn.

It’s a time when nothing goes wrong, and life is bliss

Only if it was so easy, soon something is amiss

There is no time for that cricket match, or that late night poker game

You can’t go for parties anymore; your friends will never be the same

The fights begin, make you wonder is this what you wanted?

Where is the happiness? Why are you always haunted?

Wanting to end it, you try real hard

To take hold of your life, and get even more jarred.

You wonder if all the effort is worth a nickel or dime

And the answer is affirmative within no time

How can you let go the smile you would die for

That giggle that twinkle that soul so pure.

You fight with yourself, trying to sort things out

And only when it’s meant to be, will things work out.

Understanding, care, adjustment all comes with time,

It’s a mutual thing, my joys are yours, your pains are mine.

Slowly and steadily everything falls into place

You find a source of motivation, strength and solace.

Friends tease you but I’d say whatever!

There’s great joy in that too, you’ve found someone forever.

I wish everyone could find their true loves

Find their little angels or cute white doves

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ulta Pulta Ek Samaan

A sad attempt at making a few ambigrams :D Do give feedback. Also suggest more words that you would want me to kill my time with :P

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sachin vs Bradman

Those who know me know that I am a Sachin Tendulkar fan and a very big one. There is no doubt in my mind that Tendulkar is the greatest batsmen ever. But there are a few people who think Sir Donald Bradman was the greatest of all time. I would like to disagree. Here is a small comparison. Please tell me what you think of it.

Pressure: Sachin plays every innings under huge pressure. 1 billion people expect him to perform in each and every match, be it against the Aussies or Bangladesh. To perform consistently for 20 years is no joke!!! Bradman never had such pressure during his whole career apart from maybe the Bodyline series and in his last innings against England. Just look what pressure did to him. His average, which was usually over 100 in most series, came down to just 52 in Bodyline and he couldn't score 4 runs in his last innings with the whole world watching.

Number of Matches: Bradman played 52 tests in 20 years whereas Sachin has played 159 tests in the same period. Back then the players easily got 8-10 days of gap in between 2 tests. In one year only 4-5 tests were played and to add to it there were NO ODIs. Nowadays there are so many matches and Sachin has played all of them since his debut in 1989. It is only recently that he has started to take breaks from ODI series but he still plays all the test matches for India.

Position of Batting: Bradman usually came at no.3 or no.4 and mostly when the score were 176/1 or 217/2 No pressure!! Sachin usually came at no.4 and mostly when India had lost both the openers and the scoreboard looked like 20/2!!! In ODIs Sachin opens and has the pressure of laying the foundation and setting the trend for the innings.

Opposition: Bradman played mostly against England and he got used to that bowling. So he scored over 5000 runs against them with an average of around 92. He played one series against each of the minnows of that time (India, South Africa and West Indies) and scored heavily against them. He never played in Indian sub-continent against Indian spinners. Moreover, excluding Larwood, Bradman never played any quality bowlers. Whereas, Sachin played against the likes of Ambrose-Walsh-Bishop, Wasim-Waqar-Akhtar, Warne-McGrath-Lee-Gilespie, Donald-Pollock-Steyn and Vaas-Murali-Mendis. His overseas record is as good as his home record. Also the standard of fielding is far better than it was in that time!

Style of Cricket: In the times Bradman played, cricket was not limited to 5 days and so there was no pressure on teams to enforce a result. So a player could play for as long as he wanted and didn’t want to get out. We all know if Sachin decides this no one can get him out, remember the 241* against Australia in 2004, in which he curbed off side stroke play because the ball was swinging. If Tendulkar had played in the era of Bradman, he would easily have an average above 100.