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India is out of World Cup. So is Pakistan. And along with them went the majority of the crowd as well.

I was watching West Indies- New Zealand match yesterday. The stadium was almost empty. Even the test matches in India are not so poorly attended. For West Indies, it is a home match. It is appalling if the matches of home team are so poorly attended. The India- Sri Lanka and Bangladesh- Bermuda matches, the ones that sealed the fate of our team, was better attended than WI- NZ match.

What is the reason for this “unprecedented and unanticipated” phenomena. Some people point the fingers to the fact that West Indians are more interested in basket ball than cricket these days. I heard John Wright attributing to the fall out in crowd to the high rates of tickets that are sold. Anyways, this is a serious issue that ICC needs to introspect. They should realize that, in order to make cricket a global sport, supporting new nations is not the only thing required, but they also should bring positive changes in the format of the game.

I get a feeling that cricket sells only in the subcontinent and in the southern hemisphere. In comparison with the football counterpart, the state of cricket is piteous. When we see the worst qualifiers for FIFA World Cup selling out, it is hard to accept that the Super Eight is finding it difficult to attract the crowd.

I heard that after the shocking exit of Indians and Pakis, all major sponsers for cricket are reviewing if the money they spend is really worth it. Moreover, cricket pundits all over predict that ESPN Star are never going to recover the money they pumped in, to grab the contract from ICC. Anyways, let us wait and watch.

India almost out of world cups. Whom to blame? The coach? Or  The team?  

Statistics of our performance for the past 10 years or so shows that Team India always buckled under pressure. They always lost when it mattered the most, the only exception being the historic win at Lords during Natwest Trophy. This may sound psychological, but it is a fact, and India needs to work on making themselves tough, to get going when things become tough.  

I am not disagreeing to the fact that Indians took the Bangladesh match light and paid heavy price for that. Against Srilanka, Indian bowlers bowled as though they belong to a different league altogether, without any shade of luck. That shows Team India were serious, though they buckled yet again, unable to handle the pressure during the latter part of the game. It was almost like a repeat of 1996 semis, I still remember Vinod Kambli walking off crying that day. 

Many may argue that India were under prepared. But, the warm up matches showed otherwise. India bundled out West Indies for 85, and won the match comfortably. Again one can float up the theory that one match hardly shows anything. This same theory holds good for the match against Bangladesh. 

Now about blaming Indian performance on the money centric players who feature more in cheap commercials than their practice matches, sports is a field where one’s career is limited, and one injury is good enough to take them away from limelight.

Furthermore, cricketers are celebrities and they need to live up to their status. So, to live such a luxurious life, they need to make money when their commercial value is high. Sure, we think players like Sachin have earned enough, and we call them money minded. How about people like Amitabh Bachchan? He got a Bentley free of cost from Amar Singh right? How could Amar Singh get it? Of course a politician cannot earn it from his salary. Aren’t these people greedier than these set of cricketers? Then why let them Scot free? If the politicians showed 10% of the commitment that team India showed, India would have been in a much better position right now. And Sachin wouldn’t have stayed in the team had he not shown a high level of commitment so far in his long career of 17 years. One should never forget that n ot many have stayed fit and focused for that long. 

I am not trying to justify Team India’s performance. Sure, they need to get the stick for what they did in World Cup. I just wanted to say that Indian team doesn’t deserve to be treated so badly to the extent of peltering stones at their houses, and stopping one session in Parliament (for which the loss runs into lakhs, if I am correct). What we require is, people with vision at the top, who can nurture the talented young players of
India, make them tough to stand the pressure and perform up to the expectation of a billion of fans. Otherwise, we will have to see more hara-kiris performed by Team India at crunch situations.
  

 IIT JEE to have only 2 papers? 

I somehow am not able to absorb this news. During our years, we had a screening test followed by a main examination, which was mainly subjective. The subjective exam is considered to be the toughest to crack. Essentially the subjective exam used to tune our problem solving abilities to match with those which we encountered during our course work during IITs. I have to say the objective system is going to make the life of students difficult, as they may take time to get themselves accustomed to the quiz questions and tutorials for the courses.

Making the JEE system easy may not be the right move. I have not understood why they were insisting on making it easier. It could be to make JEE fair and square for all the candidates, as the tough format was dominated by the coaching classes, who used to encourage students from bunking their higher secondary classes, through which they miss the essential interaction of students. This inturn had resulted in what they call “nerds” coming out of IITs. This reason is something that I never understood. How could an easier paper result in more people attending their 11th and 12th classes? The coaching centers will make sure that they don’t miss a single point required for JEE, for which they will still go ahead with rigorous coaching schedules.

Falling into Infinity

Artist: Dream Theater

Album: Falling into Infinity

Song: Take away my pain

I was sitting on the edge of his bed

Staring at the headlines on the paper

He said, “Look at poor Gene Kelly

I guess he won’t be singing in the rain.”

You can take away my heroes

Can you take away my pain?

Take away my pain

Leave the cold outside

Please don’t let it rain

Don’t stumble on my pride

Take away my pain

I’m not frightened any more

Just stay with me tonight

I’m tired of this fight

Soon I’ll be knocking at your door

She was standing by the edge of his bed

Staring at the message on their faces

He said, “What else can you do babe?

I guess I won’t be coming home again.

“They just took away all my promises

Make them take away my pain”

Take away my pain

Leave the cold outside

Please don’t let it rain

Don’t stumble on my pride

Take away my pain

I’m not frightened any more

Just stay with me tonight

I’m tired of this fight

Soon I’ll be knocking at your door

His final scene

The actor bows

And all those years

Are gone somehow

The crowd applauds

The curtain fails

I was standing by the edge of the water

I noticed my reflection in the waves

Then I saw you looking back at me

And I knew that for a moment

You were calling out my name

You took away my hero

Will you take away my pain?

Take away my pain

Let the cold inside

It’s time to let it rain

There’s nothing left to hide

Take away my pain

I’m not frightened any more

I’m learning to survive

Without you in my life

Till you come knocking at my door…

First day last show.

And Jiah Khan steals the show.

That’s how I would like to put it. Anticipating full house, we were welcomed by a relatively empty cinema, which is unusual for a Bachchan starrer RGV movie. The last movie of the duo was Sarkar, and it won accolades from all strata of Indian movie buffs. From the day 1 of promos, Nishabdh has been boasting of a different narrative in which a senile gentleman, who is also an artistic photographer, falls in love with a young girl in her late teens. Amitabh Bachchan is Mr. Vijay, a hexagenarian, who owns an estate in the picturesque landscapes of Munnar. He is accompanied by his wife, Amrutha (Revati) and his daughter. Life is quiet for them, until one vacation for which his daughter takes Jia, her college friend with her. Jia is a girl who has an attitude of “I don’t care around her”. Jiah’s childhood has been rattled by the divorce of her parents, followed by the second marriage of her mother.  Though she tries to don a cool girl image with punch lines such as “Take light”, one could see she is not very cool when it comes to things concerning her.

One fine day during the vacation, Ritu gets bedridden due to sprain and Vijay is forced to take Jiah alone for the estate trip for the next 5 days. During this period, they get very close to each other, and Amitabh realizes that he is in love with Jiah when confronted with the proposal from the teenager. Things turn bad when Ritu spots both of them kissing each other, and this leads to big turmoils in the family, and tears start rollicking from the eyes of everyone in the family. The movie ends showing the desolate Vijay contemplating about his future.

Amitabh, known for his domineering personality on and off the screen, chipped in with an uncharacteristic role of an emotionally fragile person and has added another stunning performance into his illustrious career. The rookie Jiah Khan is a treat to watch; she is sensual and has excellently fit into the innocent “I don’t care” desi teenager. She has got the looks, and her bosoms can flutter any guy I should say! Revathy, who has always shown her acting prowess, has done total justice to her limited role. A couple of characters who failed to make any impact are Ritu and her uncle, enacted by Naser. His role of a brother in law, who is unusually tolerant to Vijay and Jiah, looks very artificial. I don’t really believe one could see such brother in laws, unless he is Jesus Christ or Osho reincarnated, and has invented the elixir for life. Nasser, a very good actor known for his captivating roles in south Indian movies has been totally underutilized in the movie. Probably RGV could have given the role to someone else than wasting the talent of
Nasser.

On the whole, as the name says, Nishabdh is a silent, unconventional bollywood movie. Apart from the stunning cinematography (The place is a paradise!) and good acting at times, the movie is mediocre. After watching the movie, one gets a feeling that RGV failed to do justice to a wonderful story, and could have done much better. For the past 10 years, Ramu has displayed his caliber in making thriller and action flicks many a times, and his attempt to make a romantic movie is not up to the mark. The movie is very light, devoid of a powerful screenplay or dialogues. Nevertheless, the actors have performed remarkably, given the limited prospects offered to them by the screenplay. Though I won’t recommend it as a must watch movie, it is a different and daring attempt by RGV and one can go to the theatre and come out after the movie without much difference in their state of mind.

PS: The title reminds me of one of my favorites, The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.

Hello darkness, my old friend,

I’ve come to talk with you again,

Because a vision softly creeping,

Left its seeds while I was sleeping,

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone,

neath the halo of a street lamp,

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of

A neon light

That split the night

And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more.

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening,

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said I ,you do not know

Silence like a cancer grows.

Hear my words that I might teach you,

Take my arms that I might reach you.

But my words like silent raindrops fell,

And echoed

In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon God they made.

And the sign flashed out its warning,

In the words that it was forming.

And the signs said, the words of the prophets

Are written on the subway walls

And tenement halls.

And whispered in the sounds of silence.