Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Salaam Bombay!!!

Salute to the resilient Mumbaikars who put behind the dastardly acts carried out by some cowards to disrupt the life of innocent people going about their day to day lives. No matter what this terrorists SOB's do, the city is going to bounce back. It pains me a lot seeing the news and pictures of people moaning for their near and dear ones. This people had nothing to do with it, God bless their souls.
This letter got forwarded to me by some of my friends :

Dear Terrorist,

Even if you are not reading this we don't care. Time and again you tried to disturb us and disrupt our life - killing innocent civilians by planting bombs in trains, buses and cars. You have tried hard to bring death and destruction, cause panic and fear and create communal disharmony but everytime you were disgustingly unsuccessful. Do you know how we pass our life in Mumbai? How much it takes for us to earn that single rupee? If you wanted to give us a shock then we are sorry to say that you failed miserably in your ulterior motives. Better look elsewere, not here.

We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathis or Punjabis and Bengaliies. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, govt. employees or private employees. WE ARE MUMBAIKERS (Bombay-ites, if you like). We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this. On the last few occassions when you struck (including the 7 deadly blasts in a single day killing over 250 people and injuring 500+ in 1993), we went to work next day in full strength. This time we cleared everything within a few hours and were back to normal - the vendors placing their next order, businessmen finalizing the next deals and the office workers rushing to catch the next train. (Yes the same train you targetted)

Fathom this: Within 3 hours of the blasts, long queues of blood donating volunteers were seen outside various hospital, where most of the injured were admitted. By 12 midnight, the hospital had to issue a notification that blood banks were full and they didn't require any more blood. The next day, attendance at schools and office was close to 100%, trains & buses were packed to the brim, the crowds were back.
The city has simply dusted itself off and moved one - perhaps with greater vigour.

We are Mumbaikers and we live like brothers in times like this. So, do not dare to threaten us with your crackers. The spirit of Mumbai is very strong and can not be harmed.

With Love,
From the people of Bombay

I am proud to say I am one of the Mumbaiker's and although I am not physically there my heart and soul is with them.


Monday, July 10, 2006

My Time at Agrawal Classes.

Today I talked to an old friend of mine Kiran Pai after about 9 years, who I had met at Agrawal Classes during the boot-camp for our 12th Std exams and never saw him or talked to him after that till we met on Orkut a couple of weeks ago. It was fun remembering the old times and talking about what has happened in the last 9 years since we talked. I was really glad that I got a chance to speak to him.

It all seemed like yesterday when I got my admission in Agrawal's. I am not sure now but at that time it was like trying to get into Harvard or MIT with them having their own merit list of students that they gave admissions to. I remember at that time seeing some parents literally begging with the staff members to give them the admission forms but it didn't help. It was like a boot-camp where you had to go every day from 7 in the morning to 1.30 in the afternoon every day during the summer break. They would have made everybody stay the whole day but since they didn't have any class-rooms with them being in a place like Dadar they were forced to have two classes in the morning and evening. They had tried and tested techniques that they had practised over the years to churn out toppers one after the other. No matter students of which college came in the merit list, they had one thing in common, they used to be all from Agrawals.
They had legendary notes written by eminent professors which made you a celebrity in your class since everybody wanted to photocopy them. There was this one prof who actually asked you to learn by heart all the math formulaes and would fire questions one after the other and if you didn't answer them, actually made you to write them 100 times. One prof who liked to show off his skills by writing all the logarithmic values without looking at the log table. I still don't know how he used to do that, maybe he was so used to write the same stuff so many times on the white board that he remembered all of them.
And one prof who could go on a real tangent if you got him started on the Indian Political system. He used to have one of the most entertaining classes which we all used to really enjoy.

And Agru's had this really hard exams from time to time and they used to send the results along with the actual papers by post to your home address. That didn't make such good reading and I used to have a hard time convincing my parents that the exams were really hard. And coming back to my old friend Kiran, he always had scores in single digits and me in the low tens and we always used to have a good time discussing about them.
It was an enjoyable experience which took a lot of effort and hard-work but paid-off in the end and got me 96% which was a pretty good score at that time.
Also it brought back some old memories, things that just stay in your mind, the struggle, the effort which played a part in the journey to reach where you are.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Italy are the Champions!!!

64 matches, 30 days, 310 yellow cards , 28 red cards and 147 goals later, Italy are the world champions and a legend is disgraced.

In what was one of the most exciting matches of the whole tournament, Italy came on top against France overcoming their dismal records in penalty-shootouts and winning their fourth world cup after they won in 1934, 1938 and 1982. Italy were lucky that it went into penalties considering that they were dead-tired and were barely moving in the second half of extra-time. All this thanks to a thoughtless act by a legend Zinedine Zidane who before the match was assured of a place among the legends Pele, Beckenbauer, Maradona, Cruyff regardless of whether France won the world cup or not. What was he thinking? No matter what Materrazi did or said to him there was no reason for head-butting somebody in the middle of a game and a game as important as a world cup final.That one act just changes everything. Now whenever somebody talks of Zizou, they are not going to remember him by the sublime skills that he displayed in the years gone by but by this single moment of madness which was the turning point of the entire game. Without their midfield warriors Zizou, Viera, Ribery and Henry France looked lost and beaten even before the penalties. This is not the first time that Zizou has lost his cool. He head-butted a SV Hamburg player once and got sent-off in the 2002 WC stamping on the back of a Saudi Arabia player. He had a chance to redeem himself and he did by carrying France to the finals and almost to their second World Cup. But after this he won't get a chance again since he has already announced his retirement from international and club football. I really hope that the world forgives him for this and he can rightfully take his place among the legends. Even Maradona had the "Hand of God" thing but nobody holds it against him.
Coming back to the match it was a wonderful display of football with both the teams attacking and defending really well. France were really coming into their own in the midfield and were for me the team who really deserved to win. But this was Italy's world cup to win and they displayed their never-die attitude by coming back from a goal down and hanging on to take the game to penalties. Also they have to thank their goalie Buffon who was outstanding in the entire tournament and made a unbelievable save against Zidane during extra-time which might have caused some of Zizou's frustration.
Italy with a record of 3-0 in penalties in their previous world cup games and having lost the 1994 world cup to Brazil on penalties, did nothing wrong in the penalty shootout and scored all their 5 penalties to clinch the title.
One man who made a difference for Italy in their knockout games was Fabian Grosso who got a penalty against Australia which Francesco Totti scored in the 2nd round match, scored the 1st goal against Germany in the dying minutes and was fitting that he scored the final penalty.
This win came timely for the Azurris considering that 13 of the 23 players play for the 4 teams Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina that are being investigated for their role in referree-fixing for some of the Serie-A matches. Most of this players are expected to switch to the other big teams in the Premiership and the La-Liga. I hope that Manchester UTD, my favourite club team can get some of them particularly Gattuso who has made statements in the past about playing for ManU.

My All-Star team for this world cup is:

Gianluggi Buffon (GK) (Italy)
Roberto Ayala (Def) (Argentina)
Fabio Cannavaro (Def) (Italy)
Philip Lahm (Def) (Germany)
Lilian Thuram (Def) (France)
Zinedine Zidane (MF) (France)
Germaine Gattuso (MF) (Italy)
Joe Cole (MF) (England)
Maxi Rodriguez (MF) (Argentina)
Thierry Henry (F) (France)
Miroslav Klose (F) (Germany)

Coach: Marcelo Lippi

Best of 2006 World Cup:

Goal : Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina)
Match: Italy V/S France
Team : Italy
Player: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)

This concludes my posting for this world cup. The next world cup is going to be held in South Africa in the year 2010. Till then, I am going to continue posting about my favourite team Manchester United.
Till then, Enjoy...