Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Old Rocking Horse

The old rocking horse in the room,
Takes me to the place where wild roses bloom.

I travel seas and far off lands,
And have daring adventures with the prince so grand.

Oh! The dreams that we dream; my ol' horse and I,
Fighting with dragons on mountains so high.

I can go soaring like an eagle up in the sky,
Dancing with fairies as lovely as I.

The ol' rocking horse by the fire,
Burning bright, with eyes of sapphire.

A promise he does whisper in my ear,

At deep, deep dusk; when I  close my eyes to sleep,
My rocking horse enters my room with a leap!

I ride with him to the spacious Moon,
Go dancing with fairies and witches on their brooms...


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tit for Tat.... Time to Denounce

The ban on the Pakistan actors by IMPPA (Indian Motion Picture Producers Association), has brought forth divided reactions across sections of the society. The likes of Salman Khan, Karan Johar & a few others have come out strongly against the ban.
Yes, these actors are not terrorists, they are neither enemy aliens, but lets understand, they are Nationals from Pakistan. Their loyalties are with Pakistan & if news in the social media is to be believed, then after reaching Pakistan, Fawad Khan has already issued a statement saying "My first priority is Pakistan. Hindustani logon ka dil bahut chota hai." Certainly unbecoming of an actor whose name, fame, money et all came from Indian film industry. You may keep your loyalties with your country, but you have no business to speak about Indians, in this tone. Shows your true colors !!! Such people have to be banned......they certainly do not deserve our hospitality & shelter.

Lets get our facts right in the first place. These actors have come looking for stardom & money....& we have showered them in all abundance. Each one of them have built their name & financial corpus multiple times more than they could ever have achieved in their own backyard. Sure, they are talented, sure they have a huge fan following, but almost all of that has been our benevolence showered upon them. They have become household names, because of the exposure our Country has given them. Yes, the industry is open to talent from all over, including Pakistan, but then these are different times. Why do we have to create such a hue & cry for them ??? Is there a dearth of talent within our own ??.... Just take a look at the various Talent Shows across TV Channels....such breathtaking, stupendous, exhilarating performances. Why don't we invest in breeding home grown talent ??
While our Army Commandos on the Western borders are gallantly protecting us from the dastardly incursions of the terrorists;.....decimating terror camps / launch pads in one swift surgical attack across the LoC; when the Central Govt is taking bold steps in Global Forums to blacklist Pakistan & isolate them as a terror state;.... we civilians need to unify & strengthen our forces & not belittle their efforts by trivializing matters of Sovereignty. Isolating Pakistan means isolating everything & everyone that is Pakistani. If there is anyone who can dare to speak against them & their nefarious activities, we are happy to give & peace.... but not those people, who make merry at our expense but speak against us behind our back...or chose to silently look else where in times like these.

In fact, this ban is just one more step towards creating pressure on Pakistan & its stumbling economy. We probably need to further freeze all trade relations, revoke MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status given to Pakistan, strongly review Indus Water Treaty et all. They need to know & experience first hand, what they stand to lose, if they don't take a collective resolve to abolish terror, a menace that will eventually gnaw into their own homes. They have enjoyed & taken advantage of our patience & tolerance way too long....they have mistaken our silence as our weakness....they now need to experience our retort, & ability to retaliate.
Yes, all this is an arm twisting strategy, but then that probably is the need of the hour. Let us all unite & rise above narrow gains......its a time for us to make a resounding impact.
Make a note - in Pakistan, major cinema houses have stopped screening Indian movies to express solidarity towards their armed forces !! Time for us to take cue..... act tough.

Indians are known to be tolerant......way too tolerant, especially towards outsiders. Our traditions teach us to treat our guest with love & respect. "Atithi Devo Bhavo", a facet that has been flayed endlessly through centuries of incursions & intrusions. We have yet embraced them all & allowed them to mingle & melt within to become an integral part of our existence. Maybe, time has come for us to introspect & change our rules. Time for us to act tough & put to action an old adage in Sanskrit :

"SHATHE SATHYAM SAMACHARET" ..... in simple words, Tit for Tat....

Thursday, September 29, 2016

We Can.... & We Assured

The night was dull & dark...the faint crescent moon adding to the eerie silence, as a crack team of commandos stealthily surrounded their target - an unsuspecting terrorist camp.... a Launch Pad. As if in anticipation, the wind stood still & the forest leaves hardly rustled, while the commandos took strategic vantage positions.... & then in a clinical, precision & surgical strike, blew up the terror haven into smithereens!! The whole operation over in a blur & the commandos moved back into the dark & then safely back in their den. Absolute successful mission with minimal damage to report....... a very regular script clip from so many movies on commando operations. We've all gaped at the movie screen with baited breath as the action unfolded.
In almost a similar, albeit extremely well planned mission, Indian Army Commanders crossed over the LOC, & in the waning light of the crescent moon, cleaned up 7 such Terror Camps, better known as Launch Pads & returned home safely. There were no casualties, though a few suffered minor injuries, something that is unavoidable in such audacious cross border strikes . Launch Pads are temporary camps / shelters where terrorists assemble before any infiltration bids. Typically, at any given point, each launch pads have 15 - 20 terrorists, 4-5 guides & a few support staff huddling up to plan their nefarious activities. One swift overdrive of an action... & at least 35 - 40 terrorists across the border obliterated.

The need to "teach Pakistan a proper lesson" has been long long overdue. The capability of Indian Army to storm the western borders with clinical precision & results was never in doubt, but we chose to be tolerant.........tolerant for way too long. The diplomatic chit chats / exchange of verbal duels at Global forums / fierce arguments on TV channels was making Pakistan bolder by the day, as they continued their dastardly terror activities one after the other.
Taking advantage of the ensuing unrest in J&K, the fidayeen attacks on our army had increased over the past many months. The attack on Pathankot Air base in January & then finally in Uri, on 18th Sept was probably the last straw. Four terrorists sneaked into the Army Camp & slaughtered 17 Indian soldiers, before getting killed in the six hour gun battle that followed.

In an aftermath, our Modi Govt has not only blazed the international forums, asking for Pakistan to be isolated & declared a terrorist state, but also pulled out of the forthcoming SAARC meet in Pakistan...... a move that has been strongly supported with five other nations boycotting the meet as well. External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj tore down upon Pakistan in the UN General assembly, as the world took notice of India's offensive.
And while, Pakistan & the rest of the world thought, India would continue with dialogues in various forums, the Indian Army made the move..... a surgical strike, on a quiet, dim lit night, across the Line of Control, in the PoK ( our own territory in earnest) that would certainly send shivers down the Pakistani spine !!!

Watch out Hafeez Saeed & Syed Lakhvi & the likes !!......

However, we need to exhibit utmost caution, & be prepared for any counter attack or skirmishes. We need to unite as a Country & back our Govt to take the best possible steps in establishing peace.

A much needed offensive, for the world to sit up & acknowledge our capabilities.

Jai Hind

Sunday, April 3, 2016

World Cup T20 : Finals - West Indies vs England - The World turned Maroon

The the picturesque Eden Gardens, Kolkata, one of the best grounds in the world.
Sammy won the all important toss & chose to field - an obvious choice, considering, that they have successfully chased all targets, except the blip against Afghanistan.

With the under 19 having won the tournament against India earlier this year in Bangladesh & the Women's team having won their maiden trophy earlier in the day against mighty Aussies, it was now upto Sammy's team to make it a fantastic treble.

Jason Roy & Alex Hales opened for England & were immediately in trouble, as Badree, opening the bowling, clean bowled the dangerous Roy with the 2nd delivery. Huge wicket, considering that Roy had given England all the explosive beginnings in the tournament, including the ones against SA & Kiwis. Russell from the other end, got rid of Alex Hales, caught at leg slip, with England gasping at 8 for 2, both openers gone for nothing. Badree kept the pressure in his next over too, giving almost nothing away. Root, in at one down, looked in good nick, & along with Morgan got runs to the total, creaming some well placed boundaries to reach 23 for 2 at end of 4 overs. Badree then picked up Morgan, caught in slips, as England slid to 23 for 3. It was good captaincy by Sammy to persist with Badree & get rich dividends. At end of power plays, it was 33 for 3. The wicket looked a bit double paced, & the ball was keeping a bit low. Badree ended his quota with impressive figures of 16 for 2, as Sammy now turned to his pacers for some purchase. Root, England's most consistent batsman was looking good here as well, & with Buttler, tried to resurrect the faltering batting. The first six of the match came with Buttler lifting Benn over long off in the 9th over, as 50 of the innings also came up. Benn was proving expensive at this stage. Midway stage, it was 67 for 3, with Root on 39 & Buttler on 21...both looking quite comfortable in the middle. Two more sixes by Buttler off Benn, gave the momentum, as the score rapidly went upto 83 for 3, with 16 runs coming in the 11th over. Just, as they looked like taking the match away, Buttler pulled a Braithwaite delivery to Bravo at mid wicket boundary.....dangerous looking Buttler out for a very well made 36 off just 22 deliveries. They had added 61 invaluable runs in just 40 balls. Meanwhile, Root brought up his 50 runs in just 33 deliveries..... pure class of batsmanship, as England went past 100 runs in the 13th over, Sammy giving away 14  runs. Bravo then got rid of Ben Stokes, caught off a slower by Simmons at gully..... big wicket & then Moeen Ali nicked a wide delivery behind, leaving England reeling at 110 for 6. Root too perished, maybe to the pressure building up..... as he lofted a ball from Braithwaite behind to be caught by Benn for a splendid 54...with England having lost 3 quick wickets to be at 111 for 7...... at end of 15 overs it was 115 for 7, with all batsmen back in the dug out. It was now tailenders Willey & Jordan at crease. Willey blasted two sixes off Bravo full tosses in the 17th over, taking the score to 131. His pyrotechnics did not last long though, as Braithwaite had him caught in the deep, for a sweet cameo of 21 runs. Braithwaite ended his 4 overs with 3 for 24...excellent figures. Plunkett went out next caught brilliantly by Badree, as the score read 142 for 9, & Bravo ended his spell with figures of 3 for 37. England finished at 155 for 9 in their 20 overs....a near par score, keeping in mind that this was the finals. Barring Benn & Sammy (one over) all other bowlers were effective, with Badree having a fabulous day, scalping 2 wickets & taking two wonderful catches.
While the Windies had plucked 9 wickets, Root(he was fantastic), Buttler, Willey made impactful contributions to take England past the 150 mark. They now had a decent score to bowl at, as Windies would need to bat sensibly at the top to win.

Windies needed 156 runs at almost 8 runs an over, as Gayle & Charles walked into the middle to start the chase. Willey opened the bowling for England. The 1st over was quiet, but Root came into bowl spin the 2nd over, as a surprise move by Morgan, & Charles hit him too high to be caught in the deep by Stokes. Windies had lost an early wicket. Samuels in now. Gayle too holed out to Windies slid to 5 for 2...Root having consumed two extermely crucial wickets, with both openers back in the dug out. Willey got in form Simmons LBW next, as the Windies were left reeling at 11 for 3...was the pressure of finals taking over ??....they needed someone to control & settle nerves in the middle, as Bravo walked in next. At end of power plays, it was 37 for 3, with Samuels getting a couple of boundaries & looking to steady the innings. But immediately after, he casually nicked a ball to the keeper. Replays showed that the catch was not clean.... a reprieve for Samuels & the Windies. Plunkett was the unlucky bowler, having bowled superbly. 50 came up in the 9th over, as West Indies looked for some flourish & momentum in the batting. Mid way through the score read 54 for 3, needing another 102 runs in 10 overs. 50 run partnership came up in 52 deliveries....rather slow for this format, but very crucial for the circumstance. They now needed to start unleashing big shots. Bravo tried to break shackles with a six, but got caught in the gully for a run a ball, 25. The score reading 86 for 4. Samuels had reached a run a ball 50 at the other end, as Windies clearly needed someone to hit big. The required run rate crept to almost 12. Two sixes in the 15th over took the score past 100, as Windies needed another 52 in the last five slog overs. Russell got out to a brilliant catch taken at the boundary by Stokes, & the Sammy went out cheaply too....score reading 107 for 6...Willey taking two crucial wickets in the 16th over, his figures reading 3 for 9 in 3 overs...fantastic in any form of cricket. He ended with figures of 3 for 20. The match looked like slipping away from the Windies, as Jordan bowled an excellent 19th over giving away just 8 runs. England fans were already celebrating, as the match now looked clearly in their pocket. But then this is cricket....a game of fascinating uncertainties.
West Indies now needed 19 runs from the last over, with Ben Stokes coming in to bowl. And then the unbelievable happened. Carlos Braithwaite hit four consecutive sixes, as West Indies won the World Cup T20 2016. It was a script that no one would have dared to think...... in a final, to hit four consecutive sixes in the final over chasing....Braithwaite would be a name in the folklore for Windies. Cometh the hour, cometh the Hero. What a match for him. First with the ball, figures of 3 for just 23 runs & then, with the bat, 34 superb runs off just 10 deliveries. In the group stages, against SA, when he hit Rabada for a mighty six, I thought Rabada bowled poorly, but today's display changed my opinion. This is an excellent lower order bat....someone to be preserved as a match winner.
Samuels was incredible too at the other end, stroking a brilliant 85 unbeaten runs in 66 deliveries. Between the two of them, they had demolished the English. It was so near & yet so far for the men in red.....the English. They have played fascinating cricket through the tournament & created some splendid surprises. They would certainly carry some very good memories for the future.
This was the first time a target in excess of 150 was chased down in a final of World Cup T20.
The Champions dance had started..... definitely a Caribbean resurrection. The first team to win the trophy for the second time. Every match had some one put up a match winning performance. Certainly not a one man team. For a team, which was not sure of playing the tournament, having payment problems with the Board, crucial players dropping out & yet enjoying the game, playing with passion, playing for the love of the game.... Captain Sammy was understandably emotional at the presentation ceremony..... he mentioned about the contributions behind the scene, the coach, the support staff, even the playing jersey getting arranged at the last was indeed fascinating to watch this team. Hopefully, now the West Indian Cricket Board will come to terms with the players & nurture them for the future......much needed support to get back as Champions in all forms of the game....they are wonderful ambassadors of this game cricket, & it will be fascinating to watch the resurgence of this team.
The Man of the Match was Marlon Samuels for holding the innings together for a marvelous 85, the highest run getter in a T20 final till now & taking the team to an incredible victory. He did so in 2012 finals too, when West Indies pulled it away from Sri Lanka. Though according to me, Braithwaite was my man for the day....complete all round performance & then soaking up the pressure to bring up an incredible victory in the final over....four back to back sixes....Wow...take a bow !!!
The Player of the Tournament adjusted was Virat Kohli, for his fabulous performance, though the competition.
Everybody knows, West Indies is the Champion....Champion...Champion.... the song reverberating all across..... their dancing taking centre stage...... & why not.... truly deserving. Maroon is the colour in the World of Cricket for now.....

Congratulations West Indies..... we love to see you in the playing arena.....Calypso Champion...

Thursday, March 31, 2016

World Cup T20 : Semi finals - India vs West Indies

India vs the Windies...always a fiercely contested game.... & when its a semi final knock out becomes that much more competitive. At Wankhade, Mumbai, under the din of a boisterous crowd, Sammy won the toss & elected to obvious choice against the marauding Indian line up. Both team looking pumped up for a place in the finals.
India have made two vital changes, dropping an out of form Dhawan for Rahane & an injured Yuvi for Manish Pandey....both excellent choices under the circumstances. For the Windies, it was Lebdl Simmons in place of an injured Fletcher...a very dangerous player.
A cautious start by India, as both Rohit & Rahane tried to get used to the pitch, which looked a bit sluggish. Rohit hit a clean six in the 3rd over, as India ambled to 15 for no loss. A couple of boundaries in the next over took his score past 20, his highest in the tournament till now.... home ground....hope soaring within the crowd for the local lad. The ball was coming nicely onto the bat, as the score rushed past 50 with Rohit taking the bowlers to the sword. At end of power plays, it was a very healthy 55 for no loss, with Rohit unbeaten with 41 off just 26 deliveries ( 3 sixes & 3 fours), & Rahane keeping good company with a run a ball 12. The best start for India in the tournament thus far, with run rate nudging almost 9. It was looking very good for the Men in Blue.
But it was too good to be true to last, as Rohit went LBW to Badree, as India lost her 1st wicket at 62 runs, in the 8th over, bringing the man in form, Virat Kohli to the crease. The man, on whose strong shoulders, stood the dreams of a billion. The 9th over saw some incredible run out misses by the Windies, that too by Bravo, as Kohli survived & the stadium heaved a sigh of relief.
At the end of 10 overs, it was a healthy 86 for 1, with Rahane playing a sweet cameo & Virat settling in, despite the scare. The platform looked set for a big score ahead.
100 came up in the 13th over, & end of 15th over, it was 127 for 1. Both Kohli & Rahane in their 40s, batting excellently. Just then Rahane holed out to Bravo, right on the ropes, bringing in Captain Dhoni...what else could India ask for at this stage. Kohli completed his half century in the 17th over off just 33 deliveries, with a chip shot over long on, as 150 for the team came on board. Virat just kept swinging & runs kept flowing, as 17 runs came in the 17th over, 11 in the 18th & 19 in the 19th over, & the last over brought 12.... all in all 59 runs in 4 overs. India ended the innings with a solid score of 192 runs. Kohli is in the form of his life, & today must've come with some protection...... Windies should've got him out four times & missed the opportunities unbelievably....including a simple run out chance when he was just at the crease. In the end Virat was unbeaten with 89 outstanding runs of just 47 deliveries & Dhoni kept company with 15 off 9.
In T20 this year Kohli has batted 12 times, with 10 not outs, & 8 half centuries, with strike rate in access of 175. Incredible figures this.
It was a treat to watch Kohli, Rahane & then Dhoni running superbly within wickets, getting those extra runs..all so vital in a pressure game like this. It was fascinating all through.
Windies looked a little rattled & pressurized in the field. Normally a very good fielding unit, they fumbled in crucial moments & gave India the advantage.

They now had an uphill task to climb 193 runs for a win. Gayle would almost certainly have to fire at the top, with crucial contributions form Samuels, Bravo & Russell. Wankhade is a high scoring ground, & it would be an interesting second session to watch. England had chased down 230 runs against SA in the same ground.
Gayle came out with Johnson Charles to start the chase. But Gayle looked tentative despite a boundary in the 1st over, & Bumrah clean bowled him in the 2nd over itself. Next to go was Samuels in the 3rd over...Windies gasping at 19 for 2.... two very very strong wickets gone. Both of them looked strangely uninterested in batting as it was poor shot selection that got them out, rather than good deliveries. Looked like it was curtains for the Windies at this stage. However, Simmons & Charles went about resurrecting the batting, & at end of power plays, it was 44 for 2. Stupidly then, Simmons chased a wide delivery from Ashwin & Bumrah took a splendid catch at wide gully, but Ashwin had overstepped...a no ball. However, Simmons, despite the reprieve could make no use of the free hit, as the score was 51 for 2 at end of 7 overs. Charles went for some lusty hits & at mid way, ie after 10 overs, the Windies were at 84 for 2, needing another 109 runs off 60 deliveries...tough ask. In the 12th over, Charles brought up his 50 & team's 100, as the score reached 104 for 2. A definite above waist delivery by Pandya was not adjusted a no ball, as the whole Windies dug out got up in unison. .... With the score soaring & no wickets in sight, Dhoni brought in Kohli with the ball & he immediately consumed the dangerous Charles, holing up to long on the ropes, caught by Rohit Sharma. Charles had by then put up a splendid 52 off just 36 balls.
15th over was again eventful, with Pandya luring Simmons to get caught out in covers, but he had overstepped. The free hit went for a massive six, taking the score to 138 for 3. The over had costed India 18 runs, as West Indies were sneaking back into the game. Five overs left & 55 runs to get.... match on for sure. 150 came up in the 16th over, with Simmons hitting another six, this time off Bumrah. 18th over again was eventful, as Bumrah first bowled 3 dot balls on the trot. Simmons obviously had to hit out, & Kohli - Jadeja combo caught him on the ropes, but, Jadeja erred in touching the ropes & it turned out to be a six. At end of 18 overs, it was 173 for 3, with 20 needed of 2 overs. Jadeja bowled the 19th over & was excellent till the last two deliveries, where he gave away one six & one four. With just 8 runs needed off the last over Dhoni brought in Kohli, as a last move. But Russell had already measured up, & a boundary & then a six sealed the match for the Windies. They had made their way emphatically into the finals. Simmons was the obvious choice of Man of Match with a fabulous 82 unbeaten runs in 51 deliveries. This was his 1st match of the tournament, & he grabbed the opportunity to display his class. Russell too was unbeaten with 43 off just 20 deliveries, hitting the winning runs.
For Dhoni, it was a loss that would rue him. The score was good enough, & had the bowlers not overstepped, especially on the two occasions, when the batsmen were caught out, India would've won. Dhoni who has been so successful with his last over "phatkas" saw his luck finally run out. He would reach out for the most unexpected bowler & still win the game....but this time a try with Virat failed. Pandya was the man against Bangladesh, earlier in the tournament, & so many times earlier, Dhoni had won the game with his inventive decisions. But today was not to be........
The pressure had caught up with the Windies & thats how Gayle & Samuels got out. But credit to Simmons, Charles & then Russell, not to buckle & score freely, as they got the team past the target.
One would also feel for Virat Kohli....he was in sublime form, & had single handedly taken India to the semis. All the dreams of another cup, revolved around him.

The West Indies showed that they are not a one man team, but actually a lot of quality players in the ranks. They now face a resurgent England in the finals, whom they had hammered in the league game, with Gayle firing a splendid century. This soft spoken, care free dancing, singing team & laughing team, looks a good happy unit, with a lot of belief in their capabilities.
Indeed the finals on Sunday at the Eden Gardens would be a mouth watering contest.

Bips ke Tips