Apr 24, 2013

IPL Race

A cricket post after a long time.. The IPL 6 is on and everyday sees a change in the table. There were similar changes happening last year too, which is what is shown in the figure above (yellow circles). Until the league phase, the table positions are plotted (positions 1 to 9) as the tournament progressed. In order to remove the ambiguity of the tournament schedule, I have started plotting only after all the teams had played at least one game, which happened a few days after the season started. There were several highlights from this figure:
* Over half the teams (5 of them) occupied the top position at the end of some day. Sustaining the position was the challenge.
* After about 2 weeks of the season, Delhi emerged as the clear table-toppers and continued to top throughout except for 3 days in May, when Kolkata momentarily enjoyed the apex position.
* Within the first 2 weeks, Rajasthan flirted with the top position more than any other team. Within a week after losing the #1 position, they were out of top-4 and came to #4 only for a day in Early may and then out again.
* Pune's case was very interesting. They enjoyed early success quite well. They even topped the table for a day in the first fortnight. Then they started losing but managed to hold on in the top 4 for about 10 days more. The free fall started after that and they lost pretty much all the games to stay in the no. 8 position during the second half of the season, before losing to Hyderabad and getting the wooden spoon.
* Hyderabad's was a sad season too. They looked lost from game 1 and continued to do so throughout, except for the last week. That was when they played the part of spoilsport to perfection, messing up the play-off chances of RCB and RR, and avoiding the ignominy of the last place.
* The top 3 teams more or less stayed in that position for the last 3 weeks of the league phase, and the competition was between 4 teams for the #4 spot. This year, it looks the opposite. I am predicting that DD, PWI and KKR would languish at the bottom whereas RCB & CSK would stay in the top 4, even top 2. It would mean that the remaining 4 teams would compete for the 2 remaining spots.
* Last, WHATTAPLAYER GAYLE IS !!! Most brutal innings that I've ever seen in 26+ years of cricket watching. Mind-blowing!!
How does it look for this year?

I've tried to add the jersey colors to the lines this time. Already 6 teams have been table-toppers. I doubt if anyone else would be able to touch the apex position albeit briefly. What I see as salient points are:
* Yesterday was the first day there was no change in the positions of all the teams. Last year, it happened for  the first time two later, i.e., on 26th April.
* For the past week, the bottom three teams (7-9) have stayed in their respective positions.
* After the customary early hiccup, Chennai's winning streak has helped them gain rapidly from 7th to 1st position in just 5 days.
* On the contrary, Mumbai, after enjoying 3 days at the apex position, slipped to #6 in just 6 days.
* Sunrisers are the only team to stay in top 4 since their first game, closely followed by both the Royals.
* At the other end of the table, Delhi and Pune are having nighmarish tournament, very similar to their 2011 campaign; they have never even crossed the bottom of the table since Day 1.

Apr 10, 2013

Really Sweet 16

(Pic adopted from intmstat)
While looking at this year's weekly calendar, I realized that April 16 falls on the 16th week. Interesting ! Got a little more curious to see if it would be an exception or a rule. Before getting into that, had a cursory look at the days in which Jan 1 and Apr 16 fall. Turned out that, both fall on the same day. That's cool, I thought. It also implies  that Apr 16 has to be on Week 16 of every year, but wait.. leap day comes in between. What it would mean is, if Jan 1 on a leap year falls on a Saturday, Apr 16 would fall on a Sunday. Using simple probability, it is going to happen once every seven leap years, i.e., 28 years. The only instance it has happened so far was in 2000, which was one of the most productive years of my life. The next time it will happen on 2028. What would be in store then?

Also, only those who were born on Jan 1 (Week 1, Sonali Bendre for example) and May 21 (Week 21, Mohanlal for example) can enjoy the similar privilege. And, back to the earlier question, yes, it is a rule that Apr 16 would be on 16th week of the year because it happens 27/28 = over 96% of the time. 

Jun 17, 2012

R.I.P. Kathryn / Karen !

And bye bye Wisteria Lane!! Yesterday was the last day of 'Desperate Housewives' in India. What a way to end it ! Though I had heard about what happens to one of the DH's (Susan), what I saw a few hours ago was so moving beyond my imagination. It was not the life of one of the entitled four but the death of someone else that was the unforgettable final episode. Watch it here:

I learnt while re-watching this climax in youtube that Ms. Kathryn, who played the role of Karen McCluskey in DH, died early this month, just 20 days after the screening of the last episode in the US. in this one terrific song, the death of a true friend & wife, the birth of a baby marking the grand-motherhood of two of the DH's, a Wedding, a reunion and a new love were all emotionally captured. Lastly, what a song by Johnny Mathis!! Watch it with its beautiful lyrics:

Jun 13, 2012

Parental Love

Surya is celebrating this week's NVOK as 'Fathers' Week', which was natural to expect from him after his 'Vaaranam ayiram'. While thinking about it, I was reminded of 'I love you Daddy' which he used to say often in V.A. Now, the qn. I got was, "How to say that in Tamil?" The thought spread to "How to convey in Tamil, love between any two non-romantic relationships? Nesikkiren? Turns out that even that is used more for romantic love than non-romantic love.

Do I have to do it again? 'Anbu' is such a very commonly used word used for it, but that is a noun. Why not verbalize it? AnbikkiREn sounds right, doesn't it? Google shows no results for it. So this sunday, please wish your dad
உங்களை மிகவும் அன்பிக்கிறேன் அப்பா. தந்தையர் தின வாழ்த்துக்கள் !! ('Ungalai migavum anbikkiREn AppA. Thandhaiyar dhina vaazhthukkaL!') . :-)

Feb 16, 2012

Ek Deewana Mein

Isn't it a lovely coincidence that, like VTV, its Hindi version too is released on the month of Valentine's day? VTV has been the most unforgettable Indian movie of the last 20 years for me. What a movie!! Every time I watched it in Sathyam (and the one time in PVR, Skywalk) was a unique lovely experience. How I wish I was in Chennai this week!! 'Ye Maya Chesave' fell short in most fronts compared to VTV due to Chaitanya's dumb acting and the climax. Memories aside, I am concerned about which climax I will end up watching, because the news is that, Gautam has the 'original' (Tamil) climax for urban centers and the 'happy' (Telugu) version for rural ones. In Gujarat where Hollywood movies are mostly released in Hindi-dubbed versions, I have to keep my fingers crossed.

I also would have preferred a more poetic title than the chosen one. Especially since the first line from the original song was already tried as title (Ek Haseena Thi) with promising stars (Urmila & Saif) and bombed big time.

The songs in Hindi wern't as exciting as VTV's originals. Uninspiring lyrics of Javed Akhtar aside, most disappointingly, my favorite 'Mannippaya' was rendered by Madhushree. Why her, Rahman, why her? Whats wrong with Shreya's soothing, pain-inflicted, longing voice? Talking about Madhushree, she recently killed 'Un perey theriyathu' (Engeyum eppodhum).

Now, thinking about that song, especially its second interlude, I wonder what would have been going on in Ananya's (Ayilya) mind when she got engaged with a 'businessman Anjaneyan'? I know it is her personal life and choice, and I have no clue about this Anjaneyan guy, but couldnt help the above thought, as 'Un perey' was the song of Ananya I have seen most times.

The title of this post is mine for linking VTV with Anjaneya.

Nov 15, 2011

Unfair Deaths in Mahabharata

While watching Troy over the weekend, based on the Greek Epic 'Iliad', I was thinking about some commanalities between the story of Troy and Mahabharata. One aspect was regarding the unfair and conniving plots to cause the death of the enemy. Though it was clearly mentioned about the rules of war in Mahabhaarata, there were several unfair deaths in the Kurukshetra war. The rules were violated by both Pandavas and Kauravas, more so by Pandavas during the war, reflecting that there is nothing fair in the gory battlefields.

The way Bhishma was killed is unfair due to the following reasons:
i) Yudhishtra asked Bhishma himself how he could be killed. When Bhishma reveals that he wouldn’t attack Sikhandi, a hermaphrodite, Yudhishthira conveys the message to Arjuna and Sikhandi begins to injure Bhishma.
ii) He was attacked by Sikhandi, Arjuna, Yudhishthira, Abhimanyu, Virata, Drupada, Nakula, Sahadeva and several others simultaneously.
iii) Arjuna attacked him from the back of Sikhandi, using him as a cover.
One warrior should not be attacked by many at once.

Abhimanyu breaks the ‘chakra vyooga’ of the Kauravas and enters its core, where he meets all the bigwigs of Kaurava army – Jayadratha, Drona, Duryodhana, Kripacharya, and Asvatthama. Unfazed, he attacks them one by one and is attacked by all at once. Still he could not be brought under control, which irritates the Kaurava warriors. They deprive him of all his war weapons and his chariot and ultimately the son of Duhsasana hits Abhimanyu’s head with a club, resulting in his fall.

i) Considered by most as the most cruel violation of the epic code of fighting, a chariot-warrior should not attack one standing on ground.
ii) One should not be attacked by many at once.

When Bhurisrava attacks and drags a completely exhausted Satyaki, Arjuna intervenes and cuts one arm of Bhurisrava. Later, Satyaki decapitates the one-handed Bhurisrava, who had decided to fast unto death and had devoted himself to yoga.

i) One should not attack a warrior engaged with someone else.
ii) One should not attack someone who is hurt, non-combatant or not intended to fight. Bhurisrava was all three of them when Satyaki cut his head.

To avenge the death of Abhimanyu, Arjuna vows to kill Jayadratha by the next day, failing which he would enter into fire. The kaurava army shields Jayadratha very well, and when the sun is just about to set, Krishna creates darkness by shrouding the sun. When the Kaurava army, Jayadratha included, eagerly await Arjuna’s suicide, Arjuna suddenly chops off the head of Jayadratha. Krishna then removes the darkness and makes it appear as if Jayadratha was killed during the daytime.

i) A warrior should not use ‘Maya’ (trickery) against his enemy.
ii) A warrior should not attack a spectator. Though Jayadratha was a Kshatriya, he was merely a spectator to a non-war incident when he was killed.

Like in the case of Bhishma, Yudhishtra asks Drona how he could be killed, to which the latter answers that, only if he gives up his arms after hearing some shocking news. Krishna asks Bhima to kill an elephant named after ‘Ashwathama’ and rejoices that ‘Ashwathama’ is killed. When Drona asks Yudhishtra for the validity of the news, the latter says that ‘Ashwathama has been killed’ and dubiously ‘the elephant of this name has been slaughtered’. Believing Yudhishtra, Drona gets shocked, drops his weapons and devotes himself to yoga. Dhristadyumna attacks Drona and cuts his head off.

A warrior should not attack someone who is distracted, non-combatant or not intended to fight.
Bhima had taken the vow of drinking the blood of Duhsasana. During the fight between them, Bhima attacks him with a club and Duhsasana falls on the ground. Bhima then abuses and kills him. He chops of an arm, tears open his chest and drinks the blood.

A warrior should not attack the fallen/exhausted/hurt foe.

Being severely injured by Arjuna, Karna fell unconscious. Arjuna, upon insistence of Krishna, continues to attack Karna. When Karna is engaged in lifting up the sinking wheel of his chariot, Arjuna constantly attacks him and ultimately chops his head off.

i) Similar to the case of Abhimanyu, a chariot-warrior should not attack one standing on ground.
ii) A warrior should not attack the fallen/exhausted/hurt/emaciated foe.

On the 18th day of the war, Duryodhana finds himself all alone against a vast Pandava army. He flees away from the battlefield and hides in Dvaipayana lake. Pandavas find his location and challenge Duryodhana for a fight. Duryodhana and Bhima start club-fighting, in which Duryodhana appears to be getting the better of Bhima. Seeing this, Krishna tells Arjuna to signal his thighs to Bhima. Bhima hits Duryodhana under his belt, fractures his thigh, and fells the latter, before killing him.

According to the rules of club-fighting, hitting below one’s belt is considered to be strictly illegal.

Drushtadyumna and the sons of Draupadi:
Annoyed by the way Bhima unjustly killed Duryodhana, Ashvatthama is highly angry and wants to take revenge. He, accompanied by Kritavarma and Kripacharya, enters the Pandavas’ camp at night and slaughters the thousands of sleeping occupants of the camp, including Drushtadyumna and the sons of Draupadi.

Arguably the most heinous violation of all, which prohibits killing a sleeping enemy, that too at night.

What is baffling is that, in most of the violations performed by Pandavas, the ideas originated from Krishna, who is considered to be the reincarnation of Vishnu. Probably that was his best way of telling that the means justified the end.

Sep 26, 2011

Recent fav ads

Indian TV ads are getting one or more of: quite naughty, innovative, bold, youth-centric, and cute. These are the recent ads that would fall in such categories:
Her expressions and reactions are funny. The bg song is good too.

Got glued to it, from the first time I saw it. Nice catchy music.

A very romantic ad. Ideal-looking couple.

Another ad that targets rich and young. Very symbolic for the present generation.

As Jessie says to Anu in VTV its for "Always on facebook" ppl. Nice, simple and innovative stage concept.

Sep 16, 2011

India just Gantt do it !

Today, the nightmarish England tour is coming to an end for this humiliated Indian team. Not a single international win yet in over 2 months of the tour! Several postmortems have already been carried out, both in the mainstream media and on the internet. IPL has been blamed as the main reason by most people. Here, let me share my thoughts of the last ~ 5 months:

* First of all, starting a cricket extravaganza within a week of a long World Cup is utter crap. Probably the organizers of IPL didn't expect India to go all the way into the finals, and win it too. While plannnig, it was imperative to give atleast 2 weeks time for both the fans and the players to recuperate.

* The IPL was one week too long. With 10 teams playing, it would have been very easy to squeeze in 2 games in nearly all the days, except Mondays. The ad revenues would have suffered due to less eyeballs, but that is no excuse.

* The current injury-list of Indian team mostly has players who were either over-worked or under-prepared. Both required good body-management skills. I believe that India certainly has 20 players who can play in any of the 3 formats. The key is to identify those 20 and nurture them well throughout the year. They have to be given a strict training schedule, so that we dont see bloated cricketers on match day. I think Indian team management badly failed to do that.

* BCCI's calendar-management is utterly crazy, to put it mildly. Just a cursory look at all the teams' calendar for the next 9 years will tell you that Indian team's schedule is the tightest. You would hardly see empty spaces in them, and even if they are, they are in Indian summer, meaning the highly gruelling IPL is gonna fill all those spaces.

* I have made my own FTP for Indian team for the duration 2011-2015 and put it along with the current FTP from ICC's website. Mine covers India's series with every team, both home and away (except a  tour to Pak, which I have no idea when will happen). Look at it in the form of Gantt chart below. The top ones are ICC's FTP and the bottom ones are mine.
* A glance at the top and bottom would reveal more white spaces at the bottom than the top. In addition, other striking differences are: (1) Mine has space even for Bangladesh's maider tour to India; (2) I have a slot for the quadrennial Asia cup; (3) No two events are spaced less than a week apart (there are, on average, 4 such events per year in the present calendar of ICC's ftp).

* Yearwise comparisons are:
Year                                       ICC's FTP                                                       My FTP
                          # free weeks                # engagements               # free weeks              # engagements
2011                             4                                  9                                  18                                  7
2012                             7                                  8                                  11                                  7
2013                            10                                 9                                  16                                  7
2014                             4                                  9                                  12                                  8
2015                             6                                  8                                  12                                  7

* Our cricketers need atleast 10 weeks of cricket-free week to have life of their own, and also to take care of themselves, to be physically strong and mentally fresh to play for India. If only BCCI allows them that huge luxury instead of killing the golden geese..

Sep 1, 2011

New faces

I've been reasonably active in fb only for the past year or so. As usual, I have added quite a few people who were my acquintances in the past 15+ years. I had formed a certain views about their personality, based on the limited time I had interacted with them. But, some of their fb activities have been quite a revelation to me. It is like, they are quite different people with interests that I had never associated with them before. It reminded me that, just like time, fb is also a learning facilitator. Never judge a cover by the book, never make opinions abt a person without digging deep :)
On that note, some interesting research articles: Here and here.

Aug 10, 2011

Name check

Just a quick and random search in facebook revealed the presence of dozens of people with these names:

Shaguni & Shakuni (Most are women !!)
Judas Iscariot

Just saying ! :-)