culé me

An underutilised state of the art facility.

KC Sports Club located at Akhnoor Road Jammu, adjacent to KC Public School had opened its doors to the Public last  April. It is the first of its kinds not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in north India.

The facility is spread over 3 floors, covering an area of around 60,000 sqft over 1.5 acres of land.  The ground floor consists of a gym with fitness equipment imported from  USA, along with a rock climbing wall offering  adventure enthusiasts a well-designed resource to learn rock climbing  under the guidance of an instructors. Although the facility boast state of the art equipment on taking a closer look the equipment was very basic and any Delhi Gym would  be able to put it to shame when compared.

The first floor of the Club measuring about 16,000 sq ft offers the facility of an indoor Cricket Hall. The flooring of the hall done with Tiger Turf imported from New Zealand  is ICC and BCCI approved. It offers surfaces for batting and has tracks designed for pace and spin bowling. An automatic Bola bowling machine offers the convenience of solo batting practice with the machine spewing out a variety of pre-programmed deliveries. The hall is fitted with specially designed lights to facilitate playing day and night cricket either individually or in the form of an indoor match. When asked if the JKCA had approached to use the facility the answer was a blunt no. With so many facilities at their disposal the JKCA ought to make use of the Hall which would help in improving cricket in the state.

Among other facilities there’s a 20 meter long  all weather swimming pool, multi sports hall for Martial Arts and Table Tennis. The complex is still under construction and plan to branch out into activities like creative dancing, squash and fencing.  While the club is no doubt full of facilities its membership is on the higher side, which means it only caters to the rich and elite.


Constitutionally ‘Permanent’; Politically ‘Temporary’

Every time the elections are around the corner, BJP yells for the abrogation of Article 370. The 2014 elections were no different. The people of Jammu and Kashmir supported BJP overwhelmingly, but coalition with PDP is taking its toll. Now, BJP is in a fix. On one hand there is PDP with strong views in favour of article 370 and on the other hand, BJP’s backbone RSS is demanding abrogation of the Article. While BJP chooses to keep mum on the issue, the recent statement from MoS Jitendra Singh started the controversy afresh, when he said that BJP hasn’t given up its stand on abrogation of Article 370.

The recent observation of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that Article 370 has assumed a place of permanence in the Constitution and the feature is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation has fuelled the controversy further. The Delhi High Court too, directing centre on a PIL filed before it challenging the constitutional validity of Article 370 on October 19, asked the Centre to file the prayers of petitions pending in Supreme Court challenging the Constitutional validity of the Article 370.

Article 370, under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, is a temporary provision which grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. By virtue of which all the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K. The provision was drafted by Sheikh Abdullah, the then PM of J&K, who argued against the placement of this Article under the temporary provisions of the Constitution and demanded an ‘iron clad autonomy’ for the state.

According to the article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, the Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship and ownership of property. There are several myths regarding this article. One such myth is the belief
that the autonomy as envisioned by the Constituent Assembly is still intact. A series
of Presidential Orders have made most Union laws applicable to the State. There is virtually no institution of the Republic of India that does not include J&K within its jurisdiction. Another is restrictions on buying land in the state which, in general formsthe definition of article 370, applies to many other parts of India such as Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Nagaland.

Article 370 is synonymous with decentralisation and devolution of power, phrases
that have been on the charter of virtually every political party in India. While the state
of J&K has moved ahead with the Panchayati Raj provisions of the Act passed in the state
legislature, it has not accepted the 73rd Amendment passed by the Indian Parliament
on the grounds that it violates Article 370 of the Constitution of India. There remains a marked reservation in implementing the 73rd Amendment as political parties in J&K, do not want to give more powers to Panchayats  as incorporating all the features of the 73rd
amendment would make them independent with respect to planning and execution of development  works.

Article 370 was initially inserted in the Constitution to provide security to people who felt vulnerable about their identity, insecure about their future and to increase the accountability of public institutions and services. However, it has now become an instrument to play political tones by parties. As per clause 3, of the Article,the article can be revoked only if a new Constituent Assembly of J&K is convened and is willing to recommend its revocation. The Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution to change this provision, but this could be subjected to a judicial review which may find that this clause is a basic feature of the relationship between the State and the Centre and cannot be amended. Article 370 acts both as a bridge and a barrier and its abrogation will be a bad political action. Every side has misused it and the only way out is to let this article wither away.

Zaheer retires ‘hurt’

Inswing, out swing, reverse swing, yorkers and bouncers Zaheer Khan could bowl them all. When Zaheer Khan limped off the field at Lords on the first day of the first Test in 2011, Sanjay Manjrekar called it as ‘India’s worst nightmare come true.’ Although India had a strong batting line up the series resulted in a 4-0 whitewash. The series was one of the best examples of how valuable Zaheer  was to the Indian cricket team.

Khan made his debut in 2000 at the ICC Knock Out Trophy in Kenya and immediately made his mark. It was on the back of some of his excellent bowling spells like the 4 wicket haul against New Zealand which led India to the finals of the 2003 ICC World Cup. The highest point in Khan’s career, was the 2011 World Cup where he was the joint-highest wicket-taker and was instrumental in India’s victory. He burnt away all his demons of the 2003 World cup.


For a nation which saw a line of brilliant batsmen, Zaheer Khan was one bowler who thoroughly dominated the sport. A master of bowling fast inch perfect yorkers along with impeccable control over line length, made Khan a class apart. With his 610 international wickets,282 in ODI and 311 in Test he brought a much needed confidence into the Indian bowling attack. His control over the game in crucial situations often snatched victories for India.

Khan’s final figures in test of 311 wickets at 32.94 and a strike rate of 60.4,do not do justice to his form from 2007-2011. During this brilliant four and a half year period he captured 144 wickets at 27.90, along with 7 five wicket hauls. Although his average is slightly inferior to Kapil Dev and Jawagal Sreenath. Yet, during his zenith. He was among the top bracket of Test bowlers, closer to the pinnacle than either Kapil or Sreenath had managed during their respective peaks.

Specs of injuries throughout his career have been a major obstacle but Zaheer Khan has always faced them with dignity and determination always coming back with a bang. We all wish we could see him bowl one more time in that Indian jersey but unfortunately Khan has already played his last ODI match in 2012 in Sri Lanka and his last Test was in early 2014 in New Zealand. But we will see him bowl one last time in the ninth season of the Indian Premier League. Zaheer Khan was unquestionably the best Indian pacer India saw in the last two decades and it will indeed be difficult to fill the void he left.

EU denies refuge to refugees.


The image of a Syrian toddler washed dead on a Turkish beach was an eye opener for the world of the magnitude of the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. Four years back since it began, the war between Syria, Iraq and Libya has killed innocent people, destroyed cities, violated human rights and forced many to flee from their homes.

This conflict has its repercussions in Europe. More than 19 million people are being forced to migrate and most of them head to Europe. They arrive in a dinghy in Greece and then trek across the Balkan Peninsula to reach EU’s Schengen zone in search for a better life. But is the European Union supportive of this migration? The answer is- not much. The rich countries of the EU have employed policies which are making the journey of these refugees more dangerous. Hungary has erected a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia, in an effort to prevent refugees from crossing into Europe. Austria has introduced checks along its internal border with the rest of Europe to search for refugees and other immigrants being smuggled into the country.  With the rare exception of Germany, that has welcomed refugees with open arms, each country is trying to push the burden on someone else. UK wants France to keep refugees away from them, France wants Italy to keep refugees away from them and Italy like Greece, wants the rest of Europe to take its refugees. While all of them want Turkey to house the refugees.

Taking in large numbers of refugees’ means having to alter the vision of what your town and city looks like. It also means having to widen the definition of your community’s culture. Is this the reason why the rich countries refuse to let in the refugees? Do they feel threatened by the large Muslim population entering the predominant Christian sphere of Europe? Do they fear this change? If Yes then the question arises that, is this insecurity big enough to forget humanity? Is it big enough to let people rot in the back of trucks? What these rich countries fail to realise is that if nobody tries to solve this crisis, it will only deteriorate with time.

For me he is peRFection


As Novak converted the Championship Point, the Us Open ended with large drops of tears trickling down my face, the dream of the 18th Grand Slam was left unfulfilled AGAIN.  ‘NO!’ I said to myself failing to process what had just happened. Going in to denial, ‘This can’t be happening!’ it seemed like cruel rerun of the Wimbledon final, a déjà vu. Roger cannot lose, not after playing so flawlessly throughout the tournament, not after going the entire tournament without dropping a set. But Alas it wasn’t meant to be with innumerable unforced errors and inability to convert break points Federer handed the title to Novak, just like Wimbledon 10 weeks back.

Unforced errors have been marring Federer for quite some time and by now most of us have been accustomed to it. Then why do we hope for the dream 18th every single time a grand slam commences?  It’s him, it’s the spirit that he gets to the game which forces us to cheer for him every single time and defend him when he makes early exits.

Watching him live a year back was an experience I won’t forget all my life. Yes, it was  like an exhibition match but the class and sophistication he executed in each shot was palpable, the goose bumps I felt on seeing this perfect specimen were real. The tears of joy rolling down my face when he beat Djokovic were real. The passion that Federer exhibits combined with his sincerity is the reason that keeps me hoping that he will achieve his 18th grand slam and many more. It was this passion and determination that helped him conquer Roland Garros. The critics had written him off  even then. But Federer continued labouring for it and completed his career slam. Oh what a fantastic day that was!

At 34, the man is still striving to win everything in sight. The passion with which he plays is admirable. Already labelled as The Greatest Of All Time, an almighty of the game, he doesn’t have anything left to prove, and yet he continues to achieve what others deem impossible. As a fan who has seen him at his highs and lows I often find myself comparing  Roger Federer to ‘The Roger Federer’ who was the undisputed champion of tennis. With games like the quarter final match against Gasquet and the semi against Wawrinka  I see the glimpses of the old Federer which makes me believe that winning another grand slam is possible. Every time he enters a final I hope that he pulls through, for this legend deserves to end  his career on a winning note. But then I contemplate whether I am ready to bid farewell? How do you say goodbye to someone who has given you a decade full of memories?  How do you deal with the fact that the person you associate with tennis will play no more? The thought brings chills down my spine. So I ask myself to  enjoy what I already have, celebrate the magic that he brings. As for the 18th, as long as Federer believes he can, I do too.

Google turns Alphabet, Page turns Pichai


On the morning of 11th August India woke up to the news of Sundar Pichai who was made the Chief Executive Officer of multi-billion company Google. But getting into the logistics of what has happened at Google is a little complex to comprehend. Pichai, though the CEO,  is not the head of the Google that we knew. Google has been slimmed down to make way for Alphabet Inc. headed by Larry Page.

What is Alphabet?  Alphabet Inc is the new mother company  and Google has now become a subset of Alphabet. Yes you heard it right. Alphabet will replace Google as the publicly traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all the same rights. Larry Page will be the CEO of the new mother company and will include, besides Google, units such as Calico, X lab and life sciences projects. Google’s investment arms, Ventures and Capital, will also be part of Alphabet. To suffice, Pichai although CEO is still playing second fiddle to Page and Brin. But this does not bring down his credentials.

Pichai has been a valuable asset to Google which has been tested and proven time and again. Since joining Google in 2004 as vice president of product management, Pichhai oversaw search and consumer products such as iGoogle, Google Toolbar, Desktop Search and Gadgets, Google Pack, and Gears. In 2011, Pichai became senior VP of Google Chrome and Apps, which includes the Chrome browser and operating system, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Drive.

Pichai is a popular man. Talk of the town was that Twitter  approached Pichai for the role of CEO. Google, in order to keep him, decided to kick start their new business venture along with organisational changes , giving Pichai the CEO title while keeping the same set of duties. Apparently Twitter tried to hire him three years ago and got very close but Google countered with a huge package. Pichai was also a front runner in the race to become the CEO of Microsoft.

All in all, Google is now Alphabet, Alphabet owns Google and Google has a new CEO(Pichai) who reports to the old CEO (Page).

Perfect Shade of Blue

Indian opener Mayank Agarwal smashed a brilliant 130 along with skipper Unmukt Chand, who complemented his teammate with a useful 90, as India A thrashed South Africa A by eight wickets in their second tri-series match. Chasing 245 for a win, India A reached their target with more than 12 overs to spare, courtesy a 219-run opening stand between Agarwal and Chand at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. India A are now in contention for a place in the final with a match to go. After a disappointing opener which saw the hosts suffer a 119 run loss to Australia A, it was a treat to watch the Indian team hit back and even managing to earn a bonus point for their efforts.

The skipper of the team is the one to look out for. Unmukt Chand, proved his mettle in both the matches by far by scoring a 52 and 90 respectively. Shooting to prominence by leading India to their first U-19 Cricket World Cup victory outside Asia in 2012. With this achievement Chand become the shining star of Indian Cricket overnight.

The latest addition to the line of Delhi batsmen, Chand is often compare to his predecessor  Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni for his calm, composed stature on field. Having had an illustrious career at the junior level Umukt Chand dreams of breaking it into the senior team “Each cricketer begins his journey with a lighter shade of blue and gradually reaches his dream. I  have represented my nation as an Under 19 player, an U-23 player and in the ‘A’ tours. But what I wore then were the lighter shades of blue, even wearing the dark blue of Delhi Daredevils and was a lighter shade for me. The blue Indian jersey is the perfect shade of blue to me and the dream is to wear it as soon as possible and then continue to embrace it..”

Sky is the limit for this young man but the pressing concern has been the inconsistency in his performance over the years since his glorious Townsville days. Known to be a “Big match” player Chand has failed to deliver since his transfer to senior cricket as well as in the Indian Premier League where he has given a score of indifferent performances.With India playing a lot of cricket in the next two years, performing well in the tri-series will be key in consolidating a position in the senior team and finally taking the big step.

So, here’s wishing Unmukt Chand a very prosperous forthcoming cricket career. Hope he proves his mettle in the upcoming matches  for India A Team and success kisses his feet in the long run.

The Return of Football with a spice of drama

After a three-month hiatus, mainstream football returned with a bang this weekend. With two exciting matches lined up fans of the sport were in for a treat. The match that took place on Saturday saw Wolfsberg defeat the illustrious German giants Bayern Munich on penalties. Pep Guardiola’s side lost as one of their key players Xabi Alonso missed a chance to convert a penalty.

The other match was scheduled on ‘Super Sunday’. It was no doubt a crackling affair. FA cup champions Arsenal were to face previous season EPL winners Chelsea. Now anyone who follows the English Premier League would know about the ongoing saga between the managers of both the clubs. On one side we have the technical genius Jose Mourinho and on the other is the Premiers League’s longest-serving manager, Arsene Wenger. Both the managers couldn’t be further apart in terms of their style of play. While Wenger is associated with stability and calmness who famously led Arsenal through an invisible season, Mourinho relies more on quick results and signings. The two share a rather frosty relationship nothing less than a saas-bahu saga filled with cat calling and passing snide comments on each other to the press.

The build up to th London derby doesn’t end with the managers, the players also have some amount of history with the clubs. The most anticipated aspect would be no doubt the Arsenal goal keeper, Peter Cech, who is a Chelsea legend moved to Arsenal this season and Ofcourse how can we forget the former Gunners Captain Cesc Fabregas. The Gunners have still not come to terms with his year old transfer.

The match was no doubt exciting with 21 year old Alex Oxalade Chamberlain fondly known as ‘The Ox’ scoring a stunner which ended the deadlock between the two teams. This  win not only won Arsenal the Community Shield it also held special significance for Wenger who finally succeeded in his 14th attempt in defeating Jose Mourinho.

The match ended on a dramatic note with Wenger snubbing Mourinho by avoiding the customary post match handshake. Mourinho wasted no time and cribbed about the incident to the media during the post match press conference. As the saying goes somethings in life never change. Till then we can sit back and enjoy this drama with maybe a bucket of popcorn and coke in hand 🙂

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