Tuesday, May 12, 2015

That Messi goal!

Some time in the early 90s playing against the Aussies, Kapil Dev produced a magical spell of 3 consecutive out-swingers. I did not see this match, only read about it later in Sportstar. The 1st ball bowled out Alan Border (so technically an in-swinger), and the 3rd bowled out Dean Jones. Apparently it was the 2nd that was the best of the lot. It swung just a bit, and quite late. Dean Jones, who was in a purple patch at that time, played at it and missed. The ball missed the off-stump by a whisker on its way to the wicket-keeper. The writer opined that only Don Bradman could have got out to that.

Meaning the ball was so good, that even the best batsman in the world would have got out to it. And it was so good, that only the best batsman could have got out to it. Dean Jones, great batsman that he was, was not good enough and reacted a bit late.

Sometimes you need to have the best batsman at the other end to witness the excellence of the bowler. And vice-versa. Similarly it takes one of the best defenders playing currently, backed by one of the best goalkeepers to showcase the magic of Messi's 2nd goal against Bayern in the CL semi-final 1st leg.

The 1st goal was typical Messi. He has, so many times, picked up the ball near the right wing, and then cut across parallel to the goal, looking for an angle to shoot with his left foot. Sometimes this would mean skipping past 1, 2, 3 defenders until he found a straight line from ball to goal. He didn't have to do any of that here. Dani Alves did most of the work in cutting the ball across from the left and passing it. Then he moved it to his left foot and let go. Neuer thought he was going for the far end upper corner, and got beaten on his near-side lower end. This partly helped set up the 2nd goal. 

The 2nd goal was genius. Messi picked up the ball and started moving down the line near the edge of the D. When he neared Boateng, he opened up his left shoulder and arm very slightly as if to start cutting across like he normally does. Boateng, either seeing this shoulder movement, or knowing Lionel's propensity to cut across, started to shift his weight to his right, and deny any space for the maestro to shoot with the left. In less than an instant, the striker decided to change directions and go past the defender's left. Boateng, almost immediately noticed this and tried to change direction as well. But his weight had already shifted to the right, causing him to lose balance and fall.

That fall showed how good this World Cup and Champions League winning defender is. Most defenders would have just stood there, and then reacted much later. A very good defender, would have played on the probability, and moved to his right, then ended up looking bewildered as Messi ran towards his other side. Only the best defenders, would have  1st moved right, then immediately tried to change direction, and lost their balance. No one playing fairly could have stopped him.

It took the skills of Boateng to emphasize the magic of Messi's movement. And he wasn't done yet. He topped this with a delectable chip using his weaker foot that outfoxed the giant frame of Neuer. Something that Danny Welbeck tried and failed, the previous season.

Making to World Cup winners look like amateurs. What better way to drive home the point of who's the greatest?

Monday, January 06, 2014

Delhi's water for free

The new Delhi government, keeping its poll promise has announced 20KL of free water a month to each household with a metered connection. Use a litre more than this, and you'll be charged for the entire amount of water consumed. i.e. 20001 litres. This scheme is likely to be a disaster. And one needn't wait long to see the effects.

The scheme heavily penalizes usage beyond the 20KL. So there is a huge incentive to 'officially' use just below 20KL every month.

What could happen is:
  • Spurt in (requests for) metered connections.
  • Large scale tampering of meters.
  • Households monitoring their water consumption closely, and stopping each month and just below 20KL. They would then depend on alternative sources for their remaining consumption. This could be water tankers, or bore-wells (don't know if they exist in Delhi).
  • Connections which currently use well below 20KL per month, could start selling their surplus free water in the black market.
  • Large number of complaints about faulty meters.
  • Increased number of outages and disruptions in water supply. Delays in fixing them.
It would be interesting to see the distribution of water consumption across connections before and after this scheme. While before could most likely be a normal curve, the distribution with this scheme would likely peak just below 20KL with it falling sharply to 0 on either side. It would pick up again at values > 30KL.

PS: Just had a look at my water bill. It must be a really large household to reach even close to 20KL per month.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Of Gods and Men

The requirements for the genesis of a religion
  • Blind adoring fans. E
  • Drastic fall in intelligence levels when talking about object of worship. E
  • Animosity towards anyone who disagrees or criticizes. Ad Hominem attacks. E
  • The feeling that everyone else shares the same devotion.
  • Seeing meaningless patterns and co-incidences in words and numbers related to the 'diety'. E
  • The need to prove that he / she is superior in all respects. Quoting numerous and twisted statistics / tales to do so. E
  • Trying to outdo each other in proving allegiance. Often going over the top to do so. Bending rules in the process. E
  • Ascribing miracles to idol <pending>

Perhaps in a few years, we'll hear of a little girl miraculously cured of blindness, after sleeping with a Sachin poster on her wall. And then we'll have all the ingredients.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Tennis priorities


  1. Watch Roger Federer play
  2. Play Tennis
  3. Watch Maria Sharapova. Preferably off-court. At one of those photo-shoots.
  4. Watch one of the other top players in action - Djokovic, Nadal, Venus,...
  5. Catch up on some doubles
  6. Everything else

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mentee or Mentoree?

In the epics of Homer from Greek mythology, Odysseus was away from home for 20 years. Before leaving he left his infant son, Telemachus, under the guardianship of his friend, Mentor. Yes, Mentor was his name.

Now Athene, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and Odysseus were part of a mutual admiration club. During his absence, she got into the body of Mentor, and taught, guided, advised, mentored, & counselled Telemachus.  A few 100 years ago, the term ‘mentor’ was 1st used to refer to a guide or counsellor.

Some time later, maybe a century, the word was ‘verbed’ (in Calvinspeak) or verbalized. In the (v.) form it came to mean ‘guide’ or ‘counsel’.


Now comes all the other dis-figurations of the name of Odysseus’ friend. If a guide is called a mentor, what do you call the person being guided?

The term mentee seems to have entered some dictionaries. It seems to have come out of the erroneous assumption that ‘mentor’ is a noun form of the word ‘ment’. So you have the verb employ, giving rise to the nouns employer & employee, referring to one who employs & one who is employed respectively. Similarly ‘ment’ gives mentor & mentee.

But what if the root verb is not ment, but mentor? Would the person who is being acted upon then be called a ‘mentoree’? Thankfully that word doesn't seem to have entered the dictionaries. Yet.

And then later maybe the person ‘mentor’ing would be called a mentorer? Have sometimes seen people get confused when the noun and verb are spelled the same. As in sponsor. Have heard the word ‘sponsorer’ used a few times.  Am curious now – what would they call the person being sponsored? Sponsee? Sponsoree?

Coming back to mentor & ___. Why not just use existing words? You could have disciple or student. Either is better than mentee (Brings connotations of someone on the mend after a stint in prison).

I’d prefer protégé (Add an e for the feminine form). 

Monday, May 21, 2012

On Chelsea scaling their Everest - Ramblings

  • My 1st memory of a penalty shoot-out is the 82 semi between W Germany & France. Sort of remember being impressed by the German precision in slotting into the far extremes of the net. Can't recall the Germans ever losing out on a penalty. On the other hand, have seen many English players doing a Ramos, including Terry & Beckham. So didn't think Chelsea stood a chance at the end. Was amazed to see Cech guess the correct direction every time. The Lineker axiom stands disproved.
  • Chelsea has one of the most expensively assembled teams. Cost way more than Bayern or Barcelona. Surprised to see them always treated as underdogs. Or to not even make an attempt to play ball. They effectively neutralized Bayern's home advantage by refusing to keep possession.
  • Feels odd that some English football fans will have fond memories of Munich.
  • Torres had about 30 minutes to make his case for a place in Spain's Euro squad. IMO not enough.
  • Everyone interviewed post match seemed non-committal on Di Matteo's continuation as coach. None of the players said they would like to see him as coach. All went on about how great a job he has done in terms of results. Stress on results. Seems a decision has already been made. Probably he losing the job is best for his reputation at this stage. Chelsea are very unlikely to repeat their success next year. They'll have to off-load quite a lot of players, and rebuild.
  • Chelsea can use their CL success to boost their international fan base, especially with the London Olympics around the corner.
  • Was nice that players weren't going to the ground all the time. One of the negative Spanish league traits.
  • Avram Grant takes them to the finals for the 1st time. Di Matteo becomes 1st coach to win a Champions League with Chelsea. Just look at the list of those who couldn't. Maybe Roman Abramovich should permanently hire a caretaker coach.
  • Feeling sorry for Spurs, but not too much. Entry to Champions League by placing 3rd or 4th in the domestic league is a sort of bonus, not a right. If you want to play the CL, win your home league.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Indian colonization of English

Once upon a long ago, the English colonized India. With our frequent hartals, strikes & fasts-to-death, they finally got fed up and left.

But we weren't done with them yet. We have been working surreptitiously to take-over their language. With assistance from many other fellow ex-colonies. While the Americans set about ruining the spellings, the Indians worked on new meanings and extensions. And we're not satisfied with just adding new words such as Hartal, Satyagraha, Padayatra etc. We want to twist around original words as well. Hopefully the rest of the world will soon join us.

Some eg:

Revert: Not established yet inspite of frequent use, but will in the near future mean 'To respond or reply to.'
Prepone: Clearly a more logical antonym than 'advance'.
Thrice: If you can have twice, then why say 'three times'?
And Triple is more cogent than 'treble'. You already have triplets and triple jump anyway. And it's easier to 'triplicate' something than reproducing threefold. Soon we'll start working on Fourple. The 'e' at the end to be pronounced as 'ay'. Quadruple is too difficult to spell.

In the pipeline, some other terms we plan to introduce to the RotW.
Wheatish complexion for the Northies, and Ricish (Brown variety) for the Southies.
Victims of Eve teasing still face a lot of tension in their efforts to get some redressal of the same.
Passing out would not require the services of an allopath.
Even Tolkien uses sister-sons, so why not cousin brothers?
BHK will be a standard in all accomodation classifieds.

Now, am off to read some non-veg jokes that a batchmate forwarded. Meanwhile entertain yourself referring to these dictionaries. Or this blog