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Nostalgia: The Golden Habit of Book Reading!

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The late sixties to the late eighties—the golden period for us as far as the habit of reading book is concerned. For my father the period started from around the early forties. Rightfully, my father and we children were termed as ‘book worms’ by family and friends. We used to coil up wherever and whenever possible with books—books of various nature ranging from detective novels to heavy non-fiction in mostly English, Assamese and Bengali. We can hardly forget those golden moments of reading—on a fresh morning in the veranda armchair or reclining on the sofa in the drawing room or half inclined on the pillow in the bedroom or on winter nights after supper inside the warm quilt with the table lamp burning. On Sundays my mother had a hard time getting us on to the table after serving lunch. My father had the usual habit of trying to finish a book on a single sitting and we also tried to imitate him on various occasions. Thanks to my father’s childhood we favoured English classics a lo

A Shaken Shillong Bids Adieu To Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam!

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It was just unprecedented and a supreme moment of stupefied indecision for a quiet hilly city of Shillong in the state of Meghalaya of north eastern India. News of global proportions rarely happens in this city. The easy-going people here are not much bothered about breaking news or that kind of stuff and are happy with their daily chores—going to work, going to markets, going for their favourite dishes and worrying about rains or the lack of it and electricity or water supply or cleanliness. So nobody was ready for such kind of a huge news break that could go livewire globally. To confound matters, the media did not have a clue about this visit of an eminent personality, even in a small city like Shillong. Finally then, when the news broke around 8pm on that momentous day of 27 th July, 2015 it was incredulity, sheer disbelief, indecisiveness and numbing inaction. The men here in power were mostly looking for protocol and for ways how to handle it. The Governor, the ministers, th

The IPL Aftermath: The Conglomerate Of Vested Interests!

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Money continues to talk. Such is the extent of the dirty dough, the immense stakes and the clout of the stakeholders inherent in the scam-stricken Indian Premier League (IPL) that even a verdict from the apex court of the country does not prove to be enough to force the richest cricket Board of the world  straight away  into action. It has been therefore a natural follow-up that the Supreme Court of India had to intervene to make the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to see reason, to force its president to at least step away, to appoint committees to probe into the scam and finally give a verdict that should be binding where no other authority in the country commands such ‘authority’. The two franchises under suspension are the two super brands of IPL—CSK and RR—and it is quite clear how much money-powered clout these teams and the superstar cricketers playing for them command. Of course, since it is the Supreme Court empowered Lodha Committee there was some press

The IPL Verdict: Operation Clean-Up Indian Cricket!

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July 14, 2015, a very important day for Indian Cricket. On the one hand the forcibly-constituted second-string Team India has crushed Zimbabwe 3-0 in the ODI Series being played in Zimbabwe. On the other the Supreme Court appointed Justice Lodha Committee delivered a historic and ruthless verdict on the IPL Spot Fixing scam. Operation Clean-Up Indian cricket has begun with a big bang. In these pages we have always opposed the sleazy cricket in the garb of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tracking all the important developments including the Supreme Court of India coming into the picture taking on the corrupt practices both in the tournament and in the Indian cricket board, BCCI. Now the IPL is in the worst crisis ever. Now, we stand vindicated, we say now…scrap the IPL. Sans the superstars the second-string Indian team played freely in Zimbabwe under the ‘no-choice’ skipper Ajinkya Rahane. They have built up big partnerships that the main team was found lacking in recent

Cricket: No Alternative But To Make Rahane Lead Second-String Team India For Zimbabwe Tour!

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Finally all the IPL-weary Indian cricket superstars have to be rested, especially after the full-strength Team India failed to deliver in the just concluded Bangladesh tour losing the ODI series 1-2. The rested players are ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Test captain Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and spinner R Ashwin. With Dhoni not around some decisions became easier to take. Like dropping Ravindra Jadeja, bringing in Harbhajan Singh to the one day team after he made a comeback to the Test team in Bangladesh and selecting the captain for the second-string Team India for the tour of Zimbabwe starting 10th July. The tour consists of three one day internationals (ODI) and two T20 matches. This made-easy squad was announced by the BCCI national selectors in New Delhi today.  Of course, having rested all the 'worthy' cricketers there was nobody 'worthy' enough to lead the team except for Ajinkya Rahane whose 'quality' is conveni

Cricket: Bangladesh Win First Ever ODI Series Against India!

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Bangladesh have made history on the night of 21 st June, 2015 at Mirpur in Dhaka. On the first International Yoga Day they have made their golden day in cricket. They have won the first ever One Day International (ODI) cricket series against mighty India. Not only won, they have outplayed, mauled and humiliated India in all departments of the game and in every cricketing way possible. Bangladesh defeated India by 6 wickets with 9 overs to spare of the 47 allotted through D/L method due to rain interruption in the second ODI against India last evening. In the first ODI they won by 79 runs thus outclassing India in the series and taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series. For the first time the erstwhile ‘minnows’ have beaten India in two back to back ODIs. The sensational  débutante  of the first ODI, Mustafizur Rahman took an incredible haul of 11 wickets and became the first bowler in the world to do so in his first two one day internationals. And, Bangladesh have qua

Cricket: Bangladesh Thrash India, Captain 'Cool' Loses It!

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Bangladesh proved it precisely and clinically--that their cricketers are a spirited and hugely improved lot, that they beating Pakistan squarely was not a fluke, that they running India close to elimination from the World Cup-2015 was not an aberration, and that they have now avenged their exit from the World Cup effectively, so-called it might be though. They had excelled in every department of the game in the first One Day International match against India in Dhaka last evening thrashing and humiliating India by 79 runs. Winning the toss and electing to bat first they raced to a big score right away, despite being put into a tight corner at least twice by India. The Indian pacers were made fun of and only some spinning ability prevented them from reaching even 400. There were no big individual scores, it being a total and spirited team effort.  It seemed the Indian cricket superstars did not take them seriously enough. Even after conceding 307 runs Indian batsmen had a rath

Cricket: Rains Engineer A Draw For The India-Bangladesh One-Off Test!

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It rained every day of the five days of the one-off Test match between India and Bangladesh at Fatullah. The second day's play was completely washed out and rains accounted for the loss of about 248 overs of the match, mind you, everyday you are supposed to play out 90 overs. This shows the poor planning of bilateral cricket series between the Asian neighbors. It was scheduled at a time when the South-West Monsoon hit India and advanced to most parts of the country. Besides, it was the only match that could be fitted into the madness. Now what will happen to the 3 one day internationals, nobody could guess. The first one is scheduled to start on June 18 in Dhaka.  Ashwin With Virat The test, in its realized portions, went the way it was expected with India dominating in all fields of the game. Winning the toss and electing to bat first India had to fight primarily its main opponent--the rains--than the Bangladesh bowlers. India lost the first wicket only after scoring i

India Against Terror: A Strong Prime Minister Makes The Difference!

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It was just another attack on the Indian security forces in the terror ridden North Eastern region of the country. Only that it was one of the worst attacks in decades. On 4 th of June, 2015 terrorists ambushed an army convoy in Manipur and butchered 18 soldiers and injured 11 more. The heinous terror attack seemed, as usual, to figure only in the book of records with some observations made about the folly of a supposedly vulnerable army movement on that fateful day. However, things took a dramatic turn this time. Within five days of the terror attack the Indian Army embarked upon a surgical strike on the India-Myanmar border, reportedly going into the Myanmar territory, and hunted down and killed the perpetrators of the Manipur ambush. Equipped with accurate intelligence feeds the Army successfully launched a clinically precise and ruthless assault on the terrorists in an operation lasting only 40 minutes not having time even to count the number of terrorists gunned down. So fa

Cricket: India Vs Bangladesh One-Off Test Begins Tomorrow!

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Mushfiqur Rahim  The one-off Test match between India and Bangladesh begins tomorrow at Fatullah near Dhaka. Two points would make this match quite interesting. First, as we have mentioned earlier the host team cannot be taken lightly  any more , at least in One-Day Internationals, after its strong performances in the World Cup-2015 and the recent series against Pakistan. Second, the bitter aftermath of the World Cup quarter final in March this year between the two teams sort of makes this a ‘revenge’ match for Bangladesh players and fans. Virat Kohli There were views about bad umpiring decisions that led to the rather untenable view that India robbed Bangladesh of a World Cup semi-final berth—the margin of defeat and the form of Team India at that time are pointers that India would not have lost the match under any circumstances. The ‘views’ were so strong that Mustafa Kamal who alleged Indian bias resigned as the President of the ICC. Anyway, cricket Tests nowadays need suc