Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Easter weekend!

Howdy on the Easter weekend ? I am back home this weekend and guess what ? I have just been part of a torrential downpour ! Getting soaked has become a signature. The Rain Gods have brought it on big time and the city's not-so-good drainage in many parts of the city has made life miserable for thousands of city folks.

Coming back to the topic, I recollect very fondly the Easter of 2007 that I spent in Sydney. Easter is an occasion that is very dear to Christians as they celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

So I was invited by my mentor(one guy who changed my work life in more ways than one!), super awesome colleague Ben to go to the church along with his family ( ). As we drove to that place, I could sense the excitement and the festivity all around. His son was very chirpy throughout and wanted to know each and every detail about what was going to happen in the church.( I think he was 5 years old then and kids I think enjoy these occasions the most!)

The Hillsong church near his house, is a beautifully built church with an extremely modern look and houses close to(if not more) a thousand people.

The hall was packed and there was visible excitement. Families after families walked in enthusiastically and occupied chairs and got ready for the celebration. What followed was a wonderful service, where the meaning of Easter and why it was such an important occasion for Christians, was spoken about. There was traditional scripture reading with a lot of singing and wishing. The general camaraderie that people shared with each other was great to see. The festival fervor was indeed very infectious! People all around exchanged very colorful and innovatively wrapped Easter Eggs. Followed by that , I remember having an awesome lunch at Ben's home. Since then, I have made it a point, to wish him every year on Christmas and Easter.

Travelling teaches you a lot and one of the things that I always like is to experience an important occasion/festival in a particular city or a country where it is celebrated with a lot of pomp and fervor . For example ,you better be in India to experience Diwali or in London, to experience Christmas. In other words , its called "Being in the right place at the right time!" I think i was lucky enough to experience that Easter celebration . A festival celebration brings you closer to people, their culture, their way of celebration, their food ( festival feasts are simply awesome!), and their happiness. Its a time to celebrate and experience the feeling of joy, happiness and positivity and when you see people all around you happy and excited , it automatically rubs off on you !

Happy Easter one and all! Have a great one with your family and friends!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The German Shepherd fiasco

We are blessed with a good Darshini near office that serves pretty good coffee. So most evenings, the table people (people who sit around the table! Does it sound similar to Mango people or Aam janta ?) walk down to this place for a caffeine dose. One such eventful day this past week turned out to be highly embarrassing.

We had our cup of coffee and were walking back when we saw an Alsatian along with its owner. I suffer from "Dog fear" or a mild form of Cynophobia. As is my wont, I walked faster than usual to get away from the scene. Aneesh, my colleague, then started THE discussion and said that the dog was a German Shepherd. I immediately jumped and corrected him saying that it was an Alsatian,not a German Shepherd. Everyone knows and recognises an Alsatian right ? I grew up with 2 Alsatians and a Great Dane right opposite my house!!!

Aneesh, though seemed pretty confident. He had numerous Alsatian pics on his phone and all along he thought it was a German Shepherd. I told him confidently that it was an Alsatian. We reached office by then and people went back to what they were doing.

Roughly, an hour later(I wasn't at the table for sometime), they asked me what I thought was the difference between a German Shepherd and an Alsatian. I said :" The German Shepherd has more hair than an Alsatian etc etc." and ended it with "Lets say, that if I have to safeguard my house against robbers, I would go with an Alsatian rather than a German Shepherd". All these guys ( around 6-7 of them) burst into laughter. I wasn't sure why that last statement was so funny! I even remarked that generally, when I crack a joke expecting people to laugh, they don't but somehow this straightforward statement seemed extremely funny!! Just thought that I had found a new , second funny bone!

15 mins passed by and Aneesh , on chat, sent me this link -> and asked me to take a look. In the meantime, all of them literally surrounded me (Thankfully there were only 3 or 4 then). I clicked the link and looked directly at the pic at the right side corner and exclaimed that it was an Alsatian. Aneesh asked me to read the first line and it said :
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD, also known as an Alsatian), (German: Deutscher Schäferhund) is a breed of
. I didn't have to read further! Peels of laughter followed.

I joined in too coz' that was the least I could do. There are times when you feel a cake has been smashed on your face or an egg has been thrown on your head or that you have jumped into a pool of crap and this was one of them! It then dawned on me as to why they were laughing earlier when I told them about the house guarding rule!

Flashback : Apparently one of them told Aneesh to check Wikipedia as soon as they got back and when they got to know this, they decided to play on and obviously, they had a fantastic time! Later I found out that there were 2 Alsatians and a Golden Retriever opposite my house. Damn! What foolishness!

Moral of the story: Just because you are right , doesn't mean the other one is wrong! And that I haven't found a second funny bone as yet!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

We are the ICC World Cup Champions!!!

Euphoria ! Bliss! Unparalleled joy! Bonheur ! Felicidad! 11 people on the ground made 1.2 billion people in the country and 1.6 billion people around the world feel all this and more with their stupendous performance in the World cup and specially, in the final.

The final lived up to its billing of being a humdinger between 2 sub-continent teams on a pitch that was tailor made for both teams - a great batting track that took a bit of spin. The match started on a controversial note with no one sure what happened at the toss. If India had lost the game, many would have surely pointed fingers at the toss. Nevertheless, Sangakara won the toss and batted first. The start favored the Indians with Lanka tottering at 60/2 in the 18th over but what everyone witnessed after that was a thorough masterclass performance from probably the most elegant batsman in the World right now - Mahela Jayawardena. I couldn't but help but marvel at the way he caressed the bowl with delightful touch and wrist work on his way to what looked like a match winning century. Mahela's Mahila(his wife, bad joke but not mine!) asking him to stay at the crease after he reached his 50 was an endearing sight and he turned out to be an obedient husband, much to the chagrin of every Indian! As Ian Chappell pointed out, he batted as if he wanted to protect the cover of the ball. The Indian bowling , including the joint leading wicket taker,incomparable Zaheer Khan suffered at the hands of this master and his students. Sri Lanka set up a very very challenging total with 63 coming off the last 5 overs. 275 was the target. A target that had never been chased in any World cup final.The highest total that was successfully chased at the Wankhede under lights was 227. Add the pressure to that and 275 probably looked like a gargantuan 300. Any other match, any other final , this would have been a winning total but not today! 33,000 fans in the stadium prayed and a billion prayed outside the stadium for a Tendulkar century and an Indian win . The former didn't happen but the latter did!

Malinga looked fierce and snapped Sehwag and the God himself, Sachin. Nervousness reached its peak. No finger nail left on any finger. People shifting around nervously to find their "positions" to make sure that the stars were happy with the Indian chase. There were still 5 recognized batsmen. There was Rajni in the stadium that allayed fears of millions of Indians!Add Aamir to that and a cricket fan said you cannot lose when both of them are in the stadium!

Cometh the man, Cometh the hour. There were 2 of them in this case for India. First, the bicycle loving( my friend calls him a bicycle coz' he keeps jumping out of the crease and doesn't know when to stop running!) Gautam Gambhir, whose every over first ball charge worked along with Virat "goggle" Kohli. They ran very hard between the wickets and played with cool heads that belied their age and experience. The Lankan attack looked confused, even the ever reliable Murali struggling to bowl well, slightly aided by the dew. Second, was our very own charismatic, master strategist, the biggest gambler of the team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni who walked in after Kohli fell. People were surprised because they expected Yuvi, the man of the hour to walk in. Dhoni was short of runs, was criticized for his batting, was completely out of sorts with less than 160 runs in the tournament.

Not for nothing is he the most respected cricketer in the country after Tendulkar. He stamped his authority on the match with a fantastic, fabulous, brilliant, outstanding knock. Leading from the front just got a new meaning altogether! He ran fast, looked dehydrated, didn't give up, ran even faster, showed his emotion just once, hit the ball harder than anyone, had an offside helicopter shot and finally ended the game with a massive six.

Both Gambhir and Dhoni were fantastic and led India to a World Cup victory after 28 years. The scenes that followed were hysterical, fans went nuts, the players ran all around (except Munaf!) Insane SMSes followed - one being "Anhoni ko honi kar de, honi ko unhoni, ek jagah jab jama ho teeno, rajani, ghajani aur Dhoni!!" Sachin went around on the victory lap on his teammates' shoulders. Kohli said "Sachin carried the nation's hopes for 21 years, its time we carry him". Dhoni was as frank as ever at the post match conference even admonishing Gambhir for getting out on 97! As Dhoni lifted the World Cup and the champagne flowed, the heart of every Indian sang "Maa, Tujhe Salaam"! People flooded the streets with gay abandon, fireworks lit up the April sky, strangers celebrated wildly with each other, danced and shouted at traffic junctions high fiving one and all who went by. The celebrations continued and will continue(rightly so!) for ages to come. The pictures of the Indian cricket team holding aloft the cup that mattered the most will be etched forever in memory. Its also an Ugadi/Gudi Padwa gift to people celebrating these festivals.

Finally,Dhoni for President ????? I think he will be a super duper president if and when he becomes one!! Bharat mata ki jai!!! Celebrate India! Jai ho!