Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ninety minutes is a long time at the Bernabéu....

It started on a wet evening in Valencia and as a long season draws wearily to its close, we are back in Spain.The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid is the final theatre to conquer en route to what feels like destiny. Bayern are 90 minutes away from reaching the European Cup Final in Munich.

This European campaign has been exactly that.. A set of pitched, tactical battles fought in different countries, where we have gone, fought, suffered setbacks, but finally prevailed. And now, we are away at one of the toughest opponents in the world for one of our last battles in this campaign. Real Madrid, the club synonymous with nine European Cups, the high priest of European Aristocracy welcomes FC Bayern to the Bernabéu.

We are playing with 7 wounded soldiers as it were, who are one rash tackle away from missing the most important match of their life. We have no equivalent replacements for four of them and no replacements whasoever for the other three. But thats what makes this moment so special, its about facing massive odds, taking on a mighty opponent and knowing that despite all this, one swift, precise attack can mean sweet victory

Its the away goal, its what Bayern needs tonight to qualify to the European Cup final. That rapier like attack on the counter to set this tie up and to send a cold shiver through the spines of the Madridistas on the terraces and on the pitch.

Madrid will score tonight, that's fairly ceratin. But they also know that even if they go two up, one goal from Bayern takes the tie to extra time, two goals and Madrid will have to play the game of their lives to return to Munich. The vaste horde of baying fans on the terraces can smell blood for a minute and a minute later feel the cold hand of fear as an away goal could send them crashing out of the European Cup. On such fine margins, lie the fate of epic encounters

The stage is set, the swords are drawn and two grand old dynasties of European football are ready for a decisive battle.

Pack ma's FC Bayern!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So it is on the grass of the San Siro, Comes the match of our times

Suddenly, a month had gone week left??? No it was more like 168 gruelling, painstaking hours...

And its not yet over, As I write, 166 have gone past...Two hours more...

These 120 Minutes will go in what Logic states to be no different from the time to watch a movie or hear 7200 clicks on my Beige Wall clock..But I know better.. I will not be watching the movie but just staring at the status bar to calculate how many of that little box's infinitesimal movements makes two hours. I am not going to hear 7200 clicks but actually have the most teeth-gnashing countdown in the world ever, where, by the time I reach the last 10 clicks, there's a good chance that my nerves will just have had enough and call a day on me

So yeah, I am going to write, write and try not to see the little clock at the bottom of my screen, Write and try and expend this nervous energy into some ultra fierce typing, Write and try and understand why this is just so unbelievably exciting for me

Because, when two hours are past, When I finally hear THAT ANTHEM , sounding out at one of the Cathedrals of Sport, I will know it is time... Playing the team that beat us in our quest for the treble.... 4 Times Champions up against 3 times Champions...Playing in the Capital of Football home to 10 of these Cups..The Round of 16 of the Champions League... Bayern versus Internazionale Milan

Playing in Europe. Midweek. The words no Football Fan can utter without a hint of hauteur. Its the words that identifies your club to be in the clique. If All Football Clubs in Europe were college Students, Clubs that play in Europe Midweek are the Boys in a Harvard Final Club. Doors Closed, No one else allowed.

The incredible glamour of the Champions league is not just in its excusivity, also in the setting - Great European Cities that have seen many and much too real battles in years past, now see those age old European rivalries settled only on the Football pitch.

Finally I guess its the waiting that makes it so special. A team loses in the league and it has another shot this season and definitey two shots in the next. In Europe however, that second chance might take a year, two years or maybe not in the next 10

And these old European rivals might go about winning trophies, never meeting and Finally when they do meet, on a cold winter night in an old historic European City, they know they have to take this chance. The next one might be a while in coming...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

We two Ours one

Today's a glorious day in India....27% reservations has been made to a group of people based on their surnames...
oh sorry did that trivialize the issue?...well when we have every single political party in India supporting this move, I should be given some sort of creative licence to vent some steam right? Not that ranting in a blog or screaming in a street is going to do much good...Naah..Lets face facts...we deserve it and much more....

Arjun Singh is exactly what this country deserves... an Elsworth Toohey who could never cut it in any realm of life,
who has no personal achievements to his name and a "career politician" who at the maximum,can get elected through that glorious backdoor that is the Rajya Sabha.

And he is the "HRD" minister of this country ...rightly so...we deserve nothing better..

Every party right from the BJP, congress to the Communists (Indian communists it
must be said, strongly believe in caste and religion)and each and every regional party support this move for reservations...

And why not...Its the moronic citizens of this "country" like myself, that created parties who take votes based on religion, caste, gibberish(communists) and a surname(in a different context here, the congress ofcourse)

Do we have voters going to vote based on a party's policies towards free markets and more regulations, laws governing internal security, healthcare solutions, how they plan to generate employment and growth?
OR leave ALL that aside...Just, JUST whether in their opinion the local MP did a good job or not? Yeah right!!!
Our caste = Our vote is the brillaint, uncomplicated formula of the great swathes of this nation

Do we even have a tory or a labour or an Independence party(UKIP) like the UK, based on certain unchanging principles and well defined leanings?...Naah
DO we have christian democtrats or social democrats or the greens like Germany?...No way...

We did have one,long time ago, the swatantra party as my dad has told me before, with clear policies and which wanted to fight elections based on them.
But that was absolutely wiped out by my beloved countrymen in the elections.

So now, what we DO we have is, a hindus only BJP and Shiv Sena, a Sikh forever Akali Dal,a muslims only Samajwadi Party and Indian Muslim League,
a Gandhi licking congress, a hilarious and sometimes dangerously brainless left,a Casteist PMK, BSP, DMK and so many many more...

But thats the will of the majority...The hordes of idiots who go on to vote for people of their own caste and religion...
In short my dear, dear, fellow Indians...who might tomorrow go kill their neighbour as they suddenly realize he is of a different caste/religion....

See, with an electorate that is so enlightened, We should be thanking our stars that a few institutions like the Armed forces, the judiciary to some extent and the Indian cricket team are not yet representative of the bigoted and
absolutely warped minds that the majority of the people in this country have.

Yeah this is real democracy...Where if the majority is obsessed by religion and caste, how can we blame its representatives in parliament, who bless their souls, are their exact mirror images...In all their 70mm, technicolor, narrow minded glory

My beloved country...Where an incompetent idiot who would've struggled to earn an honest living goes about changing lives and playing god...


PS Navjot Singh Sidhu...I might feel like strangling your throat most of the times you talk, but you were the only MP who stood with those students unequivocally in Delhi..Thank you Sir...Thanks for trying...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

bloody, lazy monday

Sharjah airport...After a four hour flight where as true Indians, me and 130 odd passengers expertly frustrated all attempts of stewardesses for donating, buying, renting or in any way reaching down to our wallets for anything close to money, I was finally here. The UAE.

Why did those two words merit a sentence; well one reason could be that its been my only and thus favorite holiday spot for the last decade, more importantly it could be because its one strange, funny place...

The worst thing UAE does is that it totally misguides you in the beginning...Once you enter the airport, most of the security, passport control and immigration officials are locals and there is a lot of arabic in the air and on the sign boards...False start...See UAE is this dry and rich kerala where instead of coconut trees you have petrol pumps, instead of autos you have toyotas and instead of the CPI(M) you have productive employment.

But the core remains the same...malyalis in all shapes and sizes With the addition of migrants from tamil nadu, north India, arabs from the assorted countries on the great arab peninsula and miscellanious firangs who couldnt make it in their own country.

However it is kerala with another difference...It is endearing...right from the advertisements showing the happy, care-free 7 member strong all-arab family either wolfing down mcd burgers or trying their best to fit into a Toyota Land cruiser, this fantastic country never ceases to serve up a chuckle, especially to the narrow minded, boorish migrants who make up its majority.

Take the passport stamping officials for instance...They are one of my favorites...And It always turns out the same way....

Arab Passport official:"Nekkhst"
Me: (Hurrying to the counter)
APO:(Laughing away, talking animatedly in arabic to his friend in the next counter and absently opening my passport)
Me:(controlling an urge to join in the fun with some sounds I perceive close enough to pass as arabic)
APO:(glancing at my photo and glaring right back at me as if dumbfounded as to how could I look so hideous in the passport pic)
Me:(Defensively looking back trying to convey "fine you caught me, I photograph badly, but damn you, that snarling vampire-type is me!")
APO:(Resigning himself to some vague resemblence, Stamps the passport and starts scribbling in arabic)
Me:(starting to giggle uncontrollably)

Some explanation is in order - See, This is the part where I always lose it. Coz I swear that every time I come here, they scribble something entirely different
in my passport. I am convinced that Arabs play some sort of international prank on visa officials worldwide, confident in their belief that no one can read arabic and I wouldnt be surprised if my passport read something like..
"My reccomendation for today is Lord of the rings directors cut DVD with speciallly enhanced arabic subtitles" or "I, Rashid made out with suleima in Sahara centre behind the gummy bear rollercoaster"

Anywho, after the merry go round with the passport officials, its baggage claim and into dad's car, fully knowing that the next time I will be walking another 500 mts at a stretch will be in a month or so when I am back in this airport..
Lazy holiday...Here I ...Yawn..nevermind...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Stevie wonder

Steve Bucknor; I have tried holding my tongue about this Jamaican for a long time but after the last day at the SCG, this face-cream loving moron is just asking for it.

Steve Bucknor really is one of the most incompetent professionals in any walk of life. You know come to think of it, ICC has to be the best employer on the planet, no appraisals, no problems sleeping off during work, just show up half drunk at the office and yeah, the check's ready.
Let me point out four basic qualities that I think an umpire must possess and judge the tall one(well tall is about the only positive adjective I can use for him and even calling him human seems a bit of a slur on the 4 billion strong ape descendants on this planet) on that:

Eyesight: Ok here theres no doubt, the man's blind. He has to be, Dravid's bat and glove were actually NOT VISIBLE when the aussies appealed. It just wasn't in the umpires line of sight while the ball was harmlessly flirting outside off stump. The Aussies grinning profusely as their beloved Stevie Wonder was umpiring appealed, and the blind man promptly lifted his finger.

Hearing Range:While the blindness can be debated in terms of severity of its condition, one things a certainity, the man's completely deaf. Andrew Symonds' nick was about as loud as a nick can get. I know Bucknor will say not loud enough, and I kind of sympathize coz Steve's expectations of a nick (off an Indian bowler) in his hearing range is something like a blistering Iron Maiden guitar solo on Bose speakers at full volume with powerful vibrations on the ground just so that he can be sure.

Understanding Rules of the game: Again the big SB draws a superb blank. I have concluded that he interprets the game's rules by his own standards and ideas. I think this is best illustrated when Ganguly was "caught" controversially by the slip fielder. Now Benson could have asked Hellen Keller at square leg and that would have been the normal procedure. However the generally incompetent Benson still had enough sense in him not to do that. He knows Bucknor hasn't understood the principle of a catch. For Steve, its mood dependent. You can never say. Sometime the ball may be rolling on the ground, the fielder picks it up and hey presto the batsman is out caught!nothing its just 957 bounced catch just like Steve gives 1 bounce, 2 bounce catches without batting an eyelid. Any questioning them and u are questioning the "human" element of the game. "Cmon" says Steve "isnt it more fun when rules are interpreted differently, doesnt it add to the unpredictability and fun to the game???"

Impartiality: Now this is the mysterious one. What exactly does he have against India? I am convinced that a quick raid into his house by the Jamaican police will not only unearth clues for Woolmer's death( to be fair anybody investigated by the Jamaican police run that risk) but also some vicious Anti India propoganda, Some Burning Indian flags, an ISI id card and a voodoo doll in tricolor stacked with pins. Yes the loony hates India and for what reasons we can only speculate. Maybe a guy of Indian origin made out with his college girlfriend while he was tying his shoelaces one day or a gang of Indian kids made fun of his blindness, deafness and overall stupidity in the playing pen in kindergarden. One can never tell, but one thing's for sure, the idiot in the white coat aint fond of India and he expresses himself on the pitch ruining the game for millions.

Way to go ICC, now tell me how in god's name can I apply for my dream job - Test Umpire in the "Elite" panel. Heres my resume- Oh yeah theres none. Thank god! now if you could just tell me when to start?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A prelude to the wonder that is "thebnagardude"

I hate titles that are blatant and obvious but this, ladies and gentlemen deserves an exception to that self-imposed rule..and one more thing, not many of you will be able to fully appreciate this post but I will try to compensate that with as many bad jokes about telugu people as I can; as far as golts go..err.. sorry, nothing there for u without further ado let me present
ABBBBEEEEE( or How I went to art class, made my friend a watchman, painted the town whiiite and ended up with worst kept secret in the world)

Well he started out his career as a dashing 8 year old who fell head over heels in love with a girl in his class..Now eight year olds have a unique perspective to life, while people generally associate glasses with old people, telugu heroes(brightly colored ones), manmohan singh, telugu heroines(even brighter ones) and so on; eight year olds especially of the variety who grow up to ride unicorns when they are older, think its the deal to get the girls...And the rest as they say is history... he spent 12hrs a day 6 inches from the TV, got the glasses, a power of -1 for his efforts and didnt get the girl.

But abbbbeee was made of sterner stuff, and this had just whetted his appetite for a career of scintillating comedies to enthrall me and his many friends for years to come. So our hero ended up one day suddenly in an art class. Before I proceed further, the one rule you should all know to fully understanding our hero's psyche is:
abbbe getting out of his chair can only mean one of the following:
1. He has to pee
2.His mom/dad/granny/gf/humans in general are not home and he has to move to get food (sometimes he prefers starving till someone comes along to do the needful)
3.He is trying to/ going to meet a girl, mostly whom he would be in love with...not that his filtering process was very strong..he "left his heart"( his peculiar quote to indicate that he fell for a girl) at many places including mmm.S...mmm...R..mmm..M.....??? (I said was.. mrs. abbbee :), and on that note, no offence to the golts too, oops, it slipped out again!)

OK, returning to our theme, abbe went to the art class regularly, only missing the floor altogether each time and going one story up to accidentally run into this girl at 5pm sharp on wednesdays, fridays and sundays..Then our brave hero would give her the good ol stare , drink her in slowly, give her one more clean head to toe stare, and then after telling her verbatim the few words he had prepared at home last night, he would go back to the art class dreamily and start work on the next few words to say the next time they met.

Well I promised a sneak peak and thats what you got. Any further queries on telugu wardrobe, the gods they worship, or Abbbee in general will have to wait till I am as jobless as I am now and as vengeful -to stake revenge on something he did earlier- as I am now.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sweat, Blood and Tears

Well I am in a Bschool, actually have been for almost a year now...So the 11.76 lakh (average salary) question....Whats it like? rather cool really....

" Sacrilege!!" "burn him at the stake" I know, I know, such thoughts inevitably follow in the average Indian's TOI and NDTV programmed heads...But just hold on...leave the average salary, highest salary, IIM student spotted flushing money down the toilet thing for just one second...could it be that some normal blokes who mugged thru a particular exam really well, are ya know just...there...

First few days at the insti was a bit of a shock and kinda set the tone for things to follow. Bulk deals for everything from laptops to tooth brushes were scrupulously done and we were witness to hazaar presentations and by the end of three days we were dying for classes to start. Well by the end of the first week, the gangs were formed, the DCPs (Desperate Class Participants) were isolated and after the results of the first quiz, the academic hierarchy was set in stone which apart from the occasionally presumptuous dick, none of the Tom's and Harry's bothered to question.

One sure way to test if you would thrive on a Bschool diet for a couple of years is to add the number of times your hand shot up since grade school when a teacher asked:
a question/for a class monitor to spy on the class/for a volunteer to clean the corridor/went up when she didn't ask anything at all. If your answer has you reaching for an excel sheet, boy will you enjoy a BSchool. There's something on All the Time, on an average there are 353 committees in a Bschool, with another 600 interest groups, add to this equation lots of free time for students in a residential set up with a large dose of naive, wide eyed first year enthu cutlets and you have a heady concoction of activities happening day in and day out with ungodly amounts of participation.

But the kids learn and a month of seeing the mysteriously high and jobless seniors, they learn the essential gift of giving the finger to committees, spamming on laptops in class, giving up on quizzes and inebriated weekends of movies/sitcoms/cricket on hostel corridors.

But being presumptuous is one of the perks assumed as a given with an IIM education and a few years later, business magazines are soon full of reports of nostalgic accounts of alumni breathlessly working out fin problems through the night while munching ops cases for breakfasts peppered with the amounts earned by 22 year olds in the current batch. Enamored by this, gullible 4th year engineering students mug a bit more and the cycle continues....