Thursday, April 28, 2016

11 symptoms that you are a football fanatic

  1. You plan your weekend around when your team is playing that week
  2. You ask your friend or partner "when's halftime?" during a movie 
  3. The painful period of nothingness between the end of the football season and the beginning of the new season drives you crazy
  4. Explaining the offside rule to someone who doesn't understand it feels like your personal duty 
  5. You don't care much about the rest of the channels as long as ESPN, Star Sports, Ten Sports and Ten Action are a part of your Cable TV package
  6. You scream louder for a goal scored by a player from your favourite football club than for a six by a cricketer from your national team.
  7. You plan your next transfer on Fantasy Premier League (FPL) during breaks at work.
  8. Your weekend feels productive and complete if you've managed to play football
  9. You are not amused when people refer to the game as 'Soccer'
  10. You draw inspiration for life from sporting stories like Leicester City F.C. 2015-16
  11. "Some people think that football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you, it's much more serious than that" is a quote that you strongly identify with

Monday, December 12, 2011

Scandal at Cheemeni!

                                                        The Times of Kerala

                                                        Scandal at Cheemeni

Cheemeni, Kerala
Special Correspondent 

In an otherwise routine and mundane marriage of Ravi's daughter Ashwadhi and Whatchamacallim's son Mr.Who in Cheemeni (a small town in Kannur), all hell broke loose when a 26 year old man walked into the auditorium with a shaven head. According to sources, the man was a near relative from the girl's side. He was immediately hounded by a horde of relatives all of whom had only 1 question in their heads.

Some of them refrained from asking the question directly to avoid mutual awkwardness. So they merely looked at the scantily endowed head and tried hard to talk earnestly about other matters of importance. Like when the coming was done, whether the food was had and when the going will be. However, most others just couldn't hold themselves back. After all, it just begged the question didn't it? A few of the attendees who were people of strong principles, made no secret of their displeasure. They spoke as a representative of the vast majority and admonished the bewildered man who knew not the seriousness of it all.

Some sources also claim that the man's mother who was also at the wedding felt some embarrassment in introducing the son in his bald avatar to other attendees. Some attendees accused the man of deliberately trying to steal the thunder from the newly married couple, while some others were just plain shocked that the man didn't know better than to not wear a cap. When things began to spiral out of control, the accused hastily called a press conference at the marriage venue and promised that he would do everything in his power to come with a better endowed head in future marriages. Onlookers said this was a smart decision which led to the man escaping from the venue scot-free, avoiding a realistic possibility of being a victim of mob fury. After the exit of the accused from the scene of crime, the remaining proceedings of the marriage went ahead smoothly. In a poll conducted  later by our newspaper, it emerged that more people remembered the name of the bald man than of the groom.

PS: (Some portions of the above article may seem exaggerated. If so, that is down to the imbalanced state of mind of the accused whose account of the incident was also considered while this article was written).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why i choose to be a gooner- A tribute to Arsenal!

Warning: Apart from me,this may be of interest only to football enthusiasts or Gooner faithfuls!

There is a certain romance inherent in the triumph of an underdog over an established giant. Watching an upset brings with it an unexplainable sense of satisfaction or in some cases, even sadistic joy. Im quite sure almost everyone can relate to this cause it is true for any sport and even life in general. We've all identified with and supported an underdog in the past. Many of us were egging on Ireland when they played England at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. We were thrilled as we watched or when we learned about Ireland achieving the improbable. Quite similary, I always rooted for Michael Chang every time he played a Pete Sampras or a Boris Becker!

But when this kind of support is for a club that plays a brilliant attacking game in a sport that you (read 'I') love more than any other, it is hard to support any other club as ardently.
It is true that F.C. Barcelona plays a better game in terms of the same attacking football that i mentioned earlier. But equally true is the fact that the club used its financial might considerably to assemble the star-studded squad that it has today. Make no mistake, F.C.B. plays the best attacking brand of football on the planet today, closely followed by Madrid.

Arsenal have been less fortunate on the financial front which left Arsene Wenger (the shrewd manager at the helm of affairs at Arsenal) forced to adopt a youth policy. Moreover, every time Wenger develops a player into superstar material,the player is bought off by a club with superior financial clout, which has only made Wenger's challenge even more daunting. The fact that Wenger has been able to compete at the top despite hardly signing any big name players is testament to his greatness as a manager.

As much as fans and critics alike have marvelled at the beautiful football that Arsenal displays time and again, the club does not have many trophies to show for it. A key reason for Arsenal's lack of trophies has been its defensive frailties. As much as it has been extremely frustrating for the fans, (this might sound ridiculous) it has also been endearing. Its vulnerabilites make it a very mercurial team-one with immense talent and potential but you are never quite sure what to expect. One moment they get hammered 8-2 by the Red devils at Old Trafford, and in the next they destroy Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge! The heady highs quite often being peppered by gutting lows! But hey! Isnt that the beauty of sport?

There are not too many managers in modern football who have been criticised as much as Arsene Wenger. Many of them clamouring for a more defensive approach. An approach that has worked for quite a few other managers including the great Jose Mourinho. However, in Wenger's eyes, not for nothing is football called 'the beautiful game'. He continues to stand firm in his belief that football should be played the 'beautiful' way! And with his limited means in achieving his goals, his record thus far has been splendid to say the least!

When he puts out his team each season to pit his wares against teams who have bigger names and pay heavier pay cheques, not many list Arsenal as one of the favourites to win the domestic league or the Champions league. Quite justified too if i may add, considering we have been trophyless for 6 years now. Call this what you may, but if indeed Wenger does manage the improbable, id say it it would be as much a victory for Arsenal and its fans as it would be to FOOTBALL!

David versus Goliath? Bring it on!!

Yours passionately,
An Arsenal fan!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bangalore Autowallahs- The Quintessential guide to get rich quick

Ever been fleeced by an auto driver in Bangalore? Now who can honestly say no to this one. We've all been victimised at some point or the other. Sometimes I half wonder whether there are crash courses/manuals on how to become a rich auto driver. I wouldn't be surprised if there are. An equivalent of Fayol's 14 principles maybe? Lets try and picture the manual shall we? We could call it 'the principles of 'auto'cracy! Quite apt I'd say! So here we go..

1. 'Aim for the sky' principle-
What I need: An ignorant passenger who likes a good 'bargain'
Modus operandi: (assuming the meter charge is Rs 50)
Me, the auto-guy (M): Auto boss?
Passenger (P): Madiwala jaaoge bhaiyya?
B: 300
P: kya baat kar rahe ho? Bahut zyaada hai
B: 200
P: 100 me chaloge?
B: (like I'm doing him a favour) Chalo theek hain...baitho! (Mission success!)

2. Principle of 'delaying the quote'-
What I need: A passenger who agrees to sit in the auto after I agree to travel to the destination
Modus operandi: Once the passenger is seated, travel for 10-20 metres and then drop in the '20 rupees extra hota hai' line! Usually, at worst, the passenger will get off. However, chances are that he will continue to sit in my auto as he wouldn want to get off n go through the painful process of finding another auto again. (Wuddup!)

3.' Tamper the meter' principle-
What I need: A tampered meter
Modus operandi: No nonsense! I shall tamper the meter, so i don't have to waste my time on lengthy negotiations. Awesomeness!

4. 'You were vague' principle-
What I need: A passenger who just mentions an area and not an exact destination point
Modus operandi: I will drive the passenger to the area and once i figure out where exactly he wants to go, within that area, i will throw a fuss about him having not been clear earlier. I shall subsequently ask him for Rs 10 extra for having caused me a gross inconvenience. (Works more often than you think!)

5. 'I shall help you make a choice' principle-
What I need: A passenger who doesnt know the shortest route to his destination
Modus operandi: I shall drive the passenger to a junction and ask him which way he would prefer to go. Chances are he might pick the longer route if he is ignorant. Better still, he will put the ball in my court and ask me to take the shortest possible route. Most certainly sir! Bwahahahaha ;)

6. 'Ghoom ke aana padta hain' principle!
What I need: A gullible passenger
Modus operandi: Just use the title line whether or not its applicable. Passengers who are not too familiar with the roads tend to sympathise and I win a right to charge extra! Woohoo!!

7. 'Start early' principle!
What i need: A passenger who is unclear about the 'one and a half' and 'double meter' rules
Modus operandi: I shall start charging one and a half and double metre long before the the stipulated 10pm and 12am rule and convince him that the rates are already applicable. Have you heard of the saying 'An early auto-wallah gets all the moolah'?

8. 'Luggage!' principle
What i need: A passenger who is carrying luggage (Doesnt really matter how much)!
Modus operandi: I shall make it seem to the passenger that the luggage is an inconvenience for me and makes it harder for me to drive. If iam in the mood, I will even offer to load it into my auto. Who says Bangalore auto-drivers are not courteous?

9. 'I will drop you for free' principle-
What I need: A 'self-righteous' passenger
Modus operandi: I need to invent reasons that i can use as a claim for a higher fare than the meter displays. There r plenty of em' like traffic n some of those listed above. During the ensuing argument, I will sarcastically offer to charge him nothing, make him feel cheap and walk back to my auto. Some passengers tend to fall for this! Believe me! They will feel bad about not paying me anything and so they will pay what i want and may curse me while at it. But I couldn care less about the curse, could I?

10. 'Its raining' principle (seasonal)-
What i need: The monsoon season
Modus operandi: Do you know who my favourite god is? The rain god of course. When it rains, I have an unquestioned right to quote whatever fare i want. Its a hassle-free opportunity to make some quick bucks! Hail the rain god!

Been there and been done to right? thought as much.
All right I think I'm gonna stop it here though i can list a few more.

PS: If i die a mysterious death tomorrow, we all know whom to suspect don't we?;)
PPS: Since this is a dear topic to me, here's a related video that you might enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The hypocritical Bastard!

Caught your attention there with the title, havent I? ;)

Now before anyone starts jumping into conclusions, let me clarify that the bastard in question is not any person in particular, but in fact a language- The English language to be precise.

Why bastard, some of you may ask?

Its quite an obvious title that the language earns, if you really think about it. English has many fathers and owes a lot to various languages across the world for contributing to its heritage.

Disclaimer: Im not the first person to call the language a bastard!
The next apparent question is Why hypocritical? which brings me to the crux of what this post is about.

Newtons 3rd law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Most of us use a multitude of proverbs in our daily conversations. But how many of us have paused, pondered and observed that Newtons law can very well be applied to English w.r.t. proverbs?! Every proverb has an equal and opposite proverb!(at least many of em)
Here are a few of my favourite observations...

1. If birds of a feather, flock together, then why do opposites attract??
2. If time and tide wait for none, then why is Patience a virtue??
3. If the more the merrier, then why do too many cooks spoil the broth??
4. If actions speak louder than words, then why is the pen mightier than the sword??
5. If he who hesitates is lost, then why should we look before we leap??

Get the drift?

Moral of the post: If ever, someone tries to justify an action with a famous proverb, you know you can always counter with another! ;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

IPL- just what the doctor ordered for cricket

Cricket is a sport that is loved and adored by more than a billion people worldwide. However, a substantial portion comprises of people from South Asian nations.
'The gentleman's game'- a sobriquet that is quite often associated with the sport (although quite debatable these days) still lags behind considerably as compared to other rival sports in terms of the number of nations actively involved in it. The ICC, the board that is entrusted with the responsibility of handling the reins of the future development of the sport has always been deliberating as to how to spread the reach of the sport to more people. At the same time, cricket was facing another problem. Changing times and lifestyles led to a decline in viewership for the sport as compared to the heady levels in the early and late nineties. People no longer had the time to spend long hours watching the game in its traditional formats (Test and ODI)

With the advent and success of twenty-20 cricket, things are slowly looking very bright on both these fronts. The inaugral edition of the twenty 20 world cup met with astounding levels of success despite an initial lack of enthusiasm from the BCCI. A world cup triumph for India only helped matters further as India is easily the biggest market for the game. People from across the world took notice as the shorter and more attractive format took shape.

The icing on the cake was the introduction of the Indian Premier League(IPL). Although the ICL was the first to launch the concept of the city based franchise concept for twenty 20 in India , it was ruthlessly overshadowed by the might of the BCCI.
With international players of all major cricketing nations being a part of the league, the IPL became a very attractive proposition even before it started and viewers across the world just couldnt wait to absorb all the action.

What i mainly wish to focus on in this piece is an understanding and appreciation of the implications the IPL has for the future of the game and Sport in general.

1. Showcase for talent- Id like to draw a parallel with football here. The football world is fraught with famous names who have achieved very little or zero recognition as part of their national teams but attained cult status while playing for their clubs. George Best(Ireland/Man U) and Ryan Giggs( Wales/ Man U) are 2 examples.Similarly the IPL can help talented criketers from underachieving countries attain more glory.

2. Advertisement for the sport- The Ipl and t20 cricket will serve as a great advertisement and is sure to increase the appeal for the sport among people in nations not recognised for cricket. The cheerleaders and the fanfare only add to the glamour quotient.

3. A boost for other sports in India- India has always been a cricket crazy nation so much so that other sports have been somewhat neglected. But these days the issue is being addressed a little more seriously. The success of the IPL has even prompted Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner to suggest although at a very surface level that he wouldnt mind starting a similar league for hockey.

4. Sport as a career option- Traditionally, sport as a career choice was not looked upon all that favourably among the society. But with the huge amount of fame and money coming the way of even domestic level players, mindsets and attitudes are quickly changing.

5. Business perspective- Initially there was a lot of skepticism about whether the franchise based system will evoke city based loyalties as it was assumed that most viewers would just want to watch the Indian players do well. However with each passing edition it is being seen that people are becoming more and more loyal to their favourite teams. If this trend continues, it will spell wonders for team owners in terms of financial gain in terms of ticket sales, merchandise sales and other outlets.

6. Future of Test and ODI- One oft quoted negative is that "Ipl and t20 will destroy Test and ODI cricket"... Although I beg to differ, I personally believe that even if it does, it shouldn't matter. We live in an essentially capitalistic society these days where 'survival of the fittest' is the order of the day. If the public wants it, these formats will survive. If they don't, should anyone really care??

The above are just some of the implications that the Ipl has had and will have. I could go on talking about more but then I'll never know when to stop ;)