I was pretty bored last week and decided to do what I thought I would have otherwise not, that is, watch the movie Oh My God! I made two other souls watch that with me. They were bored and suffered for around 3 hours. I, on the other hand, though didn't like the movie as such, but really appreciated some of the questions it put up and then many others that popped up in my head as a result of it.

In effect, the movie Oh My God! is an offensive perspective on a set of people very similar in nature to the one portrayed by Aamir Khan on Doctors in one episode of Satyamev Jayate, only that the former came in a very Bollywoodish wrapper. Also, in my opinion, if D is the set of all doctors in our country, and if Aamir Khan spoke about a of them (a belongs to D), I think a' (a complement) is perhaps higher in number to a itself. But in case of the movie OMG, I think, the set they have spoken about is majority.

The movie brought up some issues which I was surprised did not happen to invite any controversy. The movie has challenged some very basic, paarampaaric  practices e.g. pouring milk on the Shivling. Logically, the counters given to each and every practice shown in the movie makes perfect sense but then you can apply logic only in a rational environment. Talking rational in an irrational environment makes the result irrational. To digress slightly, the last statement has also been proved mathematically, as 1 + i is an irrational number! The concept of God's existence is mythology and we should not even expect application of logic to play any role here.

I personally believe in God and I will explain why. I firmly believe that all is in the head/mind. This means that anything and everything is controlled by the mind. Now, controlling the mind is a skill which I think has been mastered by none. Hence, you can be good at it, or slightly better than that but not perfect. Hence, there exists a significant part of it (the mind) which is uncontrollable (referred as 'U' hereon) or beyond human control (because of limited ability of a human to control it). Human constantly thrives to control this uncontrollable. He also believes that he, in his capacity cannot control it (which is why in first place the 'uncontrollable' is created). He thus, conditions himself to believe that an X-Factor is required to control this uncontrollable U Now, this X-Factor (lack of it) is something which humans use to explain when whatever they are doing/acting on isn't yielding results as it ideally should in a 100% controllable environment. Just understand, I did 'p' which should lead to the result 'q' and now for some reason it doesn't happen, there was something else involved here, and this is where we use the X-Factor (lack of it).

It is this X-Factor, which many of us call differently, God, messiah, divine power, luck, etc. If you read the book 'Secret', it has one underlying message - Whatever happens is a result of what kind of thoughts you have about it. You think positive and you attract positive energies and positive happens and vice-a-versa. This is again nothing but trying to emphasise on what I said earlier and putting it slightly differently - All is in the head. Hence, X-Factor is nothing but a tool that we have created to facilitate us in controling the mind (the uncontrollable part U which we are not able to control due to limited ability). You can call it anything, say God. And now if you call your X-Factor as God you have devised another mechanism of a 'prayer' or/and 'offering' which gives you mental piece (controling the mind positively) that because you prayed, Good will happen. The stronger that thought in your head, the stronger your positive actions and ultimately positive outcome (just like as said in the book 'Secret' or what I said, all is in the mind). Once that happens, your belief in it becomes stronger and stronger and you, maybe, prosper. Then you start on passing the 'mantra' to others.

After having described about 'God' and prayers and offerings let us now move to the set of people that the movie targets. These people (will be referred as Set S hereon) are called as Salesmen in the movie. In effect and in my opinion in actuality, they just offer/sell an idea/tool like XYZ Pooja, ABC offering, etc. which claims to solve all your problems. These products/services work on the same principal - doing it will give you mental piece and you will be able to control your mind positively and hence a deed will be done and you would see positive results. Now, for all those where 'U' is significantly high, they are bound to look for any kind of assistance that can help them reduce it and this is where the products/services of Set S come in. And I believe, the number of such people where 'U' is high is in majority, which implies, high demand and hence, higher prices and variety of product offering by Set S maybe.

It is debatable, as to what they do is cheating or not. They are offering a solution (at a price) which can give you mental piece. You have a choice to buy it or not. What the movie, I thought, had a problem with was how they misportray what they are offering. Instead of showing how it could help them, they perhaps show how by not using the product/service you are bound to get doomed. But then who buys that? The ones who are more vulnerable. Think of it, wasn't something similar done by all insurance companies as well some time back?

Yes I agree some of the rumors of a Ganeshji drinking milk or likes could have harvested in a clever mind of a member of Set S or who knows may be a big Dairy Farm. Someone could have had commercial motive behind it but then they are all taking advantage of your vulnerabilities. The vulnerability is to such a greater degree that it happens to replace 'fear' in you most of the times. And that is what helps taking advantage of it much much easier than anything else. They don't have any Nielsen data or a Temple/God brand tracker to see peak seasons when donation shows a spike. They don't compare the donation graphs with other Gods and temples. Just imagine if it was so, I would have definitely wanted to see a pivot for Aug-Sep-Oct to see if the movie Oh My God! has in anyway helped garner more footfalls and donations at a Krishna temple or maybe has impacted it negatively. And then those rumors of Ganeshji drinking milk etc could be easily termed as an Activation Program maybe? BTL with objective - To reach more number of consumers and drive footfalls, hence donations in all Ganesha Temples :) And that too going so strong that it generates enough PR on all news channels to compensate for lack of any ATL. (By the way I have actually seen OUTDOOR HOARDINGS of one Guru Maiya!)

Yes, it can be perhaps called a business. Or else, how do you explain a VIP Darshan queue by BUYING A TICKET. How do you explain a darshan from 6 feet away for Rs. 20, 3 feet away for Rs. 50 and right from half a feet distance at Rs. 100. But then why do people necessarily have to go to that very temple? Of course because the BRAND there is strong and as a layman you would want to prefer a Levis jeans over a PQR Jeans. The PR garnered by letting info/stories slip out in the public was immense and it became a famous temple. It is indeed a business. Also it has the minimum entry barriers (Porter's Five Forces). As has been shown in the movie, I myself have witnessed more than one temples which started as a simple stone being put up in middle of nowhere and one so called priest worshipping it day in and day out, progressing with temporary walls and roof to a pakka temple. Just look at the growth story, and the ROI!

They are simply exploiting your vulnerabilities (or maybe 'need' in Marketing terminology) and sometimes going way to over board and obvious. But rest assured they are not the only ones doing it. All businesses, I guess do that. You want to be fairer, here is a fairness cream. Being fair is not your need but your vulnerability. Look closely, its happening everywhere around you. It is just that when it comes to be related to religion, God, faith or belief that we, perhaps, all object to it. Which again means you believe in God in the first place and the sacredness of all those rituals, then why blame others who do it to a degree greater than you? Logically and rationally, yes some of those practices are immoral but then again how do you make a rational effort to stop it in this irrational environment?

And talking about a pracitce or ritual or faith, I think we should just stop blaming anyone. People pour milk on shivling as they get an irrational satisfaction and a hope of good happening to them. Self first. People also offer food to ones who line up in front of temple. That again is usually a part of some 'Exchange Offer' proposed to God. But then again, it gives the doer mental piece and what's bad about it? Why question someone's faith or belief? It gives them mental piece and maybe happiness. Isn't that what matters? You have a free choice, to either follow them, create a belief of your own or do anything else. It is pretty senseless to use logic and rationals in what right from the foundation is irrational.

What seems to be a massive blunder on the part of the team that maintains IPL's official website, has surely become the talk of the town.

As all are aware that we are already into the playoffs for the fifth season of the IPL. Team Delhi was to play Team Kolkata in the first match of the playoff. Team Kolkata won this match last night to proceed directly into the finals. As the playoffs have it, Team Mumbai will play Team Chennai tonight and the winner of the match will meet Team Delhi in the second qualifier. Winner of the second qualifier will then play Team Kolkata in the finals.

But if you just visit the official website of the IPL (www.iplt20.com), you are bound to notice something strange. A little click to visit Team Kolkata's page (http://www.iplt20.com/teams/kolkata-knight-riders) has something interesting to offer. The bottom right on the page shows a small block saying "Next Match". Very surprisingly, this section shows that Team Kolkata will play its next match against Team Chennai. [The screenshots were taken just before posting this].

(Click to enlarge)

Though this definitely, is a huge oversight on the website admins, my curiosity took me to Team Delhi's page  (http://www.iplt20.com/teams/delhi-daredevils) and guess what? Team Delhi is supposed to play its next match against Team Chennai!

(Click to enlarge)

Haha! All seems so consistent now! For all this to happen, Team Mumbai will lose to Team Chennai today and Team Chennai will then beat Team Delhi in the second qualifier to meet Team Kolkata in the finals.

Definitely a blunder on the website admins part, but this error has given all of us something to talk about, for sometime now :)

All the best Team Mumbai, for today's match then :)

[First pointed out by @SexyBichoo]

I read today that Ponting was dropped from the team for poor performance in last five ODIs. In a very light hearted manner, in a sense trying to mock at it, I decided to share that to my wider virtual, social network. One of my friends commented,

something to be sad bout .... people are calling for sachin's odi retirement as well .... all news channels debating this ..... wats ur call on it ???

And this is not the first time I am hearing this question. This is not the first time people are discussing it.

In recent past, I have read quite a lot about Sachin, his form, the 100th century, etc. Read a lot of advices from the Whos and Whos and the Huh? Who The Hell Are Yous of Cricket. Well some (read very few) think he should go on, the majority wants him to retire.

I find it very funny and annoying at the same time. You may now begin to feel that I am biased, but let me make it very clear, though I am a big fan of his like you and the person sitting next to you, at the same time I do try to talk sensibly at times. People who know my obsession for Sachin well enough, also know that I have been very critical too.

Anyways, let me come back to what I intended to discuss - my views, my answer to if Sachin should retire.

Of Course, he should, he has to, there is no other choice. He is a human and the law of nature dictates he age and wear out. This should ideally and most probably will have a direct impact on his performance. He has to definitely retire. 

The worth of that question doesn't lie in the 'if', it does in the 'when'. So as I said earlier, majority of those who can and cannot spell Sachin Tendulkar correctly are of the opinion that he should retire now. There could be quite a few possibilities for their opinion

1. They might be hopeful of getting a chance to play for the country in his place.
2. They are relatives of an upcoming, hard working cricketer.
3. They are totally jealous.
4. They may have retired earlier and so they want to have the esteemed company of The Master.
5. They think that him continuing is not good for the team.
6. They think he is doing bad for the team.
7. They are saying just because everyone is saying - the spirit of togetherness!
8. They want him to score 100th 100 which he has not been able to for quite some time.

Of the 8 points above, I am the most concerned about 5th and 6th because all others are possible reasons whereas these two are allegations.

So for all those who want Sachin to retire now because of any reason other than the 5th and 6th point, well, Sir, I respect your opinion, you are entitled to have one, just that I disagree with yours.

I personally think that Sachin should retire when either

1. He thinks he should retire, or
2. When we are sure that he is the worst in the lot and there are 11 others who can perform better than him and also have the confidence of doing the same.

and not when you or me sit with a group of friends watching a match and coach each and every player on each and every ball via satellites using shouting in front of a TV as the starting point.

I would want each one of us including the cricket legends to answer honestly, if we are being too harsh on him maybe just because our team as a whole is taking a beating? No? Do you really think Tendulkar retiring now will change it? Aren't we expecting more than what one single person in a team of 11 is capable of? He has not been amongst the runs as much as we would have expected to be for quite some time, but then what has Sehwag done in this series? What have the "youngsters" in the form of Raina or Rohit Sharma done in the current ODI series?

Do we suddenly think that none of these three also have any talent or caliber?

Let us go a bit in recent past and then a little more. There has been an axe on the neck of other 2 men that define Indian Cricket, moreso, The Cricket, Test Cricket - Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. We think these people should retire now too. Why? Because they did not perform as expected in Australia, India was white washed. 

This same Dravid was being seen as a HERO when he was the only one who stood tall, as always like a wall in England. I clearly remember that one image of the scorecard doing rounds everywhere on the social network that showed Dravid opening the innings for India in some test match and then going on to play even with number 11. We now want this same Dravid to retire because of not being able to perform in the very next series.

Oh Come On! Be Realistic. Don't just say a 2 digit number, their age, is reason enough to make them retire. Appreciate the experience that comes along and what it has translated into - Class!

The point I make here is that just because Sachin similarly has not been amongst the runs or let me put it bluntly, hasn't been able to score the 100th century you all are looking forward to doesn't mean he should retire now. Sachin, at present, is clearly not the "worst of the lot" and neither do we surely have 11 players who we can be confident, will perform better than if we were to give one of those 11 spots to Tendulkar. Scenario 2 thus, should rest in peace.

Let me discuss a little more about the magical figure of 100 * 100. Oh, surely you ought to be obsessed with that figure as it has that single numeral that we Indians discovered, four times out there! Also, the symmetry. That is it. There is nothing else magical about that figure. A 99 centuries is no less an achievement than if he scores another one. Besides it is stupid to add up number of centuries scored in two very different forms of cricket. If you continue adding up like this, I am sure he must have scored a 1000, 99 in international cricket, some in Ranjis, some in school, some in a hostel, some in the gully in front of the house, who knows, maybe some in book cricket? Also, add to it the centuries that he has made in the games that we were playing sitting on our couch, controlling a character with his name via a remote control.

In a nutshell, I say, the obsession with 100 centuries is stupid.

We don't need it, we just want it. More badly than anyone else. And unfortunately, he hasn't been able to deliver what we "want" and so maybe he should retire now. Yeah right!

I agree to one of the points I read in some other post, that post the world cup last year, he is playing ODIs once again, and him choosing to play some and let go of some others. Well I agree, it is not the best thing to do. But at the same time I also feel that maybe the pressure and the hype of the figure I just called 'magical' (because that is what you think of it) has indeed taken a toll on him and maybe, I say maybe he just wants to fast forward from 99 to 101. I may have sounded totally senseless, but then I think it could be, it could be the case. The reasons are best known to him and the team management though.

In the end, a request. Everybody, please leave him alone, we all know what he has done for us and the country, we all know what he is capable of, we all can accept he knows himself the best. Let him decide when he has to retire, because in any other possibility, you have no logical explanation to make him retire now, like in next 5 minutes. Why can't we appreciate that perhaps is presence helps in grooming the youngsters better?

Just because he has not been able to deliver on your expectations, doesn't mean he should go. Go Now. No.

He is talent enabled by sheer hard work topped with confidence personified in a human packaged all over with class. See him, appreciate him, forgive him and for now, leave him!

We are the Champions?

The World Champions?

Also, one of the best Test Teams in the world?

Is it? Obviously Yes! We are. But is it true only for our soil?

Do we fail anywhere outside? Do we fail miserably in our 'tests' on foreign soil?

It hasn't really been the case to this extreme until the recent past.

I was very disappointed when my team, which made me and every Indian proud by lifting The World Cup last year after 28 yrs, was thrashed and could do nothing but submit in England. There is anyways some not-so-soft-corner somewhere inside me for the English, for they ruled us and did what not (according to the History Books I studied in school). And whatever happened in England last year hurt me deep inside.

I was so eagerly waiting to see my favourtie cricketer, The God of Cricket, The Sachin Tendulkar to score The Special Century right there, at The Mecca of Cricket, The Lord's. Sadly, that didn't happen. I told myself, if not first, then it will be in second innings, and likewise, if not this match, then the next. The wait just continued. In any case, I agree, it is just a number. But I still wanted it in Lord's, his first there, if it would have been.

Nonetheless, it is OK, that it did not happen. But what really bruised me was our dismal batting performance. The Batting performance of The Team with not only a strong batting lineup, but applaudable bench strength as well (possibly for the first time ever since I have started watching cricket). And to rub it in, was the constantly publicised, omnipresent fact, that my team had failed to score more than 300 even once! One man stood tall, The Wall, but all he could see from the other end, was one after the other wicket fall.

All over Facebook, Twitter, News Channels, News Papers, and Real World almost everyone was criticising almost everything about my team but honestly, I still believed that they would do better in the next innings and the next, maybe the next after next but that did not happen. This sad chapter is still lying inside me in a corner that I did not wish to visit anymore.

Sadly, I did today. What made me do that is perhaps a pessimist view of the near future when, hope-not, we fail that bad or even worse, again. Everything now seems to be exactly the same - My expectation of The Master to score The Special Century at the MCG, then if not in first innings then maybe the next, then maybe the next match, and here I stand in the present. Another batting collapse in the first innings at the SCG, where The Cricket God averaged 221 before this match (making me all the more excited in anticipation of witnessing history being written).

You ask me again, and I will again say, it is not the failure to reach that magical figure by The Sachin that is bothering me. I will be brutally honest, it is what is happening, the collapse. OK, I can accept Sehwag doing only what he has managed to do, I can accept Gambhir going through a bad phase perhaps, but it is very very hard for me to hear, see, digest the failure of The Wall and The Very Very Special Man in Australia.

How are we managing a batting collapse yet again? Bad pitch, unfavourable conditions maybe, but then how does one of the weakest Australian side in 15 years pile up runs on the scorecard, that including a century and a maiden test double hundred. It is frustrating, upsetting, disappointing to say the least.

Well of course, there are positives that even I see in this series like our Captain always does. For one, The Master looks in good touch. And then, Ashwin knows how to use the bat.

But isn't it time to seek answers to reasons for failure overseas and do something about it, rather than just keep "looking at positives" and "not being bothered about a loss or two". Of course, I believe my team is already doing that and are perhaps also trying out things but after seeing today's play there are bad visuals haunting me.

Someone like Ponting who was going through, perhaps, the worst phase of his batting career quite recently, is standing strong, playing better and better and better in every knock, while I sit and see The Wall not having reached even 100 in the 3 innings and The Laxman who has a history of giving sleepless nights to all Australians, having played a prank on them thrice, scoring a total of 5 in this series till date.

I hate myself today for even accepting that we are good, perhaps the best, only on our soil and that I accept defeat already. "Hate" because, after all I should support my country, patriotism, etc. But then, of course this is the outcome of what has happened since the England Tour. It is the heart vs. mind game, wherein my heart overruled all that my mind said during the England series. Of course, the outcome of that series has subdued my heart to an extent that it is not even contesting and standing up against what my mind is saying now.

And now for the icing on the cake (read: rubbing salt into wounds), one of my friends who is in Australia gave me an account of what he is going through - being mocked at on the streets. Not only this, he says, at times when he calls up his manager at work to say "application is down" he gets a reply saying "wall is down.. so is tendulkar" (sic).

Sigh, let me try and end this frustration and disappointment initiated chain reaction of blabbering with my Heartadramus prediction - The Heroes will Rise, it will get better, this match ends in a draw and it improves exponentially from there on.

Sorry to break it for your hearts, I am laughing at what I wrote in the last line. We are all set to lose this one.

And yes, maybe I am taking all this too seriously and making a big deal out of this, but well if you don't, I am sorry you wasted your time reading this, it wasn't for you.

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