Trip coming… :)

Just before summers, I had so many plans of visiting places in and around Bangalore. I was even planning a trip all the way to Goa… I convinced my friends from HelL that this would be a summer to remember. According to my plan, I would have seen Ooty, Goa, Mysore, Hampi and Pondicherry by now. We Indians are always good at making plans but we never execute things properly.

Come 10th June and I will be off to Lucknow. But, before that I will be going to a few places outside Bangalore. My parents are coming… They will be here in Bangalore tomorrow… Yippee…

I will be going to Mysore with them and then will send them for a darshan of the Balaji temple in Tirupathi. The following weekend, we will be off to Mangalore and have a hit at the beautiful Western Ghats along with two other friends. In between, I will also try to show them some places in Bangalore … maybe in bits and pieces.

I am ‘earning’ but have never gifted anything to my parents. I am planning to buy a wrist watch for my Mom and a cell phone handset for Papa.

Life is a journey… and I feel like a grown up now. It seems as if it was only yesterday when papa was planning everything for a journey and look here I am making everything ready for my parents to come and enjoy this place.

Gone are the days when I used to ask papa to take me out on his Rajdoot bike to some place outside. I was a small kiddo then. He would ask me to sit on the oil tank of our bike… Strong gush of air would bring tears out of my eyes so I wore goggles made of yellow frame. Those days were so funny because I used to count the number of scooters/bikes/cars that papa would overtake. We did not have a car then and I used to dream someday papa would come and bring a beautiful foreign made car and take me all the way to some place distant…

Anyways, I hope this trip is gonna be rocking for my parents. They should take breaks more often from all the drudgery work that have become accustomed to doing…

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We are the champions! :)

We are the champions… the EUROPEAN champions. Man Utd has won the Champions League 2008. We have reached the ‘promised land’ of European soccer by defeating premiership ‘rivals’ Chelsea in an enticing thriller of an encounter in Moscow last night.

It’s been an amazing season for Manchester United football club (MUFC). They have won the English Premier League (EPL) for the second successive time, which created a record 10 premiership wins for MUFC under the able guidance of Sir Alex Fergusson as manager.

Last night’s victory was special in its own way:

  • 50 years ago, in 1958, a plane carrying Manchester United players crashed on the run way in Munich. 8 players died during the accident which shocked the entire world. It took them years to recover from the loss.
  • Sir Matt Busby, one of the survivors himself rebuilt a team around the other crash survivors. His team was famously called the ‘Busby babes’. It was 40 years ago in 1968, that they won their first European Cup.
  • Ryan Giggs surpassed Bobby Charlton’s record of maximum number of appearances for Man-U when he substituted Paul Scholes last night.
  • It was an all English clubs final for the first time in the history of Champions League.
  • In all previous Champions League finals where clubs from the same country played, the club which was lower on the table in the domestic competition won the cup. Last night it was destined to be different … Man-U won the cup despite being the champions at home.
  • Man-U had never won a major tie on the basis of penalties under Ferguson before.
  • Paul Scholes, one of Ferguson’s all time favorites, could not play during the famous Champions League final victory against Bayern Munich at Cam Nou in 1999 due to suspension. In this edition, he not only played but also had a crucial role in winning the cup.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo dismissed his critics by scoring in one of the biggest matches of his life.

Last night, Man-U dominated the first half. Kudos to Chelsea’s Cech who made two crucial saves. It was a characteristic Chelsea equalizer just before half time that brought them back into the game. Second half went Chelsea’s way as they created more chances and caused a lot of scare for Man-U. Extra time, stoppage time could not bring anything substantial and finally it was on the goal keepers to steal the victory for their sides.

Penalty shoot outs are often very unpredictable. After Ronaldo missed the 3rd penalty and Chelsea scored the subsequent one, they were back on top. I some how had a feeling inside, “No! No! We just cannot afford to lose… It cannot happen… It was gonna be our day” John Terry missed the last penalty after slipping on the pitch… Luck was there on our side.

When Van der Sar saved the shot from Anelka, that was the bestest thing to have happened to me… I was so emotional by then that I wanted to jump with joy. I don’t know why I have become so passionate about a game like soccer which was almost unknown to me only two years back. Manchester United was something that I had heard of but I never thought someday I would become a crazy fan of this mighty club. All the time while I was fighting with my life’s own problems, I started following this club… It did really help me a lot in diverting my attention from shitty things during my free time. Thanks Man-U!!! Thanks a ton… for all the happiness.

Some Links for the game here:

1. Penalty Shoot outs: Link

2. Award ceremony: Link

3. Celebration: Link

IPL and its theatrics

IPL has thrown up more controversies than any other sporting event in the country. Although, I am gradually getting bored of the same kind of matches being played over and over again, the press, the franchisee owners, the boards and the players do not stop themselves from creating some story which keeps the attention fixated on IPL.

Shoaib Akhtar had a dream debut in IPL. He took 5 wickets and took home an easy win against Delhi Daredevils although I feel it was more of a lack of seriousness on the part of the players from Delhi which lost the game for them rather than Shoaib winning the game for KKR.

Now, there is a lot of hue and cry over SRK‘s presence in the dug-outs. Apparently, he was there to ‘motivate’ his players to perform better and win the matches for him. My point is, what was the need for Shahrukh to jump and dance like a monkey on Shoaib soon after (READ: during) the presentation ceremony? The ceremony was not completely over at that time. He is just the owner of the franchisee… IPL is not indebted to him in anyway. He is also not a part of the governing body. He just cannot create his own rules and be whatever and wherever he wants to. It seems there is no rule book in place because the game’s beauty is being plundered with delight by people who think they are gods. I am a big fan of SRK but I do not approve of anyone going out and doing that kind of stuff on the field which should be considered a place of importance, if not sacred.

Fun is OK. Commercialization is OK. But, at least please don’t make a mockery out of this. Do players really need motivation from the likes of SRK to perform better? I don’t think so. I know he has invested a lot of money on this, but at the end of the day it was his own decision.

Another laughable character is Lalit Modi. He will always be found near some one whom the TV camera is surely going to capture. Being the organizer, he should have the sanity of not openly showing support for any particular team. But, our Modi commissioner sir celebrated with SRK once a Delhi wicket fell against KKR… and he was also showing remorse (I think he was trying to impress someone) while standing by Preity Zinta when Punjab Kings XI lost a batsman.

Anyways, I probably did not have anything good to write about so thought it would be a better option to crib about the circus called IPL. BTW, I am no way anti IPL. In fact, I am happy that India brought forth this concept… But sanctity of a game has to be preserved. And things look good upto an extent… nothing should be overdone.

Sreesanth slap dashed

Much has been said and written about Sreesanth and the infamous bolt being slap dashed on him by none other than our harum-scarum madcap Turbanator… Yeah, I am talking about Harbhajan a.k.a Bhajji.

I am no way a great admirer of Bhajji and his harebrained practices on and off the field but, I am also not in favor of putting the entire blame on him and letting Sreesanth run away unscathed.

Sreesanth once mocked and jeered at Sachin and Sehwag in two separate incidents during a Challenger Trophy match. A newcomer who is yet to prove his credentials as a match winner on the international stage should not resort to such behavior. It is not about performances on field. You would never see a Hayden being involved in a spat with McGrath. Being professional is more important than being uselessly aggressive.

I would say he is a good bowler and he has a great future ahead. But, rather than wasting his energy on those otiose gimmicks, he should try to learn from his mistakes. It is in fact going to hurt him more than anyone else.

Anyways, I am not here to barge on you readers with my own version of morality. But, if Sreesanth is not punished by BCCI, then I will be one of the very few persons (probably) who will be disappointed.

Glory glory Man United

We are the champions.

Manchester United defeated Wigan 2-0 to win yet another EPL title. Starting the league on the back foot with a draw and a humiliating defeat against Manchester City, ManUtd has carried forward its tradition of bouncing back during the crunch moments.

Arsenal was playing really well when the league started but they could not continue with their rhythm. Chelsea, on the other hand was trailing back but their fighting spirit and the 2-0 win against Man Utd at Stamford Bridge kept the title race alive.

Now, the wait for Moscow begins. Fergy and his boys truly deserve a double. 🙂

A civilization going down the drain in Assam

I came across a nice article by Mr. Wasbir Hussain on the demographic uncertainties facing Assam. It was published in the South Asia Terrorism Portal in September, 2004.

I have always been vocal about the problems that are arising in Assam because of illegal immigration taking place from Bangladesh. Let me reaffirm here that I am no way an anti Muslim person. I respect the religion and the people alike but here I am worried about my state. I have absolutely no problem with the indigenous people of my state including the Muslims who are there as an integral part of Assam. But, Assam is facing a crisis which might lead to a loss of its own identity and I am concerned about that. The consequences could be gruesome and the indigenous people may lose their home place forever.

According to the 2001 national census, approximately 30% of the population in Assam consists of Muslims. And the districts which are near the Bangladesh border are predominantly Muslim majority ones. Bangladesh is a small country but with a population which is far beyond its control. The easy way out for the people there is to sneak into India through the porous borders. Better ’employment opportunities’ and a state government which always turns blind eye towards this problem helps them in making Assam their abode.

The BSF soldiers guarding the borders are as corrupt as any government official in the state secretariat. They compromise with the country’s own security for a few extra dimes. Once, a single member of a Bangladeshi family is IN, he will ensure that he will bribe the BSF and get the rest of his family members inside within a short period of time. After that, they spread all the way to other parts of the state… Then they either encroach into the government owned lands like sanctuaries, national parks or manage to stay on the river islands or on their banks.

The implications could be aplenty. I will divide all of them into a few different categories:

Geo-political: All of us know about the vote bank politics in the country. Now, these immigrants very well know that if bootlicker party like Congress is in power, then they do not have anything to worry about. On the other side, we have the AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) and BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) as opposition which has never been formidable. AGP is trying to make up for its lost grounds whereas BJP is still trying to make its presence felt in the state. The opposition is not united and their vote bank is dwindling. So, getting these two parties back onto the stage is going to be very difficult unless the people of Assam realize that it is now or never. Looking at the awareness level and the lackadaisical attitude of the Assamese masses, that possibility also seems like a dream which will never become a reality. Another major issue that is arising out is the emergence of Islamic militancy in the state. There are many major Muslim Liberation jihadi factions already operational in Assam. AL Qaeda is building a follower base with help from ISI’s presence in Bangladesh. ULFA, which once fought the ‘Indian government’ for the sovereignty of the state, is now no more than a puppet in the hands of ISI. The whole media is focused on Kashmir and its politics but taking advantage of that very same callousness, ISI has built a nice base in Assam. If not controlled now itself, this will spread like a gangrene which will destroy the entire north east.

Social: I being a native of Assam can very well differentiate the Bangladeshis from the indigenous people. These immigrants are living on tight budgets. They work hard to earn a few bucks and manage to survive. But, when they see that people are relatively affluent, they resort to bad means. Theft, dacoity, robbery etc. have increased in the state. It is very risky now-a-days to walk late or leave the doors ajar. Incidents of rape, killings and other such crimes are heard more often than not. I do not put the blame solely on these immigrants, but 80-85 % of the time it is these people who are involved in such bad activities. Our social security is at stake.

Cultural: This is also very sad. These immigrants are also influencing the cultural scene in Assam. They are slowly displacing the indigenous people from the hot beds of Assamese cultures like Brotodua and Barpeta. To add to the woes, you would see modern pop songs in Assam made exclusively for these Bangladeshis in their native dialects.

Governmental: Thanks to the ‘foresightedness’ of our current CM, a crucial ministry was given to some one who is a pro-Bangladeshi. All major recruitment drives for home guards, Assam Police constables and officers have become favorable for these immigrants. There are people in the state ministry who love them and who work for them. Now imagine a situation where more than half of the Assam Police force comprises of people who are either Bangladeshis or pro-Bangladeshis. What will happen to justice for the indigenous people? Will ever justice be imparted? I doubt so… More so the same thing will happen in other departments as well. Take some 10 odd years, and you will see that these immigrants will start getting precedence in all state government run institutions like medical colleges, engineering colleges, universities and vocational courses. The government funds created for the welfare of the people of India will be wasted on these illegal immigrants.

Readers might be wondering how these people manage to show their identity as being indigenous. Forged documents are not hard to create.

The IMDT Act was revoked but the state government has come up with another replacement. I do not understand why the opposition cannot stand up to the state government. Why such laziness when they also know that nothing is going well? State bodies like AASU who have great bargaining powers should have been able to do something material by now.

I want to do something but don’t know what to do. Thinking about the state always discourages me and fills my heart with sadness. What is it that the youngsters who are good can do? There are so many talented individuals who are from Assam and who are proud of their state. These people want to do something worthwhile but it seems no one knows what to do. I am no exception.

A trip to Hyderabad

I had an extended weekend at Hyderabad. My good old college buddies, the dearest of them all are there… Hyderabad is an overnight journey from Bangalore. Book a ticket in a nice Volvo bus and you are assured a good comfy ride all the way. Mineral water, chips and biscuits are there to compensate for the dinner that one would definitely miss.

The trip to Hyderabad was a long overdue. I canceled it once three weeks back due to some creepy feeling that came into my mind. After that, it took me long to pacify Sardar who was acting as if the whole sky had fallen on top of his helmetted head.

The past is not as close as it seems. It’s been almost two years since we passed out… Some things though never change. I can talk with these people for hours without getting bored even once. I can hurl all kind of expletives at them… I can gauge their mood swings without much ado… Good to see that most of them are kinda well settled in their lives… and I am sure the future is only going to be better for all of them.

Some of the things that could be termed as leftovers (Would like to do these with friends some day in future)

  • Go on a trip to Mauritius. We planned an entire trip to Mauritius in between our end sem exams during engineering days. :P. Now, you know the reasons behind my lack of good grades. The plan was so exhaustive that the only thing that prevented us from making the trip was a passport;
  • Have a Dil Chahta Hai style trip to Goa from Mumbai on an open hooded car some day.

I always say that the college friends are the ones who have the greatest influence on one’s lives. Maybe because we grew up, faced ragging, experienced defeat, joy and all kinds of emotions together.

Coming back to Hyderabad, it is a nice and growing city. The software engineers swarm every other place… like they do in Bangalore. Except for the summer heat which is unbearable, everything is good out there. The roads are broad and beautifully maintained. Amenities are not aplenty but they are OK. One sad thing was that the Hussain Sagar lake stinked so bad that even olfactory adaptation could not prevent us from running away. God knows how people were having culinary delights on the Eat Street sitting by the side of the lake where we could not stand even for 5 minutes.

It feels good to be with friends all the time. But, as life moves on, work pressure, career and other options take precedence and probably take the fun portion out of life. One should take a few days off and try to re-energize himself for all the chores that one is entitled to do.