Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Watchman and the guy who cleans my car.

I live in an apartment block on the ground floor. My window is right over where the watchman sits. So sometimes I do take a sneak peek in to what he is up to.
My watchman is an old man. "72 years" he says proudly in english. He's long past his prime. His one leg is swollen up and it seems that it cannot be treated. He gets a salary of Rs 2500/-. He works 12 hrs everyday including sundays. He has to cycle 8 kms through traffic to be at my place by 8 and cycle back at night once his work is done.
He begins his day by washing the cars parked in the garage. He does a thorough job making sure that no speck of dirt is visible anywhere. His main job as watchman is to see that there is sufficient water in the two tanks. For this he again has to climb to the terrace and climb a ladder to look in the tank.He then settles down to his books. He brings mainly religious books. Either the Gita or some notes by scholars such as Thiruvalluvar and Vivekananda. He has nothing to do most of the time so he busies himself with reading. Around 11:30 he eats his meal, the only meal he has in the day. He has one chair on which he can sit. No fan. No other convenience. I've often struck up conversations with him over a wide range of topics like renting cars, to politics, to religion and have found him to be a very intelligent conversationalist.
I've often wondered why such a religious, intelligent and duty bound man is stuck in such a pathetic job. I learned the reasons only recently.
He worked in ITC as a local level distributor for over 40 years. He earned a handsome salary and had even bought a house. He'd got his children educated and married and retired about 8 years back. The reason he is where he is right now is thanks to his son.
His eldest son took to drinking. He became a complete wreck. He would steal money from home to sustain his habit. When money at home ran out he would take debt on his father's name from his father's friends. They tried all sorts of treatment to try and reform the guy. But nothing seemed to work. Things turned so bad that to clear off the debts the old man had to sell his house.
The son's habits continued. After some treatment he showed some slight signs of improvement. The old man bought an auto for his son hoping he would earn something through it. A few days later he learnt that his son had sold the auto and was using the money for drinks again.
The son died 2 years back. The old man has been reduced to a life of poverty. He has to support himself and his wife and that's why he's taken up this thankless job. His younger son now runs a 'travels' and was doing quite well. However the recession seems to have put him also in a spot of bother.
No doubt all of you feel sorry for the old man. I do too. But I respect him a lot too. I don't understand how he manages to keep his spirit up and do his job with the dedication that he brings to it. He finds time to read. He's very good natured and calm. Here's a man to whom life has been very very cruel. And yet he does everything so splendidly. It's his "dharma" he often tells me. I don't think I will ever completely understand that.
Another man who believes in the Dharma philosposhy is the guy who comes to clean my car. Here's another chap who gets up every morning by 5:30. Comes to clean the car and does an excellent job at it. The first day he came and I was standing around to overlook his work. I gave him a few directions and he got on with it. He was so splendid that when he finished I shook his hand and congratulated him. He does 4 other cars also. And then he has to rush 20 kms away to a factory where he works a 12 hours shift. He comes back late at night. On Sundays, his day off from the factory, he cleans the interiors of the cars. And how much do we pay him? 250 bucks!
What's the motive power of these guys? Money? No way. For the dedication, purpose and excellence both these people bring to their job they are getting paid a pittance. Yet they continue on with it.
I on the other hand am a lazy bastard. I've lived my whole life on my Dad's cash. I'm treated to all the comforts of life. I don't think I've ever worked as hard my whole life as these people do every single day. Yet I lead a much more priviledged life than these two people. Why is that?
The truth is I'm not really living my life now. I'm living a life that my Dad wants for me. I'm priviledged only because my Dad, and his dad before him where able to earn enough to give me the lifestyle I lead. It's not really my priviledge as much as it is my Dad's.
I don't know if I will earn enough to support my Dad in the way he's supported me. But I will not ever allow what happened to the watchman to happen to my Dad. I hope those of you reading this post will concur with that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

IPL-2: CSK vs Deccan Chargers

As I write this post I've just found out that Mumbai has beat the Knights by 90-odd runs. The Knights are heading for dark days! :P

K, back to the first match of the day. Deccan managed a convincing win. The scorecard might not suggest that. But all through the chase Mr Herschelle Gibbs had everything under control.
It is extremely disappointing to see CSK playing like this. They are low on spirit and determinaton. The team looks very one-dimensional. And most surprising of all, Dhoni looks short of ideas!
Well, I see a few things wrong with the team. I'm just shouting out loud here, so don't mind. I think Dhoni is not making use of his XI players. To me it looks as if guys like Badrinath and Joginder Sharma are there just to add up the numbers.
Badrinath is wasted at No 7. The least you could do is let the guy bat at 5. He's a genuine batsmen. Playing at that position will allow him to anchor the innings through the middle and end overs. Also if our top orders fails he'll hold fort at one end atleast. He's not a big hitting guy. Making him play in the last 3-4 overs is completely wasting his talent. If he's not going to play up the order might as well replace him with a bowler or something.
Now I don't know what utililty Joginder Sharma provides in this set up. Dhoni might take him to be his lukcy mascot or something. But clearly the mascot is not working this time. Someone else should play in his place.
With the likes of M.Vijay around, I can't understand why Dhoni persists with Parthiv Patel. He's done a decent job. But you want your best blokes to face as many balls as they can. Especially in a 20-20. Parthiv can play some rear-guard role. As opener I don't think he fits the billing. When there is a talent like Vijay I would use him.
Ntini has to play. We badly need the fire- power he provides with his pace. Morkel is in awful form with bat and ball. It might not be a bad idea to sit Morkel out and play Ntini.
Last I am looking for some imagination from Dhoni. It was obvious in this game that Gilchrist and Gibbs were going to attack the opening bowlers. They would then just play out Murali's 4 overs and then get on with the others. In this situation I would have liked Murali to have opened the bowling and tightened the screws on the batsmen.
Right now the Chennai team is looking too predictable. There needs to be some fresh faces, some fresh ideas brought in to the game. The middle order batsmen's form is a major cause for concern. And our bowling attack looks depleted. It's important that we fix this if we are to entertain any hopes of entering the semis.
Chennai is still a very good team. I hope they will give me reason to be proud.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Well, I was hoping to write today's post on the CSK vs KKR match. But as luck would have it the rains came down and washed the game away. Points shared between the teams. Chennai fans no doubt feel cheated of a point. I'm sure KKR fans are thrilled are just hoping that their remaining games also get washed away! It's the only way they're going to get any points.
I know I'm being rude. But you know what? I like it! :)
I was thinking of writing on some serious topic. But nothing comes to mind. So then why trouble myself and you people there with all the problems in the world. We can find solutions to all of them another day. Let's just be at peace tonight. Let's just be happy, enjoy ourselves and get a good night's sleep.
So I'll leave you Ladies and Gentlemen with that. I wish you a very good night. Au Revoir!

Friday, April 24, 2009

IPL 2- All Hail the Champs!

Well what do you say to these Royal chaps? Somebody please remind them that they are without Sohail Tanvir and Shane Watson. Someone tell them that they have no bowling or batting to speak of. Some one tell Shane Warne that he's playing professional cricket with a bunch of "galli ka chokras!". Some one please tell them!
Well, they might not have the cricketing talent that the top teams in the IPL can boast of, but they have a spirit that will outdo any other team in the tournament. Last night the Rajasthan Royals showed plenty of it and came out tops over a demoralized (and deglamourized!) Knight Riders.
I had decided that I would only blog about CSK games with the odd exception. Well last night's game was one such exception. What a game! What drama, passion, dare-devilry and raw energy. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Dada's heroics brought the Knight Riders close but he failed to finish the match. One must mention Warne's belief in his wards here. It was a huge risk to give the final over to young Kamran Khan. The young fella rose up to the challenge and how. He bowled a brilliant last over and got rid of Dada too. This meant the game ended in a tie! His mates could have asked nothing more of him. He bowled the super over also and though Gayle did take 15 runs of him it was a splendid effort considering the pressure he must have been under.
Have I mentioned Yousuf Pathan yet? No? Oh he just walked in to the ground to bat in the super over with someone else(we don't even need to know who!). He walked out there knowing that he had to take 16 of an over and Mendis( who had bowled brilliantly in the first innings) would be bowling. Mendis had actually gotten rid of Pathan when the Royals were batting.
He came, he sent two balls out of the park, one high in to the air that dropped in between the fielders for 2 and sent another crashing to the boundary. Game, set, match- Yousuf Pathan for the Rajasthan Royals.
As kids we all dream of doing what Yousuf did last night. It was simply put- superb. It was power hitting at its most brutal best. Awesome job Yousuf-- Awesome!
Well I hope the Royals get a move on now. I like them. They are the perennial under-dogs.
As for KKR. Well- for some reason all the guys seem to be hating this team. Only girls seem to support this team. There is somethin about the team that just pisses me off. Maybe it's all the hype and hoopla surrounding them. I just don't like them.
Well the Royals won... that's what counts. Congrats to them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

IPL-2: CSK vs Delhi Daredevils

Chennai.... why oh why oh why? Gosh you just hate games like this one.
Fantastic contest between both the teams, goes right down to the wire, and in the end the team you support "loses"! Arrrrgggh!
The highest scoring game of the IPL season this far and it was tremendous entertainment. I'm sure I'd have enjoyed it much more had Chennai won!
Devilliers's century was simply put- 'awesome'. Delhi is easily the best team of the tournament. Their batsmen are in devastating form. The bowling seems to be coming together. Over-all they seem to have great balance in their side. So much so that the great McGrath can't even find a place in the playing XI!
Chennai put up a spirited fight. What made the difference between the teams I feel was the finishing. Delhi finished their batting and bowling really well. Chennai faltered at the end in both innings. That cost us the match.
We need to look for bowlers who can bowl in the death and batsmen who can finish games while chasing.
I don't think we need to read too much in to this loss. It was a very good effort by Chennai to come this close. Let's hope Chennai learns from it's mistakes soon and we get to see our 'Rascalas' thrashing the rest of them boys.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IPL-2: CSK vs B'lore Royal Challengers

The super kings are back on track and how! It was a thorough demolition of the RC's. RC's had just beaten the Rajasthan Royals team and all the experts were raving about how good they looked. However, Chennai put them to the sword and they were shred to pieces. K..k... I know I'm a little carried away. Well cricket does that to me. Sorry!
Hayden was in devastating form. If he hadn't been run out I'm sure CSK would have put a total in excess of 200. There were also valuable contri's from Parthiv, Raina and Flintoff. Dhoni got his batting order right. He didn't do as well as he would have liked with the bat. But he's just wasted lower down the order. I'm sure on another day he will shine.
What really really impressed me about the Super Kings was the bowling. Gony and Balaji appear a little weak. But there was just fantastic support from Morkel, Flintoff and Murali. Man of the Match- Murali was just phenomenal. I don't think I'll forget the way he dragged Robin Uthappa out of his crease with the doosra(Dhoni completed the stumping) for a long long time. Right now this Chennai team is looking really really good. If the opening bowlers can get their act together then there's just no stopping this team.
B'lore looked flat. For a little while after the mid-innings break when Chennai were batting they looked a little upbeat. Two wickets had fallen in quick succession and they had successfully brought down the run rate. The target of 179 was still going to challenge B'lore. The RC team was unable to build any momentum while batting. They lost far too many wickets and were not able to build any substantial partnerships.
I feel Pietersen is making the same mistake that Dhoni made. He's coming too far down the order. He needs to come up and get and face as many balls as he can. He would be the ideal No3 for B'lore. There is still however a shortage of genuine strikers in the RC team. That's something for the team mgt to work on.
All Chennai fans will be mighty pleased with the team's performance last night. I hope Dhoni and the Rascalas carry on the good work.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

IPL- Season 2

Most times you switch on TV and there's absolutely nothing to watch. Though I have subscribed to every channel possible, it's odd the number of times I find absolutely nothing interesting.
But yesterday was not like that. Mano-ranjan ka baap (who can forget that add last year!) is here. IPL is here. There was also the FA cup semi betweeen Chelsea and Arsenal and also the brilliant biopic- Hitler, on the history channel.
First game of the IPL season 2 was Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings. For obvious reasons I am a CSK fan. But my second fav team in the competition will be the Mumbai Indians. They have a certain Mr Tendulkar you see.
Well Machan Dhoni and Co were off to a good start. But somewhere along the way the game plan faltered. That one over from Freddie Flintoff, where he gave away 22 runs, actually cost us the match. Even while chasing I felt Dhoni should have come higher up the order. He should play in the top four. That would have made a difference. It's only the first match, so there's no real need to worry. And the Mumbai Indians look a very very good team and are surely one of the favourites to win the competition. They are definitely the best bowling unit in the competition. They have specialists suited for this version of the game.
The second match of the IPL was frankly put- boring. I was watching the FA cup semi-final. Dravid came good. I'm happy that he did. He's come in for a lot of unfair criticism in the media. It was just like him to let his bat do the talking. As for the Royals, they looked flat. They don't look like the champions of last year.
I'm hoping the good run on TV will continue. With vacations just around the corner we all need some good entertainment. Hail IPL!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Recession as a time for Introspection

The inspiration for this post is my friend Issam's post that you can read here.

Now we all know that the world economy is in shambles. Exports are declining, the Stock market has lost nearly half it's value, real estate prices are dropping and most painful of all- people are losing their jobs.
IT, for long considered our country's sunrise sector, has also met with a slowdown and understandably most people, especially technology students are worried. Till a year back it wasn't unusual for one of the IT giants to enter a campus for recruitment and leave with issuing nothing less than 150-200 offer letters. Today, however, lady luck paints a very different picture.

Now I know most of you there, especially those of you who are graduating this year, are cursing your luck. It was real easy for your seniors to get that IT dream job and it's simply not fair that you are having it this tough. What my friend Issam, and myself, want to tell you is that you should consider yourself fortunate and not be sulking at the turn of events.

Look at it this way-- how many of you have actually dreamt of a career in IT? There will be a few out there who no doubt have, but most of you I'm sure have not really thought of IT as a career at all. For most people it's just a job that pays really well. And that's that.
It was the same way for your seniors too.... and no wonder the attrition levels in IT companies are so high. See anything done without passion ends in drudgery.

With the times as they are it's going to be really difficult for you to get any job. What we are trying to tell you is don't waste your time in chasing one! Surprised? We don't mean that you don't look for work. What we want to say is that don't just look to do anything that pays well, look to do something that your heart is in. Don't go chasing a job when you can chase a dream.

So yes the job market situation is bad. But the dream factory rolls on. And you have the power to chase your dreams-- so go for it. This also goes out to all of you who have unfortunately lost your jobs in these tough times.

Sometimes, our ordinary lives carry on as they are, and one fine day we realize that life's passed us and there's nothing to show for it. Some of us get a chance to realize this early and take our chances. I think now is a good time for that long over due introspection. Now is the time for you to take your chance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Elections are on us!

The biggest democracy in the world will soon conduct what has to be one of mankind's biggest achievements- The Indian Elections. No power on earth has ever attempted anything of this magnitude and scale. The nation has very good reasons to be proud of this undertaking.

There is no nation on earth that is as diverse as ours. And yet every once in a while, we all come together in this democractic exercise, to vote for our government. Elections have and will always be a great unifying force for our people.

The elections are to be conducted in 5 phases. The first phase commences on April 16th. Chennai, where I reside, goes to the polls in the last phase on May 13th.

Though I expected a great deal of enthusiasm from the media I am left very disappointed by the coverage the campaigns have got so far. There are hardly any policies discussed. There is absolutely no debate. Television and newspaper coverage of these elections has been quite boring. Even the politicians lack the charm and charisma. There are no inspiring speeches, no talk about policies, no innovation. It's been more of the same personal wranglings- that's all.

I have read the manifestos of the BJP and the Congress. I'm surprised that some important issues have not found mention in both documents. Even the media has been very silent on these important issues.

One important issue is the environment. We are living in a planet that is warming up, and warming up fast. We need to take initiative now to prevent further damage to our planet. This needs urgent attention. Other issues like judicial delays, response to the economic slowdown etc., have also not found mention.

We need politicians/leaders with a vision for the future. People who are able and willing to perform. India is on the threshold of a bright and beautiful future and we need good and competent people to lead us in these times.

So on the eve of these election I wish all of you power and strength to make the right decision. Jai Hind.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Hi all,
This is a forward I received from an aunt. It's too good and I thought of sharing it with you all here.


This may be of help to you.

If you're bothered by occasional or frequent constipation, repeat the following, three times in quick succession, when symptoms occur:

"My future now lies in the hands of Mayawati, Mulayam Singh, Laloo Prasad Yadav, Jayalalitha, Prakash Karat, Varun Gandhi and Bal Thackeray."

If that doesn't scare the SHIT out of you, then you are probably destined to be full of it, for the rest of your life.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

India vs NZ- 3rd Test

After 41 years Team India, led by Dhoni, has managed to win a series in New Zealand. How a tiny nation of 4 million people managed to maintain a record like that against a nation of 1 billion people will remain a mystery for long. But finally the "men in blue" have set right the record books.
The rain didn't go away, even though Dhoni and his boys wanted to play, and India was denied a well deserved victory. Only two wickets needed to be claimed to take the series 2-0.
Zaheer's phenomenal spell of bowling in the first innings and man of the match-Gambhir's century set up the game very well for India. One must also mention Harbhajan 'Bhajji' Singh. His performance with both bat and ball were fantastic.
Gambhir's performances over the past year and a half have been just awesome. He's scored runs all over and against all types of opposition. One reason for India's dominance over the past year and a half has been that we have had good starts thanks to our openers. Our bowling looks real good too. Though Ishant Sharma didn't perform as well as we would have liked him to, there's no denying that he's a "lambhi race ka ghoda".
Over all the series was a great success for the Indian team. We have so far managed to beat WI, Zimbabwe, England, Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand on their home turfs in tests. Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa remain to be conquered.
Next up on the calendar is the IPL. Though my mood has been dampned a bit by the shifting of the tournament to South Africa, I'm still very much looking forward to it. Let's all hope for a tournament that's as fresh and exciting as the last edition.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A good day's exercise

After a long long time I actually got some exercise. I went swimming. Didn't do much. Couldn't even complete a lap without stopping midway. But it was fun.
Recovering after a long back problem means I have to be very careful about what I do with my body. The doctor advised swimming as he said that it's the best exercise for people with back problems. When you're floating in water, you aren't going against gravity and therefore there's less load on the back. In most other sports/activites you have to be erect and that can strain the back.
It was fun, but it is tiring and I can already feel the fatigue setting in. My eyes are getting heavy and my limbs are becoming loose. I know I'm going to get a good night's sleep. Honestly, I can't wait for it.
For those of you with sleep problems, try exercise, it works. There's nothing like a tired body to put the mind to rest.
So good night folks. Sweet dreams.