Thursday, June 08, 2006

A night out with school buddies ...

The 1st week of June 2006 will hold a special place in my heart. During this week, I have had the privilege of catching up with my school buddies. Occasions such as these are all the more fruitful when they are not planned. The summary of the week was as follows ....

June 6, 2006.
After a comparatively boring day at work, I went home at around 7 pm. My friend Nikhil had also come home by then. We both were supposed to attend the wedding of one of my best friends .... Ajaz. We were together in Bishop's since 3rd grade and he was and still is a jerk. He has almost inherited everything from his father ... his paunch being the most visible physical attribute. He was always known for causing the maximum mischief in the class. I'm glad that he hasn't changed a bit.

Nikhil and I arrived at Yash Lawns and were surprised not to see a single car parked over there. Either we had misread the invitation and come late or we were the first ones to arrive. Fortunately, it was the latter. It was a non-typical Muslim wedding with no Non-Veg food. I had harboured a desire to have sumptuous Non-Veg food but alas it wasnt to happen. Nevertheless, the place was beautifully decorated. The couple arrived just a few minutes later and we promptly went up to them and expressed our good wishes to them. The bride's name is Jaibun ... quite an odd name and they suited each other like hand in glove. Nikhil was fuming coz Ajaz asked him "Kaisa hai Sushil?". That was hilarious.

We had food and waited for our other school mates to drop in. Two of them did - Dinesh and Malay. In school, we were a group of 6 namely Ajaz, Ankit, Aditya, Dinesh, Malay and myself. Aditya couldn't attend coz he was busy with his training at the Taj in Mumbai. Ankit (we didnt know he was married) couldn't attend coz his wife wasn't keeping well. So it was just Nikhil, Malay, Dinesh and myself. Nikhil and Dinesh left early. Malay and I walked around Yash Lawns thrice chatting about the good old school days. Talks ranged from all the canings we received from teachers to all the good looking female teachers to unique copying techniques and secretly viewing porn magazines. How time flies. Malay then dropped me at the gate of my society. Again, we started chatting .... until we realised it was close to 12:30 in the night. Malay left after we decided that we would have a get together atleast once a month.

June 7, 2006
It was decided 2 days ago that some of us Bishopites would meet and freak out. The cast includes Ravi Uppal, Abhinandan Mukherjee, Martin Meghnath, Ashish Dubey and myself. Ravi is pursuing his MS in Mech from University of South California (USC). Abhinandan is undergoing training at INS Shivaji. Martin leads a team of his own at MPhasis and Ashish works at Wipro Spectramind. All lukhhaas of the very first order.

It was 9 pm. Ravi gave me call and asked me to meet him at the Lulla nagar crossing. We both met and couldnt hide our joy coz we were meeting after close to 4 years. He had got his Hyundai Accent. We were just driving thru the city for close to 30 minutes and for some reason listening to Himesh's songs. He is everywhere that man .... whether u like it or not. We went to Ashish's place. Apparently he was with his girl friend at his place and he said that he would join us in 10 minutes time though it took him close to 2 hours to join us. I was meeting Ashish after 6 years. The last time we met, we played a cricket match and lost miserably. Ravi and I moved on to Abhinandan's place at the AFMC. The place was so pleasant to view at. A long gallery culminating into great rooms and an equally attractive stairway. Then, the 3 of us again went on a drive. We realised that we need to pick up some booze before it gets too late and sadly most of the wine shops were closed. We had to go to KP to one of my friend's wine shop. We got 8 cans of Haywards beer and then moved onto ABC farms. We picked up 2 Tandooris from Golconda and then made a call to Martin. He could not find ABC farms for some reason .....

Ravi, Abhi and I went back to Abhi's place and started off with our booze and chicken session. Man it was amazing. I was meeting Abhi for the first time after school ... close to 8 years. Martin joined us in about 10 minutes and all that could be heard was swearing. Each sentence had 2 swear words on an average and no1 was holding back. Ashish also joined us in another 15 minutes time and we were well and truly rocking. 2 Tandooris and 8 cans of beer disappeared in 15 minutes and we knew we were not done.

The 5 of us went back to ABC farms at 12:30 in the nite. But Golconda was closed. We went to some place called Curf or Perf ... Im not sure. We ordered 10 pints and 2 more Tandooris. The waiter told us that Tandoori will take time. So we decided that we will have 5 pints there itself. We chatted and boozed. All those memories of Bishop's came alive. Everyone had something to say and it seemed like we would be there till the morning. The police were on late nite patrolling duty and asked the hotel owner to shut down for the day. The person in-charge over there then got nasty with us. He was drunk and had a very annoying American accent. He was not willing to give the remaining 5 pints which lead to an argument coz we had been waiting for over an hour. Fortunately, there was one calm guy among us ... Martin. He handled the situation amicably and we got the Tandoori as well as the 5 pints. So back to Abhi's place.

The pints also disappeared pretty soon as well as the Tandoori. All we knew was that we were laughing our lungs out. Talks about teachers, prefects, school sports, etc etc kept us riveted. Martin left at 2 am. Then we finished the chicken. Ravi dropped me home. It was 3 15 am. I had the most amazing 2 days ... funnily those 2 days not being a weekend. I have never had that amount of booze for the last 7 or 8 years. Fantamarvellous .... Cheers mates .... Long Live Bishop's.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Nuances of commentators ...

Its funny how each commentator has his own special way for commenting. Sometimes it makes u go ga-ga, while some other time you simply like to blast the commentator. Here are a few excerpts :-

Javagal Srinath
He somehow tries to gain on the lost ground during his cricketing days. But fails miserably at it. I have caught him speaking something opposite to what he has said earlier on atleast three occassions. His commentary can be irritatingly funny ...

"Thats an excellent cover drive through the covers .... " (Where else should a cover drive go to ?..... Deep midwicket ?)
"India need to fire from both the cylinders ..." (What a draaaaaaggggg. How many cylinders is India carrying anyway ? He wanted to say 2 sentences at one go ... 1). India need to fire on all cylinders.2). India need to fire from both ends. )
"India have done it in the previous past ...." (I never knew there was a coming past too .... i thot past was always previous)

Dean Jones
This guy mixes cricketing knowledge with typical Aussie slangs. One of the few commentators who talks sense. Seems to be an Indian fan. Worth listening to.

"He has got all the toys ...." (For a bowler this means .... he has got variety. For a batsman it means .... he has got all the shots)
"Mark Waugh used to run me out for a living ..." (Typical Aussie dark humour ....)

Laxman SivaRamaKrishnan
Would have abused him by now if he hadnt been blessed with the name of 4 gods in his name. Very irritating person. He starts off a sentence in the right way but takes an eternity to complete the last 4 or 5 words ....

example .... "Couldnt have played that shot (till here it is fine) AAAAAAANNNNNNYYYYYYY (this takes 2 seconds ) BEEEETTTTEEEEERRRRR (this takes 3 seconds).

He has a bad habit of commentating on his personal cricketing experiences though he himself played for just about 3 seasons.

Sanjay Manjrekar
The biggest problem with him is that is forever bickering about India. He supports Pakistan a wee bit too much. Plus he talks about the strike rates being better for batsmen when he himself took a millenium to score a fifty.

Tony Cozier
Mr West Indies cricket. He knows every match ... the venue.... the result .... the man of the match .... how a batsman was dismissed .... who was the bowler ... where the fielder was ...etc etc. An encyclopedia. Perhaps thats wat distinguishes an Indian commentator from the others.

Ian Bishop.
Trying to be Tony Cozier .....

Arun Lal
Another from the Sivaramakrishnan clan. Very irritating. Mentions Saurav Ganguly atleast once when he is commentating.
His favourite line ... "He's got his man ... " OR "They have got his man" OR "Have they got his man". Hilarious .....

Ranjeet Fernando
A man with great cricketing knowledge ..... but about Sri Lankan cricket only :). Every statement of his begins with "One"
"One should not let the fall of wickets affect the tempo a great deal"
"One is forced to think how one will face up to the challenge put forward by another one" :)

Ian Chappell
Seems he carried forward with his aggressive captaincy in the commentary box as well ... Somehow its like just Chappell speaking and the other commentator is just listening. Has a habit of picking up an instance in the history of cricket and bragging about it.

"Viv Richards was a new comer to the West Indian side in 1974-75. He batted down the order in the first 2 Tests. Then they had the tour match in Tasmania. He opened the innings there and got a hundred. Then he opened in the next Test at Adelaide and hit Lillee and Thomson all over the park. I said to Greg standing with me in the slips that this guy would be the best number 3 ever."
I doubt if even Sir Viv knew this much.

Jeff Dujon
You can never make out whether he is commentating or talking in his sleep.

Maninder Singh
UUUfffff ! This guy is a headache specially in Hindi.
"Raat ke andhere mein stadium cham chamaata hua" (Aur kab hota hai andhera fir)
"Aankhon hi aakhon mein ishaara karke batsmen ne ek run pura kar liya"(Waaaahhhh ... how poetic)
"Chakma de diya balle baaz ko bowler ne" (Bechaara balle baaz)

Geoffrey Boycott
Always carries his grandmom's ghost with him. He is the English equivalent of Bishan Singh Bedi. Always bickering about the state of affairs of his own country.

Some of the very many .....
Colud take ages writing about each
Cheers !!!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Will India sing the Calypso tune .... ?

Probably the last realistic chance for the "Men in Blue" to win a Test series in the Carribean. If you have a microscopic look at the last 3 series India have played (Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England), apart from the glaring fact that all these 3 series were played in the subcontinent, it was also observed that India played better in the 2nd half of the series. By 2nd half here, I mean that India played better in whatever came 2nd ... either the Tests or the ODI's. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I wont be surprised if this trend continues .....

But what exactly does Team India (God .... the names people give you for being good .... add Men In Blue to that list) need to do to overcome the Windies and more importantly, .... themselves. I guess all the young guns who have been firing for the last 3 series are facing a crisis for the first time in their relatively short careers. This means India will start a step behind the Windies. The youngsters in the Windies are in the same state as India's youngsters were until the last series. Youth can be a boon as well as a bane. Luckily, for India, they have a different set of players in the Tests. I guess the 2 most important additions are VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble. Laxman had a frutiful series here 4 years ago and looking at the way he has been writing columns in the newspapers regarding playing next year's World Cup, this could be his final chance to redeem himself. I remember the tour of Australia during 1999. Brett Lee was making his debut in that series. India had lost the first 2 tests very easily as was predicted by one Jaywant Lele (he really should have been an astrologer). Laxman tore into the Australian attack and painted a majestic knock of 160 odd runs. It had class, art, arrogance and it had an audience to admire. Due to his great performance in the Tests, he was included in the ODI team as well. Something similar needs to happen here if Laxman is harbouring hopes of being on the next Team India flight to the Carribean. Laxman needs to carry that pallete of colours with him to the Windies and maybe use and old brush (read bat). The canvas is set. All it needs is a good hand.

If you run down the Indian batting order, it should not surprise you that the more experienced of the 2 openers looks short on confidence at the moment. I always thought Sehwag was a bit over valued like the Sensex. The bubble was just waiting to burst. I may be proved wrong by the Butcher of Najafgarh, but with his technique, you can never predict an "innings" from him. Whatever he does will always be spectacular .... whether it is a double century or a low score. Jaffer, on the other hand looks the part, atleast at the moment. He too, had a good series when he played here 4 years ago. I really feel India should have had a ticket booked for Gautam Gambhir. He struggles on the slow and low wickets of the sub continent (pretty strange), but he would have had relished the wickets presented in the Carribean. He likes the ball coming on. Plus, a left-right combination would always trouble the bowlers. But it is widely believed, atleast in India, that if you perform one great feat, you are assured of playing for atleast a year or two, if not more. I believe Sehwag's triple ton at Multan will turn out to be his biggest ally.

Fortunately for India, the middle order in the Tests has more meat than in the ODI's. You have the skipper, the in form batsman ... Yuvraj, Laxman and a toss up between Kaif and Raina. Looking at the way Raina performed during the ODI's, I guess Kaif will get the nod. Dhoni finally has people speaking against him for a change. So he will have to come up with a remedy to end his barren run of scores. The bowling is a bit of a lottery for India. Pathan looks a shade of himself when it comes to the Tests. He didn't get a good return in the ODI's too. But India looks at Pathan as a bowling allrounder even though he vehemently denies it. I guess India need to make a call on Pathan though it looks certain that he will play. The 2 spinners are most certain to play leaving Sreesanth. Munaf and the in form Agarkar fighting for a solitary spot.

Can India defeat the Windies ? It looks like they will have to battle the demons within the team before they battle the Calypso Kings. All the best to India. For that matter, here's wishing both the teams the very best of luck. Cheers !!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dr Reddy's gives a bonus after 8 years ....

Dr Reddy's Laboratories (DRL) seems to have risen from the ashes as far as issuing a BONUS for its shareholders goes. As a kid, my father always used to sing paeans about DRL since it was one stock that had turned around our turbid life into something more meaningful. I completely owe it to Dr Reddy's for having rescued us from the depth and despair of the slums of Wanorie to our current household. When I go back to Wanorie now, I can only ponder on what may have happened. Somethings in life ... change for the better.

In its 17 or 18 year old history as a public company, DRL had issued a bonus issue only twice ... in 1992 and in 1996 .. if I recall correctly. At that time, I didnt understand the constituents of a bonus issue. Hell ... I didnt understand what stocks are, leave aside bonus issues. Bonus issues occur in terms of a ratio. The ratio decides how many FREE shares you get against the shares currently at your disposal. For example if the company gives you a bonus of 1:1, you get 1 share for every 1 share you possess. So if you have 100 you get another 100. The price of the stock reduces accordingly. In this case, it will become half. Mind you, the ratio has completely contrasting meanings when read in English and Hindi/Marathi. In English 2:3 means 2 shares for every 3 shares. In Hindi, it means ... "Do ke liye teen" which is the opposite in fact of the English meaning.

Now, being an equity player myself, I cant help but express my deep sense of joy coz I read in the Times today that DRL has issued a bonus of 1:1. Its been a long time coming for the bonus. DRL was stuck in a legal suit which ran in the US courts for close to 3 or 4 years and the loss incurred in that case seemed to weigh down the profits made by the company. Dr Anji Reddy has finally come to a point in time where he along with his Board of Directors feel that their shareholders have been deprived of something that should have come much earlier. And here it is.
Long live DRL and I hope that you dont make us wait for another 8 years for the next BONUS !!!