Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Likes

Just like the finger prints of two persons are different, the mentalities of two persons also differ. Every individual has his/her own likes and dislikes. I would like to write a small article on my likes. I’ll not just list them but try to elaborate them a little. So, the list is:
1. Music. Wow, this is one of the most beautiful things of the world, even though you cannot see it. When I’m in a bad mood or stressed out because of work, I just take out my MP3 player and start listening to my favourite numbers. My favourite singers are Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Enrique Iglesias.
2. Books. I can never keep track of time once I start some book. The authors whom make me lose track of everything are Sydney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer, Salman Rushdie and ever tantalizing Vamsi.
3. Movies. I get lost in the dream world of movies every time I watch a pleasant movie. Some of my favourite movies are many old classics(I can’t list them out as they maybe not less than 25 at any given time), Tholi Prema, Prema Desam, Rang De Basanti, Sarfarosh, Armageddon, Titanic, The Matrix etc.
4. Chocolates. May god bless the persons who made this wonderful discovery. You’ll find some in my office table and many in my fridge at any given time.
5. Ice-cream. Right from childhood, I enjoyed every moment of the titillating cold recipe drifting down my throat. Recently, a doctor warned me not to eat too much of these but how can I stop?
6. Rain. Who doesn’t like this? There might be slight differences like some people like to drench themselves in rain, some people like to smell the aroma of the soil when it starts to rain, some people like to enjoy the coldness with a cup of hot coffee. I, personally, like to sit on a roadside bench when it’s raining and watch the world move beside me at a breath-taking pace.
7. Country sides. The unadulterated places of the world where you’ll find lot of warmth in the people who inhabit them, the green fields, sweet chirpings of birds………….
8. Last but not least, friends. These are the people on whom I rely for almost everything. I can never imagine my world without them. My biggest expenditure in Bahrain other than my flat rent is for the calls I make to my friends in India……….

T20 World Cup

As we all know, the young tigers of India have won the inaugural T20 World Cup held in South Africa. Truly, it was a remarkable victory for the Generation X of India. The fact that this win was without the likes of Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Zaheer, made it more memorable as we can’t imagine an Indian side without them in the present scenario. Kudos to the youth of India. But it was the post-match happenings that discharged some of my spirit.
I’m an ardent fan of cricket. I remember the days when I used to get up around 4AM to catch up the Ashes. I never got up so early even for my engineering exams. But, I’m one of those people who mourn the demise of other sports and who believe that their extinction is because of cricket. As soon as India reached finals of the T20 World Cup, BCCI announced $ 1 million award to the team. And our team won so unconvincingly at the end. The fact that we threw away the match in the final overs will be agreed by everyone. But a win is definitely a win. And promptly BCCI increased the award to $ 3 million. Accolades started to pore over from the entire nation and so are the cash awards. Each state announced cash awards for their respective members of the cricket team. By the time I’m writing this article each cricketer got around Rs 80 lakhs(something around $ 200,000), not to forget Yuvraj Singh who alone got more than Rs 1.5 crores(around $ 375,000).
All this might be to encourage the team but what about the other sports? Are the people who are playing those sports not representing our country? Where are all these accolades when the Indian Hockey team won the Asia cup for the first time not less than 2 months back? And they won the trophy quite convincingly breaking many world records on the way. The news that our hockey team won 20-0 against Sri Lanka was aired on every TV channel for a day. This was a record in recent times but quickly forgotten both by the people and the government. But where are the accolades and rewards for them?????? Which parent is encouraging his child to play kabaddi or kho-kho? People might have thronged to see the matinee of “Chak De, India” but how many people are going to watch a hockey match in reality? Why does a country like India, which stands second in population, not able to win even a single Olympic medal? Is it because there’s no cricket in Olympics? If the behaviour of the rulers and the people remains the same, then many of the great old sports will extinct in a matter of a few years.
And I would like to end this article with a funny news. There’s a regional party in my state, Andhra Pradesh, called TRS for which the leader is K Chandrasekhar Rao otherwise known as KCR. He always shouts on the government saying that his region, Telangana, is ignored by the government and that they need a separate state which they’ll develop themselves. He says almost every day that his people are in bitter poverty. I heard that even he gave cash rewards of Rs 1.16 lakhs each to 3 of the players of the Indian Cricket Team. Now the billion dollar question is “What happened to the poverty of the people in his region?” Has it gone with the win(d)????????????????????????

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Airports of India

Don’t be surprised by the title of this article. And don’t take this as a positive article on the airports. I used to be surprised whenever I hear that the culprits of various bombings in India were some foreign terrorist outfits and their members. I used to wonder how can they enter India so easily and carry on their missions. I got the answer around 2 months back.

You might have read many mails about the notorious Hyderabad airport, some about how some passengers found out after reaching their destinations that some papers have been tore out from their passports, some about the bribes we’ve to shell out from our pockets. We don’t know whether these are really true or not. But after I’ve experienced a weird incident, I’m clear of my doubts. I was travelling to Bahrain from Hyderabad after a short vacation in July, 2007. I was a bit late to reach the airport but not too late to miss my flight. It was a good 90 minutes before my flight lifts off the ground. As I was checking-in, the Qatar airways official told me that they will not allow me in, as the lamination on the last page of my passport tore off and they treat this as a case of damaged or manipulated passport. I told them that they can check out the authenticity as I got down at the same airport about 3 weeks back without any issue, with the same passport. They told me to check out the issue with the immigration officials and if they allow me, then the immigration officials will book some sort of report against them. I left my luggage there and headed towards the immigration counter. The official there checked out the passport and told that they can’t allow me in and I’ve to go to the passport office where I was issued this and get it checked for authenticity and correction. I pleaded with him saying that I’ve come on a short vacation and it’ll be a big mess at my office if I don’t reach there by next day. He seemed to be in deep thought (he’ll definitely make a good actor) and then told me that he’ll allow me in if I paid a Rs 1000. I was shell-shocked to hear this from him in-front of everyone in broad daylight. The other passengers were also shocked but they can do nothing about it. I just stood there waiting for his next words. He told me after a few minutes that there’s no way they are letting me in, if I don’t pay the money.

I checked out the time and found that my flight takes off in just under 25 minutes. There’s no other option for me other than to pay the money. I was not carrying any Indian currency, so the “deal” was set for 20 USD. I was just wondering whether I was duped as they won’t allow me in so easily, in normal conditions. All these suspicions were rubbed off once I reached Bahrain. There, I was stopped at the immigration counter again and it was only after a series of check were done on my passport that they allowed me inside Bahrain. It them around a good 45 minutes to check the authenticity of my passport. And their Indian counterpart asked me the bribe after looking at my passport for just under 5 minutes. God, save India.

Lucky Escape

I’m going to recall one incident that happened just 3 days back. I never expected that I’ll be in such a situation and I can never imagine how I got away with this. I am not a regular smoker but I smoke sometimes. Last Thursday, after coming back from office, I thought buying some DVD’s. It was around 4 45PM then. So I went to the DVD shop with a cigarette in my hand. It was about 5 minutes walk from my flat. So I was walking in a lazy stride to the shop. En-route, I noticed that some of the passer-by’s were looking at me quite strangely. I thought that it was just my misconception and rubbed off the suspicion. As I neared my destination, I saw that the roads were deserted. It was then that the truth struck me like a bolt. It’s the holy month of Ramadan and I’m in one of the Arab countries, Bahrain. We are not supposed to be noticed walking around doing any sort of things that might hurt the feelings of Muslims till about 5 30 pm during the entire month. We should not even drink water in front of them till they break their fast. And here I’m, with a cigarette in my hand………. I just threw it away and walked away silently taking a different route to my flat. You might be thinking what will happen if someone stops me. Nothing would have happened except that I might languish in the jail for a day or two, with some fine too. As this happened on Thursday evening, I would’ve served more than 2 days (the courts have off on weekends, Fridays and Saturdays).......

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekend Movies

One of my favorite weekend pastimes is to stay tight in my room and watch movies on DVD’s. My average number of movies over a weekend is never less than two. My last weekend has been a pure Bollywood one. I saw many Bollywood movies out of which I want to discuss about two similar movies among them. They are not similar in their story lines or their cast but they are similar in the theme that underlines the storyline of these two movies. It’s the spirit of sportsmanship and self-confidence. The two movies are “Chak De India” and “Apne”. Both are the stories of underdogs, but the former is about a underdog team while the latter is about a underdog “family”. Both are about tough coaches, the coach in the former wants his team to win while in the latter, he seems to want his family members to win. Sounds weird, right?
“Chak De, India” is about the dream of a former Indian hockey team captain who takes up the challenging job of the highly neglected Indian Women’s hockey team and how he made his dream true. “Apne” is about a former Olympic silver medal winning boxer, who’s branded a dope, and his dreams about making someone the world champion in boxing. Even though both the themes are same, their way of execution is entirely different. “Chak De, India” is about a team whose members are culturally and mentally different and the story is about bringing them together as a team and inspiring them to take over the world. “Apne” is more like a typical Bollywood movie with the story revolving around a family with 5 or 6 songs thrown in-between the plot. While “Chak De, India” is a brave attempt to show the discrimination of the sporting boards on certain players and teams, “Apne” banks heavily on the typical Indian Drama. My vote is definitely to “Chak De” while I strongly assure you to give a miss to “Apne” (you definitely would not like the heavy weight boxers to have a lot of fat at the abdominal area that shows up whenever the player moves!!!!!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


In my childhood, that was the music for which housewives leave their chores behind. That was the music for which children used to finish their dinner without any fuss. That was the music for which employees wanted to reach home from office in time. That music used to come once a week on Fridays at 7 30PM. I hope everyone remembers it. It’s none other than the title music of our own “Chithralahari” which is a collection of melodious songs. It’s just a 30 minute program but people used to talk about the songs aired on that week till the next Friday. It’s been years since I heard that music. Now life has become fast-paced and we don’t have time for each other also. So the question of sitting back and hearing melodious songs is a distant dream. And the little free time we get is spent watching some stupid soaps or news channels.
We used to get 3 Telugu channels here in Bahrain. But because of some technical glitch, we are getting only ETV for the past 5 days. I was surfing through all the 62 channels that we get here (this is my favourite pastime – not watching TV but surfing through the channels). Then out of no-where, I heard the music that used to be my favorite in childhood. I realized that the cablewala started giving DD8 Saptagiri as he’s not getting any free-to-air Telugu channels. Wow, how good it was!!!!! It has same spirit in it that excites us even after all these years. I was watching all the songs aired in it for the whole 30 minutes. I don’t remember switching channels. It’s ages since I watched tv without any interruption for half-an-hour. That’s the power of the good old CHITRALAHARI. Long live DD8.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Indian Idol 3

Being an ardent fan of music, I was watching various singing contests on the idiot box. One show that kept on topping the charts in my list is Indian Idol. Can’t say the reason why it remains on the top of my list every year but maybe just because it’s not just a run-of-the-mill kind of singing contest. It’s more like a reality show. It looks into the personal life of the contestants and keeps on building up their moral whenever they are in need of it. The best thing I like in it is even the persons who fail to reach it over to the final step are also treated as winners and incorporates the never-say-die spirit in them.
I don’t think I missed even a single episode of Indian Idol 1st and 2nd editions. But I was not able to follow much of the episodes of 3rd and current edition. Wait, wait – thanks to Internet, I was able to follow most of the episodes which I missed, in my leisure time. Now coming back to Indian Idol 3, all the 10 people who made it to the final 10 are all competitive and talented. I personally feel that this is the best 10 among all the Indian Idol editions. I was a fan of each and every one of them. Right now, I was watching the result of the final 3 of the current edition. All of the 3 people who are on the top of my list reached this stage. They are Emon, Prashanth and Amit. The organizers took them to their native places before this episode and they aired the footage that was taken during these visits on this episode. Wow, it was great to see their popularity among their own people. They’ve turned heroes from the boy-next-doors. But you should remember the hard work they did to reach this stage.
It was tough to chose the finalists from the above 3 contestants. But this is life. Someone or the other should lose so that there’ll be winner in any contest. As feared, Emon lost out to the other two people. No wonder, he’s a good singer but the other two are definitely challenging. The farewell message from him was one of the best I’ve heard in any contest. The confidence he had shown in stating that he’ll definitely make it big in the singing industry is definitely worth a big applause. Some of his final words are “I may not be Sony Entertainment Television’s Indian Idol. But someday, I’ll definitely become India's Idol and show the world”. I was not sure about his exact wordings but this is the message that he wanted to convey. Imagine how much confidence one should’ve to say these words in front of the whole nation!!!! Kudos, Emon. All the best for the great heights that you are about to scale in the future. And all the best Prashanth and Amit.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Demigod

I, being an Indian, grew up watching the unofficial sport of the nation. No prizes to guess – it’s the cricket. Being an asthma patient in childhood, I wasn’t able to concentrate much on playing it and by the time I was able to play, it’s too late to start learning. To quench my thirst, I play now-n-then as a middle order batsman but no significant knocks till date. Coming back to the current topic, as I couldn’t play, I grew up watching it instead. I used to watch match-by-match and ball-by-ball. There were days when I used to get up early in the morning to catch up with England touring Australia. But all these days, I was mesmerized and astounded by a single player (there are others too. But most of them pass by like a little breeze). It was none other than the greatest of the players, even in other great players’ books(to quote Sir Don Bradman and Shane Warne). The one and only Sachin Tendulkar.

No wonder, I was writing this article over my favourite snack, popcorn, and watching my favourite cricketer play. I’m watching the 6th ODI between India and England in the 2007 Natwest series. England piled up 316 runs in the 50 overs that they were allotted. So India’s facing the daunting task of making 317 runs in their 50 overs. Our innings started with a blistering Sachin and breezy Saurav. Wow, it was great to watch these modern greats play so good for their team. Sachin, in particular was at his best making a brisk 94 runs in 81 balls before he was out. He was out not because of the bowler but for his cramps. He helped the team to kick start their innings. But it was Robin Uthappa who helped the team secure a comfortable win with a whirlwind knock of 47 runs in 33 balls.
Enough of this match. But I was mesmerized by the ability of Sachin to pile up all those runs and achieving every batting record in his career spanning over 18 years. He was a kind of player who learns from every mistake he makes and tries hard not to repeat it again. He was gentleman outside the pavilion too. There wasn’t even a single stroke in the cricket book that he missed to play. In fact, he has his own trademark shots too. Every budding cricketer tries to emulate him and most of the children in our country grew up idolizing him. Just take the scores he made in this series and you’ll know the reason why – 8, 17, 55, 71, 94 and 99 at a whopping average of 57.33 runs per innings. I strongly agree that he was not at his best but it’s bad to expect much from this ageing warrior. Many people say that he had enough of his career and he should retire and every time he silences his critics with his bat but not with words.
There can be no words to describe his star-studded career except the figures. Let’s have a look at them too.

Cricinfo website

It was fittingly written by some fan during the 2003 world cup or so(still you can see these placards every now-n-then. “IF CRICKET’S A RELIGION, THEN SACHIN’S THE GOD AND WE ARE ALL HIS DEVOTEES”. All I can say before finishing this article is “Go Sachin, go. We are all behind you”. Fittingly, just before I finished this, Sachin was awarded the “Man of the Match” for this match.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Childhood Dreams

One of my childhood dreams got fulfilled last weekend. I remember one funny incident when I was around 12 years old. We used to stay on the first floor of a building that time. I watched “Purana Mandir” in one of the portions in the ground floor of the same building at around 9 in the night. I was very afraid to go to my house. The uncle in whose house I watched the movie tried to console me saying that he’ll accompany me to my house. Still I was afraid saying that “the demons are very powerful. They’ll kill you too”. How I managed to go to my house is history!!!! From then on, I used to think of how it’ll be to watch a horror flick midnight. Till now, it was not possible because sometimes when I watch at nights, I have to keep the sound very low as someone else might getup and some other silly reasons. So I never enjoyed the experience. Now, I’m in Bahrain on job and I’ve almost a full apartment at my disposal, and more important, I’ve a terrific home theater. Just waiting for the right time.

Last Thursday, I bought a horror flick called “BOO”. I could not watch it on that night, but I made up my mind that I’m going to watch it on Friday night for sure. So as decided, around 11PM on that day, I switched off all lights, drew all curtains so that no light can sneak through from outside. Then I started watching the movie with full blast on my home theater. Wow, it’s terrific. Just imagine the situation. You are sitting in the middle of night, all alone and watching a sleek horror movie with full sound on your 5.1 channel digital home theater!!!!! Sounds fun, right? The movie’s also good with a few jittery moments and very good sound effects. But the climax sucked a li’l bit. The last 15 minutes are like a kiddie horror flick. But overall, it was fun. One dream fulfilled. Rest have to wait for………………