Friday, August 29, 2008

Tennis and Rafael Nadal

One follows tennis for the sheer energy and the agility in the sport. No other sport known to mankind seems to give the 'feel' of the game like this one does. That, even for one watching the sport in TV. Yesterday, I was watching the 2nd round US Open Men's singles between Rafael Nadal and Deheart. There are only a few sportsmen in this world that has the capability of making you jubilant with every move of theirs during the game, if you support them and cringe with frustration, if you support the opponent. Most of you would not disagree when I say how it feels to be a fan of Sachin when he is in full form in a winning match against let’s say, Pakistan. At the same time, you know how it feels to be a Pakistani supporter, while Sachin blasts the kookaburra all around. Rafa is the only other player who in my opinion can give a similar feeling to the audience, depending on if one supports him or otherwise.

I used to hate Rafa for the very fact that he played almost every Grand slam final in the last couple of years. And mostly against Federer, who was incidentally my Fav only after Sampras. Rafa getting to the finals almost became a routine, just like how frustrating it was to watch Venus and Serena play almost all women's grand slam finals. As much as I hated to watch Nadal play, his sheer aggressiveness and the attitude on and off the field made him seem more like a real fighter. Or in better terms, a gladiator. No matter whom he plays against, he makes sure that he doesn't let go that easily. If he gets beaten by a good volley or loses a tough rally, he comes back hard. He approaches the next point with aggression mixed with finesse and wins it, mostly. Just like how Sachin (in top form) goes after the bowler when beaten by one good lucky delivery.

If the opponent is easy, Rafa crushes him, showing little mercy. Over time, Rafa has reached a position where it leaves one in surprise when he makes an unforced error. He strives for perfection and that’s exactly what it takes to be a No.1 player. Federer is more a composed and yet, a compulsive player. As much he is considered to be one of the greatest players in the tennis history, a much younger Rafa is taking over the throne after much of strenuous hard work and discipline. As much as one hated Rafa, it is admiring to observer the way he is climbing up. The very body language of his shows no pressure on winning whatsoever. That is something I have seen in a very few players. Winning seems easy for him.

For the sheer love of the game, one might think 'No matter who wins or loses, the sport is the winner!', but certain players like Rafa redefine. They invariably ascertain what the game is all about. And I love it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


...indeed is fun!

Its like going on a vacation when one is jobless in the first place.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Carl did not want to go on a vacation. He preferred staying at home, when kids of his age were perfectly relishing the summer by playing around, visiting places, more than all, forgetting totally about school. Carl secretly wished the school starts soon. He hated stepping outside and playing in the park. He would love if he is never asked to go out in the sun. But if he said this to someone, they would confirm him to be crazy. He would rather stay home and play piano all day- the only activity that gave him perfect solace. He wasn't sure if he really is a different kid, as others claim him to be. But he was beyond being bothered by what other kids say.

One afternoon, his mom told him he has to go visit his aunt in Cleveland. Arrangements were already made and his elder sister Rachel is to accompany. His parents called it vacation. Carl hated the very term. He hated Cleveland as much as any place in this world. And he hated his aunt too. And her big house. But he could never refuse to his mom. He looked at the Piano, the only companion he might miss for the next 3 weeks. The kids were about to leave the next morning.

Amtrak left the station at 6.10am sharp. Carl was sitting by the window and Rachel in the aisle. Carl kept staring outside, as the train picked up speed. Rachel sank in to a whole different world her iPod created for her. Carl took his PSP and started playing 'Silent hill origins'. He imbibed himself in the game and before he could realize, they were nearing Cleveland. Carl looked out thru the window and the land was so beautifully covered with snow. Carl has never seen anything even remotely beautiful like this white spread of snow. His attention wholly shifted from the game to the snowfield. The sight made him happy and the very experience of happiness was something he felt for the first time. As he was delighting the sight, he saw a hazy white figure traveling alongside the train.

Unable to figure out what it must be, he was about to ask Rachel, but she was already fast asleep. He looked outside again and the figure started gaining a definitive shape slowly. For a moment, it appeared to him like a flying refrigerator and seconds later, it seemed like a swimming crocodile. In moments, it hazed up again. Carl wasn’t sure if he should continue looking. He was confused, scared and thrilled all at the same time. As he kept looking at the figure, something like eyes appeared in the figure. Carl's heartbeat paced up and suddenly, the figure opened its eyes and looked directly at Carl.

Uncontrollably, Carl almost twitched and that woke Rachel up. She asked if everything is ok. Carl looked outside and the figure wasn't there anymore. He was hesitant to tell Rachel anything, as he was scared that she might think of him as an abnormal kid like everybody else too. He recomposed himself and seemed as if everything is normal. For the rest of the train journey, Carl tried to sit in a skewed position and not to look outside the window. His curiosity still made him look outside every while and then. But he found nothing but vast land of snow-laden meadows.

The train arrived at Cleveland. Their aunt Natasha was already at the station. She received them flaunting her happiness and drove them for an hour to reach her house. Carl did not speak a single sentence in the car journey and he restricted himself to one-word answers to all his aunt's enquiring questions. When they reached the house, the sun was nowhere to be seen. Aunt Natasha's house was an otherwise beautiful one, but the harsh weather and the foggy daylight made it look a little eerie. Or at least Carl felt so. After dinner, Aunt Natasha tucked Carl in and left for her room after a good night kiss.
Carl was too tired to sleep. He was a little scared too. His already existent hatred to vacations was increasing manifold. He got out of the bed and slowly walked to Rachel’s room. He has to pass thru the hallway to reach Rachel’s room.

As he walked, he suddenly heard noise of glass crackling from one of the windows. He stopped to look back, only to find all the windows intact. He waited for a second before proceeding. Uneasy silence prevailed. He started walking and he heard the noise again, this time a couple of notches louder. He stopped. He was sweating already. He looked back and the hallway was as dark as before. No change in the windows or the drapes. The eerie silence continued. He turned and continued walking faster towards Rachel’s room. He thought he saw something moving at the last moment, but he was too scared to turn back and he started running. Suddenly, something held his legs and he tripped...

Continued here

Friday, August 15, 2008


Languages are absolutely funny. So are the cultural differences. That, if looked at with the right perspective.

My boss casually asked me if there is a way to differentiate names of Indian males and females. Her personal experience of embarrassing herself in many a meeting must have prompted her to ask. I thought for a while and told her "Maybe you can understand like this. If a name ends with a vowel, 90% of the times it'd be that of a female. And if not, the name must be of a male". She smiled and said “Oh….that’s easy!” and in 2 seconds she asked "But the guys working at offshore team Hari and Ravi aren’t males? Their names end with vowels" I smiled back and replied "Their full names are Hariharan and Ravichandran. We came up with short ones for you to easily remember and you gotta know that this 'vowels-logic' does not apply for short names" She quickly said "Ohh…ok. I sort of get it now. And I’ll remember that" Appeared like she bought the idea. Good for me. Then, she asked "Hey Arun, what was the new offshore resource you said would be joining us?" I said the name and she inadvertently mispronounced it. No surprise. And I let it go, as most of the Indian names are a little difficult to be pronounced anyways.

One of my other colleagues standing next to me tried to show what a smarty-pants he is. He corrected her by saying how the name should be correctly pronounced. She mispronounced it again and he said “You are wrong. That’s not how the name should be pronounced”. My boss calmly said "Oh, my pronunciation is wrong?! How about the English that you folks speak? Can we talk about that for a while?" I was almost laughing, as I know where this is heading towards. She looked at me and continued "You know Arun, the other day this gentleman here told me that he went to a shop called waaaalmart. I thought this must be a new shop in this area and I told I’ll go check it out sometime. It took more than 5 minutes for me to figure out he was actually talking about Wal-Mart (which she actually pronounced as w-u-a-l-m-a-r-t or to be exact, w-u-a-l-m-a-zh-t)". I know we guys are used to British English and pronunciations in US English are a little different. It was funny how much my boss stressed over the pronunciations of Wal-Mart and other such words.

Of course desis are much better, most can speak decent English. But other Asians amaze me. Especially Chinese people, who get most of their basic education in mandarin (that, if they had their childhood in china), not know a bit of English and still survive in Uncle Sam’s land. Earlier, I used to live in a neighborhood called Flushing in New York and that's almost considered a 'mini china town'. Most of the shops and hoardings will be in Chinese and everything ranging from cuisine to lifestyle would be directly or indirectly related to China. Most of my ex-colleagues would even make fun by asking me if I need a Chinese visa to get into the area. Many a time I have been to shops, where if the shop-keeper sees a Non-Chinese enter, he'll immediately wave both his hands and start 'No English No English' in his own funny way. One can do nothing but smile and step out slowly.

For many days, I thought the old lady in the Chinese eat-out near my house was a little crazy. She always muttered something like "habanadha" whenever I left the place. I thought she was scorning at me, till one of my friends found the secret and told me she was actually wishing me by saying "have a nice day". The old lady indeed was not crazy.

Too many non-English speaking people in an English speaking country make the place a little crazy. That too is funny, if looked at with the right perspective.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pineapple Express:

Funny. Insanely.

And one can almost feel the ROFL experience.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


The pride of not having touched alcohol yet makes one a stronger abstainer than ever before.

One hopes the same logic does not apply for sex. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


..I hate them. Mostly impertinent. And Silly.

Who the hell would get a dream in which one is a school kid and there is a gurkha in the city who abducts kids off for work? And the sequence gets interesting when one gets abducted(almost) by the gurkha. One hides under the bed and the mom lies to the gurkha that no kid exists in the house, but the plot twists when the villainous gurkha spots the kid. The kid sees the gurkha too, gets shit-scared and thinks frantically for an escape. Finding no way to break away, the intensity of tension reaches the apex. And apparently wakes one up and kills the dream altogether. The realisation that one is not a school kid, but a fully grown up 25-year old sinks in. The dufus, that I am took a while to realise the whole happening. All this at 7am. Moments later, one gets a phone call from offshore.

One truly feels gurkha was much better.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


...does not even deserve a review.


By the way, who would expect to see dolphins in a south Indian village?! One spanks the forehead, unable to bear the idiocy.