Cricket Talk

I feel this would be the right time to resume my Cricket Talk. Indian team has redeemed my loyalty by winning the Twenty20 world cup.

Dravid quits from captaincy, in my opinion it is a blessing in disguise, or even call it a Boon. Do not get me wrong here; Dravid is a great batsman but he is a very poor captain. According to Sanjay Manjrekar on Cricinfo talk, “an Indian team captain has no power, and the entire selection committee and the board members influence the final eleven”. More over the Indian team captain is often put under tremendous pressure by the press. Unable to face the music Dravid resigned. With such politically mooted board and without the top 4, this T20 world cup victory is something to cherish. This format is so cruel that we cannot predict the winner. Though the depth in Australian lineup is phenomenal, I feel Australia cannot dominate in T20 like they do in other 2 formats. If Australia fails in few more T20 games, it would be matter of time for Cricket Australia to complain against T20 format. I feel no team would dominate T20.

A lot of celebration is still happening in India while the Team under the new captain is all set to face off the real World champ, Australia. Symonds mentioned yesterday that Indian celebration is going over the limits, who are you to set the limit Mate? … Trash talking is used by Aussie to pump them up. During T20 semi final I heard Hayden talk to Uttappa. Uttappa was playing few defensive strokes, and Hayden (sarcastically) congratulated him for playing great defense, Uttappa replied “if you say so I am honored”. It is always fun watching the Australians compete.

The (New) Indian Captain Dhoni walks in with lot of expectations. In my opinion, his wicket keeping is well below par. 50/50 is more of a mind game and needs a cool cat CEO. I wish the board gives him a lot of time to settle without worrying about win or loss. Till now I was worried that who will replace the top 3, Dravid, Sachin and Ganguly. Frankly, the recent T20 exposed our bench Talents. I was surprised by Rohit Sharma, Pathan Brothers. RP Singh’s remarkable improvement, finally Zahir khan now has some support. I pray that Agarkar is never selected again. Sreesanth is a good bowler but comes with a truck load of attitude, which can be good and bad. He should concentrate more on his bowling consistency.

The new bunch should be groomed to take over from the seniors. Instead of chasing the top guys, BCCI should create a transition plan [you are welcome to laugh; the word plan is an unknown to BCCI]. The senior players should slowly groom the juniors and make the transition smooth. Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly are in form and been scoring runs in one day format. They are invaluable assets, so is the Intel P4 chip, there is a point in time to change to dual cores [All rounder] and we are at this point. The next few series will decide the future course for Indian cricket.

Ps: During my trip to India I was following various cricket talk shows. Ex-cricketers were riding horses inside a big fat pot. I heard Ajay Jadeja comment about Indian Team fielding. According to him Indian fielding is at the lowest even average fielder like "Dinesh Kartik" looks great on the field. After all Dinesh Karthik took the best catch of T20, while Jadadeja was banished from cricket for fixing matches. Krish Srikkanth on CNN-IBN bad mouthed the new ICL to a great extent and bluntly quoted it was as money making tactics, question to him – does BCCI work for charity? And the next day BCCI floated their league similar to ICL. Poor Crushed opps Krish Srikkanth changed his stance once again and stated – ICL or BCCI – everything is good for the players and the game.


Wings of Evolution Documentary

I had the pleasure of composing music for the documentary - “Wings of Evolution” directed by Ramesh Mourthy & Raghu Jeganathan. This documentary premiers at the prestigious South Asian film festival on Oct 6th 2007 , at 2.30 at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W17th and 7th Ave New York City.

You can check more about the documentary and its producers Access Horizon films here. The sound track was recorded and Mixed at Studio1234, USA. This is the second project my new studio has undertaken. You can catch the trailer here in this YouTube Clip.


Trip Tick! #4

One among my top 5 activities in Chennai was exploring restaurants. My regular list includes the legendry woodlands drive-in, Saravana Bhavan, Rathna Cafe and few more new ones like Mamalla near Mahabalipuram. My top 3 star restaurants are GRT Golden days, Radisson near the Airport and Le Meridian. I also tried the famous road side fast foods popularly called [கை ஏந்தி பவன்]. Over the years my craving for such food seems to have not diminished even a bit.

Over all I felt an improvement in the food quality, meaning, I did not get the stomach bug. The choices seem to have multiplied with wider range of cuisines. In the mid range category I felt the Saravana Bhavan found near Sathyam was very good, while the (Great) Kebob factory [TGKF] inside the Radisson [Meenambakkam] was mind blowing.

TGKF features a rich selection of 150+ succulent kebobs. Their menu offers choices for vegetarians [and the Meat eaters]. An unlimited buffet filled with various kinds of Kebobs served to your table in a round robin league fashion. Every item is described well and circulated around the table. You can have as much as you can. Don’t miss the deserts and remember that you will be full much before the deserts. Remember to leave some room for them as they are totally out of the world.

I would rate this as the best vegetarian food I have had in Chennai till date. Each plate costs around Rupees 600+taxes [$17], the dollar rupee conversion comes in handy. You need to make advance reservation and be there on time, the India stretchable time [IST] fails to work.

Tip to eat more: a full day of fasting is suggested or just an hour before the dinner, drink a bottle of plain Soda + Lime + salt juice. This would be a good appetizer.



Trip Tick! #3

"Digitalil padam pOdum Sathyam": Online booking. You might wonder what is so great about it, online booking have been around for quite some time. Wait, Chennai [Sathyam] takes it to a new level, apart from letting you to select your seat etc; you can also order various kinds of snacks while booking your tickets. The snacks are severed 2 minutes before the interval - right at your seat. Novel idea!

The Sathyam Theater “experience” was incredible. More than the sound, I was impressed by the picture clarity on the big screen. It was very close to Blue Ray or HD Disks – astonishing quality. I have not seen such clarity anywhere else around the world. Besides, Sathyam had an excellent ambience, perfectly balanced digital sound, and the seats were totally comfortable with lot of legroom. It was worth the price I paid - about Rs125+snacks. I watched Sivaji on or around 75th day, Monday evening show - believe it or not, it was houseful. Sivaji –“Athiraddi; I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I generously contributed to the loud screaming and whistling.

After the movie, I went on a negotiation spree with auto drivers. Most of them demanded an amount close to what super star charged AVM for Sivaji. Finally a good human accepted 1/2 of the cost and drove me back home.

A cousin of mine told me a funny experience during Sivaji release. He and his friend were travelling near Udhyam Theater during rush hour. Traffic was stalled near Ashok Pillar while few were busy distributing some kind of free drink to onlookers and motorists. May be few good citizens are helping, our friends also had a cup. They could have kept quiet and moved on, but decided to enquire the occasion for the free drink, ya! Those 2 Dudes just drank a portion of hot milk that came from Sivaji cutout “abishegam” function.

Twenty20 world cup is on, what is wrong with these people? Annoying dance and music after each ball or boundary – the seriousness of the game seems lost; Ajith “Meritless” Agarkar back in the squad. Instead of Aggi I suggest a ball throwing machine; "it" would do a better job. For 20/20 I think India can go with 10 batsmen, a bowling machine and a maintenance engineer combo [maintenance engineer for the ball machine]. An introduction video for batsmen is being shown with their name and their favorite shot, but bowlers don’t seem to have any such video introductions. May be they can say favorite ball - in swinger, slower one, But in case of Aggi – he has long list - short ball, over pitch, full toss, wide outside the off stump, very wide outside the leg stump and many more. On ESPN I heard Ravi Shastri say his recorded message – Agarkar is a talented all-Rounder. WTF!



Trip Tick! #2

Many new places to visit in and around Chennai; I guess a 3 week vacation would not be ample. Numerous shopping malls have sprung up throughout the city. I visited few of them, and Chennai city center was one of the best. A typical western style mall with shopping, entertainment, food court, kids play area all under one roof. Even malls had a very well organized underground car park. Chennai City center mall was filled with “young” boys and gals of modern Chennai.Some of them were busy talking, checking and typing SMS messages while few guys were standing in the line to get a costly pizza slice for their girl friends.My T. Shirt had a slogan, "Sarcasm - Just one of my many talents". I justified the slogan by throwing few sinister smiles at these culturally confused youngsters. Thank god during my college times we just had Ramana or Aboorva fast foods. Food court in Chennai City center had typical south Indian food to western pizza outlets. Great food!.

Someone told me that such shopping complexes in Chennai are built without proper permits. I heard the same story for almost all the “multi-storied” shopping centers. I wondered why put a hold on development? What is the problem in making the permit available? My regular auto driver made a valid point. The infrastructure is not yet adequate, it seems these shopping complexes does not plan for proper sewer, water etc, they just use the public lines and over load them.

Cable TV, the set top box culture was still around in Chennai. I surfed various TV channels and I felt that Vijay TV had better program line up when compared to other TVs. They had better variety. However most TV channels had record dance programs in various forms. So called small screen actors and actresses have taken up dancing, for pre-recorded film music. Seriously it not worth watching for even 2 minutes as the dance movements were too vulgar, Yuk. I also felt channels like DD pOdigai had good programs with lot of cultural values.

There was a program called "NEEYA NANA" [You or Me] on Vijay TV –a debate program. The topic was "The current middle Class in Chennai is selfish and self centered, they don’t care for others.", Two groups argued and one group went on to claim that people are using Credit card for style and show, what the heck? I don’t know how it would be a show, I remember my friends teasing me for wearing cooling glass in Chennai when I was in college. Where else a cooling glass will serve better? In Seattle?

1st using credit card creates a paper trail and we can make sure out expenses are accounted, and 2. We need not carry cash, which often attracts pickpockets; if credit card is stolen we can call and put a hold on it. We are better protected than losing money. This group was headed by a writer called ஞாநி [gani], [this looks like a self-centered name to me]. As the debate progressed with his argument abilities he trashed a girl on the other team and felt proud on the TV. He asked the girl if she would be willing to take up a certain job if good money was offered. What the heck? I don’t know what is wrong with such self proclaimed writers who simply pass time by riding a horse inside a fat pot. I changed the channel and never bothered to check the program again.



Trip Tick! #1

I was anxiously sitting in my seat, kids in the front seat were busy watching the in-flight entertainment, giggling at Mr. Bean’s tantrums; in my case the word Bean reminded me the yummy "Beans pArupusali (பாருப்பூசலி)" my mom cooks. As though the captain read my mind, he announced "flight attendants prepare for landing", moments later I felt the 777 decent towards the earth, my ears completely blocked but still managed to capture little babies scream, and nervously I peeped through the window, a familiar sight - St. Thomas Mount on Horizon, Chennai! Here I come.

Chennai airport has been upgraded and looks great. The luggage pickup was well organized, No need to run around carousels to find the luggage. Clear signs are posted about your flight in every carousel and luggage arrives only at the posted carousel. The whole airport was well lit and secured. You can book prepaid cabs, No shady deals, you can also book train tickets to anywhere in India. I saw a Southern Railway counter, a sweet and flower stall and few duty free shops at the airport. As I drove out of the Airport, I saw a board – “Anna International Terminal ISO 9000 certified”, I guess IS0 certification has some meaning to it.

First thing that I noticed in Chennai was, the entire city was covered with “something”- if you have guessed it smog “beep”– NO; the real beauty of the Chennai has been over shadowed by tons and tons of advertisement hoardings. Believe it or not, Entire city is now covered by hoardings of various sizes and messages. Even new buildings with well designed architecture were covered by giant size banners of trendy looking models posing for computer designed Sarees, Jewelry stores and their Gold dripping ornaments, newly built shopping malls, variety of Indian and international cars, Cell phones, Tele serial banners, movie banners, moreover annoying huge political posters with their beloved leaders posing for brightly printed glorifying Tamil words lifted from the million year old Tamil literature. Even the front gates of residential houses and colonies had hoardings with a fine print: “Do not park in the front of the gate”; when asked about this outbreak, no one really cared, it seems hoardings fetch lucrative amounts. Eswara!, [someone would offer money to suffix this with the word “Silks”]

Traffic was as usual at its best – or worst. An over bridge is being built right in front of the airport. It took me about an hour to travel from Airport to T. Nagar; thanks to the early morning time; the over bridge construction at Guindy “kathipara” junction is a day and night mare, I was told that it takes couple hours to cross this place. The flyovers are expected to be completed in few years, until then - royal mess for the motorists. Two vital elements prevent accidents in Chennai – 1. Extraordinary Reflex and 2.Sheer Luck;

People generally don’t seem to care for traffic rules or safety. Government buses, trucks, 2 wheelers and of course the yellow bumble bee of Chennai - auto rickshaws are notorious for such mindless driving. No one stopped for Red Lights, unless there was a cop waving at them. In my opinion, the driving culture found in Chennai would rank the worst in the world. People just move their vehicle if they see open space on the road, regardless of right or left side. They don’t seem to care for oncoming traffic, if there is “space” just move in, soon this would shut down the whole road causing serious traffic jams. Traffic police cannot do anything if people don’t behave like human beings. Make sure the main gates and doors are locked, else Auto drivers could use it as a detour route and would not hesitate to trespass into your house and go on to the next street.

All said and done - my home town would be the best place for me to spend my well earned vacation. Development in Chennai is quite remarkable. ..