Monday, May 17, 2010

T 20....World Cup 2010...England scale the summit...finally

The English had invented the game of cricket & it was in the green turfs of England that the first ever World Cup cricket was held in 1975. Since then, every four years, there has been a World Cup to play for across the globe; the ICC Champions Trophy got introduced in the late ‘90s & then in 2007, even the shorter format of T20 has been introduced……each of them, a popular event, watched by billions across, with fervor & excitement….the game becoming more & more intense.

Through all these years, there have been various champions, starting with the legendary West Indies winning the ’75 & the ’79 tournaments on the trot before losing to the mercurial Indians in 1983. Australia has dominated the tournaments from there on winning most of them. With Sri Lanka and Pakistan winning the World Cups in between & then New Zealand & South Africa claiming the Champions Cup, it was only England, amongst the premium cricket playing nations, who had nothing to display as a summit winner.

And this time around, the English team, played like a team possessed, a team which believed in its capabilities even in duress, a team that was quietly willing to extend every sinew of their reserve energy, a team that had only one superstar in Kevin Pieterson, who excelled consistently, & had all others contributing around him to add to the core strength. The team did not let hiccups of a rain truncated loss to the Windies or a near loss to the rookies Ireland, create any panic. The team was methodical, disciplined & had the rare belief in themselves that separates a Champion from the rest of the pack. While the world was anticipating heavy weights like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or Australia to win the tournament, the English, kept their job at hand simple & straight. The think tank of skipper Paul Collingwood & coach Andy Flower (remember the elite batsman from Zimbabwe), did a wonderful job of keeping the players fit & focused, both mentally & physically. The batting revolved around Michael Lumb & Kiewswetter at the top with Pieterson & Collingwood following, keeping Eoin Morgan & Luke Wright to do the finishing rights. In the bowling department, it was Sidebottom, Bresnan, Broad & Swann excelling with the white leather to send jitters in the rivals camp. The fielding was above par, with each of the eleven players willingly throwing themselves at the ball…..the rivals had no chance to breathe or relax. This team seriously meant business. In the end, they were the deserving champions, & looked every bit of it. What seemed like an outlandish joke two weeks ago had turned itself into a reality. Pieterson, was deservingly the man of the tournament. He also managed to fly back to his wife in between to see her deliver their first child…..a proud moment indeed.

India, under Dhoni, played some unbelievable cricket. The team boasting of enough & more match winners, strangely never bunched together as a team. All the players in the squad had played in the recently concluded IPL3 & therefore had enough match practice under their belt. But, having won the initial round matches with elan & ease, the men in blue probably took things too much for granted. The captain cool suddenly, looked completely out of sorts & the team just withered away, snatching losses from their opponents, as if the desire to win was not there. Barring Raina, most of the players looked jaded & out of shape. It was a tournament, which Dhoni & Co would like to forget in a hurry… was simply nightmarish. For the first time since he became the captain of India, the punt chances taken by MSD has gone all wrong, & he has to take the brunt of the same. The team looks sure to face some serious revamp & changes.

The Aussies, overwhelming favorites in the finals, were very good & consistent through the tournament. After defeating Pakistan in a stiff semis, they looked almost sure of mauling their Ashes rivals, but they were against a resurgent English side, which was the better side on the day. Skipper Clarke would rue missing out on winning the finals, the only tournament, that the mighty Aussies have not conquered as yet.

The hosts, Windies, as usual faltered to deceive. The only memorable win for them was against the Indians, where Gayle blasted them to a resounding victory. The cheering & ever dancing crowd, kept screaming & guzzling beer, but the somehow, the team was patchy & eventually lost out. The only consolation could be that they defeated England, the eventual Champions, though it was a rain truncated match.

Teams like South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand lacked consistency & faded away one after the other.

So at the end of a fortnight of intense cricket in the picturesque Caribbean’s, finally the Union Jack fluttered all over & the barmy army got their first ever major Silver ware in the arena of cricket….The T20 World cup – 2010 will now be in display in the English dressing room. Inspirational Paul Collingwood led England team has finally buried all the demons of being the regular under performers in the past.

Kudos to the victors……

Thursday, May 13, 2010

13th May....Tera May.....Celebration time all around !!!!

It was midnight, & we were returning home. I had taken my friends out for dinner. Just at the stroke of zero hour, our hand phones started ringing one after the other.....there were excited voices at the other end.....& calls kept pouring in......wishing " Jai Gurudev....... Happy Birthday.....Janm din mubarak ho"....... some would even start singing "Saagar mein ek lahar uthi tere naam ki....tujhe mubarak khushian atmagyan ki....." every one seemed to be so celebrating......each one of us were also excitedly exchanging greetings.

This is 13th May......& every year....year on year, on the same day, millions of people across the globe, call up each other & greet with pure joyous feelings. 13th May.....the birthday of Sri Sri RaviShankar.....the spiritual leader & founder of The Art of Living, a NGO with International status from UNO & presence in more than 150 countries. The birthday celebrations continue through the day across all these countries, in countless places, across all levels of the society, across all religions, across all walks of life....millions of them, who have found a reason to smile in His holy presence.....
Interestingly, this day, across the world people congregate in numbers, ranging from small to very large, starting the day with sessions of meditations, praying for world peace & harmony......then through the day, they also get involved in some development activity...for the well being of the society.....for the neighbourhood, for the much of creative energy & enthusiasm.....with a inner belief that the world will be a better place to live in. The evening is breathtaking & colourful, with everyone coming together to sing & rejoice......we call it Satsang.....the company of the good !!!! event, which leaves everyone full & content in love.

I have never ever heard or witnessed such celebrations on any one else's birthday...ever. I dont think anyone ever has. I have never felt so much much cared much of coming is all so monumentous & yet so encompassing.....all this because Sri Sri RaviShankar was born on this day.......the ever smiling Guru.....the Divine....who has been tirelessly involved in bringing peace & harmony across the whole human bring out the child in each one of soak us in his love & give us a reason to smile.....

May you live forever.....& heartfelt pranaam to my Guru.....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kasab....the nightmare continues !!!!

So finally after almost a year & a half of numerous court room dramas & discussions, Mumbai High Court Special Judge, ML Tahaliayani, pronounced Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 mayhem, guilty of all the 86 charges pressed against him, including waging war against India & murder. Guess this was only expected. Justice delayed but justice done…maybe !!!! Only Time will tell.

But there are more serious matters that are now surfacing........

The whole world has seen the CCTV footages on the audacious attack by the ten terrorists, who had held the Mumbai city to ransom….mindlessly killing 166 innocent people & injured so many more. Despite numerous clear evidences of these terrorists being masterminded by Pakistan, we struggled to carry on the trial…..we are still struggling to nail Pakistan on a global forum.
The inept Govt seem to be overjoyed with the proceedings, feeling that the trail has been just & fast !!! Brownie points are being exchanged. According to them, we are on the right track in setting the right & just examples to the world.
Meanwhile, the common man is apprehensive….he feels, that after the quantum of punishment is announced, Kasab would have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court & then finally also appeal to the President of India for mercy. So the drama may continue for a few more days….or a few more months….or a few more years….untill one day Kasab is set free!!!!….are we witnessing a nightmare of sorts???......something that just does’nt seem to end….maybe ???

On being questioned, if Kasab’s case would meet the same fate as that of Afzal Guru ( the chief convict of the Parliament attack), whose death penalty has been kept pending since more than three years now, due to his mercy plea to the President of India, the honorable Home Minister, Mr Chidambaram, says, “"We will take up each case according to the order in which the case is pending before the Ministry of Home Affairs and before the President of India. So, the cases will be taken up one by one”. He also said that his Ministry has already sent four cases to the President, after reconsideration. "Please remember that all these cases have been sent to President once. After reconsideration, we have sent four cases to President. We will continue to send one case at a time to the President. No one can speak what the President will do. I think we should respect the office of the President".
Meanwhile our President, Mrs Pratibha Patil is so busy that she does not have time to address four cases in four years??? Cases, whose ramifications are touching the emotions...the sentiments of the whole Nation? And, we the bemused gentry, the common man, just listen to our Home Minister & keep respecting the office of the President….how bizarre can this get???? Is this inept leadership at the President's office, or is it the centre's vote bank management, of the so called minority section ???
We Indians, now seriously need to introspect on the capability of this spineless Govt.....

To top it all, we now have the human activists group surfacing on TV channels, who are now saying that Kasab should not be hanged….we are a democratic country, & we should not advocate to capital punishment !!! We should allow Kasab a chance to redeem & correct himself !!!! He should be given life imprisonment so that he is able to redeem his soul !!!!! What are we doing????
Are we not simply making a hero out of a cold blooded murderer....We are laying the seeds of many more Kasabs to take birth,….We are allowing the world of terrorists to know that they can come at will, & ransack & butcher the very fabric of our country’s peace…..and get away with it, under the garb of our legal proceedings…..incidentally the Govt has spent close to 50 crores of tax payers money on Kasab till now……. While there are millions below the poverty line, who do not understand any of all this….they just look up & pray for just a roof over their head, a piece to cloth to wrap their emaciated torso , a piece of roti to chew & a scoop of water to drink….how much more dank & murkier can it get ??????

The Page 3 celebrities, meanwhile are having a wonderful time, coming on the various news channels & giving their precious two-bits.....raising a storm over a tea cup.....the debates ranging from wierd to nonsensical to absurd, with very rare flashes of intelligence & food for thought !!!!
I believe, a common man would probably bring in more realities to the table for discussions & therefore would be more insightful for all & sundry........ Hope Arnab Goswami, Barkha Dutt, Karan Thapar, Rajdeep Sardesai, Rajat Sharma et all take note of this please.......

As a common man…as an Indian, I am perplexed….I am worried..I am astounded….I am bemused !!!!! I wonder what would RK Laxman have to say…..

Saturday, May 1, 2010

T 20....World Cup 2010...may the best team win !!!

The T20 World Cup 2010 at the exotic locales of Caribbeans has taken off......
Going by the opening matches, it looks to be a tournament that would well be dominated by the bowlers, rather than the batsmen.......a seemingly opposite of what is expected in this slam bang format of the game. The pitches seem to be very slow & run making looks laborious.

In the first match Sri Lanka managed a mere 135 runs in their full quota, thanks to an outstanding 81 off just 51 deliveries by the inform Jayawardane...others simply struggled to put bat to the ball. After his dismissal, the innings simply folded away. Shane Bond got two crucial wickets in the last over to restrict the Lankans from posting a big total.
In reply, the Kiwis lost mercurial Brenden McCullum in the first over itself for a duck, but managed to keep in contention through some super hitting by Jesse Ryder.... however, runs were hard to come by & wickets at regular intervals kept the match alive till the last 2 deliveries. It was Brendon's younger brother Nathan, who with his imaginative hittings, finally got the New Zealand to victory....The Kiwis needed 10 runs of the final over by Malinga...a tough ask, but Nathan managed a boundary & a six to manage an improbable win.
It had been the Lankans on the driver's seat, till Nathan spoilt their party.....

The second match was the home team against minnows Ireland.....One expected the Windies to fire right away, but they labored to an unimpressive 138 only, with the top order simply was only the late flourish of Darryl Sammy, who hit 30 off a mere 17 deliveries that got them the total. However, in reply the Irish batters were all at sea & folded for a mere 68, with extras being the top scorer at 19. Sammy again had been in the thick of action taking 3 wickets for a mere 8 runs. He was the obvious choice as the man of the match.

The pitch & the surface have avery broken & tired look about them & run scoring would get progressively difficult. Unless someone gets his eye in first & then goes for the big hits!!!...

This will be an interesting tournament, with quite a few teams capable of claiming the Sliverware...the trophy. India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka from the subcontinent, all look in good nick & have the potential to be the Champions, while Aussies & the Kiwis from down under, seem to have all the necessary arsenal to walk away with the laurels. We cannot overlook the talented Proteas, who have always choked at the crucial stages & the Caribbeans with their hme support can be a handful too.

Timings of the matches for us Indians, is tough & late in the night, but, I guess, a few die hard supporters of the game like me, would do anything to keep wide awake, even if it means being drowsy for the better part of the next day...hehehehe..all for the love of  cricket......Jai Ho....

Thinking is such a waste of time !!!

The punch line in a recent advt on TV has caught my imagination over the last few days. During the airing of the IPL 3 on Set Max, most of us would have seen this advt of Hero Honda, Dhak Dhak Go….where, a biker accepts the challenge & beats four guys on motor boats in a race from a seashore jetty to a nearby island. He does some incredible stunt driving to reach ahead of others. When questioned by one of the guys, “how do you think, you are going to go back?”, he has a quick retort, “thinking is such a waste of time”, & off he goes again…..

The advt had me thinking….which led to a lot of introspection & I am at the receiving end of a barrage of thoughtful understanding !!!

What is thinking??? Why do we think????? We think because we don’t understand….we don’t comprehend…we are curious, isn’t it???? When understanding dawns….thinking disappears…

From our childhood, we all have been conditioned to think!!! We habitually think through any situation….we are innately driven towards it!!! But if we observe, thinking actually has no vision for the unknown…whatever we think, is from what we know….Thinking is groping in darkness…not knowing what to do…like a man groping in darkness, looking for light or support, to hold on to as an assurance. We think mostly when we are uncertain or unclear…an attempt to be in control leads to thinking…But then, thinking has no vision of the unknown….it merely repeats what we know….we are geared to think only of what we know…it is so repetitive…we end up making a new combination of old thoughts….or cling to old combination of new thoughts….nothing beyond….nothing is really new in thinking.

However, understanding is new…its right now….it has an insight into reality. It is fresh & therefore more powerful. Like Aamir Khan as Bhuvan in Lagaan....he understood that, he has to win against the English get respite from annual taxes & save his village, he has to defeat them in a game of cricket...a game that he has no clue of.....he did not waste his time thinking(which others were doing & found him least initially!!!)....Bhuvan, kept his life simple but complicated thinking, but simple & pure understanding.....& his complete trust in himself.......guess that's what separates the ordinary from the mavericks or the path breakers.....

In thinking there are questions, but no answers….even when we feel that we have found an answer, it actually is an outcome of our decision to choose. We cling to a decision we take. If we looked deeply into the answer, we will see a thousand questions surfacing out,….very very confusing… a quagmire, going round & round. Maybe that is why it is said, that Truth is !!!....Truth needs no explanation….Truth is so free, so fresh, so powerful, so clean…Truth is understanding !!! Understanding is like eyes….its a clean vision….we see, we don’t grope in darkness….Understanding has no questions…only answers…because it has eyes.

Most of our thoughts are given by others…can we find a single thought that is authentically ours??? That we have given birth to…??? The source may be known or unknown…but they are all borrowed….from the past…like a computer, which functions on what you have feeded in….so unconsciously, we behave like a computer…..borrowed & fed !!

Intelligence is in understanding….. that is purely your own….we all are born with it….knowledge can be fed in….thats what we acquire over the years….but intelligence cannot be fed in…it is what we are born with ….it just needs to be honed….to be believed in!!! is our own sharpened being….

Probably, that is why our beloved Guruji is always smiling…always fresh…..always so powerful yet innocent. He is not immersed in thinking…& therefore never groping !!!! He is not clouded by past….He is in complete understanding…He is so full of Love.

Guruji keeps telling us to meditate, because that helps us drop the borrowed thoughts…the borrowed feedings….. deep meditation sharpens the intelligence….brings back the originality…the innocence, the freshness, which is able to blossom…. When we act out of that freshness, we act out of understanding….nothing from past clouds us…. We are free… Then the response is in the now…total…& fresh…it is strong & capable….it is not from the past..

When someone asks us a question, what do we do?? We immediately go back to the layers of past stored information & look for a suitable answer…. This is thinking…. It is borrowed… however, when someone asks a question & you become silent…look into the question & face it with freshness…. If you don’t know the answer,…you don’t know what???...there’s nothing to lose …nothing to gain….

The other day I was talking to a senior business executive & telling him about how in 2002, I had decided to quit my job & dive full time into social service activities under The Art of Living. The five years of journey into the remotest corners of our country had been so invaluably enriching & learning. Though, I ended up financially bankrupt…well almost so, I have no regrets at all…..I gained much more than I lost. Had I invested time to think on whether I should or I should not, prudence of thought would have not allowed me to do something that most people thought was unbelievably stupid…..again the same understanding helped me realise that it was time for me to get back to earning ways...& here I am back to consulting......So the essence is in understanding & then believing & then moving with the belief….. else mere thinking would engulf you in an unending dungeon of ifs & buts….

Thinking is such a waste of time… let’s get rid of it….. or at least try & curb it. Meditate & become free from this basement…. Lets drop thinking & embrace Love & meditation…Lets keep our life simple....

Hehehehehe…honestly, all that I have written above is a collection of thoughts!!!.....& thinking is such a waste of time!!!! please don’t take it too seriously… However, its amazing to see the immense potential this mind has….to think….or maybe to imagine……& understand…. To unravel the unknown…..just challenge yourself & dive deep…really deep….
Enjoy the weekend ahead.....fellas....maybe a weekend of less thoughts & more understanding...hehehehe