• Adios, Murali

    He walks to the top of his mark and stands there, the ball a whirring blur as he tosses it from his bowling hand to his left.

    He surveys his field and with shouted word and eloquent gesture repositions them, moving them around in incremental inches until he gets them just so, with all the precision of a master of the geometry of bowling, one who knows exactly what he is going to bowl and precisely how the batsman will react to that delivery.

    A pause, and then his arms swing back, like those of a swimmer launching into a back-stroke; he bounces through his brief run-up and swings into his delivery stride. The images are synonymous with 'effort' — the blurred swing of bowling arm and impossible rotation of the wrist; the mouth opened wide in a rictus of effort and the impossibly bulging eyes as they follow the trajectory of the ball he has just released; the eyes narrowing as they track the batsman's response; the mouth forming smiles that speak volumes — a wry smile when the

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  • Circa 2008, India was in a state of shock when it witnessed Mumbai being held at gun point by terrorists for three days. In the aftermath, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that this attack was the first of many — the only unanswered question was, when would the next attack come, and where would it strike?

    That dreaded attack has not materialized, if you discount the German Bakery, Pune blast of earlier this year. And this in turn has led the government of India to repeatedly suggest that India is safe.

    At an Intelligence Bureau Endowment Lecture recently, Home Minister P Chidambaram asserted how India had remained incident free for nearly 14 months. "Honestly, it is because of dame luck that there has been no terror attack," the minister replied.

    What is interesting is not the response, wherein the man responsible for the country's safety pinned his bets on "luck", but the framing of the question itself: Why are we safe, Chidambaram was asked — a question that

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  • In a significant step towards peace in the region, Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers have met for the first time in a bilateral summit in Islamabad since 26/11. This follows a decision taken earlier in Bhutan by the Prime Ministers of both countries to normalize relations.

    The question is how often has India done its part to revive relations with Pakistan, only to be snubbed? The Pak government has, so far, only made a lot of promises, most of them half-heartedly, only to back-track later. Even the ghastly 26/11 Mumbai attack and the ensuing international outcry that followed didn't get Pakistan to shut shop of its terror patronage and arrest its leaders.

    Here's a look at all that has transpired in Indo-Pak talks since 26/11. The timeline:

    Dec 2008: India accuses Pakistanis for carrying out the 26/11 attacks. Tensions rise between the two neighbours.

    Jan 2009: Pakistan seeks resumption of the peace process and says it was committed to bringing the Mumbai perpetrators to

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  • The cat is out of the bag. Prices of the widely talked about Nissan Micra have been announced for the Indian market — INR 3,98,000 — XE (entry), INR 4,69,500 — XL (Mid) & INR 528,800 — XV (Top) — all ex-showroom Delhi. Nationwide sales of Micra will commence from July 15.

    Positioned in the B+ car segment, the new Micra is equipped with some key technological innovations, which are designed to simplify day-to-day life for its owners. It offers first-in-its-class Intelligent Key plus Immobilizer, push-button engine start-stop system and electric foldable mirror.

    The company is planning to open 30 more dealerships by the end of this fiscal all over the country. Micra rolls out at a time when the B-segment is abuzz with new launches. So will this bubbly small car be able to withstand the formidable competition and turn out to be a champ on Indian roads? Let's wait and watch.

    Has Nissan been able to strategically price the Micra? Express your views below or connect with me on

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  • Is more violence in store for the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra?

    With the Supreme Court asking the Maharashtra government to amend its plea vis-a-vis the Belgaum district, Karnataka is up in arms against this judgment.  It's barely a day since the pronouncement and violence has already erupted in these two states.

    Back in April this year, Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa said that it takes more than just the language to divide a state and that there can never be a "compromise" on this issue. However, two days back, Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan reiterates that Belgaum must be made a part of his state since the majority speak Marathi there. Today he changes his stance.  Since the dispute is not nearing an end, he called for all 865 villages to be a made Union territory till the Court settles the dispute.

    "There is no option other than making the villages an Union Territory and we would request the prime minister to cooperate with us on the issue," Chavan said.

    It

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  • "Ferrari doesn't sell really a car, it sells a dream."

    Let it be the launch of the world's cheapest car or the acquisition of JLR, Ratan Tata never stops to amuse us; and this time, by bringing the iconic Ferrari to India.

    BSMotoring reports that Ferrari is looking to open its first dealership in India in the next six to eight months and is likely to appoint Tata Motors or a sub-division of it as its sole Indian distributor and dealer. With Tata-Fiat joint venture in full swing in India and Fiat being the parent company of Ferrari, the move appears to be practical and convenient.

    Speaking to BBC News, Ferrari Chairman Luca Di Montezemolo said that he is looking at opening a dealership here in India this year itself, although that might be a little premature. Ferrari is planning to open two dealerships in two of the largest metros in India, New Delhi and Mumbai with the latter most likely to be the first one.

    Ferrari manufactures road-going sportscars, supercars and grand

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  • Mueller: The ‘Golden’ Boy

    This is just incredible for a newcomer to the World Cup. If anyone told me I'd end on eight scorer points, I'd have said they were kidding me — Thomas Mueller.

    Sensational German striker Thomas Mueller edged past the likes of Diego Forlan, David Villa and Wesley Sneijder to clinch the prestigious Golden Boot at the 2010 Football World Cup. The Bayern Munich striker, who also snapped the Best Young Player award, however was frustrated to miss out on the greatest prize in South Africa. The WC Trophy!

    He became the third German player to receive the 'Best Young Player' award after Franz Beckenbauer (1966) and Lukas Podolski (2006). Mueller was also the second-youngest player to score five times in World Cup finals.

    Factbox: Golden Boot winner Thomas Mueller

    With five magnificent goals for Germany in the competition, Mueller has already been touted by many as a legend in the making. The 20-year-old forward, who made his international debut only in March, has quickly risen to

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  • Sept 14, 2010

    Curfew was today extended to all major towns of the Kashmir Valley as a precautionary measure after violent clashes left 17 people dead and over 70 injured. The sources said the curfew was imposed in fresh areas as a precautionary measure and to prevent people from pouring out on roads and streets. Read more

    Sept 13, 2010 - The bloodiest day in 3 months

    In a sudden flare-up of violence in Kashmir today, 17 people, including a policeman, were killed and over 70 injured with mobs torching several government properties and a school, some of the trouble triggered by a TV report alleging desecration of the Quran in the US. The state cabinet, which met this evening, condemned the alleged act of desecration and made a fervent appeal to the people not to take law in their own hands. In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voiced concern over the ongoing unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Aug 17, 2010

    As the strife in Kashmir continues for yet another day,

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  • Diego Forlan Wins Golden Ball

    Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan won FIFA's Golden Ball for World Cup 2010 — essentially, the Man of the Tournament award. Having led his side to the semi-finals of the tournament and winning the grudging admiration of even those who wrote off Uruguay after Luis Suarez's Hand of God moment in their match against Ghana, Forlan tied with Thomas Mueller of Germany, David Villa of Spain and Wesley Sneijder with five goals apiece for a possible shot at winning the Golden Boot of this edition of the World Cup.

    But alas, his last-minute free kick against Germany in the 3rd place playoff missed the nets by a whisker.

    Take a look at this magnificent shot that fell short by mere inches.

    Had he successfully netted this goal, his total goal tally in this tournament would have been 6 — one more than Villa and Sneijder, who tried long and hard during the finals to take their tally up by one but to no avail. And he'd have walked away with not only the respect of his fellow players and

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  • The Beginning of the End for the Human Race

    Crocs are evil.

    Not those monstrosities some people wear on their feet, though they are evil too — one gaudy colour at a time. I once saw a pair of fuchsia crocs on a man that has left me scarred for life, remind me to tell you that story sometime.

    I'm talking about crocodiles. If they're anything like Doob Doob in Tinkle, you can still cut them some slack. But what when they want to steal the thunder from right under an octopus's, um, tentacles? It's not everyday that octopuses are talked about in nice terms. You either have to stump the crystal ball-gazing/tarot-reading/all-knowing soothsayers of the world or you have to be the inspiration for a Bond movie title. Tell me which other instance have you heard of an eight-legged sea-dwelling tentacular animal with nine brains being spoken of in flattering terms?

    Right — none.

    So where were we? Ah, crocs, yes. So riding on the tentacle-tails of OctoPaul, the friendly aquatic oracle that waddled over to whichever box its rump

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