Saturday, 5 May 2018

Oh...! the agony of being an RCB fan!


The pain... the suffering... the agony... of being an RCB fan is beyond description.

Consider this: Glamorous big-ticket franchise - on paper.  Marquee players, with 2 best batsmen in the world - on paper.  Hype and hoopla, bold proclamations - on paper.  #eesalacupnamde and #playbold - on (e-)paper.  'Pirate' cheerleaders with the guy in the middle (!), trying to be funny with the slogans with godawful dance moves - on paper... okay, the last one is on stage. 

But NOTHING on the ground.  Zero results to show.  Not a single silverware in the cupboard since the last 11 years. 

No doubt, RCB have come close on a few occasions, but have not provided the finishing flourish.  If ever there was a team in the IPL that flatters to deceive its fans, it must be RCB.

Kevin Pietersen said during the beginning of this year's (2018) IPL that 'the potential of this team is sky high'.  Sadly that potential has also remained only on paper. 

They may yet turn a corner this year, but it is highly unlikely (they have just lost the return match against CSK on 5th May as I write this).

Year after year, for the diehard RCB fan, it is a familiar story: more misses than hits, agony as the batsmen fall cheaply to innocuous bowlers, further misery as bowlers get tonked and are not disciplined enough to maintain a steady line and length, wides-galore down the leg-side, no-balls at inopportune moments, dropped catches...

Having said that, one also has to consider the luck of the team; the X-factor, or the mysterious element that is required to win a cricket tournament - especially considering the topsy-turvy nature of cricket - is eminently missing for RCB.

I have closely watched RCB's performance in this year's IPL, and what else but ill-luck could be the reason for these fiascos:

1. Out-of-form batsmen of other team regain their touch and suddenly start playing extraordinary shots (have you ever seen Sanju Samson play a better innings than the one against RCB?).

2. NONE of the changes in the RCB side - whether it is batting order, field placements, or bowling options - work out when it matters.  One loses count of the number of opening options RCB have tried in this edition of IPL.  They are still searching for the ideal playing 11.

3. Retained players have been failures.  Sarfaraz Khan and Pavan Negi, who were retained have not delivered.

4. On the other hand, those that were let go - Shane Watson and Chris Gayle - are in the form of their lives and have notched up centuries for their respective franchises.

5. Some players have ended up being mere travellers with confusing roles.  Why was Washington Sundar picked?  He is said to be a good power-play bowler, but he has not bowled often at any stage of the innings, let alone power-play.  He is said to be a good batsman who can score briskly, but he has not been tried as a pinch-hitter opener.

6. Much was said about the improvement in the bowling department after the purchases in the big auction in April this year.  But it continues to be a familiar sob story: bowlers getting thrashed in the death overs. 

7. RCB boasts of having the 2 best batsmen in the world.  Indeed, many non-Bengalureans are fans of RCB only because of Virat Kohli and A B deVilliers.  Sadly, even 2 koels do not a monsoon make.  It takes more than these 2 to win the matches.  If these 2 fall early (as it happened in today's match against CSK), you can pretty much forget about the rest of them stepping up.
One also has to ask what is it that the other teams are doing right that RCB aren't?  Granted, that the format is tough and 'it is not an easy tournament, man' as Ashwin put it after King's XI's loss against MI.  But still there is something that the others are doing better than what we are.  

Take Chennai Super Kings for example.  They are returning to the tournament after 2 years.  But they didn't have to 'rebuild'.  They just teed off where they left off, and started winning matches straight away.  Dhoni, who must be an avatar of Cricket God, has led them well, and whatever the man has touched has turned to gold - especially against RCB, whom he has simply tormented this year.  Kolkata Knight Riders, who had a poor run in the first few years, brought in changes in the team management and structure.  They turned around their fortunes and went on to win the cup twice.

Mumbai Indians are masters at nearly exiting the tournament and staging remarkable comebacks; they are well on their way to doing this again this year.  King's XI Punjab have changed their team considerably and built a balanced batting/bowling unit.  Even Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals have performed well at times.  Sun Risers Hyderabad have been good as gold in spite of the fact that they do not have David Warner.  They are sitting pretty at the top of the table.  In fact, as things stand now, it may be tempting to hold the finals between SRH and CSK, and be done with the whole damn thing!

In all this, the frustrated, agonized RCB fan may well tear his hair out and say, WHY NOT RCB???!!  Why are they not improving?  

In the absence of any other sane or rational explanation, one is left wondering if the fortunes of the main man at the helm of affairs of RCB - the inglorious position of its owner-in-exile - has anything to do with the fate of the team itself.

A cursory look at the RCB website suggests that United Spirits Limited are still the 'founding partners' of the franchise.  One has to question where this franchise is headed.  What is the fate of this franchise that promises so much, but delivers so little?  Who are the men behind the team; the think tank, the people who matter, those who call the shots behind the scenes?  What are they doing, year after year, as the franchise flounders from one disastrous outing to another?  

All we get to see is the coaching team: Daniel Vettori who is always inscrutable, Ashish Nehra who is always seen saying something to Vettori/Kohli (what does he talk about?!), and now they have added Gary Kirsten to the team (what is his role, exactly?).

Empty proclamations about 'play bold', go green initiatives, birthday dedications, harping about flash-in-the-pan performances, and even individual records of marquee players are not going to cut it.  

We need that elusive cup!

Yes, the fans are asking for changes.  They are getting impatient.  Heads may have to roll.  Radical changes may have to be made to the team management, ethos, team constitution.  

Dare I say it, the franchise probably needs rescuing from the owner/s.  Yes... play bold RCB.  Do something... soon.

Otherwise, forget eesala, yaavasalaanu cup namdagalla!







Image source: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gZogLZokJSA/WrpmiribT5I/AAAAAAAAQ3I/JHRe5xeFfqoRD1kxt5Ljj0GxRNE_bYBFgCLcBGAs/s1600/Royal-Challengers-Bangalore-RCB-IPL-Team-Logo-Wallpaper.jpg




Sunday, 1 April 2018

Introduction to YouTube channel

Dear readers,

Here's your chance to become viewers, as I start my vlogs on YouTube.

The purpose and the function of this channel is explained in the Introductory video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-ASIaH90eo

Please like/subscribe/share/comment.

Please continue reading/viewing.

Thank you all!

Friday, 30 March 2018

Book release: Lake Amidst The Seas


Dear readers, the paperback and Kindle versions of #LakeAmidstTheSeas are released in India, US, UK, and elsewhere.

This work is a result of coming together of several individuals, ideas, case stories, and messages at the right time. 

This work is not about any one individual; neither the chief protagonist nor me the writer – we are merely conduits for conveying the message to you the reader. 

The main intention of putting this work out in the public domain is to disseminate its message of bravely standing up to arduous circumstances and growing through the ordeal to emerge stronger.  Cultivating resilience is a necessity with a universal relevance in today’s stressful existence. 

To encourage wide readership have tried our best to keep the cost to you the reader minimal (around Rs 200 including shipping charges of Indian paperback version, and Rs 100 of Indian Kindle version). 

Therefore, it is my fervent appeal that you buy the book, read it, and send me your valuable opinions/constructive criticisms/recommendations.  Please find the links below:










Other versions:

US paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980462038

UK paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1980462038

Thank you all!

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The scion and the bootlickers

A few days ago, an acquaintance of mine who had met the scion in person during a college event posted on FB as follows: 'The scion is not as dumb as the media are making him out to be.  It is all due to halo and horn effects (the influence created in one area affecting our opinions in other areas).'

Sorry, beg to differ...  Regardless of whether the scion has holes or rods stuck on his head, the fact remains that he does not deserve the position that he is occupying today.

He is only there because he happens to be somebody's son, since he belongs to a certain family, since his family has usurped the Mahatma's surname with no genealogical basis for it.  I have previously written about he wrongness of nepotism



Be that as it may, what about the part-members, that is the lesser mortals who do not belong to the dynasty, or the bootlickers as one might address them...

If you think about it rationally, you will realise it is beyond the pale...

Even though the national elections are a year away, the party members have declared that nothing and nobody can stop the scion from becoming the prime minister.

As though prime ministership is his father's ancestral property that needs to be handed down to the scion like a piece of family furniture.

The last time I checked, we still lived in a democratic setup.  We don't want dynasties, or just plain nasties that the members of the grand-old-party have now become.

Here's the thing about the party: there is nothing grand about it anymore; it is old, but also well on its way to becoming defunct.

The only function of the party appears to be to foil the plans of the ruling government of the day, disrupt parliamentary proceedings, employ Machiavellian tactics to undermine honest efforts of the existing prime minister, put the scion and his mother on a high pedestal, and try their damnedest best to make sure the undeserving scion somehow assumes the office of prime minister one day.

It appears that they would go to any unscrupulous extent to make sure that the manga (monkey) gets the manikya (gem).  

How in the whole wide world, erudite, intellectual men and women members of the party tow this dynastic line and pander to the needs of the scion and his mother, is beyond imagination.  This, I am afraid, makes them nothing more than dynastic bootlickers.  

It is time to act.  It is time for us, we the people, to decide what sort of government should decide on the affairs of the country.  A hardworking, honest team of ministers elected by the people of the country based on their abilities, or a party that wants to enshrine one family name, and would go to any extent to make sure that the dynasty continues to hog the national limelight.

Unless of course, we are saying that we would like to live in Great Britain type of aristocratic setup, wherein the queen is the head of the state, and one has to swear allegiance to her to remain a citizen of the country.

Sorry, I don't know about you, but I have a problem swearing allegiance to any one individual in the place of the country, no matter who that individual is.  We are headed for a similar fate if we do not root out this dynasty.   

As for the ordinary, non-political people who find faults with the existing prime minister for no reason, they seem to be motivated by certain ulterior reasons.  Perhaps they have something to gain by keeping the dynasty at the helm.  Or, there are likely religious reasons for the hatred that they possess towards an honest, hardworking prime minister who is trying so hard to bring about positive changes in the society.  

In the interests of Truth, Dharma, and the Nation, it is time that we threw out the party, its bootlicking members, and most of all the pseudo-surname holders: the good-for-nothing, dumb-as-doorknob scion and his mother once and for all from the political scene of the country.

Friday, 26 January 2018

69th Republic Day: Wishlist for the Nation


26th January 2018. 

It is that day of the year when we gather to witness the Nation's military and cultural razzmatazz.  The only time of the year when we get to see some discipline on display!

When I am asked what I would be doing on the 26th, I nonchalantly say 'watch the parade.'  Others generally laugh at the answer, as though I am being facetious. 

They probably expect me to say that I would be doing something worthier instead, like visiting overcrowded malls.  No people, I mean it.  I do watch the parade.  If that's odd, so be it. 



This year's observations:

1. Touching moment when the President shed tears after presenting the Ashoka Chakra posthumously to the deceased soldier's wife and mother.  Never seen this happen before.

2. The same President in high spirits; laughing and cheering towards the end of the parade when the BSF women's contingent did the acrobatics on motorbikes.  Extremes of emotions!

3. The best tableaux (IMHO): Maharashtra with Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, followed by Assam with its depiction of masks - Ravana and other characters of Ramayana. 

4. Unique tableau by Karnataka: only animated animal models; no people on it (P.S.: the baboons rocked!).

5. Not one, not two, but TEN chief guests!  The Singapore PM was right next to PM Modi, and was probably taken aback by the discipline on display!  

6. Mesmerizing effect when the overhead camera showed the cadets marching away with robotic precision.

7. But the highlight this year had to be the BSF women's daredevilry on motorbikes; another first this year!


All these are fine.  But I do not want the discipline, decorum and bonhomie to be confined to the annual jamboree.  I want good things to happen in our Nation 365 days of the year. 

So here's a wishlist of things that I would like to see happen for the collective good of the country and humanity in general:

1. Population level to come down.  There are one too many of us!  This, IMHO is the most urgent need of the country, because every other civic problem, arguably, is related to this one factor.

2. Poverty eradicated!  Poverty, quite simply, is unacceptable.  Economic prosperity to reach all individuals, even the poorest of the poor; no more rich/poor divide.  There should not be a single homeless person on the streets, or for that matter, any stray animal on the roads.  And I don't just mean cows; all animals to have shelters in all towns and cities of India.

3. Everybody obeys traffic rules.  No wheelies, no jumping red signals, no driving on the wrong side of the road, no jaywalking!  Discipline on the roads, people!

4. No reservations!  Only merit based admission or employment; not based on caste/religion.

5. No dynastic politics or nepotism of any kind.  No place for such phenomena in any public service institutions of a democracy.

6. Terrorism rooted out!  No safe havens; no closing the door after the horse has bolted.  Constant vigilance and prevention of attacks rather than chasing terrorists after the attacks.

7. Speedier justice for all - because justice delayed is justice denied.  No influence by the rich and famous; more errant politicians/celebrities brought to justice.   

8. Common education curriculum for the whole country across all levels: primary & secondary schools; and professional colleges, including engineering and medicine.  No divisions such as state, ICSE, CBSE, etc.  Career guidance counselling and aptitude test for all students before they embark on professional courses.  Dharma/ethics/culture to be the basis for formative education; not blind western fact based bookish education.  And yes, no capitation fees!  Parents not to be reduced to beggars to admit their children to schools.  RTE to be fully implemented.  Government schools upgraded to match city schools.

9. Health for all.  And health coverage and/or insurance for all.  Custodians of healthcare delivery to have better life.

10. More care, concern and efforts to upkeep all natural habitats and national monuments; such as our rivers, pilgrimage centres, historic buildings, architecture, arts & crafts, scriptures, forests, flora & fauna, tribes, and indigenous cultures.

11. No conversions!  No place for bigoted, narrow-minded interpretations of religious scriptures that lead to enticement/coercion to lead the gullible away from their culture/heritage/faith.  Likewise foreign residents/illegal immigrants overstaying their welcome and/or creating law & order problems to be deported back to their countries.

12. India, primarily, is a spiritual place.  Sanatana Dharma to show the way for spiritual oneness; full realization of the potential that is inherent in sanatanic statements such as: vasudhaiva kutumbakam; ekam sat vipra bahu vadanti, and sarve janaha sukhinobhavantu.  Divisionists and secessionists to be rooted out!


Wishful thinking, do I hear you say?  Maybe. 

I am well aware that these are complex, complicated and multifarious issues subject to the vagaries of multiple variables. 

But wishing, thinking and doing are the only things that are under my willful control.  And the wise say that there is a lot of power in thoughts and words.  So I will wish away!  

The above list is by no means complete, but I feel these are the most pressing needs of the Nation if it has to progress and really achieve its immense potential.  

Here's hoping that the governments and we the people work towards realising this potential.

Kale varshatu parjanyaha
Pruthavi sashya shalinim
Deshoyam kshobha rahitam
Sajjana santu nirbhayaha!









Image source: 
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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Book conversations: The Nanologues


The Nanologues
Vanessa Able
Hachette India, 2013










If I were to tell you that somebody bought a Tata Nano car... you are likely to react by saying, 

Why!! Of all the things...

If I were to add that that somebody went on a round-trip of India in the Nano... 

Whaaaat!! No way...!

And if I were to add that that somebody happens to be a woman... 

Gettouttaa here...!

And... this gets better... that somebody is a British woman; a foreigner who has no driving experience in India... 

Aaaaargh!!! [while jumping up and down in disbelief and banging your head against the wall...]

That's just what this is about: a single white woman on a trek around India in a Tata Nano car, and somehow completing the journey to tell her tale. 

In this engaging account, Vanessa Able combines statistics, politics, culture, lack of road etiquette/discipline/decorum/courtesy that is all too familiar an Indian trait, and of course, the experience of driving a Nano which is symbolic of India's economic rise. 

Or at least it was, when it was first launched. It has since lost its place in the arch-lights in the wake of other brand innovations.  

To be fair to Nano, this review is four years too late.  In this period, the leading car maker, Maruti has come up with its own technological marvel that is holding sway currently: Maruti Celerio - the gearless wonder, which I happen to drive currently.  And I can vouch for the ease of driving experience of the Celerio (but not the lofty fuel efficiency that the company claimed at the time of its launch). 

The AMT gear technology of Celerio has caught on so well that Maruti has forced other companies to include this in their own models.  Tata Nano recently has followed suit recently.  Also, Nano is no longer available as the Rs-one-lakh car; all of its variants are now priced above two lakhs. 

This book is also about driving, and the exasperating experience that driving is in India. In a reverse of Able's experience, I have driven for eight years in various parts of the UK during my days in the NHS - sometimes up to 100 miles in a day - and I can fully empathise with her predicament.  

The difference in driving experience in between the two countries is the same that exists between chalk and cheese.  Don't even try to understand the absence of any road-virtue in our culture, although I did make an attempt to address this issue in Angst.

Able's love for the Nano is evident throughout the book, whom she personifies by naming 'her'.  This is essentially a road-book, akin to a road-movie; if that's the genre that appeals to you, then this is right up your street...!

I hate driving on our roads... but it is really awe-inspiring that somebody 'enterprising in a good way' such as Able has taken the bull by its horn and survived - if you leave out a few bumps and scratches. 

Therefore, it gives me immense pleasure in saying that Vanessa was Able to fulfil her Abhilasha before saying Tata to India...  Sorry, couldn't resist that one...!







Image source: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VPtVJer4L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg