Sunday, July 30, 2006

Results from the previous week

The last week has been both painful and productive!!!

Painful because I had to slog thru the entire week. I would have hardly slept for 5 hrs everyday and this includes the weekends also. The Sun feels hotter, the AC feels chiller and everything was in a daze. But if all the pain is gonna produce so much, i might as well bear the pain for the next two months.

So - how productive was I??? I have written 5 out of 6 Harvard essays. This means that i have almost cleared the most important hurdle of the essay marathon - getting the first one out of way. Everyone says that the first ones are the most crucial and the most time consuming. I have almost finished them, that too in a week. I accept that this was possible because i had done much of the work lot before. The self introspection, the goals, why MBA, why this school have all been decided even before i started preparing for my GMAT. All that's pouring out now.

I agree that the essays are far from complete. They don't even satisfy the word count at the moment. They are yet to be reviewed in detail. All these, i hope, will happen during this week.

Once the HBS essay reviews are done, i am planning to start the HBS application. I will send the reco invitations and ask my recommenders to work on them. I guess i will start with Stanford or Kellogg next. Both the school's essays are long and pretty open ended. But in any order, these will be the next two. Then it will be Wharton i think. Then Chicago and Columbia, in that order. Will do LBS in R1 only if i have time. Else it will be R2, along with some other schools i have in mind.

At this rate, i think i can do all 7 (well, effectively 6) over the next two months. Let's see how it goes...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Full Steam

There is a particular kind of pleasure in pushing yourself to the brink and making yourself to do things which you think are impossible. I am in one such runs now and i know for sure that if i don't push myself, i cannot even complete the race.

When i decided that i will apply to 5 schools in Round 1, i was not aware of the daunting task in front of me. I took a break from MBA apps after GMAT and i lost it somewhere. I dint do anything for more than a month. When i started it all again, i just could not get back to full speed.

The wise people often say that a bit of shock is always useful. When i sat down to prepare the tracking sheet for the essays i had to submit, i was startled. I had 37 essays to finish. I had 60 days to work, for i have decided that September end it will all end. It looked like a long distance sprint, rather than a marathon.

It was one of those "rude shocks" ppl keep saying. I woke up, started to work on my essays as seriously as possible and hit on a new problem. My writing was screwed up. I never had issues with content and my writing was not the most creative literature you would find. But i thought i can create effective write-ups.

My first essay sucked. I wrote it, got it reviewed and was satisfied with it till i found the essay of someone. Another rude shock!!! I have been having a no sleep life for the past one week. I go to office by 8, slog like hell with all that work, try to come back by 6 and come back by 8 or 9, and work on my essays till 2 or 3 in the night. The whole week had been like this.

I have finished 4 HBS essays. I am planning to finish some more essays tomorrow. I can even work on the essays from other schools. And the bigger thing is that the writing is back :) I like the last three essays which i have created. They are yet to be reviewed by anyone, but i like them already. I am sure that they will only become better after the reviews.

So yeah, that's the status as of now. I hope i can finish HBS essays by Wednesday. I am in a dilemma between Chicago and Stanford as to which one i shud start next. This i will decide after i finish HBS.

Time to go get some sleep now.

Take care folks...

Friday, July 28, 2006

What's happening and what's not

The happening...
  1. I started working on the essays. I love them for the thought process. The past few days have been self retrospection all the way. I hate them for the constraints. But i guess that is what makes them look so good in the end.
  2. I am registering for events. Even MBA fairs. Dunno how many i would attend really, but I'm just making myself available in all possible places where i can get some info reg these schools.
  3. I've made a big plan and am glad to say I'm getting help from a lot of places. I am now confident that things will fall into place.
  4. Work is going on smoothly. I badly want to finish this project and get out. Cant help it with a document being in review for close to 6 months now!!!

The not...
  1. I'm not moving as fast as I'd like to go. I have 2.5 essays ready after a weeks work. I have 8 more weeks to go and at this pace, i would only finish something like 25 essays. Gotta move on faster.
  2. My writing skills are gone. Just getting back into some decent shape. 3 years of technical writing had screwed up whatever little English i know.
  3. I'm again into the AWOL mode. Haven't caught up with any of my buddies. Everyone reading this, mercy mercy...

I have recently discovered that running around doing both work and applications is perhaps one of the most difficult jobs to do on earth. The next 6 months of my life are gonna be spent this way. At the end of it, i guess I'd be 5 yrs older and hopefully wiser :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Info Sessions

Just to keep track of the info sessions - a compilation of the corresponding pages from my target schools

Columbia (September 27, Bangalore, Registered)
Chicago (August 6, Bangalore, Registered, Attended)

Some running around it is gonne be...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The marathon begins

I started with my essays. This is one daunting task to do. I guess all my essays will need someone to go over them again and again to bring that onto acceptable condition. I have the content, but somehow flaw in the way i put that into words. Guess i will get better as the days progress.

Just made myself a tracking sheet - a single point reference to know where i am with all the essays. When i look into it, i see how much i gotta do. I've got more than 35 essays to write. I guess it is time to do some major prioritization and ordering of stuff. I hope OCOD takes over me again.

I will be traveling to Bangalore on the 5th to attend the Chicago GSB meet. Hope to meet some good people over there and also to see the school for myself. The place and time have not been fixed as yet. Wharton also speaks about an event in Bangalore over the next week. They haven't put up anything in their site as yet. Will travel to Bangalore for that again. Looks like MBA apps have taken over life and looks like it'll stay the same over the next few months.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

This is too cool...

I figured this out with the MS Office 2007 today. May be this existed in the earlier versions of office too, but this is news to me.

So yeah - what am i rambling about???
I can publish posts directly from MS Office.

This is just too cool, me thinks. I don't even need to open the blogger tool. I don't even need to open my browser. Just type stuff, hit a button and i am done. I like this.

Infact, i had published this post that way!!!

BTW - did i say that the more i's using MS Office 2007, the more I'm liking it. It is visually too good. For me, that appeal is really important. It is hogging memory for sure, but applications cant be light and good looking at the same time i guess :) I dunno - I'm not an expert here. I'll take the Office 2007, however heavy it is.

Friday, July 21, 2006

That makes it ALL.

Yes - Kellogg has released it's essays as well as the deadlines. Looks like October is gonna be one heck of a month. All the schools, apart from Columbia, have their R1 deadlines in October - between the 11th and the 20th. 5 schools!!! Gosh.

Meanwhile, I have been doing some good work. Things seem to be falling in place, atleast for the moment. My college senior (who was my first lead) took over the ownership of the project i am handling. He was at the client's place for the past 18 months and the person who was responsible for the project till date is on the flight to US.

This is a great development for me. I am very very comfortable with my senior. There is suddenly so much order in the things out there. And i simply left all the "going around and convincing ppl" stuff to him. This is one thing i hated to do - to go about proving the same point again and again to all the people out there. I was wrong at times, but this is just plain depressing. It sucks to see all ur work being taken with a non-approving smile all the time. I had to put up with it with a plain smile on my face - not anymore.

Then i met this girl thru our blogs. We share the same list of schools and we've been speaking since Sunday abt apps and various other things. We're hoping we can work together on our essays - each of us trying to provide feedback and comment on the other person's essays. She's already too good, so i dunno how useful I'm gonna be :) But it is a big help for me!!! We have some plans. Hope we can execute them to our liking. Running the app marathon all alone would have been too boring. Now i know i have some company!!!

So yeah - less crap (more work though) at work and some order in the app front as well. Isn't everything falling into place. Not yet!!! I haven't done a bit towards writing an essay!!! Planning to prepare some drafts this weekend. Hope it turns out to be a productive weekend.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The famous Steve Jobs speech

This is the video of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005. I've read the transcript of the speech long back. Thanks to juggler for the link to the video.

The App Journey

Well - i have started off. I have put up the essays from all the schools. I will now type in all the info i gather reg these schools in these very posts. I will update these posts as and when i cross milestones. In short, these posts are my data logs, my tracking sheets, my progress reports - everything i am gonna do in the process of applying to these schools.

The outcome of this almost 6 month long journey might be anything. I dont want to look beyond R1. Full stop. I want to seal this within the schools in this short list. I want that decision in my inbox by this Jan. And i am going for it at full throttle.

LBS Essays - 2007

These are the essays from LBS. I will update their status as and when i get done with them.

Question 1 (500 words)
In what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation? Why? How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this? How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal?

Question 2 (200 words)
Where do you see your career progressing five years after graduation and what is your longer term career vision?

Question 3 (500 words)
Please describe your experience of working in and leading teams, either in your professional or personal life. Given this experience, what role do you think you will play in your study group, and how do you intend to contribute to it?

Question 4 (400 words)
Student involvement is an extremely important part of the London MBA experience and this is reflected in the character of students on campus. What type of student club or campus community event do you envisage yourself leading? How would you set about becoming involved in a leadership position and how would you align and communicate the goals and vision for the club to the wider School community?

Question 5 (150 words)
Describe any significant experiences outside of your home country. What did you gain from these?

Question 6 (300 words) (Optional)

Is there any other information that you believe would help the MBA Admissions Committee when considering your application?

R1 Deadline: October 20 2006
Application - Did not apply

Chicago Essays - 2007

These are the essays from Chicago. I will update their status as and when i get done with them.

Question 1 (1500 words)
Explain the path that has led you to pursue an MBA as the next step in your professional and personal development. Describe your short and long term post-MBA career goals. What or who influenced your choice of schools, and how specifically will Chicago GSB help you succeed? Done

Question 2 (500 words)
1. If the admissions committee were to interview one of your closest colleagues, what aspect of your personal development would this person say is especially important for the admissions committee to know? Done
2. You have been asked to write an editorial about the most pressing issue facing humanity. Please identify the issue and justify why you have selected it.

Question 3 (100 words)
1. What is the one thing that most people do not know about you? Done
2. What book, play, or movie would you recommend to the admissions committee? Why? Done
3. It is your first day of business school and people are selecting study groups. How would you describe the value you will bring to a study group? Done

R1 Deadline: October 18 2006
Application - Big Fat Super Royal Admit

Columbia Essays - 2007

These are the essays from Columbia. I will update their status as and when i get done with them.

Question 1 (750 words)
What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals?

Question 2 (500 words)
Leading in the global economy requires enabling high performance from a diverse set of employees, colleagues and partners. Tell us about a manager you’ve observed who enabled or inspired others to do their best work and analyze how this manager did it.

Question 3 (500 words)
In discussing Columbia Business School, Dean R. Glenn Hubbard remarked, “We have established the mindset that entrepreneurship is about everything you do.” Please discuss a time in your own life when you have identified and captured an opportunity.

Question 4 (250 words)
Please select and answer one of the following essay questions.
a. Please tell us what you feel most passionate about in life.
b. If you were given a free day and could spend it anywhere, in any way you choose, what would you do?

Question 5 (Optional)
Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee? (Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.)

R1 Deadline: January 10 2007
Application - Did not apply

Stanford Essays - 2007

These are the essays from Stanford. I will update their status as and when i get done with them.

Question 1 (3 to 4 Pages)
What matters most to you, and why? Done

Question 2 (2 to 3 Pages)
What are your career aspirations? How will your education at Stanford help you achieve these? Done

Question 3 (1 to 2 Pages)
Short Essays:
Please answer two of the questions below. In answering each question, please tell us not only what you did, but also how you did it. Describe what you felt, said, and thought during these experiences. Tell us the outcome, and describe how people responded. Your responses should describe experiences that have occurred within the last three years.

1. Tell us about a time when you did something that was not established, expected, or popular.
2. Tell us about a time when you felt effective or successful.
3. Tell us about a time when you had a significant effect on a group or individual. Done
4. Tell us about a time when you tried to reach a goal or complete a task that was challenging, difficult, or frustrating. Done

R1 Deadline: October 25 2006
Application - Big Fat Royal Ding

Wharton Essays - 2007

These are the essays from Wharton. I will update their status as and when i get done with them.

Question 1 (1000 words)
Describe your career progress to date and your future short-term and long-term career goals. How do you expect an MBA from Wharton to help you achieve these goals, and why is now the best time for you to join our program? Done

Question 2 (500 words)
Describe a failure or setback that you have experienced. How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself? Done

Questions 3 & 4 (500 words each)
Please complete two of the following four questions:
1. Describe a personal characteristic or quality that will help the Admissions Committee to know you better. Done
2. Describe an impact you’ve had on a team, group or organization. How has this experience been valuable to you or others, and what did you learn? Done
3. What do you do best and why?
4. When have your values, ethics, or morals been challenged? How has this shaped who you are today?

Question 5 (250 words - Optional)
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application).

R1 Deadline: October 12 2006
Application - Big Fat Royal Ding

Kellogg Essays - 2007

These are the essays from Kellogg. I will update their status as and when i get done with them.

Question 1 (1 to 2 pages)
Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree at the Kellogg School. Done

Question 2 (1 to 2 pages)
Each of our applicants is unique. Describe how your background, values, academics, activities and/or leadership skills will enhance the experience of other Kellogg students. Done

Question 3 (1 to 2 pages)
You have been selected as a member of the Kellogg Admissions Committee. Please provide a brief evaluative assessment of your file. Done

Question 4 (2 to 3 paragraphs)
Complete three of the following six questions or statements.

1. What have been your most significant leadership experiences to date? Done
2. Describe an ethical dilemma that you faced and how it was resolved?
3. Outside of work I… Done
4. Describe a professional situation where you were able to successfully persuade others to see things your way.
5. I wish the Admissions Committee had asked me… Done

R1 Deadline: October 20 2006
Application - Big Fat Post interview Royal Ding

Harvard Essays - 2007

These are the essays from Harvard. I will update their status as and when i get done with them.

Question 1 (400 words)
What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience? Done

Question 2 (600 words)
What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? Done

Question 3 (400 words)
Discuss a defining experience in your leadership development. How did this experience highlight your strengths and weaknesses as a leader? Done

Question 4 (400 words)
In your career, you will have to deal with many ethical issues. What are likely to be the most challenging and what is your plan for developing the competencies you will need to handle these issues effectively? Done

Question 5 (400 words)
What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you? Done

Question 6 (400 words)
What other information do you believe would be helpful to the Board in understanding you better and in considering your application? Done

R1 Deadline: October 11 2006
Application - Big Fat Royal Ding

Friday, July 14, 2006

I cannot think of a good title now!!!

And that is because this happened.

I had submitted my blog under the applicants column to this list. I was at Wharton's AdComm blog today when i saw this in the Applicant Blogs section. A chill shiver went through my spine and i was in a diff world for some time. My mind went flying into regions like "How would it be if my name comes under the student blogs section of Wharton???" I started dreaming in the land of "what ifs"!!!

But why did i spend time @ Wharton's AdComm Blog??? Coz their Essays have been released!!! That makes it 6 out of the 7 I'm looking for. Sounds like there are loads to be done. There are atleast two 1000 word essays and one 1500 word essay!!! As with my analytical abilities before GMAT preps began, my essay writing skills will be on a low i guess. Time to fire up those creative neurons (i hope i still have some of them left in me) and carve out some great, life-changing essays!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rain Rain Come again...

Today it rained in Chennai. It is still raining in Chennai.
You might be wondering - "Now, what's so special in rains?!?!"

First of all, it is supposed to be summer here in Chennai. People do expect rains in summer - but they are kind of unpredictable. It was so hot some 2 days back and why, even yesterday and today morning it was all dull and sober. Tonight - it rained.

Second, and the more important thing, is that i happened to drive back from office to home when the rain happened. I am one of these rain lovers. I love getting drenched in rain, there is something really good about it. I feel as if i am someone (or something) above every earthly stuff, i feel as if i was existing somewhere else - out of this world. In short - i just cannot express how good i feel.

I have spent long durations in the rain. Extremely long durations, just for the love of it. My personal record would be something like 2 hours. This happened when i was in my undergrad college. The last one hour i was simply shivering to my bones, but i could not pull myself into the hostel. I just walked all around the college, enjoying my life within life with the rain drops. I love you rain, i love you so much.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Mumbai misfortune

One more dastardly act from these cowardly specimens of the human race, the ppl who are called Terrorists. What do they gain anything out of killing ordinary people who use trains for their everyday travel from office to home and back. Simple people these are, many of whom might have been the sole breadwinners of their families. My heart reaches out to those who passed away in the 7 blasts that rocked the city today evening. Let their souls rest in peace.

As would happen with any terrorist act, there is a strong anticurrent against Muslims following the serial blasts. This is not without reason i should agree, coz most of the trouble maker outfits which orchestrate such acts are run by Muslim ppl and they spread this concept of Jihad (holy war). Following any bomb blast or something else, as if they are proud of it, someone stakes claim. I don't think anyone has done that with these blasts as yet. But still ppl are saying things. The following few days will throw some light on the issue.

Well, as a Muslim myself, i am ashamed of what these outfits do. This is definitely not Jihad. This is not the holy war the Quran defines. These are individual people fighting for their own reasons, with bunch of brainwashed kids. I only hope that nothing breaks out following this. If something like that happens it is not the extreme outfits that get affected, it is the common man who loses his relatives, wealth or in worst case his life. The social misfits and their so called "leaders" continue their life planning the next opportunity to cause a similar attack - but the damage caused to normal citizens in irreversible. Let there be peace. Please...

Well, if any of you happen to have someone in Mumbai and are running around for any kind of info, try this blog. This blog is a wonderful initiative and i was terribly moved by their gesture. Hope you get what you're searching for and hope whoever you were looking for is doing fine and safe.

Frequent blogging and the 3 month plan

The next 3 months promise to be really exciting. Reason - i am starting my journey towards MBA apping by this weekend. Ever since i had started the journey in late February, when i had began gathering info reg GMAT and MBA courses as such, i was living in a world totally oblivious to something called "socializing" that by the time i was done with GMAT every other person i knew was like "Long time no see" :)

So i had so much to catch up with these ppl and working more than 50 hrs a week doesn't help matters anyway. So i had to spend the past few weekends with all the following stuff:
  • Bidding farewell to friend who had joined B schools in India.
  • Meeting a friend who had come back to India after a 3 month onsite trip in US.
  • Visiting houses of relatives and spending some quality time with those sweet little cousin sisters i have and also the kids of my elder cousin sister. Spending time with kids is a mind blowing experience. It is out of this world really :)
  • Meeting up with friends who had remembered to remember me inspite of me going AWOL :)
  • Catching up with all those movies i had wanted to see, but pushed myself out of seeing.
  • Spending time watching my biggest crush - football and writing so much about it.
  • Covering up some lost ground at office. I hadn't slipped much, no one complained, but i knew i had changed priorities atleast for the last 2 weeks or so. And the new responsibilities are so demanding that i needed time to settle in. We still haven't settled in, but we know where the team is going. Some rocky roads ahead for sure.
On the whole, the past 1 month has been really a relaxing experience. I spent some time in touch with MBA also, speaking and listening to ppl reg what the next step should be, how to go about the applying ordeal. inblue recommended a few good books to read before proceeding and as luck would have it, one of my colleagues offered to lend the books to me. I have a huge array of books stacked in my desk. At this moment, believe it or not, i have 14 books to be read, of which i am half way through 3. This is apart from the 3 books on Marketing, Finance and Economics books i got from a friend who's just got into his 2nd yr of MBA. Quite a big load i agree :)

I plan to finish 2 of the 3 MBA books i have by this weekend. The other book can wait coz it is a all out Essay Writing book. I have just bought a set of "5 subject Note Book", in which i plan to make points reg all the schools i am gonna apply in R1. I need something like this coz points for essays and application strategies come to my mind out of the blue. It is like i feed these topics to my mind and run the process on the background. I totally forget about it and then, i have a brainwave!!! Eureka and the crux of an essay is ready. I need these note books for me to record all these brain waves and use all of them. I tend to forget some of these stuff if i don't take notes.

Just like i used my blog to speak aloud about everything around my GMAT preps, i am gonna speak aloud everything about my MBA application journey in my blog. And since i have started working on the applications already, I guess that I'll be blogging pretty frequently from now on. The first in this regard will be a summary of the stuff I've known about my schools as of now. This will be put up by this weekend hopefully.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Back to work

I wanted a big break from all this MBA thingy once i was done with my GMAT. For the last 1 month plus a few days, i tried hard to keep myself away from it. But i guess things don't really happen the way u want to. Just like i hate to go to work and still can slog for more than 10 hrs every day at work, i don't want to remember anything about MBA applications et al but i keep thinking about is always. This is one thing i cannot shake out of my head and i guess these days, i don't have space for anything else in my head :)

Inspite of my wanting to keep away from MBA stuff, i have been doing many things directly related to MBA applications. I have been religiously checking the admission pages of all the school I'm planning to apply in R1. At the time this post is being written, 4 out of the 6 have come out with their application essays and deadlines. So as the title suggests, back to work :)

I have been reading a lot in this regard as well. I have covered almost half of this book "ABC of Getting the MBA Admission Edge" written (or rather composed) by Alan Mendonca and Matt Symonds. It is an old book, which only had statistics and data from almost 5 yrs ago. But i doubt whether i would find all that info, compiled and presented so well, in any other place. I am getting some really important info from the book - which i wud have definitely not known otherwise. The really big plus from this book is that it has the usual and the unusual info about the top schools and that makes comparison very simple. We can always check the latest statistics from the school sites or places like BizWeek. There is one more book i have in my possession, "How to get into the Top MBA Programs" written by Richard Montauk, which I'm really eager to start reading. A mere mention of the book has brought out so much positive remarks - I'm looking forward to it.

As with GMAT preps, i am planning to go about preps in an organized planned manner. Starting from now, i have atleast 3 months to work on all these essays and applications and i plan to start working from now. The one month break has helped me refresh myself (something i really really wanted after the stressful experience of GMAT) and now i want to do this more than ever. I am working out a plan and should finalize on it by this weekend. Will finish these 2 books and the 2 other MBA admission books i have by the end of this month - by then i wud have more insight into the process than i have now. I plan to gather info reg schools and also to work AdHoc on my essays - jotting down a point here and then as and when i figure out something. Hopefully i will have sorted out a grand strategy for the application process as such and i also hope that i will have figured out my responses to all the essays. Then using this rough draft and pool of info, i plan to work on the essays and the applications for the next 2 months.

By the first week of October - i must be done with all the applications. Let us see whether i can put up a show similar to what i did with GMAT :) You guys be prepared to hear more and more of my ranting about the application process ;)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Azzurries - World Champs!!!

An initial burst of about 20 minutes in which each team scored a goal a piece, then some boring football for the remaining 100 minutes - with few sparse moments of individual brilliance, collective team effort, imaginative attacks, astute defense and the biggest of all, one moment of absolute stupidity. 120 minutes and 10 kicks away - Fabio Cannavaro stood atop that make shift pavement with the FIFA World cup in his hands.

As everyone else would agree - they are the worthy winners, going by both today's game and their performance throughout the cup. They have been the only consistent performer in this year's edition and have conceded as less as only 2 goals in all of the games they have played in this competition. They have scored in every match they have played in WC 2006.

Well, Italy will be world champions for the next 4 years and they seem to have a good team to do consistently well as well. But you never know - things might really get bad after these guys return home and the investigation on the allegations of match fixing begins. For the moment, i cant stop smiling :)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What a crappy game!?!?

If yesterday was a top notch game, today's game was no where close to it. Both the teams were far below par and had they been in diff groups, we cud very well have had a Italy Vs Germany Final. Crappy doesn't even begin to explain the show we had to view today. Duh!!!

Portugal was pathetic. Throughout the game they had one striker in front - either Pauletta or Ronaldo. This continued even after they went one goal down, when they shud supposedly be attacking. They weren't creative, dint attack well, mid field play wasn't working - what a bad match. As if all this is not enough, they painted this pathetic image on themselves with all those divings et al. The luck of one man, goal keeper Ricardo, carried them forward to the WC Semi Finals. They just ran out of luck today. Bye Bye!!!

France was average at best. Zidane was okay, perhaps Portugal dint motivate him as Brazil did. Thuram's defense was really good. A Henry fake dive got them the spot kick, which was wonderfully converted by Zizou. France are through. I dont think this will take them anywhere in the finals. And considering Italy's defensive prowess and it's new found attacking fluency - the French have a tough match in hand.

So - Italy and France will fight it out for the Cup. My money is on Italy. And i can bet with a bit more confidence as all the teams i predict to win have been winning, after the QF debacle i had :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jumping in joy

Jump up from the bed, punch the air, do a lil samba - all that was my reaction when Italy scored the second goal today. And it has been long since I've done that. Ecstasy doesn't event begin to explain my state now. Is it coz Italy won or is it coz Germany lost??? I don't really know - but right now, I'm riding on a very high wave.

But yeah - justice to my judgments at last and for the first time, the team that i backed won in an evenly matched competition. And the better team won as well - no "one man in front of goal mouth" business. Rich, pure, high class football throughout the match and as a passionate football fan i simply enjoyed the 2 hrs if the game i got to see.

I guess now the world saw where Germany is exactly placed. I'm not speaking this coz Germany lost today. They just aren't good enough to have even reached the Semis and against Argentina they were just plain lucky. Aargh - enuf of the past!!! Take a look at the team and they have some good players. Klose, Podolski and Ballack (who really hasn't impressed me in any of the games I've seen him play) are the ones i can think of now. But apart from that, they are a team "under construction". The fact that this team rode the home support and all the luck it had to reach the Semis is itself commendable. Bye Bye Germany - I'm glad i can say that today.

Ah!!! Italy. What can i say. Now this is one of the teams i like. But i really haven't seen them play attacking football. Today they did, for the second game running. And what can one say about their defense?!?!? Cannavaro was just out-of-the-world. He was having an inspired match and some of the saves, tackles and blocks he made today were awesome. Top class defending from that guy and other guys sticking to the routine Italian way of defending meant that in the whole game Buffon, the world's costliest goal keeper, had to make only one save - and that was a stupendous one, which saved the match.

One must definitely mention the tactical shrewdness of the Italians today. They pushed hard during the early stages in all sessions and silently went back to defending during the later parts of a session, in an attempt to catch their breaths for the next session. It was quite an irony that the goals came towards the fag end of the last session of normal play. But again, that appears to me as a strategic bluff as well. All in all - Italy scores 5 on 5 for today's performance. July 7th is a different day :)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Cricket Vs Football

Why am writing this???
  • The WC Semis are only for tomorrow
  • 20 wickets were taken in 3 days in the India Vs West Indies Cricket match
  • And 3 months of GMAT preps has screwed up my biological clock to badly that i cannot sleep before 2.
So - i have time to kill.
Kill ppl like u who brave the odds and frequent my blog ;)

Having born in India, where a 19 yr boy who got into the national cricket team the prev day is worshipped by ppl as old as 91, Cricket runs in my blood too. Well, I am a bit more than just a cricket fan - I am a player myself and have represented my school and college teams. But strangely as it would appear, i have lotsa football in my blood too. And even here, I'm more than a fan - I was my college soccer team Captain. So yeah - I'd say i know a few things about either games, both by theory as well as by practice.

So - what made me write this post???

The cricketing calendar is so heavy that we always have some series happening. So one doesn't really need an occasion to speak about Cricket. But this is the perfect time to speak about football - with the football world eagerly expecting 1 of the 4 European nations to be crowned the new Champions on July the 7th. But it is not only the occasion. The Euphoria that the world cup has created has made many ppl, especially Indians, compare the two games and take sides - trying to say Cricket is best or Football is best.

this post is an effort to play middle man and say - plz don't compare.

Cricket and Football are two completely different games. One cannot take the positives of one game and compare - just to find the other game to be lacking in those departments. And likewise, the negatives of a game need not mean that it is inferior. In their truest form, Cricket and Football are there to entertain ppl like u and me and they do it really well.

Cricket is atleast a Day long game. I agree that u can always come late and catch up those last 10 overs, or simply see the first 15 overs before taking of to office. And the 20-20 format hasn't really set the screens on fire - not yet. So - it stays day long. That is asking for a lot of commitment from the viewer. The case is still worse with Test matches - with 5 days!!! Compared to that, a football game, even if those 22 men have taken an oath not to score, will get over in 90, 120 or 150 minutes. Does that make Cricket boring and football Interesting??? NO!!!

People say that in Cricket, there are atleast wides and no balls and wickets to keep the viewer interested. While cricket has its own share of interesting sub sections, Football is not a singe chapter book either. In football we have tackles (well - more on this later), dribbles, free kicks (not necessarily taken by Beckham), goal misses, goal mouth saves, Cards (in 2 colors that too), more more more. Just like we sometimes lose track of how the last 25 overs were completed, sometimes we feel like 2 hours is not enough for a Football match. We wont even know 2 hrs passed by.

A 120 minute goalless draw can be so boring that it can stop prospective viewers/fans from watching the game one more time, a fact i got to hear from many ppl after the England Vs Portugal match. But hey, it wasn't boring for me. And i am sure that many ppl wud agree with me. If u call that boring, how'd u rate Rahul Dravid's 81 of 215 balls in the 1st innings and 68 of 166 balls in the 2nd??? Exciting isn't the word that'd go with it.

I already hear the Dravid Fans (believe me - I'm one of u) ready to take on me with stuff like "what abt the difficult pitch???", "what abt the accurate West Indian Bowling???", "what abt the fact that no one else score more than him???" "well - he was named man of the match for these 2 innings"!!! Agreed Agreed - the point is that Dravid had to take it slow because the situation demanded it. The situation in the Eng Vs. Por match did demand England to put all men back and defend. With David Beckam (well - the only creative mind in that team I'd say) - it cud have been different. With Rooney (and with someone else Red Carded) - it cud have been different. But England had to play without these 2 men and just like Dravid stuck it out - England did make a fist out of it. It was perhaps England's best performance in this world cup. And Portugal was just plain lucky to go through - it dint deserve to.

I'd like to speak about the tackles for sure. There is a rising concern, within FIFA too, about players faking injuries and fake dives et al. FIFA had issues strict warnings to referees to punish faking players severely. But still, player dive at will. Many new viewers seem to find this bad. It is bad i accept, but which game does not have its own share of "ethic breakers". Remember what Afridi did to the pitch in the recent England tour of Pakistan??? Remember the way Brian Lara behaved with Dhoni in the second test match??? Haven't u ever seen players edging the ball clearly (something which a batsman can never miss) and still staying if the umpire does not rule him out (yeah yeah - i like what Gilly does too)??? Ever heard abt the first Indian tour to Pakistan, where the Pakis bowled unreachable bouncers to stop India from winning a match. Ever heard abt the fact that some 2 decades ago, India used to open their bowling with 2 batsmen and then deliberately rolled the ball on the way back to the bowlers to make them soft soon, so that they can call in their spinners. There are loads i can add to this list. As competition becomes more, ethics go for a spin. This is not something specific to Cricket or Football only. Players using unfair methods to gain advantage is prevalent in almost all the games that i know abt.

Well, don't take me wrong. I am not on a "Football Bachao Aandholan" :) Just trying to present a few facts people miss. All said and done, as i have mentioned in the opening few lines, these are 2 sports u shud never compare. Or for that matter, no 2 sports shud ever be compared. We have 2 different sport coz they are different. I believe that it is not possible to like or dislike a sport in a day or two. It needs a lot of time - u need to know the history, the players, the nuances of the game, the rules of the game, the highs and lows of the game, etc etc etc. You need to spend some time with the game :)

So to all u folks - just give it some time. I promise, few good games and one great game, u'll know why I'm riding against the waves and braving a few "thwacks" to tell u guys how good this football really is.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

WC 2006 becomes an all European issue...

Argentina Went out yesterday, Brazil followed suit today. If it was heart break for pradip y'day, today i found mine in pieces. I don't even know who's the favorite to win the world cup anymore. The football fan within me wins over the Brazil fan and says - the teams in are not bad at all. With everything at stake - the football we get to see in the next 3 matches will be great, to put it mildly. Two of the large list of players i like are still in the hunt - Figo and Zidane (more on him later). So yeah - the interest is not lost. There just wont be any more samba :(

The first game today was lost the moment Beckham had to go out coz of injury. And whatever chances England had for scoring, they were lost in a moment of madness by Rooney. When will he grow up??? And then England knew they had to defend and they did that wonderfully well for the next 70 or 80 minutes. They put in all their efforts - gutsy, clumsy, whatever way it was, they defended and survived the 2 90 minutes and the extra 30 minutes. To be fair - they did have their chances in the Penalty shoot outs too. But there were some stupid shots and mistakes in strategy (for which Mr.Eriksson is not the top-of-the-charts). Why on earth wud someone ask Frank Lampard, who hasn't even looked like scoring a single goal in the entire tournament, to take the first shot??? And he dint score and that set it all - England were under pressure from the first shot. I still believe that England is a good squad and will do better under a better coach.

Now - the second game of the day. Simply put - Brazil were just not good enough. Again the coach to blame!!! Ronaldo, inspite of his goals in earlier matches, was dead wood. He hardly did anything in the whole 90 minutes and in the 8 minutes Robinho was in, he created about 3 chances. The stupidity of Periera cost him the match. He dint even pull him out after some time. So yeah - he deserves to lose for that single reason. Then, Ronaldinho hasn't struck form still, Kaka was not effective today, the forward attack was screwed up coz of Ronaldo - Barthez had one, may be two, saves to make in the entire game. That in a game against Brazil - come on.

But for France, Zidane was simply superb. I just saw the vigor in him to win, he played like a man possessed. Every aspect of the Zidane touch was back in view. And the entire French strategy was built around him and how well did he deliver. Whenever the team was in a corner, they passed the ball to him and he pulled them out. He created chances for players like Henry and Riberi. He controlled the ball so well. He just had an outstanding game.

Well - 4 semi finals and 3 of 4 the teams i thought would win have lost. Only Italy won, and i guess against Ukraine - any of the 6 other Quarter Finalists wud have won.

Germany Vs Italy; France Vs Portugal - then the finals.
That is all that is left of WC 2006.

The 2 teams that made into the Semi Finals

Germany beat Argentina (a fact which wud hurt my friend scipio) in the first of the Quarter finals. In the second semi finals, Italy beat Ukraine so so easily. But what I'm gonna discuss here is about the way they did it.

On paper - Argentina is the better team. Technically, Argentina is more equipped. They have got loads of talented players and no one was having a lean patch - no one was playing like Frank Lampard of England. So why did they lose??? They lost it in the mind. I cud not see the entire match - but i cannot comprehend why the team that took the lead in the 49th minute cud not score one more in the next 70 minutes?!?! It is not like they don't have the striking force or the creative midfield to do that. And in the Penalty shoot outs - they were so tensed. None of them looked like they're gonna score. Heck - they lost. The good thing out of the match is that Germany are not the May-Be's still. Their confidence will be sky high now. And they must be looking at the Cup now. They will play with more self belief in the next 2 matches and it must be interesting to see.

And in the other match - Italy was refreshingly active. In all these I've seen football, i have never seen a match where Italy attacked. They were this tough to crack great wall of Italy and all their goals came in counter attacks. Yesterday was different. There was so much creative foot ball to see. Dribbles, Lobs, Chips, Loops, Successive back heels - daring, creative, attacking football. Italy wasn't really high on self belief as well. But after this performance they must be feeling good.

Well - 2 teams into the semi finals with their morale in good condition. Today will show us the other 2 teams who're gonna meet them. Today's matches are themselves gonna be great. It is sad to think that 5 matches later - this world cup is gone :(