IPL 6 – my predictions

Hi Everyone

Tomorrow the new IPL season will start. 76 matches from the 3rd of April to the 26th of May.

As it should be, the IPL have already had its fair share of controversies, even before it has started. First it was the termination of Deccan Chargers, the winner of the 2009 season (or edition as they call it in India). Due to financial problems the team got terminated from the league. The team has now got new owners and will this season play under the name of Sunrises Hyderabad. The other controversy is regarding players from Sri Lanka. Due to growing political tension concerning ethical conflicts between the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils all Sri Lankan players have been prohibited to play matches in Chennai. There is still some suggestion going on that these players will refuse to play in IPL this season (sorry, edition).

IPL-logo

Do you wonder how IPL will end this season? Well, just read on and you will know:

Kolkata Knight Riders: The defending champions of IPL. There have been a lot of talk about “We can do a CSK” in Kolkata, which means that the team feel they are ready to dominate IPL for a number of seasons. Last year the team brought in Sunil Narine. He was the best wicket taker in the tournament. My Indian colleagues think that other teams now know Narine better and that he will not have the same impact. However, Kolkata still have a strong bowling attack with Narine, Brett Lee, Balaji, Kallis and others. When it comes to batting, the team relies a lot on Gautam Gambhir and ManojTiwary.

Verdict: Was last year a fluke or will Kolkata be the team to beat even this year? I think they should make it to the play-off but doubt if they will make it to the final

Chennai Super Kings: The power house of IPL (and my favorite team).They have been in the play-off every season and reached the final four out of five times. Lead by Indian captain MS Dhoni this team has been consistent in the top. Last year they weren’t really good enough in bowling. In the auction this year Dirk Nannes was added to the team. He will join Hilfenhaus and Ashwin in the attack. The strength of this team is that they have a huge number of all-rounder’s who can do well with both bat and ball. Players like Raina, Jadeja, Bravo, Morkel and others will be players to look out for

Verdict: Anything less than the play-off will be a disaster. The question is of the team is hungry for revenge after last year’s loss in the final or not.

Delhi Daredevils: The winner of last year’s point series. The team has had two huge setbacks already before the tournament have started. Star player Kevin Pietersen is injured and is not expected to participate in the tournament at all. Just before departure to India Jesse Ryder got attacked and severely injured back in New Zealand. They still have a strong team, but is it really good enough?

Verdict: Play-off is possible, but it will require that some of the less known players step up

Mumbai Indians: Maybe the most famous of all the IPL teams? They at least have the most famous player in Sachin Tendulkar. He is joined by expert bowlers Lasith Mallinga and Harbhajan Singh. The addition of Ricky Ponting as the new captain has raised the expectations to unlimited heights. There are rumors that Mumbai MUS win this season as it might be Sachin’s last season.

Verdict: Play-off for sure. But will they manage to go the whole way? Will there be too many strong voices in the dressing room?

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Maybe the most interesting team to watch? With heavy hitter Chris Gayle joined by Virat Kholi, Daniel Vettori, AB de Villiers, Mayank Agarwal and others the batting power is formidable. Legendary Sri Lankan bowler Murali is also there. All together an extremely talented and formidable team

Verdict: Play-off yes. If Gayle can hit it big they should manage to go all the way to the final.

Kings XI Punjab: This team I’m absolutely not convinced about. They do have Adam Gilchrist as captain and David Hussey is a decent batting vallah. But except from that I’m not sure. And I’m not even sure if Gilchrist is the right person to be a captain.

Verdict: Can’t see this team in the play-off

Rajasthan Royals: A team with the “Indian wall” Rahul Dravid as captain will always get a lot of respect. But you can’t play as a defensive wall in T20. They have all-rounder Shane Watson and bowler Shaun Tait who can produce well. If the Indian bowler Sreesanth and some of the local players can step up, then maybe play-off.

Verdict: If everything goes well for them and other teams slip up them maybe play-off. But I doubt.

Pune Warriors India: Pune is one of the teams that changed their line-up most during the latest IPL auction. A lot of new players came to the team. But most interesting will be the comeback to IPL for Yuvraj Singh. He’s the Indian cricketer who won the fight against cancer. Will this be good enough for play-off? Probably not.

Verdict: An almost new team will be there in Pune this year. I think too much pressure is put on Yuvraj Singh and can’t see the team in play-off

Sunrises Hyderabad: A new team built on the former Deccan Chargers. Some decent players are there, but nothing more.

Verdict: Bottom of the table?

That’s it. Hope you will enjoy watching. Now you don’t need to worry about who will win or not as I have already told you that J

Talk to you soon

Karsten

Norwegian winter!

Hi Everyone

It is just a very few weeks since I took this picture

and wrote about the Norwegian autumn. It seems like the autumn season was quite short this year. When I woke up this morning, we had snow in the streets! It didn’t really cover my backyard, so I couldn’t get a snap from there. But here is how it looked at the street outside the house.

Now a few hours later most of it has disappeared due to rain, but it is surely a warning about what to come.

Last year I had the winter in Mumbai and tried to do skiing there. Unfortunately, that didn’t really work out. Maybe I will get a second chance to do skiing there someday.

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

A typical Norwegian autumn day

Hi Everyone

When I used to live in Mumbai quite a lot of people asked me what I missed the most from Norway and also if isn’t always quite cold there.

Today I think it is one of those days that I typically missed when I was in Mumbai. The autumn has started and I can see the leafs falling down from the trees in my backyard. I’m writing this post sitting in my kitchen and looking out of the backyard. The picture below was taken around 9 am this morning. It is very quiet here. Well. Almost. The only disturbance is the neighbor playing on his piano.

If you compare the picture to the one I took from almost the same place only a few weeks back you can see a very clear difference.

This all has happened in about 8 weeks or so. And up in the mountains it has already come some snow. This is probably what I missed with Norway! The fact that we have four different seasons. The nice green summer. The autumn when everything goes from green to yellow, brown, red and all the nice colors of today. And then the winter where everything is white. And finally we will get the spring, where the nature again changes from white to green. And the temperature off course changes a lot during those four seasons. This morning it was about 8 degrees Celsius and it will probably not be much warmer during the day. There is clearly rain in the air, as it should be during autumn. But not the completely crazy rain that we have in the monsoon season in Mumbai.

Mumbai seasons I think is quite different. Some people might get a bit offended here, but to me it is mostly only two season; dry and wet. Ok. Someone might say that there is even winter in Mumbai. And yes I remember 1 (one) day when the girls were shivering a bit in their small dresses outside a bar. But that was like 4 o’clock in the morning and next to the sea at Worli where the sea breeze came in. And it was one day. And one day is not like any season to me. Not even winter.

Back in India there is an important match today. I got to remember that when I in my almost sleepy condition this morning was about to put on a blue t-shirt. Luckily I realized that that was all wrong. Today it is the T20 Champions League match between Chennai and Mumbai. And ok. The match is actually being played in South Africa, and not in India, but it is still a huge match for the two Indian teams. Last time those two teams played, I was at the stadium. It turned out to be a stupid match for CSK. Today it is time for revenge. So come on you yellow! Whistle podu with pride and go on and win this match!

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

Bombay strugglers

Hi Everyone

This is a blog post that it has really taken me some time to write. Not that there was nothing to write about, but in order not to hurt any of my friends. A “struggler” in Mumbai is not a nice term. And it might be that some of my friends in Mumbai feel that I kind of write about them, which is not at all the idea about this blog post and not for this blog in general. So in order to don’t be biased in this post I have used background information from articles in Indian newspapers together with my own experience. I have also realized that there are some special words, almost a special language that are used among these strugglers, so let’s see if I can manage to write this correctly.

So what is a Bombay struggler? I think there are as many variations of them as it is of the word. Some call them Bollywood strugglers, others will call them Mumbai strugglers. I think Bombay struggler is a good word, as all of them want into the “B-world”. And no. That is not any secondary world. It is the world of fame and glitter, also called Bollywood. It is the industry of filming, acting, modeling and directing that they are all aiming for. These people come from all over India. I have heard that there are more than thousand a day that come to Mumbai as “aspiring actors” or “aspiring models”, as they are called here. Traditionally most of them come from the northern part of India, or maybe more correctly the northern central part of India, also called the Hindi belt. This area is also known as the poorest in India, with a lot of farm land and small villages. So the strugglers used to come by train to Mumbai. I use the term “used” here. This is because today the strugglers are from a more mixed background. According to an article in Times of India some strugglers nowadays might even have rich people who back them up financially to be a star in Mumbai. Maybe it is a way to resolve the dreams of the parents?

So what do a struggler do? Let’s say that he/she actually come by train. Most of them will then leave the train at Andheri station in north Mumbai. It is said that most strugglers live in the area of Andheri’s Lokhandwala and Oshiwara and up to Malad’s Evershine Nagar and a bit beyond. Some of them don’t even have a place to stay when they come to Mumbai. Yes, I do know people who used to live at the streets before they got their first role or their first photo session. Actually, even the biggest of them all, Shahrukh Khan, started this way. Hopefully they soon get some friends and find a place to stay. Or they drift around from house to house and stay some nights with a friend here and some nights with a friend there. Then the real struggle starts; now it is time to be “discovered”. You can read about the Corporate Guide on how to struggle in Hindustan Times. To be honest, I’m not really sure if this article is meant serious or not. Maybe it is a mix of seriousness and not.

I have myself seen strugglers and met them at many events. In the Mumbai expat societies there are people who refuses to go to some of the expat events, because they are full of strugglers who want to get on to you to get, well, something. I have myself been approached a number of times by “directors” or “film makers” or others. Most of the boys have well printed business cards with an impressive designation. Some of them might be real filmmakers also, but when you start to ask them how many films they have made and such, they often get some problems to explain. And I really feel that it is not interesting to talk much with them anymore.

Being a female struggler is maybe even more difficult. Times of India had an article about this back in April that I think explain the situation quite well.

What can these people realistically hope for? Many of them end up as a “small time actor” or a “small time model”. Not sure if this is a common phrase, but that’s at least what they are called in Bombay. These “small time something” are people who might have got one or two roles. Or maybe one or two photo sessions as a model. The struggle continues to go from there to become a really A-star in the B-world. The way is still long, and the scandals happen frequently.

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

The Assam problem

Hi Everyone

A few days ago I wrote a small blog post about the max 5 SMS’es pr day issue, which I at that time thought was just a joke.

Now it turns out that it is far away from any joke. The background for the issue is riots in the northern state of Assam. There have been issues in Assam for a number of years. But this particularly incident started around July 20th. Four people were axed to death in a small place called Duramari, which is the home to some 15.000 Muslim settlers. Two days later a much larger mob, this time assisted by armed militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NBDF), launched a full-scale assault, forcing an exodus. The official numbers of dead people is not more than 70 and more than 400.000 people are displaced.

It seems like this riots have now spread to other parts of India also. I can read in the newspaper today that there is planned yesterday. There have also been stories about Assamese leaving Bangalore because they fear from their life.

What’s going on? How can this happen? Most of this blog post is taken from a story in India Today at the 13th of August. As so often before, it seems like the root cause of the problem is religion. Assam shares the border with Bangladesh, which is a country with a huge Muslim population and much poorer than India. Over the years there have been a number of refugees that have escaped Bangladesh for the North-East states of India, like Assam. Now the Muslim population in these states grows with a much higher rate than the Hindu population. In a number of areas the Muslims are now about to overtake the Hindus when it comes to number of people. As we have seen so many other places in the world, this lead to ethnic confrontations.

This have also given the effect that people from North-East of India are being discriminated in other parts of India. They have a clearly distinct look, compared to people from south, so it is easy to recognize them from being from this area. I remember to have seen friends from that region posting on Facebook (sorry, but I can’t find the actual article so not possible to link to it) that they ask people to distinguish between regional issues and religion issues. Off course it is impossible to see just by looking at a person if he/she is a Muslim or a Hindu.

Now it seems like the Indian government also try to stop people from using social media to discuss this topic. Well, I surely don’t want my blog to be shut down due to some “governmental issue”, so I guess I better stop this story here.

I really hope that these things do not escalate. One of the great things with India is that people from a number of different religions have managed to live together almost peacefully for so many years. Must that continue!

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

Winning in style

Hi Everyone

With the
monsoon rain still coming down heavily, it is really good to be able to think
about something else for a while.  So when I found this article on my friends Facebook wall, I thought it was worth a mention. Yes I know, it’s almost half a year since I have done any sailing here, but with the conditions we have now, it is still good to remember it. And I think it was actually the first time ever I was mentioned in any Indian news, so even one more reason to remember it.

Not really sure why they have mentioned an Asian medalist sailor and not a Norwegian
champion in the article, but well. Maybe it’s because the event was actually in
Asia…

This Sunday we had the final day of the Ganesh festival, with the big immersion. I would recommend that you read about that at my Norwegian neighbor’s blog.

Talk to you
soon!

Karsten

Trekking to Naneghat

Hi Everyone

Yesterday it was time to get out of Mumbai. We have something called an outdoor adventure club in the company and they hosted a trek to a place called Naneghat. Naneghat is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats range near Junnar in Pune district of Maharashtra, India. During the reign of the Satavahana (200 BCE–190 CE), the pass was extensively used as a trade route between Kalyan and Junnar

This meant that I had to wake up at 5.30 on a Saturday morning. A bit way too early if you ask me, but well, I guess you have to sacrifice something to get something nice. At 6.30 we were a bunch of people at the bus and ready to go.

After a stop at a hotel where we had some breakfast and got divided into groups we came to our starting point. Of we went! Ohh, and did I forgot to tell you that it is still the monsoon season and it was raining the whole day? I was quite happy that I had taken with me my rain jacket and even an umbrella! Yes, I know, it doesn’t sounds really right to take an umbrella for trekking, but I didn’t really know what to expect, so well, I was happy I had it. And quite many of my Indian colleagues also used an umbrella, so I guess that is a common tool for trekking here?

We started off at a quite flat land. I thought then that it would be just like “a walk in the park”. But suddenly we started to almost wade through some creeks. And it became quite deep at some places. You could really tell on the face of some of the people that they didn’t really like it. You can read more about that at one of my colleagues blog. For me as a Norwegian, it was just a perfect day! Maybe the first time in Mumbai that I was a bit cold. The temperature was a bit like a nice Norwegian autumn day, which made everything quite nice. After coming out from the forest we started to really climb uphill. Due to the rain, it was a bit fogy, so not that easy to see too much. But still the trek was really nice! I guess I will try to go back here sometime when it is not that much rain/fog, in order to get a better view of it.

At the top we had our lunch in a nice cave. According to some of my colleagues this was used as a kind of a convent for Buddhist monks. They used to live here for some years and to get toll or donations from people who passed the place with their goods for trading. The inscriptions in the caves indicate that they are the work of Satavahana rulers who came into prominence after the fall of the Mauryan empire. It is believed that a powerful woman ruler Naganika, the wife of Satakarni (180–170 BCE) of the Satavahana family commissioned the cave, the statues and the inscriptions. Inscriptions in the cave mention her and her family members. Though the statues adorning the sides of the rectangular cave are now gone, the inscriptions still record some of the achievements of the dynasty.

According to my GPS we were at about 800 meters above sea level. I’m not really sure if that was correct, but well it doesn’t matter.  After a long bus ride, I was home about 1 am in the night. A really long day, but really worth it.

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

Anna Hazare movement reaches Powai

Hi Everyone

So far, my articles about Anna Hazare have all been based on what I have seen on TV, in newspapers and on Internet. Not so anymore. Yesterday, just after having arrived home from office, I could hear some noise from downstairs. It was not the usual dogs or cars honking, it was people shouting and screaming. I ran to the window to see what it was, and quite right, it was a protest march in support for Ana Hazare. Just outside my building.

The police were all around there, and as far as I could understand, the march was quite peaceful. I have checked the news today, and cannot find any information about arrests, unrest or other bad things from Powai. The people marching even called for it to be a peace march. You can read more about the march on Powai.Info.  There is a bigger march planned for today, where people should go all the way from Powai to Bandra Kurla Complex. There is also a story about all of this in Mumbai Mirror today.

The latest from Delhi is now that the negotiations between the government and Team Anna on the Lokpal Bill broke down on Wednesday night with the latter describing the third round of talks as “retrograde.” They said social activist Anna Hazare’s fast on the Ramlila grounds here — now in its ninth day — would continue until the government agreed to enact a law creating a strong and effective Lokpal during the current session of Parliament.

I think that this is a quite serious and dramatic twist. We will probably see a lot more of protests coming up all over India over the next few days if this is really the case. Will keep you all updated on this.

Talk to you soon!

Karsten