Thoughts on American healthcare

For lunch on November the 20th, I was trying to struggling with a can of refried beans. This was one of those difficult cans without a pull tab, and we had no openers at home. The frustration led to a moment of madness where I just decided to stab the can top with a large meat knife. Pop-pop-pop and stab! Yup, I looked down to find I had stabbed the webbing of my left hand. Only a moment later there was blood oozing out left and right. Perturbed by all the blood, I decided to stop everything else and run to the Northeastern student health center.

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Before we begin here, its important to share that this was my first experience with any American medical facility. Now healthcare is not too bad back home in India either. In a similar situation in an Indian college, I would have gone to a dispensary, possibly gotten roughed up by a couple of nurses and “compounders” over the unavailability of the correct doctor, but eventually stitched up with a pair of sterilized scissors and new tapes.

With the insurance card in my pocket, I entered the health center. First impressions – it was nothing like any dispensaries back home. There were four booths and students in small queues in front of those. I went up to one of them when it was my turn. The lady at the booth asked for my college ID, and pulled up my record. They already knew I had had a tetanus within the last year (yeah I keep doing these things). She pulled up a number from my insurance card, gave me an appointment number and asked me to wait in the spacious waiting area. She added I could use one of the self check-in terminals (placed on the sides of this first room) next time.

I had barely waited for 5 minutes when a nurse came out of the clinic door looking for me. I followed her in an entered one of the rooms. She asked me to place all the stuff in my pockets on a table, and stand on a weighing scale. To me, this was frivolous. Why would anyone take my weight for fixing a knife cut? It only got weirder when she next placed a blood pressure clip on my finger and took my temperature! Seriously, what was going on? In fact at this point, I went ahead and insisted once again that I was only here to get a cut fixed, pointing at my broken webbing. She replied she knew, but wants to go through procedure to see if anything else was wrong. She left once she had taken my vitals and asked me to wait for the doctor.

Next up – the doctor. She was probably no older than 30 and beautiful, I must confess. My next interrogation began with a series of questions about the injury, followed by my history of bruises, allergies and reactions. She looked at the wound for a bit and decided that we would need a couple of stitches. Next, she pulled out a square box case – about 6 inches side – broke open a seal,  pulled out a syringe and a small bottle of numbing anesthesia and began with the, by now seemingly mandatory, disclosure about anesthesia and its effects. I declared I was okay with all that and just wanted to get the procedure done with. She cleaned the wound, numbed the wound and pulled out a brand new pair of surgical scissors and cut a small piece of the surgical thread for stitches. Diligently, she applied two stitches and rubbed a small gash of disinfectant on the now closed tear.

While all the care by this moment had been overwhelming enough for me to actually bring up the differences with the Indian procedures, what happened next flummoxed me completely! She trashed the entire kit with at least 15 other medical supplies such as unopened packs of tapes, bandages, scissors, ointments, etc in it. Unbelievable! Totally new, those could have been used by another patient bringing healthcare costs of the system down, or even sent for medical relief to another country. Additionally, it would have saved all that extra medical waste to be dumped. Anyway, albeit stupefied, I thanked her, fixed the followup appointment on her computer and asked if I had to pay anything. To my surprise, the expenses (apart from the care, wonder what that kit had cost) were covered by my insurance. So I left the health center, fixed up and not a penny lighter.

Since then, while I commended the excellent care received, I’ve asked my friends about the wasteful medical policy of dumping the entire supplies kit. Matter-of-factly, they replied it was routine procedure and pointed that the kit “wasted” in my little procedure was nothing compared to the ones thrown away during complex orthopedic or internal surgeries. The inefficiency it seems, is because of the supplier-hospital contracts in this capitalist economy which stipulate the hospital to use an tool kit only once after its seal has been broken! An unbelievable and inhuman requirement at so many levels, only in place to maximize supplier profits. Hospitals don’t care because in the end its the doctors who receive royalties for the products developed.

So while America contemplates the pros and cons of Obamacare, deep rooted capitalism kicks humanity hard.

 

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From the wine connoisseur – Seagram’s Nine Hills

I was never a wine guy. Domestic whiskey and the frequent flirting with an assortment of beer from all over the world has been my weekend drink. There was this one time I brought wine home, and even though I don’t have very clear memory of how that went, it sure wasn’t good enough to take me back to it. But that has all changed off late – especially, I must mention, due to the excellent range of  in-flight wines served by Air France during my recent trip to the US. I will confess I’m now hopelessly in love with wine, and especially with the red variety. This love blossomed every Monday through Thursday, during the evening complements, throughout my month-long stay at Marriott’s Residence Inn in Atlanta and the final weekend I spent at my uncle’s beautiful house in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, and as I now realize, very foolishly, I never kept track of the I wine was having; the names to go along with those elegant bouquets and those absorbed-on-the-tongue flavours have been lost into nothingness. There still exists a slim chance that I may have saved the Menu offered by the airline, but I’ll never be able to give name to the intoxication I enjoyed during my hotel stay. Therefore, in order to make up for my inexcusable sins, I decided to make a detailed account of every wine I savour henceforth. I begin tonight with an Indian red variety I decided to pick this weekend – Seagram’s  Nine Hills.

Harvested and fermented in the wine capital of India – Nashik; Nine Hills, a Cabernet Sauvignon has a rich terracotta colour. The bouquet, albeit nothing like those of the varieties I savoured during my trip, is still one that will invite you to take a healthy first gulp. Once served, the Nine Hills takes a deep texture at the bottom with a hint of thin purple on view at the brim – possibly the expected lack of quality showing up – nevertheless it is one that does not disappoint the slightest. Time a for a little shake and the wine swirls and twirls delightfully for the connoisseur,  softening  only very slightly. Here we go then – the first gulp, and umm.. I must say the Nine Hills is definitely not bad wine, on the contrary it has a nice palate with a few inexplicably, yet enchanting, flavours throwing little hints all over your tongue. The grapes that went into this wine were definitely of the highest quality and there has been an obvious effort to achieve perfection in the blend of flavours.  Next comes the aftertaste, and here’s where it leaves a little to be desired – its basically more of a wash-down variety – in ways compatible with the Indian wash-down drinking style. But there is a little bit of lingering .. was that a bit of vanilla there ?

Everything said, Seagram’s Nine Hills is premium domestic wine, keeping Nashik’s reputation very healthy. For INR 565 or $10.49 ( in Maharashtra ), it is real value for money and would easily place in the mid-shelf of any common western wine store. Try it for its rich taste and texture, and obviously for the sweet-mild intoxication that comes along. The bouquet and the after-taste is where it could probably have been better, but hey ! what do I know, I’m only just getting started !

I’d give it a nice 3.5/5 on my wine chart. The Nine Hills is a good glass.

Enjoy Responsibly.

The Enlightenment

Have you ever had this moment, this moment where you’re left dumbstruck, with retrospection, forced to look into yourself, everything you’ve been through, and where you’ve reached? And yet, at that moment you’re a lot more wiser, maybe not so much in actions, but in understanding the reasons, and you know a lot more, so much more.

Two weeks back, I had come home during the weekend, and I was waiting for the elevator, beneath my building. As I stood there, in the monotony of my pathetic little life, three kids came jumping around, discussing something. On listening in, I found out they were discussing their Beyblades ( or Tazzos ) or something. And they were really animated about it, passionate as they could be. Soon after, came in another couple of kids, and this one kid from the latter group started jeering about some particular beyblade he had acquired. All the kids were seemingly awestruck by this new acquisition, when the bully from the original group started shouting, that his beyblade was much cooler than this new one, trying to bring the attention back to himself. A fight ensued with heated shouting, lots of snatching and shoving, and one kid almost coming down to tears. And all this while, I just stood there, shocked, as the elevator door opened and closed on me.

I  stood there because I was dumbstruck, lost for words seeing how passionate these kids were for these little things, while I had become so estranged with the simplicity of life. I was shocked to see how much they could fight over a beyblade, while I had to cope with thousands of frustrations at work, with relationships, betrayals, infatuations, insecurities, expectations, addictions, and the myriad mixtures of the anxieties, moments, the depressions, moments, and the solace-seeking indulgences I had learned to live within. I could see myself, right there, in those kids, in my school days, fighting over Pokemon Tazzos, or Wrestling Cards, or just the simplest things of life. To quote Johnny Cash, “What have I become, my sweetest friend?” Why was life such a struggle now, when it was so simple and happy once? At that precise moment, I could see everything flash right in front of my eyes, and I so desperately wished that those boys never reach here. Their happiness was so real, so pure, unlike my much maligned, broken and superficial laughter.

Haven’t things just become so complicated, that its almost incomprehensible to imagine such naivety ? And, if at that moment, I could just get one wish granted, the wish of my life probably, it would’ve been – take this away god, Give me that back !

And there lied my Nirvana, and that was my Enlightenment.

Movie Review: Themba ( A boy called hope )

First of all, Happy New Years everyone. 🙂

So,  we had decided to go for the Pune International Film Festival this weekend, and I’ll try my best to review all the movies I could go for. Today, this German/South African movie, Themba, was playing at the screen nearest to my place. I had half agreed for it since my friend mentioned it had Jens Lehmann (Yes, the former Arsenal goalie) in it,and basically I love sports movies.

But Themba is so much more than a soccer movie. Its not the best movie ever made, and that would purely be down to the budgets, but its certainly an exhilarating experience, right from the beautiful east-cost South African coast line to the laid back Capetown.Truly, one of the line of those excellent African world cinema features, read Hotel Rwanda, Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond , et al. Themba, a Xhosa boy who lives with his mom Mandisa  and sister Nomtha in a rural part of the Eastern Cape. They stay in a hut on a hill near Port St. Johns, and the view, like the countryside, is beautiful. But Themba’s dad, Vuyo deserted the family four years ago and their life is a daily struggle. Mandisa takes in former mine worker, Luthando as a lodger. He becomes her lover, so when she loses her job and must travel to Cape Town to find work, Luthando – who drinks to much – stays on to look after the kids. Themba is an extremely talented footballer, but his life is extremely poverty ridden and diseased. But, despite a string of despairing events and hardships, Themba wants to keep fighting for his dream to represent the South African national football team – the Bafana Bafana.  The movie also sends out a lots’ve messages, especially focusing on HIV, and the situation in Africa.

Themba is in no way very original, and we’ve all seen movies about achieving dreams despite adversity, but its beautifully strung together, and the locations and filming are out of the world. Its a sweet little story, but truly a very strong one at that. Watch it for just going through the essence of mesmerizing cinematography once again.

8.5/10 for just the purity of cinema here !

Grace Barkha Grace

The Argumentative Indian is a good read, but prolonged argument in self-defence, wherein, even though you might have been misinterpreted, but clearly you had committed a mistake, is a sulk. Barkha Dutt has to understand that just bluntly keeping up the argument isn’t doing her any good; neither is it bringing over any public empathy. The Neeta Radia affair is a mistake she has to take responsibility for, guilty or not !

She might not have had, as she has repeated many times over, any malicious motives; but a mistake of the level it seems to an onlooker, can not to be fought off by making the loudest arguments. And if Barkha doesn’t get why the world is turning in on her, isn’t this exactly what they do to the political leaders, celebrities, sports authorities et al (not that I’m sympathizing), with the slightest sniff of conspiracy, until the concerned are grilled to shame. Public shame is a matter, which cannot be fought off by shouting; it is to be resolved with grace. Admitting to her mistake, whether guilty or not, would be a refreshing change, a step I probably expected someone of her respectability to have come up with straightaway.

Grace Barkha, is what will win you your place back, arguments we’ve already heard a plenty !

Home [again]..not really

Blogging has generally been on now/off then for some while, my apologies.

Life, the daily course of events, the people we meet,  the places we go, the good times, the not so great ones, the laughs, the fights, the comforts, the fears, their reasons, basically everything; keeps doing circles, seems to move on, but ever so slowly. There are times, times of your life, but on other times, they just don’t seem right.

I don’t exactly read too much into fate/destiny et al, but sometimes, just the course of events makes you ponder about why certain things are the way they are, how could they have been better, or did you turn them to the worse, because you were selfish.

Sometimes, I don’t easily get what people try to do with themselves. What makes them happy? Maybe its just the self-centric thing, but some decisions become almost too incomprehensible, too difficult to accept easily. And then, once again the usual cycle of explaining, understanding, the non-understanding, again explaining, and making a very confused, not-exactly-a-yes nod follows. I try non-interference, it becomes ignorance,  i try self-confinement, that becomes attitude, i say fuck it, becomes fuck off.

Makes me realize comic relief is probably the best thing that ever came out. The lighter moments, however insignificant, almost always make life easier, alleviate the pains, and bring back the happiness, however short-lived. Some of the best (recent) comic relief I’ve come across (again this is no order of nothing):

1. The Mock Swine Flu story, my sis told me

2. The Chronicles of Hostel-3 stud(appa)

3. The Ali G show, Borat, Bruno

4. Sarcasm (always works)

5. The Hostel-3 lobby Bak*****

6. The use of Dark Seer by Leon

7. Mumbai touch-ups

8. The time around college et al

9. Lots’ve things actually, invisible, easily lost with time, yet significant, as soon as something sprouts them up, again.

Keep Healthy. Take Care. There’s a lots’ve life out there. Most of it not easy. Live. Relieve.

Of Wall-E, Snatch and the awaiting Slumdog

Another month went between my previous post and the one that progresses… a few things of importance before the reviews begin:

Barack Obama got chosen as the 44th President of the US of A.

Mumbai had more to worry than the menacing ‘Raj’. Terrorists attacked the city on 26th of Nov. (the same day as my   parents married). The attack claimed nearly 200 lives and injured many more. It seems this time the world is determined to come together and crackdown Pakistan originating terror organizations.

Chelsea haven’t been having the best of times. Defeats at Roma, and to Arsenal and Burnley at home, mean that the blues find themselves 2nd in the premiership, knocked out of the Carling Cup, and needing to desperately win against CFR Cluj in a few hours from now, in order to ensure a place in the Champions League knockout stages.

Wall-E

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IMDB rank 34 ( as on 9 Dec,2008 )

That Pixar  is the best when it comes to modern-day animation technology, is not questioned by many , but in Andrew Stanton’s Wall-E, Pixar have probably found their masterpiece ( Yes, after considering Ratatouille and Finding Nemo ).

The story is set in a distant, but not so unrealistic future, where mankind has abandoned earth because it has become covered with trash, WALL-E, a garbage collecting robot has been left to clean up the mess, alone, except for a sprightly pet cockroach. One day, Eve, a sleek (and dangerous) robot, is sent to earth to find proof that life is once again sustainable. WALL-E falls in love with Eve and the rest of the story revolves around sci-fi spaceships, robot chase sequences and umpteen hilarious situations.

What clicks the most for WALL-E is its complete story package, exploring robot emotions, human ignorance and the ultimate fate that technology may bring upon us. Pixar’s superior animation techniques leave you amazed after every scene, and Stanton’s ever-fresh ideas add to the brilliance of the show.

Wall-E is a must watch for all the animation buffs out there ( though I ain’t  1 really), and is currently the highest rated animation movie on the IMDB at 34.

10/10 for animation, direction, voice-overs, storyline and Pixar.

Snatch

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IMDB rank 159 ( as on 9 Dec,2008 )

Snatch is a movie, I can never get enough of. I love British movies, I love dark comedy, and I love the English accent. Snatch is all of that added to a brilliant cast, excellent direction, and a story that leaves you awe-struck. Its also the only real thing Guy Ritchie ever made. Here’s a nice plot summary I borrowed from IMDB:

Turkish ( Jason Statham ) and his close friend/accomplice Tommy ( Stephen Graham ) get pulled into the world of match fixing in illegal boxing by the notorious Brick Top ( Alan Ford ). Things get complicated when the boxer they had lined up gets the shit kicked out of him by a Mickey( Brad Pitt ), a ‘pikey’ ( slang for an Irish Gypsy)- who comes into the equation after Turkish, an unlicensed boxing promoter wants to buy a caravan off the Irish Gypsies. They then try to convince Mickey not only to fight for them, but to lose for them too. Whilst all this is going on, a huge diamond heist takes place, and a fistful of motley characters enter the story, including ‘Cousin Avi’, ‘Boris The Blade’, ‘Franky Four Fingers'( Benecio del Toro ) and ‘Bullet Tooth Tony'( Vinnie Jones ). Things go from bad to worse as it all becomes about the money, the guns, and a damned dog!

Add to the above, some of that eccentric British accent, a buch of witless characters sporting guns, and ovcousre -> ze blood. Please watch Snatch and if it clicks with you, you’ll watch it again n again, just for the sake of it. The background score ain’t bad either.

9/10 for acting, cast, setting, and editing.

10/10 for the storyline.

Watch out for Jason Statham ( in his career best-performance) and Brad Pitt’s a ‘pikey’.

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

IMDB rank 222 ( as on 9 Dec,2008 )

I haven’t seen the Slumdog Millionaire, but from what i hear this promises to be one hell of an India based movie. This genre has been attracting notable interest in the recent past with decent movies like The Darjeeling Ltd. becoming audience favorites. The thing with Darjeeling Ltd. was that none of it was real, neither was the story believable, nor was the India in it. But the west loves its ‘Indian’ image and loved the movie, which frankly, becomes a bit tiresome for an Indian to go through. But Slumdog is different; its set in the real India, with a realistic situation, and is already making heavy Oscar vibes, with lead actor Dev Patel becoming a fan-favorite. Watch out for this movie in the coming days, that is, if you haven’t marveled it already. I sure am looking forward to it.

(*Images courtesy IMDB)

Black Candy Blues

Lewis Hamilton’s F1 win could well be an indicator for things to come. The United States goes into elections today, and for the first time in its history, a black man is being touted as a heavy favourite. And Hamilton’s F1 win may be seen as an indicator for things to come.

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Not getting into any race-driven ( excuse the pun ) feelings, but an Obama victory would certainly be refreshing, what remains to be seen is whether he can deliver the change he’s promised.

The important thing here is not to rule out his very formidable opponent in Sen. John McCain. As a former POW, he’s displayed the strength, at both physical and mental levels to make this fight far from a one-sided affair. Even though i’ve always believed the US electoral system to be error prone, it always provides interesting outcomes. May the best man win!

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Chelsea have bounced back brilliantly from their Bridge defeat to Liverpool, and have snatched the top spotin the PL again after falling to 2nd last Sunday. Emphatic victories against Hull ( 3-0 a ) and Sunderland ( 5-0 h also involving a Nicholas Anelka hat-trick ) have ensured they have a far superior goal difference ( +23 ) than any of the other title contenders.

burn-after-reading-poster

A movie that i saw recently was Burn After Reading. From the very impressive duo of Ethan and Joel Coen ( of The Big Lebowski, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men fame ), this movie , for me, couldn’t stand up to their previous highs. Although loaded with the highest-end cast of George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Jon Malkovich, Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton, the movie fails to find a stable plot and keeps juggling between a situational comedy and a Government thriller. The background score is very impressive, and helps build suspense towards a climax, which ends up being very soft.

Overall i’d rate this movie at 7/10 for its background score, and the impressive cast.

Rajdeep Sardesai’s letter to Raj Thackerey

This comes after I recently got involved in the  “Migrants in  Mumbai” debate at kv’s blog.

My Dear Raj,

My apologies for having to communicate through the editorial pages of a newspaper, but frankly am left with little choice since you seem to have decided to stay away from the so-called ‘national’ non-Marathi media. Let me at the very outset say that I am impressed with the manner you have carved a niche on the political landscape of Maharashtra. I distinctly remember meeting you in February last year soon after the Mumbai municipal corporation elections. It wasn’t the best of times: your party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had been marginalized while your cousin Udhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena had captured power in the city. With many of your supporters deserting you, you appeared down, if not quite out. Twenty months later, I see you’ve bounced back: every local and national daily has you on the front page, you are the subject of television debates and your politics has even united Bihar’s warring netas.

And yet, my friend, there is a thin line between fame and notoriety, more so in the fickle world of politics. Bashing north Indian students may grab the headlines, getting arrested may even get you sympathy and strident rhetoric will always have a constituency, but will it be enough to secure your ultimate dream of succeeding your uncle Bal Thackeray as the flagbearer of Marathi asmita (pride)?

If Balasaheb in the 1960s rose to prominence by targeting the south Indian “lungiwala”, you have made the north Indian “bhaiyaa” the new ‘enemy’. In the 1960s, the Maharashtrian middle class in Mumbai was feeling the pressure of job competition for white collar clerical jobs. Today, it seems that there is a similar sense of frustration at losing out economically and culturally to other social groups in Mumbai’s endless battle for scarce resources. With the Congress and the NCP having become the real estate agents of the state’s rural-urban bourgeoise and the Shiv Sena a pale shadow of its original avatar, the space has been created for a charismatic leader to emerge as a rabble-rouser espousing the sons of the soil platform.

But Raj, I must remind you that electoral politics is very different from street agitations. Sure, round the clock coverage of taxis being stoned and buses being burnt will get you instant recognition. Yes, your name may inspire fear like your uncle’s once did. And perhaps there will always be a core group of lumpen youth who will be ready to do your bidding. But how much of this will translate into votes? Identity politics based on hatred and violence is subject to the law of diminishing returns, especially in a city like Mumbai, the ultimate melting pot of commerce. Your cousin Udhav tried a “Mee Mumbaikar” campaign a few years ago that was far more inclusive, but yet was interpreted as being anti-migrant. The result was that the Shiv Sena lost the 2004 elections – Lok Sabha and assembly – in its original citadel of Mumbai. Some statistics suggest that nearly one in every four Mumbaikars is now a migrant from UP or Bihar. Can any political party afford to alienate such a large constituency in highly competitive elections?

Maybe, your not even looking at winning seats at the moment, but simply staking claim to the Sena legacy in a post Bal Thackeray scenario. Perhaps, thats exactly what the ruling Congress-NCP combine in Maharashtra wants: like a market leader who gets competing brands to crush each other, the Congress-NCP leadership seems to be practicing divide and rule politics once again. They did it with Balasaheb and the communists in the 1960s, with Bhindranwale and the Akalis in the 1980s, even with the Kashmir valley politicians in the 1990s. A larger-than-life Raj Thackeray suits the ruling arrangement in Maharashtra because it could erode its principal rival, the Shiv Sena’s voter support. It’s a dangerous game, but often when politicians run out of ideas, they prefer to play with fire. It’s a fire that could leave Mumbai’s cosmopolitanism scarred for life.

Now, before you see my writings as the outpourings of an anglicized non-resident Maharashtrian, let me just say that, like you, I too am proud of my roots. I too, would like to see the cultural identity of Maharashtrians preserved and the economic well-being of our community assured. Where we differ is that I am a citizen of the Republic of India first, a proud Goan Maharashtrian only later. Fourteen years ago, I left Mumbai for Delhi to seek professional growth and was distinctly fortunate to be readily embraced by the national capital. Like millions of Indians, I too am a migrant and a beneficiary of a nation whose borders don’t stop at state checkpoints.

Moreover, I cannot accept that ‘goondaism’ is the way forward to forging a robust Maharashtrian identity. By vandalizing a shop or stoning a taxi, what kind of mindless regional chauvinism are we promoting? Taking away the livelihood of a poor taxi driver or beating up some defenceless students from Bihar reflects a fake machismo that is no answer to what ails Maharashtrian society today. The Maharashtra I once knew was inspired by the progressive ideals of the bhakti movement, by a Shahu-Phule-Ambedkar legacy of social reform. Are we going to dismantle that legacy under the weight of hate politics?

When you started your party a few years ago, it had been pitched as a party committed to a “modern” Maharashtra. If that vision still stands, why don’t you take it forward in real terms? Why don’t you, for example, set up vocational courses and technical institutes for young Maharashtrians to make them competitive in the job market? Why not, for that matter, start English-speaking classes for Maharashtrian students to equip them for the demands of the new economy? If cultural identity is such a concern, why not launch a statewide campaign to promote Marathi art, theatre and cinema by financially supporting such ventures? If Mumbai’s collapsing infrastructure worries you, then target the politician-builder nexus first. And isn’t it also time we realized that Mumbai is not Maharashtra, that the long suffering Vidarbha and Marathwada farmer needs urgent attention? Why not use your political and financial muscle to start projects in rural Maharashtra instead of focusing your energies on Mumbai’s bright lights alone? An employment generation scheme in a Jalna or a Gadchiroli may not make the front pages, but it will have far greater value for securing Maharashtra’s future.

Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra!

Chelsea home-run:An interesting reference

Here’s an interesting piece i came across

Ding dong, Chelsea’s streak is dead.

Thanks to a deflected shot by Xabi Alonso in the 10th minute off Jose Bosingwa, Liverpool topped Chelsea 1-0 Sunday morning at Stamford Bridge to end the Blue impressive 86-game home unbeaten streak.

Chelsea’s last defeat at Stamford Bridge was in February 21, 2004 to Arsenal.

To put it in perspective, that’s six months before anyone knew what “Lost” was. In that time the Red Sox have won two World Series. It’s the same month Kanye West released his first album and since then has sold over 12 million units worldwide.

For more perspective, the previous English record had been 63 matches held set by Liverpool from 1978-80. Chelsea might be unlikeable, but they absolutely owned this record.



Chelsea- The 86 streak tribute

Back in 2002, on a random day in school, at a GK period, a friend of mine, who was conducting a small mock quiz for the class, asked my team a question I don’t remember. We didn’t have the answer, and he prompted me by saying, “C’mon Kartik, it’s your favorite team, the one you told me about”. To be frank, I didn’t have a single clue to what he was referring, but I replied, “Is it Chelsea?” As it turned out it was Chelsea, and it’s been Chelsea ever since then. Maybe the word Chelsea had come up in one of our random sports talk ( and there were too many ), but I don’t think I can guess what logistics made him call that team my favorite.

Something happened today!

Sometimes when something ends all of a sudden, its strange how you wish it would never have been in the first place. But the worst strikes, when you have to deal with that for the first time.

Chelsea lost for the first time at the Stamford Bridge in a Premier League game for 4 years and 8 months. I felt like it’d be better if I could cry, and not many things make me feel that way. They’ll all come to me, they’ll repeat it to me- it’d be better if I could cry.

Shortly after that first stint with Chelsea, the cable operator at our place didn’t air ESPN-Star for a long time. But by that time, I’d become Chelsea enough to stop at that. Sure, Zola, Zenden, Hasselbaink, Le Saux et al didn’t claim to be invincible, but flames of my Chelsea romance had already been lit.

We shifted to Mumbai around summer 2004, which hadn’t been the best of my times. On the first day to new school, I met this friend, one who still is probably the best of them I’ve got. He asked me if I followed football, that did I watch the EPL, if I supported a club? Maybe, not entirely truthfully, I said I watched football games all the time. I said I was a Chelsea fan ( for the first time ). And it was never about the money as they keep telling me. 

I had seen the game when they last lost a home premier league game, but at that time it didn’t matter. It was OK. Chelsea was also-rans, and they lost to a season-unbeaten Arsenal side. That was February 2004.I was 15 then.

Ever since then, I’d never seen them fail, not at the fortress called Stamford Bridge, that is until today, October 26, 2008, a day after my 20th birthday.

The legend of the phoenix is that it rises back from its own ashes, every time it dies, and though today wasn’t the death of the Chelsea legend, it’s time we rebuild it again. It took them all 86 games ( a total of 26 different teams ) to finally bring the streak to an end. I hope its 860 now. I hope I live to see them keep winning at home forever…..

True Blue Forever…..