Jan 26, 2007

Sachin, the unsung bowler

His recent form notwithstanding, Sachin has always proven his detractors wrong with his bat more often than not. Since 2004, his bowling has picked up reasonably well too - his bowling average of ~ 27 in this period is comparable with most contemporary full-time bowlers. In the recent win against the West Indies at Cuttack too, he played an important role by picking up 2 wickets at crucial times at excellent economy rate.

I observed something rather peculiar during the course of the match. After he got his wicket, his batting average and bowling average were exactly the same, upto two decimal points - 43.87 (circled red in the pic).. Interestingly, there was a good correlation between the wickets taken and amount of runs scored by him too (circled blue).. 145 wickets and ~145 x 100 runs !!! i.e., he gets a wicket after he collects precisely a hundred runs.

I believe that he has an important role to play in the forthcoming world cup as a bowler too.. That is bcos the slow and bouncy wickets in WIndies would suit his style of assorted spin bowling.. Wanna bet?

Jan 20, 2007

From Madurai to Manhattan

Yesterday I had a chance to see the first snow fall of my life. So, this long overdue wish was over atlast.. :) Night temperatures hover sub-zero, so atlast, this is like "Welcome to Northeast!!". I was just remembering the evolution of my adaptability over the past decade or so. Having lived all my young life in South Tamilnadu, where the climate anytime of the year can only be defined as 'Hot, hotter or hottest', my parents hesitated a lot to send me to Bangalore. And, my first couple of winters in Bangalore were terrible. Imagine a guy who would shiver at the approx. 20 C evening temperature of Madurai being brought to approx. 10 C of Bangalore.

Those of you who used to visit my blog in my early days can recall the name 'Sinusitist' that I used to call myself. My sinus in the final year in Bangalore was real bad, so I was worried about the cold West. Luckily I came to Florida. Another 10 degrees change.. During the first winter, without the car, it was lil difficult but it wasnt bad. The next move was to New York. Add another 10 degrees in the wrong direction but surprisingly the body has shown good signs of adoptability. Now, I can walk freely without any jacket, at temperatures of > 7 or 8 degrees. So, the moral of the story is, always try to make a graded change.. I wonder what would have happened if I had made a direct transition as in the title of this post..

Jan 15, 2007

Kay Bee See

(Pic adopted from Rediff)

I was watching 'Who wants to be a millionaire' after a long time y'day. Its ripped-off version in Hindi is gonna re-enter as KBC-3, hosted by Shahrukh. I observed the sharp difference between the American and the Indian versions. The host here just pretty much asks the qn., the participant responds, and she immediately responds if it is right or wrong. On the other hand, what a drama in Hindi!! I used to dream of participating in KBC, 6 years ago.. now, when I think of the following scenario, I better wont..

To choose a contestant, he asks "Arrange from thin to fat, the following A-class celebrities: Aishwarya Rai, Adnan Sami, Amitabh Bachhan, Akshay Kumar.

Hard to beat me in this kinda stats.. so I quickly press the buttons and Bingo!! Mine are the fastest fingers.. (Gud I forgot to cut my nails)

Shahrukh: Hello Mr. Raju, welcome to KBC-3.. Do u know that I acted in a movie with ur name in the title? huhuhuhu (typical Shahrukh laughing-TSL)

Me: Yeah Shahrukh ji, I know.. 'Raju Bangaya Gentleman'

SRK: Haan.. gud gud gud.. after today's show, everyone will say 'Raju bangaya karorpati'.. *TSL*.

Me: Really? hehehehehehe..

SRK: *Explains the rules of the show yeda yeda yeda* "R u ready?"

Me: ya..

SRK: Sure?

Me: yes..

SRK: Confident?

Me: *Puzzled* (Did he ask any qn. already?)

SRK: Ok.. here is ur first qn..

Me: *Thank God.. I thought I dozed off"

SRK: Here is ur first question, who is India's Prime Minister? a) Harbhajan Singh, b) Sonia Gandhi, c)Manmohan Singh d) Natwar Singh..

Me: *Raising hand* I know I know, I know the answer.. I will tell the answer..

SRK: Mr. Raju.. dont be a nerdy kid in a crowded class.. Only u r here to answer this qn.. plz.. calm down .. sit and answer..

Me: hehehe.. it is c) Manmohan Singh

Sure? Sure... Confident? Confident..

SRK: Computer ji.. plz lock c) Manmohan Singh and tell me if Raju got it right or wrong.. and then starts staring at me ..

Me: *OMG.. I gave a politically correct answer.. Dont tell me it is b), which is technically correct... God, oh God! Save me!*

SRK: Correct answer...

Me: *Appada*.. Me too start clapping appreciating myself..

SRK: U have the next qn.. Who penned 'Ramayana'? a) Vyasa b) Valmiki c) Vashishta d) Vikramaditya.

Me: The answer is b) Valmiki..

Sure? sure.. Confident? confident.. Shall I lock? Plz lock..

SRK: OK Computer ji.. plz lock b) Valmiki.. *After staring at me, and sowing seeds of some soul-searching inside me, says "right answer.." *SIGH*

OK.. u have won 3,000 rupees now, the question that would win u 5,000 rupees is.. What is the chemical formula for water? a) H2O; b) NaCl; c) H2O2 and d) NaOH.

Me: My profession is chemistry.. :D I know the answer well.. it is a) H2O..

Sure? Sure.. confident? confident.. Shall I lock? plz lock.. OK Computer ji.. Mr. Raju confidently says it is a) H2O.. Sometimes even experts make mistakes.. Has he made one? *What the bu*#$%#&it? Check it out after this small break.. Plz dont go away..

Me: *Idhu vereya? kadavuley.. mmm.. sari*

After the break, SRK repeats the qn., tells my answer and, after a few secs of staring at the monitor "yes he is right.. Indeed it is a) H2O...

*Claps all around, and I clap as usual*

SRK: Good start, Mr. Raju.. here is the next qn.. Which of these following nations is not an immediate neighbor of India? a) Pakistan b) Nepal c) Afghanistan and d) Srilanka.

Me: mmmm... I think it is c) Afghanistan..

Sure? sure.. Confident? confident.. Shall I lock? Plz lock..

SRK: Ever been to any of these countries, Mr. Raju?

Me: Heck, no..

SRK: hmmm.. and still u r confident enough about ur answer?

Me: *DUH?* oh ya..

SRK: OK Computer ji.. plz lock c) Afghanistan for Raju.. After a pause, Afghanistan is the right answer.. u have won 10,000 rupees..

Me: heheheh.. *CLAPS*

SRK: Now, if you answer ur next question, u will win Rs. 20,000 and that is a sure money for u..

Me: :D

SRK: The next qn. is: Which of these is not in the family of the other three? a) Raj Kapoor b) Kareena Kapoor c) Rishi kapoor and d) Anil Kapoor.

Me: Hmmm.... d) Anil Kapoor..

Sure? sure.. Confident? confident.. Shall I lock? Plz lock..

SRK: OK Computerji.. plz lock d) Anil Kapoor for Mr. Raju.. His face expressions change.. Oh Mr. Raju.. u have won so far Rs. 10,000 rupees.. Amm I right? Me: Yes.. SRK: U had the option to quit now and escape with those 10000 rupees but u decided to take a gamble, rite? Me: Yes.. SRK: *Staring deeeep in my eyes.. * (I feel something wrong) your gamble has paid off..

Me: *Uffffff*

SRK: Relieved huh? Hmm.. now 50K worth qn. is.. Which of these teams has never lost to India in the World cup matches? a) Australia; b) South Africa; c) New zealand d) Srilanka.

Me: I am a bigtime cricket fan.. I know it is b) South Africa..

Sure? sure.. Confident? confident.. Shall I lock? Plz lock..

SRK: Oh Mr. Raju.. u still had all 3 of ur lifelines.. you could have chosen to use any of them.. but, u decided to trust ur instinct instead.. ahhhh... (ayyo.. ennayya solre?) and, it hasnt let u down.. That indeed was right.

Me: *Idhai munnadiye solli tholaikkavendiyathu thane?* CLAPS

SRK: Next qn. for Rs. one lakh 25K NOW.. Which of the following is not a raaga in Carnatic music?
a) Paadi; b) Pavani; c) Pallavi or d) Poorvi

Me: *Ayyayyo... enakkum sangeethathukkum eni vachalum ettadhu.. enna qn. idhu?* mmmm.. I am not very familiar with carnatic music.. but I know that 'Pallavi' forms part of a song, so I think it cant be a raaga.. not sure though.. 'Paadi' sounds lil odd.. I am doubtful about it.. OK.. I will get my first lifeline.. Will get the help of the audience...

SRK: Audience? *GRINS* Ok audience, plz help Mr. Raju out..

Me: *This grin doesnt look right..*
Audience cast their poll, and after watching the screen, SRK's grin grows wider as if he says "I know I know I know"

SRK: The audience have voted.. Paadi - 29%; Pavani - 21%; Pallavi - 32%; Poorvi - 18%.
I turn around and think "I s'd have only known better" but still claps with hands held high, with a wry smile and looking around..
Hmmm.. the verdict isnt clear... so, hmmm.. I will try my luck with another lifeline.. I want to narrow down my choices with 50:50..

SRK: OK.. wise decision to take, in situation like this.. *Another grin*..
I think "now what? Whaz in store for me?" My heartbeat starts shooting over the roof.. and I see to my horror, in-remain a) Paadi and c) Pallavi. SRK cant contain his wide broad grin and I almost go "Oh S#*t ". Sweat starts forming on the forehead and I know that I am slowly getting trapped.. "OK.. I will use my third option as well.. I dont have the choice.. Lemme fone my friend"

SRK: Whom do you wanna call?

Me: My friend "XYZ"

SRK: Is he knowledgeable in music?

Me: I pray so..

Whatever happens afterwards, it turns out that phoning a friend doesnt help either.. I have to make the hard choice.. and I choose after much deliberation c) Pallavi..
Sure? sure... Confident? confident... Shall I lock it? Plz do..

SRK: Ok Computer ji.. plz lock for Mr. Raju, c) Pallavi..
Hmmm.... u were sailing along so smoothly and then came this question to thwart you.. You tried all the three lifelines but none could help you with a clear-cut answer.. and you had to rely on your own instinct..

*My heart is pumping blood so fast I have never xperienced anything like it b4.. I sweat profusely; I try my best to hide my nervousness but i end up smiling stupidly.. My body starts shivering... I plead "Oh god.. inimey indha pakkamey thalai vachu padukka maattenn.. let this torture end at this very moment.." I am unable to hear what SRK is going on talking.. all I can hear is clapping all around, which brings me back to my senses..

SRK: OK.. u r still in game.. now, the Rs. 2 lakh 50 Kques..

Me: Ayya samy.. aalai vidunga.. 2 lakh ille 20 lakh win panni adhai appadiye kondu poi doctor kitte kondu poi kodukka virumbaley.. Indha 1 lakh-ai kodunga.. naan odi poyiduren.. Enn idhai 'hot seat'-nu solreengannu ippo enakku puriyudhu.. enakku panamum onnum venam..

Jan 3, 2007

Wasting the talents

On New Year Eve, while on a casual chat on the movie 'Thiruvilayadal Arambam', Dhanush's performance in it, etc. , my friend remarked that in Tamil cinema, the talents are getting wasted, and history is repeating itself (cf. super-heroism, mindless masala etc). A few hours ago, I watched 'Chennai Kaadhal' and suddenly that point seems to make even more sense. During the discussion, I said that it looks like we can count only on Jeeva and Bharath to act in sensible movies.. How I was proven wrong.. Bharath, and Vikraman, for a change or what God only knows, have both resorted to Gilli, Edhiri-type masala movie. Bharath walks in slow motion, his hand movements make the 'Whishhh' sound aka Rajini, etc.. Welcome to the long queue of 'Next Superstar' aspirants, Bharath!!

Lemme take the case of Dhanush as an example. He won our hearts and made the biggest impression after his performance in 'Kadhal Kondaen'.. In the scenes with Nagesh and in the climax, he really showed a lot of potential of being an excellent actor. Even in the masala entertainer 'Thiruda thirudi', he played the role of a carefree adolescent with aplomb. Later, only in 'Adhu oru kanaakalam' and in 'Pudhupettai', glimpses of his talent could be seen. Now that T.A. has become a hit after a string of flops, we can trust him to take a safe route and act in similar movies.. Here, I have listed a few promising movies by our young heroes to give u a glimpse of how they excelled when given opportunities and how later they 'veenapoyittanga'..

Vijay - Kadhalukku Mariyathai, Thullatha Manamum Thullum, Poove Unakkaga
Ajit - Aasai, Vaali, Kandukonden, Mugavari.
Simbu - Kovil, Manmathan.
One can even add our Captain for his performances in movies like Chinna Koundar, Vaidehi Kaathirundhal, etc..

We were glad to see that Vikram and Surya havent joined the aforementioned bandwagon yet; and I sincerely hope that 'Chennai Kaadhal' is an aberration in Bharath's resume. May be he wouldnt have expected a veteran like Vikraman to choose such a lousy plot. We were left wondering if there would ever be actors like Karthik and Prabhu of 80's again.. May be, if our directors believe in good scripts and stop depending on Telugu flicks for remaking.
PS: Me being a staunch Kamal fan has landed me the opportunity to write in an exclusive Kamal blog http://kamalhaasan.wordpress.com I am gonna start there with some stuff I have already posted here... Hopefully in the near futue I will have some new concepts to write on my fav actor.. All Kamal fans, plz do check it out there..