Showing posts from June, 2012

IPL Cricket Spot Fixing Verdict: BCCI Fries The Small Fish!

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) held a crucial meeting today in Mumbai and banned five domestic cricket players found guilty of corruption or indulgence in spot fixing. BCCI’s new anti-corruption Unit gave its report to the disciplinary committee and after deliberations in the meet the decisions were taken. The five players were charged with varying degrees of culpability to negotiating or bargaining for money for spot fixing in domestic cricket matches and to loose talk or bragging bringing the game of cricket into disrepute. TP Sudhindra, the chief offender, was banned for life while Shalabh Srivastava was banned for five years. The other three namely Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali, charged with lesser offence, were banned for one year each. These players were notionally suspended on May 15, 2012 after a television news channel sting operation exposed their involvement in spot fixing. The BCCI verdict has been hailed as a tough measure to crack corrupt…

Indian Presidential Elections-2012: Nominations Filed!

After extending a last-minute and much deliberated support to PA Sangma the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition political party of India, ensured that the 14th Presidential Elections to indirectly elect the 13th President of India was going to be a contest. Pranab Mukherjee, the former Finance Minister who was given a rousing farewell on 26th June, 2012, Vs PA Sangma, a political leader from North East India and the former speaker of the lower house of Parliament. Both of the Presidential candidates filed their nomination papers today. Flanked by the Prime Minister, the Congress President, many other Congress leaders and prominent leaders belonging to the political parties in the ruling coalition, Pranab Mukherjee filed his nomination in the morning in New Delhi. Talking to reporters afterwards the stalwart Congress leader and also a consistent trouble shooter for the ruling coalition expressed his gratitude for the honor and thanked all political parties for extending…

The Biggest Indian Tennis Fight: Sania Mirza Lashes Out!

Sania Mirza, the No.1 female tennis star of India, had been silent throughout the biggest Indian tennis fight as she was not guaranteed to participate in the London Olympics. The moment she got the wild card entry into the Olympics Sania got wild and justifiably so. 
Sania Mirza attacked the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for using her as ‘bait’ to pacify and lure a disgruntled stalwart (read Leander Paes) to represent India in the London Olympics-2012. She interpreted AITA’s compromise as ‘an insult to womanhood’ and a decision that reeked of ‘male chauvinism’. She also alleged that the said compromise had broken up the French Open Grand Slam winning combination of herself with Mahesh Bhupathi in the mixed doubles.
She also criticized Paes’s father for demanding a written assurance from her that she would pair only with Leander in the London Olympics mixed doubles. While expressing her anguish for such an unwarranted demand Sania said that she was committed to her country and wo…

Monsoon Mix: Flood Waters Sweep In Black Money!

The traditional date of arrival of the South West Monsoon in Mumbai is 10th June. This year the monsoon officially hit Mumbai on 16-17th June, 2012. But there have been no rains thus far. As I was writing out this post a heavy downpour started and looked set to continue. Alas! It dried up very fast as if not at all in a mood. For the coming days the met office has no optimistic forecast. But the met office is hardly taken seriously around this part of the world. Whenever it forecasts heavy to very heavy downpour in the next twenty four hours people think they can leave their umbrellas safely at home! The greatest deluge in recent times and many other major rain disasters caught the met office totally unawares. Apart from causing uncertainty for the Maharashtra farmers the no-rain situation worries the city as the authorities have declared that the city has a water reserve to last only 19 days more. After that water scarcity looms large, if monsoon does not still get into a mood. M…

Cat O' Nine Tails!

Neighbors'  Woe!   Non-Owners'  Cat  Vow! 

House Sparrows Going Extinct?

We have been used to be woken up by the staccato chirping of the house sparrows that jump and trot around the windows in the mornings. They have always been lovable small birds living in our roofs spending the full day with us, but over the years their numbers are getting less and lesser and in most of the towns and cities of India their morning alarms are almost non-existent. Environmental experts all over the world have expressed the fear of the sparrows getting extinct and the species already figure in the endangered list. Proliferation of the mobile phone towers and increasing pollution are believed to the main reasons for this sad happening. Concrete apartment blocks replacing the traditional independent houses could also be seen as another factor.  While in Guwahati, Assam we were lucky to see a lot of sparrows in their normal gait and talkativeness, but definitely not to the extent as earlier. But in Nagaon, just two and half hours journey by road from Guwahati, the chirping …

The Biggest Indian Tennis Fight: Blackmail, Compromises And Suspense!

We have always heard about the Indian cricketing superstars dictating terms to their controlling Board on when they need rest or which format of the game they need to play and so on. But what the Indian tennis players have been doing to their selectors would make the cricket superstars look like silly brats! Both sets of players show a common characteristic though—self interest first and the pride of the nation later. Leander Paes, the best international doubles tennis player for India, wanted the next best Indian to pair him so that the chances of getting an Olympic medal in London got maximized. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) toed his line from the very outset. But a crisis situation developed when the next best players—Mahesh Bhupathi—refused to play with Leander. The IATA then hooked up Rohan Bopanna, the next best seeded player, for pairing with Leander. But Bopanna also refused and agreed to play only with Bhupathi. The Indian Sports Ministry tried to intervene by sug…

Massive Fire At Mumbai Secretariat!

A massive fire gutted three floors of the Maharashtra State Secretariat or Mantralaya in Mumbai just before 3pm today. The headquarters of one of the richest state administrations of the country supposedly had all the modern security equipments including fire detection and alarm systems. Yet, the fire that reportedly started from the clichéd reason of ‘short circuit’ raged on for hours gutting the 4th, 5th and the 6th floors that housed the offices of the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and of several important cabinet ministries like Home and Urban Development. While it was a big relief that the all-important block of the city of Mumbai had been evacuated quickly, all trapped people rescued and the fire was brought under control by the joint efforts of the state and central fire fighting authorities basic questions arose about the possible destruction of crucial documents relating to land scams, housing society scams and other pending proposals. Such questions led to specul…

Loving The Rains!

After a long spell of humid heat you get thrilled seeing dark clouds hovering above you and finally becoming a huge mass snuffing out bright daylight. As the dark clouds build up making rains imminent you are welcomed by a cooling breeze. And, when the big raindrops hit the ground in a scattered way first and then get into a heavy downpour the hard soil start emitting a deliciously sweet fragrance that many of us are accustomed to (you may call it a stench in concrete jungles!). You become ecstatic!

Those were the moments back in Guwahati, our home town, we enjoyed and cherished ! The scenes were in and around our ancestral home there. 
Meanwhile, Mumbai got into a most lucrative rain-mood three days back, but gave it up soon afterwards due to some unknown reasons! Or maybe El Nino? This is becoming a real scare for the Indian Monsoon this year. On that particular Mumbai mood the met department did forecast heavy to very heavy downpour for the next 48 hours. 
We hope for the rainin…

Indian Presidential Elections-2012: The Opposition Dilemma!

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) first suggested the name of former President APJ Abdul Kalam for the Presidential Elections of India to be held on July 19, 2012. They made a tactical blunder by neither consulting the NDA partners nor asking Kalam for his willingness or consent. The move thus got nipped in the bud as most political parties remained shut. 
As the name of Pranab Mukherjee, the present Finance Minister, came up a consensus seemed to be building up slowly, because no party could really object to his candidature. The gradual build-up was brought down abruptly by Mamata Banerji’s bombshell! She managed to team up with a tricky Mulayam Singh Yadav and offered three names including Kalam and even the serving Prime Minister of India. After Congress's straight rejection Mamata stuck to Kalam and only Kalam. The BJP or the NDA did not react immediately to Kalam’s candidature as they must have been assessing the lar…

The Biggest Tennis Fight: India Prepare For The Olympics Well!

The duo of A and B has been most productive for India winning three doubles Grand Slams over the years of togetherness. They had been the best of friends too and many described them as husband-wife preferring to remain silent on who was the better half!
But A and B fought…and fought bitterly in 2002 splitting up and going separate ways. They continued to team up and not ‘pair’ up for major international tournaments though. Maybe reaching an understanding about who was the better half they patched up and played as a pair for the Australian open in 2011.
But they fought again just before the London Olympics and fought the bitterest ever. B does not want to be paired with A at any cost as B lost faith in A irreparably. Both of them want C as a partner. Now C loathes A and wants only to be paired with B.
D—their father—pulled them up hard and stuck to what it thought the basic need of the hour. That A and B pair had been the best ever and the only real chance for Olympic honors. Coming…

Dream Shop For Sports Collectors And Fans!

Sports fans have been the liveliest communities on this planet earth since ancient times and thanks to the modern day communication channels they are vibrantly visible everywhere. Their raucous and electric support for their favorite team in a particular stadium does not necessarily stay put there; it spreads, transmits, enthuses and ignites fellow supporters in countless homes and other environs.
There has come a sort of universality about the fans’ passion and they are increasingly becoming fond of enjoying their favorite sports with fitting preparations that include uniforms, masks, gears and an abundant display of colors. They want to preserve their precious moments with memorabilia. Other fans prefer enjoying it from their homes and start collecting related sports materials converting their homes into research centers.
Therefore, the sports fans or collectors need a lot of related products and autograph materials to do justice to their unbounded passion. Collectible Supplies, …

Movie ‘Rowdy Rathore’: Rowdy Treatment To The Honest Cop Theme!

The movie released on 1st June when I was on a home visit in Assam. Suddenly I found almost all shows in almost all movie houses in Guwahati taken over by the movie. Some rowdy behavior indeed, I mused! Two things attracted me instantly. First, its name Rowdy Rathore is quite unusual even by Bollywood standards. Second, I found the name of Sanjay Leela  Bhansali as a producer which rather shocked me. What possibly could he be doing in a movie that sounds like a typical masala (spicy) commercial, I ventured! It must have been quite a journey for him from his celebrated classic Black (2005) to Rowdy Rathore (2012), not to speak of his other critically acclaimed movies! Maybe he wanted to take on the challenge of beating the masters of the masala art in their own game! My curiosity grew as I heard reports of the movie's remarkable success in the box office. I had to watch the movie...who knows...maybe some refreshingly different treatment awaits you! I could not make it there and so …

And Finally It Is Pranab For President Of India!

The United Progressive Alliance-2 (UPA-2), the ruling coalition of India, finally delivered a political masterstroke by nominating Pranab Mukherjee, the present Finance Minister and a seasoned Congress leader, for the post of President of India today evening in New Delhi. All the twists and turns, all the politics of unholy alliances have been put to rest now. Well, hopefully… since even the most opposed political party would find it very difficult to reject Pranab Mukherjee. The citizens of India can have a sigh of relief now at the prospect of having a consensus candidate and a most worthy one for the top post.
Several political parties within and out of the UPA-2 have already extended support for Pranab. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the opposition combine of the country, too might very well go in for a consensus as they failed to find or convince a suitable candidate who could offer a strong contest. The NDA's decision is expected in a day or two. The Left parties …

Indian Presidential Polls-2012: The Bizarre Drama Continues!

After the Mamata-Mulayam twist to the utterly unholy race towards the Presidential Elections of India in July, 2012 things are still far from honorable. While Mamata Banerji sticks to her demand of APJ Kalam as the presidential candidate her partner-of-the-moment Mulayam Singh Yadav is now on uncertain grounds. His Samajwadi Party has not still committed itself to Kalam’s candidature and is saying on the other hand that the party does not want instability in the ruling coalition in such times of economic crisis and so is against mid-term poll. This puts Mamata in a tight corner with the Congress party coming hard after her, but the lady thunders on despite her party on the verge being thrown out of the ruling coalition. 
PA Sangma, the co-founder of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), former Speaker of the lower house of Indian Parliament and former Chief Minister of the North Eastern state of Meghalaya, continues to be in the fray. This is despite the fact that his party the NCP—a c…

Bizarre Happenings: Politics Of The Absurd!

President of any country is the honorable first citizen of that country and election of such a personality ought to be honorable and prestigious too. But Indian politics continues to defy all thoughts of any honor. Bizarre happenings are the order of the day to corner a weak coalition government and capitalize on the chances of a mid-term poll. That the Indian President is to be elected hardly makes any difference to any politician.
India is set to elect the 13th President of the country on July 19, 2012 with results coming out on July 22 as the current President Pratibha Patil will be ending her term on July 24, 2012. For the last two months politicking has been going on to suggest possible candidates with unholy differentiations of ‘theirs’ and ‘ours’. For the first citizen politics has been of the third kind!
The main national opposition party was the first to start the process by suggesting the candidature of APJ Abdul Kalam (President for 2002-2007) for a second term. While the…

Mehdi Hassan: The Ghazal Legend Of Pakistan And India No More!

Article first published as Mehdi Hassan: The Emperor Of Ghazals Passes Away! on Technorati. 

He had always been regarded as the most original Ghazal singer. He came into fame in 1957 in Pakistan and dominated the sixties and the seventies with a career ranging five decades. Bad health started plaguing him from the eighties when the masses, particularly in India, started listening to Ghazals and began to admire and love those thanks mainly to the friendlier and popular compositions of Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh. But even now, whenever we talk of Ghazal artistes we are told to go back to Mehdi Hassan to relish the essence of pure Ghazals.
Mehdi Hassan was born into a family of musicians in the Indian state of Rajasthan in 1927. Though his ancestors had been traditional singers of Dhrupadand though he had a burning passion for music Mehdi Hassan had the hardest time coming to music. Financially in trouble his family shifted to Pakistan during the Partition in 1947 and there in Pakistan …