Monday, 29 June 2009

Greatest Ever?

My first memory of Roger Federer dates back to the summer of 2001, when he ended Pete Sampras' unbeaten run at Wimbledon. I instantly liked him. The long hair tied back in a pony tail reminded me of my all time favourite Patrick Rafter. And I enjoyed the way he used to break his racquet when he erred on a crucial point. I became a Federer fan. Federer, however, did not go on to win Wimbledon that year. But there were many like me, who believed that a superstar was born and winning Wimbledon was only a matter of time. The coveted slam eluded him the next year too. I identified with this genius, who was striving extra hard to achieve his potential. All fell into place in 2003. Federer won Wimbledon without even breaking sweat. I rejoiced with him. By the end of 2004, the French Open was the only trophy missing in the Federer showcase. He began to demolish his opponents. Federer was no longer a mortal like the rest of us. The long hair had gone and so was the breaking of racquets. Federer seemed to be on a completely different plane, unbothered, unaffected. I couldn't identify with this emotionless machine anymore. It seemed unfair to me. I had stopped watching tennis completely. Tournaments were being played just to find out who the second best was. Never in any sport have I seen such dominance for so prolonged a period. Between 2005 and 2008 Federer went on to win tournaments without even dropping a set. And in 2009, he finally won the French Open which had eluded him all these years. That was the final feather in the Federer cap. It is another thing that he didn't have to face his nemesis, Nadal. But then again, Federer loyalists would argue that that is something he had little control over. And so as I see hundreds of people proclaim him as the greatest ever tennis player, I grudgingly nod my head in approval.

Footnote: Of late, Federer's popularity and invincibility is being questioned by a particular Nadal. Federer seems to win tournaments only in his absence. One thing that I have admired about Federer is his timing. Be it his serve, drop shot or the famous backhand, Federer always gets his timing spot on. On the 5th of July, when he holds aloft the Wimbledon trophy for a record sixth time and subsequently breaks Sampras' 14 slam record and sissy ishly wipes his tears, I hope he times his retirement as well as he has timed his strokes all these years.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


I guess the Congress ka haath is really with the aam aadmi. Mangalore has changed a lot. The power cut is just for half an hour every day. I suggest my Mulund, Thane and beyond friends should come and live here. Tata Sky has also found its way here. Even the daily wage workers have cell phones. The nearest cyber cafe is just 20km away now! The airport is exceptionally beautiful. It is surrounded with trees and is on an elevated area, so the landing is scenic. It is done up pretty well. Helps to come from the same part of the world as Vijay Mallya. It has begun to rain here and even as I type this piece is a rundown cafe with sad Hindi music playing in the background, it continues to rain. The climate is really pleasant here. It is such a relief from the Mumbai heat. A lot of greenery around. Houses are few and far between. The girls here are clad in salwar kameez's and to be quite honest it comes as a welcome change. I guess the cafe owner is snooping. In fact I am pretty sure. All of sudden he has snazzy English music playing. Not that I am complaining. My tracker tells me that a lot of Aussies have been visiting my blog. I guess I was a bit angry while writing that entry. My sincere apologies if I have hurt any of you down under. Have started reading a book called 'Blink'. Seems interesting, but slightly hard to digest. Definitely recommend it as a read though.

Want to write a lot more, but this keyboard is as bad as some of those vintage typewritters. I have typed just this much and I am already tired and have aching fingers.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


~ So India is out of the T20 World Cup. Surprise, surprise! India have never done well whenever they have had the favourite's tag associated with them and this time was no different. Accusations have already started flying. Everyone from the taxi driver to my liftman is telling me with unwavering surety, "India ne wapas paisa khaya"

~ My mom and sis have returned from their 45 day trip to Canada and Australia. I was very curios about how passengers were tested for swine flu. No a pork sausage isn't passed under the nose of every passenger. Apparently all you have to do is truthfully fill up a form consisting of questions like how many times you sneeze every day and how often does your nose itch. And then pass through some heat sensor.

~ Speaking of Australia, my sister climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a below 15 years child. That helped us save a neat 89 dollars! My dad bought the tickets and stated my sister's age as 14 years and a few months. The woman at the counter then insisted on seeing my sister. When asked her age, my sister said 15 and a half. The woman gave us, as she put it, 'the benefit of the doubt'. Next time we shall make sure to collaborate! For the record my sister is 24 years and 58 days.

~ The monsoons have ditched us. The heat is totally unbearable. For the first time in my life I slept with the air conditioner on the entire night. It is a momentous occasion in my life. I always looked at my air conditioner as something we needed to switch on when guests came home to show that we are an upper middle class family. That is why I once so identified with the 'Do you own an air conditioner but not use it?' ad. Not any longer! Thanks Malhar.

~ I am leaving on Thursday for a week long trip to Mangalore. I have no idea how I got talked into spending time at a place where three hours of uninterrupted power supply is considered a miracle of sorts. I have taken a boring motivational book along. It has to last me seven days. The only silver lining is that I hope I get to eat some new animal.

~ So I don't think I would be able to post on my blog for a week. I need to travel an hour to the nearest cyber cafe. But I plan to undertake the journey and spend an entire day there. Suggestions on how to bide my time are most welcome.

Sporting Brains

It is something that has always intrigued me. Are great sportsmen born with their brain in their knees? Or does it get replaced with their inflated egos? But no sooner does a sportsman become a star than he has his 'moment of madness'. The examples are plenty. Whether it is Mike Tyson biting off Hollyfield's ear or Sunil Gavaskar staging his infamous walkout in Australia. More recently we had Schumacher cheating and banging into Damon Hill's car. And who can forget Zidane's head butt. Sachin Tendulkar considered by many the best cricketing brain keeps it in cold freeze when he is appointed captain. The single major reason for Mumbai Indians' pathetic showing in this years Indian Premier League was his captaincy. And now we have Dhoni reacting to the allegations by the Indian media that he is leading a divided team. Why react to something as stupid as the Indian media? Nobody takes them seriously any which way. Why can't a sporting great have an IQ of above 140? Why? WHY? Is it really true that God doesn't give everyone everything?

Friday, 12 June 2009

Curry Bashing

You have to give it to the Aussies when it comes to naming things/people/incidents. Whether it is calling a barbeque, barbie or the Sydney Harbour bridge, the coat hanger, the Aussies are definitely the best at naming. And to add to that long list of names, we have curry bashing. For the ignorant, the spate of racial attacks against the dark skinned Asians and more specifically Indians, has been dubbed as curry bashing. However, the fact is that unlike England, Australia never had a law against racism, a fact that was conveniently hidden from the students by their counselors. Seeing the behavior of Aussies like Ricky Ponting, this hardly comes as a surprise to many. But then we in Maharashtra have always been two steps ahead. It was lungi bashing first and then bhaiyya thrashing. When we have a problem with our fellow country men coming to our state and grabbing our jobs, I don't think we have any right to point fingers at the Aussies. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Or roam naked either.