Tuesday, 23 February 2010

A Tale of two FFC's- Fanatics Fans Challenge & Frantic Family Capers

Last night while I was commenting on blog post on the Royal Challengers Bangalore site and having a quick look at my vote count at the Fanatic Fans Challenge (FFC), I wasn't slightly amused by what followed next.

Enter Dad- A RCB Loyalist
(anxious) "Hey weren't your FFC results supposed to be out today? Are you shortlisted?"

Enter Mom- A cricket hater
(fuming) "Both father-daughter duo aren't bothered about her BE results. When was the last time you checked the Mumbai University result page??"

Enter Sis (I'm doomed)- A Mumbai Indians supporter and killjoy for me
(sly grin) "Tell your RCB friends to have all the fun now, after the IPL I'm sure they'll hibernate."
 (I hate her for this)

Dad- Love you,dad. We'll definitely have a great time rooting for our team, just like we've been doing since the past two years. :P
Mom- Love you too. But please do bear with our madness. Its the IPL season,Ma. My results wont be affected. :)
Sis- Ah! Arrrgh! Its deja vu for us. Back to the days of 'not talking to each other' everytime RCB or MI wins. Its time for your Sachin vs my Jumbo-Jammy.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Game Plays Us

This post is loosely based on the glorious uncertainties of cricket set against the backdrop of how we Indians 'are played' by the game...literally.

Cricket is a funny game. When a player is in, he is actually out on the green facing the bowler. When he is out, he's is in the pavilion. There is a third man, but hey who are the first and second?? And there is nothing so silly about silly point. Paradoxes and unexplained quirks are two of the defining aspects of the game of cricket. In no other sport does one have to take into account so many variables to win a match. In football if the field is muddy the players changes their spikes. In cricket, if its rained the previous day, the entire team composition changes.

India's love for the gentleman's game is not mere coincidence. We connect to it in a deeper way. Its our culture, religion, our destiny. And I can vouch for my statement, being a witness to, two instances of 'cricketing' stampede. Once when the Indian team was leaving for West Indies, WC 2007, pandemodium ruled as people from across the city thronged the Mumbai airport, way past midnight, for a glimpse of their heroes or demi gods rather. And the second time when we won the inaugural T20 WC, which was the cue for open topped bus ride through Mumbai. No other sport in our country, unfortunately, enjoys such a fanfare.

The pace of cricket suits us perfectly. The bowler's leisurely walk back to the start of the run up, the lunch and tea breaks, the game unfolding over five days like a raga. Though with the advent of the slam bang version of the game, the raga has been looked upon as a saga. Cricket purists would anyday prefer the men in white under natural light over the men in coloured uniform under floodlights.
Each time the team steps out to play, a few lucky ones make it to the stadium raucously cheering for their heroes, few others hooked to the TV or huddled around the radio sets, employees and bosses alike hunched in front of the PC's following....err Cricinfo tongue wink, but everyone makes it a point to 'feel the game'. Debates, discussions, predictions and numbers just adding to their mirth. No other sport produces so many numbers, numbers that can be crunched in so many different ways and things. Cricket is layer upon layer of statistics stretching to infinity. And we Indians can argue about their meaning till half past the end of time.
Everytime a Bhajji or a Dhoni strides out onto the field, ten thousand youngsters know that their dreams can come true.

And the recent IPL bid fiasco also proved that, today cricket is often politics and politics is often cricket, within the game, within regions across the globe. This mesh being pulled tighter overs the years. the sport is now too important politically to be left to cricketers alone.

I still wonder if cricket was really the British's find. No, it couldn't have been. tongue laugh 

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

RCB and I...IPL 2009

From no hopers to party poopers, the previous seasons must have been a roller coaster of sorts for all RCB fans. I am no different.More than the inaugral season, IPL 2009 was a remarkable one for me. Of course, RCB's surge to the No. 2 spot does play a major role, but apart from that I had my fair share of experiences trying to catch my favourite team in action.

Painful dental treatments, maddening college submissions, bets with Mumbai Indians fanatic friends, University exams...I've braved them all. smile To begin with, the 7:30pm dental appointments for a root canal, annoyingly coincided with the days the Royal Challengers played.Little did I know that my doc was a die hard Dada fan, hence the RCB omission. Then the projects/files submissions,every engineering student dreads them, too failed act as a deterrent. Each time Jumbo and Co. won in the league stage and upped their semifinal chances, I had a great time basking in RCB glory while my MI supporter friends went green with envy. wink Then the University exams which unfortunately spanned over a month while the IPL was on. With my text books in the deep and me glued to SET Max at the slips, my folks had a tough time wondering what was in store for me. Even after the presentation ceremony was over, hour long analysis as to what could have wrong or what clicked for the team, with my RCB loyalist dad and heated arguments with my MI supporter sibling (who always felt RCB matches were rigged) kept me away from books. Somewhere past 1am, with the victory/loss finally sinking in , the 'Oh i got my exams' syndrome creeping in , I used to finally make way for my books burning the midnight oil. Ah...getting all nostalgic now.

With IPL 2010 on the cards... bigger and better, thanks to RCB FFC, cant wait to don the Red and Gold jersey and watch them take
over the unfinished task, from the ravenous runners ups to coveted champs.

P.S. Would love to know your RCB experiences. Do leave them as comments.

Even the rivals are watching us

Just yesterday the fan club was buzzing with how we fanatics wear RCB'ianism on our sleeves, courtesy Ragunath's post.
And today I get a message from Mr.Anil Srivatsa, CEO, Kings XI Punjab, in reply to one of my posts. Its reads : 
"Hope I can convert your loyalty to KXIP and get you blog for us in our lions den"


With IPL fever catching up and activities at the RCB site at its helm, I'm not remotely surprised by Mr. Srivatsa's comment. Great going!

Playground of the Bold and the Beautiful

Third day into the India-SA test and I haven't got a whiff of the Nagpur clash. Call it withdrawal symptoms...naaa.. its the Signature Indian Derby thats kept me and few other RCB fanatics on saddles and toes, literally wink

Day 1
Gung ho about the covering India's richest racing event, Community Manager Nidhi, Fanatics Mahesh, Niyati and I, were in for some incredible experience at the Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mumbai. Tribute performances to Micheal Jackson and Tina Turner, Europe's leading illusionist- Jay Witlox, The Force India Car, Luxury cars up for grabs, flea market and of course the nail biting horse races, this event had it all. The grandeur and glitz of horse races had never quite beckoned me to follow the sport but after this two day stint at the Derby I add another sport to my existing list of cricket,tennis and F1.

The four of us being first timers for a racing event, finally got the hang of what was happening by the end of the sixth race. Till then we were too amazed by the octagenarians geared up with binoculars,yelling at their betting prospects,(their zeal could put even the youth to shame raspberry ) ,the who's who of Mumbai's elite posing for the shutterbugs. The horses and mares bearing weird names like Doi Moi, Romantic Impact, Super Kings, Rajastahn Royals, Any time Money to name a few became the hot topic of our discussion. There was entertainment galore throughout the Race Course with performances by international artists and the uber-cool and stylish hub – a state-of-the art air-conditioned hanger was abuzz with activity and a special carnival atmosphere with a tarot card reader, designer stalls- a complete flea market feel.

Day 2
Niyati and I, were joined by her brother, Nishit and Chief Fan Sidharth, on the second day at the race course. The finest thoroughbreds, country's creme de la creme flaunting their haute couture, celebs from the Bollywood brigade this day had it all. And yes..how could I forget the flamboyant owner of RCB Dr. Vijay Mallya and his son Sidhartha Mallya, accompanied by a South actress (pardon my kannada actors know how)


The 10 races saw the crowd go through the highs and lows as champions and contenders competed for the super prizes and trophies.
'Jacqueline' the record breaking filly was the crowd puller on Day 2 of the derby. The most electrifying event of the day, the Jackpot Race was scheduled at 5:15 pm and the four of us were right there in the front at the gates to capture the biggest race of the season.


The pundit’s predictions and the masses most wanted, Jacqueline, took the winners accolades in 'a come from behind' victory. The filly, owned by Mr & Mrs Vijay B. Shirke, K N Dhunjibhoy and Mr Berjis Desai and trained by Pesi Shroff, powered forward with a last minute burst that took it through the finish line. Bangalore bred Becket the closest competitor to Jacqueline gave way to a startling photo finish. Ah... reminded me of the IPL dark horses, RR,DC and RCB.

Two fun filled days at the racecourse, couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

P.S. With too many pics to upload and space constraints here's a better option to have a look at all the action the we managed to capture.