My family didn’t own a television set back then, and we were living in this about-to-collapse dilapidated chawl. I remember running back home and telling my brother, “India won. Sachin took an outstanding catch.” I had just seen a match peeping through the window of a house that boasted of owning a rare colour television. But the catch that Craig McDermott offered at long-on was as straight forward as any would be on that day at Perth during the Benson and Hedges World Series in Australia in 1991. Something that even I would have caught in my sleep! But, I made that catch sound almost Jontyesque to my brother.

read more

People are quite often amused with my belief in GOD. The primary reason for my love for JESUS is the fact that without any effort of my own, I am heir to HIS Kingdom, bought with a high price of HIS blood through HIS crucifixion at Calvary. But if you ask me, why did He have to do that? Precisely. HE didn’t have to. But HE wanted to, so that the world that was heading towards eternal destruction and doom could have a reason for eternal hope and joy. And JESUS volunteered!

While that is ‘The’ reason for my belief, recently, I have been falling deeper in love with HIM after watching and going through some of HIS artistic ‘show-off’! While I knew he loved me, these videos woke me up to the magnitude of HIS love. Pastor Louie Giglio’s talks have largely been influential in letting me just be spell-bound by the awesomeness of this Big Huge GOD that I serve, who also chose to love big!
This Indescribable lecture by Pastor Giglio talks about the grace of GOD that is nothing less than astronomical! The pastor beautifully describes the vastness of the universe and where we stand in this wide expanse, and how despite our ‘smallness’, JESUS became ‘small’ for us!
The ‘How Great is our GOD’ lecture is not just about the beauty of creation, but about how GOD holds together His most precious creation – us!

In this video, he explains how GOD has programmed the creation to sing and give Him praise through a neat little mash-up of songs that the stars’ and whales’ sing.
While these videos have been doing the round, I got a link today which led me to a brilliantly-designed interactive flash site, where the size of a normal human being is compared to the universe around us. Keep moving the navigation bar to the right to ‘reach’ the ‘human’ figure. Keep moving it further to see the ‘human’ disappear into distance. This just left me as stunned as the videos themselves as I kept zooming out, and realised how small the mankind really is!

Apart from these, my constant visits to NASA’s have left me speechless with the magnanimity of our universe. I am no expert in space. Neither am I good in science. But merely the smaller everyday world around me is enough to convince me that there’s a larger power at play here. I am not opening yet another debate on ‘Creation v/s Evolution’, nor am I interested in one. I am no authority. But I am convinced about my great big GOD! And with the kind of love He has showered upon me, I don’t have a choice but to fall deeper in love with Him.
As Pastor Giglio would say, “I am not making you feel small. I am telling you We ARE small!” And for these small people like you and me, did JESUS willingly volunteer to come and become like one of us, but die the death of a criminal on the cross, so that by HIS blood, each (yes, each) one of us would be redeemed and be saved. And the good news is that HE’s still alive and well. The tomb is empty. The stone is rolled away. Jesus has risen!

Blogger’s Note: It seems the link to Scale of the Universe was getting redirected to a Home Page, from where navigation to the flash file was tougher. There, this Post was edited at 11:30 PM with a new link leading to the swf (which disappointingly, is smaller than what I’d seen first)

read more
As a school going kid, one essay that I remember writing was ‘My neighbours.’ Although there was nothing truthful about that essay (and it wasn’t even ‘original) as I brought in flavours of nationalism to it. In the essay (if I remember correctly), my neighbors was a Southie who spoke too much, a Northie who ate too much, an Eastie and a Westie who am sure did something too which I don’t recollect.

This post may sound jingoistic, but then just couldn’t help but notice the diverse nature of India while on my way to office in the local train, bringing back memories of that not-so-original essay that I’d written about a decade and a half back! 

Sitting next to me was a Sardarji with a pagadi and two smart-phones, checking out all the news and events in the news websites on both the phones. 

In front of me, towards the right was a gentleman with a skull cap and a smart kurta-pyjama, also checking out his phone! 

Facing me was a guy who had the last traces of paan in his mouth with his eyes closed reciting some mantras (I guess!).

And me, a Christian, saying a word of prayer, as the train reached close to my destination – renamed (around the time I wrote the essay) after a famous Maratha King from a famous English Queen!

That’s Mumbai. That’s India. At the end of the day, it’s all about existence (read co-existence) and earning one’s bread. Not about any nonsense like ‘spirit of Mumbai.’

read more
As the dust settles on what has been a ‘living the dream’ moment for many Indian cricket buffs, life would slowly trudge back, until at least IPL-4 begins. Meanwhile, here are a few moments that caught my attention (as if it matters) from a World Cup, that many calls the best ever!

Sree’s ‘almost breakdown’: In WC’s opening match against Bangladesh, it wasn’t as much Sehwag’s inning that I remember than the hammering that Sreesanth got. In fact, more so, his reaction after the five wides that he gave away in an over that cost India 24 runs, which till half-way through the tournament was the most expensive over of the World Cup. He almost broke down while going back to his mark and did a good job at holding it back by wiping his face with his elbow. Guess, he reserved some of those for the Finals!
Hot n’ Cold Minnows: While the minnows in Group B gave the big teams, especially England, a good-scare, the ones in Group A seemed to justify ICC’s decision not to have them in the next World Cup. A few players from these lesser equals made a good name for themselves a la Ryan Ten Doeschate and Kevin O’Brien. While fans are still trying to get the pronunciation right for the former, the latter with his ‘I-care-a-hoot’ innings against England earned himself a nick name ‘The Big Kev’! That fearless performance by the Irish, leading them to create the record of the highest-ever chase in a World Cup, stood out for ICC to take note.
Consistently Inconsistent England: Undoubtedly, the team that provided the most exciting moments in the World Cup had to be England. A tie against India after almost successfully pulling up an impossible run-chase, closely-fought defeats against Ireland and Bangladesh and edge-of-the-seat-wins against Netherlands, South Africa and West Indies, all of their first round matches had their fans pulse-rate racing ahead to weird proportions. Their campaign ended with an anti-climax of sorts when Sri Lanka thrashed them in the Quarter Finals. This tournament owes much to England for all that excitement!
The Kiwi Blitzkrieg: Pakistan must have been looking forward to chasing a target of not more than 240 in their league match against the Kiwis when they were struck by the ‘Ross Storm’. Read this – 175/5 in 42 overs; and 210/6 in 46 overs. You’d have virtually missed the whole match (I did) if you missed the four overs that came after! Shoaib concedes 28 off one over, making it the most expensive over of the World Cup. That record doesn’t stand long. An over later, Abdul Razzaq concedes 30. And he does a Sree, and does well not to break down! 92 runs in 25 balls. Carnage! This game, unfortunately though, would be remembered more for Kamran Akmal’s skills or the lack of it behind the wicket than for Ross Taylor’s explosion. Akmal became the latest topic for SMS jokes!
India Dropped: Pakistan’s generosity in the field didn’t end with the New Zealand game. Not once, not twice, but four times was Sachin dropped enroute to his 85 during the much hyped Semi Final between the two arch-rivals. Fielding turned out to be the difference between the two sides as Pakistan lost way during the chase. Afridi’s post-match comments got him a lot of Indian fans, only for him to have thrown it all away in his sore interview to a Pakistani channel.
Slow Seniors: Apart from the Little Master and the Lankans, no senior batsman really got going. Especially noteworthy were the performances by the West Indians Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnaraine Chanderpaul and Pakistanis Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq. These otherwise-talented batsmen just couldn’t get the ball off the square when it mattered and turned out to be liability for their teams.
Chokers Choked Again: New World Cup. New Knock-out. Same old story. South Africans, before the start of the world cup, tried hard vocally to shed the age-old ‘tag’ that they carry with them. Skipper Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis were particularly vocal about this. But sadly, they couldn’t manage to translate that on to the field, as twice, we saw the famous South African collapse – against England and New Zealand – the latter knocking them off the tournament yet again in the knock-out stage.
Sidhu Never Stops: Every analyst who sat opposite Navjot Singh Sidhu must be commended. All of them kept their emotions under check, at least on air! One look at the likes of Sourav Ganguly, who turned out to be a brilliant analyst, and you won’t be faulted for thinking that he might swing his arm across the table in the direction of Sidhu. Simon Hughes, an Englishman, was relieved that Semi Final was his last working day with ESPN-Star (read Sidhu). When someone says, “Look at your hair man. You have gone bald. You have lost your hair!” on your face, it ain’t funny. Not one bit. The sweet victories by India against Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were made sour by watching this gentleman. He would have been bearable if he at least stood by what he said. His opinions about the Indian team and certain matters kept changing match-by-match. Watching him is a lesson in patience. Sitting next to him is an entire education in that.
Captain Cool: This guy goes by instinct. Be it picking Chawla and Sreesanth ahead of Ashwin, which backfired every time or sending himself ahead of in-form Yuvraj in the final. MSD just backs himself. And it paid off in the final. That six to seal India’s World Cup win after 28 years will remain etched in the minds of all Indian cricket fans. But the moment that was worth watching was when Dhoni let emotions overtake him finally after the victory! Scenes of India’s ‘strong men’ a la Yuvraj, Bhajji and Sachin in tears won’t be forgotten too quickly.

PS: Sure, there were many more moments, but then, not everyone would read even to this point! 🙂

read more

How true – India skips a beat when Sachin takes strike. He would be yet to open his account, or when he might be on 99, the nation wants to see him get that one elusive run. And at most times, he hasn’t disappointed!

Skip to 24 February 2010, Gwalior, India:
I’ve never seen a beautifully timed and powerfully hit six from an Indian batsman’s willow getting jeers, rather than cheers from fellow Indians! Never have I seen Indians clapping when an opposition fielder saves a boundary and restricts their own batsman for a single. I saw that happen today!

The Corp HQ canteen of one of India’s largest companies that I work for jeered at a Dhoni six, and cheered when Amla saved a certain boundary and restricted Dhoni to just a single. For it was just a matter of time before the room exploded after that famous ‘heart-beat-skip’ as the little master dabbed a Protean delivery to point and ran those 23 yards to become the first ever player in world cricket to conquer the Everest of 200 in Limited Overs’ International!!! And I can proudly tell my grandchildren, “I was there. I was there!!!”

read more

Overheard that a farewell dinner of a top-notch yesterday (October 15, 2009) cost around Rs. 6,600. I don’t think I need to add that this price was for each person!

Consider this: In India, a family of four can survive a whole month on approximately $150, which comes to around Rs. 6750. This is true to close to 50% of the population in our country! As per the World Bank, about 42% of Indians are in the below poverty line (BPL) zone (surviving on less than $ 1.25 per day).

At around the same time that folks in the party were enjoying the expensive meal, I couldn’t help, but notice a family of three on the footpath on my way back to CST Station. A little kid, oblivious the world around and the condition his family is in, as old as my nephew Jonty, trying to reach to something unknown; a lady sitting still, looking at the third member of her family – her husband, who was trying to hide/cover his face supposedly crying! The scene, still as fresh as a daisy in my mind, hit me hard… Really hard!!!

Ironically, the (note the singular) dinner (@ Rs. 6,600 per person) was hosted just a day before UN’s World Food Day (October 16, 2009), celebrated this year with the theme – ‘Achieving food security in times of crisis.’

read more