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Thursday, December 18, 2003

It is one test everyone, ONE test match!

Geez!! It is unbelievable the amount of coverage and adulation this Indian teams gets when they win anything. I mean it is so rare that we actually celebrate for days together when they do something good. That is both an insult and a complement, isn't it? They won one test outside of India. Whoop-di-doo. I know its been a long time, I know there are a lot of emotions toward this. But come on declaring yourself to be capable of dethroning Australia is ridiculous. I believe Ricky "Punter" Ponting said it right when he said there is a long way to go. Believe me there is a long way to go.

I am a big fan of this new Indian team, I'll admit. However, fortunately or unfortunately I always try to stay realistic about these Indian teams. They are world-beaters on one day and kenya on the next. It is really pathetic that we are not able to find a consistent solution to this problem. India are no better than where the Pakistan is in terms of performance. Though India has better facilities and a better first-class system and a wonderful set of retired players. What seems to be the problem in finding that right set of conditions for a consistent performance? It is the $80m question that hasn't been answered and may never be.

For everyone out there. I request, no I beg to please come down to the ground. Realize the ground realities -- The team is still playing in foreign conditions and Australia are still as strong if not stronger with B. Lee coming back. Nothing is written in stone yet. I hate to bring down the optimism but it is time to be realistic again. This is not pessimism but realism. Face the facts, if Rahul "The Wall" Dravid did not play his wonder innings then India would have been defeated in under 3 days. What's to say that he will fire the next time around? What's to say Ajit "Bombay Duck" Agarkar will pick another 6 wickets? None of this is sure. If there is any further hope then this team should put its head down forget about the 2nd test and focus completely on the 3rd and 4th tests. They can still lose the series if they want to. Going into the next match India has everything to lose and Australia has a lot to gain.

There will be a new impetus to do things differently this time around in the Aussie camp. Watch out or else you'll pay dearly and come back with a lost series.

But, congratulations nevertheless!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Return of the King indeed!!

The Lord of the Ring: The Return of the King is most certainly the definitive movie of this time. It will probably have the same exposure and following as the original Star Wars episodes. The movies not only have the most amazing CGI in them but they don't skimp on story, characters and the plot. The story is riveting and the interpretation is stupendous, grand and unequaled in contemporary cinema. There is a reason why these movies are such a phoenomenon. They have all the ingredients that make a good movie great!

The sight of dead warriors overpowering the Orc ranks, or the giant Mumakil swishing their tusks at the Rohirrim or the giant burning rocks crashing into Minas Tirith they all overpower the senses and take you deeper into the war. The war is movie-making, story-telling and technology married into one blissful marriage. They complement each other so well that it is easy to forget you are watching a movie. It is a dream and every viewer is beckoned to follow the journey of Frodo & Sam and cry for the dead in battle. The sight of the men of Gondor riding in just 2 ranks running full speed toward Osgiliath with no hope of ever returning is most certainly a heartening moment that crowns these warriors in an eternal light. You are drawn into their bravado and loyalty to their leader and you hope against hope that they come out alright though there is no real hope.

Minas Tirith is a sight to behold the handiwork and artistry of sculpting. The sight of Mithrandir (aka. Gandalf) riding with Peregerin Took (aka. Pippin) all the way to the great hall of the kings makes you appreciate the scale, the sight and the sheer monumentality of the occasion. This is reinforced so beautifully everytime we see Minas Tirith. When the the light of Amun-din is lit and a call for help goes out to Rohan or when Denethor takes his final plunge to death or when the armies of Sauron file in rank to attack the sight is awe-inspiring. There aren't many words in the dictionary to describe such a sight. Jackson's attention to detail here warrants large commendations. The patience, the skill and the intricacy of the artistry in each of the locales is so minutely managed and created that there is really nothing at all to complain about. The great thing is all this detail does not just jump out at you in your face. They add to the already great and wonderfully riveting storyline and that's what makes this movie one of a kind.

There is enough in this movie to make this blog go very long; therefore, I'll limit myself to saying that if you haven't seen it yet you're missing an experience. It is not just a movie, it's an experience and it must experienced in the only way it was made to in a theater. Don't even think about waiting for the DVD to come out. This movie is for the big screen and that's where it will have to be enjoyed.

Finally a word of mention to my favorite character in the movie, Faramir son of Denethor. Not only is he one of the greatest warriors of Gondor, second only to Aragorn, but a loyal and a devoted man. He is my favorite because I identify with him and his qualities and appreciate his integrity. The sight of his father showing his disgust and hate at his life and Boromir's death is a poignant moment in his life. Of course Mr. Jackson never completes his story as it is done in the book. In case anyone wants to know Faramir and Eowyn fall for each other and get married by the time of Aragorn and Arwen's marriage. Now the king has returned and there is not need for a stewart of Gondor; therefore, Aragorn makes Faramir the lord of Pellenor. Pellenor is the land bordering Gondor and Mordor where the last great battle takes place. This is where the men of Gondor are surrounded by 10,000 orcs with no hope of ever getting out and Frodo destroys the ring to save them all.

Well, that's just about it. More parts of the review will surface here as more time goes on and more details sink in for me. I'm still under the spell after the first viewing. Will have to go in a couple more times to really appreciate the movie in all its grandeur.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

A bright moment in History that shines brigher due to a star - RAHUL DRAVID

What a moment? What a feeling? What an ambience of excitement? These are some of the moments that more than a billion people will cherish their whole life. If 10 or 20 years down the line you might be talking to your kids or grandkids. You will be watching cricket on the TV and your team will come up with a thumping win. At that precise moment you will reminisce the an exciting test match. That was played and won by Dravid for India on the 15 of December 2003 at the Adelaide Oval in Australia. A defining moment for this team and everyone that helped bring it here. It is almost the crown jewel for John Wright during his career as Indian coach.

No matter what he does from now on he will be remembered, revered and respected all over the country for what he has done. He has taken a bunch of raw talent and molded them into a team that can win! that can WIN! There is a difference between potential and realising it. This is it. Hard work, application and dedication to the team's cause.

You have to marvel at this guy from Bangalore. Rahul Dravid. What a guy!! You don't deserve to be treated any less than Tendulkar or Gavaskar. You are the man for India and you have been consistently so for I don't know how long. The history books will show that you were the most important anchor for the team and the most important test cricketer for India since Gavaskar. You will always be in our hearts and minds for the feat you've achieved. Being on the field for 26 hours in one game and still going strong with a smile on your face. You are the mark of a great man, a great sportsman and most of all a great human being. If nothing else you will be remembered by people like us for what you have achieved. Only the people who understand the suffering can appreciate the sweet taste of this victory. You give hope, you give energy to people that don't believe things are possible for us.

It is a great time to be an Indian cricket fan. We will always remember this day and this moment.


Monday, December 15, 2003

Brink of History

INDIA is on the brink of history!! It's been 23 years in the making. We finally might have a chance of winning a test in Australia. This is a historic moment. All congratulations to 3 most special men who engineered a fine performance - Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar.

This is an absolutely momentous occasion. It is a euphoric, watershed moment in defining the purpose and character of this team. It shows that we have come a long way from where we were the last time we were in Australia.


GREAT MOMENT... Let's wait and see what happens. The last and most historic 15 runs. The most important in the last 20 years. What a moment. I will not forget it for the world.