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The Connecting Train!

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I was supremely confident that the connecting train would wait for us. Our first train was running five hours late, and the onward connecting train was to leave from the big junction at about three hours after the scheduled arrival of our train. Most of the passengers booked for that train gave up hope. I tried my best to infuse confidence in them by pointing out the obvious fact that our reservation tickets showed confirmed births on the connecting train, and therefore, it was a sacred obligation on the part of the Indian Railways to make the train wait for us. Some of the depressed co-passengers believed in me. I was not only mistaken but was colossally being naive.
Yes, the connecting train left on the scheduled departure time, more than two hours before our final arrival, leaving us stranded for the night at the station waiting room. Of course, the ticket was valid and it was adjusted in the train leaving early morning next day for our destination. This was the first case of missi…

ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 Final: The Ultimate Thriller Where England Become New World Champions As Per Rules!

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Very rarely you get to watch such a thrilling one-day encounter, an ICC Cricket World Cup final at that! Further, it a was low scoring game where New Zealand won the toss and naturally elected to bat, and struggled and struggled and stuttered to get to a score of 240 in full fifty overs which never looked like a winning total a la the  hype created over the so-called 300+  pitches of the world event. However, in light of the semi final match against India when NZ gave a target of just 239 runs and won it, plus the pressures of a World Cup final the target of 241 for England was a challenging one on a pitch that was termed as ‘tricky’ by confused commentators. The essence of the game as was felt by all cricket lovers was that none of the teams was willing to give away an inch. It was, throughout the entire duration of the match, an outstanding display of seam bowling and super class fielding by both England and New Zealand. Even neutral fans were hooked as the probable winners changed…

ICC Cricket World Cup-2019: New World Champions to Emerge Tomorrow!

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A new World Champions emerges tomorrow at Lord’s in the ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 Final match to be played between England and New Zealand. Neither England nor NZ ever became Champions before, although both coming close several times. England had been playing semi finals in the first five versions of the World Cup since 1975, and they had been runners-ups three times of those five occasions, never able to win the final. They played a semi final last in 1992 and lost it, never able to make to the last four stage since then. 
On the other hand New Zealand played 7 semi finals including the present one and the first two in 1975 and 1979, and had been runners-up only once in the 2015 version when they lost to their big brother Australia. They had been playing good cricket in several world cups, but mostly they had been facing an inconsistent run of wins/losses. In this version they looked the dominant team, but eventually lost badly to Pakistan, Australia and England. Their surprise win…

Fade In, Fade Out...!—Part-4

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I stood there for some time, not knowing what to make of the words just uttered by my erstwhile friend, and what to do next. However, I decided to do the most sensible thing at that moment. I went in heading for the bar. As I pushed my way through the revolving glass doors I came to a standstill again looking at the spectacle.
The bar was spacious, rectangular in size, with a full glass wall giving a view of the street outside and a wood-paneled wall on the other side. To my utter surprise and shock, the whole interior was filled with thick layers of smoke rising up to the false ceiling. How on earth they are allowed to smoke inside, I thought in dismay; my mind taking an overview of all the steps taken by the public authorities in recent years to save people from exposure to passive smoking. What amazed me next were the customers there.
Most of them were young boys and girls. Almost everyone was smoking, throwing out rings of smoke upwards. Some were looking up squealing in ecstasy w…

ICC Cricket World Cup-2019: When The Umpire Wanted Gayle Out!

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The headline above is not an allegation, it’s only an observation based on hard facts. However, this observation reflects badly on the umpiring standards in the biggest cricket event of the world.We had recently seen ludicrous umpiring errors in Indian Premiere League-2019. ICC Cricket World Cup can hardly be compared with the former, and we fervently hope that standards would improve as this was just the first week of the tournament.
It all happened in the 10th match of the ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 at Trent Bridge, England between Australia and West Indies. Winning the toss West Indies put Australia into bat, reduced them to 79 for 5 thanks to fiery spells by Thomas and Cortrell that reminded us of the likes of Malcolm Marshall & Co of yore, and as was their wont, West Indies let go allowing the Aussies to amass 288. Still, it was not an impossible target, and West Indies seemed to be cruising nicely with Hope and Heitmyer going great guns. Again, as Caribbean old habits die ha…

Fade In, Fade Out...!—Part-3

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The eatery seemed to me as an Italian food joint with largely fast food items most of which were not even known to me. People were crowding, leaning and craning over the counter for buying order coupons since it was a self-service restaurant. However, to my surprise, there was hardly any noise, an eerie silence prevailed. Surprisingly too, members of the student community were missing conspicuously. Of course, I could never be sure about differentiating a young man from a student, it was only subjective. For my comfort, if it did matter, most of the customers were young.
As I approached the counter for a look-in at the items available the nagging thought came to me again; since checking in I didn’t call my even once wife informing her of my whereabouts, even though I wanted to tell her first thing after arrival; but somehow, I never cared to take up the mobile and dial her number. Let me order the food first and then I’ll call her, I assured myself again.
I looked for the menu, but ther…

Fade In, Fade Out...!—Part-2

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I did as I planned. I managed to push the door free of its hinges to the wrong side outside. However, the falling door failed to crush anyone under its weight. To my surprise and horror, there was only that frail old sick lady outside, and she dexterously succeeded in wriggling herself out of the falling door.
Eyes blazing, breathing venom, hair and hands flailing and shrieking wildly the woman was dancing in a seizure of insanity. “Give me money...give me food...you crooked fool!” I failed to retreat inside, as if paralyzed by the spectacular dance of insanity in front of me, as if trying in vain to analyze what it was all about. I lost a few precious moments in the process. In those seconds the wild cavorting spectacle in deadly throes took hold of a small iron table, and came rushing to hit me. I pulled my mind out of wondering about how she could come to possess so much of energy, so ominously potent, and concentrated on my next crucial move.
My self defense mechanism now turned t…

Fade In, Fade Out...!

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We checked into a guest house of the academic institution after eight in the evening. Somehow at that particular moment I couldn’t remember the exact details of our prior journey, just concentrating on getting settled there. Why I was there that too I didn’t quite bother about. However, since my colleague came along with me I was confident enough that it was an official trip. That it was a bit odd not to remember anything about the trip or the purpose of the visit didn’t cross my mind either.
The room was rectangular and looked fine, a little more spacious than standard rooms. From the entrance on the left segment of the room there was the double bed; on the left side of the bed there was a sliding glass-paned window giving a view to the front side of the guest house; a cupboard at the corner opposite the bed; on the right there was a table with three wooden cushioned chairs and beyond that there was the door to the rest room. I got curious when I saw another closed door on the left s…

Gold Crush!

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He took a resolve not to submit the details as required or give in to the new pressure tactics. He considered this move totally unfounded, preposterous and unnecessary. Why should he or any other of his kind at all? How did it relate to the work they all were doing? He was not a broker or an agent or a dealer or a pedlar. He had been a simple honest straightforward employee eking out a living from his salary, didn’t matter at all if it was fat or lean. Whatever he did or didn’t was conditioned by his monthly salary, and he was not ready to share his kitchen details with anyone. Why at all? And what purpose would it serve to the party who wanted such details except for making wrong use of the information.
His company suddenly wanted all its employees to submit full property details including family holdings of gold and silver. While most of the employees accepted it as part of duty and were going ahead with the procedure he resisted vehemently publicly announcing his decision never to …

IPL Vs ICC World Cup Cricket!

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While most of the World Cup-2019 squads of various nations are having or are going to have training camps soon for the all-important event India continue to have just Indian Premiere League (IPL-2019). Well...
That Virat Kohli continued to captain Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) even after the most disgraceful proceedings as far as the team performances are concerned has obvious reason. Being a superlative cricketer that he is and also being Team India captain Virat had been the star attraction of the IPL-2019. Therefore, despite the upsetting losses he was still having most of the commercial time on the air along with some of his non-performers, and an appetizing element of suspense being maintained by the cricketing experts or the media or the spectators that he might stage a comeback for his franchise yet, and who knows..! For similar reasons in terms of money and glamour Indian cricketers just could not leave the IPL halfway while many of the other international cricketers had al…

Commuting Discomfiture!

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If you live in India, and you don’t have a car or you cannot afford to take out your car daily, then you must be used to the perennial overcrowding in all modes of public transport in the big cities. I'm omitting the bikers from this purview, because most of them would park theirs near local railway stations and take the plunge. The one advisory that comes to my mind is that ‘Don’t ever expect a seat, always concentrate on getting a standing space where you can commute in some comfort’! Of course, getting a standing space is no guarantee for continued comfort due to the fact that add-on crowds keep boarding in the stations on the way. However, this is still the only way to overcome the unease of overcrowding, somewhat. Although the scenario applies to all public modes of transport like the city buses, local trains and metro rail in this piece we’ll concentrate mostly on the travails suffered inside a metro train thanks to the claustrophobic interiors.
Now, what are the dangers of …

Out Of The Clue...!

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He was in an exuberant mood, full of positive energy, as he reached home that evening, got freshened up and settled down in the living room sofa; the day in office being a very productive one. He wanted to lose no time sharing it with his wife. He called out to her; she was in the kitchen just putting the tea-pot on the gas burner while she arranged the plates on the tray taking out bits and pieces of snacks for light refreshment before supper.
“Hey...do you hear me?” “Yes, a bit louder!” the wife responded allowing the water, milk, tea powder, sugar and other ingredients to turn into a most desirable boil before being poured out. “I told you...no...that we were going to launch a new project soon. Well...today we got going and had the first team meeting. ...The meeting went off extremely good, all the team members acknowledging me as the undisputed leader, you know!” he relished the feel of telling this to the person he loved admired most in his life. “One minute, I’m coming, my leader…