Sunday, August 20, 2006


Its great to see some football again! The time between the end of the previous season and the start of the next is perhaps the worst one to endure! Yes, we had a world cup, but it is only a distraction to the joys of the regular season!

I did have a jhalak of sorts when I went to watch Barcelona play the NY/NJ Red Bulls at the Giants Stadium. Watching a game in the stadium is a whole lot better than watching it on TV. The excitement doesnt quite get translated on TV (the crowd was suprisingly vocal), and you enjoy the luxury of watching the entire field, knowing where each of the 22 players are! Of course, it helped that Barcelona put on a show, almost toying with the home side. Ronaldinho, in particular, was near his best, and deservedly received a standing ovation when he was taken off. But the biggest cheers actually went out to Messi, who showed that when he is at his best, he often overshadows Ronaldinho himself!

The premiership got underway yesterday, and it was immediate delight for me, as both Arsenal and Liverpool only managed draws in their opening fixtures. Chelsea did win today, but it would have been too much to expect a hat-trick of opposition fixtures going your way! But the biggest source of cheer was Manchester United's splendid performance today against Fulham. In fact, twenty minutes was all it took to blow the opposition away! Rooney and Ronaldo, in particular were excellent, and it looks as if they have resolved their world cup dispute once and for all! Saha was a constant menace all throughout with his pace, and for once, even Patrice Evra had a decent game!

It was probably just the start needed for Manchester United. They might not be favourites this time around, but they are going to be no roll-overs either. The midfield is still cause for some concern, but the squad does look to be the most balanced of the past three years! And if Hargreaves does come to Old Trafford, anything will be possible!

Heres to the new season, and heres to hope - that Manchester United will win back the premiership (if not the Champions League)!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Found a Sufi teaching that illustrates the point of God:
A man knocked on the God's door. "Who's is there?" asked God from within. "It's me," said the man. "Go away then. There is no room for two," said God. The man departed and wandered in the arid desert until he realized his error. Returning to the door, he knocked once again. "Who's is there?" asked God as before. "You," answered the man. "Then come in," God replied.
(Quote from here.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sanskrit workshop

UMD Samskritam is a branch of Samskrita Bharati at the University of Maryland. They also have a website for spreading the use of Sanskrit. They had organized a two day weekend workshop in Maryland on 5th and 6th August. I was interested in learning Sanskrit for a while now, and Arun had got me interested in workshop. Since I had nothing to do anyway, I went ahead for the workshop.

The method of teaching at the workshop was very simple. Instead of starting off with grammatical rules and vibhaktis that sees the student lose interest very quickly, the focus was on teaching to speak basic Sanskrit, to be able to alteast start a conversation in Sanskrit. Mr. Rajesh Rachabattuni, who was in charge of the workshop, is a really good teacher. He tried to use as few English words as possible, yet the concepts were understood by everyone.

A lot of words and usages were taught in the workshop, but I probably retained only about half of that. Which is expected considering this was my first exposure to Sanskrit outside of mantras, and a whirlwind one at that too! But for those who had prior experience of such workshops, this would have served as an excellent review session. Either ways, the workshop was beneficial to everyone in attendance.

While I probably might not be able to speak fluently (thats asking for too much after just two days), I can certainly manage broken Sanskrit (the grimace on the face of Rajeshji notwithstanding). The biggest plus, though, is that I can now read Sanskrit to a moderate degree. I just logged onto the samskritam yahoogroup, and I could almost completely understand the latest message in Sanskrit. For this, I must thank Rajeshji, Arun, Avinash and everyone else at the workshop who helped clear various doubts at different times!

The next step now is to organize a similar workshop at Rutgers. The group at UMD has already promised help. I really hope the aim of Samskrita Bharati is fulfilled in the future.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Remembering Mohd. Rafi - A Tribute

Yesterday (July 31) was the twenty sixth death anniversery of Mohammad Rafi, who, in my opinion, is the greatest (male) singer of the hindi film industry. Rafisaab had a deep and melodious voice over which he had such control that he could sing just about any type of song. The genius of Rafi lies in the fact that he could make just about any song seem easy to sing. Perhaps no greater proof of his genuis can be found than the fact that Madan Mohan (of whom it was said that while the rest composed for the masses, Madan Mohan composed for the classes!) almost always preferred Rafi's voice for the male singer because only he could have done justice to his compositions.

In rememberence, I initially decided to list my ten most favourite songs of Rafi, but it was a damned difficult choice even with separate listings for solo and non-solo songs. Hence I have taken the easy way out and simply listed only those songs where Rafi sings for Madan Mohan! (Why Madan Mohan? Because he was the most brilliant of all music directors.)

1) Aakhri geet mohabbat ka suna loon toh chaloon

2) Aapke pehloo mein aakar ro diye

3) Baad muddat ki yeh ghadi aayi (with Suman Kalyanpur)

4) Main nigaahen tere chehre se hataaon kaise

5) Main yeh sochkar uske dar se uthaa tha

6) Meri duniya mein tum aaye (with Lata Mangeshkar)

7) Rang aur noor ki baarat kise pesh karu

8) Tu mere saamne hai

9) Tujhe kya sunaaon main dilruba

10) Tum jo mil gaye ho