Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chennai 600 028 Part 3 Concluded

If you have seen my earlier posts, you would have seen the playing area and the rules that held fort back then. This post is about my contribution to street cricket.

If you have read Part 1 carefully, you would have realized that I was the ball boy, being the youngest and also because of my comparatively limited cricketing skills. All that changed one eventful day when something dramatic happened. My Chithappa (uncle, more specifically husband of my mum’s younger sister) who was then in Bombay sent me an amazing gift by courier appreciating my good performance in school.

Let me take a detour from this to tell you till that fateful day, the cricket bats used were generally the flat painted ones made of country wood, which surprisingly could be bought off a kitchen vessels store where they would be stored in an oversized bucket. For those who could afford them good cricket bats from sports shops made of ordinary wood and passed of as oil bats. These bats often had no balance and the ones we used to play with seemed to be bottom heavy and you tend to feel the bat to be distinctly behind the stroke, also they put a heavy load on the shoulders.

By now you would have guessed what was in the gift, a genuine oil bat made of Kashmir willow with an autograph of Sunil Gavaskar on it. The bat was a real beauty even to an untrained beholder in me. The lightness of the willow coupled with a beautiful balance ensured smooth stroke play and the bat was the envy of those in the street.

Needless to say, I was involved in all the matches as I had the best bat around. Fortunately or unfortunately my skills did not compare to my bat and I was normally accommodated at the tail end of the batting line up. Its not that I was a bad batsman, its just that I believed that a ball is meant to be hit and considering our playing area this meant more lost balls, broken windows and frayed tempers, not to mention diminishing bank balances.

My last vivid memory of street cricket was from my house in Annanagar. The playing area was restricted to the off-side only as I favoured the leg side for all my big shots and this was meant to minimize damages. During the match I some how played one glorious inside out lofted extra cover drive on one knee, the kind that would have made Rahul Dravid proud. Still on one knee and having my follow through frozen to admire my handiwork, I followed the trajectory of the ball as it gracefully arced its way through the air where it was rudely interrupted by the only open glass window high up on the second floor. What happened next is still blurred to me. I have vague recollections of an irate neighbour complaining to my dad and some loud “POP music” from my dad and a bill of around 500 rupees. That incidentally was the last cricketing action seen in my colony for over a decade now.

And what happened to the bat?
Well it was handed down to my brother, who was in the classical mould of batting. His forward defense would bore me to death but would be a coach’s delight. The bat used to be with him in bed, he used to sleep with a bat and two cricket balls. I understood "Eat cricket, sleep cricket" from him (often waking up with a very uncomfortable cricket ball under me). The bat gracefully aged and was retired sometime by my brother.
Only he knows its current whereabouts.

PS: We now live in Chennai 600 040

Monday, July 30, 2007

Chennai 600 028 Part 2 (in pics)

This is the landmark for our area, the Housing Board Arch. It is not called Sunnambu whatever, but the place is called Pattinampakkam or ForeShore Estate.

Yet another landmark of the area, Our Lady of Guidance Church also popularly called Lazarus Church (which is a misnomer). The car festival of this church reminds you of a village fest.

Not 10, Downing Street but 10, Malaiappan Street. ; )

Taken from my car, this is about the spot where the stumps were drawn on the ground near the manhole.

This house in the foreground was the boundary, you get 4 if the ball travels to it on the ground, a 6 if it reaches through the air and you get OUT if it goes over the house. Also it is the end of the game, if you did not have a spare ball.

Chennai 600 028. Part 1

This was my pin code for over a decade during my schooling days. And this is also a tribute to the street cricket (SC) that was wonderfully picturized in the movie by the same name.

My fond memories of SC are as follows:

The playing area: My earliest memories of SC in Chennai 28 were in front of my then residence No. 10, Malaiappan Street. Our playing area was the narrow street that would be around 30 feet approximately. As the street was narrow the game could be either playing along the length of the street or the breadth of the street depending on the number of players available. As the youngest of the street then I would eventually be the ball boy, so the following is my spectator view of the sport

The kit: The playing kit included two bats (whenever available) and a constant supply of rubber balls or if we had enough money tennis balls. As the street was of asphalt we had to avoid stumps so as to not hammer the stumps into the road and breaking them, however on those odd occasions when we managed to get our hands on a wooden block that had a provision to fit the stumps we had a proper stump. When we had no stumps we would scrawl three lines on the nearby wall, taking care not to deface any inhabited houses. When walls were in short supply due to irate house owners then we drew the stumps on the road, the height of the virtual stumps were approximated to the height of the hip pf the batsmen. As you can guess this approximation was wildly contested when we had players of various heights playing. The runner’s stump was invariably a large rock. You would seldom see whites on the street but a riot of colours and footwear varied from none to sneakers with a lot of slippers thrown in.

The teams: This solely depended on the number of players available. When there could be at least 5 a team (calculation arrived at 1 bowler per over, a keeper and three fielders to cover the four possible directions) then the designated captains come and by a slap of the others palm (like you make a promise) stake a claim to their player of choice. This normally calls for a lot of man management skills as both would like the best but you could take only one per slap. Wherever there may be lesser numbers then the players draw numbers for an individual batting opportunity where a good mix of individual and team skills are called to play. The method to draw numbers again varied from asking one of the players to bend over and while another held out the various batting positions in random order to be called by the player bent over. In these singles matches the highest scorer is the winner.

The umpire: No neutral umpires, considering the manpower crunch. The batting team normally sends the umpire usually one of the batsmen in waiting. And most decisions are invariably hotly contested.

The rules: The constant thing about SR was that rules could be constantly updated. A brief summary of the famous rules in vogue then:
· The number of overs per innings vary from 5 to 10 depending on the time at hand
· Depending on whether we played along the breadth or length of the road the playing area may be restricted to the off side only or down the ground considering the available free space.
· As lofted shots ensured several broken windows, a shot to the furtherest house yielded a four, however a shot over the house yielded a wicket to the opponents.
· When the manpower was scarce the famous one bounce catches become legit. So survival at the crease (affectionately called grease then) meant drives along the ground.
· Tree catches, wall catches, window catches in short any catch coming off from any other surface except the road was also legit
· As the runner stump was invariably a stone, the concept of conduction was used to effect dismissals. To those who are not in the know, the bowler or fielder would stand with a leg on the stone and if he catches the ball while on the stone and the batsmen is short of the crease by virtue of the “current”, it is a run out.
· The last man standing can bat. Meaning you need to get the last man out to bowl out a team.
· Depending on the space again underarm bowling is legit.
· You could retire hurt any number of times, (incidentally I had to literally see the newspaper to find out that “harttetail” meant “hurt, retired”)
· You could wander around with a simple “Waitees for my crease”, that took some time to figure out too as you never had any mention of it on TV or on the newspaper.
· You could play together but when you break a window the team forfeits the match and the window breaker has to bear the damages alone.
· 1 G and 2 G were commonplace, the G meant Granted where the umpire in his largesse would determine that a shot into the courtyard will mean 2 runs granted and a shot behind the stump will be 1 run granted because they cannot be fielded, and to avoid any unfair benefit to the batting team.
· Sometimes the batting team will provide the keeper too if the players are less.
· LBW or Leg Before Whatever served as the wicket rule did not exist because the wicket did not exist often, the batsmen had so many ways to get himself out that this contentious option was consigned to the TV.
· The loss of a ball either by confiscation of an irate house owner or a illegal hit out of the street also constituted as a wicket.
· In the absence of a hit wicket option sometimes the “stamp wicket” option came into play when the batsman walked on the stump inadvertly.

For more on street cricket read my next post.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

That's me, how about u?

67%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Free Online Dating from Mingle2

Found this @ scribbler

As you sow, so you reap.

I was commenting on yet another tribute to Dr. APJ as he completed his term I was struck by the fallacy of it all.

We have all hoped for our people’s president to serve yet another term but our elected representatives denied us. Please read the last line carefully and pay attention to the phrase “our elected representatives”.

Now let me ask you, did you elect your representative? Did you exercise your fundamental right and by virtue of it your fundamental duty to choose your representative? When was the last time you paid attention to the election process, meaning the national, state or even local level government elections?

It is a sad commentary that the euphoria and enthusiasm that many college students show for their union elections and total apathy to the general elections. Too often we have heard the refrain “Politics is a gutter, we will not step into it”. My friends every time you see that poor soul who stripped down of his clothes and his dignity enter the sewer to clean it, remember but for him our life would be the gutters itself. Imagine your gutters were blocked, would it be a pleasant thought?

So is politics, you may not have to get down into the gutters but you can do your duty to ensure that the scum of the land do not inherit the earth. If the candidate is not worthwhile, you can stand for the election or support a good alternate or invalidate your vote by going through the proper channel. But for heaven’s sake don’t sit on your backsides waiting for the world to right itself. Some criminal will get to the government by bogus votes or by buying his votes.

Today if we regret having an unexpected president who is nothing but a compromise, think what have we sowed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

(M)AD world

How often has an advertisement in the media left you as confused or utterly bewildered as in the cartoon above?

Given below is a crude translation of a radio ad that is doing the rounds recently:

Dumb ass 1 (a.k.a D1) : I’m so worried
Dumb ass 2 (a.k.a D2) : Why?
D1: My wife has not been shopping for the last two days, I don’t know what happened to her?
D2: Don’t worry, my wife is shopping like crazy, it does not matter if your wife or my wife or anybody’s wife shops, whoever shops, the benefit is for us.

Me: ???????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the @#%&? How in the wide world will my wife’s constant shopping benefit all, me included?

PS: The ad in question was for a mutual fund.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Farewell to the real Hero No 1

To the first person who exemplified the term First Citizen of India by his conduct and not by virtue of the post, who redefined the nature of public office, who led by example, who wore his love for his country passionately on his sleeve, who made the common man look at public office as a noble service finally, who broke all precedents and established new benchmarks, who showed what it is to be a good human being; a simple tribute.

You will remain forever in my mind as someone who rose above all odds and reached the top, yet remained down to earth grounded on personal values.

God be with you sir in your new endeavours, you have done so much, yet there is much more to be done. My best wishes are mingled with those of millions who would have loved to have you as our First citizen for some more time.

For all that you have given our country and us and for all that you will continue to do,

Thank you.

A proud citizen of India.


Rain rain don’t go away
Come again every day
India playing overseas test today
Rain rain don’t go away.

After sneaking away with a test draw gifted by the rain Gods probably yielding to the prayers of the millions (the blue billion was just hype, like the team), who after yet another disappointing performance realized that a miracle was in order to save us from more embarrassment.

So with an amazingly resolute effort by Dhoni, the 11th man Sreeshanth (no dancing this time) and the 13th man the rain God, India got a honourable draw.

So what about the 12th man? He with the other team members was busy singing the song mentioned above!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Simbly bicked!

Have you winced when you see how South Indians are mocked for their apparent inability to speak Hindi properly? The done to death cliché of an Iyer’s “Aiyo…” or the Keralite “Simbly” have worn threadbare on the TV.

I know South Indians who can speak flawless North Indian languages and vice versa, though it is comparatively more difficult to learn the classical south Indian languages as the intricacies are more. The tamil la, lla and zha are legendary. So why this prejudice? Do the people up North perceive themselves linguistically superior to their brethren down south?

Just for a moment let us take the common denominator for all of us as English and then we find how language can be a leveler. When I say English I refer to the queen’s English which by virtue of our colonial heritage united the educational mediums into a common platform.

I wince when I hear some of us speak English. It is indeed painful. I do not look down on their inability for whatever is the reason but it is indeed painful to hear. This tragedy is so pronounced in our airlines today. The cabin crew if you care to notice are uniformly fair skinned and invariably skewed towards the northern part of the country. Their smiles make the journey pleasant indeed, but often I wish they would stop with smiles. I dread the announcements where it is so difficult to understand what is being said and often it is easier to pick up the Hindi translation. I fear the worst in an emergency situation.

The accents often vary from the Punjab / NCR region which is passable, to the cow belt which is just terrible Hinglish (with a greater Hindi touch to it), to the east coast which is simply Bicked. It is so difficult to get a neutral accent up there.
Have we made comedy movies on these? Do we look down on people for this?

This post is neither racial, nor is it meant to say “I can do better”, it’s just to say that the next time we have to endure or contribute to such racial comments. STOP.

So our language is simbly bicked? but hey, phir bhi dil he hindusthani!!!!

How about a date?

What is it about women and dates?

No, I’m not talking about the fruit of the date palm or even a social outing with a current or potential lover; I’m referring to the simple calendar date.

Women have a phenomenal memory for dates; ask them when did India become a republic and you may have a thoughtful pause, but ask them, “when did I promise to take you to the big sale?” and hey presto, in a flash it comes “On XX day of XXXX month at XX time”.

Just the other day I was woken up to the fact that the day was the 22nd of the month by D. I failed to realize the significance of the day despite racking my poor memory for all the possible birthdays or anniversaries I could remember. Then I was informed that we were married on a 22nd and today is a 22nd. It is the nth month anniversary. Get the general idea?

No, I’m not complaining, it’s just that I’m amazed to the point of bewilderment as to how much they value dates. The other day as we were driving home D again reminded me of that day when we drove home and spoke a lot. Now driving and talking is a normal occurrence every other day so pray why was that time so special? D patiently told me on that day of that month we drove together and spoke for the first time.

Today I missed the birthday of a dear friend simply because my memory failed me and my old trusty cell phone which for long used to have my reminders was stolen and I never updated the replacement with the data because I simply did not have it.

I don’t write down phone numbers and my brain is full of trivia, useful and useless knowledge but some how I don’t have dates especially the dates that are personal.

So what do I do to avoid a next time of missed dates? Buy a daily diary.
How about writing in it? That is another story altogether… ; )

Friday, July 20, 2007

Have you seen a pinafore lately?

A pinafore (colloquially pinny in British English) is a sleeveless garment worn as an apron.

The pinafore was a type of apron that was pinned over the dress and easily removed for washing. Buttons were frequently damaged with lye cleaning products, which was one reason why dresses were not laundered very often. The pinafore had no buttons, was simply "pinned on the front" which led to the term "pinafore."

So now for my big question, “Where have all the pinafores gone?”
Hey, it’s not that I’m crazy but look around you. When in school we noticed our sisters, friends, sisters of friends and whatever you have studying in their schools (usually convents) wearing pretty pinafores in various colours. The uniform was unvarying till they finished school. However over the years the seniors have a change of uniform where they have to wear often yucky salwars. This I’m told is modest.

It is a commentary of our times that as years go on our modesty has increased. I know some grandmothers who passed out of convents wearing pinafores or short skirts during their school days now seeing their grand daughters go modestly dressed. So were the grandmothers immodest then? Or conversely have few men become more lecherous with the times assuming that the dress code was conceived to protect the girls from such men?

The dress code in colleges today is just an extension of the salwar rule. Frankly we are not very far from the radical mullahs who issue fatwas for immodesty in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Why do we condemn those people when our moral high grounds are as skewed as them? It is purely a matter of a few degrees, in Afghanistan women may not bare their faces, here they may not bare their legs.

Fanaticism and fundamentalism are baring their heads across the length and breadth of our country and the fact that the fundamentalists and terrorists are well educated, even doctors give so much room for worry.

Next time you look at this post and laugh remember the fanatics in the terrorist lands did start from the veil……………….


Hi, got back from “The City of Joy” yesterday. I have not read the book or seen the movie so from what I saw there I am still clueless why Calcutta, oops Kolkota should be called so.

Wiki as always had the answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Joy

I was in Kolkota for my induction having joined my organization only 50days ago. We were in the Tollygunje Club (www.thetollygungeclub.com), one of the top twenty clubs in the world. Unfortunately our programme was structured to stretch over the best part of the three days I spent there and coupled with travel exhaustion left me little time to explore and utilize its many facilities. However life in that club gives a deep insight to the English style of city living.

Being my second trip to Kolkota I had seen a few of the many sights earlier, however to oblige my companion who wanted to go sight seeing and also as he did not speak any Hindi, I did manage to see the two famous bridges and the swanky Park Street. We missed the monuments as invariable we exceeded the visiting hours by a couple of hours everyday. The Howrah bride has always been awe inspiring and though the modern bridge is a magnificent engineering marvel, I couldn’t help admire the predecessor for its majestic presence.

The trams have degenerates since my last visit more than a decade ago, probably with age or more likely poor maintenance. Personally I prefer the Delhi metro for the overhead view it provides compared to this subterranean experience. Sadly we missed out on a tram journey for want of time. Wish Chennai had not retired those.

What enduring memories do I carry from Kolkota?
The horrible drivers of the red private buses, who would put our very own MTC drivers to shame with their recklessness. I have never been overwhelmed by a bigger vehicle bearing down on me but Kolkota brought the fear of the road in me. The cab is was going in was nearly run down on three occasions and the drivers have scant disrespect for the traffic rules or the cops who just stood helplessly nearby. The fact that these buses were so old and rickety and looked ready to fall apart made matters worse as you were left wondering if these monstrosities would have the brakes to stop their motion.

The best journey was at 3.30 AM in the morning on the way to the airport where the empty roads put my fears to rest but not for long. My cab driver either due to sleepy eyes or poor eyesight nearly drove into a stationary truck and his near miss judgment of the roadside medians kept me on tenterhooks till the airport.

City of Joy it may be, but there is no place like home. Like the Maestro’s song, “Sorgame endraalum athu nam ooru pol aagumaa?”

PS: The auto I took on the way home was kissed affectionately by a mini truck pushing us off the road into the stone median. I got off the auto shaken and stirred from my slumber, but thankfully unscratched. The auto was however dented badly. But note the point ladies and gentlemen, it was a LCV and not our bus!!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Blog to (in)fame

If you missed Anuradha Sen Gupta’s blog on Shivaji, read on….

Who is Anuradha Sen Gupta? Well till she wrote her blog was just another journo-presenter in CNN IBN.

What is her claim to fame? One blog: where she writes “Shivaji, The Boss of Crap”. She went on to give her “personal opinion” on the movie. She does this after not understanding a word of the language.

What happened next? 1724 comments to her blog and they were so acidic that Ms. Sen had to eat her words. Then she tried literally stuff the shit back into the horse, by issuing some silly retractions. Finally she retreated to the point of saying that her comments will be moved to a personal blog in future.

I’m not an opponent of free speech, but what Ms. Sen did was silly. By calling the phenomenon as crap she has single-handedly mocked all those who made the phenomenon what it is. Whatever the movie may be, it still is nothing that India has seen till date. A true barometer of any movie is the box office and what is the box office? A simple count of the number of moviegoers who see the movie. Pity that a movie from the only supposedly “Superstar” of Indian filmdom does not get equated so, no matter how ridiculous it may be. Remember Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was released despite the trade warning the producers that it was parallel to the Shivaji release. The producers banked on their star and went bust.

The punch line for this debate is from a viewer on IBN who writes:

"I like Rajini because he is a Superstar who has grown from being a bus conductor... while there is another superstar who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and is now trying to be a peasant."

Jollyroger rocks on 91.1

Radio City was asking its listeners to come up with the nicest thing you can say to someone who drives horribly and makes your blood boil. You know the typical candidate who regularly sets your blood pressure through the roof with some mad, reckless and law breaking feats on whatever he commutes. (Please note that he is used to generalize the human race and “she”s are not excluded)

To me the nicest thing I can think of is “Excuse me, why are you in front of my car, when you should be actually under it?”. Now you know why I did not participate in the dial-in.

When I was pondering over something more subtle and yet hard hitting to say, my mind wandered to that night when during one of my late night drives with Dave (www.disjusme.blogspot.com), D (www.trinityreigns.blogspot.com) and friends; Dave just rolled down the window and screamed at the top of his voice “Your mother is a Giraffe” at some hapless passerby. It was not the most polite, witty, hard hitting, obscene, whatevayoumacallit thing to scream at anyone, but it was so incredibly funny! That poor chap was so flabbergasted and shocked to move. As for us, we were actually rolling in laughter and for once I felt nice after screaming at some one.

Moral: Scream if you must at the idiots who make your blood boil, but if it makes you laugh it is worth the effort.

PS: I got into Radio city twice on Thursday. 1) For telling Craig my idea of a great alternative employment is a “Professional French Kiss tutor for women” in the morning show because of my experience as a French tutor earlier.
2) For telling Solomon & Sharmilee in the evening show that the best new form of transport in Chennai is “Terrace 2 Terrace ht air balloon service” keeping in mind that there are many terraces and lots of hot air in Chennai.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Kiss to fame

Hi! What you see are three famous kisses that made the rounds recently.

What is common to them?

All three were shamelessly flogged to death by the media channels which try to appear respectable but have only sensationalism to capture market share. Of late the overdose of such “news articles” has defeated the very objective of watching news programmes.

So while we are at it, a few comments on the pics:

Pic 1: An obscene publicity stunt pulled by two wanna be starlets. For all the cases filed by Rakhi against Mika, admitting this was not the first time made the issue look so fishy. Just note the reaction of the onlookers for confirmation. This was just some entertainment for the party, even if Rahki “looked” stunned.

Pic 2: This to me was a genuine admiration for a pretty woman, note the sequence of events and execution, it looks unplanned and simply impetuous by Gere. Had he done it anywhere else, it would not have even come to the last page of a daily. But this is India and the moralistic people were up in arms when Shilpa herself the person who was wronged accepted it with the grace it deserved.

Pic 3: The variant between 2 and 3 is that here Bips seems to be having a party literally. The media wonders what John has to say about it. What do they expect: a domestic quarrel reality show?

The problem with the media today is that whenever somebody wants to wash their dirty laundry in public, they reach first with the detergent and bucket of water with a huge audience in tow.

My sympathies lie with the poor audience (me included)who after being tortured with the soaps on an unending basis now have to deal with the detergents from the media channels.

PS: FOr what is a kiss? Read : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

Food for thought

The hardest part of holding on is letting go.

This remarkable line was the refrain of an otherwise unremarkable song I heard on Radio City the other day as I was driving home. It was so thought provoking that I tried to relate it to my life and found that I always had and still have a big problem letting go.

How about you?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dowry trauma exposed

Ok, this is an eye-catcher. But if you have missed the full story read about it in:


Pay great attention to the picture and you will see that this is one smart and gutsy woman, not only does she make a jaw dropping point, she is prepared to meet any lecherous male with a jaw breaker. Note the base ball bat in her hand.

Makes you wonder if she is really so tough why did she put up with a parasite of a husband and his abominable parents?

There is a lesson in it for you girls out there, if you must make a point, keep your clothes on but do go out and buy a good base ball bat!

PS: I understand the lingerie, the bangles and even the base ball bat, but pray can some one tell me why the handbag???

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

So u failed?


 This poster adorns my workstation for over 4 years now, and has been a constant source of inspiration during my lows at the workplace.

P.S: I found this among some more great posters at http://print-a-poster.p-rposters.com/  

Traffic tragedies

You may have heard enough of my constant ranting and raving about the notorious drivers in Chennai. I suppose it is not isolated to Chennai, but driving here for so long I have decided that it is the worst place to drive.

What irked me so much was the total insensitivity our people show today to their fellow being. They have become so selfish and greedy that I precedes We always. And no matter what be your faith or religion, today it matters not how you reach your goal, but reach your goal, no matter how many people you may kill on the way.

Shame on you all:
That middle aged moron with a kid before him and a wife behind him who brazenly jumped the red light on his bike and squeezed between an onrushing water-tanker today। Why do you want to look respectable with well-pressed clothes and tie when you commit such crimes? You are the actual white collared criminal।

Shame on all those of you on Nungambakkam High Road today at around 10 AM when you refused to give way to the ambulance despite the ambulance driver blaring his siren so much।

Shame on you the parasites who trailed along the ambulance at top speed after it managed to break free। You parasites broke all road rules not caring that by doing so you are making advance reservations in the same ambulance.

Shame on you, if you read this and say, “Hey what’s the big deal?”; your life may be worthless to you but for your loved ones your life is precious and for every life you endanger you will have the blood of that lineage on your hands।

Shame on me, that I can only rant and rave; but do precious little about it.