Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random musings 3 - Bits and pieces

(In this column of I shall put forward thoughts that course through my mind - too small to be separate blog posts but too long to be mere passing fancies).

1) MS Dhoni is one of the most successful captains in modern day cricket (and is fast moving up the ranks of the all-timers). I have read as many articles about him as I can in an effort to figure out what he thinks. Lately, he has openly admitted that he does not attend the bowler's meeting prior to a match as he does not want to go in with a pre-conceived strategy. This is admirable, because it clearly shows that he is willing (and able) to think on his feet during the game.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why India won the World Cup

Around the world supporters of the Indian team made all kinds of sacrifices and promises to ensure that the obstacles to a cricket World Cup win would be as minimal as possible. The sacrifices came in various shapes and sizes and ranged from the small to the big, from not changing one's seat during the Final to offering to give up chocolates for a whole year.

However, as far back as last July, the World Cup win had already been sealed as far as JJ and I were concerned. Our cricket ground, Freedom Park, is located less than 50 yards from the Missouri River. Last summer the river flooded extensively and left behind big pools of water on the field. We were to play a game on Sunday and wanted to organize it no matter what. So, one Friday evening in early July, JJ and I toiled for a long time, clearing all the pools of water by hand, filling up a couple of big buckets, and then emptying them beyond the field - repeating the process umpteen times. We motivated ourselves with the thought that if we were successful in organizing a game on Sunday, India would win the World Cup.

We did have a game that Sunday and India did win the World Cup. Unrelated events? I think not! Listen carefully to the video and note that the path to an Indian win is littered by sacrifices like ours.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A joy forever

This is the most beautiful video I have ever seen (The text provided below the video is by Terje Sorgjerd):

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011. I had the pleasure of visiting El Teide.

Spain´s highest mountain @(3715m) is one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars and is also the location of Teide Observatories, considered to be one of the world´s best observatories.

The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with one of the most amazing mountains I know El Teide. I have to say this was one of the most exhausting trips I have done. There was a lot of hiking at high altitudes and probably less than 10 hours of sleep in total for the whole week. Having been here 10-11 times before I had a long list of must-see locations I wanted to capture for this movie, but I am still not 100% used to carrying around so much gear required for time-lapse movies.

A large sandstorm hit the Sahara Desert on the 9th April ( and at approx 3am in the night the sandstorm hit me, making it nearly impossible to see the sky with my own eyes.

Interestingly enough my camera was set for a 5 hour sequence of the milky way during this time and I was sure my whole scene was ruined. To my surprise, my camera had managed to capture the sandstorm which was backlit by Grand Canary Island making it look like golden clouds. The Milky Way was shining through the clouds, making the stars sparkle in an interesting way. So if you ever wondered how the Milky Way would look through a Sahara sandstorm, look at 00:32.

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Music by my friend: Ludovico Einaudi - "Nuvole bianche" with permission.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Stretching arms towards perfection

(This is a very long post. Disjointed and unorganized. It is a post 28 years in the making but I did not realize it till I sat down to actually write it. I can remember every little detail about the 2nd of April, 2011 like it was (day before) yesterday but just not in sequence! My reminisces about the day are also like that. I nearly deleted this post because of its rambling nature until I was convinced that I should publish it nevertheless because there are people who want to read what I write!)

...Oh My God! I think I may have just cost India the World Cup. How could I be so stupid?! It is 3:10am and I am driving east on Maple Street approaching the 204th street intersection. The light is red and I tell myself, if it stays red India loses, if it turns green India wins. It turns green! Phew! But not satisfied with dodging that bullet, I decide that if the light stays green until it is no longer visible in my rearview mirror then victory is assured. Oh no...oh no...oh no... Phew! I can no longer see it but then I reach 168th street and turn left. Oh dear, I can see the traffic light to the left in the distance, still green but how long can it hold on? Idiot!! How could I be so stupid?!!

Miracle of miracles, it stays green the whole time! India is going to win! After that - Never. A. Doubt. Honestly, God promise.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Not the real deal

Coming up, very soon, a post on what I did on the 2nd day of April in the year 2011. Apart from the usual nonsense - get up, take a shower, drive around for a few minutes, etc., - I did catch a cricket match. I have been writing and writing and am still not done but I know my loyal followers (all 4 of them, I think) are waiting eagerly (one hopes)!

This post is just to say, "Have patience, my friend. A post is on its way." In it I shall reference, among other things, Rabindranath Tagore, OBO ("What's that?," you say? You'll just have to wait), Clint Eastwood, Keyser Söze, Saturn (the planet not the car), Lord of the Rings, Teddy (not Roosevelt but my dog), Doordarshan Samachar, 28 runs in 104 80 balls, Helen of Troy, and VVS Laxman (but, of course).

Until then, feast on this iconic image of the shot heard around the world:

(Getty Images 2011, via CricInfo)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Xander Drax to the rescue

I have been trolling the web for the past few days looking for articles about the Final that rise beyond the common and seek a balance between hype and conjecture.

Call it a search for a frame of reference for the occasion, if you will.

I have found it. Take a bow, Sharda Ugra.

Read the entire thing here.

With reference to the strategy for tomorrow's game, a small nugget comforted me and told me that the Indian team is in good hands. I trust MS Dhoni implicitly. Win or lose, I am happy he is our captain.
Like he (Dhoni) has always done, he will stay away from the bowlers meeting on Friday night, saying it helps him formulate his own alternative plans, if the bowling begins to fray on the field the next day.

Having beaten West Indies, Australia, and Pakistan (in that order, too), India has one other World Cup-winning team left in its sights - Sri Lanka. It is too wonderful a co-incidence to not be part of some mage-super-dooper plan. Or so I believe.

A date with Destiny awaits and I will leave you with these words by Rudyard Kipling (from If):
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;


If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;


If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";


If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
P.S. If you have made it this far and are wondering about the title of this post, click here and see if that helps a little bit.

Thoughts before the Final

It is finally upon us - a cricket final in Mumbai, featuring an Indian team.

Here are some last-minute thoughts on the off-chance that an Indian player reads it and passes along the message to MS Dhoni.

a) Virender Sehwag promised to bat 50 overs. Now would be a good time for him to remember the promise. If he bats 50 overs, the game is almost certainly out of Sri Lanka's reach.

b) Sachin Tendulkar is going to score his 100th international century in the Final. Not for nothing has he accumulated no less than 26 international scores in the 90's. A few years ago in Cuttack, Dinesh Karthik went ballistic with SRT eying a century, stranding him on 96 not out against the Sri Lankans. Now I know for sure that Dinesh did not strand the Master, it was part of a Grand Plan.

While on that, can we stop calling SRT a "Little" Master? He has gone beyond the Little stage by now, I would like to think.

c) In Masada, I trust. I had a dream vision that Masada and SRT were at the crease as the winning runs were scored. That means...

d) Masada needs to lose the toss. I have more faith in the batting chasing down a total than the bowling defending a total. Invariably, because of the great start that Sehwag provides the commentators place a curse on the Indian team by talking about projected scores in excess of 350, only to have the natural course of events bring it down to the 260-280 range which feels like a letdown when, in fact, it should feel like a great total.

e) Ravi Shastri: I know it is the final of a World Cup. You need not scream yourself hoarse reminding us of it. We know that you will be feeling the following things:

  • It does not get any bigger than this.
  • It's anybody's game.
  • The atmosphere is electric.
  • What the batting team needs is a good partnership.
  • What the bowling team needs is a couple of quick wickets
  • (or, if it is late in the inning) a couple of good overs.

Actually, why don't you just click on this link for more.

f) While their careers have overlapped for almost 19 years, I was shocked to read that SRT has faced only 91 balls in ODIs and 366 balls in Tests from Muttiah Muralitharan. What?!! here's hoping for 59 more (and someone else's wicket off the 60th one for Murali).

There are many more thoughts but considering how incoherent the previous ones have been, I should just shut up and write only after my nerves have settled.

By this time tomorrow.....