The Lost Advertisements

Creating a Television Commercial (TVC) is always challenging. No, I don’t have any experience in that, but I can imagine the effort that goes into creation of a commercial. Too many parameters that you have to get right. And you can claim to be successful only if it engraves the desired impression in the minds of the target audience.

Over the years, I have seen many commercials come and go. From the time when Doordarshan was the only channel, to now when there are more than, maybe a hundred channels. Some died quietly, some just did their job. Yet some were brilliant. They left a lasting impression. More than just communicating, they interacted. Made you feel like you knew the product even though you have hardly used it. Or even if you hardly have a need for it. It was like they had a soul. And that it reached out to you.

Advertising is a big business today and you see new commercials hitting the television every day. Some of them are very attractive and brilliant. Vodafone’s zoozoo, aged couple vacationing in Goa, and Hutch’s pug campaigns were hugely popular and it is highly unlikely that anyone would have not found themselves attracted to them. However, I feel like stepping back a little, and looking at a few old commercials that may no longer be shown on television, but which have left a lasting impression on me for one reason or the other. And, I am sure that you would be able to connect to some of them too – if you are old enough to have watched them in the first place!

  • Lalithaji – It’s hard to ignore Lalithaji who fondly shared her wisdom with us, advising us that ‘Surf ki kharidhari may hi samaj dhari hai’. And in the detergents arena, that was followed by ‘Bala iski kameez meri kameez say safed kaise?’
  • And if any detergent advertisement was to be compared with Lalithaji, it could only be Nirma. ‘Washing Powder Nirma …..’ to be clear.
  • The Chawanprash ads – ‘Saat saal ke boode, yaa saat saal ke jawan?!’ and ‘Dadaji, badminton!’ Remember them? And it was not like health-related products were always targeted only against the aged dadajis. The marketers didn’t miss out the stressed out office goers. Remember Mohan Gokhale? ‘Yeh bechara, kaam ke bhoj ka maara, isay chaahihe ……..’
  • There were a few celebrity endorsements in those days too. None bigger than Lux – ‘filmi sitaron ka soundarya sabun’. It still is, but back then, no SRK. Only leading ladies. And Gavaskar came for Dinesh Suiting ads. But my personal favourite – ‘Palmolive da jawab nahi!’
  • And Palmolive’s celebrity punch was countered by a common man in the lift in Godrej shaving cream ads – ‘Sir, which shaving cream do you use? Who? Me?’
  • Years ago, in the very early 90s, when he was still a chocolate-faced heartthrob, Aamir Khan came on television for Hero Puch ads. Anyone remembers them? Recently however, probably in a symbolic reflection of how priorities change with time, he came for a series of Mahindra two-wheelers, recommending ‘safe-driving’.
  • FMCGs have always been dependent on catchy ads for promotion. Every soap had it’s personality. Long before Santoor, it was ‘Sona, sona, aha Rexona’. But the king of soap ads would undoubtedly be ‘Tandurusti ki raksha kartha hai Lifebuoy, Lifebuoy hai jahan tandurusti hai wahan!’. It was so catchy, that even doctors overlooked the message that they could be out of business if everyone used Lifebuoy!
  • One of the first subtle ads to come on television was the Sony Ericsson ‘One black coffee, please’ ad. And that came during the days when LIC kept pounding us that unless insured, families will be in grave difficult when the head of the family dies.
  • Garden Vareli too, had its brand of sophisticated ads during those days. And who can forget ‘Only Vimal’!
  • A few ads, for some strange reason, stay in memory even though you have nothing to do with the product. The Allwyn fridge advertisement is an example (Remember Allwyn?!). Long after even the brand has gone, I still distinctly remember the adv where a technician comes home to check a complaint on a new Allwyn fridge. The housewife is perplexed. It is cooling well, she says. So, what’s the problem? It doesn’t make any sound! ‘Yeh Allwyn ki tachniki kamaal hai madam’, the technician explains. Back then, I was in Chennai, and found it difficult to understand what ‘tachniki’ meant, only to realize later that it was ‘technical’ in hindi!
  • And finally, the classic of them all. My personal favourite:

‘Yeh zameen yeh asmaan, Yeh zameen yeh asmaan,

Hamara Kal, Hamara Aaj, Hamara Kal, Hamara Aaj,

Buland Bharat ki, Buland Tasveer,

Hamara …….’

Sadly, if you don’t belong to my generation, you might not have seen these commercials. Not to worry, you have equally good ones turning up these days. But arguably, whenever the history of Indian TVCs is discussed anywhere, you would find many of the ones above featuring in the discussion.

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The Wait

The book was very happy. It now had a reader. It was now going home.

Lying on the cash counter, waiting to be packed and delivered to the purchaser, it bid goodbye to its friends on the various shelves of the bookstore. Some of them had been lying there for days, few even for months. Yet, this one was sold within a week of its arrival at the store. The other books looked at it in envy. And at the purchaser longingly. And the book observed all this proudly.

It did not have a fancy cover. It was not printed on glossy paper. It didn’t even have a catchy name. It had no pictures, few diagrams, and lots of text. Long paragraphs of boring text. It belonged to a genre that would be described as informative. A description of which it was proud outwardly. A description that made it anxious within itself.

It remembered its author. He was a simple man. It remembered the pains and sacrifices he had undertaken to create it. He tried. And he created it. And in that sense, the book considered him to be its God. But he was only human, and had his limitations. What was important was not how it judged its author, but how the world judged it, and thereby its author.

The book also remembered its publisher. And the designer who designed the cover. And the printer. The transporter. The bookshop owner. The salesman in the bookshop. It had come across so many people in its short journey. It silently thanked them all. Even while being aware that most of them didn’t even notice its existence properly. It thanked them anyway. And it thanked them sincerely.

The purchaser picked it up and headed out of the store. Reached home. Settled down. Picked it up and started reading. It suddenly realized that it was making its debut. This was the moment for which it had been created. It will now be scrutinized. And the verdict would be out pretty soon.

So, will he like it? Will he re-read it? Recommend it to his friends? Discuss it? Store it? Save the copy for his children? It was both excited and anxious to know the answers. But it will have to wait. Answers would emerge only after the reader is finished with reading it.

And so, the wait began.

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Saving ODIs

Sachin Tendulkar’s recommendations to the ICC on ODIs, have yet again raised the debate on whether ODIs have become irrelevant, and if yes, what should be done to keep them alive and kicking?

I come from the ODI generation. I remember waking up at 4.30 in the mornings to watch Srikanth, Gavaskar, Shastri, Kapil Dev and others play against Australia and New Zealand down under. And elders at home never missed to notice the fact that I rarely got up early to study or during important occasions like festivals. ODIs have always been dear to me, and most honestly, I enjoy them over T20.

I must also confess that to me, a cricket team consisted of 2 regular openers, 3 middle order batsmen, a wicket-keeper batsman, and  5 bowlers, one of whom was generally an all-rounder, meaning he could score a hundred in Tests. Middle order batsmen didn’t open, and openers didn’t play in the middle order. If any of the other bowlers could bat, or if any of the batsmen could bowl, that was a bonus.

But alas, I seem to be in a minority. And a hopeless one at that. And nothing drives that fact to me more than the views of experts, who seem to unanimously agree that something needs to be done for ODIs – meaning, unless something is done, it is going to fade away. And as far as team combination is concerned, 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers have become a rule, even in Test cricket. And people who open in tests don’t necessarily get to play in ODIs, and people who open in ODIs, often play in the middle order in tests.

So, what do I do now? Fighting against experts, trying to prevent them from tinkering with the existing system could be futile exercise. So, I have tried to come up with a few suggestions of my own. While I am not sure whether anyone will like any of them, I will still share them with you.

First of all, I like the 2 innings, 25 overs each concept. It will introduce the 4 innings thrill that we get to see in Tests.

Secondly, I do not like to see the restriction of 5 bowlers being allowed to bowl only 10 overs each or even 4 bowlers being allowed to bowl only 12 overs each. Cricket is getting badly biased in favor of batsmen. Restricting a bowler to bowl only 10 overs is like asking a batsman to play only 60 balls. Do you think a batsman has to vacate crease, if he remains not-out after playing 60 deliveries? If not, why should a bowler? Furthermore, teams are already down to 3 ½ – 4 bowlers now, and no team is playing 5 bowlers.

To overcome this situation, and to re-establish cricket as a fair contest between bat and ball, without undue bias in favor of batsman, we must take off this restriction on maximum number of overs a bowler can bowl.  On the contrary, if needed, to encourage (force, would probably be a more appropriate word) teams to play regular bowlers, a condition can be imposed that at least 6 different bowlers must bowl a minimum of 4 or 5 overs each.

Thirdly, the Powerplays. I would like Powerplays to be abolished fully. Great batsmen, please face the bowling on its merit, score your runs and entertain us. However, there is a belief that Powerplays are the most crucial element of ODIs, that they infuse life into the game by allowing batsmen to play big shots, accelerate scoring and avoid boredom for spectators. If that is the conclusion of experts and if we want more of that, then here are some options to help batsman play some bigger shorts and further accelerate scoring:

  • Super Powerplay – 4 overs per each innings. Only 6 players from the fielding side, including the wicket-keeper and bowler, are allowed on field, and the remaining 5 get to relax in the dressing room.  Out of the 6 players, only 1 can be outside the 30 yard circle.
  • Bumper Powerplay – 2 overs per each innings. Same field restrictions of 6 players on field. Only change is, if the bowler bowls right handed normally, he must bowl this over left-handed and vice versa.
  • Mega Powerplay – 1 over per innings. Same field restriction of 6 players on field, and bowling with the wrong hand. Additionally, the batsman gets to select the bowler and also, no matter what happens in the over, both the batsmen cannot be declared out.

This will all be huge fun for the spectators.

Hope ICC would find these suggestions useful. And in case more are wanted, we can work on them too. Only, they must feel free to let me know.

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A New Journey

Witnessed by holy fire,
And smiling ladies, who never seem to tire,
A new journey began.

Few years ago, in the month of June,
I became We, and We became one,
Resolving to explore parts of each other, that remained unknown.

As children played around excited,
As holy sentences were being recited,
Barriers broke and aspirations united.

Two individuals, one life;
Different dreams, one destiny;
I became a husband and she my wife.

I remained the same,
She remained the same,
Only, she changed her name.

New roles, newer responsibilities;
New relations, greater expectations;
Extended society and added scrutiny.

Some find happiness in marriage, Some lose it;
Some work to make it successful, Some let it go astray;
Some give up the fight, Yet some bear it all.

Have we planned, are we prepared?
Will we prevail, will we succeed?
Only time will tell how well we address our needs.

Arguments will erupt, so will understanding;
Differences will arise, so will dependence;
Sacrifices will be made, and success will have to be earned.

We have decided to leave our mark,
We are determined to make it happen,
A great task lies ahead.

And a new journey has begun!!!

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தருமி 2011 – மீண்டும் ஒரு திருவிளையாடல்

Being a big fan of the Shivaji Ganesan, Savithri starrer “திருவிளையாடல்” (Thiruvilayaadal), I was overjoyed when the Lord appeared in my dream one recent night, in what appeared to be a scene similar to one in the movie. This is how the sequence unfolded:

மதுரை மாமன்னரின் மனதில் ஓர் ஐயப்பாடு எழுந்தது – என்றென்றும் பதவியில் நிலைத்திருப்பதற்கு தேவையானது performanceஆ? அல்லது பண பலமா? எங்கு பற்றிமன்றத்தினரிடம் கேட்டால் performance உடன் கூடிய பண பலமே என்று கூறிவிடுவார்களோ என எண்ணிய மாமன்னர், தனது சந்தேகத்தை நிவர்த்தி செய்வோருக்கு ஆயிரம் பொற்காசுகள் பரிசு என்று பொதுமக்கள் மத்தியில் பறை அறிவிப்பு செய்தார்.

மன்னவரின் சந்தேகத்தை போக்கும் பாட்டிற்கு ஆயிரம் பொற்காசுகள் பரிசு என்ற அறிவிப்பை அனைவரும் கேட்டனர். தருமியும் கேட்டான்.

அறிவிப்பை கேட்ட தருமி அந்த ஆயிரம் பொற்காசுகள் தனக்கே கிடைக்கவேண்டும் என ஆசைப்பட்டான். ஆனால் சகல முயற்சிகளின் பின்னரும்கூட அவனால் பரிசு பெறக்கூடிய பாடலை இயக்க முடியவில்லை. இதனால் எங்கு அந்த ஆயிரம் பொற்காசுகள் தனக்கு இல்லையோ என்று எண்ணி வேதனைப்பட்டான். அரசன் கொடுக்கின்ற ஆயிரம் பொற்காசுகளும் தனக்கே கிடைக்கிறமாதிரி அருள் புரியுமாறு சொக்கநாதரை வேண்டினான். பால்காரன் பாக்கியை நினைத்து புலம்பினான். பரிசுக்காக பிரார்த்தித்தான்.

அவன் புலம்பியது அவர் காதில் விழுந்தது. அவனுக்கு உதவி செய்ய சொக்கநாதர் அவன்முன் தோன்றினார். ஒரு வசதிஉள்ள புலவனாக. பொருளின் மீது பற்றில்லா புலவனாக. அரசனின் ஐயப்பாட்டை நீக்கும் அந்த பாடலை அவனுக்கு தர முன்வந்தார்.

அன்னியரின் பாடலை தனதென்று அறிவித்துக்கொள்ள மறுத்தான் தருமி. வந்திருக்கும் புலவரோ, தனது புலமையை பரீட்சிக்கும் திறமை தருமிக்கி இருந்தால், பரிட்சித்து பார்க்கட்டும் என சாவல் விடுத்தார். கோபம் கொண்டான் தருமி. கேள்விகளை கேட்க தொடங்கினான். அவர்களின் சம்பாஷனை, இதோ பின்வருமாறு:

பிரிக்க முடியாதது என்னவோபதவியும் ஊழலும்

பிரிய கூடியது கொள்கையும் நடத்தையும்  

சேர்ந்தே இருப்பதுகூட்டணியும் கசமுசவும் 

சேராதிருப்பதுஅரசியலும் நேர்மையும் 

சேரகூடியதுகங்கையும் காவிரியும் 

சேரமுடியாததுதாத்தாவும் அம்மாவும் 

சொல்ல கூடாததுசொத்தின் மதிப்பு 

சொல்ல கூடியது மக்களிடம் வாக்குறுதி   

கேட்ககூடாததுபிரஜைகளின் கஷ்டங்கள்

கேட்ககூடியதுநிதியும், நன்கொடையும் 

பார்க்க கூடாததுதொகுதி மக்கள் 

பார்த்து ரசிப்பதுஅதிகாரத்தின் அகம்பாவம்  

அரசியல் என்பது ஊழல், பேராசை, பொய், பித்தல்லாடம் 

பொய்யின் உதாரணம் கட்சியின் கொள்கை

உழலின் தத்துவம் அனைத்தும் என்னக்கே 

பணிவிற்கு பன்னீர்செல்வம் 

பித்தலாட்டத்துக்குஅமர் சிங்க்










“நீர் புலவன்!”, தோல்வியை ஒப்புகொண்டான் தருமி.

சொக்கநாதர் இயக்கிய பாடலை எடுத்துக்கொண்டு தமிழ் சங்கத்திற்கு சென்றான். மாமன்னர்முன் பாடலை பாட துவங்கினான்………………………

I woke up suddenly. Before Dharumi could start reciting.  How I wish the dream had lasted just a little longer. Alas, it was not meant to be. The King never got to hear the Lord’s song. And so his doubt remains uncleared. And he is still on the look out for the song that would give him clarity.  

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Artists: Koundamani

Can you get a stranger to smile? Make him laugh? Make him forget all his worries, even if it is only for a brief moment? Get him to like you? In spite of your limitations?

I cannot.

But a few people can. And did. Koundamani is one of them.

I am a big fan of Koundamani. I declare it whenever and wherever I can. The response is often one of the two – either the other person is also a fan of Koundamani, or is someone who cannot tolerate him. In some sense that represents the response he normally generates amongst the audience. People either like him, or hate him. Very few people stay in the middle.

His critics have many things to say about him – his brand of comedy is mostly loud, often vulgar, almost senseless, degrading, and many such similar descriptions. And it is not for nothing that such observations have emerged. I would not attempt to defend him. That is not the purpose of this blog. I only wish to record his performances that influence me and how I feel about him. Rest, we all have our lives to live.

In many ways, he was unlike other comedians in Tamil cinema. Every successful comedian in Tamil cinema, at some point of time in his career, gets compared with Nagesh. It is both a privilege and pain. Privilege because only the best get compared with him. Painful because it often exposes all your limitations. And Koundamani’s brand of comedy was very different from Nagesh’s, leaving very little scope for him to emerge unscathed in any comparison with Nagesh.

Most comedians from his earlier generations also made a mark for themselves as character artists – NS Krishnan, Nagesh, Chandrababu, Thangavelu, VK Ramasami, etc. Koundamani, however, did not make much of an impact. Neither as a villain nor as a character artist. Some interpreted this as a limitation. They wouldn’t accept that someone can remain a comedian, without having played any memorable character role.

Most comedians in Tamil cinema also felt for themselves, a need to propagate social messages through their cinematic performances. NS Krishnan, Chandrababu, and recently, Vivek, earned a name for themselves as comedians who also conveyed a social message through their performances. Koundamani, however, hardly ventured into that arena. He was an entertainer, pure and simple. No pretentions about that. Some felt this too was a limitation, a failure to fulfill a social obligation.

When one sets aside all prejudices, and sit downs to look at his accomplishments, one may see a really different picture. I have lived outside of Tamil Nadu for nearly 2/3rds of my life. That, coupled with the fact that I am not a great follower of Tamil cinema, meant that I have not watched all of his performances. But even the limited portrayals that I have seen, cast an impression upon me.

Though he worked with every major Hero, his pairing with Satyaraj and Karthik became particularly popular. Timing, voice-modulation, and to some extent his antics, were his major strengths. Most of the characters that he played can be described as street smart, some bordering on shamelessness, with brash arrogance or indifference towards others, loud-mouthed whose words often get him into trouble. Yet he finds a way out of it. However, they were all not always similar. He did don varied roles. Some of the memorable ones that I enjoyed watching and remember, are:

* The politician in Sooriyan – [Arasiyalla idhellam sadarnamappa]

* Traffic Cop – [I am strictly 25 rupees]

* Kalling – [He introduced the ‘Romantic Look’ to Tamil cinema audience]

* Workman in Mannan – [Naangalavadhu onga kitta sollitu vandom, Neenga yengakitta sollitta vandhinga?]

* All-in-All Azhaguraja – [Konda vechruka pombalaikellam Ariken Lampu tharadhilla]

* Thavil Vidhwan in Karakattakaran –  [Americavula Michael Jackson kuptaho, Japanla Jackie Chan kuptaho, yennadi color colora reel vudara…..]

* Milkman – [Don’t know the movie name, but he and Senthil, the postman, fight over Vadivelu’s sister without even seeing her, “Jakkamma Paal, Jakkamma Paal”]

* Aspiring singer who impersonates a long-lost, dumb grandson, with a view to usurp the property of ailing grandfather – [Onna yaar da jangiri kuduka sonnadhu?]

* Cook suffering from night blindness in Chinna Thambi [Oru kodi ruba kuduthallum, sayandram 6 maniki mela naan vela seiya matten]

* Hapless husband in Kanni Rasi – [Yendi, ulla oru kozhi pannaye irrukku]

* Day-dreaming cop in an Arjun starrer

* Pangaali’s son in Naatamai – [Ippa theriyudu, periya manushangallam yen sila mukhiyamana vishayangala telephonela pesurangannu]

* Coconut-water vendor – [Veedu pathi yerinja fire servicesu, vayiru pathi yerinja, elani servicesu]

* My personal favorite – Filmstar Silverspoon Shilpa Kumar [Varungala mudalamaichar Shilpa Kumar, Vazhga]

* Popular performances in Indian, Gentleman, Chinna Koundar, Ullathai Allitha, Malabar Police, Kadalar Dinam. And many more……….

To sum up, he did put a smile on faces of many strangers. Made them forget their issues and feel happy. He deserves to be admired and respected for this alone, if not for anything else. I wish him happy times.
Adrasakka, Adrasakka, Adrasakka……..

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Deccan Chargers and the Disincentive

My Hyderabadi friend was pained. Deccan Chargers’ consistent below-par performance in the IPL was too much for him to digest.

Commoners cited the home-ground jinx. They seemed justified when DC won the IPL in South Africa. But he felt there was something more.

He engaged a popular analyst to look into it. After reviewing the first three editions of the IPL, the analyst came up with his conclusion – The problem was with the owners. And the incentives they could offer.

The analyst reasoned that players, like employees, need incentives for better performance. And if they fail to identify themselves with the incentives, it could be counterproductive. Here is how he saw the situation:

MI – Owned by the Reliance Group, their players may virtually get everything they need for free – from garments to footwear, from jewelry to cosmetics, from groceries to vegetables. They could also expect unlimited free calls with some ‘brotherly’ support!

RCB – Owned by the ‘King of Good Times’ – players can hope for, amongst other things, free beer, liquor, air travel, and F-1 pass. They could even ask for free passes for a calendar shoot!

CSK – Owned by India Cements, players could hope for free cement bags for constructing all that they would want to, in all the plots that they buy, with all the crores that they get.

KXIP – If a movie with Priety was not exciting, players could at least look at the suit range from Bombay Dyeing. BTW, don’t forget, they also own Britannia!

RR– Notwithstanding the various business interests of Raj Kundra, the players could hope for a movie with Shilpa, an entry into the Big Boss, or at the very least, yoga sessions with Shilpa!

DD – Even from an infrastructure company like GMR, the players could hope for some engineering support, for their constructions, along with some concessions at a few airports.

That leaves KKR and DC.

KKR – A movie with King Khan! The analyst was not sure whether many players would have liked that. However, he also felt that their performances in the first three editions may also have been impacted by the man named John Buchanan, and his 4 captains and no-winners theory!

DC – owned by the media group Deccan Chronicle. A problem in what they can offer as incentive. Horror of horrors, their players get 100 free copies of the Deccan Chronicle newspaper everyday. One can only imagine what went through Gilchrist when 100 free copies of the Andhra Bhoomi, their telugu newspaper, were dropped at his doorstep one day! All that as incentive. And unfortunately for the players, the DC owner’s don’t seem to have any other popular business.

That was the reason, the analyst concluded. His suggestion for revival? DC must now divest and take in partners who can better incentivize the players – a la Paradise Restaurant, or at least Gokul Chat! Nothing like the famous Hyderabadi Biryani or famed Gokul Chat, he declared.

I have never understood the wise words of analysts, so I left my friend to deal with the situation. But I could not resist wondering what if indeed, Paradise or Gokul, picked a major stake in the team. What would they then be called? Paradise Pirates, Gokul Gamers………..

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WC 2011 – Memoirs

WC 2011 has come to an end – on a happy, winning note for a billion Indians. In an earlier post I had mentioned how this event was one of the things that I eagerly looked forward to in 2011. I was not disappointed. The last World Cup competition that I seriously followed was the one in 1996 – the edition that established Sanath and finished Prabhakar. I was in college then and I distinctly remember that within a short time after the India-SL match started someone came running from the hostel informing that SL had scored 48 in 4 overs. A scoring rate unheard in those days. This time however while India did field Sreesanth, SL had neither Sanath nor Kalu and the script ended differently. And Sree can continue playing.

At the start of the tournament, I believed that India and SL were the two best teams in the competition. I also believed that India, SL, Pakistan, and one from Australia, South Africa or England would reach the semis. Instinctive, not logical. And well, I got it mostly right. Wish I start trusting my instincts more in my day-to-day life too.

Looking back, here are some thoughts on the World Cup 2011:

This was dubbed as Sachin’s World Cup. He scored a hundred and England tied the game. He scored yet another one and we lost it. This even led to a humorous picture on social networking sites declaring that India can win the World Cup only if it had 11 Sachins. In the semi-finals he tried hard to get out but ‘large-hearted’ Pakistanis wouldn’t take any of that. In the finals, India emerged victorious without any significant contribution from him or Sehwag. Surely, the game has its own ways of reminding that it still is a team game, above individuals. This is not to take anything away from Sachin. Kohli’s remark aptly conveys the sense of gratitude whole of India feels towards the Master Blaster. But it still remains a team game, above individuals.

Greg preached, Gary performed. 2007 and 2011. Contrasting campaigns, notwithstanding the contrasting conditions.

After his 175 in the first match, Sehwag declared that he was born-again, claimed that he would stay longer in the crease. After his speech though, he went back to being himself. Not complaining, just observing.

Dhoni is a good strategist. I have always respected him. That is why I am very curious to know from him why he did not pick Ashwin in the finals. Not picking him at Mohali was understandable, but in the finals? For Sreesanth? Surely Ashwin could not have bowled worse than what Sree did. He could bowl during power plays, could have fielded better and may be played a bit with the bat too. And having played with him for CSK, Dhoni knows all of these (and may be more too). So what’s the real reason? Worth understanding.

All the big hitters largely failed. Pathan, White, Pollard, McCullum, Gayle, Afridi. Mere coincidence or something more. Arun Lal’s observation “Yusuf is a victim of his own reputation” may be worth contemplating.

Kevin O’Brien. ICC’s decision to field only 10 teams in the 2015 edition may mean that we may never get to see him again for his country. Hope ICC does a re-think and decides what is in the best interest of the game. Don’t close the gate yet, it is not by any means crowded inside. We are still effectively only 8 of us. Let there be new followers.

Punter failed in his quest to become the only captain to lift the trophy thrice. That would have compensated a bit for having lost the Ashes thrice.

Murali couldn’t finish it too. He now has to remain content with 1996. Just remembered Lara, Walsh, Ambrose, Botham, Gooch, Gatting, Atherton, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, Crowe, Flemming, Hansie, Donald, Pollock ……. talented cricketers who were never part of a World Cup winning team.

Yardy announced his depression. Piyush suffered in silence. Strauss was inspiring. Gayle, indifferent. Ross had a dream birthday. Anderson got hit by one and all. While Roach and Malinga had fond memories to take back, Smith and South Africa returned with more questions than answers. Sourav and Nasser discussed strategy, Sidhu and Rameez voiced emotions. Different people, different personalities, different experiences.

With UDRS we can now objectively judge an Umpire’s performance. Guess we will see more of technology aided decision-making in the future. And all the new terminologies and gestures by the umpires, will make cricket look ‘cool’.

But the best piece of WC 2011 was what happened off the field – the “Mother of All Matches” – or what I call the “Mother of All Strategies”. India to play Pakistan in the semi-finals and the politicians were quick to see and seize the opportunity. Cricket Diplomacy was more about protecting themselves than anything about cricket, diplomacy or peace. Man invited and Gil accepted. Two PMs constantly being questioned at home by their people. Then for about 4 days everyone forgot about CWG, 2G and other issues. The only G that featured in the news channels was Gilani. Salute Roman Emperor’s wisdom. Use sports to distract people from real issues, it still works. Tamil Nadu’s political parties’ version of that is use movies to distract people. That works too.

All in all, an entertaining tournament. The best in 25 years, declared Peter Roebuck. While I don’t know about that, I surely had a wonderful time. And so did many others close to me.

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The Other Me

You were hurt, but you continued to smile,
You were tired, but you always walked the extra mile,
All this, when I was contributing nothing worthwhile.

You shouldered my responsibilities,
You supported me through my tragedies,
Without ever asking me any queries.

You made all the sacrifices,
Followed all the elder’s advices,
Even tried to help me overcome my vices.

You supported me, You comforted me,
You also tried to reform me,
Your reassuring eyes, lifting me whenever I was gloomy.

Unassumingly you have toiled in our journey,
With an unshakeable faith in our destiny,
Always providing support like a resourceful genie.

You are beautiful person,
Radiating warmth like the august sun,
Shooting happiness from your life filled gun.

If only I had read your cues,
If only I had followed your virtues,
If only I had shown a little more values.

I can’t quantify how much I owe you,
I am not sure whether I am qualified to love you,
I am not even clear how to say this to you.

But you never seem to be having this issue,
Your eyes let out the clue,
For they always seem to be saying,


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