Monday, July 16, 2012

I am Back !!!!

When one has a lot of free time, one tends to start thinking of ways to pass time. Me, being at home on a Monday due to the weather bug finally catching me, also had a lot of free time. There was nothing great on TV and no good articles to read on the net either.

So, I chanced upon my old blog (yes, this one), which I had started in 2008 and religiously posted on it for a whole year. Reading through the same, I became sort of nostalgic remembering all the good times I had in that year alone, starting from my 6 months in Fair Isaac to the first 6 months of life in IIM. One of the comments on one of the posts said something exactly the same, "Good you have written it down.. you will enjoy reading your own narration few years from now."

And that was exactly the case with me and maybe that is why people blog. Now that got me thinking. If one years worth of posts brought a smile to my face, why not do it more regularly. Maybe, I had not realised how great it could be when I started.

Excluding my posts about the "national issues" or sports, it has been over 3 years since I blogged and so much has happened in that time - I spent another year and a half in IIM (too many enjoyable times), spent a good 3 months at home post MBA, worked for 4-5 months at Jaypee Capital, was jobless for 2 months and then moved to ICICI in Mumbai, where I am for the last year and a half. In between were also a couple of trips outside the borders of this great nation.

I am sure that if I had been regular, I could have churned out more than the 24 posts I did in 2008 as I would have had atleast equal, if not more to say about the last 3 years of my life.

I have decided to be more regular with my blog now. And yes, I would also bug the people I used to to read my blogs :P

What would I start with - I don't know. Something that I would want to write, or if mood be, I may write some experiences of the last 3 years.

Wait and Watch !!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Something greater than Humanity in poverty

There were the usual things that I have always liked about Delhi - the great infrastructure, the awesome CP market, the food. This trip also gave me great weather and the chance to attend one of my friend's weddings.

But I also got a great story in the most unlikely of places. My laptop charger had short-circuited, so I had to go to the Wazirpur market to get a new one. As soon as I reached the market and successfully bought one, it started to rain heavily (and not Delhi heavy, more like Mumbai heavy). So, I had no choice to wait for the rain to subside.

Just as I was waiting, I was nudged on my leg by a stray dog. And as an immediate reaction, I started to move away. Just then, a man spoke from behind - "Saab, paaltu hai, kaatega nahi (Sir, it is a pet dog, won't bite)".

I turned around to look at the man. He was a typical street man - torn and filthy clothes, highly grown hair & beard and yellow teeth.But the thing that struck me about him was his smile.

He then started to speak passionately about the story of the dog in question - who was named Ghoda.

He had resuced Ghoda as well as another female dog - whom he had named Basanti, after their mother had abandoned them when both of them were small puppies. The man and his wife, who has since expired took it upon themselves to take care of the two dogs, even though they were barely able to make end meet. He said, "4 roti ka intezaam karte the, 6 ka kar lete the (We tried to get 4 roties a meal, we srated to manage 6".

His eyes were literally filled with tears, when he told me about how Basanti died coming under the wheels of one of the vehicles on the adjacent ring road. He said, "Saab ab to yahi hai, main hi isko khilata hun khana aur ye bhi mere saath me baitha rehta hai (Sir, he is all I have left now, I only feed him and he also sits down whereever I do."

I then felt an urge to help out and gave him Rs. 10 to feed the dog. Then I started to move away when he asked me to wait and brought mathri from a nearby shop and lovingly fed the dog with the money I had.

One would find many people who would give away such stories to get money from people, but this man was something different.

At a time when people like us, who have enough resources at our disposal, think about the luxuries we can have in life, there was a man, who despite his own povery, was helping out a street dog.

Maybe we need to look at our lives. Whether I would do anything about it, I am not sure. Maybe, I am not humane enough. Maybe, I don't have as big a heart as that man. But, I certainly felt the need to share this story.

Many people might not be able to relate to it but one would not have been able to not feel for this man and dog, if anyone had heard this stroy from the horse's mouth.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Indian Sports

The last 2 months have been great for sports lovers like me with the just concluded Commonwealth Games and the on-going Asian Games.

Now, almost everyone has blasted the Commonwealth Games organisation. Although there were shortcomings and the corrupt people need to be punished, I think the media did create a mountain out of a molehill. There were problems but they are present in almost all international events. Probably there were some more problems in the Delhi games but there was massive exagerrations e.g. the reported expenditure was Rs. 60000 crores - a figure which included the cost of flyovers, the Delhi metro - much of which would have been spent even if the games were not being held. I agree that the culprits need to be punished, but I would not question the rationale of hosting the games.

I attended a number of events during the Commonwealth games and the experience was simply great. I had only watched cricket live at a stadium before that but I have now realized the experience of watching any sport live is a very different one. The atmosphere at the India-Pakistan hockey match surpassed any experience I had at any cricket stadium and nothing beats the experience of hearing your National Anthem play when one of the country's athletes wins a Gold medal. Hence, it was a shame to learn that many events saw empty stadiums. There is a serious problem of marketing events in India. An example would be the Asian Badminton Championship held in Delhi in May. Not many people would be aware of the fact that many greats such as Lin Dan etc. were taking part in the event. The visibility of the event was so low that a policeman standing at a crossing just before the Siri Fort Sports Complex did not know about the event. Hence, I feel that small improvements such as better marketing of events could help raise the profile of sports in the country.

During the Commonwealth games, the Indian contingent, buoyed by the crowds, put up their best ever performance in the Commonwealth Games. I agree that the Commonwealth games are nowhere in comparison to the Olympics or even the Asian games for that matter, but these games do help in building the infrastructure as well as provide much-needed recognition to our neglected sports people. Such recognition along with the support of the government only would encourage parents to encourage their children to take up sport as a career.

Many people would be disappointed with the performance of the Indian contingent in the Asian Games. But people do need to see everything rationally. There are a number of sports like Shooting, TT, Badminton, Archery competition is nearly as good as world class whereas that was not the case in the CWG. Furthermore, all countries tend to do well in home condition which was the reason of the great performance of India in CWG and maybe the reason for China beating USA in the last Olympics. We need to take heart from the fact that young and talented sports persons are coming up in sports like Boxing and Wrestling and we are now one of the contenders in world shooting. The emergence of youngsters like Ashish Kumar (Gymnastics) and Khade (Swimming) also shows that with right kind of support we can produce world-class sportspersons just as China is doing. The primary difference between India and China is the organised nature of their sports setup from the great infrastructure and coaching facilities to the fact that all the sportspersons are taken care of right from childhood and sports is a viable career choice.

So, with a bit more effort and planning, India can dream of becoming a force (maybe not the top force as US or China) in world sports in the next 10-12 years time.

One more encouraging development was the inclusion of cricket in the Asian Games which according to me is the first step in getting cricket to the Olympics. All countries lobby for their strong sports to be included in the Olympics, so I see no reason why India should not do the same. The same efforts also need to be made for Cue Sports as well as Chess where Indians are world beaters or are among the top nations.

The only disappointing response in this regard seems to be from the BCCI. The Indian Cricket board does seem to be following a law of their own. India being one of the 4 top nations in Asia in cricket was expected to send a team for a sport which was included in the Asian Games after much hard-work . China needs to be commended for including it as it had nothing to gain by cricket's inclusion in Asian Games. India for its part did not even try for cricket's inclusion in Commonwealth games being held in Delhi. Incidentally the commonwealth includes 7 test playing nations (Australia, England, Pakistan, India, New Zealand,South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh), Kenya and also West Indian countries such as Antigua,Jamica and Trinidad & Tobago. So, it made much more sense for it to be included there. The Indian Cricket Board seems least bit interested to make cricket global. The sole aim seems to be money-making. The board's argument about prior commitments also seem to e hollow to say the least as even Pakistan and Sri Lana have sent teams even though they are involved in Test series against South Africa and West Indies respectively and the Indian women's team is not playing any series. India sure let 2 medals go as India would have surely won in women's category and even with a second-string would have atleast earned a bronze. I don't know why the MS Gill who seems to be the outspoken sports minister is mum on this matter. Is it because Sharad Pawar runs BCCI as opposed to KPS Gill.

Hence, I feel that with better administration and a greater intent on the part of the people running sports at present could help in improving the condition of sports in India. I would like to be cautiously optimistic in this regard hoping that the Indian sports structure becomes more professional and our sports persons are better treated and supported.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The BIG Cricket Debate

The first edition of the Champions League T20 was inaugurated to follow two successful editions of the path-breaking Indian Premier League. The success of the shorter version of the game in the franchisee format has made people ask some serious questions about the future of the game.

1. Is the ODI format dying a slow death?
2. Would the club T20 format with the ridiculous amounts of money lure players away from international cricket?
3. Is the way in which ICC trying to run the game sustainable?

Now, if the ICC does not take steps soon, then definitely ODIs would die a slow death. But any cricket lover would not want that to happen. The T20 matches might be exciting, but it is mostly played in single gear with slam-bang approach being the only one that seems to work. ODIs provide the teams a lot more opportunity to make a comeback in a match, gives the batsmen opportunity to build an inning, the bowlers to work to a plan which sadly is absolutely missing in T20 cricket.

The IPL is too young to judge whether the players would start taking early retirements to play in the IPL but the signs are present that it is bound to happen. Look at the example of cricketers (especially the Aussies) who in the past have tried to prolong their careers to play till the age of forty, taking retirement at the ages of 35-36. There are also examples of cricketers turning down central contracts to be a free agent and some players openly admitting that the future financial stability is important. So, if the ICC remains stubborn about its FTP and does not accept the impact of these cricket leagues, these things would then become more of a routine rather than an exception.

The ICC has let the Boards of different countries run the game of cricket for the last century and a quarter. The tours are negotiated by the boards and the ICC provides support to the tours by proving the matches with umpires and referees. It is time the ICC stands up and realizes its responsibility of running the game. There should be order in the World cricket calender which is random to say the least. There need to proper schedules to tournaments and more organized championships.

As every person in India claims to be a cricket expert, I would also like to give my 2 cents about what I feel is the way forward.

1. Create a window for the IPL and ask all the boards involved to hold their T20 tournaments in the same window. This would solve a number of issues.
-Players play only for one franchisee and not for multiple ones as is the case with a number of players in the present Champions League T20 where a number of players are playing against their team-mates.
-The remainder of the year can be used to play proper international cricket and the Tests and the ODIs could be saved.

2. Create a window for all the ICC tournaments from the ODI World cup, Champions Trophy and the World T20. Also, freeze the formats of these tournaments. At present none of the above two things happen. e.g. The T20 World Cups till date have taken place in September 2007, June 2009 and the next is scheduled in April 2010. Where is the order to that. The ODI World Cups have tinkered with the formats too much with the Semis/Finals format in 1992, to QF/SF/Final in 1996, the Super Six format in 1999 and 2003, to the disastrous super eights in 2007 to finally going back to the QF/SF/Final format in 2011.

3. Create a model for a test championships. As a spectator, my feeling is that at present Test cricket is just played to increase the volume of records in the ICC history books rather than having a meaningful reason to play. The ICC rankings have only made us evaluate how the teams are performing and have become nothing more than statistic. A test championship, maybe spread over two years could be the answer to having more meaningful cricket and maybe could save the Test format of the game.

4. Promote the franchisee format of cricket in the T20 format. This wold help the game to spread to wider geographical boundaries. Unofficial cricket leagues are already running in countries like USA and Russia. Why is the ICC not grabbing this opportunity. No international sport is surviving on the international format. To sustain the game the clubs format needs to be adopted. ODIs and Tests matches cannot survive in the franchisee format. So, continue having ODIs and Tests in the international format.

All these points mentioned seem to be the way forward to me. It is time for the ICC to remove its blindfold and realize the massive opportunity it has to make Cricket a truly international game.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Adventures of the Fab-Five

This is the story of a day in the lives of five people - the Fraud-Bong, the Vintage-Bong, the Old One, the Stud and the Loser (your's truly).

On this fateful day, in a place that is assumed to be a place for the great minds of the country, our five protagonists decided to watch a movie. Frankly speaking, the Loser had no expectations from the movie, but maybe someone else did. But, maybe I am spilling the beans prematurely. Let that part come when it ought to.

In the morning after some impromptu discussions, they booked the tickets. The show was for a 4pm since the Loser and the Stud were having classes on a day when most of the people were enjoying their weekend. But the pleasant-weather capital of the country decided to have the worst rains of the year at 1.30pm, precisely one hour before the time to leave. After the rains supposedly had subsided, the fab-five decide to leave for the most-happening place of the city , where the theater was located.

Then, something happened that usually never does, the direct bus to the 'most-happening place' which has a frequency of a bus every 20 minutes, was standing right outside the campus. So, all of them, not believing their good luck, get on the bus. But Murphy's law never fails. The bus got into a traffic jam and moved only 15 meters in 15 minutes. After a couple of times of almost getting off the bus, the fab-five decided that it would be better if all of them walk to the front of the jam and take some transport from there.

As they started walking, the reason for the jam became clear to them. There was water-logging on the road where a bus broke down right in the middle of the road and vehicles wary of going through the water for the fear of water entering the exhaust and the engines. The Loser, in his typical style, folded his jeans and walked through the knee-deep water just to realize after crossing the water, that none of his friends were to be seen. What transpired was that the Fraud-Bong decided that he won't damage his shoes in the water and decided to stay back. The other three members of the fab-five decided to take a longer but a less water-logged route to the place where the Loser was standing.

By the time they arrived and met up, they received a call from the Fraud-Bong that he took the first bus out of the traffic mayhem and was waiting for all of them at the next signal where traffic was flowing smoothly. Then, everyone decided that since the place was just 300-400m away, so all of them might just walk to the place. But there was another stretch of water on the way. The Loser again took the lead and crossed the water on foot, again to realize that the other three had taken another bus to the next signal. And to rub salt on being made to feel like a total Jack-a$$, the bus which all of them had got down from crossed him. But the fab-five was united and did not get on the bus as the Loser had not reached the signal on time.

Then, crunched for time, they decided to take auto-rickshaws to the theater with the Loser, the Old One and the Fraud-Bong in one Auto and the Vintage Bong and the Stud in the next one. The first auto reached the theater 10 minutes late just to learn that the movie had not started.

But the Vintage-Bong and the Stud were having an mini-adventure of their own. On asking their auto-driver to drive fast, the driver in a bout of madness, stopped his auto and refused to move any further. After failing to convince him to move, they got down and took another auto. Alas, God had decided to make this day memorable for everyone. So, the auto-driver, in a bid to reach the destination fast, took a short-cut that took them through one of he largest cemeteries of the city - on which the Vintage-Bong later commented, "I would be having nightmares about that for the next few days.". Ultimately, they reached the theater 20 mins after the movie had started.

The movie was as expected, not too good and the Fraud-Bong decided to call it quits very soon. I guess he realized that lady luck was playing a trick on him that day. In another bout of madness, the Fraud-Bong, after failing in his conquest to convince others to leave, left in the intermission alone to go back to the revered campus. They later learned that the Fraud-Bong only watches those movies in theater that he expects to be really good, something that they did not know of before this incident.

The others, not to be outdone by a bad movie decided to enjoy it, by taking the movie light. Although the plan was to enjoy it on the lines of a cult-Indian campus movie, but this one did not provide any scope for that either. They enjoyed nonetheless. The movie might as well have won every award if there was a 'Razzies' concept in Indian cinemas.

Then, the now surviving fab-four decide to roam around the streets of the 'most-happening place'. The go to a 'Chat Place' to have some authentic Indian street food. But, as mentioned before, God had decided to make this day memorable for all of them. It started raining again and they decided to take shelter in KFC.The Stud and the Loser being veggies, decide to stick with the awesome crushers, while the other two feasted on KFC delights. Then, since the rain was showing no signs of subsiding, they decided to walk through the rains to the bus stop to catch the bus. Water was flowing down the street like it was a big drain rather than one of the most-well known roads of the pleasant-weather capital.

After, walking for some 5-10 minutes, the fab-four located their bus stuck in the long line of cars and buses and got on the bus. As, everyone knew that the bus would take a long time to take them back ,they decided to start playing antakshri, and with all of them being bad singers, it was not a musical delight. They were lucky that no one came up to them and threatened to beat them down. That may have been the only piece of good luck they had had whole day. After getting through the intial mayhem of traffic, the roads were surprisingly clear and they reached back to campus to culminate one of the most memorable days in all their lives.

Monday, August 17, 2009


P.S. - I know this is a long post, so only read it if you want to, don't complain in the comments area regarding the length of the post.

Contributors – Tshering WY, Maithri B, Abhijit Raja, and a very senior ex-Sports Council member who shall remain unnamed (Special mention to Chinmay VT for his poetic rendition on ‘Football’)

It is funny how different generations of IIMB’s Sport’s Secretaries have initiated new inter-IIM sports fests, and each time the first edition was played ‘away’, and not at home (Appachu and IIMK in 2004, Dipak and IIMA in 2006, and Nishant and IIMC in 2007)… maybe there’s something inherently nice about people from IIM Bangalore… but who can tell? But one thing is for sure, that once our Sports Secretary placed a gag order on all who were traveling to IIMC for the third edition of Samhar, we would definitely lose at one event – sledging. And so it transpired. But aren’t we getting ahead in the story? Isn’t the story supposed to start before we reached the campus-in-the-armpit-of-the-world? Of course! And so shall it be written, and so it shall be told…
After long hours, many meetings, pieces of communications, pleading etc., our Sports Secretary, Abhijit Raja managed to get a reduced but substantial sum to enable the IIMB contingent to travel to ‘that IIM’, for which Pandit Nehru may as well have placed the foundation stone himself (“New Hostel” – you must be joking right!?) While negotiations were on during the day to fund a few more students to go on this venture, negotiations in the night were with Patil (not one with first name ‘Smita’) to ensure scheduling, rules etc. were in place. Our Sports Secy. was so busy with all this that he outsourced all superfluous activities (designing and ordering t-shirts and jerseys, ticketing, purchases, playing cards, etc.) to his minions in the Sports Council - blessed be the ‘heavily’ stocked council (Sangha, and Mario are cases in point. Now we know why Raja ‘created’ a larger team. In Raja’s defense, he refused an application that came in late, despite his heart telling him to do otherwise… but that’s a story to be told on another day.)
Preparation for Samhar’09 was an interesting affair. No, rain didn’t disrupt practice, but a dug-up ground (Yes! Finally we are getting turf on our field, although the timing of the dig was a little off) meant that Cricket, Hockey, and Football were hit badly. The good thing was that the new talent more than made up for the one lost to graduation, and things were looking good. Then as the d-day approached, there was all the optimizing to be done to ensure we did not overshoot our travel budget, and a score were axed, to form the final few dozens who went and played in the dirt… err, pardon the pun.
The d-day arrived. Friday, 3pm, IIMB Hostel Entrance. Mario stood outside the bus with the ‘roll call’. An erstwhile Sports Council member was the last to arrive(!), and gave yet another speech. The bus left for the airport. Checked-in JIT. Some decided to finish their snack at the lounge; ‘modalla snack, aprama flight’ (first my snack, then the flight) being the motto; with barely couple of minutes to take-off, and yet manage to board the plane. Three hours of sleepy flying (interesting for some with cameras – don’t get ideas), an hour or so of a ride in a heritage bus from the 1970s (Kolkatans know their history – there is certainly a lot ‘going around’ to know), and Mario’s uncharacteristic silence on the bus not helping, and we finally entered JOKALAND (or was it Jokerland?) at 1.30 A.M. on Saturday, 8 August 2009. Akshat Patil, the IIMC Sports Secy, a well-fed chap whose facial hair didn’t quite catch the fancy of a co-author on this piece, greeted us at the IIMC gate, and led us straight into the expected cacophony of “1234, IIMB ki @#$% maar”, “IIMB ki !@@ ka #$%^&*^, IIMB ki !@@ ki @#$% @#$% @#$%”. We expected better, but what to do, IIMC also has it’s traditions… So they carried on with their chants, until they realized that we were actually having fun watching apparently intelligent educated people (they are from IIMC man!) act like gorillas thumping tables, and screaming for no apparent reason. What put the zipper on their mouths was that Raja and a few others joined them, and they didn’t know how to react!.
Aloo parathas followed, (can’t complain much about the food) much to the relief of the extremely hungry contingent. After making sure no more parathas were left, everyone except the Tennis players (who went to check the court and the lights out – the irony was to dawn later) scampered for the resting place before battle commenced a few hours later. The captains sorted out their strategies, and Raja did what he was to do till Sunday evening, run around Joka making sure everything was in place. It was 4 A.M. when everyone finally went to bed only to wake up for matches scheduled for 8 A.M. in the morning.

For those of you who do not know, Joka is a small village south of Kolkata (It is in 24 Paraganas district, and not in Kolkata). To rub salt into wounds (no pun intended), one got to know from reliable sources that the founders were given a choice between Joka and Salt Lake for setting up the campus. They of course chose Joka with the belief that it would develop faster than Salt Lake. So much for foresight. The rest as we all know is history.

Girls’ Throwball was slated to kick things off with Cricket happening in parallel, and Football, and Tennis to follow post lunch.

The morning was quite dreary, with a steady drizzle. Apart form the IIMB Throwball team, Abhijit Raja was the only IIMB person at the court, as the rest of our people were either headed to the Cricket field, or waiting for the Chess match to start. So there was a one-person cheering team from our side for the first event. And then the match referee went missing, and hence a student from IIM Calcutta (their Cul. Secy. Justin), and our Sports Secy. Raja, decided to officiate, which meant zero crowd support for the IIMB team! After a bit of haggling over the rules, the match commenced. We got off to a good start, with some excellent serving from our side. The IIMC crowd joined in with gusto to cheer their girls and sledge our team. The first set was a whitewash with our team demolishing the IIMC team 15-3. It was then that the IIMC crowd decided there was no point sledging the players, and turned their undivided attention to the referee. That the second set was a lot closer, with a number of close calls didn’t help Raja’s cause. Apparently when they started sledging Raja, who was giving most of the calls on the points, they hadn’t realized that IIMC also had a referee who had blown his whistle a total of 3 times during the course of the match! Needless to say, the match was halted a number of times (Siddharth Gopalakrishnan, ex-prezi, and de-facto Throwball referee, coach, and captain… err, please strike off that last part… can recount a tale or two on that one) and in spite of a number of re-serves, and the IIMC girls reviving their game in the second set, the IIMB girls held their own to win the match comfortably at 15-3, 15-12.
IIMB had opened it’s account with the ladies leading the way.
Samhar’09 Score 1-0 to IIMB

Rain, more rain, and a bit of drizzle… or as the English would say, ‘Only a bit of dampness in the air, ol’ chap!’
Into every life must fall some… this was the day for the Cricket team… not just literally, but figuratively as well, as they were to discover later. There was a light but persistent drizzle in the morning that threatened to keep play away for a good part of the day. But the players were determined not to let anything come in their way. They left the IIMC campus after breakfast for the venue, which was 15 minutes away (It may have been so had we taken rickshaws, but no one complained about the bus ride, which was a truly interesting experience. Our bus driver was intent on creating the mother of all traffic jams from Joka to Behala – that’s the equivalent of creating one till Dairy Circle in our parlance. We thanked god the Cricket teams weren’t pelted by the Joka village junta for blocking their roads for a good part of the mid-morning.) The Cricket field was a sight to behold. We expected nothing more than just a decent regular school pitch, with a slightly damp wicket, but a third man area with mounds of earth that looked like a collective dump taken by a herd of elephants, a sandy landing spot at the bowlers’ end, a nicely water-logged wicket, at which on another day may have seen the local fisherman at work, a ground that went ‘plachak-plachak’ when one walked on it, and a forty-yard boundary were all so alien, that we were as amused as we were shocked!
The hosts won the toss and chose to bat (someone once said, win the toss and bat, and if ever it was the right thing to do, this was it – a dicey wicket, and a small boundary). The IIMC top-order went hell for leather, and although they kept losing wickets at regular intervals, their scoring rate was around 8 for the first 10 overs. Our fielding was superb and a stunning catch each by Nishant (a high skier running backwards at square-leg), Rahul (it was a shot from the well-set IIMC captain’s bat, and it was traveling. Rahul ran, leapt in the air, and made it look much easier than it actually was), Rituraj (the ball was dipping in front of him, but he took a few quick steps, and dived at the right moment to take a beauty at long-off), put the skids on any batsman who threatened to run away with it. But the catch of the day was by KMV (‘K Middlename Victory’ is one half of the ‘Annaiyya’ duo in the IIMB Cricket team, with Abhilash ‘Khurana’ Sridharan being the other half.) KMV standing at short cover, stepped back in slow motion, for a slow loopy miscued shot hit off a slow-ball of a medium pace bowler on a slow and low wicket… managed to fall-over before the ball got till him, juggled the ball, and held on to it much to the bowler’s relief! The IIMC captain was getting a bit frustrated with the start-stop nature of their batting, so he sent a man to ‘stay till the end’. Normally this instruction doesn’t ever work at this level, but this guy stuck to the wicket like Araldite to any surface. His anchor role helped their four-down batsman to do the damage. Making full use of the small boundaries; although he did hit one that would have been a six on any regular size ground; the four-down hit 81 at a very good strike-rate to undo the good work done by our bowlers in the middle overs. The brunt of the punishment was borne by the ‘Annaiyya’ duo’s spin from ‘both ends’ that got carted around for a boundary every other ball. The cherry on the icing was when the IIMC spectators sledging ‘K Middlename Victory’ – he was first called ‘Kumble’, got hit and was re-christened ‘Hirwani’, and got hit some more was re-christened ‘Bahutule’… our guess is that in this multiple personality disorder, the real KMV was lost somewhere, and we hope that like Quick Gun Murugan he’ll make a reappearance very soon, and bowl his unplayable ‘two variations of the same ball’. The 5th pair for IIMC ensured that where 150 had looked difficult, they pulled through to a par score of 190. This was a big morale boost for the hosts, and it showed in their demeanor on field, when it was our turn to bat; which was definitely the turning point in the game. Our top and middle order just didn’t get their act together, with everyone getting out to balls that were slower and lower than what we are used to – each player finished the shot only to see the ball still coming at him! At a point in the match we were 27/7, and in a hole deeper than the Mariana Trench. Up stepped captain courageous Mario, and when Anjan joined him post lunch, they put up a 80+ run partnership that saw us out of a humiliating situation. That the luncheon break may have had something to do with the momentum shifting in our favour, is still being debated at IIMC. When Mario got out after a well-fought 44, Shini Patel came to the crease and threatened to pull off a Houdini with his cameo (45 off 16, 5 huge sixes – the ball was lost three times…), but one kept low, and rattled Shini’s stumps. Anjan was the not-out batsman with a respectable 41 to his credit, a gritty inning where he braved through extreme dehydration, and have done some good bowling earlier on, was clearly the best performer on our team. Not every rearguard action can yield a result like the one India had against Zimbabwe in 1983. We fell short by 45 runs. Lessons learnt? Do not practise fielding, let natural talent shine through, don’t give any batting during nets to people who are likely to score runs in the match, reverse the batting order (the IIMC solution… nah!) Just kidding… we know we bat till the end of the line-up, and one good knock from the top/middle order, and the game would have gone our way.
But the figurative (refer the first para) had happened. The IIMB team, undefeated through 12 inter-IIM matches, played the proverbial unlucky 13th. A disappointing loss that broke a very fine run since 2004. Although our team braved the weather, and the conditions, and carried on regardless in true sportsman spirit, it was not their day. In the present context, we had lost our first event of Samhar’09, and that being Cricket, with it’s make-or break ability meant we had given the hosts a big morale boost.
Samhar’09 Score 1-1, advantage IIMC.

On the eve of travel, the Sports Secy., and a very senior ex-Sports Council member who shall remain unnamed were doing some measured calculations on what we would likely do well at, and which events would likely ensure a victory at Samhar’09. Chess, like Cricket, was one of the events that was supposed to be ‘ours’. And then the pieces fell…
Chess turned out to be a totally one-sided affair, and the other side did what we have been doing to our opponents over the years. The match was played in two rounds of 5 boards each. A very strong IIMC team came up with a clinical performance, and at the end of the first round, they were up 4-1 with 3 wins and 2 draws. The funny thing was when our captain Harish and the IIMC captain Pai had a few heated exchanges. It was unbelievable that this could happen at a Chess event, but there it was!
So at precisely the same hour when our Cricket team was heading back after it’s loss, the Chess team was staring at defeat, and only a miracle could save them. The final round would be played at 7.30pm. (To be continued…)

FOOTBALL – mudball, all the same…
What one likes about football is that it can be played in almost any weather condition, and a decent playing turf can balance out the bad weather factor. They say that in Kolkata Football and religion, are synonymous. Blokes at IIM Cal seem to have taken this to heart. As the saying goes in Joka, and I quote, “Only one who can wade through mud, and yet kick the ball can truly experience the divine”. And so we had ‘mudball’ or whatever it was that went around in the garb of Football. The venue was the “Faculty Football Ground”, and our footballers had to do two things, play the IIMC team, and try and attain ‘the divine’. Apparently IIMC had been practicing to attain ‘divinity through mud’ for a few weeks. Not to be outdone, our footballers took up the challenge. They played an outstanding game but a field goal never did happen, although both teams did come close to the goal posts a couple of times. And so it came down to penalties.
All through the game, the IIMC sledging team was at it, scoring a million points in true ‘Whose line is it anyway’ style. The specific target was our goalkeeper (‘Lama’, our goalkeeper from a couple of years ago can narrate a few stories on that one…). They sledged our goalkeeper relentlessly… in Hindi… only to realize very late in the day that he doesn’t understand Hindi! (“Tupaki keezhe poda ra! Mind it!”, which in Hindi is “Tum bandook pek do! Mind it!”)
Back at the penalties, our players scored on the first three, and their’s managed to mark lines parallel to the goal-line with the trajectory of their kicks, or at best hit into the crowd behind the goalie. We won 3-0. Such was the exhilaration at this victory, that our Footer captain Chinmay burst into a song! We reproduce the song here for your benefit:
Fields of glory
It was the hottest of times, it was the sultriest of times,
It was the wettest of fields, yet strengthening our shields,
With shin deep muck and water so saline,
Descended the IIMB football team for Samhar O Nine.

Starting on the offensive, wading through the water
Prowled the Bangalore tigers on the IIMC goalkeeper.
Sumer Khraw was the only one to run, his feet so nimble that he was having all the fun,
Archisman pounded a powerful header as Chandra’s runs gave us a breather.
Lian was abused by the hostile crowd and he kicked them back roaring aloud,
Aditya did not let the defence crack as Basu and Rahul jumped on the opponents’ backs.
Supporting the team were our deadly cubs, Sonam, Kiran, Tali, Vikas and Soni coming as subs,
The skipper controlled the ins and outs, while Rituraj and Suswin gave a few knockouts.
And yet it was after the hour long brawl,
Still frustratingly just love-all.

So on penalties it was to be decided who was to take
the icing on the muck covered cake.
Our three forwards slotted them easily with a smile,
while two of theirs missed by a mile.
And so it befell on Vinny to save the fall
He dived to his right, stopped the ball and used his butt to great enthrall.
The tigers roared with merry delight scripting the victory in near twilight,
For many years people will remember,
These fields of glory that we shall always treasure.
- Chinmay

Samhar’09 scoreline 2-1 in favour of IIMB, with Chess hanging in their favour.

The IIMB Tennis team was very eager to play. The four-member squad had gone to check the courts the moment we landed at their campus. The event started an hour late, with the IIMC captain insisting on watching each of our players in the warm-up before deciding the draw. It was an event our captain was certain about winning, and turned out to be a very interesting event after all. The first singles was played between the IIMC Tennis Captain ‘Zulla’ and Arun. Arun pulled the first set back from 2-5 down to take the set. By the time the set ended, the IIMC sledging team had returned from the Footer match, and they were smarting. The second set began under lights. Now, the IIMC captain was not too keen to play in the lights before the tie, but carried on nevertheless, and this was despite our Captain checking with him if he was ok with continuing the match. Zulla, despite cramps, played consistent Tennis, and took crucial points. (Of course, had he been playing against IIMK, they would have asked him to forfeit the match, but then again, we are not IIMK!) Zulla was also buoyed by the momentum gained by the sledging team, with Arun at the receiving end of the jabs. In what was below even IIMC standards, the crowd was sledging during points, especially when our player was about to hit the ball. Our captain objected, but we were told it happens even at Wimbledon! (When did someone shout a consistent sledge at a player at a Grand Slam, and that during points! Ridiculous!) Despite a good fight, Arun lost momentum at crucial stages in the match, which cost him the last two sets and the match 7-5, 6-3,6-3.
The second singles was an interesting match. Ankit Singhal from IIMB playing against Chaitanya of IIMC. The match got underway, and the score was at 3-2, deuce, 2nd serve, with Ankit serving when the IIMC Captain asked for the match to be stopped. The conversation was as follows:
IIMC Captain: “My player cannot see the ball because of the lights.”
IIMB Captain: “But he’s playing fine, and picking every serve, and the game is going equal.”
IIMC Captain: “But I already told you about the lights.”
IIMB Captain: “The conditions are the same for both players, and this is your home court! We are willing to play, why should you have an issue!? And you just played two sets in the lights despite earlier having issues with it…”
IIMC Captain: “Each player is different… Also, your player is tall, he can sight the ball, my player is short, so he is having problem sighting the ball when the background is the white-wall” (WTF!!??).
IIMB Captain: “Ok, then let’s serve from the other end only, that way the background will not be a problem.”
IIMC Captain: “But I already told you about the lights.” (Counter reset: argument goes into infinite loop. Enter Sports Secretaries…)
IIMB Captain: Let’s play this match tomorrow morning as you suggest, and let’s play the next match in the tie right now. I have to play two matches, and also play Hockey tomorrow, and I am willing to play, so let’s finish those matches, and come back to this one in the morning.
IIMC Captain: I already told you about the lights. We don’t want to play under lights. (Record is stuck at ‘We don’t want to play’.)
Discussion doesn’t head anywhere. According to one of our players the IIMC captain was drained, and he had to play the doubles match after the second singles, and stalling was a good option. The stalling technique pays off. There is a power cut, and soon after it starts to pour, and put to rest any chances of playing. Tennis is set to resume the next morning. (To Be Continued…)

After the sterling performance in the morning at the Throwball court, the IIMB girls were raring to go. And this time it was Captain Nemo leading the way, for the event was Basketball. A huge crowd gathered around to witness one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. The crowd was super excited, and cheering wildly, all for the IIMB team. Reason? We were playing Basketball, and the IIMC crowd was in awe! The IIMC girls were no match and we drubbed them 22-1 in probably the most one-sided match ever. There was some excellent shooting by Shruti and Nemo, and some fabulous overall play by Tejasvi. IIMC managed to touch the board a few times, and scored their lone point with a free-throw that did quite a jive on the hoop, and went through to tumultuous applause!
In a post match conference Captain Nemo described IIMC’s point earned from a free throw as a “tukka” (fluke), a comment that experts say may lead to war with Lady Luck, who refuses to have anything to do with the IIMC Girl’s Basketball team. Tejasvi from IIMB was fined her match-fee for a not-friendly gesture at an IIMC Sledge-Master (The IIMC Sledging team has a hierarchy where a ‘Sledge-Master’ is somewhere in the gray area between a ‘Sledgling’ and a ‘Sledge-Hammer’, with ‘Sledge-Marshall’, and ‘Sledge-Captain’ being other notable designations.) The details of why the said gesture took place are too gory to print in this strictly ‘family account’ of the meet. . The professional play by us, and the hapless performance by them was in stark contrast to the ‘mud-wrestling-minus-the-mud’, heavy-sledging, 4-2 win in IIMB’s favour the last time the we visited IIMC!
With the second victory chalked up by the IIMB girl’s teams, the Samhar’09 scoreline read 3-1 in our favour, with Chess hanging in their favour.

CHESS …Reloaded
After being 4-1 down in the first round, the second round was crucial. Salvaging the event meant winning 4 out of 5 pints, sorry points (although a certain member of the Chess team would have wished for both), and things were looking bleak at the break. To quote the same Chess team player from lunch earlier in the day, “We were screwed man!”
The IIMC team needed only 3 draws to ensure a win, but they did better than that. They made 4 points in the second round as well, for an overall score of 8-2.
Samhar’09 Score 3-2

After the humbling of IIMC Girl’s Basketball team by Captain Nemo’s Crew, the men were out to prove their mettle. The only difference was in the quality of the opposition. The IIMC Basketball team was decent, and on another day, the match could have gone our way. The match was keenly contested, and no team had a major advantage. Like most contact sports, this too became a little rough, and when three members of the opposition team came a little too close for our captain Sangha’s comfort, he let out a war cry and twisted out of their grip with such force that the three opponents fell a few feet away – one wonders if it was a tag-team wrestling match against Punjab power. (Other incidents of how Sangha got members of the IIMC crowd to shut up cannot be printed in this bulletin for as mentioned earlier, this is strictly a ‘family account’ of the meet.) A 5-point lead in the second quarter was maintained till the end of the third quarter, when it started to pour, and the match was set to resume the next morning. The overnight score read 22-17 in IIMC’s favour. (To be continued…)

In the words of one of our players, the IIMC Badminton court was a cooker. And the bad lighting (they had tube lights in the players line of sight!) meant that the players were at a disadvantage. But when one has a champion player like VV in the squad, one doesn’t think too much about these things. VV did complain about the lights, but carried on in true spirit of a sportsman. The event itself was perhaps the most closely fought contest at Samhar’09, with the IIMC contingent’s sledging team again in full force. Although the matches went on till 4 A.M., the IIMB contingent wasn’t far behind with even our girls giving it back to them – their target was a questionable ‘male’ sledger who seemed to be a beneficiary of the latest Delhi HC judgment on Article 377.
VV set the tone in the very first match winning it 15-1, 15-6, with five of the points lost because of losing the shuttle in the lights. In the next match, Karthik lost to Kartik (Kartik VS Karthik!!), and the tie score was 1-1. The first doubles match saw VV pair up with Chandan, which we won comfortably, which led to the closest match of the badminton tie, the fourth singles between Chandan and the IIMC captain. We expected Chandan to win the game, as he was the better player. Chandan dominated most of the match. His opponent, hung on despite cramps, and pulled through at crucial points. Chandan let the momentum and the game slip in both the second, and the final set to lose a very closely fought match. The stage was set for the final match, the second doubles, where Vibhu, who was fighting high fever, paired up with LN. Vibhu dominated the proceedings, and after a subdued start LN also came to the party. The IIMC pair started strong, but our team came from 9-1 down in the first set, and didn’t look back. We won comfortably in straight sets, and with it the Men’s Badminton event.
Samhar’09 Scorecard at the end of day 1 read 4-2 in favor of IIMB.
An assessment of the situation at the end of the Badminton match (end of day 1) was that we had lost two events that we had counted as ‘ours’. We were down by 5 points in a Basketball match that could go either way. Tennis (at that moment) was 1-0 in their favour, with the 2nd match evenly poised (although we were confident of a win). Things were not looking very comfortable. Add to that the rain factor meant that one didn’t know which would be the last event of Samhar’09. All this meant only one thing – win every event that we get to play, whether we are strong or weak at it! This discussion done, a slightly worried Abhijit Raja tried to catch a few winks before hitting the Volley court the next morning.


It had poured through the night, and it took the IIMC organizing team an hour more than budgeted to get the court ready, and as a result the match started later than scheduled. Nevertheless the match did start, and IIMC had a 5-point lead. Our shooters missed a couple of tough chances, and the magical touch was missing. To quote our captain, ‘we didn’t have those 5 minutes where we completely dominated the game, and that made all the difference’. A couple of very bad referee decisions cost us about 5 points, and some hera-pheri with the timer (our Sports Secy. was also keeping time, and his stopwatch showed two minutes to go, when time was called) cost us the match. The final score was a 6-point difference.
Samhar’09 Score 4-3 in IIMB’s favour. Raja’s focus completely on Volleyball.

If there was one event that really took the wind out of IIMC’s sail it was Volleyball. As soon as we arrived in campus, we were told over and over that we would have it easy in Volleyball because their Captain, their best player (national level player) was injured on Friday, and would not be able to play. He was incidentally doing ‘Ok’ on Saturday, and was miraculously ‘fit’ on Sunday. IIMC may just have some amazing doctors – any place on the Indian team’s support staff?
The event was to take place on Saturday night but due incessant rain, it was postponed to Sunday morning. Seven A.M. was the scheduled start, and Tshering, one of co-authors of this piece, reached the volleyball court to see what the situation was. As expected, the court was waterlogged, but what was shocking was that no one was even trying to get the water out, unlike on the Basketball court where they had already started work. Tshering immediately informed Raja who called Patil, the IIMC Sports Secy., who asked if Volleyball could be cancelled. Unfortunately for Patil, this was Raja’s sport, and there was no way Raja had come this far to do a Darshit (In the previous visit to IIMC, Darshit Shah, IIMB Sports Council, member of the maximum number of teams - Volley, Cricket, Snooker, and Tsepak, did not get to play – Cricket washed out, Snooker not played due to ‘Chinese Snooker Table’, Tsepak never happened, and in Volley he watched from the bench as the others demolished IIMC in straight sets, and refused to be substituted.) Add to that, Tshering, and Rautela were still smarting from the loss in Cricket (although Rautela let off some steam in Football), and Vibhu had made all our chaps practise so much they wouldn’t go back without playing a match. Seeing that it was useless just waiting, our players went to the court, and with the help of a few labourers set the court right, lines and all. After an hour’s work during which not a single IIMC person came forward to help, the court finally looked like an hour away from playable status. Then the second shock- their Volleyball players supposedly had classes on a Sunday and couldn’t play (why were we not told earlier?). The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the IIMC team to play Volleyball was unbelievable! After another hour all of their players seemed to have sacrificed their classes, and were reluctantly on court, and the match finally started.
As IIMC had predicted, the match was a one-sided affair with IIMB cruising through in straight sets 25-17, 25-19, 25-16. Their so-called national level player couldn’t do much. Tshering had an amazing game, although the heat got to our players a bit. A professional performance by the IIMB, and we had another event in the bag.

Samhar’09 Score 5-3... still far from comfortable

TENNIS (Continued…)
The next morning the second singles was resumed from 3-2, Deuce, IIMB Serving 2nd serve. Ankit outplayed Chaitanya, who was playing a very ‘uncle-like’ sliced-lob game (not befitting his junior state player status). Ankit was patient through some very personal sledging by his own IIT batchmates to take the match 6-4, 6-4.
Their third player, and our captain were both playing Hockey, so the doubles match started after the players returned from Hockey. So the rest of the Tennis story is again “To Be Continued …”

Still hurting from last year’s loss, Swati ‘Judgu’ Verma and Noddy went full throttle into this one. Swati won her singles match comfortably, and followed it up with a fine doubles match, pairing up with Noddy. Girl’s Badminton was wrapped up in no time, adding a vital point to the scoreboard. Once the two national level players from PGSEM join in for the 4-way meet, there is no way we will lose this one!
Samhar’09 Score 6-3… and one could see Raja breathing a bit easier now.

Another IIMC-style organizing related debacle. We were the guests at another campus, in a different city, and we were required to book a Snooker table! Fortunately we managed it on Saturday evening, thanks to one of our Snooker team members being a local! It was an event we could have won easily, but unfortunately squandered away. VV as usual won his match, which set the stage for the doubles match. Praveer and Dhruv played a good match and were up in the second frame after winning the first frame. An incorrect reading of the board meant that our players thought they had won the frame, and the event. Unfortunately, the frame was still open, and they lost the second. The third frame was tense, mistake-laden, and close, which our lads lost, setting up a decider. Poddar played the last singles, which was a close match, but lost.
Samhar’09 Score 6-4… Anyone monitoring Raja’s heartbeat?

Swimming had been our stronghold for a while with national level swimmers gracing the team from time to time - Manu Bharadwaj, Mathew, and Kutral are a few names that come to mind. In the absence of big fish, we had expected Swimming to go ‘close’. A tactical error on our captain’s part to allow a single player to play up to four events made that ‘closer than comfortable’, and the advantage had been handed to the opposition. Our team fought well, but their one national-level swimmer won each of his four events, giving them crucial points, and put to rest any chances we had in Swimming. The event was held at a pool owned by the Calcutta Swimming Club, and as the status message of an IIMC Swimming team member later that day stated – ‘I swam in a lake today’… the event could as well have been held in one of the seven ponds of IIMC!
Samhar’09 Scoreline 6-5. We had a fight on on our hands. We also may need an ambulance on standby if Raja should collapse.

The Hockey and Swimming teams had left in the same bus, and the events would approximately have started at the same time. The SAI hockey ground was a shocker for our team. SAI had newly refurbished the astro-turf pitch, which would be inaugurated on Aug 15, so we were to play on the old-style grass pitch. The pitch was half covered in water, and the goal at one of the ends was submerged under 3-4 inches of water (“Hey! We should have got our Swimming team here!!”). The field had no markings, and we were seriously contemplating calling off the event. But our captain decided that if we could get a match, we would play having come this far – given the state of the pitch, it may not be Hockey as we know it, but we will play! So, the members of the IIMB team (and none of the members of the IIMC team) took it upon themselves to get the match going. While their team rested in the shade, our bong team members went and persuaded the SAI people to get the pitch ready, undoing a lot of damage done due to ‘organizing’ IIMC style. Our boys actually helped the SAI people get the ground in shape - Sonam, who was bumped off the squad to accommodate Sangha as the Goalie drew lines on the pitch - and ensured that the match started, and all this despite zero effort from the IIMC lads to help. And so the match did start, after a looooooong delay. The first half belonged completely to us with a number of crosses into the shooting circle. We got two penalty corners within the first few minutes, both coming from crosses from the right flank where Sista was ruling over his IIMC counterparts. On one of the penalty corners a shot was ‘carried’ by a defender while standing on the goal line, and we were awarded a penalty stroke. Amarveer promptly converted the stroke, and we were ahead in the very first ten minutes. Then began a game of some hard defending. The IIMC team made a few good moves in the first half, and even gained two penalty corners. But some good defence, both in the field, and in the goal saw us through to the second. The second half was evenly matched, but having played a very vigorous game in the first half the comparative stamina levels of the IIMC team were higher (Btw, who was resting when the lines were being drawn? Ah! Ok…) Throughout the first half, one of the defenders of the IIMC team had been chirping a lot to Chandra. Chandra, being himself, gave back in equal measure, and soon a scuffle had to be broken up with the referee chastising both parties. Things got to a fever pitch, and the opponent said something like “Tod dunga” (I’ll break you). At the first opportunity during the second half, Chandra’s promptly responded by breaking the guy’s stick! The opponent threw his stick and started behaving like the character from ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’ who goes “Meri dhanush tod di! Nahin karta main naatak!” (He broke my bow! I’ll not act in this play anymore!). It was hilarious, especially with Chandra walking away with an audible “Hee! Hee!”, and a big smile on his face – that chap also stopped chirping. Back in the game, IIMC persisted, and attacked a few times, but superb defence and deft stickwork by Sathish, and Amarveer, and excellent goalkeeping by Sangha saw us through a tough fought half. The score remained 1-0 till the end, and gave us a vital win. The second team that was short on practice space (apart from Football) had won. It was also a short-term justification for a long-term high value purchase (Hint: Hockey Goalie-kit). A special mention must go to Siddhartha Sengupta (Sid Sen), who was not only the reserve wicketkeeper in Cricket, bringing much needed fluid, and glucose replenishment, continued his good work on the Hockey pitch. Unfortunately for him, despite being the first choice for substitution, he was at the opposite flank providing water to some players just when one of our forwards asked for a substitute! One only imagines how it may have been if he had scored a goal… but alas! all he did was a Darshit!!
Samhar’09 Score 7-5.

The last girls’ event was Table Tennis. To wrap up a wonderful tournament for the girls, Kritika first won her singles match against the top IIMC player, and then Kritika and Maithri won the doubles match in 4 games, ensuring that the third singles match was not even required.
Last heard – An IIMC player beseeching the IIMB girls saying, “Please let us win at least one of the events yaar!” That line summed up the girls’ events at Samhar’09 – a complete demolition of IIMC.
Samhar’09 Score 8-5. A healthy scoreline, and Raja was sitting easy.

Carrom is always a sport that can go either way. The format was Girls Singles, Boys Singles, Boys Doubles, Boys Singles, and Mixed Doubles. Sulu won the girls singles event easily for us. Then the IIMC team made a comeback and won the next two matches, i.e., the singles, and the boys doubles. But our ace, VV had not played any match up to that point, and was to play in the last 2 matches. VV demolished their best player in the fourth match (singles) 30-8.
The mixed doubles was the clincher, and a crunch match. Players were not allowed to speak with each other. VV was paired with Sulu. Everytime Sulu went to play a shot, she claims, VV would look at her as though saying in disbelief “What are you doing!?”, and Sulu would play the shot in trepidation about VV’s reaction… a tough yardstick to measure oneself by. Sulu managed to hold her own, and we won 30-18. With it, we won the Carrom event 3-2. It also marked the 9th event of the meet in our favour, and even if all 17 events were completed, the Samhar trophy was ours to keep for the third consecutive time.
Samhar’09 Score 9-5 in our favour. Raja has a smile on his face.
By this time, Raja had already stated receiving congratulatory calls from ex-sports council members (In fact some of them knew the score line before Raja did at various points during the first half of Sunday).
But there were events still left to be played, and Raja wanted to win them as well.

TENNIS (Continued…)
By the time the players returned to the Tennis court for the third match, it was 2.30pm. We were to board the bus for the Airport at 5.30pm, and unless we polished off the opponents in four quick sets, the match Tennis would have been left in the balance. The fact the we had already won 9 events, and Samhar’09 was over, made the IIMC captain ask, ‘What are we playing for? Let’s make this doubles the final match of the tie, and the winner takes it.’ Our captain refused stating that we have come to play a full draw of best of five matches, and whoever wins 3 matches wins, and in case it is 2-1, 2-2, no one gets the points. And so, after coaxing for about half an hour, Arun and Bharathan started against Zulla and Nitesh, and raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set in about 15 minutes (the 1 in their favour was thanks to three double faults by our player in the opening game), when it started to drizzle. After a few minutes the IIMC captain started complaining that he was slipping, and did not want to play. Eventually, the drizzle got steady, and the Tennis event was called off.
This was one of the most interesting events in that different and weird explanations were being given by the IIMC captain to not play the event, and that too at home! As a result we lost out on an easy point, which could have made it 10 events in our favour at Samhar’09. The IIMB Tennis Captain, after being the ‘chair-umpire’ for a full match, and calling lines for another, didn’t get to play (he was slated to play the last two matches of the tie)! He has vowed that henceforth he shall definitely play in one of the first two matches, ruling out the possibility of becoming the equivalent of a Davis Cup non-playing Captain.

This was an event with a lot of controversy regarding the format of the game as both our teams and the IIMC teams wanted to play in different formats. This disagreement was something that neither Sports Secy. was aware of. The disagreement took place two days before the event, and the captains did not bother keeping the Sports Secys in the loop! Hence began the ordeal of discussion on the format to be used, with both teams not budging their stand. Ultimately a compromise was reached, and the event started. The IIMC team had a national level player in their ranks, Anand (who is incidentally in their FPM programme… so I hope you get the drift) who easily defeated our top player Shantanu (PGSEM), in the first singles. Then, Kavash (PGSEM) meted out almost similar treatment to their second singles player to level the score at 1-1. Anand played in the doubles match to give IIMC a 2-1 lead, which was promptly cut down to parity with Ashok wining the third singles. With the score tied at 2-2, we had hope of winning the Boys’ TT event. Tuhin was to play the last singles, and was the better player. The match was played amidst huge noise levels, and whenever anyone asked for the score, our contingent would go “9-5!!” Tuhin never really got going, and his low levels of fitness (self proclaimed reason for loss) saw him lose focus, and mis-hit simple shots, and lose a match he would on a normal day win easily. However, match-day is not normal, and IIMC got a consolation win.
Samhar’09 Score 9-6 in our favor.

The Athletics team had left for the venue of the event, which was the same school where the Cricket match had been held the previous day. After their departure, we for some reason could not contact them. By now the contingents were more or less indifferent to the results of Athletics as it would have no bearing on the result of Samhar’09. The event was held in ‘sub-optimal’ conditions, which mattered especially in field events. We lost the Athletics event narrowly.

FINAL Samhar’09 Score 9-7 in IIMB’s favour. Having won the event three times in a row, the trophy stays in our trophy case for good. When the first inter-IIM meet was started in 2004, the idea was to move towards a single sports meet that would involve all IIMs. The 4-way meet (IIMs A, B, C, and L) that we host in January 2010 is a very positive step in that direction. With it there is a high likelihood that bilateral inter-IIM meets are a thing of the past, and so, Samhar may have ended once and for all.
Overheard: The IIMC Sports Secy. got very senti, and was overheard speaking to a member of our contingent right after the negotiations for Boys’ TT, that all the discussion over rules and formats, and ‘we are C, you are B’, is not what he had bargained for… ‘cul-fest jaise hona chahiye… koi mere saath baith kar daaru hi nahin piya!’... Fair enough Patil, this is an opportunity to build new friendships… So let’s compete, and also have a drink the next time around… I’ll toast to that !

It was almost time for us to leave the IIMC campus when Abhijit Raja, our Sports Secy. suddenly realized that the trophy had been in his bag all along! Since the meet would not be complete unless he received the trophy from his counterpart, he frantically called Patil to join him along with some IIMC Sports Council members for a chat on the 4-way meet, and also for a photo session with the trophy being handed over. As his tagline said till a few hours ago - “KAMINEY is L E G E N… (wait for it) … D A R Y! Truly Legendary!”

Friday, May 8, 2009

Elections India

Its Election time again in India and this election is expected to throw the most divided verdict ever. There has been a lot of talk in the media about how development is now the poll issue rather than caste and religion. I respectfully disagree with that. Although, in the campaigns there has been a lot of talk about development (to add to all that mud-slinging), almost all the major parties that has fielded its candidates has done so on the basis of which parts of the community would vote for that candidate. May be caste has been an undertone for most campaigns rather than the main poll pitch but all parties realize that without getting the caste equations right, its difficult to win in most parts of the country. We are still far from the times when caste would not be a major issue in the elections.

The Lok Sabha elections have once again demonstrated the diversity that exists in our country. The turnout trends in places with similar demographics illustrate the point I am trying to make.

West Bengal, which is supposed to be under-developed came out and had a voter turnout of 75% in phase 4 whereas in neighboring Bihar,which is equally under-developed has a combined voter turnout of less than 50% over the 4 phases.

Urban areas been more interesting than the rural centers. Mumbai especially forms a interesting case to follow. Mumbai has traditionally had very low voter turnouts. After 26/11, when the dormant public which seldom participates in the electoral process came out on the streets to vent out their anger at the government, the media predicted never-seen-before turnouts for the next elections in Mumbai. Every second day, there was some Page 3 socialite on the Panel discussions on television, confidently claiming that the rich of the city had transformed. The Media gave too much of importance to these people who were very articulate and confident on television but had no connections at all with the pulse of the city. Add to these, the vociferous campaigns like 'jaagore' etc., and in everyone's eyes, Mumbai was ready to show to the country that it is still very much a part of the Indian electoral system. But that was not to be, Mumbai recorded similar turnout of 44% this time too, not withstanding the fact that the heat factor which affected the voters at most places was not a big deterrent there. I have been for times immemorial been harassed by my cousins from Mumbai about how Mumbai contributes so much to Indian economy and gets nothing in return. The question is, is contributing economically good enough?

Contrast this with another metropolitan city, Delhi. The voter turnout in Delhi in 1999 elections was an equally abysmal 43% but that has been rising steadily and this time Delhi polled a respectable 54%. A noticeable fact is that this time has coincided with the best development phase for the city. Delhi, which was as infra structurally challenged as Mumbai is currently, is known as the city of great roads and flyovers now. Although, there are still huge number of problems in the city, but one can see that the shortcomings are being overcome gradually.

That leads to an interesting question - Did the development in Delhi lead to the increased voter turnouts or was it the other way round or was some 3rd factor responsible for this change. I guess when we find the answer to this question, we would be able to work towards greater participation in the electoral process from the disillusioned Indian citizens.

The Constitution of our country states that the Government of India is - of the people, by the people and for the people. But is that really so? When the best minds of the country decide not to enter politics, the government is hardly of the people. When only about 50% of people vote and the people coming to power do not even have the mandate of even 25% of the country, the government can hardly be called by the people and when in 60 years of independence, a majority of peope still live without the basic requirements for survival its hardly for the people.

Maybe, a lot of improvements are required in the system and I agree with a lot of suggestions given by the politicians which they are so ready to suggest but so afraid of implementing :
1. Having a fixed tenure for the state assemblies and Lok Sabha so that the country is spared of having elections every year and having them in a cooler month so that the people can come out and vote.
2. A strict policy of no criminals in politics i.e. they should not be allowed to contest and the major parties should also ensure that they are not a part of their parties as well.
3. Making postal ballot an option - as a large part of the country does not live in their hometowns (including me), which does not allow them to vote. (not everyone has money like SRK or Aamir to fly down from their work to vote)

I know a lot of what I have said has been repeated a number of times and a lot of my suggestions are very very difficult to implement, but they may be necessary if we want to have a truly Indian Government.

P.S. Any suggestions to add to the 3 I have given will be appreciated

Just and addition to the post : I feel that the only the people who vote should be given an off day and those who don't should have a paid leave reduced not not be paid the salary for that day.