Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sachin Tendulkar - An Innings of a Life Time !!!

I just could not resist putting up a blog post, the first thing today early morning, for one of the most prolific batsman of all time, a person with determination and the hunger to win and score runs every single time when he is out there on the field, someone with an above par passion and love for the sport of cricket, a gem of an individual and most importantly a level headed down-to-the-earth humble human being who has rightly defined the modern era cricket and has been doing so repeatedly with his stunning and audacious performances over a span of 20 long years.

Known as the batting maestro, the little champion, the master blaster, the brand ambassador of Indian Cricket and the sport world wide, someone who has been famously coined as having two shots in his mind even before the ball is bowled, a person who has witnessed and has been in the middle of Indian Cricket's ups and downs, someone with a clean chit, an impeccable record and is not showing any signs of aging at 36 even though has been through a number of injuries and cramps while running those singles and scoring those flurry of boundaries, he is now the ONLY person in Cricket's 40 year long history to have scored a double century, a mesmerizing, flawless 200 Not Out - he is none other than our own form of God under that Number 10 Shirt- Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar !!!

Indians were up on their feet, and it seems the Indians out there in any part of the world must have been glued to their TV / Laptop screens watching the history in the making, as Sachin hit the ball to Point, and scurried for a single. All hell broke loose as he finished that single in the 49th over and he looked towards the vast sky for a long time, opening his arms, taking this aura with a deep emotional look and raising his bat to his fans at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior, where the spectators witnessed and became part of this historical moment.

200 Not Out from just 147 Balls with 25 Boundaries and 3 sixes, batting from the 1st over till the last ball of the entire Indian innings, this spectacle will be, and should be, talked, written and discussed all over the sporting world for not only days, months but years to come. It took 2961 One-day Internationals, before the 200 mark barrier was broken and that too by one of the finest cricketers of all time. More in-depth analysis on Sachin's knock : Click Here

Sachin's 25 boundaries was a record in itself, and the rate at which this talented batsman has gone about scoring his international centuries in both the forms of the game, it seems that the coveted mark of 100 centuries is not too far away. There would definitely be a lot of articles in days to come talking about this innings, but I had to and wanted to post one of my own here on my blog, being an Indian, being in deep love with the game of Cricket just like any other individual from the sub-continent, and above all being in awe and struck with the performances of Sachin Tendulkar thus making me an avid follower and a die-hard fan of this master. As it's rightly said, if cricket is a religion in India, then Sachin is our God !!!

To watch Sachin's last over shot: Click Here

Complete Highlights (Hope it works): Click Here

In the era of Facebook, Twitter and IMs, it seemed pretty obvious that not only the print media but the electronic media and communications would be going ga-ga over Sachin's innings. I expect Sachin's image above to make rounds in all the major newspaper, and not only under the sports section, but as a front page headlines, with all sorts of different quotes and tags from the talented writers. But what stood out when Sachin actually scored that run was the commentary from the two commentators, the excerpts of which are below:

Dhoni scored a single bringing Sachin on the strike and the crowd started roaring...

Ravi Shastri: ... A Huge Cheer from the Crowd ... Here is the opportunity for the little fellaw ...

Sachin on strike, hits the ball towards point, runs for a single and the crowd goes berserk !!!

Ravi Shastri: Gets it ! First man on the planet to reach 200 ... And it's the superman from India ... Take a bow Master ...

You little champion ... If there was anyone deserving to break this milestone, this everest, it is certainly Sachin Tendulkar ...

As my friends have quoted their thoughts:

Ronak: "One thing I had always prayed to God for Sachin da. He has done it on 24th Feb 2010; and Its done on the home soil" ... "I would surely vouch for this day to become officially TENDULKAR DAY" ...

Soham: "
I wont fall behind in confessing that I had tears in my eyes when Sachin played the shot and completed 200 .."

Viral: "I am watching him since my childhood and want to to see him till his last moment of cricket. I have a dream that i will see him live in Mumbai in 2011 final of world cup..This man proves that what he is capable of.."

Jimmy: "I felt goose-bumps watching the scoreboard say Sachin 200 Not Out.. He is the impossible man on the planet"

Harsh Nayak: "The greatest batsman ever to grace the game of Cricket... Excellent, Marvelous, Fantabulous, Awesome, Splendid... All these adjectives are smaller for him... We need a new adjective "SACHIN = Greater than all those words"

Munjal: "The highest score table looks pefect now ... Sachin 200*, Lara 400* and Ponting nowhere in sight ... "

What are your thoughts on Sachin's innings and his overall charisma ?

As for me, I experienced a little bit of everything, moist eyes, goose0bumps, shivers down the spine and absolute elation !
3 Bows from me to the Master !!!


(PS: I am damn sure, I would have to come back and either put up a new blog post, or modify this with some follow-up comments/videos/excerpts over the coming days, as a follow-up, based out of all the articles and messages going around the net .. I would love to do so ... )

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jaipur - The Pink City Trip !!!

It seemed that I was on an extended honeymoon, when I landed in the city famously coined as the "Pink City", directly from Maldives. Dipali was quite excited only for obvious reasons of shopping, mingling amongst the traditional artistic jewelery, decor pieces and visiting the rich Indian tradition and finding out more about historical places in this beautiful city of Jaipur.

Just as you land on the airport and come out of the glass doors, a flurry of cab drivers ,some of them wearing the ethnic turbans on their heads, prong your perimeter and urge you to rent their cabs for the entire day. Luckily we just wanted to take a one way ride to a temporary hotel in the middle of the city before my Uncle could send us the car to pick us up and drive us towards the outskirts of the city. But nevertheless, in spite of making strong clear statements that you are not interested in their one-day, one-week deals of cab rentals, the sweet spoken, typical rajasthani-gujju style lingo pops up now and then to urge you to give them a shot at taking you around the city in a single day. Amusingly, they refer to your as maharaja and your better half as maharani, which indicates their marketting talents.

Mind you, if your wife is too much into shopping, cities like Jaipur are definitely not the place to be where every 20 meters you find yet another ethnic showroom with the typical Rajasthani Jaipuri style clothing, art pieces, home decor items are laid as bait to lure your lovely lady into their shops and make your wallet even thinner. Luckily I got a reprieve as my Uncle called just in time, and made us go to Fort Amber for a speically laid out dinner just meant for both of us. We did not realize until we actually got there and witnessed the beauty of the fort and it's surroundings in the night and with the light show.

Fort Amber, situated on top of a hill looked stunning with different strokes of light. The cab driver left us at the bottom of the hill and it was a 20 minute hike up to the top along a steep winding road. There was a light and sound show going on on the other side of the hill due to which the shadows casted upon the entire fort were amazing. The surprise that we had for the evening was when we were taken to the top of the fort in the middle of the palace and were given a tour of the entire historical place. The rooms, the silverware, the walls, carpets, antiques everything had it's own sweet price and it felt as if we were traveling back in time and were amongst the riches of the past. Some of the outstanding displays was the "SheeshMehal (Palace of Mirrors)" and a room filled with 22K gold in entirety.

An even pleasant surprise was the dinner arrangement which was laid out in one of the most private, meant only for two of us, a stand-out section of the fort, a balcony giving us a view of the city of Jaipur below, and surrounded by candles and natural lighting in the form of Diyas (Oil lamps). The entire charisma was quite romantic with sublime peace and no one to bother as we were served the deliciously famous Rajasthani Thaali with approximately 27 (I did literally count them for my knowledge) different dishes. We were flattered at the staff's hospitality and their way of addressing us as someone special and we were even more flattened when we saw the bill at the end lol. Of-course all of this comes at a pretty fine cost but I would definitely recommend it to have a once in a life time experience. (Mind you - Only once in a life time OK !)

The other day we were headed towards the outskirts of the city towards "Chomu Palace", the place famously known for the shooting of the bollywood movie "BhoolBhulaiya". We were in Jaipur to actually attend my cousin's marriage in the first place and for 3 days the Chomu Palace was our fortress for us to reside in. The entire palace had been booked only for our relatives and the guests who would be a part of this marriage and it sounded really exciting when we saw the entire agenda for those 3 days. There was Garba, DJ Party, Mehndi and some other traditional celebrations. The entire arrangements were quite majestic and Dipali had a ball amongst the cousins, especially when they got her to sing during the Antakshari program. For someone like me who loves to be with kids, this was a perfect setup with so many toddlers and kidos around me I had the best time of my life playing with them. Simply adorable kids !!!

We took a tour of the other famous places on the last day of our trip and got a chance to visit the Hawa Mahal, Fort Nahargarh, Jaigarh Fort, the famous market places Johari Bazar and Bapu Bazaar. Of-course we did not forget the famous LMB place (Lakshmi Mishthan Bhandar) to help ourselves to some mouth watering delicacies especially it's famous Onion Kachoris.

An exhausting but a worth trip was well over as we headed back to Ahmedabad and a feeling of sadness slowly crept inside me as the days were coming near when I would have to once again bid my parent good-bye and come back to Uncle Sam's land. This trip had been quite eventful and had a lot of memories tied with it, something to reminisce for a long time.

Click Here for Sorted Pics
(Sorry due to privacy issues cannot upload lot of other pics ... )


Monday, February 8, 2010

Aharen Kalaa Dhekeh Loabivey - Maldivian HoneyMoon !!!

Aharen Kalaa Dhekeh Loabivey stands for "I Love You" in Divehi, the Maldivian language. The first sight that pleases your eyes as you make a landing into the Male airport are the shaded colors of the water below. Male, the capital city of Maldives is just another city built on an island, but the picturesque images that one can capture from up above are simply unique to Maldives. This exotic vacation destination is famous for it's "Atolls" which sprawl across the Indian Ocean and out of it's 1100 odd islands only 200 remain inhabited.

After a pomp celebration of our marriage, me and Dipali headed off to Kuramathi, a resort built upon an entire island, one of the many islands, situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Indian Ocean waters, for our HoneyMoon trip. With 4 nights on this exotic island, and having heard a lot about the beauty of this honeymoon destination, the excitement was just building up for both of us, and the trip from Male to the island in a sea plane just added to that excitement.

Kuramathi is a resort built upon an entire island, and is owned by Universal Resorts who has a couple of such exclusive destinations in Maldives and Seychelles. The images as seen on the website of Kuramathi (Click Here), seems to take you on a imaginary trip, but mind you, once you are up in that sea plane, the view from above and the pictures on the website are no different. One of many places that I personally have witnessed, where the images seen on the web and the views that you experience in person do not deviate a lot.

The trip from the Sea Plane dock to the resort was in a 2-minute ferry ride, and as it took us over the bend of the entire island, the one thing that one could make out consistently enough were the colors of the water from the island to the far sea. They were 2-3 shades of blue, with the waters near the resort a crystal clear blue shade such that you can literally see quite some feet below.

One lucky surprise that we got was that instead of the Beach Villa that we had reserved we were shifted to a Water Villa with Jacuzzi which was the resort's highest category accommodation. And the experience we had for all 4 nights in that Villa was simply something exclusive, something different and certainly a first time for both of us. The Villa was built amidst the ocean waters, upon pillars, and gave an exclusive private view of the waters, and the beauty of it was the private deck that faced the ocean. There were stairs which would take you down into the ocean for some snorkeling or just a swim in the ocean's crystal blue waters. The main room faced the ocean with almost a 180 degree view through the glass doors, and so was the rest room where the shower faced the ocean (which was a bit weird) and was see through a glass door (lol). It's hard to explain this amazing place and so do check out the pics below. I have also tried uploading a video that I took of the entire Villa. One natural phenomenon that used to happen was that during the day time from sunrise, the water level would rise quite a lot and you could feel as if your Villa is just about 6-8 feet above water, but as the day wore on, during the evenings the water would recede and bring up the ocean bed from beneath.

One more addition was the jacuzzi tub which was my favorite for my entire stay, as it was laid on the outside on the private deck facing the ocean. Apart from that the Villa was loaded with all the required TV and Music systems, and lucky for us we did carry a lot of bollywood movies to pass the time. With activities restricted only to the island itself, this place for sure was the best luxurious place I had been to, which completely refreshed us for a long time to come (and also made us extra lazy)...

The food was a bit of a trouble in the beginning but the chef was kind enough to cook the veggie stuff in the beginning and then move on to their regular sea food stuff. But the deserts and the fruits that they served were simply superb and I in particular thrived on those more than the real food. One particular thing I simply wanted to carry home were the Oranges which tasted so sweet as if they were dipped overnight in sugar syrups ... I still remember the taste of all those deserts that I stuffed into my gorgeous stomach when they had laid over almost like 15-20 different types from all around the world !

There were bars all across the islands with different views of the ocean and a heaven for picture lovers to go there and shoot some amazing snaps. As I was on a vacation and that too a honeymoon, I was "allowed" a couple of different drinks to my delight ;-) There were other activities like wind surfing, island hopping, sunset cruise (which we never missed at all, due the sunset view that our villa offered to us every evening) ... But we were just too relaxed and lazy to even move a muscle to go island hopping. There was a time when we had to walk barely 50-80 meters to reach the Spa Cottage from our Villa, and amazingly we did not even bother to think about walking that much, but instead just hopped on board one of many AC vans which took us around the island for free. The weather being hot we just used to take those rides 2-3 times a day doing nothing but exploring the island in the cool van :)

Well as its always said, all good things have to come to an end, and how these 4 days went by we never realized. But the last thing that we treated ourselves was the exclusive Honeymoon Spa and Body Massage. For an hour, we lost our senses to the sensual fragrances and gave our bodies away to the methodical body massage crew who just literally oozed all our tiredness and made us all the more lazy but rejuvenated and fresh. The crew went inch by inch (leaving some terrain), and massaged with oil and fragrances the entire body. And then they left us in a room, with a whole big tub filled with flowers and foam to have a floral bath. Simply something worth experiencing !!!

Well the trip came to an end and we just didn't feel like going back home :( but had to leave this beautiful place with lots and lots of special memories considering that it was our first honeymoon trip to something exclusive.

We were headed directly to Jaipur to rejoin our family members for my cousin's marriage in Chomu Palace, the same place where the Bollywood movie "BhulBhulaiya" was shot. More about it in my next post ...

Till then, it's "Dhanee" (Good Bye :) ) ..