Sunday, May 08, 2016

Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong !

"The ball is round, the game lasts ninety minutes and everything else is just theory"
 - Sepp Herberger

Every sports has its spiritual home and England should be the spiritual home for Football. The Premier League(EPL/BPL) has to be the showcase tournament which is unique by its history, quality and colorfulness.

Even glorious things sometimes gets rusted.  The beautiful game in this beautiful league got faded by the big money & machinery. The league became a platform where teams with huge cash brought expensive players and coaches. Those teams maintained the monopoly on the league by same teams winning the league again. Since inception of premier league in 1992, the title has been shared by only 4 teams (Manchester United - 13 times, Chelsea - 4 times, Arsenal - 3 times, Manchester City - 2 titles). Only aberration to this pattern was Blackburn team which joined this elite winners list once.

The premier league got into a vicious cycle of these 4 big teams spending loads of money buying players from around the world. It became a competition where teams with big pockets ended up choosing bigger & better teams. Naturally the advertising, television rights, merchandise etc followed the top teams.

In all this money slugfest, the teams at the bottom of the league barely managed to survive in the league. Without the economic support and without being in major competitions, it became difficult for these teams at the bottom to attract the talent. 

From football fans perspective, the league which was supposed to be an open forum for best football teams got reduced to the half a dozen best rich football teams.

This year's league was almost set in the same mould until Leicester City happened ...


"It's easier to resist at the beginning than at the end " - Leonardo Da Vinci

When Leicester City started winning in the initial phase of the league, it was considered a brave act by a team which barely managed to stay away from relegation in last year's league.  If it was up to the media, pundits & the bookies, any expectation from Leicester was impossible. Cue to the 5000:1 odds of them winning the league.

Then something happened..

The Leicester City victories didn't appear to be a fluke. There was a method to these madness. Slowly everybody started sitting up & noticing.

But a shot at winning the league was still a far stretched fantasy.


"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get " - Forrest Gump

Like in any sports, there are multiple tiers or levels in Football where players reach the top tier. With 20+ levels and complex hierarchy of leagues, English football can be a maze to navigate for aspiring players. Considering all these, Leicester picking Jamie Vardy is a stunning tale of an aspiring player getting into the top league. Similarly picking of Riyad Mahrez & Konte was a calculated bet. Old war horses like DrinkWater, Huth & Fuchs were picked as well.

But picking of Claudio Ranieri as the coach of the team made lots of eyebrows raise.  It was a second chance for Ranieri in Premier League before being sacked by Chelsea in earlier stint. He was a likable gentle person mostly ending up second but pandits believed it was a disastrous choice for a team which was fighting delegation.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago " - Warren Buffet

As the winning streak continued in the league, it was getting cleared to everybody that the team is special and they are upto something special. That win over Manchester city & close defeat against Arsenal made it very clear that they are serious contenders. 

With only Tottenham Spurs on their heals, Leicester managed to navigate the final few matches before Spurs drawing Chelsea to make Leicester unreachable on points tally. Thus the inevitable was achieved.

Imagine the plight of fans whose team hardly made it to premium league and was fighting to avoid relegation last season. Imagine what they should be going through now after seeing their team achieve the pinnacle award. Its a dream come true for any fan in any sports !

Understandably the whole Leicester went ecstatic. Everybody has ran out of superlatives to define the wonder run of Leicester.


"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness" - John Keats

Why everybody loved this Leicester run ?

To start with, this team brought back the romanticism into football.

Here was a team of players & coach whom everybody had written off and were assembled from obscurity. Here was a team which was going against the establishment and conventional wisdom.Add to that, the tag of 'underdogs' and there was no reason not to like this bunch of Ranieri's caesars.

But lets be honest..if they hadn't played the fearless way they have been doing the whole season, this entire adulation would have sounded hollow. What a glorious display of beautiful game they displayed.

In the era of larger-than-life and megalomanic coaches, here was Claudio Ranieri who always sounded humble and grounded. The Pizza parties, the Turtle-Ninja outings and that lunch with mom..this coach was adorable.

Then who would forgot the now famous "Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong"


"Glory is a heavy burden, a murdering poison, and to bear it is an art. And to have that art is rare " - Oriana Fallaci

Undoubtedly the Leicester win is going to provide hope to every single team in England and all across the world of Football. It would provide new ways for the teams to think and manage their teams. Biggest thing is reinstate the concept that money can't buy the championships.

Some teenager in a remote place and with an unknown club can dream of one day playing for the premier league and probably for his country.

But don't underestimate the empire...

The big rich empire is bound to strike back in next season with more money power !

For Leicester, its a dream and as Ranieri said "Keep dreaming, why wake up".

It will be an interesting Champions league and next season of Premier League.

For now..Leicester is #havingaparty  !!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

How to train a Star War-rior !

My 5 year old saw me getting excited about the 'Star Wars - The Force Awakens'. She also happen to play the saber fight game & instantly liked the Storm troopers. Then yesterday like any good kid she asked me to tell the story of Star Wars.

I was glad to pass on the 'force' to next generation and I condensed the first Star War movie into a story.  Hope she was able to comprehend it !

Here it is....


In a galaxy far far away...

There was a real evil & powerful guy named Darth Vader. He used to wear a mask and a cape. He was able to control people & objects looking at them. Also he had the light Saber !

He worked for an evil king called Emperor. They wanted to capture all the planets and galaxies.

He had an awesome army of soldiers called Storm troopers.They had a gigantic space ship 'Death Star' which was very powerful and was able to destroy entire planets.

On other side of galaxy, there was Luke Skywalker and Ben who were basically good guys. Ben liked Luke & he gave the 'Light Saber' which is simply super.

Then there was Princess Leia who had a card that has details on how to destroy Death Star. Darth came to know about this and captured Leia. Leia recorded a video message to Ben for help and puts the card inside a robot 'R2-D2' and sends him out of her spacecraft along with another droid C3P0.

R2-D2 landed up on the planet where Luke was living. R2-D2 & C3P0 became buddies with Luke.
Luke takes R2-D2 to Ben who gets Leia's message for rescue.

Ben was an old warrior and he wanted Luke's help to reach Leia's planet. They needed a spacecraft & they meet Hans who had this spacecraft. Hans can also fly the spacecraft real fast. Hans a friend whose name is Chewbacca.Chewbacca was a good pilot & furry tall animal.

Hans agreed to fly Luke, Ben to Leia's planet. Meanwhile Darth used death star and destroyed the whole planet. By the time, Hans came to the location of planet, there was no such planet. Then they see Death Star ..

Death star pulled Han's spacecraft towards it. Hans, Ben, R2-D2 and C3P0 sneaked inside Death Star. Luke rescued Princess Lia.Ben fought with Darth. But Darth is too strong and Ben was gone. With help of R2-D2 and C3P0, Luke, Hans & Princess Lia escape from Death Star


By this time, my little Star War enthusiastic was very sleepy and wanted to continue the story next day..

Before slipping into sleep, she had these very important questions

1. Can Darth use the 'Death Star' against our Mother Earth and destroy it ?
2. Is it ok to like Storm Troppers even if they are on bad guys side. They look very adorable
3. Where can we get a light saber like the one Luke had ?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Its not about 500 boxes of Pears !

Its Saturday morning 9:00 AM...

Several thousand pounds of pears is waiting to be sorted & packed..

We are wearing the gloves & getting instructions on how to sort the pears.

We pick up the good pears and pack them into boxes. Each box can't be more than 30 lbs.
Bad & rotten pears gets into a big basket. This basket also won’t go wasted & will go to farmer's pigs.

We pick up the speed as the time flies and start packing the boxes at great frequency. 


These are just not pears for some..

These are literally the life savers for many of the families in the local community who can't afford to buy food.

Pears & other food items gets donated to this awesome place.

This place is Second Harvest Food Bank.

These items needs to be sorted, packed & distributed in time so that they reach the needy people.

It needs lots of person hours to do these tasks. 

Lack of volunteer hours in time could lead these food produces to get rotten & wasted..


At end of 3 hours, its time to wrap up our tasks for the day.

We have packed 500 boxes of pears ! 

We hear from food bank experts that the food we packed is going to reach at least 2000 hungry families in the local community.

Its an overwhelming feeling that we are touching so many lives through our small volunteering effort .

As I walk out from Second Harvest Food Bank, I feel blessed for the 2 square meals that I can afford , I feel thankful for the necessities I can provide to me & my family...

More than anything it re-enforces my belief in the power of giving back..

As I read somewhere "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”.

Please visit to know more about Second Harvest Food Bank.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

7 Stages of Hell

There are 7 stages of emotions when handling a disaster

1. Anxious
2. Angry
3. Confused
4. Shocked
5. humiliated
6. Numbed
7. Buried & withdrawn

Stage 1 to 3 is where there is still hope and the fighting instincts are still kicking in.
After Stage 4, its all about the feeling of living dead.

There is a fog covering the thought process & in Stage 7. How & what in the hell happened here?

Did we not read it correctly ? Was it a trust mis-placed ?


Still searching for words and superlatives. Nearest sporting event on similar proportions was when India did similar suicide by choking in 1996 Cricket world Cup at Kolkata

How in the holy world can a team in the World Cup Semi final gets so horrendous ?
That too it was Brazil.

South American country has its own charm - the land, the people, the beauties and then there is Jogo Bonito (or rather 'was'). What a glorious generation of football magicians they had - Pele, Zico,Ronaldo..Growing up in football fields, its very easy to fall in love with the kind of football played by Brazil.

This time it was Seleçao playing in their own backyard. Oh! And then there was a star stud with innovative hair styles and even better skills on ground.What better setup than hosting & winning the world cup.

Early signs of laboring through the group & knockout stages was waived off assuming team will pick steam for the final two games. Wasn't the Seleçao playing to bury the 1950 ghosts of Maracana ?

Then things started falling in wrong places..the lone warrior Neymar went out with broken vertebra, the captain commited harakiri in most stupid reasons and they were suddenly in front of a well-oiled machinery called Germany.

Those 29 minutes in first half..that killing scoreline
These will haunt forever the team, fans in the stadium and fans watching elsewhere.

It was not about getting defeated. Winning & losing is part of every game. Least expected from such a team on this level of game is a contest - a fighting spirit. A well fought defeat doesn't induce so much pain.

Is it a case of team deflated-crushed under-expectations ? Is that team didn't have any backbone after their man with backbone was out? Or was it simply that Germany were ruthless-professional, grabbing & hobbling like a hungry man on a buffet ?

Don't know..and the analysis and explanations will run for years to come.

But the pain and stages of emotions the fans went through is beyond comprehension.

What better way to erase an bad dream then by creating a brand new disastrous nightmare..

It will take lots of time and faith to come out of this..

And to the people of Brazil...Tears 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

To the football player...

When rest of the world is still sleeping & having sweet dreams, you will be already warming up in the ground.

When your friends are busy planning out some fun things to do, you will be busy kicking the ball in between the posts.

Your life is between the two goal posts.

Corners, free-kicks, penalty & injuries are not just words for you. These are living-breathing friends that run with you always.Some of them excite you & some of them you don't want to meet again.

Its just not a ball for you..
Its your canvas to create something magical..

It takes 11 souls like you to stir a nation.

Because of you, finally 32 valiant countries stand apart. Reaching this stage is an accomplishment by itself.

You have brought your country to the greatest sporting event. Sometimes a simple joy is when rest of the world comes to know that there is a country by that name on the globe.

You not only represent yourself but the millions of people from your country. You are the symbol of their aspirations, struggles & opportunities.

Each time you send the ball soaring through the posts, you just assure everything is going to be all right.

Each time you make some magical moves on the field, you inject small dose of belief to the otherwise cynical world.

As it progresses, you see some of the teams start packing up to go back home. It comes to do or die..

It is a test of skills, nerves & more than anything, its a test of beliefs..

And then there will be 'the' team..reaching the pinnacle of the game.
You may be part of it...

Or you may have agonizingly came close to it.
You had battled temptations, hardships & those dreaded injuries..
But this was so near yet so far..that sure will haunt for a while.

But you won't be judged for that.

You will be remembered for all those enthralling minutes you gave yourself on the ground, for all those passes you made, for all those shots, for all those saves you made..

You will be remembered as epitome of skills & powers who gave everything..

Thanks for giving something to cheer about.

This beautiful game is beautiful because of you !

- A Football Fan Forever

Saturday, October 08, 2011

RIP: Dear Leader

Dear Leader,

It was a crowded local transport bus and somehow I managed to get a seat in the bus to sit. I pulled out my iPod and was about to put in the ear buds. I felt somebody tapping on my shoulder and it was a small kid looking at the iPod. Small kid was shabbily dressed and came to later know that he didn’t ever go to school. He exclaimed ‘iPod!’ and asked how much it costs. After I told him the cost, the little boy said he would one day earn enough money to buy that iPod. After sometime, he got off the bus in next stop...

That image of the little boy whose eyes lit up when he saw the iPod never will fade.

There were millions of people who felt that child like sense of wonder because of Macs, iPods, iPhones & iPads. Every time they saw an iPod/iPhone/iPad, didn’t the grown up boys n gals felt like a little kid in a candy shop…

All of us owed this feel to you.

For us, black turtleneck and blue jeans never felt so fashionable…

Every time there was a keynotes from you, we would never miss it for anything.
You were a magician every time you went on stage. You pulled rabbits out of the hat and each rabbit added that little pleasure and little desire.

That eternal phrase ‘One more thing’ literally became the button, which would open to a new world.

People were so obsessed with you that even a fake Steve blog developed a heavy fan following.

It is hard to digest the fact that you are gone and this time, its forever…

We knew about the battle that you were fighting against your own body.

Every human is mortal. But secretly we hoped there would be an exception in your case.

We will be missing that Charismatic persona, those insanely great keynotes, rumors about the mercurial genius, the vision to foresee the future and the desire to create a new path.

Also a thought that what else you would have transformed after revolutionizing personal computers, music, phone, publishing.

You will be remembered through the iPods, iPhones, iPads, Macs, Toy Stories, road map that you would have set for future revolutions.

I had a wish that I would get a glimpse of you in person. I wish I had an opportunity to shake hands. I would have thanked you for changing the world and for your contribution to making the world beautiful. Its sad that even after traversing the IL for the last few years, I was not fortunate enough.

I’m sure there is another universe where you have plans to create dent..

Good bye and you will remain my favorite silicon valley pirate.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Microhoo !

Imagine this..

You build this powerful Internet company from the scratch and make it one of the popular brands in tech domain. Within few years, it becomes a house-hold name through its e-mail,messenger,search,auto,photo & other services.

There comes another superior search company which captures the market and pushes this company to number two spot in Internet Ad business. You are still fighting with that company for the market share.

On the same tech planet lies a big bad monarch whose eyes falls on the company you built. The big company announce that it wants to acquire your company.

How would you feel?

Irritated ? Pissed off? Cautious? Defensive? Ward-off?

That is exactly what Larry Yang & his team is feeling now. If you didn't get the clues, the company in trouble is Yahoo and the company trying to acquire is Microsoft.

The drama unfolded almost 2 months ago sometime in January when Microsoft offered to take over Yahoo at an unprecedented $44 billion, almost $31 per Yahoo share. Yahoo rebuffed the offer. Microsoft wanted to acquire Yahoo so that it can form a strong force against search giant Google.

Yahoo's board rejected the offer saying it is too less. Then Microsoft openly threatened to stage a coup in share holders in next Yahoo share holder's meeting. Yahoo postponed the meeting.

Meanwhile Yahoo was trying to form alliance with other players such as AOL, News group & even its rival Google. Looks like it didn't work out.

Microsoft had given deadline to Yahoo till Apr 24, which passed on.

Now we need to see what strategy does Microsoft follow? Will it go for a hostile take-over by staging a proxy board of directors? Will it try to increase the bid and win over share holders?

With recent Yahoo results out, still Yahoo is in tender position. Share holders may side with Microsoft bid unless Yahoo shows some dramatic improvements. As far as Microsoft, they make walk-away from the bid to create a feeling in shareholders that they are loosing a chance.Once dust is settled, they may come back & acquire Yahoo!

Even if Microsoft gets successful in acquiring Yahoo, the real question is how do they merge? They have competing products in domains and in some cases, each of their products are high profit earners. What will be happen to products such as MSN, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Auto,Yahoo Auto?

Technically also, they differ hugely. Microsoft uses proprietary stuff & Yahoo uses open sources.This will definitely create issues in merging & sharing the services.

More than anything, the two companies differ in culture. Microsoft is this huge corporate organisation, while Yahoo is still youngster company.

Lots of challenges ahead for Microsoft acquisition team..

As of now, all eyes on Redmond..