I'm back home, and enjoying it. This is a fun little break from University life, which sadly shall end soon. But it's nice and rejuvinating, and gives me the opportunity to pig out for a while. Sadly, I must also get down to studying, or end up failing imminent midterms. Ah, well. Such as they say, is life.
Yesterday, I watched a cricket match, well half of one at any rate, after bloody ages. India vs Pakistan no less. Basically it's the closest you can get to ODI bliss in a long way. Even though it was a dead rubber, it was one hell of a run chase. With 8 point something an over to make off the last 20 overs, I had my doubts. Sure there were wickets in hand, but the pitch seemed to be on the slower side, and runs didn't come about very easily. However, I've been away for a while, and thus have not witnessed enough innings of a certain fellow named Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Now the first time I saw him place was this very arbit match of India A vs Kenya, in a tri-series between India A, Pakistan A and Kenya. Following that match, I saw the India A vs Pakistan A final. A common theme ran between the two matches, MS Dhoni coming in at one down, and systematically demolishing the respective bowling attacks. I heard he was a half decent keeper as well, and naturally asked why in the good graces of Gavaskar he wasn't in the playing 11, instead of a little bitty kid who seemed to drop anything that came his way and put up "Gutsy" performances which involved him not getting out for 50 balls while fast bowlers played Duck Hunt with him. Sadly, the selectors only responded recently, and the series just before I was to depart. Since then, he's been in 35 matches, and averaged 50 odd. I've seen a very select few of those, and got another glimpse yesterday. Well, hats out to both Dravid and most especially Yuvraj, who stuck it out and got the match into a controllable state. But when Dravid got out, and Dhoni came to the crease, you could sense something was about to happen. You were wrong, however. Because according to the commentators, this man's strategy involves him playing the first 15 balls at a sluggish strike rate of 90 before he decides to "Go after the bowling". When he does decide to Go After The Bowling, it is a sight to see, a sight I'm sad to say I've missed out on too often. The man is mad. Insane. Deranged. He has that Klusner/Sehwag/Jayasuriya mentality that tells you before the ball is bowled where it's going. Wherever that is, it is usually very far away. Somewhere around 20 odd runs, he decides that the asking rate is now an acceptable 7 an over, his partner Yuvraj has got an injury, and he really wants to go home. So why stick around? From an asking rate of 7, an over later is was down to 4.5. Another over later, it was down to 2. The next over, there wasn't a match left. A target of 287 had been negotiated in less than 47 overs. Because Dhoni wished it so.
I was blessed to witness some of the most audacious cricket shots I've seen in a while. The hit off Sami comes to mind, where he took him of a six over long off, from what was an attempted yorker. Yaseer arafat was taken for fourteen off an over, where he bowled three perfect reverse swining yorkers, which were unceremoniously swatted away but sadly failed to find a gap. The three other deliveries didn't have the same fortune, as they just missed the blockhole.
This man is out and out entertainment, and thankfully he'll be around a while. We're touring Windies in the summer, where I shall be around, and can't wait for him, Sehwag and Tendulkar to get stuck into what is now a very military medium West Indian pace attack.
Oh, and the food is great too. My mouth has most definitely had its fill, I've stuffed it plenty. It's good to be home.
Its a fact that cannot be argued that Airports are your signalling welcome to a country. The moment you land, it's the impression that's created. An airport, especially an international one, thus becomes not just an essential service for Globalisation and Trade, but also one for tourism and hospitality. This is an industry which relies very heavily on first impressions (and as a result, an industry that I under no circumstances should enter). After the airport comes the hotel, especially if you're a nice friendly rich traveller, willing to spend money. It doesn't matter whether you're from Chicago or Chennai, if you've got the buck, you're going to want to come to a hotel that treats you well.
Now, its an interesting contrast. Landing in Singapore, you hit Changi International, which I must say is a spectacular airport. Clean, comfortable and efficient which are the three most important things in my opinion. The overemphasis on Duty Free is not what makes an airport world class, it's the speed with which you can get in and out. On the other hand, Landing back in Delhi is quite simply a pain in the ass. However much joy I get out of being home, it only really starts to hit me once I've left the confines of Indira Gandhi International. On a side note, once it's privatised, i really hope they change the name. There's something about naming institutions after such great hallmarks of economic and social progress that runs them to the ground. If you've ever been to Jawaharlal Nehru University, you'll know what I'm on about. Here's the contrast. As far as hotels go, five star hotels, I don't think you can find better service, hospitality and general comfort than any private hotel in India(or specifically Delhi, though I've had comfortable experiences in Chennai and Cochin as well). Singapore, Bangkok, and from what my father (who is exceptionally well travelled) much of Europe and the United States are *severely* lagging behind in this department.
I think it well establishes that given incentive, the Indian Hospitality and Service industry can clearly be a global standard. The point to note here, of course, is given incentive. I'm glad to hear that the Airports are being privatised. No, I don't really care if there's a large duty free selection when I land back in Delhi, but I would like friendly immigration services, a clean environment, faster access to my baggage and parking that works. I'd like more services, such as easy currency exchange, telephone and mobile providers and easier access to cabs in the airport too, it's something you appreciate when you land in a foreign country. It's labour intensive, and jobs are only going to be increased, with an increase in air traffic. Which stakeholders are harmed, I'm not exactly sure.
Why am I making this point? Because day after, I'm landing back, coming home for my midterm break. I'd just love it if when I land back in a couple of years, I could look forward to more than just my bed.
Don't let the rants of an overworked man misguide you. It is truly a wonderous, beautous world. Filled with things enough for you to laugh at, and mock, and generally enjoy. If like me, you are at home, with work almost over, and generally lazing about(haha, suckers, most of you Aren't!) you'd notice nice and ownderful things in the world around you.
For the uninitatied, this is (yawn) another news channel that I noticed has come up in the recent past. I noticed it because it rudely displaced Zee English from my TV. I was going to angrily replace the old one, when I was held positively enthralled by the display in front of me. In the midst of the MCD demolition drive furore, when MG1was torn down, they picked on a most original story- the indescribably heartmoving plight of the Indian Fashion designers. About how the whole world neglects them and treats them not well. One of them actually made statements like "Delhi wants to be a Dubai or a HongKong. But look at Dubai. It never wanted to be a HongKong. Thats why it is the way it is". Yesterday, at primetime, 9 pm, they were showing a colony musical chairs. With middle aged ladies. Fat middle aged ladies. National News, indeed.
The world and every thing else in it insists on telling me that they have the Ideal Romantic Day planned out for me. Hutch, for example, irritatingly enough calls me up and messages me incessantly, urging me to try out its Special Valentines Ringtones and CallerTunes. How, exactly, is that romantic, is anyones guess. And then All the TV channels which insist on showing sappy romantic fare. My only question to these brain surgeons is this. WHO will watch these movies on Valentines Day, when tradition calls on you to be out on a date(and if youre the unlucky one, spending quite a bit). If, on the other hand, you Are alone and home, I'm guessing cheesy movies are only going to increase your plight. Why would advertisers waste their precious money on this futile venture? But then, I guess, what I am not able to appreciate is that Love is Romantic(snigger).
In this lovely world which never ceases to remind you of how silly things can get and how much better off you are than the other idiots who are currently setting their ringtones to "Nothing Gonna Change My Love For You". And oh, did I mention, the weathers improving again? Its not bitterly cold anymore! Life, as they say, is good.
Yes, it's that time of the year again, when signs turn pink, cakes turn heart shaped and otherwise reasonable young fellows turn a bit batty. So what do I have to offer? Hope? Hell no. Solace? You wish. Valentine's day gift ideas for the more adventurous? Hell yeah! And then some. So lets go through some essential reading for the season of love.
The British have always been at the forefront of important lifesaving research, and the Beeb has brought to our notice news of great wonder and importance such as the invention of Glowing Green Pigs. They're back this Valentine's Day with an appropriate warning that Kissing Multiple Partners May Increase the Risk of Meningitis. I suspect the site got censored, because earlier this morning, I kid you not, the story read "Snogging many 'risks meningitis' ". Let this be a lesson to all those getting more action than they can handle this week.
Now, not everyone is entirely keen about the whole business, and the world is a large and welcoming place. Assuming you're not an RSS supporter, there are other saner avenues of protest. For instance you could send out (and this is my personal favourite) an Anti-Valentine's Day Card! "This year, say it with bile".
But if bile is not enough, and you really want to freak your insignificant other out, let me direct you Here, where you can find slightly more morbid means of expression.
You may ask, why the biased links? Why not link to stories of true love and happiness, of happy couples and pink joy? Well, because if you've been actively paying attention to the world for the last week, you like me have probably achieved levels severely pushing overdose. I wouldn't want to take you over the edge. So without further adieu, a few rants.
The price of Flowers in Singapore is INSANE. I'm so Glad that my opinion on flowers has not changed. I'm a firm believer that flowers are things of beauty, and beauty is very dependant on its location. To put it simply and succintly, "flowers belong in the ground", not in bouqets or cheap plastic wrapping. Sadly, many do not share my opinion. These sad buggers have to shell out $40 dollars for a bunch of 12 roses, $60 dollars if they want to send five lilies. Let me just put this into good ol' INR to put some perspective on things. That's a thousand bucks for the roses, and 1600 for the lilies. Oh, there's a 15 dollar surcharge for the delivery. And this is the university "discounted" rate. God bless em all, I tell you. If anyone at any point dares tell me that a long distance relationship is a bit of a burden on the pocket, I shall yell bloody blue murder, and point to the cost of flowers. Not that I would have sent them if I had a girlfriend here at any rate. As I may have mentioned, Flowers Belong In the Ground. This of course would have lead to what else this is the perfect time of the year for.
How you do it is critical. There are two ways, again as I may have mentioned before, to do this correctly. First, do the needful on the 12th, or a couple of days before. Today isn't a bad idea either. The 12th is the right date. The 13th is just cruel, and gives no time for recovery before the world bombards you with messages of togetherness and cuddly babies. The 14th means you're a complete ass, and have commited to spending a lot of money on a girl/guy you're about to break up with. Which brings us very nicely to the second way. Don't gift anything. In fact, gift pretty much everything I've been telling you to in the wonderful links I've sent. Go out of your way, and find a green glowing pig. But if you want to be really cheap, just sit on your butt and do nothing. You'll get dumped, which is brilliant. It saves you the guilt of having to break up. Simple, yet efficient.
That's about all the practical advice I have for the season. Go ahead, ignore all of it if you want. I just might do so myself.