Test Cricket: India Poised To Go Up 2-0 Against Australia!

India continued to dominate Australia in the four-match cricket Test Series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to be in a position to go up 2-0 on the third day of the second Test in Hyderabad today. At close of play Australia reeling under Indian spin were 74 for 2 still needing 192 more runs to avoid an innings defeat. Earlier after a record breaking partnership of 370 runs between Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara the Australian agony lessened considerably as India folded up quickly for 503 runs losing the last six wickets for only 43 runs. At the moment the speculation going around is that of the margin of Australian capitulation—an innings defeat or by some number of wickets. Barring a dramatic batting recovery it would be extremely difficult for Australia to prevent India taking an invincible lead in this Series.
Yesterday had been a tremendous day for Indian cricket as the much talked about Indian batting matched the reputation with an incredible display all through the day excep…

Heist Movie ‘Special 26’: An Engaging Real-Fake Drama!

You cannot call them criminals or gangsters or thieves though their job is to steal only! They are all educated, suave and very intelligent. They show tremendous zeal, patience, will power and even ‘patriotic’ feelings. Their conviction is that they are only trying to mop up the surplus money or plainly speaking black money from corrupt politicians, unscrupulous traders and opulent businessmen. They are not the Robin Hood type either as they use their booty to maintain themselves rather than helping the poor and needy. Problem is you cannot help but love them and love-adore-enjoy this heist-drama-thriller movie ‘Special 26’ because of them!The movie written and Directed by Neeraj Pandey released all over on 8th February and is declared a super hit—one of the finest from Bollywood this year. Special 26 is not a suspense flick, but you are sure to be regaled with a huge twist in the very end.
The leader of this pack of thieves…sorry…con artistes is Bollywood action-comedy-masala hero …

Cricket India Vs Australia: Dhoni Double Puts Chennai Test India’s Way!

Morning did not quite show the day on the third day of the first Test between India and Australia in Chennai today. India not only had to overhaul the Australian total of 380, but also had to take a substantial lead for any chance of turning the match in their favor. The crowds wanted Sachin Tendulkar to do it for India notching up his 52nd Test hundred in the process. But the Australian bowlers maintaining a tight leash right from the morning checked India effectively and the early exit of Tendulkar who added just 10 runs to his overnight score of 71 put paid to fans hope and also for hope of a dramatic turnaround the Indian way. However, Virat Kohli went on patiently, and suddenly he found a very determined partner in the form of his captain MS Dhoni who egged him on to become more aggressive
Morning still did not show the day though. Kohli and Dhoni launched an assault on the Australian bowling attack and built a partnership of 128 runs with Kohli completing a brilliant century. Wh…

Cricket India Vs Australia: Chennai Test Could Go Either Way!

The focus had been on off-spinner Harbhajan Singh staging one more comeback in his 100th Test, and the place for local boy Ravichandran Ashwin, another offie, did not look guaranteed. But as it happened on the first day of the Chennai Test between India and Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Ashwin captured the very first five Australian wickets to fall and reduced Australia to a precarious 153 for 5. Indian skipper MS Dhoni’s ‘first day turners’ did seem to help his spinners after all, though the man of the moment Harbhajan went wicket less on the first day and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja chipping in with just one. 
That India could not capitalize on Australia’s capitulation had been the usual story for quite some time now, first day turner or not. The Indian camp tended to put the blame on a glaring umpiring decision when Aussie captain Michael Clarke while on 39 was not given out caught and the replays later confirmed the nick. But nowadays such decisions have been a part of t…

Hyderabad Twin Blasts: The Terror Comes Back!

Just when the politics of terror seemed to have subsided allowing the Budget Session of the Indian Parliament that started on February 21 2012 with the President of India addressing the joint session maybe to work a little better than usual,the terror struck back in full ferocity, venom and revenge. Two massive blasts ripped apart a prime market locality of Hyderabad, a major city of Southern India, around 7 pm yesterday. The victims caught unawares could hardly recover from shock and trauma of the first blast when another high-intensity bomb went off just 100 meters away. Fortunately a third bomb discovered in the same locality was defused in time. In a kind of a vicious circle of terror the city of Hyderabad got hit in 2002, 2007 and now 2013.
The real face of the terror got exposed one more time. It did not discriminate while ripping apart the innocent victims—killing 14 and maiming over 120 so far. The Home Minister of India, Sushil Kumar Shinde, whose comment was utilized by va…

Newsroom Humor: Shedding Your Load!

One of the richest states of India, Maharashtra, has been reeling under unprecedented power cuts for over a year now (events relate to the summer of 2007 when power shortage was most severe). The supply of power was not sufficient. There had been a shortage of about 4000 megawatts. The average cuts are for 4/6 hours a day. The worst affected areas suffer load shedding to the extent of 16/18 hours daily. The ruling party was at its wits end and the opposition was at its attacking best.
But there had also been a sweating dilemma. While the whole of Maharashtra was subjected to load shedding Mumbai had been spared so far. Top ministers were stoutly defending that Mumbai just could not afford it. Mumbai is the pride capital of the state and is also called the financial capital of India. The city municipal corporation here has an annual budget that beats the combined budgets of many states of India. Apart from trade and industry highs Mumbai keeps on making national or international headli…

India Vs Australia Test Cricket: Gambhir Mind Games!

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh once made famous his strategy of the ‘mental disintegration’ of the opponents and since then this tactic of mind games have been regularly resorted to by Australian cricket teams, particularly with a challenging Test Series like the present one in India coming up.
True to the ‘spirit’ Australian captain Michael Clarke today expressed his ‘surprise’ over the omission of Gautam Gambhir from Team India and said it was indeed good news for his bowlers. He also said that India would definitely miss the services of a ‘wonderful’ player like Gambhir. Clarke was speaking to reporters in Chennai on the eve of their second warm-up match against India-A led by none other than Gambhir himself. While opener Gambhir had indeed been the backbone of the Indian batting for several years Michael Clarke is also worried about his relatively new team facing up to the challenge of Team India in India.
However, Clarke was quick to clear up his ‘mind’ by saying that it …

Newsroom Humor: Hapus Mangoes in America!

Hapus and alphonso mangoes are grown mostly in the Rantagiri district of Maharashtra, a state of India. They are called the kings of mangoes. The taste is pure, deliciously sweet and fibrous yet very soft. The look is green-brownish-pinkish. The shape is a delight to the beholder and the size fits the palm.
The mango season begins in around April in this western state of India when the price remains very high—about $10-$15 a dozen. In June-July it falls to tolerable levels. Mango festivals are organized in Mumbai around this season where growers from different regions of the state open their stalls of the priciest mangoes and sell at wholesale rates. Folks throng such festivals and try for a good bargain. Here pricing rates per dozen are not so much adhered to. The customers look for a peti, that is, a straw padded wooden case of rows of mangoes sealed tightly that can be bought at bulk rates.
The newsroom of a local TV channel got the news that hapus mangoes are being exported to A…

Kolkata College Violence: Politicians Of Future?

Times of West Bengal, a state of eastern India, seem to be marching step-in-step with the increasing intolerance shown by its Chief Minister Mamata Bannerji to almost everybody living in her state—from writers, journalists, cartoonists, rape victims to even foreign investors. As we have often referred to her in these pages ‘merciless’ Mamata promised a new beginning by uprooting the 34-year-old stagnant and autocratic rule of the Left in May, 2011 and by bringing her Trinamool (grass-roots) Congress (TMC) overwhelmingly into power. But over time she has managed exactly to shake up those very grass-roots of West Bengal. She has managed to antagonize political parties and citizens alike thus creating an unhealthy atmosphere of mistrust, doubt and malevolence. Today we have witnessed another shame happening to this state known once for having a most literate, cultured and sensitive population.
It was just a college in prime Kolkata that like any other college is supposed to impart educ…

Test Cricket: Gambhir Dropped From Team India Against Australia!

The opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag will not be in action in years for the coming two cricket Tests against Australia to be played in India. Since 2004 this pair has achieved the fifth all-time highest opening partnership average of 52.69 and the third highest of nearly 60 at home conditions. But taking into account only the overseas records the pair fails to even figure in the world list of highest opening partnership averages speaking volumes for India’s batting frailty in greener wickets abroad and recently at home too.
Star opening batsman for India Gambhir finally gets the sack for the first two Tests of the 4-match India-Australia Test Series 2013 staring in Chennai from February 22. The chief national selector Sandeep Patil deliberated for over two hours at the Mumbai headquarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday to select Team India for the first two Tests against Australia and decided to drop Gambhir for his indifferent perform…

Politics Of Terror: And Then Afzal Guru Was Hanged!

In another masterful and top secret operation, the second in three months, the Government of India executed the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Afzal Guru in the national capital’s Tihar Jail at 8 am yesterday.Justice was delivered after long eleven years. On the fateful day of 13th December 2001 a stunning attack was carried out on the Indian Parliament in session and within 48 hours of the attack Afzal Guru was hauled up by the police. He was held responsible for plotting and planning this daring attack right on India’s sovereignty. Afzal Guru was sentenced to death and the Supreme Court of India confirmed it in 2005. Guru’s wife appealed for clemency with the President of India and the death penalty had been pending since then. The terrorist had been lodged in a high security isolated cell in Tihar Jail since 2001 and yesterday, the 9th of February 2013, he was hanged just a few meters away. The jail authorities informed about his burial inside the jail premises later.
Why the great de…

Movie Race 2: Abbas-Mustan Losing The Race This Time!

Honestly speaking, there is no need of writing a review for a listless movie called Race 2, still I decided upon writing one, definitely not as review of the movie but as a lament on Abbas-Mustan, the most exciting director duo of Bollywood, for their ‘twisted’ attempt of crafting another suspense thriller, a genre where they proved their mastery beyond doubt for over two decades.
Known for the landmark Bollywood films like Khiladi (1992), Baazigar (1993)Daraar (1996)Soldier (1998), Baadshah (1999) and Ajnabee (2001) which were also major successes at the box office, the director duo always remained truthful to the popular formula format of drama-comedy-action-music-dance and yet dished out convincingly genuine entertainers in the suspense-action genre. The slick and breathless moments of suspense taken forward with enlivening pace has made all major Abbas-Mustan movies really memorable. The other technical details like photography, sound track, editing and music too have alwa…

India: Facing The Music!

India had been known as a great country with great traditions of great music. Since time immemorial music has always struck a chord in most of the hearts. Never before in history India had been made to face the music like it is being forced to do now!You cannot be sure if Indian music has lost the traditions or the traditions deserted Indian music or we have lost the traditions or music or both!
Some people did not like one particular music band because all of the musicians there were girls and they forced the girls to call quits from music ushering in a crescendo of hurtful cacophony.
Some people did not like a particular movie and they forced the producer-director to impose cuts even after the film was officially certified for viewing ushering in a harmful web of politics.
Someone did not like the still existing harmony in the Indian society and tried to break it up forever ushering in a downpour of hatred and winning away all the intended supporters to his side. His counterpart…

Movie Vishwaroopam: A Frightening Case Of The De Facto Censors!

This has been just another example of the growing intolerance in the country against even creative expressions of various sorts. Let it be books, paintings, movies or music some groups or individuals may not like your work or even hate it so much that apart from blacklisting of your work you may have to be on the run for your dear life. We have talked earlier in these pages about the plight of MF Husains, Salman Rushdies and the like. Movie Vishwaroopam puts the focus yet again on this intolerance, more ominously Cultural Terrorism or Cultural Taliban-ism of India.
Originally in Tamil language, movie Vishwaroopamis written, co-produced and directed by Kamal Hassan, one of the finest cine actors ever produced in India. He also features as the main lead of the film. Vishwaroopam was scheduled to release in Kamal’s home state of Tamil Nadu on 25th January, 2013. But few people belonging to fundamentalist Muslim organizations did not like it and called it insulting to tenets of Islam. The…

Crimes Against Women: Reports, Fast Track, Ordinance And Reality!

The horrific Delhi Gangrape was committed on the night of 16th December, 2012 on a moving public bus and over the last one and half months some progress has indeed been made. We must call this as ‘progress’ for the simple reason that any new measure or laws on crimes against women in this male-dominated country has to be welcomed as a step in the right direction, because precious little has been done in this field for decades or even centuries. At this moment disappointment or disagreement over the new measures must not be politicized like in fight against corruption where various activist organizations politicized the issue so dividedly that the fight was almost lost.
Within one week the Justice JS Verma committee was appointed and in just about a month it had submitted the report suggesting sweeping changes including in marital rapes, sexual crimes by military personnel and special powers enjoyed by armed forces. The report though did not recommend death penalty for rapists and was…

64th Republic Day Of India-2013!

The Republic of India has completed 63 glorious years today. The 64th Republic Day has been celebrated across the country with the main spectacular parade function in the national Capital of India, New Delhi. Honorable President of India, Pranab Mukherjee took the customary 21-gun salute and ceremonially unfurled the national tricolor for the first time after being elected into the top post. The chief guest of the function was the King of Bhutan. The great martyrs of the Indian struggle for independence were remembered with the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh paying homage to unknown heroes. All of the three wings of the Indian Defense forces showcased their strength and the most advanced and latest technological equipments and capabilities. Beautiful tableaux from 19 states of India had been presented highlighting the unity amidst diversity. Huge crowds braved the winter chill and filled in this historical treat of a magnificent display of India’s rich cultural heritage a…

Crimes Against Women: Absurd Reactions And Ridiculous Laws! Part-II

The nationwide awareness and repulsion about the crimes against women and the media plus government initiated campaigns notwithstanding there has been hardly a let up in more heinous crimes. The horrifying question that looms large before us is “Do these in fact inspire male India to learn more about how to commit crimes against women rather than preventing them from such acts?” The ineffective and ridiculous rape laws in the country are also contributing for such an ominously emerging scenario.
Few days back another heinous gangrape of a 29 year old woman happened in a moving public bus in Punjab. Contrary to the ‘Bharat’ theory it was a line bus that normally plies in rural routes and there was question of the lady dressing improperly. Still, the bus driver and the conductor overshot her destination village and took the bus to a distant location where five more fiends joined for the crime. In another shocking case a serial rapist was caught and sentenced to death by a Maharashtra co…