Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do us a favour, and stop giving interviews for a start

This is the classic rant, if ever there was one. But there are some good points in there at the bottom too I feel.



To those who know me well, I like the old fashioned football system. Typical English football. No dives, no time wasting, a lot of fight, loyalty, some Hollywood balls, agents-can-fuck-off, give-managers-time are few of the traits that I’d love to see return to modern day football.

Liverpool once went from 2nd to 5th and missed out on the champions league under Gerard Houllier, whose funds were urgently required at the time, and calls for his head were loud. He was surprisingly sacked the next season when we did much better than the previous campaign, and I was sad to see a manager leave. The example of Rafa would be much clearer. 7th from 2nd, europa league and what not. How the entire world was after him isn’t lost on me. Friends used to ask me on chat as the season progressed and results deteriorated : Still for Rafa? Yes.

The idea was simple. One season from 2nd to 7th don’t make a manager worthless. It wasn’t working, fair enough, he has to take maximum blame. Given. But he was here for the long term, and I was terribly disappointed when he left. When Roy Hogdson came, like a lot of fans who irrespective of whether they liked the appointment or not, supported the man in charge. I did the same. Even blogged on it, I was backing him.

Results went from worse to even worse. Admittedly, it was then, I realized I dint know anything about the man. No research. Probably holds true for the one who appointed him. Non footballing people appointing football managers. Way to go. Hindsight, yes. Agree.

Results are bad enough. Fine. But there are other things that make me really wanna get a manager sacked in 4 months. For the first time ever.

1. ‘Judge me after 10 games’ is what he said when the first couple of games dint produce a win. After 13 games, and performances for everyone to see, he extends his judgment period conveniently to 38 to 55 games. Weird range. Probably random numbers uttered under pressure. :P

2. Unnecessary smartness : When Riijkard was linked, he actually said"I understand Rijkaard has just been sacked from Galatasaray - he must be a great manager to have been sacked by Galatasaray" STINKS. Said by a man sacked by Udinese, Blackburn, UAE International team and potentially Liverpool.


3. I feel for the man because to be fair, he has come into a very very difficult situation. But give the situation the respect it deserves. Keeping on ranting about how we are doing good, when quite visibly we aint isn’t winning any fans. Its probably for self-conviction, but come on. Speak the truth. From his first few interviews, I thought this man was someone who would say things as he saw. Straight forward. Wasn’t I wrong like Purslow. :P

4. After the Everton game, where we lost 2-0 and dint create shit, he had the guts to tell the media that we played well. He said it was the best game under him. And that Everton were lucky to have a two goal cushion to defend. Hah. After the loss against Blackpool, he decided to focus on the 2nd half performance where we couldn’t score 2 at home, completely ignoring the first half showing that best defines his reign. Bloody liar. It has become a joke between me and a fellow Red, we predict his interviews, especially in games when we are playing superb in his eyes. Every defeat has a lie. Vs Stoke, his interview seemed like its ok to lose here, its difficult. And his words made Stoke look like Barca. Shame.

5. Tactics and player moves, fine I don’t understand anything. Novice. But letting go Aquilani and bringing in a 30 yr old reserve from the same club for 5 million doesn’t seem right. Juve would be ROFL right now. Selling a 21 yr old Argentine international left back, for a spent 29 yr old full back for 5 million is probably a steal? Konchesky is unbelievably PATHETIC. Pennant looked like Ronaldo the other night. Buying a Portuguese centre midfield international and playing him on the right wing where he visibly doesn’t have any clue is adaptation I believe. Oh yes Rafa made mistakes in the market. But Rafa did a lot of other things which this man cant even dream off.

6. 10 Sept 2010. I put my weight behind David Ngog and Ryan Babel, who’s never really been given a proper chance at centre-forward at the club.” “We have Fernando Torres, we have good players who can play behind a lone striker.” “I will be using David Ngog and Ryan Babel in certain games to give Fernando Torres a rest and it’s up to them to prove to me that there’s no need to look further than them.”

31 October 2010 – “A club like Liverpool shouldn’t have to rely on non-specialists like Dirk Kuyt or Ryan Babel ‘doing a job’ up front when they are primarily wide players.”


7. Away games this season:
Vs City – 0-3. Need I say more?
vs Birmingham – bad bad bad. No chances. Drab draw.
Vs United – 2-3, played well for 15 minutes. Good enough?
Vs Everton – 0-2 Created shit, could have been so many more.
Vs Bolton – Drab game. Nicked a win in injury time. Points matter, performance there to see.
vs Wigan – 1-1 Wigan turned in on after Liv scored. Thank God for a point.
Vs Stoke – 0-2 **** ***

These are points that struck just now. Damn sure there will be more after I post this.

13 away wins in 6 seasons as Premiership manager with Blackburn, Fulham and Liverpool. How the hell can that be looked past while appointing him is beyond me? They chose to prefer last season Europa heroics of the man ahead of 20 years of success in Scandinavia or failures everywhere else.

Fun Fact : Hodgson complained that his failure at Blackburn tarnished his reputation in England, whilst his record on the continent should have made him comparable to Sir Alex Ferguson: "Of course, my track record, if people bothered to study it, would put me in the same category as [Sir Alex] Ferguson enjoys today.

Continent record : 4 Swedish titles, 1 Danish, 2 UEFA Cup runners up. #FML. If groomed well, he can be the West’s answer to Rakhi Sawant. His interviews, past and present. #FTW

Fun Fact 2 : Stoke had more possession for the first time since they got promoted in the match last weeked vs Liverpool. All is well.

Fun Fact 3 : This is his 19th job in 35 years of management. The experience is commendable but 19?

I don’t mind a manager like Rafa who is perceived to be arrogant by the world, but who gives the Liverpool fan a feeling of being one of its own. I despise a manager who thinks he can fool everyone by being a politician in front of the mic. And being even worse on the pitch, esp when the fans are travelling.

This link gives a compiled list of Roy Hogdson's famous interviews after taking over. Even when he gets sacked, surprisingly i might feel bad somewhat. But now, 2am, a good time to rant and take the frustration out. The overall package of Hogdson aint workin for me.

OUT NOW!!!!

P.S. If in the remote possibility of Roy turning it around miraculously and surviving on merit, I ll be happy to admit defeat. Putting it up on the blog, so no chance of going back on it.

P. P.S. #blamerafa for Global Warming.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taking A. Raja's side. Good man. :P

Overdose of A.Raja. Well, if not him, someone else ofcourse. Anyway, returning to spoof and satire after months and hoping it goes ok. :)


Being on A. Raja's side.

I was told in my childhood that we should always help people in need. And there is no one who needs help more than A. Raja at the moment. Poor guy.

Say I was Ram Jethmalani. Why? Not a clever question. If he doesnt defend A. Raja, who will? This is his esteemed clientele.

Or better still, imagine I am in some hot shot PR agency and have been hired by Raja to do the adidas. i.e. Repair his shattered image. Lets help him.

1. Pray!
No, not so simple. Not the prayers that involve 'give me luck, give me strength to face the storm' etc. The more effective version would be 'give India another Kalmadi' , or 'please make Obama return to India'. Someone needs to replace him much like he replaced Kalmadi.


Praying for a new Kalmadi

2. Lessons from the President!
As recent trends have shown, you can attempt to endear yourself to the general public by ending every English speech / byte with a 'Jai Hind', and put in a 'bahut bahut dhanyawad' somewhere in the middle regardless of your content. An unannounced trip to poor UP villages is another option but lets bunk that because it might become too obvious even for the intelligent folks who hoot and cheer on Rakhi ka Insaaf.

3. Use the media!
Ok the media has screwed him. But the character of a politician is judged best by how he uses the media to his benefit. Appear on The Newshour on TimesNOW. This will work in two ways. One, people wont keep on saying that Raja dint face the nation. But more importantly, it will capitalize on the phenomenon that by being seen on the opposite side of Arnab Goswami automatically makes the persom get enormous sympathy from the young Indian audience. Raja will no doubt be a little worried as to how he would defend himself in such a massive nationwide platform, but hey, who are we kiddin? He wont get a chance to defend anyway. ;)

4. Wealth-wishers advice.
Raja being where he is, will obviously have a lot of people much experienced in such passing situations. So he would be well advised to listen to such wealth-wishers.

5. Precautions.
One major pointer that can bring about his fall would be appearing in the esteemed show mentioned somewhere above. Rakhi ka Insaaf. Lets say Raja does succumb to his obvious weakness and accepts the cash to appear on the show. Imagine Rakhi Sawant guy calling him impotent live on tv. Wooo. Prime minister, Media, Congres, if no one can make you resign, Rakhi will go a step further and probably abet a suicide. Problem solved. So beware.

Ok, the man is in trouble and will probably have gone while this post is being read. But looking at the brighter side, he did manage to dislodge Rajnikant as the most talked about South Indian of the country presently. And trust me, THAT is no small feat.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Awesomeness = The Comedy Store \m/




In my life, through media and movies, and Terrorism, I have seen or learnt of various ways of committing suicide. Then I found a new method. Sitting in the front row, at the Comedy Store. Sure to be ripped apart. R.I.P.

Drink in hand, tears in your eyes, pain in the ribs, unforgettable experience in the mind.

I have never vouched for a place so aggressively as I will for this one. I have never reviewed movies, or even favourite hangouts of mine in Calcutta, Pune or Bombay. Now though, I shamelessly pimp for the Comedy Store. This post has been a long time coming (my Godrej Bombay mates will agree :P) I love this place.

The Comedy Store is totally unique. It is located at the High Street Phoenix compound, in Bombay. That ofcourse is not its uniqueness. It is unique because of the unforgettable experience, and the unstoppable laughs. The best brand of humor and wit. Of sarcasm and innovation.

The Comedy Store, originally from England has opened its first franchise outside of the UK, in Bombay. It is a place dedicated to quality stand-up comedy. No more of reality tv crap, nor the laughter of the i-will-tickle-till-you-laugh-or-change-the-channel kind. This is sheer awesomeness.

The place has a medium sized auditorium, a full bar and a decent enough restaurant. You can take your food inside, and better still enjoy a night of good wit with your drink in hand. What else do you need?

The Comedy store works like this. 3 professional stand-ups, world renowned ( I admit I dint know about them until I googled past Russel Peters), perform for 2 hours. There are two shows each night. One around 8.30 and the second around 11pm. One local amateur performer is given a 10 minute slot in the middle, and they are as good as the pros. Ashish Shakya, who co-writes 'the week that wasn’t' on CNN IBN was one such performer, and I cannot forget the ‘Mamata Bannerjee needs to get laid’ sequence till the time I die. Its sheer awesomeness. Simply.




One of the nights I was there, saw Mickey Hutton, Sean Meo and Glenn Wool. Different styles. Same result. Laughing out Loud. Mickey Hutton was like an energy volcano, taking the audience by storm. Ripping apart the front row. Sean Meo was calm and quiet, the audience however wasn’t, in reaction to his jokes. Wool was the cowboy, strolling from here to there, with content that will make a dead man cry out with laughter.

I went again, two days later to find more or less the same people performing, but it was new, and equally hilarious. I wish I could reproduce some of the jokes here. But I know it will be futile. The craziness cannot be replicated.

Vir Das’ professional comedy company Wierdass performed one night. Experimental comedy, by an Indian troupe, highly commendable. The place looks like one which encourages new genres, new talent like the 10 minute slots, and how welcome is that? Wierdass attempted an experimental show based on the lines of Who’s line is it anyway. On the spot improvisations seemed a world away from forced laughter aided by Navjot Singh Sidhu’s background noise pollution.

The place is expensive. 700 for passes for the show. The drinks and food aint on the lower side for sure. A pint costs around 175, and it had a toll on me, especially as I visited it 3 times in 10 days. But it is worth it. Because of its uniqueness, especially in moral-policed India. I went there for the 4th time, passes were sold out. :(

It is a place frequented by celebs too. Imran Khan and Minisha Lamba were present on two different nights respectively. But that’s not even close to being the USP of the Comedy Store. The general audience is receptive, they add weight and value to the performers. Matured heckling takes place. It is class, all over.

For anyone visiting Bombay, trust me, this place is a must. For my Pune friends, the thought of coming to Bombay just for a night of comedy will be laughed at initially, but you will laugh more anyway in here.

THIS is THE place to be.

PS : Don’t drink too much, it’s a 2 hour show and you would want to miss a minute of this laugh riot for going out to pee. The washrooms quite far. :P

PPS : More laughter in everyone’s life. Amen.

Friday, October 15, 2010

'True' Story !!!

When any sentence in this world with a reference to Hicks and Gillet contains the word 'true' , like the title of this post, it seems somewhat like an oxymoron. Isnt it? But then again, oxymoron contains the word moron. So all is well.

Anyway, I have done two amateur comic spoofs before on Chelsea and Pakistan. Obviously, those were fake and made up. This however, is not. This is a true story. Totally.


















Gillet Junior

































I hope I am not speaking too soon by doing this one. Pray. :)

Image Sources : Google.
Must See Video : Dear Mr Hicks

Friday, October 8, 2010

Who forgot the fans? And how? #LFC



This piece was first posted on Sportskeeda.com


Isn’t it ironic, that on the day Hollywood producer and lifelong Red Mike Jefferies releases the fan video asking Tom Hicks to sod off, Tom Hicks reminds everyone in case they forgot what he is made up of. Tom, no one needs reminding for the next 140 million years what you really are. Thank You. Ooh did i hear 140 million? Is that what he might lose out if the courts dont mess up? :P

A couple of months back, I wrote this piece Once bitten twice shy, which spoke about the apprehensions that the Liverpool fans will have irrespective of how many billions the new owner has to throw away. At that point, the man in question was Kenny Huang, backed by a Chinese fund worth much much more than Roman Abramovich, but even then, the fans were skeptical. And the same feeling exists as the Boston Red Sox owners come calling.

In a recent poll at a very popular Liverpool fan website, 97.6% said they would rather see that risk of a nine point deduction than let Hicks and Gillett spend another second in control of the club. This, at a time when every point is important after the worst start to a season in half a century. Surprising it may sound, but being under G&H is like relegation anyway.

Yes we all know how football is business, the insane amounts footballers earn, the insane prices exchanged during August and January. But how conveniently have we forgotten the root of all the money. Who pays the wages? Elementary question. Ans : The fans turn up each weekend, largely irrespective of results. They pay. The same fans buy merchandise that form an integral part of revenues. TV rights have changed the football world, haven’t they? What would they do if they din’t have an audience. The sponsors on the shirt. The sponsors on the advertising boards. Whom do they target? Same answer. The fans.


Not clear enough ?

Lets take an example closer to home. In India. Why is there no money in most sports apart from cricket? Because those sports don’t have the mass audience, or dedicated and interested fans. In cricket, the money is there, because for years, the people have turned up, showed madness. The sponsors sponsor cricket because of the people. They don’t sponsor other sports because of empty seats.

The reason why football is such a massive business is because the fans made it that way. How tragic and ironic that the same people are shoved to the background more often than not!!


In this age of glamour and big money football, how conveniently have we forgotten about the heart and soul of the game. The very reason of football. The same old loyal fans. Cutting across nationalities, race and occupation. The very drivers of football. Or for that matter any competitive sports.

The fans don’t have the millions. Theoretically they don’t have financial stakes in the club. But the emotional stake they have is in one word, indispensable.

It was so simple, wasn’t it?

Whenever the new custodians take guard, be it tomorrow or God forbid sometime like next year, whoever they might be, the fans don’t care. As long as they are taken into the loop. As long as they are given their due. There is talk in the air that ShareLiverpool will have representation of some form in the management. Hope Kenny Dalglsih is involved too. After all, he is a fan too. The fans NEED to be engaged. If they are, if their interests are seriously considered, we get a happy family.

Coming back to opinions on the Boston Red Sox owners taking over, it looks promising. Just like it did in 2007. Cut the crap. Everytime a club is bought, promises are made. It is a no brainer. And to think that just because they pulled the Red Sox out of trouble, will mean they will do the same to Liverpool is hilariously ridiculous. It is possible, yes. But only that.

English football and Major league baseball are two different planets. The game is run differently. The rules of ownership, funds, player transfers, salary caps couldn’t be more contrasting. There, you cannot buy a franchise on leverage beyond a reasonable percentage. And that is non existent in the poor fore-sighted regulations of the Premier League. It would be naïve to think Liverpool can wake up one morning and replicate the Red Sox model or the Fenway Park-esque Anfield renovation plan. To succeed in Liverpool, they will need a new plan complete with customized ideas specific to this country and this country’s game. Let us not read too much into Red Sox’s stupendous success in the last 4 years.

For reasonable audiences (:P) feeling that this ownership issue is merely diverting the focus from what the ‘real’ problem is. Relegation zone. Well, I dint start supporting Liverpool based on results. The situation makes me sad, but nothing changes at all. And I read somewhere today, no one has known a club in boardroom instability in such magnitude, and still been good on the pitch.

Once bitten so hard, forever shy. Meanwhile, Gillet and Hicks. Fill in the blanks. F___ O__ NOW

PS : Dear Mr. Hicks is a must watch.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool will be different from Rafa’s.

This was first posted on sportskeeda.com


Source


This piece is on a topic that at first glance may seem unimportant. That was my first instinct too. But then I thought about it, and realized that even though we have just begun with Roy Hodgson, the signs of things to come can be seen.

Yesterday night’s game between Liverpool and FK Rabotnicki in the Europa League qualifier 2nd leg was the first time I saw the Reds in action this season. It was the first time, I saw Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool in action. After 5 years and hundreds of games of Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool later, I had been accustomed to see a certain pattern whenever Liverpool played.

When Rafa Benitez was removed, I was disappointed. I really loved the man, especially how he stood up to the owners. Onto matters on the pitch, he was a typical new generation continental manager. Rafa Benitez believed more in strategies and preparations over the flair and spontaneity of the players. His belief in caution before any experimenting was religious. He was good at what he thought, and there is no way his controversial press conferences makes him a bad manager. He is one of the best managers in the world, 7th place finish or not.

So when Roy Hodgson was appointed the new manager, ahead of fancier names like Kenny Dalglsih, Manuel Pellegrini and Frank Riijkard, I did not really know what to expect. I was still unhappy over the removal of Benitez and the madness of the hierarchy in club affairs, and wasn’t entirely convinced that Roy was the man. But as every Liverpool fan in the land, it was our duty to back the manager. He deserved that. And hence, that is what we all did.

I was waiting all along to see how different everything will be from now on. I started warming up to Roy Hodgson in the first couple of weeks of pre-season. His interviews and press conferences were typically blunt. Rafa had a template ready to certain questions. Roy said it like he saw it. He was honest enough about the uncertainty regarding the futures of Gerrard and Torres. He even went on to accept a Ronaldo-esque bid would probably mean Torres leaving.


Source

And then to the first game I saw. Trust me; the changes were small but unbelievably prominent.

Dani Pacheco had just come back a days earlier from his exploits for Spain’s U-19 team. He is an 19 year old rookie. Joe Cole had played for half a game in the last many months. There was no way Rafa, the perfectionist that he was, would make them play 90 minutes. Roy had no hesitation in doing so. Martin Kelly, in his 2nd start teamed up with Dani Pachecho on the left. Two rookies, allowed to express themselves. In the previous regime, a senior- pro would be there to help the junior out. Little changes like I said.

In the previous regime, the first movement on the bench would always take place around the 65th minute. The first substitution always took place a few minutes after that. Irrespective of how the game was poised. (Apart from a few cases, most famous of which was Didi Hamann coming on as the half time sub at Istanbul). Yesterday, Roy made his 2nd change, before 65.

Rafa Benitez was someone who was never satisfied. He wanted more. Gerrard used to say in interviews that a pat on the back meant so much because it was so rare. I had gotten used to that line of thought. And then after yesterday’s game when Liverpool could have scored over 10 goals, when Roy was asked whether he was happy with the performance, here was his reply.

“It’s enough. One more (goal) than the opposition is always enough. I am perfectly satisfied”.

There are the changes. No two managers are similar, but from what I see, these two in question are opposite poles. Roy is typically English. Direct. It is still early days but I believe this trend will continue. Maybe that is what Liverpool needed. A low profile, wheeler-dealer type of a manager, but strong enough to make his own mark on the team.

We will see a lot more youngsters thrust into the action. We will see spontaneous decision making. We will have a lot more blunt interviews.

Liverpool are going through a transition. The new manager is very different from the previous one. How I wish I’d be able to say that for the owners as well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Once bitten, twice shy : My take on the Liverpool takeover saga.

(This piece was first posted at sportskeeda.com)


Source


At the end of a storm, there is a golden sky.

These famous words from Liverpool’s famous anthem, has become a prayer for the fans. Last season’s spectacular free fall, especially after being 4 points away from the title in 2009, qualifies as a storm that has taken the wind out of the football club. Not just on the field played a part, events off the field were more distressing.

As the world cup got over, and pre-season began, uncertainty was the only constant in the club. Then the good news started trickling in. The new manager landed Joe Cole, a coup. The heart and soul of the team, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres committed themselves to Liverpool. And then, news of potential movement in the process of selling the club appeared. Which looked good in the beginning. Promising.

And here is where all the fans must stop. And not get carried away. Caution!!!!

For the fans, so easily cheated last time when Hicks and Gillet took over after many convenient lies, there is no way they can dissect and analyse the bids from their homes. How the people in charge failed to see past the lies, lies and more lies last time the club was sold was unbelievable. Yes Hicks and Gillet were wealthy, but a google search would tell you what their track record of owning sports teams were. Terrible. At this point of time therefore, the fans are hoping, and praying that the men in charge, show half as much passion that they have, for one of the greatest clubs in the world.

Lets look at the stories of the main bids that have come through.

Keneth Huang’s reported interest is exactly the type of thing Gillet and Hicks were born to oppose. The owners have made it clear that their sole intention is to earn a major profit. This declaration of intent has to be the only time they have spoken the truth. The reported takeover plan focuses on buying out the loan and using the resulting leverage to pressurize and oust the owners and not give them the parting profit they undeservingly expect. The source of funds for this bid is unclear now, but the fact Huang has bypassed the two owners in negotiations so far, is something that would delight the Anfield faithful. Reports suggest that this offer could be the best, as it would practically have the backing of China, along with massive scope for major deals by entering into the massive Chinese market, which is yet to be fully tapped.

Whether the Chinese are bidding for us because we wear all red, is up for debate. :P

The other player, Syrian Yahya Kirdi, has announced that he is in the final stages of talks and that a price has been decided. With whom? Yes George Gillet. Reason enough to distrust him? That’s probably going too far, but no Liverpool fan would be disagreeing with it at the moment. That is the amount of distrust the fans have. The fact that Kirdi is also a good friend of Gillet Junior doesn’t help. Many suggest that this bid and the public statement is a stalling tactic, aimed at delaying the potential Huang takeover. Only time will tell, but like I said, anything with close proximity to the owners just doesn’t sound good enough.

ONE AND ONLY RULE TO BE FOLLOWED
: If George Gillet says it’s a good deal, IT IS DEFINITELY NOT A GOOD DEAL.


Source


Usual stalling tactics apart, it wont be surprising if things get dirty. Hicks and Gillet might pay their way through false articles etc about the individuals or companies they don’t want to sell to. We don’t know, plus we cant know. Isnt it justified for fans to be cynical in such an environment?

Martin Broughton is a reputed professional. He was brought in to oversee the sale. Christian Purslow is the CEO. And more importantly a vote in the board. Both of them, at the end of the day, were handpicked by the owners. Cynical again, yes, but how unfair is to criticize the fans for not trusting anyone remotely linked with the Americans. The truth however is, the fans have to trust them. Because they don’t have a choice. The club is at their mercy.


The best bid might not be the highest bid. From what has been gathered through the media, the Kirdi offer seems to be the highest, and hence unsurprisingly finds support from the owners. But whether they will have the resources for sustainable investment in the long run is suspect. There is a sense of caution here because in 2007, Gillet and Hicks did exactly this. They had a sizable offer accepted, but dint have anything to fulfill the promises. The stadium completion date incidentally, was August 2010.

This reminds me of our old manager. Rafa Benitez. One of the reasons for which I was sad to see him leave was him seeming to stand up to the management. In a way, he was representing us. This doesn't hide the on field disasters, but he looked as if he was fighting the devils. Thats why i loved him.

On another topic, I have always been someone old fashioned. I do not like situations like these where the fans, the ones who make your club, are effectively as good as non existent. It is too much business. Too much.

The news of Gerrard and Torres committing are welcome, but however important that might be, the main story is yet to break. Gerrard and Torres’ presence would affect the next few years. The new owners, will write Liverpool’s future. Way beyond those few years.

Once bitten, twice shy, is not a cliché for nothing.

P.S. And remember. ONE AND ONLY RULE TO BE FOLLOWED: If George Gillet says it’s a good deal, IT IS DEFINITELY NOT A GOOD DEAL.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Priceless lessons learnt on the streets of Calcutta.


Image Source.

If I had to put it very mildly, the driving experience in the streets of Calcutta is a f****g nightmare. I wouldn’t wish this even on any Manchester United player.

I am not joking. It’s in our genes to drive like mad. I know a lot of people would say nothing beats Bombay traffic and all, yeah ok. Whatever. It can’t be this bad. Here is an example.

It was December 2007. I was with a very close friend of mine from Calcutta, Vivek. I had a bike and we met, roamed, and had a good time all day. On our way back to Malad from town side, we got stuck in a massive traffic jam in the highway around the airport area. Now there must have been a long line of around 20 cars each, in all the 3-4 lanes those were standing still. Imagine the length of the jam. The advantage of having a bike is of course, you can slip into the gap between two lanes and make some ground. We found, to our delight, that enough space was left in between two very well mannered lanes for us to really travel quite some distance until we encountered a car that, neither was in one lane, nor the other. Like a fool, his front was in one lane and his rear in the next. And hence he blocked our merry ride.

Yes, that car had a WB (West Bengal) number plate. I and Vivek could only exchange that ‘we know these people’ look.

Let's be positive. Let us look for positive points. Let us learn from all this. Following are the various invaluable lessons I have learnt from the streets of Calcutta.


01. History


Image Source.

Instead of calling Calcutta a metro, you can call it a retro.

The Government which has been in power in Calcutta since pre historical times wants the kids to not only read their history, but also feel it. Total awesomeness!!! What an idea! Hence, we got trams in the city. And hand held rickshaws. Even in times of modernization, we don’t forget our roots.

Trams are funny. They are 2 compartments long. And still manages a first class and second class area. Even though they look like little trains, they are absolutely not. Because as a friend recently told me, they stop right away if you show them a stop signal with your hands.

Hand held rickshaws. Yeah the name says it all.

Where else in the world would you see, in the year 2010, a tram, an Ambassador taxi, Mini bus a hand held rickshaw, and a new Honda Civic, all side by side in a traffic signal. Its like the Calcutta of 1950s has been superimposed on the present day Calcutta. Impressive. Superb and unique.
(I think the dude who bought a Civic in Calcutta was high when he decided to buy it).



02. Who the God of Calcutta is?
I always thought Saurav Ganguly is the God of Kolkata. No. The bus drivers are. They drive these little (yes little, called mini) buses which have wooden floor through which you can easily see all the road beneath you. Oh that’s not the point. These bus drivers are really the rulers of the city. When you are on the road, remember they can do anything. So be prepared. They can stop, start, stop again, swerve, accelerate, scare, entertain, drift anywhere anytime.

The second* best characteristics these people have is their enormous amount of skill. Look, I know bus accidents happen so much in cities like Delhi. But my point is in Calcutta, even though they drive in the craziest possible way, the fatal accident frequency is much less. There are two reasons for this apart from the obvious skill these drivers possess. One : Everyone drives like them. Even the taxis, cars, autos try their best. So everything gets cancelled out. This is to Delhi’s disadvantage. And reason number Two : The people of Calcutta are not dumb. If they are in Calcutta, they know what to expect. So I guess they take the necessary precautions.

*(the best characteristic by the way is having strong political backing).

03. The stuff that are written on the rear of buses and trucks are to be taken seriously.
We have all seen all kinds of crap written at the rear end of buses and trucks all over the country. Have we ever thought about the good intentions of the driver to warn us beforehand? No we never have. But in Calcutta, you must read them in all seriousness.

Many buses have ‘Danger’ written. Self Explanatory.
Some buses write ‘Stop.’ Yes, please stop if you don’t want your life to stop.
Some write stuff like ‘blow horn’ and ‘awaz karo’. Please.
Some have religious lines written. Like ‘Om namah Shivay’ or ‘Joy Ma Kali’. This means they are telling us to pray. Pray for our lives. Simple and direct. I like that.

04. Increases Current affairs and Political Awareness


Image Source.

True. The fear of the scary Calcutta roads and the even scary political players in the city makes you forcibly keep up to date with the political scene of the state. So that you know when and where a massive rally or march has been planned on the roads(monthly), or when they have called a bandh(4 times a year) , or when the taxis are on strike (4 times a month) and so on. All this for your benefit. That’s why Calcutta kids know their politics well.

05. Impossible is nothing.
There is this Russell Peters joke when he says in Vietnam, he saw a whole family of 6-7 people on a scooter. If you have seen this and got shocked, you haven’t seen Calcutta. Or rather Russell hasn’t seen Cal. 8 people in an auto rickshaw. In Pune, only 3 used to sit in these ricks. Illegally 4. Here openly, in the main street at 10am in the morning. I was in one rick with 7 other people. 4 at the back. 4 at the front. Perfect balance.

Imagine a situation where you are in the left most lane in a 4 lane road. And say 10 metres from the crossing and you have to take a right turn. Problem? No problem. Just cut lanes, everyone here does that in their sleep. Distance doesn’t matter. Just cut lanes and go wherever you want to. It also gives a sense of confidence. And confidence is such a good thing.

I sincerely believe that the person in Adidas who came up with the tagline ‘Impossible is nothing’ did so while travelling in this city.

06. Increases faith in God.
Even the strongest of atheists have had their moments of fear and faith in this jungle. To be fair to them, it is not their fault. Anyway, we all must have noticed how Bengali mothers are extra attentive towards what religious lockets and stones their children are wearing (eg Ganguly). That can also be related to this I think.

It is not only in the madness and congestion do Calcuttans remember God. We also express gratefulness whenever we see an open stretch of road with no pedestrian taking a jolly walk on the road while talking on the cell phone. We also take His name whenever we are leaving or entering home.

07. One should never curse the police. Sympathize with them.
A common site in Calcutta is policemen resting in the nearby paan/cigarette shop. And not be on duty in the crossing. Think about it. Isn’t he doing the right thing by caring for his life more than ours? We all are selfish.

Also, it is terribly difficult to catch drunk drivers in the city. Because everyone drives like that.

08. Anger management.
No you don’t need to spend those thousands of rupees for enrolment in an anger management course. Just drive and ride for a reasonable duration here, and you will learn you lessons pretty well. And practicals are way more effective that theoretical lectures anyway.

09. Video Game practice.
Pretty obvious. NFS etc can stop brainstorming on how to make their locations more realistic and all, because in Calcutta, people drive cars like they play video games. Nothing can be more realistic than this. Have introduced buses already, but a lot of cars too, do the same. Here, there, fast slow, turn, stop, maneuver, crash, reset and the loop repeats.

10. Miscellaneous Lessons
Calcuttans love their chats. We call it adda. In these times of modern communication, adda has spread to mediums like mobile phones in the middle of the roads.

New swear words can be learnt. Mostly directed to people who break the rules, and since so many do so, more words can be heard and added to the vocab.

People realize getting up early is not only good for general health, but also essential for reaching places on time. Emptier streets in the mornings. Sense of punctuality sets in too.

If you have just banged your car or met with a small accident, you can always blame the buses and taxis in your explanation to the parents back home. They would believe you 100 percent.

A two lane road means a one lane road actually. Because one lane would always have parked cars. A one-lane stretch basically means go to lesson no. 06.


Image Source.

-x-

For fellow Calcuttans reading this, May God bless us all. For everyone else, this is like a warning really, and you are welcome.

If someone thinks I am bluffing or exaggerating, please scroll up and see the subtitle of my blog. Moreover, frustrated minds , like drunkards, don’t tend to lie.

Most of the stuff my parents said to me in my childhood like Studying s good, and that drinking is bad etc have all come out to be rather dubious. But one thing they said truly stands out. Well proven in due course of time. “If you learn to drive in the streets of Kolkata, you can drive anywhere in the world”. I dont know how much i have learnt to drive but i sure have learnt so many other important things.

P.S. I love Calcutta.
And Sorry for the longish post. Just couldn't stop rambling.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Stories to tell, or stories to sell?



** Is the Indian media biased, irresponsible and like a wild animal out of control?

SMS Y to 54321 to vote Yes.
SMS N to 54321 if you are from Star News.


In a subject such as media, the terms quality and responsibility are interlinked. Often one would find that irresponsible matter, complete with all the masala is after-all of poor quality. That is the reality of Indian media today according to me.

Like so many of us, when I was in school, I used to be a TV addict. Because I was very lazy and dint have much else to do. Then I moved out of home and for the past four years of college, I stayed either in a hostel or a rented room, with no access to television. The only times I did watch TV, at friends’ places, were on the weekends when the football was on or during the IPL. Did I really miss much?

India is massive. What you and I think, might not find agreement with a majority of citizens. We must keep in mind the varying tastes, requirements and wishes of an entire country while attempting to answer a question like this, or rather dismissing it as a stupid question.

Which divides media into two categories. One : the entertainment media. Who should provide what the larger Indian audiences want like mentioned above. Responsible or not, they need people to watch their stuff. Two : The media we trust for the truth : For important current affairs that affect our lives. Like news channels. Unlike the previous category this form of media, before looking at what the audiences like, ought to focus primarily on the truth. The important stuff. Most probably the non glamorous stuff. But who are we kidding?

The entertainment section of the media by the way, also doesn’t find appreciation from me. Especially the dumb serials. But then again, the channels and the shows have their priority in addressing what the consumer needs. Imagine people from across the land wanting a break from their daily monotonous routines and wishing to see such dramas. Fair Play. Irresponsible yes. Due to the quality. But then they are in a genre where they can get away with it. The other category cant.

Saas Bahu serials actually target the best audience possible in my opinion. Awesome marketing strategies. You see, the boss of the house is often the ladies. :P So in the evenings, when a mom puts her foot down and says I want to watch my favorite serial, the others in the household have no choice. So the kids who have nothing to do then, and the tired dad from office would settle down on the sofa and watch what the boss is watching. So basically the serial that targeted one set of eyeballs from that particular house now has four. Genius. Haha. Such silly reasoning i had used before when i wroteabout the misplaced priorities of the Indian media in an earlier blogpost. On the same lines.

Jokes apart the average quality is actually way below average.

Our media is not as sad as in some countries of the world. Its 'free'. Yes. But haven't we taken it too far. After a certain point, doesn't it resemble a biscuit or soap (sorry for bad examples, please get the point) industry with new players entering everyday with crap. Atleast their biscuit counterparts might have a quality product. Obviously, the freedom is there to be exploited. The regulators perhaps are busy removing adult content from channels and not even interested in what other sub-standard products are shown.

Coming to the favorite whipping boy of this debate. News Channels. 24 hours mind you. Or scripted news. #Youprefer. I won’t be surprised if one day I logged onto this ’ No.1 Indian News Channel’s website’ and found an advert of a political party. Because few months back I actually saw a reporter blog about how the Youth Congress is the best organization to sign up for, on the same website. I wouldn’t be surprised if Manish Tewary disclosed his current address to be ‘CNN-IBN / NDTV studios.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if Rajiv Pratap Rudi is officially given the post of ‘Prime time National TV debater’ of his party, instead of the spokesperson tag he now has. Maybe we will also have a dedicated twitter correspondent reporting live from twitter in the future. New job profiles, new posts created, good for the country I guess.

I love debates, but 17 debates on 17 channels at the same time are more like an obsession now, rather than a necessity. Its like if you have a 24/7 news channel, you will have to compulsorily keep aside one hour for live debates. Some are thoroughly enjoyable and interesting, the rest are just time-wasting. Yellow Card please.

Less said about the hindi 'NEWS' channels, the better. 30 minute special show for Dhoni dyeing his hair black, or Shah Rukh Khan tweeting about his meeting with Shakira. Mockery of the free media? Responsible? Enough said.

I do not intend to go on a media bashing zone, even though personally I am shocked by them. But in a country we live in, I believe that hoping for a 100 percent free media, or even 100 percent independent ‘sections’ of media is difficult to achieve. The channels won’t come up if someone was not watching. Sections of the masses want such masala. Even in their news.

These channels, to their credit, have launched various initiatives that are significant. They have dug up important issues. And brought about action too. The election analysis, not having to wait for next day’s newspaper to find who won in the remotest corner of the country. Getting reports throughout the day of important issues. We just cannot do without it. Credit to them for all their good work. But then again, aren’t those their duty? Responsibility. Hence in such a world, the negatives would just overshadow the good work they might be doing. I feel too bored to even mention how these channels, in an attempt to go one up on the other cover real life tragedies and stick microphones up the faces of victims. Responsible and ethical coverage? We know the answer.

I wish the shocking content on shows, especially hindi news shows could be declared as criminal offense. How i wish The channels would be sentenced to 100 hours of community service, or in this case 100 hours of no-nonsense content. Wouldn't that be an impossible sentence to carry out for them? Haha. If another miracle was possible and we could don Pakistani hats for a day or so in this regard and then proceed on a banning spree, that would be nice too. :P

How about the other major forms of media?

During my initial college years in Pune, often I used to read some 'important' report and attempt to discuss it with my best friend there, who was a localite. She would simply dismiss anything I would say the moment I uttered that it was from a certain XYZ or ‘T’YZ newspaper. The feeling among the localites were so strong, I was amazed. Later on, I understood why. I found out that the paper in question had a 4-6 page supplementary edition celebrating Sharad Pawar’s birthday. Celebrating anyone’s birthday that had their loyalties towards the Congress or NCP.

Its an open secret , here in Calcutta, about which Bengali daily writes in favour of the ruling party. And which paper admires ‘didi’ more than ‘dadu’. Which channels you must watch if the ruling party has erred. And which channels you must tune into when the opposition is embarrassing themselves. Its fun really. LOL. When I was a child, my mom used to tell me about these alleged allegiances. If I was born a few years later, trust me I wouldn’t need anyone to tell me all this, so obvious it has become now.

Again, hoping for 100 percent unbiased opinions and no-nonsense is an idealistic thought. But just doesn’t seem right here. In the small newsletters we bring out in college etc, we put in stuff we actually wouldn’t put in an ideal scenario, but have to so that we can attract some more students.

Thank God for internet, and faster broadband connections. The savior. One would rightly say, just like the world wide web, even in television and print media, you have the option of rejecting the ones you don’t feel are upto the mark. I agree. But then, a lot of Indian households don’t have that 2nd TV set. I feel even though it’s in our hands to see what we want and dismiss what we don’t, nothing compares to the internet in this context. It is bigger than everything else.

“** At this point, since we are running out of time, and the advertisements have to be shown, let’s see how the votes have come in. Slight majority saying YES, and we always poll only in the metros.”

What to do ? Clueless.

How can we improve? The problem is that if such standards are maintained or further lowered for a reasonable time frame, children grow up with them. I grew up with television. It influenced me. We obviously need better people heading media houses. I don't know what else really. Cut down on nonsense time fillers. Some regulation limiting the launch of channel after channel. Public debates are a good way to go deep into issues, but only when necessary. Not like a compulsion. The journalists on the field must not be under orders to get whatever you can. And that too before anyone else. They must be briefed to get stories that are relevant. That add value. Fun and games are always refreshing though, a good laugh is always welcome in serious media.

I love the way the movies are made in India nowadays. Atleast some of them. That is also a form of media. The Anurag Kashyaps use this vast platform constructively to tell beautiful stories. Movies influence and touch us so much. But cinema is misused too. Probably to write off black money or whatever. Haha. Jokes apart, I mean some movies try so hard to be good that they are awful. Especially the ones starring rich kids of filthy rich producers. So what matters is what kind of people are in the business. Who are leading these films. How much talent and honesty they have. That goes a long way indeed in determining what the quality of the end product is. This is comparable to our news media.

Like the name of my blog suggests, I am an inhabitant of Planet Media. And so are you. Good thing is, we got remote controls with us. Thank God for that.

The power of the media to influence minds and bring about changes are infinite. And we all know what comes with great power. One last thing, popular media also to an extent reflects the state of the nation. And its' people. India is no different. The popular media could be a mirror.

In mainstream media today, the only ‘news’ related things that are absolutely true to their name are FakingNews and The Week that Wasn’t. :) That's it.






Pringoo product.

Part of a Blogadda contest : Is Indian Media, misusing its freedom?


Image source : planet6oclock.com


Thursday, July 8, 2010

My 2nd report on Faking News.com -- Bandh = Earth Hour



FakingNews, you are one hell of a saviour. A little rough time on, and this cheered me up a lot. :) Cant thank them enough.


Bandhs are nothing new for me. Growing up in Calcutta, the capital of such #(#%*# stuff, we feel odd if there isn't a bandh for around 3 months. One morning at around 4am, this idea struck and I wrote the spoof on it. Delighted it got selected. :)

Here is the link. Please have a read, those who haven't yet.
http://www.fakingnews.com/2010/07/left-parties-declare-bharat-bandh-as-effective-as-earth-hour/

The last paragraph has been added by the team at FN. And some other minor editing. Adds a great touch to the piece. As always, great stuff FN. :) :)

This is my 2nd article to be selected by FakingNews. Click here to go to the first one.

Thanks once again FakingNews and all those who read and liked it. Means a lot to me.


Edit :
Just checked the stats on the FN site and Facebook page. Awesome response. Info from the site is 61 Retweets and 242 Shares on Facebook. Also 113 people have liked it on the facebook page of Faking news. :) :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

World Cup 2010 : What's Wrong with England???

Ok, Ok. The world cup is heating up. Business end. Quarter final and semi final and all that. But, personally, I am yet to get over England’s performance this time around. Really disappointed. And angry. And confused.

I tried hard to think how such a spectacularly assembled team filled with spectacular players can fail so spectacularly.

Maybe I found the answer. :P
(if the image texts are not readable, click on it for a bigger size)

What Xavi thinks when he gets the ball in midfield?


What an English midfielder thinks when he gets the ball anywhere in the pitch?


Ok that was meant to be a joke. But, shockingly, or rather more worrying is that it isn't too far from being accurate. :P

Quiz question : Who are the most skillful players in the world? Technically most gifted. I would think the Brazilians and Argentines. Wouldn’t you? Their past record would suggest so atleast. Have we ever seriously thought why these players, when moving to Europe always go to the clubs of Spain, Italy, Holland etc. And hardly ever to English clubs. I am not talking about now. Now a lot of them come to England, well we know money talks. But over the years, since my early days of following football, I have read loads of interviews of such players dismissing the English game and choosing to showcase their talent in the more skillful leagues of the continent.

I read this on an opinion piece on a site i cant remember right now.. Summed it up perfectly for me.

" ... problem lies in the belief that 'getting stuck in' is of overwhelming importance in England. An 'if in doubt, boot it out' culture has existed in England for too long and it is imperative for young footballers to be taught to be comfortable on the ball with more emphasis on playing their way out of trouble."


England crumbled. Had fear in them. In the eyes, in the legs, in the minds. Clint Dempsey and Fabio Capello agree. Please don’t think all this is an excuse for the loss against Germany. I don’t even want to bring the goal that was never given issue too (its importance doesn’t diminish though).I would have, but the awful football displayed by the team right from the first game tells me, this team dint deserve that rub of the green.

Apart from the fear factor, team selections by Capello, the 4-4-2 that never works nowadays etc etc are there. Those are the immediate problems.

And, the bigger picture has the long term solutions.

There is a striking similarity over the problems of English football on the international stage, and the condition of Olympics sport back in India. We all know the issues. The problems. They are clichéd beyond belief. We will take the formality steps. And forget it just about there.

Similarly, the English Premiership won’t have THAT smallish winter break. They will play an EXTRA league cup. They will think of a 39th game abroad. They will not have mandatory number of English players in a team rule. They will not have a watchdog on new owners taking over clubs, and going berserk. They will only look at the TV rights money. They will think about the fan base in Asia that includes me and you. And so on. English players in the Premiership constitute around just 40 percent. Need I say more? Compare that to any other league in the world.

Italy’s dismal performance in Euro 2008, and this world cup has seen the Serie A take drastic actions. And fast. Now there can be only one Non EU player in an Serie A team. Whether it is right or wrong, I don’t know, but I sure like the intent shown by them. Never gonna happen in England. Here, this linked piece shows what Ghana are doing with their kids. And, England, well they are STILL building their National Football Academy, and in the meantime giving Professional contracts to players from the age of 17, allowing clubs to entice a wave of young foreign kids and their families to England. And on and on.


Why then do the clubs do so well while the national team fail so consistently? From 2005-06 the clubs have gone on a rampage, while the national team have nosedived. Surely the clubs must be doing something different. Or are they? How many English players actually start in these big club teams? Also, English football is direct, that’s their tradition, and they are great players in that system. But at the world stage, they are woefully exposed by ‘better football players’. You can’t bulldoze past the opposition faced in world cups. In Europe club games, over two legs, you still can, but in international tournaments, I am sorry. You can’t. Plus you don’t have a Jose, Fergie, Rafa or Arsene.

Those who know me personally know that I am a big lover of the English Premiership. And the way the football is played. Physical. Tough. Referee allowing play to flow. No whistles at every fall. I love it. But there are issues in the English game that need to be solved. The superstars are probably not the super humans we are now accustomed to believe. It just doesn’t feel right.

Some startling facts now, well known. But not given significance. Since its inception in 1991, there has been only one FIFA World Player of the Year, who was from an English club. There have been just TWO English based players to have won the European Player of the Year in the last 41 years. 41 mind you. In the 2006 World Cup Final, 3 out of 22 players who started the game were based in England. In 2002 and 1998, that number was 2 out of 22. It was ZERO in 1994. And I dint bother going further back. Maybe I am just reading too much into it, but I just can’t resist doing so. It just doesn't feel right.

Lastly, England have exited major tournaments prematurely in the past. Just like this year’s world cup. Having seen some for myself, all I would say that just one thing was glaring in its absence when we compare this exit to the years gone by. Spirit!!

I wish I could show my frustrations in the following manner.









Or by swearing live on camera like this.





But unfortunately, I am no superstar. So I got to settle for letting it all out on my blog. :) :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The A-Z of my Pune Years

THE “A TO Z” OF THESE FOUR BEAUTIFUL YEARS!!!




Although I am heading home, the irony is that I am feeling that I am actually leaving home.

I had this post in mind for a long time. Its not about specific friends or specific moments. Its about the entire package, the entire journey and the entire experience. For me, as this almost a personal piece, this is the most special post till date of course. I hope its good.
Spoiler Alert : It’s a long post. But I couldn’t write less. Read in two/three/four/ten installments if you like. 

A for Akurdi
Akurdigaon, despite all the abuse at initial shortcomings, the place comes alive when you have all the friends around. What change it has seen in these years, totally transformed beyond recognition. The next time I come to the place I called home for 4 years though, I shall definitely be looking out if the water level has receded in the tunnel.

B for Bike accidents
I have had many funny falls, which becomes funnier when I am narrating them to my friends. It has been a hell of a ride, bruises all over the place. But thank God, nothing serious enough to stop driving along. Bruises and falls in our legendary college ground shouldn’t go unnoticed too. India will beat Barcelona if they play at that ground because Xavi’s ground passes to Messi would bounce up over his head.

C for Chachu
There can actually be a separate A-Z list of Chachu’s moments. What a time we had in the hostel. I am thinking that he should have got the Rs. 10,000 deposit (that we never got back) as entertainment tax from the rest of us. Classic. Thank You man. He’s been a great sport most occasions, sometimes though he got angry, which unfortunately for him led to more leg pulling.

D for Defaulter
Did I hear the attendance cut-off was 75 percent? Haha. If the teachers, with the exception of a few, were better than a new-born in technical stuff, maybe we would have attended a percentage close to 75. Repeated warnings = Weekly comic relief.

E for E-Cell
Been part of most stuff in college and Rotaract holds a special place because that started it all. But after the mess it became, it was good riddance. Prateek’s revival of the E-Cell was a smashing moment. Was so awesome to work with him and Niyanta again, and throw in awesome new friends in the mix, we had a superhit E-Week and good trip down to Bangalore. Super stuff Phoenix, and congratulations to Prateek Khare.

F for Friends.
Need I say more. My time here has been defined by friends. The experiences, the laughs, the debates, the fights, the late nights, the timepass. Everything. Depresses me no end. Enough Said.

G for Grace Marks
Isbar cut-off kitna jayega ? :P Story of the college years, isn’t it? However hard I study, there is always that one/two paper that scares the shit out of me during the semester vacations. 40 in the mark sheet is prettier than anything in this world.

H for HOSTEL.
I don’t think anybody who stayed in THAT hostel in the first year would disagree. It a shame, we could not carry on. We made the best of friends, we had the best of moments. Football, PL, TV, terrace, the various rooms. Who would believe us when we say that we had the craziest of times in a place that greeted me with broken windows and cupboards, a still fan and a fused light, a place which had water problems all year and no mess. But we had just the medicine that was needed to cure all. Friends.

I for IPL
Hmmm, I’d rather stay quiet on this. There is always a bunch of people who are ready to take my case on this. KKR was pathetic, I guess my Pune years were THE curse. Therefore, we are winning next year, now that I am out of here. (*Takes cover*)

J for Jigar
Like it or hate it. It cant be ignored. It was the savior of all saviours. Whatever I do, wherever I am, I will have the visual of ‘Brilliant Jigar’ by ‘Technical Publications etched on to my mind.

K for Kick-off.
Kick-off here obviously signifies the beautiful game. Kicking off at Ursula’s, college, here and there. Everywhere. Kicking off at 2am in the morning under street lights. Waiting for kick-off to take place far off in England with the TV on. Debating stuff that don’t have a winner or ending around football. Also, cant miss mentioning winning the Pune University championship. That team was like family, awesome seniors.

L for Liverpool.
Cant help it, this letter is blocked for Liverpool forever.

M for Maar
Birthdays, like campuses across the land, are a curse. You get fucked. Badly. If however, Chachu is also present, the birthday boy gets some reprieve. He must have been hit on around 40-45 birthdays in these 4 years, but then again, isn’t that his real age anyway? Great times at 12 o clock midnight. All 4 years. Vikram have you recovered?

N for Niyanta
I have to say this. A gem. She has been the strongest pillar of support there ever can be. She has been in trouble a lot due to me but always ended up being by my side. Unbelievable woman. Wonderful person, lucky to meet you, luckier to be close to you. Leader oh yeah. You know what I think of your work in college. Unprecedented. I think of the list of people I met in Pune whom I am close to I cant stop being grateful.

O for Overwhelming moments.
There are times when you feel so good, that the whole week’s schedule can take a walk. Moments which can keep you cheered up in the not so good times. I have had loads of them, and If I have to mention one, here goes : It was the first semester, and I was terribly homesick. One morning, I came out of the college gate expecting a friend of a friend to come, which was what I was told. Instead, I saw my closest friend since my childhood days step out of hiding and shock me. I remember I sat down for a moment to just take it in. Harsh Sureka had come down from Manipal and oh those 2 days are still wonderful. I dint know Pune well enough to take him to the best of places, but for me, nothing else mattered. I was already in heaven and there’s no better place than that in Pune, is there? Thank you so much.

P for Placement
To be honest, I can neither describe the tension prior to getting placed, not the relief afterwards. I hope Godrej and Boyce works out well.

Q for Quarter
Yeah pints, quarters whatever. Basically signifies drinks. And boy!! what a time we have had. The talks, the stories, the madness, EPIC.

R for Rent
Abhi ATM se nikaal kar aapko rent deta hoon. Was one of the consistent lines I delivered to my landlords over the months and years. Stayed in a flat for 6 months, and a room for 2 and a half years, and both were fun. Sad that I have to leave the place now, but that sadness is multiplied by the thought of me having to CLEAN the damn room before leaving. Not cool.

S for stories
Aaah, some stories. Saurabh Singh always has the craziest stories. Soham Chakraborty’ s stories narrated by Vikram are the kind of stuff which inspired the creation of the abbreviation ROFL. Have some awesome stories myself which I shall remember for life too. If someone does actually sit down and compile all the stories in a book, that would outsell Techmax Publications for sure.

T for Transport Nagar Naka
A friend in need is a friend indeed. :P . When we ran out of ‘you know what’, who came to the rescue? Exactly this place. Good times late at night, passing time, stopping for chai-sutta and just talking. Delight.

U for Ursulas.
The people. The football. Football at the ground or at the basketball courts has been such a time. I remember going to play there in the first year and feeling, yeah now I feel settled here in Pune. And nothing has changed. Its just like home. Even more importantly, the people. I have been lucky enough to have a lot of friends who went to school at St. Ursulas and I have to say, they are awesome.

V for Viki’s flat
Ok Vikram doesn’t own the place, nor does he stay alone there. But that’s how that flat is called by me – Viki’s flat. The dinner times have been filled with such incidents, that I have probably never looked forward to dinner more in my life. Also, staying in a single room in the last 2 years, that was the time of the day I really looked forward to catching up with an awesome group. All of you at LaviKunj and the SB Patil Building : A big thank You.

W for Wake Up
My Pune years have had more nights than day. Honest. I have had so many people trying their best to wake me up in the morning, and thank you for the patience. On the day of my M3 paper in second year, I woke up at 10am. That’s the time the exam was scheduled to start. I reached at 10.15-10.20 and was allowed to sit thankfully. Scary!

X for Xerox
The notes, the sheets, the Jigars, the question papers, the tuition stuff we missed, unending list. Xerox, mini Xerox. The irony is that, however much we Xeroxed, what we utilized from that is dealing in single digit percentages. Copyline doesn’t mind though.

Y for You All.
We if you managed to read this excessively long post till here, you need a pat. Haha. There have been great number of people who I have had a good time with. Some might be reading this, some not. Cannot name all ofcourse. ‘You all’ is for every person that made this Pune experience worthwhile. We might have met once, we might have met daily, we might have had more chats than talks, you might have been a senior giving me advice and guidance, you might have been someone we have worked on something together, just everybody has contributed to this wonderful time. Cannot stress this more. Honest to God.

Z for Zoo.
Like you have seen plain clothes policemen, this special zoo has plain clothes / human skinned animals. They are primarily donkeys with Z for Zero IQ. They include the college administration. And the brains behind the university and marks system. Sorry, but I tried my best, just couldn’t resist this.



Damn tempted to get back a couple of alphabets as wildcard entrants like Roadies etc., and write some more. But I guess I will leave it at that.

A man (or woman, maybe) once said that Every good thing must come to an end. Boy!! Wasn’t he correct!!





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Saturday, May 22, 2010

What's the big 'deal' in banning websites ?

A Satire on Pakistan and it's internet madness.

Pakistan is on a spree you see. And we, as good neighbors are keeping a close watch on them.

Disclaimer : None.

Let the images do the talking.


















































PS : Sorry to have used Mr. Orkut, i have good memories of Orkut. Just dint find anything else.

PPS : As most of the internet is banned, this piece sadly wont reach my friends in Pakistan. Not cool!!