From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Normal service has been resumed

In blah, sports on February 23, 2009 at 10:27 am

  • Australia getting thrashed, in tests, one-dayers, thumb wars, air-guitar competitions, by any team disembarking down under. Not just any, even the ones who jumped puddles and came over from New Zealand.
  • The Sri Lankans celebrating a solitary win at the Premadasa in Colombo, against India in the 5th ODI of the series
  • An IPL bidding frenzy over a player based on talent and not just “star” quality. (Mashrafe Mortaza isn’t quite a household name in target demographic for most advertisers…yet)

Up was down. Tit was tat. Cricket was tekcirC. Until the final day of the 2nd test match between England and the West Indies.

Sanity returned to the cricketing world when the highly expected happened at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St. John’s, Antigua. Experts say that England’s failure to press home from almost complete domination over four days in a five-day test match against an opponent now in the “Most dramatic sporting collapses” hall-of-fame, has numerous precedents.

England captain Andrew Strauss was visibly relieved at the post-match interview “It was close, wasn’t it. With Freddie out of commission, I figured it’d be a breeze to not take the 7 wickets. I’d be lying if I didn’t sweat a little near the end wondering whether one of the bowlers might land one straight, but they
came through.”

Our sources spoke to several bookies who said that in contests like these involving two teams who have made “squandering the advantage” an art form, the smart money is invariably on the team in front to self-destruct. With Flintoff hobbled with a hip injury, even punters predicted a wicketless first session followed by a flurry late in the day as the West Indies would assert themselves to try and snatch defeat from the jaws of a draw.

A dejected West Indies captain Chris Gayle blamed the draw on the retirement of a certain Brian Lara. “His retirement certainly unsettled our lineup. For nearly a decade, his dismissal was the cue for the rest of the lineup to do the most promising impersonation of a pack of cards when someone opens a window”

Local spectators were subdued as they went about trying to look busy after their side couldn’t come away with the loss. A local resident dejectedly said “A bit of tradition has been lost today” On the other hand; the Barmy Army was in good cheer and continued to party long after time was called by the umpires in the final session. “Yet another forgettable day of cricket, to add to our enviable record over a couple of centuries.” He raised a toast as he congratulated the English team for “never failing to un-deliver”

Another “army-man” said how he never lost faith, even when that 9th wicket went down with the better part of an hour remaining. “I’d hold the bowlers responsible if that 10th wicket had fallen. Straussy did his bit by delaying the declaration in the face of a slow wicket and predictions of rain. All they had to do was to keep the ball away from Freddie”

For now the world of cricket is back to normal with the underachieving ways of the English. The West Indies will however will need to take a long hard look in the mirror to regain the spark that made them the biggest under-performers in over a decade.


Strappy Days

In blah, the (much) better half, vacation on February 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I, finally have an achievement to speak of, for my existence of over the better part of three decades. Having dithered, dilly’ed, procrastinated and for good measure, dally’ed for over three weeks since the seed of the idea germinated, the wife and I finally left the bustling and apparently irresistible force that is Mumbai for a purely voluntary weekend away, in Mahabaleshwar.

Before I’m faced with allegations of falsely trying to paint myself as a workaholic, it was always just laziness. Firstly, the time and more importantly effort that goes into figuring out a weekend destination is pretty much that goes into planning a year-long hiatus, or what must’ve gone into the invasion of Troy. Secondly, when compared to setting the alarm for 8.30am just for the bliss of pressing ‘Off’ and turning over for an additional couple of hours, the idea of being up dark and early (if it was bright, it’d wouldn’t really be early would it?) to *gasp* shower…and be *choke* physically active seemed just plain dumb. That said, not trying desperately, and succeeding, at looking like a vegetable over an entire day does have its rewards. It helped that the missus took on the onerous task of planning the invasion, namely means of transport and potential hotels.

A late night bus ride got us there; you guessed it, dark and early. Our cab driver’s doubts after hearing our hotel’s name – Fredrick, were justified when we came across a locked gate and an unanswered reception phone number. It was only later that day, as we walked about town, it struck us that our original hotel was the only one that didn’t display “Only Pure Veg.”, almost as prominently as the name of the hotel itself. I’d take up the cause for this blatant discrimination against those of us who prefer their food to have had a mother, preferably well-marinated, but this was a vacation wasn’t it.

Out and about after a hearty breakfast and the overarching theme is red. Everywhere you look, a dimpled red with a short green stalk adorns every storefront. Also the storesides storeback and storeroof. Enter the missus. Now, the woman I married is for the most part, a balanced, level-headed person, the odd transgressions being around chocolate, shoes and bags, in that order. Within minutes of entering the market-square though, she had a gleam in her eyes, that I remember having seen only once before, when I’d done the unthinkable and voluntarily tossed a sock into the washing machine instead of its usual resting place, on the coffee table. There is a scene in The Matrix, where Morpheus takes Neo through his first training simulation of the matrix. As Neo fights his way against the flow of the crowd, Morpheus glides through unimpeded. Ditto here! As I politely dealt with gents of dubious face-reading skills who kept coming up insisting that I looked like Ganpati and would have three progeny, she glided. We mutually decided that the emotion could only be described as strappiness, a state of blissful happiness arising from being in the vicinity of millions of strawberries.

Several ‘points’ with breathtaking views, a guide who had surprisingly accurate data on the number of tourists to have met their maker by jumping off them, the shooting of a film song sequence with a gent with a mop on his head and a lady with enough glitter on her outfit (however much of it there was) to blind onlookers. Quite the weekend.
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