No 'Gur' at Gurgaon for Indian Football

They say that laughter is the best medicine but I beg to differ. That accolade should be given to one and only one thing – FOOTBALL! After the shock and disappointment following the unexpected deferral of the West Bengal Post Graduate Medical Admission Test counselling session (which means a significant blockade of seats for AIPGME candidates like us), I was in dire need of something to prevent me from sinking under the billows of depression.

Fortunately, my friend's team Pune FC were playing against Indian Arrows in an I-League match at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon and I decided to renew my acquaintance with Indian football after a protracted self-imposed exile. It did not matter that the journey from my residence to the stadium would take almost two hours. Even though the Delhi Metro service is quite outstanding, two hours can be quite nerve-wracking when you have to spend the time listening to an obnoxious concoction of the products emanating from other people's iPods! However, the attraction to experience first-hand competitive football was such that by the time I boarded the Metro, I could already sense an uncanny improvement in my mood.

KAMAAO-Wealth Games 2010

NEW DELHI, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 29: A Council of Delhi worker sweeps the pavement in front of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on September 29, 2010 in New Delhi, India. Workers all across Delhi are scrambling to complete last minute preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Just like the menu in any Chinese restaurant in India is incomplete without the ubiquitous Chilli Chicken, any form of writing in this month would be virtually incomplete without any mention of the flavour of the season - the Commonwealth Games 2010, or more aptly the Kamaaowealth Games, if you consider it from the organisers’ viewpoint.

India is probably the only country which provides nail-biting thrill, suspense and intense drama even before the opening ceremony; the only flip side of the fact being that all the interest in the Games will probably disappear once it actually kicks off (being an optimist, I do hope that the uncanny Indian ability of Jugaad will prevent any last-minute cancellation). The prices of the tickets are probably beyond the reach of the common man who is already reeling under the intense pressure of recent inflation. Add to it the fact that non-cricketing events hardly get any recognition they deserve and you do not need to be a qualified soothsayer to foresee numerous vacant seats at the venues. Moreover, given the recent incidents with the collapsing footbridge and the ceiling of the weightlifting venue, the lack of a free helmet with the tickets will certainly be a massive drawback. A good way to fill those empty seats would be to issue ‘complimentary passes’, guaranteed to be in huge demand for the enviable social bragging rights invariably associated with them.

Paradise lost?

Torrential rains,getting drenched in the terrace or garden and then being spanked by elders-isn't it a known page of our childhood story book? Well, seems the rain Gods have been more than giving this season as far as Delhi is concerned. The higher than normal rains might be a rebuff for mundane workaholics and CWG officials, but some know how to make the most of this opportunity. The popular rhyme goes- "rain rain go away, little Johny wants to play"-but the little Johnnies on the streets who do not make into the books, lives, or mere thoughts of any rational man, are probably having absolute regalement....!

A Friday afternoon took everybody by surprise as the heavens opened up suddenly on the unprepared mass, leaving people scurrying for shelter in a popular multiplex, precisely when the stupendous sight unfolded in front of us(I was also present in the building). The street urchins appeared out of nowhere and started frolicking in the courtyard of the building.

The slippery courtyard with pools of water had transformed into a skating ground for them and they skated with their slippers worn in their hands! A peculiar action of diving on the ground after a short lap of running and then being propelled forward due to the slippery surface was indubitably enthralling..!! They were almost singing out loud - ''...but lets throw ourselves in and get soaking wet...''

What most of us - decent and affable strata of the society would find abominable, belittling, or a misdemeanor maybe, was the source of immense gratification for these kids. Deep down their hearts the spectators might have been lead to their childhood days- but if we have to go by the consensus gentium of decorum and attitude, can we even let our children imagine about something like this?

Well, eventually the rains stopped, and as the people stranded inside the building started leaving, these kids were spanked and sent off and thence ended their entertainment. Well, even I was politely but literally spurned by the guards to stop indulging in video recording these kids as people behind me needed to move- but for a moment these kids really made me retrospect my feelings- can we or our children ever enjoy these rare moments in our lives ever after this?

', not if we have to maintain our social approbation and affectation...'- my brain answered.

Watershed? Or Bad Days Ahead?

July 27, 2010 - Liverpool, United Kingdom - epa02262996 (R-L) Joe Cole, head coach Roy Hodgson, Danny Wilson and Milan Jovanovic attend a press conference at the Anfield Road Stadium in Liverpool, north west Britain, 27 July 2010. The three soccer players were unveiled as Liverpool's new signings under newly appointed head coach Roy Hodgson.

Being a doctor, especially one trying to crack the notorious post-graduate entrance examination system, hardly leaves me with any time for recreation. However, one thing I just cannot live without is the beautiful game of football. Unfortunately, being an ardent fan of Liverpool FC is no less a test of endurance than being a medical PG aspirant, especially during the trying times the club is presently going through.

This summer was being touted as the watershed moment – Liverpool would have a new owner (obviously with loads of cash to splurge around), our stars would refuse to leave the club showing their loyalty and commitment and above all, a bunch of swashbuckling superstars would be brought in to bolster the squad. Imagine the disappointment when the most publicised takeover bid (from Kenny Huang & Co.) turned out to be a damp squib, one of our star players reportedly went on a strike to force through a move away from the club and to top it all, a 29-year old left back was heralded as a significant boost to the ailing squad.

Common Entrance Test - Sans Common Sense

As a medical graduate at war with the Indian educational system for entrance into a post-graduate medical course, it was almost imperative that my first blog post would have something to do with the post-graduate medical entrance examinations. What I did not foresee however during the period I was planning to start a blog was  that I would be preoccupied with yet another so called ‘radical change’ in the examination system, or at least a proposal to do so.

Due to constant experimentation by the powers that be, I have always suffered from something like ‘The Guinea Pig’ Syndrome. Be it the introduction of Hamlet at the Plus Two level or the sweeping changes in the WBJEE question format in 2001, I have always been astonished as to why an ‘essential’ change has to be made in the system just as we approach the concerned examination, especially since after about two to three years’ time, the ‘essential’ parameters change drastically to compel the authorities to alter the system again, usually reverting to the old system in the majority of the cases.