Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Colombus in the time of Christmas

**** DISCLAIMER : All characters are fictitious and if you know who they really
are do not read ahead. It can be detrimental to their careers ***

1000 Hours 23-12-2006:The portents for the tour were not very good when we took
a wrong turn when joining the ring road itself. That made G very
reluctant to take directions from any one who said "Go straight" after that. But
as R pointed out "The Law of Averages would mean that we were less likely
to make a mistake in a territory we did not know." Traffic till we hit NH4 was
moving so slowly that some Snails in "Who comes last ?" competitions would be
put to shame!! But once we hit NH4 there was no looking back.

We first had to go through a toll gate where we needed to pay 21/-. After much
searching and finding a 1/- coin we got out through that toll only to miss the
Kamath and deciding to have early lunch. B had told us that we needed to by-pass
Tumkur and take the Gubbi road to join NH206. We did hit the correct road only
to lose it and travel through Tumkur and re-join the same road later. After
hitting Gubbi and joining NH206 the next landmark was Tiptur. At Tiptur there
was some blocking of the NH and we had to take a circuitous tour of Tiptur and
asking all and sundry how to reach Arasikere. We finally managed to hit
Arasikere at around 1400 hours. Just before we reached Arasikere we had lunch
at a place called Varun Dhaba. The spicy Dal that we had for lunch was just a
precursor for things to come. After gobbling down 12 rotis, capsicum masala
and all such we hit Kadur where two national highways intersect when I was
fast asleep.

There was quite a funny incident involving a shop-keeper Aunty who took R to
task for not learning Kannada even though he was in Bangalore for 5 years. We
escaped by a smattering of Kannada we knew. Though we did not have the strength
to reply to "Are you a pure telugu guy ?" So the next time you are on NH 206 do
stop just after you cross Tiptur and talk to her.

After Kadur we hit Tarikere at around 3 in the afternoon. After that the road
visibly degraded in quality. After taking a diversion to Shimoga from NH206 and
then taking a Tirthahalli by-pass after asking a couple of people we finally
were on the road. (Special mention must be made of a direction giver who told
us to turn right but used his left hand to indicate turning left. Eventually
we had to turn left.) After that the route was very picturesque and we made
good time to reach Tirthahalli by 1730 hours. A total journey time of 7.5 hours for 350km.

B was there to meet us. After freshening up the first place we went to eat
Bondas had no bondas so we had to do with hot Chilli Bhajji and not-so-hot
Aloo Bhajji. Then we went to a Mela which was taking place there. We were
astounded by the hepness of the mela. For those who don't know our lingo this
means that the BQ there was of a few 10's of helens. As compared to the local
ones that we see on Forum, Garuda or Brigade Road which involves low rise jeans
or tank tops and all that superficial-made-up-oh-look-at-me-I-am-so-hot
pukefest that we are used to. The colombus ride took the wind out of us and
yours truly whose remark of "Aah that thing is not so scary, let us try the
giant wheel" left having a T-Rex's foot in mouth syndrome.

And then we all planned to get drunk. After sipping lots of Vodkas the effect
on R was as follows:

1. Lights he saw were trailing away.
2. An octagonal shape first became heptagonal then circular.
3. He then tried finding a bride for G and that too from zee workplace.
4. After lot of persuasion we came up with a name of a married and old plump
5. After that we had R enacting out the new 7-Up Mallika ad.
6. R : "I think we should order 60+60+90=310ml of Romanov"
7. R : "I want one 30ml".
B : "You can either have 60ml or 90ml, not 130ml"
R : "Ok get me 1 space 30ml"
G : "It still is 130ml"
R : "Ok get me one underscore 30ml"
G : "It still is 130ml"
B : "How about 10ml+10ml+10ml"
R : "What the hell is that!!!!"
Finally of course we made him drink 60ml more.
8. Then he went after the director of our group.
9. Then A questioned the credentials of our CTO.
10. R then decided to write a mail to the CTO to tell him what an
un-enviable state he was in being the mentor of A and all that.
11. At this point dinner was over and the fun carried over into our room now
involving another female who apparently had turned up in Pink sometime and
had taken up G's fancy.

Next day morning began with hot dosas for breakfast. Yours truly ate so many that
B's brothers wife decided not to serve us and pointedly disappointed us by
serving A and R. Point to be taken note of "Don't eat like a barbarian when a
human being who is not your mother is making dosas, eventually you get kicked
out" (I probably had 15-20 before I stopped)

Next we trekked on top of a hill, that totally tired us out. But the view from
the top was quite good. Legend has it that you cannot build a house unless one
goes on top of this hill and builds a small one with stones.

And then I showed off my expertise at hitting a single stump by hitting one in
about a zillion tries. What didn't help was the fact that I was the only one
playing for the cricket team.

After that we went to a place close to Singeri where we saw fish that were
about 100 times the size of ones that you see in a Aquarium. R tried to
catch them but they would just slip out of his fingers, so he consoled himself
saying that it was a soothing touch he was giving them.

After a bit of rest and a bath we drove to a place called Kondadri where we
could see the sunset. The view was astounding and G was really happy
since he could drive till almost the top and didn't have to burn a calorie of

On the way back we realized that Bondas had yet again finished and we had to
make to do with Chilli and Aloo Bhajjis and Vadas this time around.

After having dinner in a basement restaurant in downtown Tirthahalli we decided
to call it a day and hit the sack.

Next morning was Akki roti for breakfast and after the experiences of the
previous day both me and R finished quite soon. We started at 11 not least due
to the fact that I needed to change the frame of my spectacles. Drive back was
uneventful till Gubbi. After Gubbi we managed to scratch B's car. This time
though we ensured that we stopped at Kamath and made sure we had Bonda soup
there so that B could claim that he fed us "Bondas" on the trip to his

But the drive from Yeshwantpur back to our houses was terrible and by the time
we reached Bangalore it was 2000.

So ended our trip to Tirthahalli.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Wizard "Down Under" is going Out

Cricket has lots of facets, but none as interesting as Wrist spin or Leg spin. It is a particularly difficult form of bowling in that it is bowled with precisely the opposite action of what one would naturally bowl
after picking a ball i.e. Offspin.

And so most of crickets leg spinners have been freaks right from the days of Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O'Reilly down the years to Richie Benaud to Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Abdul Qadir. If there is one thing that unites all of these bowlers is that though their bowling styles varied from the parsimonious (Grimmett) the ultra agressive (Reilly and Qadir) the purists delight (Benaud) to the freakiest of them all (Chandra) they all fascinated audiences the world over.

And so in this era of post 1990 also we had 3 contrasting leg spinners, the conventional leggie who would bowl the flipper as well as the googly with equal ease Mushtaq Ahmed to the accurate quick Anil Kumble and to the topic of the post Shane Warne.

And so the game of cricket will loose a lot of its shine when probably the greatest character in it Shane Warne a.k.a Hollywood is retiring. (I am sure pretty soon Dev Anand will make a movie on his life).

As a batsman you treat spinners as the item number of a bollywood movie a la Rakhi Sawant. They tease you with their flight and the great spinners dont mind being hit for a few boundaries before they set you up with a sucker of a delivery and you think to yourself in the pavilion "What was I thinking!!!" (The hero also thinks the same after Rakhi ditches him and the heroine consoles him at the right moment, me I have no heroines to console when I sit and think like that but we digress). Another thing as a batsman is that you prefer leg spinners since they give you more room since the ball is turning away. But what made Shane Warne such a great bowler was that even though he didnt possess a googly and pretty much lost everything of the flipper after his shoulder operation, was the in-drift he would get. As a batsman a leg spinner getting the ball to curve in the air towards your legs is like a 2-wheeler overtaking your car from right behind your blind spot. You always have that uneasy feeling at the back of your head when you play them.

And then there was his attitude. Post his shoulder operation he won half of his wickets purely by playing on the batsmans mind. It was interrogation of the highest order something that would probably even oershadow what our own Karan Thapar tries on Devils Advocate.

My enduring image of Shane Warne: Second test 4th day SCG 1997-98, Jacques Kallis has played 110 balls for 45 and has almost saved the match, Shane Warne is bowling the zillionth over of the match. Warne bowls a ball, curves in Kallis has the line covered but the ball somehow sneaks through the millimetric gap created between bat and pad by Kallis being a shade late and Warne has his 300th wicket in test cricket. It rains at the end of the fourth day and almost the whole of the fifth, this wicket was the turning point of the match.
Have a look at the photo. Excellent stuff.

And so I finish this post by some Lyrics from Black Sabbath's "Wizard" :
"What a batsman thinks when Warne is onto bowl":

Misty morning, clouds in the sky
Without warning, the wizard walks by
Casting his shadow, weaving his spell
Funny clothes, tinkling bell

Never talking (Not strictly true!!!)
Just keeps walking
Spreading his magic

"Now what the batsmen think":

Sun is shining, clouds have gone by
All the people give a happy sigh
He has passed by, giving his sign
Left all the people feeling so fine

Never talking (Ok he has plans of being a commentator so again not strictly true!!)
Just keeps walking
Spreading his magic

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Three reasons

Three Reasons I should have been a South African cricketer:

Reason #1

Reason #2

Reason #3, also the reason behind why Neil McKenzie needs to be in the SA Cricket team.

P.S : Wondering how they are related, they all belong to the WAG club of SA cricketers.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Black Friday

Well reason why I am cursing a Friday of all days is this.

As a person who has always rated style over substance when it comes to batting (yeah yeah I know it is in my genes after all, look at these Hyderabadi Cricketers)it is definitely sad news.

In an era where the emphasis has been on gluttony of runs, heavy bats and powerful strokes, Martyn was like a whiff of fresh air. Without a doubt we can say that Martyn was the David Gower of the first half of this decade.

I first watched him bat in the 2001 Ashes and was instantly hooked. Even the best of balls was dispatched with a minimum of fuss, the balls were stroked (He probably took what Wasim Akram said in an interview "Treat the ball like a beautiful lday" too literally) rather than hit, the bat working like a wand in the hands of a magician. One could see the unadulterated look of bewilderment coupled with wonder in the eyes of the bowler when the deftest of touches or prods would make the ball race away on the turf. He had the look of a person who has been denied his due when batting, his sheer hunger for runs indicated that. He probably should have played more than 100 tests but for some stupid ruthless policy of the Australian Board that chose to axe the junior most player who scored much more than most in the batting order for a batting collapse against SA in 1994.

Over the years I have watched some superb knocks from him the centuries in the sub continent in 2004, the world cup final, the champions trophy innings this year. But he would probably be the first one to admit he was off tune in the 2005 Ashes as well as now. So it is good he is retiring when people ask "Why ?" rather than "Why not!!".

So heres to Damien Martyn the sublime, one of the last style gurus of the art of batting.