Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Oomph factor

The stage is set for everybody to take a break from their monotonous lives and peep into the slam-glam show. The IPL matches certainly are maintaining their promised standards, except the one in Eden Gardens (but the match was exciting), of providing wholesome entertainment. People have taken to this T20 concept like bees to honey and the frenzy is gonna pitch higher.

Adding spice to the on-field contests is the ever-enthusiastic cheer leaders, imported from Australia just for this tournament. IPL has certainly induced an additional oomph factor. People are so used to the regular glam shows that these new faces doing their item numbers (alas! that’s our comparison) in the open for everybody to see, have brought in a fresh breeze across the stadia.

“If not for cricket, lets at least get a glance of those skimpy dressed cheer leaders” is what people have come to say. I am not sure how these guys manage their body temperature with this extra heat generated this summer. No matter what; the IPL is a winner, considering it as a commercial venture.

We all know that cricket and films rule the lion’s share of Indian’s focus. It ‘will’, if not ‘has’ already taken cricket to a new level of viewership. A whole new segment of spectators is tapped, thanks to the culturally diversified teams. The cricketers’ slam and the filmdom’s glam in IPL are bound to break barriers as it reaches places one wouldn’t even imagine. Who knows how many countries might participate in the coming World Cup? IPL, certainly, is the OOMPH FACTOR for global cricket.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Transparency……. Just a thought

The recent inflation in food articles, edible oils and the like shifted my thought process towards hoarding, a very prevalent custom in our system since ages. Why does so much stock end up being hoarded where it does? Is it due to the negligence of the concerned people or the greed among the sellers to earn a quick buck even at the cost of hunger-struck poor who are unable to find a decent meal per day? Can it be solved through a track of the stock, once shifted into the retail or Government approved distributing houses?

The farmer, once disposes his stock into the market is relieved that he has delivered his grain. I believe that this is where the problem actually starts. Once delivered, the stock has a great chance to be lost forever as there is none to track the distribution of stocks among various sellers. There is no transparency in the process of the stock changing hands. None is sure of whether the whole has reached its righteous destination i.e., the household consumer.

Is it possible to exercise transparency? Can the stock be monitored till it reaches the consumer?

If this is on one hand, on the other we have films spoiling eatables in its background settings. When people are facing steep price rise in vegetables and fruit (is it due to scarcity?) we find our favorite heroes squashing all kinds of eatables in his run to glory. Half of the action scenes in films are shot in market places (bazaars) and super markets. Song sequences find thousands of oranges rolling on roads, grapes hanging by thousands around the set and so on (Ringing bells about one, Mr. Raghavendra Rao, the Tollywood director?). Nobody cares a damn about this and instead we hear claps and whistles in appreciation.

Can’t we pass an order prohibiting the film makers from shooting (if there is destruction) at such places? Sure we could if the right button is pressed at the right place.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rammed Brains - Jammed Buses

The other day, I had encountered a thought provoking incident, when I was coming home to Guntur from Secunderabad. The bus started near the place where I live and collected passengers on its way, to facilitate people living afar, before leaving the city. One of its stop was the MG Bus Station. And here, the bus got stuck in an All-Bus traffic jam for two hours; I repeat IN the station.

The situation was pathetic. After nearly an hour and a quarter, I lost my patience in the bus. Having seen little improvement in the easing of the traffic flow, I got down the bus to see if any of the RTC (Road Transport Corporation) management was trying to solve the problem on hand. I was annoyed at what I had seen. There were 12 guards assigned to handle the issue and all of them were happy staying together and doing the same thing as the other (willingly whistling and swinging their batons at each and every bus driver), rather than distributing into groups; some to try and stop further rotting and some to focus and clear the principle factor.

If that was the case with those gentlemen, the bus drivers were no better either. They should have been the primary people to shoulder the responsibility of clearing the mess. To my utter disbelief, I saw a number of buses trying to squeeze through even this air tight gridlock causing further suffocation. The frequent loud honking just added spice to the already tested nerves of one and all.

Simultaneously, there was never an announcement from the department asking their other drivers, waiting to take off from their platforms, not to move till the traffic gets cleared. Instead, I heard the voice calling for the passengers to board their respective buses as they were ready to start their journeys, which was humanly impossible given that situation. All in all, the moment was highly depressing.

When I had convinced two of the guards on the importance of monitoring even in the other parts, then they started attending to it and slowly things started going in the right direction. Only God knows, if it was due to the general passing of time that the situation got into a rhythm and solved on its own or the right steps at the right places that the demanding moment was overcome. I was more than relieved to be on the move again and onto the Highway.

When I look back, I could only reflect on the difference in the approaches of public and private sectors. How I wish the RTC officials coming up with some telling measures to keep the common man in his comfort zone rather than testing him/her, time and again!!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Power of "Jalsa"

A partisan crowd might have got their money’s worth from the newly released movie “Jalsa”. All the rest are not really happy with what they are served in the movie. The hype before the release, excellent music numbers, the wizard in Trivikram Srinivas and Pawan Kalyan; all factors failed to make an impact. All hope of a blockbuster fizzled away with the movie’s release. Even the reviews are not encouraging. But the fact that its from Trivikram strongly prompted me to watch the movie.

I must say that I am highly impressed at how Trivikram tried to drive home a very powerful tool i.e., “Visualization”, intertwined into the plot that boosts a political campaign in favor of the actor, Pawan’s brother, the one and only megastar Chiranjeevi (Chiru). There never is a doubt on the popularity that Chiru commands from the people. But with this movie, Chiru’s political campaign has also reached deep into the corners of the jungles which otherwise he wouldn’t have. The messages are loud and clear in relation with the Maoists or Naxalites. The frequent dialogues as politicians and media by Pawan rounded off the political influence in the movie.

The subject, as a movie, conveyed a very strong tool to the common man, “The art of visualization”, practicing which a man could always be comfortable in any situation in his field of interest. The penultimate fight at the temple introduced this to the viewer and carried to the next level in the last fight. The hero clearly knew how to tackle the situation in the fights and hence was very comfortable during the fights [as he has already gone through it in his mind (visualization at the temple fight)]. He has already developed a plan even before the fight has actually started which makes it that much easier to achieve the desired result in the climax fight. This is the vision of the protagonist.

The climax reflects the imagination or negative vision* of the antagonist. The hero pledges to create fear in the antagonist. And fear is an imagination of the self which the hero actually targeted and achieved. Losing a leg and hand during the fight are imaginations that created fear. I think you can all relate to what I am telling here. I hope the message gets across to the audience as the ace writer/director wants it to. Kudos to Trivikram Srinivas in trying to show something new. I knew that he wouldn’t let himself down more than anybody.

Note: I strongly recommend people out there to put this art of visualization into practice to appreciate its utility and effectiveness.
*Vision could be both positive and negative. It depends on how the user uses it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why Youngsters in cricket

mmmm….. this would be a very debatable topic. Nevertheless I put forth my own theory on why India is strongly looking towards “new blood”. For a very long time Indian middle order is filled with four of the greatest cricketers that the country has produced. Sachin, Rahul, Sourav and Laxman (The Famed Four). OOOh! You name them and you can see the confidence being built, if you are an Indian supporter. Their batting prowess is above any critical analysis from a layman like me. They stand way apart from a lot of batsmen from their generation on the International scene. But when it comes to fielding, I don’t have to say much about Sourav and VVS, and I would call both Sachin and Rahul as only safe, if not anything else.

In the present scenario, fielding takes the primary department which brings in a difference between 2 teams. All teams will have almost the same batting and bowling abilities. It all boils down to how best a team could field on any given day.

You don’t see any of the ‘Famed Four’ diving hard to stop runs, (may be sometimes they do while attempting a catch?) or bringing out a brilliant run out as people of the same age in other teams like Ponting or even Jayasuriya do. And people like Sehwag also add to our woes in fielding. The entry of a couple of lithe and agile cricketers some time back into the Indian team has transformed the whole outlook towards Indian cricket. Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh. They brought in a fresh flavor to the normal fielding standards people are so used to (and even forgot that there could be more) from the Indians. People have realized that courses in matches can be turned on their heads through brilliances in fielding when batting fails.

This influx of the so called Youth in Kaif and Yuvraj brought in the need for better all round fielders in the side. This prompted the selectors to slowly look into youngsters who can also don the roles of the “famed four” successfully in the Indian team. And definitely, looking at the present Team India, selectors seem to be going in the right direction.

Note: If the “Famed Four” were to be brilliant fielders as well, I assure you all, that this stage of looking for youngsters wouldn’t have come.

Spare a thought (Continuation)

...

It is accepted that the domestic players who are roped in to the IPL teams have to be exceptional or the best of the lot from those respective Ranji state teams. And as a rule, the Organizers have given berths to 2 players each from the U-22 and U-19s. This, they claim as providing a platform for the young-lot to play along with International stalwarts of the game. Right? When each team figures 8, 9 or 10 International players, where is the possibility of the domestic players playing in the final eleven? Even if some play, how many players will get the opportunity to play matches? We will have to wait and watch till the matches actually start to get the right answers.

But, till then, to me, the IPL serves more as entertainment provided to the cricket-starved nation than a grooming platform for the domestic cricketers. True, they are getting the exposure to play (bat and bowl) against the famed guys in the nets (practice sessions), but how far will this be useful. The experience from a match is far greater to the experience in practice. So, if the organizer’s priority is providing entertainment, they could have opted for the best possible players (age-no-bar) who suit to this T20 format. This brings out an even better contest as the weak links, if at all they have, are minimized.

Why should the organizers have an ordinance to have compulsory U-22 and U-19 players? If they fit the bill, they obviously walk in. Let them mingle with the team players and take whatever they could from the practice and interactive sessions, rather than have them in the squad. I have my own reservations against the “youngsters” mantra. How many youngsters do we find in the Australian team? With the exception of Pup (M. Clarke), we find hardly any. Isn’t the team doing well? I can’t hear many voices negating this. Then why is it that India is calling for “new blood”, in the recent past? I think I have my own theory for this but you will have to wait till my next post.J

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Makings of a good team

For the benefit of readers, I am just re-posting all the pieces as a whole.
One fine evening I went to a Hindi movie “Chak De India” – a movie focusing on Women’s Hockey (Indian National Game). The movie highlights the TEAM – Together Each Achieves More – concept. The movie could have covered a lot of other areas as the story had a great scope. Anyway, that’s my personal opinion.

While watching the movie, a thought has captured my attention and that is what I am trying to share with you here. “Any team is born but all great teams are definitely made.”

What I mean by this?

A gathering of the required number of players could be counted as a team. But a team that can withstand any situation and deliver the goods at any cost can only be made, nurtured, guided by a dedicated coach or a captain who understands the nuances and the finer points of the game to the core. Along with this he should have a sensible approach towards man management and treat individual players as they like them to be treated.

The initial stage (the lead)

Through a defined selection process, a team will be selected. This team could be of any level, be it school, college, university, city, state or the country. The panel, how good or stupid it is, will definitely follow some parameters in finalizing a squad that will participate in the tournament for which the team is selected. This is where the general misconception starts. The selectors’ job, in a way, ends here (how the selectors have to approach the selection process will be discussed later). It is here that either the coach or the captain steps in (depending on the status of the team – as a few teams might not have a coach) to take the team and bind it into one unit.

Each player will have some strength that helps him make the team. This strength is what is most vital for the team as well and it is up to the coach or the captain to identify and use it to the fullest to optimize the efficiency of the performance of the team as a whole. ***for ease of use, coach or captain will be mentioned as ‘The man’ from now on***

The team should be revolving around the man for better results as following a singular path will generate better results. Sometimes it is always best to leave the decisions to one person (as long as everyone believes him, it should not be a problem).
The second stage (horses for courses)

As the team is already picked, ‘The man’ in due course of the conditioning or practice camp before the tournament should assess the strengths of each individual to such a level that; given any situation in a match, he should have a clear plan of when a given player will deliver his best. Different players for different situations….

Each player has a unique pattern to psyche himself to be in ‘The Zone’, a place where a player is ought to be, to perform at his best. ‘The man’ has to understand these patterns to define the roles to his members. It is this understanding that generally differentiates the best and the ordinary.

A wrong move at the right time or the right move for a wrong reason doesn’t give the desired results. ‘The man’ is the one who makes the moves and hence it becomes very important for him to ‘be in the game’ all the time. Any opportune moment shouldn’t be let to go through. As a predator on the prowl, players got to seize (Killer instinct) every opportunity they come across. To achieve this ‘instinct’, it takes lot of commitment and dedication from ‘the man’ and each player.

Final stage (Reading)

“The man” should focus equally on all spheres of the game that count in deciding the outcome of the game and not only on the happenings of the game. ‘Opponents’ weaknesses, his team’s possibilities, strategies, to name a few are some points he should definitely work on. And the moment he feels that he found a leak he should make it count through his moves.
On a given day he might find his key players, not in their elements. He should accept this, as everybody is human and instead of being a hard taskmaster he should distribute the workload among the others. This shouldering of additional responsibility is one of the key ingredients that take the team further as a sense of brotherhood grows. All this depends on how ‘the man’ handles his team.

Spare a thought

People are ga-gaing and already planning their schedules to witness atleast one IPL match at the venue. As the match will last only three hours, the visit rounds off more like recreation, close to a movie. A worthwhile time spent, one must say. And there’s plenty to talk about, once the viewer steps out of the stadium, the sheer impact of the man of the match or pieces of brilliance from the famed International stars. You name it, you can start a hearty discussion. But that’s as far as the fun-spreading is concerned.

Similarly, people are stumped at the whopping monetary figures that are being thrown into the league on the players. Oh! What a life? Each player is a multi-millionaire in no time. Even the selected lucky domestic cricketers are said to be benefitting from the league. Two players from U-22 and U-19 each from domestic cricket are also included in all the teams. True, even the budding youngsters are given an even platform. There’s never a doubt about all these facts. But amidst all this, do spare a thought to the players who are hanging between 26 and 30 yrs, who might have blossomed or started late.

To be continued….

Makings of a great team (Conclusion)

Continuing from my previous post…

Each player has a unique pattern to psyche himself to be in ‘The Zone’, a place where a player is ought to be, to perform at his best. ‘The man’ has to understand these patterns to define the roles to his members. It is this understanding that generally differentiates the best and the ordinary.

A wrong move at the right time or the right move for a wrong reason doesn’t give the desired results. ‘The man’ is the one who makes the moves and hence it becomes very important for him to ‘be in the game’ all the time. Any opportune moment shouldn’t be let to go through. As a predator on the prowl, players got to seize (Killer instinct) every opportunity they come across. To achieve this ‘instinct’, it takes lot of commitment and dedication from ‘the man’ and each player.

Final stage (Reading)

“The man” should focus equally on all spheres of the game that count in deciding the outcome of the game and not only on the happenings of the game. ‘Opponents’ weaknesses, his team’s possibilities, strategies, to name a few are some points he should definitely work on. And the moment he feels that he found a leak he should make it count through his moves.
On a given day he might find his key players, not in their elements. He should accept this, as everybody is human and instead of being a hard taskmaster he should distribute the workload among the others. This shouldering of additional responsibility is one of the key ingredients that take the team further as a sense of brotherhood grows. All this depends on how ‘the man’ handles his team.

Note: There is much to tell but the time I take for each post has forced me to complete this topic prematurely.