Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sachin's Farewell Speech At Wankhede

It just can't get better than this. This guy is perfect at everything. No wonder he is called 'GOD'
This is the heart moving speech that the great man delivered at the Wankhede on 16th Nov, 2013 when he decided to call it a day after 24 years of devoted service not only to Cricket but also to the Nation. Enjoy it!!!
This one's a masterpiece by the Little Master himself.

Pseudonym : h!v

Saturday, October 12, 2013

'SACH' an 'IN'ings

 I'll start with a confession - I'm nostalgic, for all my memories of cricket, right from childhood till today, are attached to this man - SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR.
Sachin's class is unmatched in modern cricket. No wonder he is counted along side some of the biggest names in this sport. To be considered a one amongst all time greats like Sir Don Bradman, Sir Vivian Ricards and Sunil Gavaskar so early in one's career would have been a whole doze of satisfaction for many. But this approx 5'5" boy from Mumbai was different. Sachin went on to pile incommensurate amount of runs in all formats of the game - from First Class to ODIs to the testing Test Matches; he rose up victorious with his head held high all the time. Sachin's career has been closely scrutinized and followed by cricket watchdogs and fans not only in India but across the world.

Particularly, for me, he was and still is, no matter what, a hero. I still remember when I, as an 8 year old kid, had the honor to witness Sachin batting from the stands of Captain Roopsingh Stadium at Gwalior during India's match against the West Indies in the 1996 Wills World Cup. It was a sight truly different from watching him on the television sets. To watch Sachin batting from such a close corner, and then see him take away the Man Of the match Award, for a brilliant under-pressure 70, was a dream come true. It was during the days when India as a team of 11 odd players had just one batsman. The little master, bearing the burden of a million hopes on his shoulders, more often than not, did justice to the Indian fans. It was when the runs scored by Sachin formed a bulk of the total runs scored by India. It's an incontrovertible fact that Sachin, as a single handed force, cruised India to many unimaginable victories, including the 1998 win at Sharjah against Australia. The win was Sachin's, not the team's. So brutal was the force of the feeble-medium-built man that Steve Waugh couldn't help but comment in the next days Press-conference - " We didn't lose the match to India, we lost the match to a man called Sachin Tendulkar." And this is just one instance, out of many, when Sachin helped India to get through with God like appearances.
Given his devotion and propriety towards the game, it was saddening and bizarre to learn that soon by the early 2000's Sachin was being accused of playing for personal landmarks and not for the team. He was being berated for not having contributed with the bat when it really mattered. Perhaps, he bore the brunt of the high expectations people had from him. He was considered a God already by then; no wonder people wanted him to perform all the time - flawlessly and relentlessly.
Critics of Sachin, though a few, argue that Sachin piled runs only against easy opponents on easy batting tracks. Let me remind these captious-nagging souls that Sachin, besides holding all possible records in cricket, also holds the record of hitting the most number of centuries against Australia, the most dominant force in modern cricket. Add to it, the fact that a bulk of Sachin's 100 centuries have come against the top sides of the world like Aus, SA etc. (stats provided below)

Centuries against different nations

Test ODI
 Australia 11 9
 Sri Lanka 9 8
 South Africa 7 5
 England 7 2
 New Zealand 4 5
 West Indies 3 4
 Zimbabwe 3 4
 Pakistan 2 5
 Bangladesh 5 1
 Kenya - 4
 Namibia - 1

A rather more amusing fact is that most of Sachin's critics have always been people like reporters, statisticians, so-called 'cricket experts', or cricket players themselves who have not even played half as much cricket as Sachin has. On the contrary, all the cricket legends of the world and his contemporaries,  including another greatest of the time Brian Lara, admire Sachin as a batsman and consider him as someone blessed.
Sachin however, with his alchemy of sorts, has always turned the stones thrown at him into milestones.
During his poor patch, in the early 2000s, he was the lone target of all the polemics of the cricket experts and the media. Soon talk was rife that the master should get retired. But Sachin, yet again, in 2003 WC at South Africa, proved that even when he is not what he was during his peak years, he is still the best batsmen in the world. That Sachin can only be compared with his alter ego and no other cricketer in the world was understood by all those had been suggesting his retirement by saying that the key players of other nations were doing way better than Sachin was. Sachin turned to be the highest run scorer in that tournament. He was the sole reason why India made it to the finals, and his failure was the sole reason why India failed miserably in the finals. But the matter of fact is - Do we expect him to score all the time; shouldn't there be instances when he fails but India still wins the game? Cricket, after all, is a team game!!!

As a person, Sachin was exactly the opposite of what he was on the field while wielding a bat in his hand. He showed his aggressiveness only in his game. His bat used to do everything for him - trash talking, sledging, pressurizing (the opponent) and of course run-making. It is an achievement in itself that Sachin's two and a half decade long career has been free of any controversy whatsoever. Tendulkar, when even nearing the end of his career, played a few scintillating knocks. The 175 against Australia at Hyderabad in 2009 and the DOUBLE TON against the mighty South Africa at Gwalior in 2010 are just to list a few (Please check videos below). He also played vital knocks in the WC 2011 against Pak and Aus and helped India sail through into the finals, and later on re-create history by lifting the world cup for the second time after a hiatus of more than 25 years. It was a moment truly deserved by the master.

It's however, really sad for die-hard Sachin fans (like me) to imagine Cricket without its most talented and ardent disciple. There is a generation of people for whom cricket only meant watching Sachin Tendulkar bat, for whom cricket began with the rise of Sachin and will end with his fall. It's the end of an era...
"THE GOD" calls it a day...

Pseudonym : h!v

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Great Battle Of 2014 - Demystified

So after a hiatus of close to three months, here I am, pitching in again, throwing some light on one of the most followed upon topics by the people of the world's largest democracy - "General Elections 2014". In this article I won't be all mushy and delicate with my opinions; in fact, there will be some criticism - hope nobody sues me for slandering, but then none of what's written here is fake.
The facts are real; the opinions are rather mine.
The battle for the Prime minister's Office boils down to not just two leading national parties, namely the BJP and the Congress, fighting one another to prove their hegemony. The equation here is far more complex - there are inter party disputes, conflict of interests of parties that are members of the same coalition and there are also internecine conflicts within parties, especially within BJP.
Let’s look at the elections with a bird's eye view, analyzing what's going against the two major parties when it comes to reaching that magical figure of 273.

INC has been in the soup lately - for the sake of this article let me call it the Italian 'Scam-Soup'. Congress has been executing one scam after the other so blatantly and consistently that the people's trust on Congress and its leaders has really taken a bashing. So despite its spicy flavor, people are not ready to have the scam-soup anymore. There has been a litany of scams in the past few years - Coalgate, 2G, 3G, CWG...'MadamG' and what not. It seems that the Congress ministers of state are more interested in pulling off these complicated scams, no doubt they hardly manage time for other 'unimportant' works like public welfare and good governance. Truly speaking, the UPA led coalition is in shambles at the moment with a long list of allegations tainting the image of its ministers. The CBI and the CAG, while struggling to get the perpetrators of a scam to book, are soon burdened with another scam - far too complicated and involving much more money than the previous one. It's a mess.
The economy is also struggling and the growth has largely been sluggish - Thanks to the lackadaisical attitude and policy paralysis of our ministers. One of the world's most promising economies until a few years back, almost on the verge of touching the two-digit growth mark, is now snailing at a mere 4-5% growth. And then if that's not enough, the troika of  the leading credit rating agencies of the world - Moody's, Fitch and S&P - are deteriorating India's stand in the international market by relentlessly talking about downgrading India's rating even further. Any more fall in the ratings, would plummet India down to junk status. And that would be a big blow to the economy. From the people's perspective too, the economy is not any better. Inflation is ever increasing, interest rates are rising, and rupee is dipping like mercury in winters and markets in the job are also at their all-time low. All credits to Congress. The giant robust bull of Indian economy is now reeling under pressure and trying to fight its way out of the vagaries of the western economies.

The BJP is not a stable party within itself. Its party leaders can't manage their own internal politics, let alone they would be able to manage the politics of the seventh largest nation of the world. 'Mr Red', I mean Lal Krishna Advani or the angry old man, has been all hustling and bustling with a 'Modi' elevating as the forerunner in the race to the Prime Minister’s office. Advani has divided the party further into two major factions, the Modi's and the Non-Modi's. At a juncture when the entire so called 'Parivar' of the BJP should be on its toes to curb this menace called Congress, they are busy in these petty fights. Mr  Red, with this attitude, you should not be called the party patriarch anymore. And Mr Modi, please learn to behave like a would-be-PM of the country and get over your tantrums. Your arrogance and 'I’m-the-man' kind of attitude is way too much for the people of this country to deal with. You are surely the people's best bet today but please learn to make people believe in you rather than trying to impose your belief on them.

Neither the Congress nor the BJP, by any chance, would be able to reach that 243 mark all alone. They would need the support of regional parties to form a coalition. Now the situation on both sides is pretty worse. The Congress lately lost two of its major allies, the TMC and the DMK. Its terms with the SP do not seem very good either. BJP also is struggling to soothe things with JDU.  Also, the BJP, with it banking on NaMo as the Prime Ministerial candidate, will not be able to get the support of many parties, if at all it appears out as the one with the major chunk of votes.
The bottom-line: Both the BJP and the Congress need to have at least 200 seats on their own to be able to form a coalition at the Centre. If that doesn't happen, the election result can swing in any of the infinite possible directions.

The Con-PM vs The Bha-PM :
This one's a bummer. While we surely know now that Bhartiya Janta Party-PM candidate would be Narendra Modi (NaMo), the Congress is still playing it ugly and has not openly come forward with a name for Congress-PM candidate. It might also be that the Congress is vacillating from Manmohan Singh to Rahul Gandhi and back to Manmohan Singh as their choice. But to expect Manmohan Singh to come up for a third consecutive term, especially when the
country's economy and also the country itself is not doing so well, would be far too much. So most probably it would be Rahul Gandhi (RaGa).
This epic battle between NaMo and RaGa is due for sure, if not now then surely in 2019. But for now, let’s presume its NaMo vs RaGa, which most likely is the case.
Now NaMo is surely the best available choice. He might not be able to do a 'Vajpayee' but he might do very well, even with his arrogance of sorts. Critics of Modi, might say that the pogrom that happened in Gujarat in the 2002 communal riots brands him as an anti-Muslim communist and stands out as the biggest example of his bad governance and administration. Okay, point conceded dear critics. As a rebuttal, I would like to make you aware of the fact that Mr Modi had been at the helm for no longer than 2 months when the riots started. And no CM, just two months old, would have been able to deal with it with strong actions right away. Can this be treated as an excuse to exculpate Modi - a blunt No. But should Modi be given a chance considering Gujarat has not witnessed any other incident of communal violence ever since - a welcoming Yes.
Modi's, arrogance and fearlessness, can also prove to be a big boon for the country, provided its channelized properly. Modi is the one who can take some serious steps in times of crisis with great audacity and conviction, he can re-establish India's dominance in the South East Asia and the subcontinent, propose India's ideas in the international zone and force leaders of other nations to mould or relax policies in India's favor.
But does all this make Modi, the best Prime Minister India could ever dream of - apologies but the answer is a NO yet again. Mr Modi has done some really good work in Gujarat. Not only has he made the state administration and bureaucracy almost corruption free, he has also helped Gujarat gain new industrial significance both in the country and abroad.  But the growth in Gujarat is not, as Nitish Kumar pointed out, all inclusive. The southern parts of Gujarat are blossoming and industrial activity is at its peak, but the drier parts of the state like Saurashtra are struggling. So if the Gujarat-model of development really work for the entire country is still a riddle. Those who champion Modi's idea of development fail to realize that 70% of India's population still resides in rural villages or rural suburbs.
But then again Mr Modi, any day, would be a better choice than the INC’s heir apparent – Rahul Gandhi. This scion of Indian politics’ first family has been remiss in his responsibilities for far too long. We cannot afford shirking of duties anymore. India needs a strong leader given that things are not panning out very well for countries around the world. And if there is no one better than Narendra Modi, we accept him with grace.

 Pseudonym : h!v

Disclaimer: The opinions presented in the article are author''s own. The author does not intend to promote any National Party/Candidate.

Friday, June 21, 2013

At 43, Is Rahul Gandhi Still A Youth Icon???

Rahul Gandhi - the Youth Icon of India.
Had I been an English teacher, this would have been the first example that I would have thought of to explain my students what an oxymoron as a figure of speech means. Typically, an oxymoron is a short phrase, a combination of words, that highlights two or more contrasting qualities/peculiarities at the same time. This very construction makes an oxymoron an illogical phrase. 'Deafening Silence', 'Constructive Destruction' etc. are a few examples of it.
Coming to Rahul Gandhi - Indian Politics' first family has been reveling in projecting their heir apparent as India Inc.'s youth icon.
However, there are some inherent flaws in this image projection.RaGa recently celebrated his 43rd birthday and was revered on that occasion by the members of the Youth Congress.
Now, at 43 , is he still young enough???
I guess not.
In a country where the average age of the citizenry oscillates somewhere around 28, he certainly cannot be considered young, let alone being a youth icon. INC might be taking into account the average age of our politicians when calling him young, but that does not make his case of claiming himself younger any stronger. After all, the absolute age has to be 'the' final criteria for defining how young an individual is. So what if most of the politicians in India either already are or soon-to-be sexagenarians. And what if the most prominent leader of the prime opposition party is an octogenarian. They don't make RaGa any younger, they only make him appear a bit younger when in the pack.
Let's analyze what exactly the Congress aims to extract from this fake and false image. The Congress well aware that its days at the helm are nearing end, wanted a strong and popular contender to kick start and boost their election campaign. That,of course, could only have been RaGa. Now that he may be, but what he certainly isn't  - is a good leader. This entire proposition by the Congress and its attempt to project Rahul as the young and vibrant leader, in its pursuit to retain power at the center, can be proved to be a fallacy. The point here the INC tries to make is that RaGa being a young leader will revamp the entire democratic system of India and largely the nation itself by pouring in a lot of novel ideas and plans. But then is the young and energetic RaGa mature enough to head the government of such a vast and diverse land called India , that too at such a critical time in history when India has been struggling to repeat the story of her golden days.So the RaGa saga, backfires for Congress on two accounts.
One, Rahul Gandhi is no more young enough to be projected as the youth icon of the country.
Second, even if he is considered young when gauged against the other fellow politicians, he is definitely not mature and 'grown-up' to the extent of leading a country like ours.He is still a teething baby, on the stage of Indian Politics.

RaGa might just be the apparent choice for the Congress, but he is not the right choice.

Pseudonym : h!v