Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Final Call, Champions Trophy 2013 - Sparkling India take on Tenacious England

India Vs England, Champions Trophy Final 2013, Edbaston

A dominating Indian team will slug it out with the dogged hosts, England, to decide the winner of the Champions Trophy. Throw in the unpredictable English weather and the fact that this probably is the last time that this trophy is being played for will add extra spice to the affair.

The Top 3

While the top three of England, Bell, Cook and Trott have been criticized for being too slow and lethargic with their run scoring rates the Indian top three of Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli have been powering and bulldozing opponents with supreme positive power-play. But the fact remains that the English top order has laid the platform perfectly for their middle order power hitters. They have all been in good form and all of them have good scores under the belt in the Champions Trophy. Cook, Bell and Trott have all scored half centuries in either the league stage or in the semi final stage. The Indian troika has had a great time as well as the makeshift opener Rohit has done decently well stitching hundred run partnerships with a rampaging Dhawan who seems to be in the form of his life right now. Kohli has been, as always, scoring runs at a fair clip and has been consistent as well.
The Middle Order

Root and Bopara have played good hands for England right through the Champions trophy. Root has been incredibly consistent with the run scoring and has been getting them at a good strike rate as well. While Morgan and Butler were expected to do most of the damage late in the innings, the fireworks have been provided by Bopara who had replaced Pietersen in the side. Both of them have proved handy with the ball as well, Root providing a reasonable spinning option while Bopara with his nibblers has managed to sneak in a few good overs as well! In a big game like the final, expect a strong comeback from Morgan who is a terrific player of spin. The Indian middle order has not had any time out in the middle and they are practically untested as the top order has been scoring all the runs. Karthik has hardly done anything significant although he was in scintillating form in the recently concluded IPL. Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja have all been sitting with their pads on in the pavilion rather than be out there in the middle. It will be a huge test for the Indian middle order if India loose early wickets in the all important final.

The Bowlers

England have probably the best attack for swinging conditions right now in world cricket with Anderson who seems to thrive if the conditions offer even remote help. With Finn and Broad to complement him the Indian batsmen will surely be tested like they have never been before in this trophy before. Then, is the curious case of James Tredwell who has done remarkably well in few appearances that he has made in the absence of the injured Swann. It will be interesting to see who England goes with if Swann is fully fit. In a refreshing change, the Indian bowlers have not been carted all around the ground by the opponent batsmen. They have not looked hapless and hopeless. They have been sharp and have played their part in the victories. They have not just made up the numbers. Bhuvi has got the ball to move and talk, Umesh has bowled with a Lions heart and bowled with accuracy and pace, Ishant seems to have remembered how to bowl and Ashwin has bowled few good spells too. Amidst all this Jadeja has picked up important and cheap wickets with his faster, flatter deliveries.

The Fielding

England has been good in the field, nothing spectacular but they have not dropped any important catches and have not been shabby. India, on the fielding front, seems to have turned a corner. They have been unexpectedly sharp and have shown agility and anticipation that you would normally associate with Australia or New Zealand. In fact Dhoni has said that his team is the best fielding unit in the world right now but I personally feel, that is taking the whole issue a bit too far!!!

The Weather

Rain is expected and it will be a stop start affair at Edgbaston, Birmingham. With no reserve day, fans will be hoping that the weather stays fair and everyone can witness a good game of cricket.
What it Means

For England this is another shot at winning a major tournament at last that has always eluded them. For India it is a chance to put aside the disappointment and controversies of last few weeks and get the confidence of the supporters back and for MSD to try and add another trophy to his already burgeoning trophy cabinet!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Chat With My Inner Brats!

Hey Baby DS’s,

I was browsing through an old dusty album when the snaps in it made me reminisce about our old childhood days. That’s when I though of writing a letter to all of you.

Baby DS 1 - Do you remember that snap of your first stage performance? Where you were dressed as a cute little girl? I think you were in the 1st standard. Mom and all the teachers had worked so hard on your look and helped you with everything that could make you feel comfortable. Everyone was excited to see you go live, to see your bundle of energy except you... Still, you chose to remain stiff, refusing to give up your fears and nervousness. Thinking over it, I personally feel that you had no reason to be afraid. Rome was not built in a day, after all ...and your hard work was all that mattered. I remember mom telling you, Do your best beta, have faith in whatever you do and you will always be a winner. So the best way is to just go on stage and give your best shot. Act as naturally as you can... what others think of you is none of your business.

Baby DS 2 - You love playing cricket, right? Let me tell you something. You love writing as well! Get that journal out and start documenting your match reviews and previews right away, you are going to be a blogger someday! You have no idea how much you will need blogging to heal yourself, to relax... to be happy!

Baby DS 3 - What are you afraid of? Meeting people? Each time you are invited to a function of any kind, you get those panic attacks and feign sickness or cry and lock yourself up inside your room. Is it that you think that you are a nerd and that people don’t like you? Is it that you feel that you will make a fool of yourself when you try talking with others? Listen: Don’t let fears rule you. Yes, you are a nerd but there are people who still like you. You need to learn to respect and love yourself for who you are and ignore those people who pull you down. You deserve all the love and respect, but it has to start with you. Love yourself first and start the change of positivity. Make loving yourself your number one priority right now.

Baby DS 4 - I heard you cried when you missed the top spot in the quiz competition for which you had worked so hard? But don’t worry and don’t feel dejected, you need to realize that the other guy was simply better. And you need to be happy for his success as much as you need to assure yourself that this is not the end. Keep dreaming and keep trying, you will have your moments of success and triumphs. Be positive, be strong. You are meant to be a bright young lad one day!

Baby DS 5 - Have I ever told you that your smile is the most innocent one I have ever seen? I love the way your face lights up with a beam that seems to stem straight out of your heart without any fallacies, so to say – pure and complete. You will be surprised to know that I have today lost the smile that I once had. I am ashamed that I have allowed certain things to take the joy out of my life today. Smile, childlike and na├»ve, this... I need to learn from you :)

There is so much more I need to say to all of you. I wish we all could meet up some day. But time wouldn't allow us to. However, I am very happy to inform you that there is a community called IndiBlogger which is giving an opportunity to allow any 5 people or more to connect and chat using an application named WeChat.

I look forward to making use of it and discussing all that I have written above and much more with all of you. In the process, I hope to learn a few things about my own self, why I reacted in situations in a way that were... not right, how I could have done the same things in a better way and more importantly, to learn from everything and try and be a better person tomorrow.

Looking forward to chatting up soon,

Love you all,


Senior DS :)

PS: If you loved reading this entry, please vote for it here - Thank you.

Links to my other two WeChat contest posts:

Hello Happiness

WeChat -- Connecting friends

Hello Happiness!

Everyday for me is a routine. A mundane one at that: Getting up at 5, having my breakfast and leaving for work by 9. The next 9 hrs pass by sitting in front of my desktop making reports and overseeing logistical work. Strike 6 and it’s time to get back home again, have dinner and go off to sleep. Only to get up at 5 again the next morning and repeat the same sequence again.

The other day, as I was combing my hair (here’s another one of those mundane activities!) while standing in front of the mirror, my gaze suddenly fixed itself towards my lips. I inched closer, now eyeing them a bit more intently and stretching them out a bit. The realization was compelling!

When was the last time I had smiled?

Where was my smile?

The now forcefully smiling lips seemed to be asking all sorts of questions to me. I wanted to swab them all away with a wipe of my hand but the thoughts stuck, refusing to go away: all through the entire day.

In the daily humdrum of life, had I forgotten to smile? Why?

In the midst of this dilemma, my attention suddenly turned towards my mom who was busy washing clothes in the bathroom. Unmindful of the intense heat of the season, she laundered the clothes with truckloads of sweat rolling down her forehead. Yet, she projected an epitome of calm and peace. Despite the strenuous activity she was doing, I could clearly see bliss writ large on her face.

Bhaiyya, paper le lijiye! (Here is your newspaper, friend!) The call of the newspaper delivery boy broke my gaze. With ear phones tucked in his ears, he was smiling for some odd reason. Inquisitively, I asked him: Aap kaafi khush lag rahe hain? (You are looking very happy?) Snapping an ear plug out of his left ear, he smiled wider this time and said, Wo gaane ki wajah se. Music sunna acha lagta hai. (It’s because of the music, I love listening to music). Saying this, he plugged the ear phone back and went about delivering the other newspapers in the locality.

As soon as he left, I heard Manan, the 12 year old lad next door shout out a ‘Hi, Bhaiyya’ to me. Even from a distance, I could very well gather the toothy smile he flashed as he ran towards me. With a heavy bag flung on his shoulders, he was on his way to school. Bhaiyya, today is our English exam, wish me luck na! He said this in a tone so cheerful; I doubted if he actually had an exam and if he had one he must definitely know the questions beforehand!

Ah, yes. All the best!

I saw him climb his school bus and wave goodbye with a smile that had now got even bigger and brighter. All the best effect, perhaps. I wondered.

As the bus pulled out, Leelaben – the rag picker of our society came into my view. She was dedicatedly collecting and assorting all the trash that had been thrown out by the members of the society. Her job was laborious and one that was filled with filth and even frowned upon, yet there was a sense of freshness on her face. No wonder, our building
was one of the cleanest in the entire area.

Leelaben - A million dollar smile

What was her motivation?

From where did she derive the inspiration for such dedication?

Did she like her profession? 
I wondered.

For a moment, I felt ashamed to sit in an air-conditioned cabin the whole day and still come home frustrated, cribbing about my job.

Soon enough, my pick up cabbie was at the door, Rikshaw puller Rambhai. Bhaiyya, aaj office nahin jaana kya? (Don’t you have office today?) And even before I could frame any reply, what I noticed was the smile clearly etched on the face of this cheery 30-something-recently-married guy. I was amazed. Why? What was the reason that was making him so happy? After all, he was just going about doing his job: To pick me up and drop me at my office. Was he happy for no reason?

All these questions and all my experiences since morning were now making my head spin. But I knew what had to be done.

I did not go to office that day. I had a far more important job to do. I had to find my missing smile back. And I knew the people who could help me get it back to me. Now all that was remaining was to connect with them and to find value in those connections, to surround myself with the loving and cheerful people I see every day but never care to talk... It was time now to get together... to WeChat, ask them the secret for their happiness and get inspired in return.

The next day, I left for office dot at 9 as usual with my office bag but most importantly, with a smile on my face and a sparkle in my eyes.

This entry is a contest participation in the topic WeChatNow with IndiBlogger. To vote for this entry, please click here

Links to my other two WeChat contest posts:

WeChat -- Connecting friends
A Chat with my inner brats

WeChat -- Connecting friends!

Recently a close friend of mine got married. We were roommates for 4 years while we were doing our engineering and were staying in a hostel. I and Jiten (another roommate) travelled almost 500 kilometers, taking a whole week off from work, to attend his wedding. Three other friends could not make it as they were not in the country.

As our train pulled out from Mumbai station towards the wedding destination, it set in motion a series of thoughts about true friendship, OUR friendship ... somewhere, in a compartment of my mind. Life is filled with so many people we meet and greet each and every day. Some of these go on to become our friends... hi-hello friends, casual friends, fair weather friends and so on and so forth. But only a few graduate to a higher level... whom we can call our true friends. Those with whom you can share any of your feelings and can never have enough of their company. Staring out of the window, I thought everyone has them. Just like me.

We were six of us, Room-mates during our engineering days. How and when we became friends... we never realized. I still remember those days when we would kill time chatting even during exam days or how we would play cards all night when the next day we would be having our vivas, how we once spent a whole night in a forest to prepare for an exam scheduled for the next day, how we would stay awake in the name of exam just to eat hot Vada Pav at midnight in canteen or the fun we used to have in our regular jungle excursions!

Perhaps these things brought us closer. We were in the company of each other all the time. Our day started with each other and ended with each other, no one could pretend to be someone that they were not. We observed how each other dealt in various situations, under different circumstances and this in turn helped us understand each other better. Perhaps, this is how it was always destined to be. Whatever the reason, we all had that spark that helped us glue. And thus, a strong friendship was forged while staying with each other in the hostel.

Exams went by, months turned into years and we had to finally part ways. As luck would have it, much to our disappointment, we landed in six different cities, spread across 4 different countries. In the beginning, we spoke frequently but even that, gradually reduced to a trickle with the passage of time. E-mails became rare and phone calls were almost redundant. The fact that none of us were too active on facebook (well three of us still do not have accounts) did not help matters either.

Occasionally, we would plan weeks in advance to have a conference call at times suitable to everyone! I remember how excited we would be when at last, all the six of us succeeded in joining in, in the conversation! It felt like we were all in college again. Time would come to a stand-still that day. The old lingo permeated into our world so very easily. We would talk for almost an hour, sometimes listening carefully to a single friend about his experiences, sometimes all six of us chattering away to get the upper hand, sometimes pulling someone’s leg reminding him about some incident at college, sometimes having multiple talks within a phone call (six talking at a single time but having two on two talks! Sounds confusing, I know but we did that too), sometimes everyone went silent for a couple of seconds though just quietly reminiscing the old days!!! We finally, one by one, bid good bye and the moment I disconnected, I could feel a vacuum in my life.

But scheduling the conference call was hectic and we were all too lazy to try skype. It was fun to attend the wedding and to have a mini re-union. The moment I met my old pals, we started chatting from the point where we had left in college even though all of us today were so many years older, both in age and in experience. But at heart, we were still the same.

That’s where WeChat got me excited once again. Separation was inevitable but this time, I had done my homework. So when I suggested WeChat to all my friends, a new mobile communication tool which supports sending voice, video, photo and text messages and is absolutely free to download and easy to install; they all had reason to get excited as well! It lets us chat in a group and help us share photos within our group!

When IndiBlogger came up with the same question - If there were 5 people or more who you could connect with in WeChat and why, I knew my answer. I would love to connect with five of my closest friends scattered all around the globe via WeChat so that we could relive our college days again!!

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To know more about this contest click here – We Chat with Anyone, Anywhere!

To vote for my entry on Indivine, please click here -

Links to my other two WeChat contest posts:

Hello Happiness
A Chat with my inner brats