Haphazard views : A snooping psyche dissected

An e-space full of ramblings and mumblings

One last nail...

I would love to start this by congratulating three gentlemen who attained absolute success through their sustained dedication, iron determination and repeated attempts in order to achieve the goal they had been trying to over the past six months or so.
My heartiest congratulations to you, Mr Kiran More, Mr Greg Chappel and of course Mr Rahul Dravid. So finally your great trio has managed to pull it off. Well done.

After the second test against Sri Lanka at Delhi, when Sourav Ganguly was dropped from the squad all of a sudden in spite of performing reasonably well (he scored 40 and 39 in both the innings and his partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh in either of the innings proved to be the principal deciding factors as those had sealed the match and the series in India's favour), the whole of India had reacted to this injustice very strongly and unable to cope up with the pressure created by the media as well as the mass, the BCCI selection committee headed by More had no other option but to include him in the Pakistan-bound squad as it was also the heavyweight Chairperson of BCCI, Mr Sharad Pawar's unwritten order. So they (More & Co) couldn't have left him out even if they badly wanted to.

The team landed in Pakistan. So did Ganguly but six days later as he was asked by More to play the Ranji semi-final before leaving.

First test at Lahore.
Result: Drawn.
Details are here.

Ganguly did not get to bat. In fact no one did other than Dravid and Sehwag.

Second test at Faislabad.
Result: Drawn.
Details are here.

Ganguly was not included in the eleven in this match as they wanted to go in with one extra specialist bowler.

Third test at Karachi.
Result : India loses by a mammoth 341 runs.
Details are here.

Ganguly scored 34 and 37 in both innings. Let us look at what the other specialist batters did in this match for India. Sehwag - 5 & 4, Dravid- 3 & 2, Tendulkar - 23 & 26, Laxman - 19 & 21, Yuvraj - 45 & 122, Dhoni - 13 & 18.
So, the statistics show that Ganguly had outscored everybody except Yuvraj in this match. Everyone who has seen him bat in Karachi would agree that he was looking the most comfortable among all Indian batters against the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif. He looked in definite good nick.

He wasn't picked up for the ODI squad. However, we won the ODI series quite comprehensively (4-1) in the end despite failing to defend 328 in the first match.
Ganguly has scored 10,000 plus runs in ODIs and has a 40+ average with 22 hundreds. And he is not considered a good enough player to make it to the team by a committe which is headed by someone who himself had been a very very ordinary cricketer in his days, dropped lollypops behind the wicket on numerous occasions costing us quite a few matches and doesn't have a single 50+ score in his 94 ODIs. Sounds like a preparatory student deciding whether the class teacher is good enough to pass an exam or not. Anyways, such a person can not be blamed really because he has got a position which he doesn't deserve in the first place. It's like waking up a poor peasant from sound sleep and making him the crown prince of the country all of a sudden before he fully wakes up - the poor chap just doesn't know what to do. He loses his senses and works in a state of trance. Exactly the same thing happened when More said that "Ganguly will not make the team as long as this selection committee is in charge" .

The Excerpts:

Game over

Kiran More says Ganguly will not make the team as long as this selection committee is in charge

Amit Gupta in Vadodara

According to a popular north Indian saying, when a big tree falls, the earth around it shakes. The five wise men that make the national selection committee though, have decided to shake the earth to fell the big tree.

After a marathon two-and-a-half long meeting, also attended by coach Greg Chappell, chief selector Kiran More put to coffin the career of one of the most celebrated and controversial Indian players.

As board secreatary Niranjan Shah read out ther list of players for the Nagpur test, there was a lingering hope that Ganguly’s name would be next. But as the list ended, minus that name, the room was enveloped in a stunned 10-second silence. The lull before the storm.

Then came the bullets in the form of questions. Kiran More had answers to a few, but most left him wounded.

The reasons for the axe ranged from the stubborn to the ridiculous. “It is a very important move for us. We are looking at the future of the Indian cricket and have decided to stick to youngsters like Mohammed Kaif and Suresh Raina. Everyone in the committee was unanimous about the decision to drop Sourav. We even talked to Rahul Dravid about this over phone and he expressed his happiness.”

He then made it clear that this was the end of road for Sourav. “There is no looking back on the issue as far as this commitee is concerned. We are not going to pick him. We are very positive about the issue. The West Indies tour and then the World Cup are approaching fast. We are looking at more or less a similar side for the one-dayers and test cricket.”

And as the questions grew more pointed, More’s tone become a bit harsh. “We were not discussing just one name. All departments of the game were discussed, many more names like Venugopal Rao, Aakash Chopra (what?), Cheteshwar Pujara came up for discussion. Chappell was there, he briefed us on the Pakistan trip, he had some ideas. Why are you asking only about Sourav? Ask about Dhoni, he has been wonderful. We were picking an Indian side, not a school side. It takes some time.”

How unceremonious an exit it has been for Sourav can be gauged from the fact that none of the selectors, Dravid or any BCCI officials spoke to the former skipper. “Who will talk to him? He will come to know from the media,” Niranjan Shah told Mumbai Mirror, before adding that they couldn’t tell him to retire point-blank. “For us, the Sourav issue is over.”

More added, “It’s a tough call, and until now no one has had a word with him. We may talk to him later, but I do not think that’s necessarry. Selectors have to make some tough decision.”

While it was the end for Sourav, for Piyush Chawla and VRV Singh it was celebration time. Chawla, the young leggie, was rewarded for a wonderful domestic season, while VRV got the nod due to his controlled pace. “Chappell wants to groom talents like this duo and Raina. We have been monitoring VRV for the past few months and he can disturb the best with his special bounce. Even Munaf Patel and Cheteshwar Pujara figure in scheme of things.”

On dropping Gautam Gambhir, More said, “Gautam had some good oppotunities and is not looking that confident and so we have given Jaffer the chance.”

Source : Mumbai Mirror, 24-Feb-2006. www.mumbaimirror.com
and also here .

By the way, isn't it the same Kiran More who was involved in a bribe controversy some time back?
According to some of the newspapers More and Roy had said Kale had offered them bribe to get him in the Indian team. Some newspapers had a slightly different take on this subject. They said it was those two selectors who had asked for bribe from Kale. No one actually knows what happened. Whatever it was, here is something which might clear up a few things.

Ok....so now we've got a reason why Mr More is so angry with Sourav Ganguly.
Understandable. Fully understandable. My sympathies are with you, Mr More. You could make money neither as a cricketer nor as a selector. So the frustrarion and the anguish are quite natural.

Now, let's move our attention to Mr Greg Chappel.

Without any doubt, he indeed is a living legend - arguably the best batsman born Down Under after Sir Don Bradman. Even decades after he quit playing, he is considered to have one of the best cricketing-brains of all time in world cricket.
Ironically, he is better known as Greg Underarm Chappel.
Over the years he has created his own grammar and theories in cricket which he believes are flawless and hence he doesn't want anyone to challenge him or even go against his wishes. That is probably why he and Ganguly never got along ever since he was made the Indian coach because as a skipper Ganguly also was very much exacting. None of them was willing to compromise on anything so one of them had to go. And since the Chairman of Selectors was already unhappy with Ganguly, he teamed up with Chappel and helped him in every possible way to prevent Ganguly from getting into the team. A very very good example of what fruits sincere joint efforts can get you. Quite a fantastic Indo-Australian collaboration it has been. Hats off !!!

Now, the Mr Dependable, the Wall, the one and only Mr Rahul Dravid.

Such a poor guy he is !!! I used to pity him when every time he used to play well someone used to play better than him for so many years. He always had to be content playing the second fiddle to either Tendulkar, or Ganguly, or Laxman and the like. Such a great batsman but his contributions used to go unnoticed almost all the time.
For people who have weak memory, Rahul 'The Wall' Dravid was once dropped from the Indian ODI squad and was out for more than a year after months of non-performance (I even remember him facing Ottis Gibson of the West Indies in the final over of a match and staying not out till the end after playing 5 dot balls and still not being to score the last 5 runs needed for victory). It was Ganguly who insisted on bringing him back as a wicketkeeper-batsman so that he can play with an extra batter and that had worked wonders. It was the Ganguly-Wright combo that found the perfect winning combination for the men in blue. Dravid-Chappel are just building on that. Yuvi, Kaif, Bhajji, Sehwag, even Dhoni got into the team because Ganguly wanted them to stay there. More than once Yuvi got himself out of the team but only because of Ganguly's insistence he could stay back and regain his form. Same happened with Bhajji. Ganguly had brought him back in the famous home series against the Aussies in 2000 and he took 32 wickets in 3 tests just to make a permanent place for him in the team. Sachin, Sehwag, Laxman, Harbhajan, Yuvraj, Kumble and to some extent Kaif too saw heights of success and stardom under ganguly's leadership but the consistent yet poor chap Dravid always went unnoticed until the Aussie tour of 2003-2004 happened. Once he started getting the full limelight with his consistent match-winning performances he knew it was 'now or never' for him. Fortunately for Dravid, Ganguly was going through a rough patch and also he got himself into more trouble by his confrontation with Chappel. More & Co were waiting for this and they without any hesitation offered the captaincy to Dravid who had been in the reckoning for almost a decade now without any stars on his shoulder. Unwillingly he had to play the supporting role for years. Once he got the captaincy, his main objective in life became to keep it and just to get rid of the feeling of insecurity the first thing he needed to do was to keep Ganguly out of the team in any way because if he is in the squad, he won't be able to see eye-to-eye with him. Doesn't his own statement reflect this? My sympathies are with you also, Mr Dravid. I know how it feels to play the deputy's role to someone who debuted with you in the same match and from the very first match had been stealing the limelight from you. Your fantastic knocks of 95 and 84 in your first two test innings were overshadowed by his 131 and 136 in those same innings. And these things kept happening year after year ever since. You once got dropped from the ODI team and he brought you back as a wicketkeeper-batsman, otherwise your ODI career would have been well over. I understand that it doesn't feel good being a captain to see the face of a person who you are actually indebted to for many reasons. So, it's quite natural that you'll want him out of the team. I understand. I fully understand.

Sachin is 32 now, Dravid is 33, Laxman 31, Kumble 35 so the team certainly isn't 'all-young-blood'. Now what remains to be seen is if any of them fails to deliver in 2-3 games ('failing' means not scoring 50's and 100's....even 30's and 40's are considered failures by the logic of More & Co.), whether the same rule that was applied to Ganguly applies to them or not.

Anyways, for the time being More, Chappel and Dravid have really done a great job. Yet again hats off to their superb combined effort in putting that 'One Last nail' in Ganguly's coffin. I feel like congratulating them from the bottom of my heart again. CONGRATS Guys !!!!!!!

By the way, More's highest score in ODIs is 42 and in tests is 73. Amazing !!! Isn't it?


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Movie Review : Rang De Basanti

I hadn't been getting enough free time for movies of late and hence was a bit late in watching this flick "Rang De Basanti" finally last night although it was released three weeks back.
The number one reason I went to watch this movie was of course, Aamir Khan and number two, A.R.Rahman - two of my all time favourites.

Frankly speaking I didn't have very high expectations from the Director, Mr Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra as I was really disappointed with his way of storytelling in his previous movie 'Aks' although it was technically one of the very best movies ever made by an Indian. RDB, too, I knew would be technically outstanding but I wasn't too sure about the screenplay and editing.

Lights off, doors closed, pin-drop silence and the movie begins presenting an all new fresh face , the face of Alice Patten , before the audience and, my! she takes everyone's heart away rightaway. With her innocent looks and broken yet very well-engineered Hindi dialogues, in the shoes of the character of a British aspiring filmmaker 'Sue' she rocks. She just ROCKS !!!

Sue's grandfather was a jailor in India in the pre-independence era when young freedom fighters accepted death with smiling faces. So amazed was he that he wrote in his diary "I thought there were two types of people. Ones who die quietly and ones who die screaming. Here I met a third kind....". After reding his experiences in India at that times Sue comes to India to shoot a documentary on Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his contemporaries. Searching frantically for people to suit the roles she happens to meet a group of friends in the Delhi University through her friend Sonia (Soha Ali Khan Pataudi) who is the only girl in the group, the other members being Karan Singhania (Siddharth), Daljeet Singh aka DJ (Aaamir Khan), Aslam (Kunal Kapoor),Sukhi(Sharman Joshi) and Lakshman Pandit (Atul Kulkarni). She could see the characters of her movie in these people and after a lot of hue and cry convinces them to act for her. DJ,meanwhile,develops a soft-corner for Sue.
R.Madhavan looks pretty impressive in his brief guest appearance as Sonia's boyfriend Flight Lieutenant Ajai Singh Rathore who dies in a MIG plane crash and the Defense Minister (Mohan Agashe)tells the public and the media that it happened due to his own inadequate flying skills whereas the truth was that it was due to the use of sub-standard and low-cost machinery in the MIG flights. This awakens the true Indian in everybody in the group. So far they were so engrossed in their own worlds inside the campus that they didn't even bother what was happening in the outer world. This whole incident made them aware of their very existence and they decide to go on a protest demanding the resignation of the corrupt Defense Minister which gets disrupted as the Minister and his party call for Police intervention and the cops just beat away all protestors, injuring many of them and sending Madhavan's mother Waheeda Rahman to comma. After all this, DJ and his group decide to finally take the Bhagat Singh route and kill the corrupt Minister. After they accomplished this mission, they go on further to let the people of the country know through all India Radio about this by announcing what they have done and why.

It would be an understatement if I say Siddharth has done full justice to his role as Karan. He probably outshone everyone who shared the screen with him. Although it was just his first movie in Hindi, he showed no signs of tentativeness. In fact, at times, he just stole the show even with the sheer screen-presence of Aamir Khan. There couldn't have been any other actor to suit the role so perfectly. Full marks to Siddharth.

Alice Patten does her job wonderfully well and her gentleness only makes the Character of Sue all the more lovable.

Aamir, as usual, is brilliant. Especially in the comedy part when he tries to woo Sue and again when in anguish, frustration and desparation he breaks down at the dinner table with food in his mouth.

Soha did a reasonably good job as Sonia, the bereaved fiance of Madhavan. She is maturing as an actress with every movie.

Atul Kulkarni portrays the character of Lakshman Pandit, a wannabe politician to perfection. He delivers exactly what was expected of an actor of his calibre.

As far as Sharman Joshi is concerned, considering the way his acting career has been shaping up lately, he couldn't have asked for a better role at this point of time. And when the opprtunity came he grabbed it with both hands. He has done beyond everyone's expectations as Sukhi. Good Job, Sharman.

Kunal Kapoor, looks pretty convincing as soft-spoken Aslam and does justice to the role.

Mohan Agashe, although he plays the main villain, his acting prowess has been, in a word, underutilized. Same happens with Om Puri's and Anupam Kher's roles as well.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra does wonderfully well as the director. Three cheers to him.
No technical flaw at all. Absolutely nothing....except, er.....the Defense minister of a country being shot in broad daylight with almost no security guards and commandos.

Don't really need to say anything about A.R.Rahman, the Superman. His work speaks for itself. Pathshala, Ru-ba-ru, the title track, khali bali - he has composed every score to the perfection.

And, last but not the least, amazing piece of cinematography by Binod Pradhan. The man with the magic camera has done it yet again. He really deseves a standing ovation for this.

To sum it up, RDB is a must watch for every Indian, especially the confused young generation of today's India.

PS*** After Kamal Hasan's 'Sadma' I don't really remember I had felt tears rolling down my cheeks while watching a movie.....till I watched RDB.

Verdict : Sahi mein rang diya

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Bangalore : Bang- Galore :)

Here's yet another post on our good ol' Bangalore, that is, "nammu bengaluru" .
I wasn't here for the last 10 days. I was vacationing back home for this brief period. Yesterday I landed at the Bangalore airport exactly at 8:15 in the evening and after collecting my luggage I came out at around 8:30. The moment I came out with hundreds of other passengers coming from different cities, taxi-drivers started shouting "Taxi Taxi.....Where do you want to go, Sir?......Need a taxi, mam?.... Let me carry your bags, Sir, and please walk up to my taxi..." etc etc......
Usually, if booked over the phone beforehand, a taxi from the airport to my house in BTM Layout costs around 180 rupees. This time I hadn't made any bookings so I thought I would take one. The driver I waved at showed me a rate-chart which showed that the fare to BTM Layout is 450 Rupees.I laughed at him and said "Do this to people who are new in this place,dude...not to me. F*** off with your taxi. I don't need it." In reply to this he said "Toh aap paidal chale jaao sahab, yahan airport ke paas toh aap ko auto bhi nahi milega" (Then you better start walking, Sir, because here, near the airport, you won't even get an auto-rickshaw.)
I thought for one second....he might be right because in Bangalore if you can't get a taxi there is only one other means of transport you can avail - an auto-rickshaw and since I had never taken an auto-rickshaw on my way to BTM from the airport before I wasn't too sure whether or not I would get one. As a few more taxi-drivers came and supported what he said, I walked past the taxi-stand to the main road which is 10 minutes' walk from there.I could do so because, of course, I didn't have a lot of luggage with me. Then for the first time I could see a lot of auto-rickshaws in an auto-rickshaw stand a bit further down. I looked backe at the taxi-driver and muttered "Bunch of liars." He just smiled and went back looking for another potential goat for slaughtering.
The moment I reached the auto-stand some 50 auto-drivers came running to me and a couple of them started pulling my bag. I firmly held on to it and walked towards an auto. The driver, here also, took out a rate-list from his pocket and showed it to me. As per the list the fare to BTM was 170 rupees. I had never taken an auto from the airport to BTM before but had come from BTM to the airport many a times taking exactly the same route so I knew it costs anything between 45 and 50 rupees. I told the auto-driver "I don't want to go. You people have now started openly robbing people". He said "jaao sahab, yahan koi tumhe isse kam paise mein le ke nahi jayega. Yeh naya rule hai Bangalore ka. Airport ke bahar sab kuchh expensive hai. yakeen na aaye toh woh policewalon se poochh lo." (You may go if you want but nobody will take you for less money than this. this is the new rule in Bangalore. Everything is damn expensive near the airport. if you have doubts, you can ask the cops also.) It's not that I have a lot of trust on the bangalore police. I know that they are one of the most corrupt species on this earth. Still I walked up to two policemen standing nearby and asked whether what the auto-driver was telling me was right or not. The said it was and showed me some papers which supposedly contained this new set of rules but I couldn't understand anything as it was fully written in Kannada. I wasn't convinced at all and continued walking till I found one auto outside the stand. This driver agreed to take me to BTM for 1.5 times the meter-reading as it was already 9:00 at night. He was cheating me, I knew this....still I agreed as I was exhausted and it still was a lot more reasonable than what I had just seen. I know all the shortcuts to my place and I was guiding him accordingly but at one place where we should have taken the straight route he suddenly took a right-turn and when I asked why he said from last week the route I had suggested had been made a no-entry. I knew he was lying because even after taking a different route he would have to come back on the same road as from that junction there was only one single road leading to my place. Since I knew he had no other option but to take me back to that junction I kept quiet. then after travelling for around 5 extra kilometres (that is, 25 rupees) he took me back to the same place and got quite a mouthful from me. When I reached my place the meter-reading was 74 rupees. I gave him a 100-rupee note and waited. He said " 1.5 ke hisaab se 11 Rupaye aur do". (give me 11 rupees more as you are to pay me 1.5 times the meter-reading ).
I said "you made me travel 5 kms extra which cost me 25 rupees.The meter-reading is 74 rupees now. So actually it is 49 rupees. So you have already taken 1.5 times what I should actually pay you. Now give me my 26 rupees back."
He got furious and said "kisne kaha auto-wale ko direction dene ke liye? ek baar auto mein baitho to sab kuchh auto-walon par chhod do. thoda sa ghuma kya diya, tum paisa wapas maang rahe ho? agar hamesha shortcut routes lenge toh humara dhandha kaise chalega?" (who told you to give directions to an auto-driver? once you get into an auto, leave everything to the driver. Only little bit I made you travel extra and you are asking your money back for that? how will we survive if we always take shortcut routes ? ) But I wasn't to leave without my money so after a lot of hue and cry he called us, the IT-guys, a bunch of "north-Indian suar ke bachche" (North Indian piglets) and got one "Mohammad Ali"-ish blow from me on the face giving him a black-eye. Finally I let him go as he gave me back 20 rupees and showed that he didn't have any more change left.
Another fascinating evening in "Namma Bengaluru".

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