Archive for March, 2011

Pakistan has never beaten India in the world cup cricket_ a hard and bitter bare fact and well yes a jinx maybe! But the history has to change its course somewhere. So what’s the harm if it takes a diversion on coming Wednesday?

Having remained invincible for so long against Pakistan adds to the vulnerability of the Indian team just as the Aussies came crashing down after a remarkable winning streak of thirty four matches to lose two successive games_ the last one sending them packing back home.

It is not just the statistics, though skewed heavily in favour of India, that make its victory improbable but the immense home ground pressure against arch rivals Pakistan coupled with its inconsistent performances. Whatever the outcome is going to be, nothing can be more electrifying than the mouth watering clash between India and Pakistan.

Having advanced to the semi finals, the game ensures representation of at least one team from the sub continent in the final thus continuing an intermittent pattern of regional supremacy. Both sides have obvious strengths and weaknesses that make the contest even and potentially highly interesting.

With an unending depth in its batting, India can perhaps boast of the most potent and annihilating batting arsenal the one day game has ever known. Batting first on any surface, the team can never be sure of ‘a potentially safe’ total if that happens to be setting a target for the Indians to chase. With the likes of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Gambhir, Yousaf or Raina, the tormenting lineup on a home ground is capable of accomplishing any score that seems improbable. The only ray of hope is the vulnerability to collapse that the Indian middle and lower batting order has displayed time and again during the world cup.

India’s biggest weakness lies in its makeshift bowling attack_ an ordinary and average lineup that has been unable to defend humungous totals like 338 and 297 on its own pitches. If Pakistan has to win, it will definitely have to target a couple of weak links in the Indian bowling chain. How well will Pakistan cope without having a chance to acclimatize to the conditions and playing for the first time on Indian soil in nearly four years is anybody’s guess!?

In contrast, Pakistan’s main strength lies in its bowling resources. Traditionally known to enjoy supremacy in fast bowling faculty, the spin bowlers have been very effective so far in the tournament. This, in all likelihood, is the one clear edge that Pakistan has maintained over the rest of the teams and has been the main driving force behind the Pakistani victories. Talking of the game at hand, Shoaib’s appearance can be decisive even if there are some differences brewing up in the dressing room.

Averse to chase and batting in pressure situations, Pakistan’s best bet lies in getting a sizeable total and then restricting India by bowling on a cracking pitch. In case India bats first, restricting India to a chase able total can prove testing. Remember our batting has been tested only once by New Zealand and that was the match that we lost with a phenomenal margin.  

In the end what is most crucial are the nerves and the team that deals with the enormous pressure by staying calm and collective gives itself a fair chance to sail through.

And like I have been emphasising throughout the tournament, defying all logic and reason, nothing serves us better than our unpredictability. If qualifying by securing most points and climbing to the top of the pool and then storming to the semis in a mesmerising royal fashion was unpredictable, why not beating India and then cruising to penultimate victory in the finals!?

Go greens go! 

All the way!

Read Full Post »

Amidst all that drama, popping eyes, gaping mouths and boggling minds, the double murder convict American national and alleged CIA contractor Raymond Davis has been neatly whisked away from the scene triggering another controversy.

The abrupt unexpected development in addition to several other lasting effects has thankfully given plenty of fodder and fuel to the rattled talk show hosts and (yellow) journalists to set the whole world ablaze. Likes of Hamid Mir and Ansar Abbass, who I’d stop short of labeling leaning right wingers, but chronic pessimists and master propaganda campaigners can safely sensationalize, scream and whine going on and on for another couple of weeks over the issue.

Coming back to the core discussion, at the risk of being termed out of my mind, I’d venture to opine differently as opposed to popular point of view. While there are multiple dimensions attached to the controversy, for one, I see the conclusion salvaging some of our national pride rather than compromising the national honour or dignity. What makes me utter that so bluntly is the fact that despite all the pressure the government and judiciary were subjected to, we have been able to conduct and conclude a judicial trial. Although, the way events progressed they ultimately lead to the most logical and apparent climax and drop scene. US government resorting to its immense bargaining power and unfair disposition was able to recover its national as was being predominantly perceived from the very onset _ yet again bringing home the paradoxical fact that how sacred American blood is as opposed to the cheap Pakistani fluid that is spilled in gallons when our citizens are butchered and massacred like herds of nameless sheep and goat at the shameless excuse and pretext of ‘terror strikes’ and drone attacks. But then who are we to complain or crib when the ultimate champions of human rights justify all the brutality and slaughter in most convincing and categorical oratory?

Looking from the non political and personal perspective, as far as my limited knowledge goes, a murder can be settled against the blood money in the light of Islamic laws. But does that hold under the peculiar circumstances when the young widow had committed suicide against the killing of her husband in sheer protest and disappointment? And, though indirectly related, but how do we account for the innocent killing of the motor bike rider who was crushed by an unknown vehicle allegedly coming to the aid and rescue of Raymond Davis? At the same time the suspicious facts that have unfolded and marred the controversy and the deal cannot be dismissed lightly.

While it is hard to digest the irony when those who are protesting against an outcome achieved by resorting to Shariah laws happen to be the biggest advocates of Islamic laws and their enforcement, what is ironic is that how long the courts will take to mete out justice against a murderer who while vowing to protect the life and property of the governor, killed him in broad daylight in the presence of dozens of eyewitnesses?

Any thoughts?

Read Full Post »

There must be something in their blood or strewn in their culture that brings such enviable discipline, tolerance and patience that is hallmark of the champion Japanese nation. Imagine a small isolated country comprising series of islands fraught with rugged mountains and rough terrain combating triple disaster posed by the natural and human intervention.

A country and a nation probably most exposed to the frequent deadly earthquakes round the globe, Japan is arguably the most equipped and trained nation that responds to such a disaster. But horrifying even to think what it is pitted against right now!

An unprecedented earthquake (of the order of 9.0/9.1 on Richter scale) unleashing tremors of the magnitude that have NEVER been recorded in the history of the country before. These waves triggered not only a series of aftershocks but unleashed monstrous tsunami waves as high as 10 metres that swept away vehicles, installations and settlements like toys and doll houses in their rage as the heavens wrecked fury. As if it was not sufficient, the problems compounded a great deal by explosions in the nuclear reactors releasing radiations to the atmosphere and even generating a possibility of a meltdown according to certain quarters. According to latest update, the gravity of the situation has worsened and surged to level 6 on the international scale of safety operating on a scale of 0 to 7. The radiation leak is and may cause serious health hazards within its domain of influence that has a potential to spread gradually.

As the mother nature disgourged all its wrath and the disaster continued unabated, element of human intervention to natural course added a catastrophic dimension to the overall imbalance making one really wonder if the artificial and technological breakthroughs, in a holistic sense, are bringing any sustainable betterment to the mankind or potentially bringing it to the verge of destruction and elimination?

Leaving that argument aside, what is exemplary is the way the nation is responding to the disaster. Even if we talk of the nuclear reactors, the structures have sustained the tremors and conditions much beyond their design capacity. It is the operational failure engendered to devastating conditions that is causing all the havoc.

In spite of depleting supplies, no electricity, fuel and even water, the survivors reportedly wait in long lines for the basic utilities. There is little anger and no loot. Four days after the major catastrophe, the community is responding in a most responsible manner by sharing food with neighbours and cutting back on electricity supplies to diminish blackouts. The disrupted transport systems are forcing many to stay overnight at the remote cities and the people have opened their homes to others. To quote abc News “”I heard someone say they had two bottles of water and gave one to someone else.”  

Japanese are a caring nation known to be hospitable and courteous to their neighbours and community in particular. This is the kind of spirit that is developing all the unity, bonding and interlocking enabling them to stand as an iron wall in the face of sheer adversity in this hour of need.

The Japanese prime minister in his speech to the nation on Sunday night declared that they were confronting the most serious crisis since the second world war.

True the prospects of a potential disaster still loom large and there is still a lot to worry about and deal with. But then he knew, he was addressing a nation that taught the world what rebuilding was all about_ A nation that despite all odds against it, rose from the rubbles of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to emerge as the third largest economy of the world within a matter of decades.

Be it the quality and conformity, Kaizan , productivity, efficiency, motivation, organizational behaviour, loyalty, commitment , emergency response or disaster management there is a lot to learn from these superhumans from the land of rising sun. With the massive flood devastation hardly behind us and a lot of rebuilding to go for, time to take a leaf out of their book!

Read Full Post »

Another contribution by Mrs. Delirium

Driving through the main roads of any Metropolis, Billboards displaying the latest collection of the en vogue fabric of the season one is invariably stuck with the impression of beholding familiar countenances from across the border.  

Whilst those strongly objecting to the presence of Indian Icons on Pakistani billboards, and may have a point when they criticize the exuberant amounts spent on hiring them in endorsing their products, that have little or no appeal on the other side. 

Regardless of the protests these multinationals or textile giants as they are now called, are spending colossal amounts owing to the mass appeal they enjoy on this side of the divide, not withholding the ideological segregation dominant on the socio-political and the ideological fronts. The fact that these models cost four times as much as the local ones is no deterrence to their advertising budget. That they are employed repeatedly is testimony to their popularity that they are reaping the desired dividends. 

So where does that leave us ideologically speaking? 

Despite our leaders’ stance on India and on foreign cultures in general, with India-bashing remaining as their favourite pastime, the obsession of Pakistanis with Indian icons is a reality which cannot be ignored. The cultural similarities between the two countries and the constant didactic exchange between them is also a reality.

In the face of dearth of local movies to cater to the demands of the local population, Indian movies and channels have taken the local market by storm and have worn as far as the cultural front is concerned. The huge fan-following of the Indian Channels with our local ones emulating them in language and attire is not something of the distant past.

Is this representative of the dichotomy that exists within us as Pakistanis? The ideological confusion amongst us since the inception of this country. A fragment of the society shunning India and everything associated with it and another incorporating it into their daily lives. Not only as means of entertainment, but also as their idols.

With their music loudly blaring from our vehicles, our homes & mobiles, our weddings incomplete without having their dances choreographed to the minutest detail, are we constantly living in denial?

From our National policy of fuelling hatred towards them to our unadulterated fascination with them, do we as a nation need to wake up to the fact that we cannot survive isolate in an era of information revolution and war is NOT an option for our economically challenged, terror-stricken and internationally isolated country?

So while we need to retain our individual identity as nation and adhere to the basic principles that this nation was founded upon, we need to understand that culture is and ever-changing concept. And we need to celebrate the similarities in our language and heritage to exist as a harmonious whole.

Read Full Post »

A magnanimous contribution by the worthy Mrs. Delirium to the blog

Discoursing the literacy rate in Pakistan is something of an oxymoron. In a country where clean drinking water is a luxury and basic necessities like electricity are not available, But what is new is the innovative use of technology to make a difference in the lives of millions of Pakistanis. The Telemedicine project, a 35 million rupee project, whereby  a network is established in the rural areas where health facilities are minimal to nil, patients can get examined and treated by the use of cameras and live transmission by consultants in tertiary care centers. Using trained paramedics, patients can get their querries attended to, get themselves examined by high-resolution cameras, get their investigations ordered and referred to the nearest tertiary care centre if urgent intervention is needed.

 In a country with a majority of rural population living well below the poverty line and where medical facilities are a luxury and poorly developed transportation infrastructure, the provision of medical advice by experts is a bane. Areas inaccessible by mobile vans can now be covered and patients can get treated at a fraction of the cost they would have to spend getting medical expertise in the traditional way.

The successful use of this technology can be extrapolated to dispense knowledge and spread awareness in general in the rural populace. In a country with majority of its population at the mercy of quacks, the Mullah the main knowledge dispenser and the feudal as the main arbitrator of justice, the applications of this technology can be multifold.

It can be used for the distribution and monitoring of knowledge and ensure its correct implementation in areas notorious for ghost schools, with schools synonymous with dilapidated shacks and sharing of their spaces with livestock.

In a country known for embezzlement of its development funds and White Elephants, the judicious use and implementation of such technologies can make a difference in the lives of millions of Pakistanis and bring a much-needed revolution in this nation.

Read Full Post »

With twenty out of forty two matches played and decided, we are almost halfway through the preliminary rounds of the world cup cricket 2011. There has been plenty of excitement during the matches as well as mismatches. But what is draining is the current format of the tournament.

At the end of a prolonged and tiring first round it will all lead to qualification of eight best teams. To me, it would’ve been more thrilling if the first round ended up in knocking out more than half the participating teams and picking something like a pack of six teams to compete further.

With the current lot of teams broadly categorized into eight heavyweights and six minnows, the result of the first round thus remains highly predictable. Despite some great efforts by the underdogs, there doesn’t seem to be much of a possibility of a displacement, unless of course, if Ireland stages another upset or England opts to be kind to another unfancied opponent such as host Bangladesh. And then it would rest more on the shoulders of luck and less on cricket, to scrape through the knock out rounds with only a handful of games played between the eight best sides to determine the fate of the championship.

What we have seen of the sport so far in the world cup, there have been some very interesting observations. At one extreme, we have seen Indians or English fail to defend totals considerably in excess of intimidating figure of 300 while at the other Pakistan romped home and defended lowest winning score of 184 at Columbo and yet in another game that lasted less than one third of the scheduled one hundred overs Bangladesh succumbed to the Windies bowling onslaught at a mere 58 paving way for an easy victory for the opposition.

In all probability, the most classic and thrilling contest was between England and India. Massive entertainment, a huge pile of 776 runs in a day, enviable fighting spirit, fluctuating fortunes, loads of excitement all leading to a most improbable draw but it was eventually the game of cricket itself that emerged victorious!

As opposed to the popular belief, it is the bowling capability, skills and effort that are proving decisive instead of the much fancied batting prowess. That is precisely why even the teams with lethal and mesmerizing batting lineups like India and England have struggled while Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa and to a degree West Indies have appeared formidable so far. The way the world cup has progressed, even a massive first innings score does not warrant a win unless the team has a strong bowling reserve. Who would know it better than the shock-stricken England who chased 338 against India only to earn a draw and then lost surprisingly to lowly rated arch rivals Ireland who stunned everyone by chasing the biggest total in the history of the world cup?

While the world cup remains predictably open, there have been some impressive performances. Australians, unbeaten in the world cup since 1999, seem to be peaking at the right time yet again. South Africans are as clinical and devastating in their approach as ever. By far, Pakistan is the only team to have earned all 6 points and had the nerves to survive a batting slump and a scare against Canada and a nail biting finish against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka lost to Pakistan but one can argue to their defence that the team was devoid of capabilities and skill of ace bowler Malinga on that particular day.

While the rest of the games in the first round are unlikely to affect a great deal on the predictable quarter final line up, the results would determine the pool rankings that would then decide the eventual opponents from the contrasting pools confronting each other in the second round. Thus a slight slip in the ranking of Pakistan could easily land them in another potential quarter final contest against India_ a side they have never beaten in the world cup. Such a happening will invariably refresh the sore memories of 1996 quarter final in Bangalore when even a gallant start by Amir Sohail and Saeed Anwer leading to 113/2 in 15 overs could not prevent a collapse making Pakistan fall drastically short of Indian score of 287.

Aussies, who have failed to live up to their reputation lately, have appeared menacing and ominous so far. It won’t be a surprise if they clinch the victory for the 4th successive time but will the fortune favour them yet again? 

The way spirited Pakistanis, on course to revival, have blended and forged into a team is impressive and amazing. But there are still certain question marks and a long way to go. While Afridi has performed consistently as a captain and a bowler, both him and Razzaq have failed to fire with their batting. Like Imran Khan has pointed out repeatedly, making Razzaq bat so much down the order is pointless. It is time to advance and attack with a balanced combination and as Afridi himself asserted, it is inevitable that the top of the (batting) order comes up with a good start. 

While the Pakistan side remains highly unpredictable, it has shown signs of vulnerability and major batting collapse that it is highly known for. A prospective challenge; It will be interesting to see how we fare in case of a batting chase during the upcoming pressure games? 

It was the leadership coupled with the spirit and passion that made us win the world cup against all odds in 1992. Let’s see how far Lala Afridi can lead us eighteen years later?

Read Full Post »

Upon insistence of my (much) better half, I am reproducing what I had scribbled on my other blog sometime back. It goes like….

So here goes my omolette. Rolls off the frying pan as sweetly as the effervscent words of praise for my boss or management trip off my tongue on any normal working day. As laced and spicy as my language tends to be on the occassions.

For those of you, who are being unreasonably mean, overwhelmed and overawed by the better of curiousity and inquisitiveness, lemme put your sinister speculations to rest, once and for all. Before anyone goes on to kill the cat, yes…. I continue to be ‘happily’ married and this is just another innocent, helpless, lame and futile effort at being assertive and self assured.

Ages ago, Newton earned laurels for discovering the fact that ‘To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Now those who claim or declare that he was never married are challanged to come up with convincing explaination as what MUST’VE been the intense and abnormal precursor leading to the discovery of such grave universal truth or law of motion having such stern, solemn and dire consequences?

For those who are knowledgable, it is all amiably and undisputedly settled under implicit supreme command without any point to agitate or crib. Any civil disobedience may lead to non civil behaviour so it is better of that way.

Whatever the Newton or physics had to say on the institution of marriage, isn’t it bewildering to know that how an elastic and unending reaction to apparently one innocent, simple, tempting, naive but insane act can attain such unrelenting proportions and magnitude?

Read Full Post »