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Friday, March 25, 2011

Last of the Giants

Watching Ricky Ponting yesterday was something special.

Here was a man who's leading a sorry bunch, the remnants of a once majestic dynasty if you will. It was not the usual fluent and murderous batting by Ponting; it was gritty, it was patient, it was hard work, it was stubborn and it was daring. When the wickets were falling around him he kept fighting, he kept edging his team forward, kept carrying them forward just that little bit, just that little bit needed to keep the Aussies in the game. It wasn't a very aesthetically pleasing knock, but hell it was one damn fine knock by a champion of a cricketer. A champion who rose to the occasion when all the odds were against him. It was typical of the great man to come to the party just when it mattered.

But sadly (yes, don't be surprised, I'm one of the few out there who truly admire the way Aussies play their cricket, or rather the way they used to play their cricket) it wasn't just enough. It was disheartening to see him try everything even in the field fighting a losing battle all the way. He looked a true warrior, a man who would fight to the death. He's the last of a line of Aussie giants, the last one who's left there to fight a losing battle pretty much all by himself. But even the most magnificent of heroes can't just do it alone sometimes, and he had no one to rely on yesterday. He looked a lone man out there; every single one of his team mates had let him down. Maybe it is time for him to go. For such a champion, the last thing I want Ricky to become is another Jayasuriya. He's got nothing more to achieve; 4 world cup finals and 3 titles in the bag, two as captain along with a shitload of other victories and gazillion runs, he's pretty much been there done that all.

Love him or loathe him, you can't deny the fact that the man has earned his rightful place among the true greats of the game. Goodbye Ricky, thanks for all the memories. We will miss you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

After Effects of Earthquakes

Fires, broken down transport systems, blackouts, shortage of food and water and even nuclear meltdowns must have come to your mind seeing the title. Indeed those are among the most tragic of after effects, but much have been said about them I've got pretty much nothing more to add. However I can reveal you some slightly different after effects of earthquakes, which you had no idea existed even I'm sure.

First, it can get rid of writer's (blogger's?) block, which is merely a fancy name for being too lazy to write or blog. Don't know how? Look at me. Okay you can't exactly look at me from over there, but you know what I mean. Good ol' yours truly has been not writing for so long that pretty much all my readers, who by the way account for an astounding 12 people, had forgotten me. But this earthquake was such a shock - figuratively as well as literally - it has somehow awaken the writer within, so to speak, and I hope that I'll be able to churn out posts at a rate faster than the rate Pakistan lose wickets when they are in a collapse hereafter for the sake of this elite bunch of readers which include you, my dear reader. Okay that sentence is stretching things way too far and is wrong on so many accounts, for a) there is not so much a 'writer' within me, b) you aren't really in any kind of elite bunch just because you read this blog and c) I'm pretty sure I won't be churning out posts at that rate anytime soon. I just hope I'd be able to blog regularly.

That's the "good" part and now let's move on to the bad, which I might even call ugly as in the expression "The good, the bad and the ugly". But I digress. Getting back on topic, this goddamn earthquake has also given me the mother of all blocked noses which I'm sure you all will agree that indeed is a tragedy. Let me explain. For a couple or so weeks before the earthquake I had a runny nose and teary reddened eyes mainly because of pollen allergies. Which is a bitch, but it was manageable. But then on the day of the tragic quake the transportation was a mess and I had no option but to walk back home, a walk of about 12 kilometers. A walk that long in itself is bad enough, but having to do so at night with very strong winds in a temperature of about 4 degrees is just, well, worse. Naturally the next day I woke up with a bad cold but luckily it was Saturday and then the following Monday we got an off day from work because transportation was not back to normal even then, so I managed to manage my cold by staying warm. But then afterwards I had to go to work, and after a week or so yesterday it was SO bad that I had to stay home breathing through my mouth. Imagine if somebody filled your nose to the brim with soil and then pressed it hard too for good measure. That's how I felt for the last two days, no kidding.

Friday, March 18, 2011

True Heroes

Being here in Tokyo, a safe distance - at least for now - away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant which now has achieved eternal fame minus the glory, but still a distance enough to be in alert at least, watching things unfold around me is kind of serene.

First of all it must be said that this whole chain of events has a lot to do with a big fat chunk of plain old bad luck. You can prepare all you want, but when you're hit by the 4th biggest earthquake ever recorded in human history followed by a big ass tsunami some half an hour later there's only so much you can do. To add to that, the Fukushima plant was only two or so weeks away from it's scheduled decommission after 40 years of operation. How close is that? And even then, they had recently upgraded its safety measures and had erected walls which could prevent a 7 meter tsunami which in itself is a once in a blue moon thing, but then you get hit by a 10 meter tsunami. Oh well.

Then over here, in Tokyo, some 250 kilometers away from Fukushima, things are still running as normal as you can expect, but not always. Some of the Japs have gone crazy and stocking supplies like mad. Almost all the supermarkets, grocery stores and convenient stores are running out of bottled water, batteries, emergency lamps, candles and whatnot. Instead of the usually teeming-with-goods shelves you see rows and rows of empty shelves. In order to save electricity many production plants are operating under capacity, fewer trains operate than usual and you have power cuts in Japan - who would have thought!

But amidst all this chaos, there is a bunch of true heroes out there going on about their business for all of us' sake. The few remaining courageous workers at the Fukushima plant who work around the clock to get the situation under control, putting their own lives at risk so bravely to save the lives of millions out there. I'm not so sure if I would have done the same thing if I were there. Those guys are the true heroes who often goes unnoticed. As one of my friends said in his FB status, at a time when people are wasting their money on texting to choose their idol heroes, how many would spend their free words of appreciation on true heroes like these people? So true, and unfortunately, I wonder how many people will remember these guys once the crisis is over. To alter the words of Winston Churchill a little, "Never in recent times of crisis has so much been owed by so many to so few."

Thank you friends, we owe you big time.