Saturday, December 25, 2010


Read Chapter 1 Here

Read Chapters 2 and 3 Here


The youth’s prediction, as was expected, turned out to be prophetic. The challenge was gleefully accepted and preparations were on full swing for the momentous occasion.

The big day finally arrived.

The cricket match, being an annual affair, was something on the lines of a festival for the two villages. There were stalls all around the playing arena, serving up anything from bottled drinks to ‘potted’ drinks. Women excused themselves from mundane household chores in order to cheer their village team with their knowledgeable presence at the venue.

A big stage was erected with a huge banner bearing the words –“WELCOME, MR. RAHUL DRAVID!” spread across it. The ground was surrounded by colourful cardboard posters of the great cricketers of the 2 villages. There was one of Shetty, with his spotless Lungi tied perfectly above his knees, his unbreakable sun glasses with bright red frames perched on top of his head and a long orange teeka placed carefully on his forehead. It was a resplendent sight, except for the fact that it failed to portray him as a cricketer. Instead, he looked like a candidate for the now vacant post of Village Headman.

And the decorations were not limited to the surroundings alone. The centre pitch (under which Old Man Hegde had been peacefully sleeping for the past 45 years) bore the look similar to that of a beautiful bed adorned, as often seen in Indian films, for the purpose of a first nuptial night. There were rose petals, sunflower blossoms and jasmine garlands strewn all over the strip and 3 huge coconuts occupied the place where the stumps should have been. The local priest was busily chanting hymn after hymn sitting at the centre of the strip, while rotating a stand, which held numerous fired camphor pellets, with his hand in the direction of the pitch. All in all the stage was set in festive readiness for Mr. Dravid to appear.

The whir of a car was followed by the squeal of brakes as a metal blue Honda city screeched to a halt near the stage. Every person waited with bated breath for that pristine door to open.

It opened after an agonizing 14 second wait and out came the man of the hour. The roar that followed was absolutely tumultuous and quite a huge surprise for the gentleman who got out of the car. He even wondered if he had got such a reception during his cricketing career. He looked around the ground and made an attempt to start off a friendly sort of wave directed at his newly acquired fans when his eyes rested upon the huge welcome banner. He let out a surprised yelp.

“What? Dravid is going to be here?” he asked to the general surprise of the surrounding crowd.

“What? Then who are you?” asked a youth from the crowd.

“I am David.”

“Oh. Rahul David! So sorry for the spelling mistake.”

“No no. I am Noel David.

“What? Noel David?”


“Who is Noel David?”

“Me only”

“Who are you?”  
“Noel David”

This was too much for the elderly people in the crowd. “Enough of this nonsense”, interjected the Chokkabettu Schoolmaster.

“It’s after all a matter of one alphabet missing. Let’s not waste time on it. The match has to start before Raaghukaal”, so saying, he hastened to blow the traditional conch to signal the start of the annual war. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

THE PERFECT RESULT - Chapters 2 & 3

Read Chapter 1 Here


Since that fateful week the 2 villages were waiting at any slight opportunity to put down the other. That moment arrived one fine morning. On the aforementioned fine morning, the drummer of Hosabettu stood at the Bettu Border and beat his instrument loudly while announcing “This is to inform the people of the village which shamelessly shares one half of our village’s name that, after extensive research which was in no way connected to the imminent finding, it has been found out that Rahul Dravid, Karnataka’s proud cricketing son, is a friend of our very own Village opening batsman, Shetty. It is also proudly announced that Dravid Saab will be present during an exhibition match in the Hosabettu graveyard which also doubles up as a cricket ground. All are invited, but of course only Hosabettu residents will be allowed entry.”

Now, there were many issues which brought about hatred between the Bettu villages. But the chief-in-wreck was the game of cricket. Every year Chokkabettu and Hosabettu squared off in a fiercely contested match. In fact, the matches would get so fiercely contested that after the initial formalities of using the primary instruments of cricket-the Bat and the Ball-the team members switched to a more comfortable mode-brawl. The only saving grace during these matches was the fact that the cricket ground would, on this occasion, double up as a graveyard. So, it was fair enough to say that cricket coursed through the blood of each and every village inmate; and very often, that coursing had a spill out effect.

 Thus the recently concluded announcement was met with agitated murmurs in ‘that shameless half-name sharing village’. These murmurs eventually transformed into a babbling chaos. In other words, a Village Panchayat.


The gathering was set under the Peepul tree (the village lacked the traditional Banyan tree in spite of unofficial warnings from the government asking the village in a strict, albeit, offhand manner to always have Panchayat meets under a Banyan tree). As per practice, every Chokkabettu inmate was there rubbing his hands with, among other things such as pan gutkha and grease, glee. As everyone waited for the Village headman to begin proceedings, the headmaster of the village school, with his experience and intelligence, realized that the village headman would not be able to begin proceedings as he was far away nursing his hopes of a government job. He decided to begin proceedings himself.

“This recent news from the other side is indeed a grim one for us. We need to take immediate action that will effect a perfect retaliation”, he stated with an important air. “Any suggestions?”

For a few minutes no one spoke. Then out of nowhere, but from somewhere in the crowd, there came a shout
“What about this?”

All the inmates trained their eyes towards the source of these optimistic words, which turned out to be a youth.

“What?” a chorus rang out towards him.

“No. that won’t do”, came the reply after a moment of pondering. This was met with a collective sigh and more silence before once again

“What about this?”


“No. that won’t do”


Now, this youth began to seriously take matters into his mind. He realized that he had been the only person so far to provide valuable ideas in the face of such impending crisis. So he began to rack his brain even more in order to eke out a few more of his brainwaves to the patient gathering. At last he struck gold.

“What about this?” he exclaimed with feverish excitement.

“No. that won’t do”, came back the chorus reply registering a look of shock on his face.

“No, no. Hear me out”, he pleaded, realizing that the people were indeed catching up quickly.

“Why don’t we challenge them for a match on that very day? We shall show Dravid saab as to what sort of cricketing skills run through the veins of every Chokkabettu player”, he finished with a gleam in his eyes.

The stunned silence that greeted this suggestion bore testimony to the fact that it was a stroke of genius rare among Chokkabettu residents. The idea’s brilliance lay in the surety of its success. The chance of Hosabettu shirking a cricket match challenge was as bleak as that of the match eventually producing a result. In short, the match was on…at least its start, if not its finish…

Sunday, December 19, 2010


-Pondatti Edhukku? Bonda Tea Irukku!!


Restaurant: Geetha Cafe

Location: Coimbatore

Ambiance: Old-world

As you walk through the congested Geetha Hall Road in Coimbatore at around 7: 30 am, the spicy aroma of Arachu vitta Sambar wafts through the air and fills your otherwise stink infested nostrils. It is not long before you find out that it is coming from the building proclaiming itself as ‘Geetha Hall’. Though it looks like, and is in fact, a marriage hall, there is a portion inside which serves as a no-frills tiffin centre. There are absolutely no signboards of this place, Geetha Café, outside the hall. A small doorway leads to quite a spacious joint which resembles a marriage hall dining area. There are rows and rows of straight-backed wooden chairs behind marble-topped tables. The place, like its people, is spic and span.

A waiter takes your order and if you have a whim for hearing a racy recital of the menu items he is very obliging. Hardly a minute would have passed when your plantain leaf (Vaazha Ilai – South Indian Style) gets filled with Idlys which justify the heroine associated with them to the core. A generous helping of their special Arachu Vitta Sambar makes sure that the fluffy Idlys vanish in a matter of minutes. Next in line is their uniformly sieved and delicious Sevai (Vermicelli). Along with the carefully ground and seasoned Coconut chutney it forms a scrumptious salsa on your taste buds. In the meantime their Medu Vadai serves as a worthy side snack and is the perfect option if you are someone who likes the outer layer crispy and the inner portion mushy. Their pepper sprinkled Venn Pongal is another item to be savoured and the amount of ghee added is just about enough to give you the flavour and at the same time not form a sticky film on your fingers.
If you are a Dosa aficionado then the best option here would be their Ghee Roast. The Ghee blends with the Sambar to give a relishing flavour to the whole fare which lingers in your mouth long after you are done. The Sada Dosai is a routine addendum to the menu and does not offer much to write about nor does the Poori Kizhangu.

Though Geetha café has a limited menu, the importance given to taste and quality makes it a must-eat place for any visitor to Coimbatore. The clincher is that though your stomach feels heavy and content, your purse, surprisingly, doesn’t feel any lighter at all.

Recommendations: Idly, Sevai

PRICING per person

·        Normal: Rs. 30 to Rs. 40
·        Pant loosening: Rs. 70 to Rs. 80
·        Shirt Button Ripping: Rs. 120 to Rs. 150

Thursday, December 16, 2010


-Pondatti Edhukku? Bonda Tea Irukku!!!

When you land a job in the marketing profile there are a lot of disadvantages like no chance of career shifts to research or production, continuous target pressure from management and the predicament of having to live out of a suitcase. But there are other advantages and the prominent one is the chance to eat at different hotels in different places. Hence, I have decided to utilize this advantage to spread some knowledge about the eateries that I chance upon. Patni Pandaaram is a going to be a varying, unscheduled series about different dining places in south India, ranging from plush restaurants to local Aaya Kadais.

The first article of the series will follow very soon...

There is no harm in saying you live to eat, as long as you LOVE TO EAT!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


If the two-test curtain raiser held in February 2010 in India was any indicator, then we are in for some pulsating action, come 16th December. India and South Africa locked horns in that mini series and neither of the teams managed to unlock them. So the 3 test series beginning in two days will be one last chance for the two teams to establish supremacy in the world test arena before the ODI fever catches on from February 2011.

On comparing the two teams it is evident that India holds the edge in Batting while South Africa is easily the better bowling outfit. So, many ‘experts’ have already dubbed the series as ‘Indian batting Supremacy vs. S. African Bowling Fury’ which, according to me, is not entirely convincing.

When two teams with exceptionally strong line ups with respect to batting or bowling face each other, it’s not the stronger departments that should be compared but the weaker ones. We all know that South African Bowling attack has the capability of taking twenty wickets on any sort of pitch against any batting line up. Similarly the Indian batting line up, on its day, can put any bowling attack in the world to sword irrespective of rumoured weaknesses and pitch warnings. So the two strengths cancel each other out. What about the South African batting line up and the Indian Bowling line up? In my view, these two departments will decide the whole series. So let us make an independent comparison of the two departments. Fixing the maximum rating points as 60, we shall compare the four Indian bowlers (leave out the bench for now) against the six protean batsmen. Each Batsman will have maximum rating points of 10 while each bowler will have 15. I have tabulated the results after taking into account the performances of the players in the calendar year of 2010.


South Africa



Pts (/15)



Pts (/10)




























De Villiers






*PP is Performance percentage which is calculated with respect to the number of matches that the player has made an impact for his team as a percentage of number of matches played in the year 2010. For example, Zaheer Khan has played 8 tests in 2010 and has made an impact in 4 of them, making his PP 50%.

It is clear from the above table that South Africa is stronger than India when it comes to its weaker department.

Thus, statistics say that South Africa, in accordance to the favourites tag, should win the series.

But Statistics tell only half the story right? Well, let’s wait and watch…

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Starting with this post I will be updating this page with a Short Story I wrote some time back. I took up the theme of Village Cricket and spun a web around it. There are no central characters or plot. It is just pure madness which does happen to an extent during village cricket matches. Before proceeding with the first chapter I would like to express my sincere thanks to the game of cricket which has inspired me from the age of five and keeps inspiring me even now. I would also like to state that, as always, this story is purely fictional and any resemblances to real life events are coincidental.


If the word ‘rivalry’ ever needed an example there would be none more suitable than the long-existing one between 2 nondescript Indian villages along the shores of Mangalore. The loathing that existed between the people of Chokkabettu and Hosabettu was mutual and extremely passionate. It existed between all sects of people, right from the smallest of children up to the very cornerstone of unquestionable authority-The Village Headmen. In fact the story of how both the villages lost their respective headmen within a period of one week had become a sort of legend. It happened like this:

The Village headman of Chokkabettu had happened to hear a lot about the job security, perks and lack of work in a government job from many of his acquaintances in the nearby towns. Thus, one day he decided to run away towards greener pastures (though technically he had to just step out of his house to land on one) and secure a government job at all costs. When the Headman of Hosabettu learnt about this from his trusted spy in the rival village, he wasted no time in lifting the image of his village and himself. He too ran away, vowing to procure a Government job at the earliest. It was sometime before the school going children in both villages realized that the post of Village Headman was, after all, a government job. But by then their craving to get a potshot at the other village’s Headman was curbed due to obvious fears of retaliation in the same vein.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I would like to start this post by declaring that I am ashamed of the Tamil film Distributors Association and Tamil film distributors as such. Most of the biggies in this industry have raked astronomical sums of money from commercial pot boilers which follow the ‘Song-fight-comedy-sentiment’ formula. But sadly, not one of them had an eye or, for that matter, a heart to accept Nandalala’s brilliance and release it through their banner. It had to be done by Ayngaran International – a relative toddler in the Kollywood distribution arena – while the Marans who seem to be releasing every other crap in Kollywood chose to overlook this gem.

Let’s move to Nandalala. Nandalala is a story about two people – an eight year old boy and a forty year old man – journeying with each other in search of their respective mothers. While the eight year old Akilesh is your average kid next door, forty year old Baskar Mani is a mentally retarded man with the thought process similar to that of an eight year old. On their way they meet a host of characters who end up helping them or harming them in some way. Finally when they do reach their destination, do they get to meet their mothers? Well, Yes and No. Confused? Well, watch the movie…

Nandalala is a movie straight from the heart. It is also directed straight at the heart. Mysskin is clear about his characters (Nasser appears for 3 seconds in the film, so better ‘watch out’ for him!) and his portrayal of the script. There are no scenes which go overboard with emotion. There are no scenes which exploit the sensitivity of the ‘mother-son’ relationship. Still, Nandalala manages to reach that particular place in your heart which has a direct link to your mind. Every frame of the movie talks to you. When the characters don’t talk the visuals do. Be it the scene where a surly lorry driver manages to discover the child in him as he prods at ‘touch me not’ plants along with two ‘8 year olds’ for company or the scene where a poor slum girl who sells herself to earn a living drenches the sorrows, filth and dirt in her life by standing in the rain, the visuals more than make up for the lack of dialogues. Coming to performances, it would be an understatement to say that Mysskin has lived the role of Baskar Mani. He has given us an unforgettable, indelible portrayal which could have been pulled off by very few in the industry. Ashwath Ram has essayed the role of Akilesh quite brilliantly and has emoted exceptionally well for an eight year old. Snigdha reveals that she is not a ‘yellow sareed’ item girl after all. With a single scene where she describes her stained life, Snigdha proves that she is an actress par excellence. Rohini comes in a cameo and literally disarms you with her looks and her performance.

There is one other person who, according to me, is the actual protagonist of the movie – Ilayaraja. There are certain sequences in the movie which could have come off as bland or even incomprehensible if it hadn’t been for the background score. The music hits your senses where it should. Ilayaraja proves that he is a master when it comes to the art of plucking strings in instruments which will have the direct effect of tugging at the strings of your heart. His orchestration speaks to the viewer on an emotional, primal and psychological level. There is very little need for dialogues when such magical music keeps you spell bound and satiated. After experiencing Ilayaraja in Nandalala I am convinced that all other music directors in India are light years behind him when it comes to background score. Not one of them can compose music that can speak to us. The maestro does it, and does it effortlessly.

Nandalala is an enriching musical experience. It’s an honest attempt at meaningful cinema by a gutsy director. It’s an emotional travelogue for all sons and mothers of this world. It’s a journey which happens almost exclusively on the road. On the road less travelled.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Note: I wanted to post this two months back. Unfortunately, it completely slipped my mind. But I didn't want to wait for 12 more months to post it, so here goes...

The rhythm of percussion carried a reverberating resplendence in Sriram’s house. Its residents had gotten used to the earthy beats for ten years now, thanks to Sriram’s 14 year old son, Krishnan.

While charting out his duties as a father, Sriram had made a mental note not to interfere in his son’s likes or interests and give him free reins towards them. On Krishnan’s third birthday, Sriram had heard rhythmic beats coming from the hall. On entering it, he saw little Krishnan squatting in the middle of the coffee table and tapping it with his tiny fingers. There was not even a trace of hesitation in those fingers…there was not even a single beat out of tune. That was the day Sriram decided to take his son’s future into his hands.

Eleven years since that day, his son was on the verge of fame. All the hard work that Krishnan had done was going to pay off. His first major Ghatam concert was scheduled for the evening. Krishnan was glad that he had chosen the Ghatam, or rather, the instrument had chosen him. Ghatam was the most difficult percussion instrument to master, due to its fragility and the subtle pressure related theories it required. There were minute adjustments one made with the opening of the Ghatam, its position with respect to the chest and the constant shuffling of the ghatam to effect the finer nuances in the thaalams or beats. The force generated by the wrist of the player was of extreme importance when playing the Ghatam. Krishnan had learnt this the hard way, breaking 4 pots before figuring out the exact magnitude required. But he felt he had now reached a stage where he can express his individuality through his instrument. The prospects of the big evening sent a surge of adrenaline coursing through him. After continuous persuasion, his Guru, Mr. Suresh, had managed to confirm the presence of the great Ghatam maestro, Vikku Vinayakram, for the concert. The mere thought of performing before his idol sent shivers down Krishnan’s spine.

Hurdles were never hindrances as far as Krishnan was concerned, as he had crossed many of them since his childhood. But, since morning, his whole body seemed to be weighed down by some uneasiness. It was not the usual jitter he used to have before a performance. This was something else…he was sure it was something else, but what was it?? He couldn’t pinpoint a reason for any of the happenings since morning…the ill fated breaking of his Ghatam during the practice, which had not happened for the past 5 years; the inauspicious stumble in front of the temple; the uninterrupted headache he was having. It was as if he was receiving a message, only he was finding it difficult to decipher.

He decided to put all of it behind him and focus on the job at hand. He and his father left for the concert by bike. It was a clear sunny day and the traffic was pretty sparse. That is a good sign, thought Krishnan. Just as he was beginning to ease himself off his worries, the bike came to a sudden halt. How much ever his father tried, it wouldn’t budge. Neither he nor his father had any idea as to what the problem was. As his father parked the bike in a corner of the road and hailed an auto, Krishnan gazed at the bike…what was wrong with it??

The whirring of the Auto’s engine almost blanketed the sound of the steady pattering of rain drops onto the top sheet. The pattering transformed into pelting and soon there was a storm beginning to rage. Krishnan was perplexed. What a dramatic weather change it was; moments ago was the sun smiling…and now this!! The traffic also seemed to have picked up and the auto was moving at snail’s pace in the congestion.

As Krishnan shifted his position on the seat to accommodate his Ghatam he heard a huge crash…even before he knew what was happening, he felt excruciating pain…something was crushing him…something huge…he knew he was never going to cross this final hurdle…the 20 feet tree was too big for him.

He lay on his belly with his right hand secure around his Ghatam. The last gasp of his life left through his fingers in the form of a final Jathi.

‘Trees are Earth’s endless efforts to speak to heaven’, he had read somewhere. It was absolutely true in his case…

Footnote: A tribute to the young Ghatam Vidwan, Krishnan, who died on 27th September 2009, under the immense pressure of a carelessly planted tree...may his soul rest in peace.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


If you happen to meet Mr. A. Raja, our honourable telecom minister, and ask him if he knew how many zeroes were there in 1.77 lakh crore, he wouldn’t tell you. He might ask his security people to rough you up but the reason he will not answer is not because he would feel indignant, but because he would actually not know the answer. The magnitude of his 2 G scam is such that even the perpetrator gets floundered by the sheer power of figures.

Amidst all hobnobbing about monetary figures, another figure of immense importance has started to raise its neck above the troubled waters - The electoral figure of majority - that magical number of 272. Congress were shameless and forthright when they pulled the plug from the ventilator for Kalmadi and Ashok Chavan. The fact that both were from their own party helped in their decision making. But with A. Raja they are in a sticky situation. Some might call it gum – ‘A Raja Gum’. 18 MP seats lie in that old wrinkled lap of the Tamil Nadu chief minister and unflinching supporter of A. Raja. He doesn’t need to make a statement proclaiming threats with respect to those seats. It is already implied. That is the reason why Jayalalitha’s statement offering open support to the congress in case of any coalition fall out is one of the shrewdest political statements ever made in the recent past. By giving out such an offer she has opened up 2 possible political scenarios.

First, a political fall back in the TN assembly poll scenario. A brief look at the current TN assembly composition tells us that the 36-MLA-Strong congress holds the trumps in the TN coalition government. Jayalalitha’s statement offering support shows us how well the veteran has played the numbers game. She has been brave enough to go against the ideologies and sentiments of her allies in TN (CPI, CPM and MDMK, all three of who are open critics of the Congress). They make up a measly number of 17 MLAs which she might not even lose once the settlements are done. Even if she does lose them it only further widens the distribution of the vote bank as all three parties are unlikely to ally with DMK.

This scenario, though, is likely to happen only if congress considers Jaya’s olive branch. What if they don’t?

This scenario is, again, favourable to AIADMK. The congress’s current clacking about TN house being full and Jaya’s offer being a desperate attempt at restoring lost stronghold in the TN assembly is just an initial show of bravado. Even if it does abide by its stand, there is no question of the fact that it faces serious pressure to terminate Raja as a cabinet minister or force him to step down. This offer by Jayalalitha comes in the exact nick of time that she can proclaim it to have instigated the reaction from Congress. This will serve as a DMK image tarnishing tool during her campaign for the 2011 assembly polls.

By going after A. Raja, initiating opposition and people frenzy and putting out an unconditional offer to the ruling party, Jaya has indeed set the cat amongst the pigeons. What answers do the rulers (or, should we say, ruler) in 10, Janpath have?

Sunday, October 31, 2010


The Debates have died and the debris has settled. ESPN Cricinfo have finally released their list of ALL-TIME WORLD XI. It is now time to move on to a list that is far more important. The one that is going to be revealed right here, in this very page which is being visited by millions of fans world over every day (curiously though, they all tend to have the same IP address), is a much more important and a far more patriotic list than that totally biased one which had only one Indian (imagine the atrocity of leaving Sanjay Bangar from an all time XI! Truly apocryphal!). In fact this list is full of Indians. It can be called…well…let’s say, All time Ridiculous Indian XI.

Now, before embarking on such a strenuous project which had the potential to consume most of my otherwise packed office hours (apply 4 point formula or read previous post), I did some extensive research of India’s capped players from the 90s. With a strong backing from this acquired data I have now decided to let this list out. Before going to the list let me take this opportunity to tender my apologies to Sachin Tendulkar and his fans. Though it is a criminal offence to leave Tendulkar out of any list relating to cricket I hope all you guys, including the great man himself, accede with me on perusal of the list below.



· Shiv Sundar Das

· Devang Gandhi

· Sanjay Bangar

· Akash Chopra

· Sujith Somasundar

The Final Cut: Sujith Somasundar and Devang Gandhi.

This deadly duo has all the attributes needed for a successful test match opening partnership. Firstly a very strong defense; next…hmmm…what else? I surely seem to be forgetting something here…Ok chuck it. An Honourable mention at this juncture has to be Aakash Chopra. If there was ever an example for cricket being a ‘gentleman’s game’ this man was it. He was so gentle with the ball and the bowlers - A strict ‘no no’ to any shot which needed some amount of force to carry it across the inner circle.



· Sanjay Bangar

· Vijay Bhardwaj

· Atul Wassan

· Hrishikesh Kanitkar

The Final Cut: Vijay Bhardwaj, Atul Wassan, Hrishikesh Kanitkar.

Vijay Bhardwaj is the perfect one drop foil for our majestic openers. It seems that he used to have great hand-eye coordination before he started wearing spectacles. The crowning moment in the chronicles of his three test career surely has to be a defiant 35-ball innings of 6 runs on a bouncy Sydney wicket against the furious pace of Brett Lee. Legend has it that after facing Brett Lee during that innings, Vijay was convinced that he had eyesight problems as he failed to spot the ball on more than one occasion.

Atul Wassan is one of those unfortunate dyslexic Indians who gets muddled up with numbers. Confusion with respect to batting and bowling averages made this gentle giant to assume that a high bowling average and a low batting average is the practiced agenda in cricket, while vice versa was the way to go. His exemplary batting average of 23.50 and not so bad Bowling average of 50.40 gets him into our middle order (though I am aware that he was actually chosen as a bowler, I would like to stick with my selection as I feel his analysis of Batting during ‘Fourth Umpire’ is far better than his analysis of bowling or, for that matter, his bowling itself).

A swat over mid wicket in fading light against Saqlain Mushtaq to seal a famous Indian win over arch rival Pakistan is the only reason why Hrishikesh Kanitkar is in this team. It’s not very different from the reason why he was in the Indian team during his illustrious career of 2 tests and 34 ODIs.




· Sanjay Bangar (What? He can do anything on a cricket field!)

· Vijay Dahiya

· Saba Karim

· Deep Dasgupta

The Final Cut: Should we even have a speculation?


Once when Geoffrey Boycott was asked who he thought was India’s best wicket keeper, he quipped in his usual Yorkshire accent that India’s best wicket keeper was Syed Kirmani, adding that India also possessed a gem of a ‘goal’ keeper in Deep Dasgupta. Such was the young Bengali ‘keeper’s aura. He redefined the art of wicket keeping with his nonchalant, casual ways behind the stumps which often led to even the soft spoken Sunil Joshi venturing into a tirade of choicest words from diverse Indian languages. Though an International Test Century against England does question his worth in this particular line up, his wicket keeping prowess and the very fact that he generously let ‘bye’gones be ‘bye’gones more than makes up for it.



· Tinu Yohannan

· Dodda Ganesh

· Debasis Mohanty

· David Johnson

· Harvinder Singh

· Sanjay Bangar

The Final Cut: Harvinder Singh, Dodda Ganesh

Harvinder Singh was the most feared spinner and the least feared medium pacer that India has ever produced. The variations with pace (Slower ball was his stock delivery, while ‘mystery’ ball was his surprise weapon as the ball often failed to reach the batsman) along with his vast experience (his 3 match test career spanned for an astonishing 3 years from 1998 to 2001) make Harvinder a sure shot in our line up.

Dodda Ganesh was a man of less words; and lesser wickets; and even lesser pace. Three attributes which make him an auto-pick.



· Nilesh Kulkarni

· Rahul Sanghvi

· Ashish Kapoor

· Harvinder Singh

· (Of course) Sanjay Bangar

The Final Cut: Ashish Kapoor, Nilesh Kulkarni

Ashish Kapoor was the classical off spinner India were looking for after the retirement of Venkatraghavan. After he came to the fore India have decided to stop looking for such options in the future. One of the reasons why his colourful 4 test match career didn’t garner enough attention was due to his constant shuttling between Punjab and Tamil Nadu. He made it such a habit that after a while he even divided his first class career between the 2 states.

Nilesh Kulkarni got a wicket of his first ball in international cricket when he dismissed Marvan Attapattu of Sri Lanka. He immediately decided that he had to finish his career on a high right then and there. Though he had taken the decision in his mind, mundane cricketing rules made him play the whole test match. He must have been a baffled man when he was asked to play the next match- Sri Lanka the opponents again- as well. When he got picked for one more test against Australia, he decided enough was enough. His brutal spell of 1/137 on that minefield in Chennai against the clueless Aussie batting order was enough to stamp his name in the annals of history. He never stepped onto an International Cricket field again.

THE ALL TIME RIDICULOUS INDIAN XI: Devang Gandhi, Sujith Somasundar, Vijay Bhardwaj, Atul Wassan, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, SANJAY BANGAR (Captain, Vice-Captain, 12th Man and Substitute Wicket Keeper), Deep Dasgupta (gk), Harvinder Singh, Dodda Ganesh, Ashish Kapoor, Nilesh Kulkarni

That, my folks, was the All Time Ridiculous Indian XI. There were some tough choices that were made and some hard decisions that were taken. As Ravi Shastri says, in the end Cricket is the real winner.

Sanjay Manjrekar, when asked about his controversial exclusion from the line up, had two words to say – “It’s Ridiculous!”

Of course Mr. Manjrekar. And we thank you for reiterating it.

We have also decided to give away a special ‘most diverse player’ award to Sanjay Bangar for getting nominated in all categories. That is something even the famous Sachin Tendulkar can only dream of.