Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

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The ODK Story

April 18, 2012

After the debacle of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, I had all but given up cricket. But, later in the year, having arrived at Penn State, I started to miss the game so much that I looked for any and every opportunity to get bat on ball. There were times in class when I thought of asking the professor to bowl a few balls to me.

Having spoken to a few seniors, I learned that there was an eclectic mix of students and faculty members who played at the Orchard Park on weekends. It was great fun to field on the lush outfield and be able to whack the ball without having to worry about it crashing into someone’s window pane. Games were played at leisure, with wise-cracks and quips all part and parcel of the weekly outing in the park. And then the unexpected happened. India won the inaugural T20 World Cup. A sort of cricketing fervor gripped the Desis at Penn State. Every nook and corner had a Desi practicing a Yuvi-to-Broad six or a Shreesanth-to-Hayden ball with palms slapping the ground in jubilation after having the stumps uprooted.

In 2008, when the Penn State Cricket Club (PSCC) decided to organize a Fall tournament, we immediately registered our team. However, contrary to our own over-the-roof expectations, we failed to make it even to the quarter-finals. In 2009, The Orchard Dark Knights (ODK) name was coined but the result remained the same. We ended a miserly 9th rank out of 10 teams. In 2010, our team finally got a grip on the way things were supposed to be. We made it to the Semi-Finals for the first time and gave the eventual winners a tough fight in that game. By 2011, a lot of the original ODK members had retired (graduated) and there was very little chance that we would have enough players to form a team once again. But again, India winning the World Cup in April 2011, instilled a new vigor amongst all of us. So a new team with a new captain was formed; but we stuck to the original name – The Orchard Dark Knights. Starting off strongly in the tournament, our fitness began to tell by the time we reached the Semi-Finals. In a hard fought match, which went down to the last ball, we lost to the eventual champions – The White Tigers.

Come Spring 2012. The ODKs played their opening game against The Falcons. The team seemed determined to make a good start to the tournament and went on to win the game comfortably. The next game for the ODKs was against Bomb Squad. Having been set a stiff target of 95 runs to chase in 15 overs, the ODK were helped by their opponents being understaffed in the fielding department and ran away to a comfortable victory. With 2 wins out of 2, it was time for the ODKs to face their nemesis from the previous year – The White Tigers. Put into bat, the White Tigers started off slowly, but as their confidence grew, so did their run rate. In a high scoring, breath-taking encounter, the White Tigers held their nerves to beat the ODKs by 4 runs. In their final league match, the ODKs then took on the Jager Bombers on a pitch that seemed to have come straight from Bridgetown, Barbados. Uneven bounce and some good bowling kept the ODKs down to a respectable target on a smallish ground. However the ODKs held their catches and made some interesting bowling changes to win the game and ensure a position in the Semi-Finals.

The Semi-Finals was a repeat of the previous year – ODK vs White Tigers. The ODKs started off briskly scoring at more than 8 runs per over during the Power Play. But after having lost a couple of quick wickets, the runs suddenly dried up. Some lofty shots in the last few overs allowed the ODKs to set the White Tigers a target of 120 to get in 15 overs. But the White Tigers were not ones to give up without a fight. They kept chipping away at the target getting an occasional boundary or six on the way. The match again went down to the last over but this time around the ODKs bowled to a plan and denied the White Tigers a victory. The ODKs had finally made it to their first Final.

In the Final, their opponents were the Blue and White Warriors who had yet to lose a match in the tournament and yet to lose more than 2 wickets in an innings. Their openers got the team off to a blazing start hitting fours and sixes at will. The ODKs looked very flat in the field and the toll of having played 5 back-to-back games seemed to be telling on them. At the end of 10 overs, the Blue and White Warriors seemed well set to go past 180 of their 20 overs. But some spirited bowling towards the end overs pulled the run rate down and the ODKs were set a target of 163. The ODKs kept the asking rate within reach throughout their innings and went on to chase the target well within 20 overs.

It has been a fabulous weekend of entertaining cricket. Kudos to the Organizers for having a tab on all the match proceedings and keeping the captains updated about their respective schedules. Here is hoping for many more entertaining tournaments to come.

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A to Z of 2011

December 31, 2011

Last time I blogged we were World Champions and here we are onto the last day of the year. Hard to believe that an entire year has gone by so quickly. So, as an exercise, I decided to do a quick alphabetic recount of the year gone by. Here is what I came up with. I am sure a lot of you will have your own versions of it.

A for Anna
Anna Hazare led the anti-corruption movement through the year, drawing huge support all over, even on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

B for Blasts
Mumbai succumbed to yet another strike. Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar were the focal points of this attack.

C for Cricket
Pepsi’s mantra “Eat cricket, sleep cricket, drink cricket” became a reality for most people.

D for Dhoni
ODI Champions, No 1 Test team, IPL Winners – Dhoni did it all. His final six in that epic World Cup final will go down in the history of the game as one of the finest finishes.

E for England
England, later in the year, whitewashed India over the summer in the much anticipated Pataudi Test series, thus taking over the mantle of the No 1 Test team. The first test match at Lord’s was also the 100th Test match between India and England and the 2000th Test match overall.

F for Formula One
India finally had its first F-1 event at the Buddh International Circuit. One of the most eagerly awaited sporting events after the Cricket World Cup, huge crowds thronged to see this first of many racing sprees.

G for Goa
Goa celebrated its 50th year of liberation from the Portuguese establishment. A popular tourist spot, Goa has it all – beach, music, charm and susegad.

H for Heros
Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie, Tiger Pataudi, Mario Mirinda, M.F. Hussain, Dev Anand, Bhupen Hazarika and Shammi Kapoor, to name a few of the many great people that left us this year. RIP …

I for IIT
Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU) joins the elite IITs, as per the Institutes of Technology Amendment Bill

J for Japan Tohoku earthquake
The six minute long earthquake wrecked havoc in Japan, killing thousands of people and leaving many others homeless.

K for Kolaveri
“Why this Kolaveri Di” became viral in a few weeks. As of today, it has received over 30 million hits on YouTube. If you were to type ‘Why’ in the search space on YouTube, the first suggestion would be this very soup song.

L for Lokpal
After a debacle in the Rajya Sabha this week, hopefully this Bill will see the light of the day in the new year.

M for Manchester
During this season’s English Primiere League, Manchester City defeated Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford in what is believed to be Man U’s most humiliating defeat under Sir Alex Ferguson’s (celebrating his 70th birthday today) management.

N for Novak
In the world of Tennis, this year truly belonged to Novak, winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. What made him the Superman of Tennis this year? Was it his gluten-free diet or was it sheer hard-work? A beautifully written article by Rohit Brijnath on the space between.

O for Osama
After a decade since 9/11, OBL was killed.

P for Paterno
Joe Pa, as he is fondly called, was removed from his position as head coach of the Penn State Football team over the child abuse sex scandal.

Q for Que Sera, Sera
Whatever Will Be, Will Be

R for Rupee
The rupee hit an all-time low of 54.305 per dollar.

S for Sehwag/Sangakara
Sehwag hit the cricket ball all over the park against a beleaguered West-Indian team to score 219, which is the highest individual score in ODIs.
Sangakara on the other hand, showed that pen is mightier than sword by delivering a bold speech at Lord’s as part of the Colin Cowdrey Lecture.

T for Tahrir Square
Tahrir Square became the epicenter of the Egyptian Revolution.

U and V together make us.

W for World Cup Champions
India, against all odds, won the World Cup. Work came to a standstill, as Dhoni and his men strived to repeat the 1983 performance.

X for Xacuti
One of my favorite dishes that was cooked and eaten quite a few times this year.

Y for Yuvraj
Yuvraj Singh was the Man of the Tournament in the Cricket World Cup and was instrumental in India’s victory.

Z for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Easily the best movie of the year in my opinion, it had all the elements that go into making a good film. Good script, good actors, hilarious moments and lovely music.

With that, all is well that ends well. Here is wishing all of you a very Happy New Year. See you in 2012.

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Vitalstatistix

November 15, 2010

I can’t believe the weather in State College is what it is. Sunday evening,  mid-November and a half- sleeves T-shirt is all I had on. (I had my Jeans on obviously). Needless to say preparing for the 8K run has become the cry of the hour for the last Coupleofwix. Many must be thinking that I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon Justforkix. But that’s not true. The State College Run-for-India team is dedicated towards its cause, and, as my manager would say, ‘is pushing beyond the boundaries’ of State College. I guess, one of our team-members, who is preparing for the full 26 mile marathon, would have to peregrinate [Barrons et al.] well beyond SC into the neighbouring towns.

Onto other things, Harbhajan scored his third successive fifty* against NZ. With due respects to Bhaji, the undercover agents within the NZ team seem to be Uptonoendoftrix. India tours SA next month. That would be the ultimate litmus ‘Test’ on our already-much-debated-about Test cricket ranking. It would be interesting to see who calls the shots there. (Too many puns na…)

2011 is around the corner and people who are looking to purchase their set of annual calenders do check out this link. The calendars cost 200 rupees each and the money is directed towards an NGO in Pune. Hopeitclix for them.

* Bhaji went on to score a century …

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Actually, infact and therefore…

January 22, 2009
After a much-needed holiday – with sun, sand, sea and much more – its back to the land of chilly winds and fields of snow. The winters here on campus are depressingly dull, but the women are hot, so college is tolerable. I sometimes wonder how they must be surviving in Greenland.

Last Sunday, I drove down to New York to pick up a friend of mine from the airport. While waiting in the arrival section, I noticed lots of anxious relatives waiting impatiently for their loved ones. And as those tired travellers slowly wheeled out their luggage, they were being greeted with smiles, hugs, kisses and what not. Reminded me of the opening scene of ‘Love Actually’.

In such dark times of terror and gloom, it might bring some cheer to your heart. Really sweet. Do watch it.

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A-maze-d

October 18, 2008

At the mid-point of a grueling semester. 8 weeks and a few more days to go before the semester comes to a close. In between a much needed Thanks-giving break beckons.

Phew! To say things have been hectic would be an understatement. Last month, the IGSA had the annual Indian festival, called Aghaaz and a lot of my time went into rehearsals for the dance. Thankfully, that concluded without much ado.

My friend from Engineering days became a father yesterday. I actually dont know how to react. I wonder what my parents will have to say when I inform them this weekend. They were pretty surprised when Bunty announced his wedding!!!

How things have changed in the last three years. Yesterday afternoon, I was walking towards class and as I waited to cross the road, a small child in a pram was looking at the IST (Information Sciences and Technology) building which stood impressively on the other side of the road, and was trying to pronounce ‘Technology’.

“Tekno” … “logee”

“Technology”, his mother helped him out.

“Mom, what’s Teknologee?”

“Computers and stuff”, his mother patiently replied as she wheeled the pram across the road.

As I crossed the road along with them, I couldn’t but help smiling to myself. Inspite of two years of IT experience under my belt, I probably would not have been able to hazard a better reply than that lady.

For, most of my time in Hyderabad was spent either trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, or travelling between Hyderabad and Pune. In the midst of all this, I did a little work, made some new friends and spent a lot of money.

A reckless event however, forced me to think a bit seriously about my future and that’s what prompted me to apply to Penn State and come here. Fourteen months down the line, I dont think I have made a bad decision. Things happen for a reason, they say.

I came across this beautiful speech by Harsha Bhogale a few months ago. It truely inspired me when I saw it.

More later…