World Cup 2011: India World Champions

April 3, 2011

That’s a sentence I thought I might never say!

That punch of Dhoni’s that was sent high into the stands, brought a billion dreams come true. And those of some old souls who didn’t live to see. This is big! This is the World Cup and yes, it’s true. India have won it!

This team, ably coached by Gary Kirsten et all, has given us many wonderful memories. From Perth to Wankhede, it’s been a wonderful journey. Not a roller coaster ride, but a smooth nearly blipless one. Thanks to Kirsten and co. Thanks to Dhoni for the cool headed leadership. Today, not even the harshest MSD critic would have a gripe in saying that he deserved the man of the match, perhaps more than any other time – for Tendulkar yesterday did what he normally does in tournament finals and deciders for over a decade. Thanks to the young team for bringing us all this joy! But let us not forget those who, since ’99, have sown the seeds for this victory in spirit. I still feel bad about 2003, but this is not the day for that!

This day, we celebrate!
And yes, this victory is for the people of India!
Cheers Team India! Vande Matharam!


Gala Opening for the Commonwealth Games 2010

October 4, 2010

I must say that after all the muck that has surrounded the CW Games, the grand gala opening seems to herald a new begining. As an Indian sport enthusiast I felt an emotion that I hadn’t felt since Perth 2008 when Indian cricket team bt the Aussies at their fortress. The opening ceremony was definitely world class; in fact the proud Indian in me would say it’s the best I’ve seen and has perhaps set  new standards!

The drum fiesta was inviting and the children’s Swagatham sequence very original. It was good to see something as characteristically Indian as mehendi make it on the grand stage. The little ones must have practiced a lot. Bless them! The multi-state dance was short and sweet, and the yoga item well done. The Tour of India piece, featured by the Indian Railways, though rather longish I think featured a near exhaustive list of  folk and neo-classical dance traditions, customs, and local specialities in including the dabbawallahs and chai wallahs. Rahman’s performance was well, what to say, truly Rahman. And best of all, thankfully, the politicians and others kept their speeches short!

Jai Ho India!


India put Australia on back foot at the WACA – 3rd Test, Perth

January 17, 2008

A Chak de moment for India today, as they bowl out Australia without even one-full day of play. All this in none other than the WACA, known for pace and bounce and as an Aussie stronghold. It took India only 50 overs with Pathan striking early to remove both openers, Ishant coming good with the prize scalp of Ponting and Clarke, Kumble doing his usual magic and RP Singh blazing through to bag 4. Ricky Ponting, if you are listening, we can get you even without Bhajji. What have you got now? 🙂

I’m starting to like Ishant Sharma more and more now. I initially didn’t think much of him. Give him one wicket and he seems like a different bowler. He seems sure to get better. Sreesanth, you have some competition! R P Singh has been a revelation for India in the past year; he bowled beautifully in England, was impressive in the 20-20 World Cup in South Africa and now seems very promising.

The batsmen need to cash in on the bowler’s hard work. Hopefully Sehwag will fire tomorrow and the middle order make its contribution. If India set the Aussie a total of 430+, they have a chance of wining this Test.  Chak de India!


Om Shanti Om Soundtrack rocks!

November 2, 2007

It has been almost a month since I first heard the soundtrack from Om Shanti Om and I’m still listening to it. The soundtrack has kept me company mostly while unit testing my code or writing those mundane DAO classes at work, so I feel obliged to write (or should I say croon) about it here. Interestingly, I unwittingly chose to write about OSO today, it being Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday. Happy Birthday Shah Rukh!

Alright, about the music, I think it a good mix a soft-sweet songs and racy item number. Of the 12 songs, 4 are remixed (faster pace with disco-ish feel), and one is the instrumental theme. In the version I received, Ajab Si is the first song, a very sweet, pleasantly haunting number rendered by KK. It is the kind of song you can listen to with your eyes closed and feel at peace. One refreshing thing about this song that I feel obliged to comment on is that there isn’t much of that distracting electronic music. I will guarantee you that listening to this once will have you humming it endlessly. Another tidbit I can’t resist holding back, it was this song that featured in the Headlines Today segment (speculating about the MS Dhoni and Deepika Padukone link) that I wrote about earlier.

In total contrast to Ajab Si is Dard-e-disco, a racy one by Sukwinder Singh; after the title song in Chak de India, he makes magic again with this song. I loved this one and its remix. Dewangi is a happy number full of energy and has woken me up from a good number of naps at my desk in the afternoons :); here again the ‘original’ and the remix don’t fail to please. Mein Agar Kahoon and Jag Soona Soona (the next two songs) are more of the wistful-sounding ones; my only issue with the latter is with the beginning where the female lead seems to drill through your ears; the rest of the song is worthy of listening a good number of times. What follows is another happy number Dhoom Taana. Here again the blaring instrumentals that are used at the beginning seem to ruin the rest of a good number. Song number 7 Daastan-e Om Shanti Om, is a moderately paced darkish song by Shaan is also done very well. My guess is that this features when the Om played by Shah Rukh from the 70s gives way to the one from the 90s. The remix numbers of Dard-e-disco, Dewangi, and Daasthan all impressed considerably in that order with Daasthan-remix being a distant third. The mother-of-all-remixes appears under the name of ‘Om Shanti Om Medley‘. This is basically a mix of all the songs (except Ajab Si) with a disco-ish feel to it. The concluding piece is the ‘Om Shanti Om theme’ which is an instrumental version of the medley mix with a few variations thrown in.

In summary, a very good soundtrack album, in fact the best I’ve heard since Dhoom 2; having said that, I must add that I think this one is way better than Dhoom 2 with the balance and variety it offers. I will give it a whopping 95 out of 100. If you haven’t heard it, you’re missing out!


The T20 World Champions prevail: India beat Australia by 7 wickets

October 21, 2007

The Bradbourne stadium came alive as India, the T-2o World Champions took on Australia in the much anticipated 20-20 clash between the teams. The South African atmosphere was replicated here with the hip music and dancing girls which added spice to the already curry-hot up series. If one needed more, yes there was: starting from cricket veterans like Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavasakar, and living legend Sachin Tendulkar, to Bollywood’s best and “lucky-charm” Shah Rukh Khan who came with Deepika Padukone in tow (if media reports are to be believed, she was the captain Dhoni’s guest).

With Australia winning the toss and batting first, I was wary: the only match in the T20 World Cup that India lost (against New Zealand) was one in which they chased. Although that match included Ajit Agarkar, the run gift-giver, and this one did not, anything could happen in a 20-20 match. However, that was not to be. The first over was full of excitement, with Gilchrist slamming 3 fours and R P Singh bagging his wicket with a beauty of a yorker. More Aussie action followed with in form Ponting flourishing and runs flowing, but Harbhajan pulled some back when he struck early to send Mathew Hayden back to the dug-out. The manner in which MS Dhoni handled the bowlers here must be lauded; that, and some good fielding restricted the Aussies to 166-5. Although the Indian fielding did not live up to the high standards that they set from themselves in the South Africa during the T20 World cup, some brilliant efforts like that of Yuvraj/Harbhajan running out Andrew Symonds and a few saves from Uthappa and Yuvaraj made the difference. Everybody did their part: the bowlers bowled well, the fielders for the most part did well, and the batsmen mauled the Aussie bowling.

There are many good things for India to take from this victory. Most importantly, it proves, as captain Dhoni said in the presentation, “… that World Cup victory (in South Africa) was not a fluke”. There was energy in the field, the fielders were pumped up applauding each others’ efforts, the batsmen belligerent, and the captain bravely innovative. Secondly, they played as a team and beat the opposition comprehensively; I’m tempted to say that they pulled an Australia (although this is 20-20 and India are ruling at the moment): when Sehwag failed, Gambhir and Uthappa shone, when Sreesanth struggled, Pathan, RP Singh and the spinners compensated. Attitude was key. In the batting, although Gambhir set the foundation and Yuvraj helped see India to through, for me, Uthappa was the pick of the batsmen; the way he danced down the track to hit out speaks volumes of the confidence that he and this Indian outfit share. When Dhoni hit the winning stroke for six, I felt a rush of happiness, pride, and awe. In Mahendra Singh Dhoni, I think, India have found a great captain: he is not fearful of the unconventional yet is capable of pulling out some almost boringly traditional stuff (like his innings from the Lord’s Test earlier this year) and most importantly, his game strategy is as fearless as his words. With some patience from the selectors, the media and the fans, this man could turn out to be one of the most successful Indian cricket captains.

Here’s to the new victorious India and to many more victories!