Sunday, February 25, 2007


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Views from the Udyan Express - Mumbai to Bangalore




Monday, October 16, 2006

Views from the Udyan Express - Mumbai to Bangalore



Cultural Fusion

Friday, August 11, 2006

At the station,
Crowded pavement, dirty pavement,
Cigarette walla round the corner,
Only men at the stall,
Rockin' in the same boat,
Tryin to make a livin'
Where have all the women gone?
Where have you gone?
I can still see you
All these fucking walls around us...
These layers....
Let's just dissect them so
We can see the softness and warmth beneath
Too soft, too warm...

simple

Lovely and gentle....a gift from nature. Don't look me in the eye.....please don't, coz it makes me want to reach out and I can't do that. Oh how I wish I could. Don't you see it too?

!@$34

Shrunk into your cabin hole wondering why you find yourself in these recurring situations. Ahh.....addicted to this pain, this sweet pain, the only respite, smoking a cigarette and relishing it to the max. Maybe an excuse to relish that cigarette. Not even respite but part of the experience. What to do? A feeling of being human...this is real. You are real. Too real and too close. Why hadn't we met earlier? Then again, it would not have been the same, coz it can never be the same. Nothing ever is.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A moment of clarity

It's one of the most wonderful sensations - that 5 seconds of clarity you get every once in a while. You're in the train on the way to work with your eyes closed just enjoying the ride, and taking a break from struggling to find the answers, and just as you're falling into a lazy dozy state, you experience 5 seconds of pure letting go. No struggle, only clarity - and you know that if most of your life was like that, you're clarity in seeing your path would be seamless. In those 5 seconds, you get the answer to one of your questions, and your state of being suddenly oozes with a confident relaxation.

Big city

So you go through life confident of your bravery and and ability to accept change. You're excited about sailing on that ship and losing sight of the shore. Nothing's gonna stop you. And wham....you get a curve ball which throws you completely off guard. And you're not handling it well...panic, fear, helplessness take over. You get emotionally desperate and you just want something familiar to hold onto, but there's nothing in sight. You're alone in a fucking raging city that has chewed you dry and spat you out. The only thing you can grasp on is hope because that's all there is at this point. And you keep plugging away through the down time hoping that the next day will bring some answers to your cluttered mind. Because right now, it's filled with confusion. You're exhausted from wondering where the fuck you went wrong that landed you in this mess. But then there is hope that if you stay long enough with the discomfort it will pass just as it has in the past and it'll be another one of life's lessons you will learn from. This also shall pass.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gambling pt 2.

Here is an article I came across Soccernet.com on football gambling in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong gripped by World Cup betting
HONG KONG, June 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong may not have a team at the World Cup but that has not stopped interest reaching stratospheric proportions because of the craze for soccer betting.

The current World Cup competition in Germany is the first since Hong Kong legalised soccer gambling three years ago and the territory's already healthy appetite for betting is at fever pitch.
Alan Ho, a store manager, is impatient for Brazil's next game.
Confident the South Americans will go all the way, he is betting HK$800 (US$102) on the reigning world champions every time they play.
'I think Brazil will meet Argentina in the final and Brazil will win,' Ho said.
Soccer gambling was legalised to curb illegal soccer betting, which totalled at least HK$20 billion in 2001, the government estimates.
Taxation of legal soccer gambling meanwhile raised HK$2 billion in fiscal 2004/05, helping push government finances into the black for the first time since the Asian financial crisis.
Gambling on matches has become so popular that even 10 percent of school children aged between 9 and 12 said they planned to bet on World Cup matches in a survey by Watsons Athletic Club.
Retailers and bars are keen to cash in on World Cup games, which begin at 2100 local time and go on until 0500.
Shopping malls are packed overnight with some installing massage chairs to encourage people to stay for late matches. One mall has sleeping bags and shower facilities available for shoppers who spend more than HK$1,000.
At Olympian City, a suburban mall, crowds gathered in front of huge TV screens to watch Portugal play Iran.
Cheerleaders on a stage throw giant soccer balls into a seated audience before the game begins. When it does, the crowd cheers both sides' efforts at goal in equal measure - Iran supporters say they want to back an Asian team.
Hong Kongers are avid football fans thanks to 24-hour cable soccer channels that screen matches from the major European leagues.
'Every night there is some football news or game on TV,' said Jonathan Lau, a personal trainer. 'I love watching English football.'
Manchester United and Real Madrid have big followings and Brazil and England are the most popular teams in this World Cup.
While late-night games are not deterring fans who have to go to work the next day, they have prompted the normally laissez-faire government to issue health guidelines.
World Cup fans should eat fruit, avoid fatty foods and stretch while watching games, they say.
Local newspapers meanwhile reported the government fears some legislators may not turn up for a crucial vote on funding a new government headquarters because it coincides with the later stages of the World Cup.
In the Watsons Athletic Club survey 47 percent of girls said they planned to watch the World Cup.
At Olympian City, Katherine Chan, an office worker in her late 20s, has come along to watch the Portugal game with two girlfriends. They too are gambling, although at HK$10 each per match their contribution is modest by local standards.
'We're not usually interested in soccer but it's fun to go out with friends and watch the World Cup. It's a big international competition and it's only every four years,' Chan said.
All three friends are rooting for England.
'I don't think they'll win, but their players are handsome,' Chan said.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Burnt out

So I'm totally fuckin burnt out.

The intense energy of Bombay has gotten the better of me and it's a frightening feeling. Today I left work at 11 for a few hours to just take a break from it all. I'm not even able to enjoy the world cup properly because my energy levels and morale have taken a nose dive over the last couple of weeks.

This city is too crazy for me and I don't find the high energy levels and crazy pace of life are suiting me at the moment. I want to just not go into work tomorrow and head off somewhere for a couple of weeks. But then again, I have to get back into this rat race and face it all over again. Too much concrete....everyone always on the go and everyone a go getter. Why do we call this progress. What's so great about it?

Gambling and football

My friend Avi had posted a comment on the previous post asking my opinion on Football and Gambling.

Yes, it is pretty big business and some of the big companies that administer it are Ladbrokes and Bet365.

For me, gambling on football doesn't mix. I do agree with you that it kills the flow of the game for the person who is betting. At least I think that's the effect it would have one me. Football has exploded into such big business over the last 10 years that monetary issues shape the game in many ways today. Infact, I'm quite sure that there is more corruption in the game than we care to believe. Just before the start of the world cup, Italian Football was rocked by claims of dirty business. Referees being influenced and players illegally engaging in gambling. Let's also not forget how Marseille, from the French division was relegated by one league because they were found guilty of match fixing.

On a micro scale, individual waging on the game is also growing. I don't know much about it but I have been around people who bet on football games. I find it too stressful and what if there is a team you support such as your home team but you have waged against them in a game. How do you manage such a situation?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A few of my favourites

Every world cup produces a player that stands out as a leader of his team. The person that is willing to risk his reputation for the team's progress. He has to stand up when the going gets tough, and is usually the answerable one when the team does not perform to expectations. More often than not, these players do perform. Three of my favourites of the modern game are:

1. Roberto Baggio - Italy (WCs 1990, 1994, 1998) What a player. Calm, composed, skilful, gutsy. A player with balls if you ask me. Spearheaded the Italian team to the final of USA with spectacular leadership performances in the quarters and semis. Scored when Italy needed it. After missing his penalty in the penalty shoot out final with Brazil, the world sports media did not spare him. Infact, many reporters even went as far as blaming him for Italy's loss. Come France 1998, a game in the group stages of regular time and a penalty is awarded a penalty. Roberto Baggio steps up and scores. I can't imagine the pressure that must have been on him. A even recall the comentator saying "The muscle of a man to step up and take this penalty after what he has been through." That takes tremendous emotional strength. In so many respects it was a fantastic moment. I even recall the poise with which he took the kick. One of my favourite moments in WC from a truly world class leading player.

2. Paolo Maldini - Italy (WCs 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002). What can you say about the best left back the world has produced. Once voted Fifa player of the year, and that was a couple of times too few. Dedicated, committed, sturdy, reliable. How many players of his calibre stick with one professional league club their entire career. By the 2002 WC, he was a veteran at the football's biggest stage. Having already played in 3 WCs previous, he is probably one of the best players not to have won the big prize. Nevertheless, the fact that Italy were runners up once and semi finalists once has a lot to do with his marshalling of the water tight Italian defence. A no nonsense defender, he is one of the most reliable I have seen in the modern game.

3. Romario - Brazil (WC 1994). 5 goals in 1994 and a WC winner the same year when the tournament was staged in the USA. Skilful, arrogant, confident. He knew he was good. Scored the winning goal in the 88th minute against Sweden in the semis. Timing could not have been better. He delivered when it was most needed. Not to mention the manner in which he scored. Not a tall player by any standards, he headed the ball home after towering over the Swedish defence. Somehow, you knew that Brazil were the favourites with Romario in it's team. Was terribly dissapointed when he was dropped from the Brazilian team at the last minute before France 1998 due the a nagging injury. Scored over 700 career goals in all competitions.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Phew

What a great feeling to be relieved of a mega tension that lasts a week.

From the 5 of us in our work team, one was going to be selected to be going to Cochin for a weekend trip June 9 - 11. This trip is all expenses paid; airfare, lodging in a 5 star, food, booze, sunset cruise, ayurveda...etc. It is basically a work related trip with the purpose of educating us on Cochin as a city as well as our hotel there. The criteria that would decide who would be selected is basically which of the 5 of us can bring most number of clients on the trip.

Now, World Cup opening day is June 9th, and no way in hell I was gonna miss that. I was not making a serious effort to get client confirmations for the trip coz I didn't wanna fuckin go. However, most of the first batch of clients I called confirmed. I tell you I was getting stressed. In case I was selected, I had even formulated a back up plan of getting down on my knees and begging my boss to relieve me of Cochin duties because of WC duties. Luckily, a colleague of mine had overtaken me this morning with double the confirmations. And much to my relief, our new employee has been selected to go (not the one who got the most confirmations). Since he's new to the company, they thought it best to send him.

Chale, too close for comfort.

Friday, May 26, 2006

World Cup 2006

Just 13 days from the greatest sporting show on earth. As much as I can't wait for it to arrive, I also can. The sooner it comes, the sooner it goes. I vividly remember the atmosphere in Honolulu 4 years ago when the WC was for the first time jointly held in South Korea and Japan. And what a tournament it was. For me, the highlight was seeing 2 Asian nations make it past the first round, with one even going as far as the semis. I have the argue that the Koreans, who made it to the semis did have lady luck on their side. The refereeing was atrocious with their game against Spain, and as much as one wants to see the home underdog side progress further, it's unfortunate for the game that a side has to go out because of very poor decisions by the officials. However, I can only imagine that the pressure on the officials is as intense as it gets, and after all, human errors will kick in. I foresee the officiating in this year's tournament to be more precise.

I also foresee a good tournament. By that I mean lots of attractive football, some great goals, sublime individual skills and tight matches. The reason I say that is because of the quality of players gracing the tournament. From the last 4 WCs that I have seen, this one seems to have large crop of football maestros. Brazil can boast of an embarrassment of riches: Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ronaldo, Adriano, Robinho, Dida and Roberto Carlos. The Dutch have V. Nistelrooy, Robben, Makaay and in my books, they are the second favourites to lift the trophy. Even the Germans, who for the last 4 years at least, were fielding an average team now have a handful of talented youth and veterans in it's side. The respective team sheets promsie a mouth watering tournament. From Africa, Ghana and Ivory Coast have the best chances of progressing because of the quality of players they have. However, don't rule on any of the other three, Angola, Togo, and Tunisia. Let's not forget Cameroon of 1990 and Senegal of 2002. Ukraine is the dark horse of the tournament, but their success depends on the fitness of a certain Mr. Andriy Shevchenko, who I think, is one of the finest strikers in Europe. Most of their players play with Dynamo Kyiv, a successful Ukranian club, and that may work in their favour since their opposition may be unaware of their style and method.

On a personal level, I'm supporting Ghana all the way. Being so far away from home, I'm trying to get as many people from my office team as possible to watch the Ghana games together. Next objective is to find cheap ass Ghana jerseys somewhere on Colaba causeway.

All in all, I'm looking forward to a month of total football, colour, life, joy, unity and dissapointment. That's what the greatest sporting showcase is all about.