Sunday, May 24, 2015

Biryani 360 CEO Shayan - "Contrary to what Indians do here, I never lie"

This is a verbatim copy paste of an email exchange between the CEO of Biryani 360 and yours truly. It all started with a poor review of Biryani 360, which I had put up on Zomato. 

While the CEO, Shayan had every right to defend his product, I feel that he overstepped his mandate when he made a slanderous sweeping statement about Indians - the very audience he wants to sell to. Your thoughts?

Nitin Nair 

My review of Zomato is also attached herewith:

nitin nair

10:04 AM (2 minutes ago)
to Biryani360

For someone who wants to sell to Indians - the statement is slanderous, reeks of generalization and is completely unacceptable.

On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 8:04 PM, Biryani360 <> wrote:
Nitin, contrary to what Indians do here, I NEVER LIE and I meant every word I said - without sarcasm.
You're constructive criticism has helped me a great deal. And I admire you greatly for it. Let's not start to presume and assume things which are not right in the face of it as things can be misconstrued. From my side I only have respect of this conversation and I say again for me the 3% is far more important than the 97% that is only telling me everything I already know. IT is from the 3% I learn most.
Best wishes

"If someone tells you something cannot be done; it's just their way of saying they cannot do it" - Shayan Italia, Founder & CEO

On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 8:01 PM, nitin nair <> wrote:
Thank you for that sarcasm free endorsement. I appreciate it :)

On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Biryani360 <> wrote:
Nitin, Actually the 97% can't teach me anything. that's just an endorsement It is the balance 3% that I can only learn from. People like yourself. This is where really the wisdom lies, to learn why it didn't work and if its an acceptable loss or to further improve to reduce the 3% to lower.
So you're ACE.

"If someone tells you something cannot be done; it's just their way of saying they cannot do it" - Shayan Italia, Founder & CEO

On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 1:35 PM, nitin nair <> wrote:
Sure shayan. You have every right to stick by your thought process as well.

All the best in your endeavour. Am sure the 97.61% of your consumer base is good enough to give you repeat business.

Cheers and have a great Sunday :)

On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Biryani360 <> wrote:
Hi Nitin,
Thanks for your reply. You have every right to think what you want and part of that is the fun of starting a business in a market like Bombay/India. Most people think 50% of India pays tax here ha ha! If that were true India would be 2x the size of the US economy!
You don't need to try us again. Save your money! I can't inflict perception into someone on the website as you may not like your veggies but someone else does. Also the statement of us being a Veg Biryani with chicken is really not true. The chicken is perfectly blended in with the vegetables and we use PYRAMID technology to cook where each rice grain absorbs the flavouring of the nearby veggies. Hence every bit is flavourful and different and takes you on a journey. It just seemed to me from the review that you don't like your vegetables ha ha!
I'm a hard core carnivore. I have a 3,500 calorie diet per day. But if you're not having your veggies you aint losing any fat, or doing your body any favours. Biryani360 aims to change this. In time. Remember I said you were 97 on the list of people who didn't like it. That's 97 out of a total of 4043 Biryani360's sold to date a.k.a. 2.39%. So the presumption of "any true biryani lover would hate this" again is factually false.
This is why I wrote the huffington post article. And further in India its not the 96% who go onto zomato and give it a 5/5. Contrary its 2% or even less of that total. But its 100% of the people who feel betrayed from the experience that go on and rate it badly. Such is the sad reality and thuswise I would never use Zomato as a benchmark for anything. It's just a fun way for someone to experess their opinion on a platform that is garnering some traction and giving people a voice. And why not. Freedome of speech is great.
Have a lovely Sunday and thanks so much for taking the time out to write so much to me. It means a lot and it means you care. That in itself is worth the customer experience.

"If someone tells you something cannot be done; it's just their way of saying they cannot do it" - Shayan Italia, Founder & CEO

On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 1:02 PM, nitin nair <> wrote:
Thank you Shayan for caring so much about a review.

Interestingly enough I did visit the menu page (there's no way one can order, without going through the info).

For clarification :

1) I had read every word about your USP - blue flame tech, fresh cooking etc and I was ready for a non-traditional biryani( read: light, non greasy, non-mutton, non dum basically everything that you've mentioned in your Huffington post points 1-5). My grudge was that I was prepared for a diff kinda chicken biryani but NOT a chicken biryani that would seem like one cooked on a veg base. It seemed like a veg biryani base with chicken pieces added almost as an afterthought. I dunno if you are a fellow carnivore, but am sure you'd empathize when I say that's where the disappointment stemmed from. Prob a line on your page - around ingredients used would help set the right expectations. I must add though that this would have been one of the best veg biryani base that I've ever had but yesterday was a chicken biryani craving day.

I hope I've been able to articulate the exact problem area. Having said that, I'd probably try your service again. Maybe with the Huffington post article at the back of my mind, it will be different ;)



PS: as someone who's consumed the 
Bohri, Lucknowi, hyderabadi, dindigul, malabari, parsee style of biryani - am equally passionate about exploring and consuming new varieties. So if you still feel the feedback was not apt, happy to have a call.

On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Biryani360 <> wrote:
Dear Nitin,
Thank you so much for trying Biryani360 and I'm sad to read your poor review on Zomato. I guess you didn't visit the Menu page at all where we clearly say we are NOT like other biryanis and expected a traditional biryani; which is absolutely fine. I'll rank you now 97 on the list of those that have not liked the biryani. :)
I wrote an article for the Huffington Post recently that has gained some traction and may prove interesting reading:

I'm sure you have your biryani favourites around Mumbai to revert back to with joy.
Thanks for trying us nonetheless and have a great Sunday...
Best wishes,

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Orkut: An Obituary


Dear Orkut, As you lie here in a vegetative state, waiting for the ventilator to be plugged off in September.. I'd like to say a few words:

Thank you Orkut for giving us our very first passport to enter the lives of our pretty neighbours, classmates and colleagues - virtually of course. You taught us the joy of taking part in these exciting and stimulating activities without being exposed to the grime, dust or heat of the outdoors.

Those world-altering discussions, the trauma or delight that came with the radical testimonials (or lack of it), the feeling of finally belonging to a "group", the childlike innocence in believing every girl/boy who 'visited' your profile was 'into' you..

Oh Scrap!.. It was good fun while it lasted.

But then we cheated on you with Facebook - while you desperately tried to make us come back - like a jilted ex-lover.

We might have moved on- Dear Orkut, but take solace in the fact that we will continue being the same voyeuristic, armchair - rabbit in a hole.

You will remain our first love, RIP.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Shaadi Ke side effects

Weekdays (pre Marriage)
Weekdays (post Marriage)
The Dark Knight  – 16th time
Yes Mom, Mummy is doing fine. And you?
Xvideos or Youporn?
80 rs per kg for onions? I’ve heard its cheaper at the Dadar market.
Oye Hero, Shivani is also coming..
Your cousin’s parents are visiting. How long.. I meant how sweet?
Dude, I don’t kiss and tell..
What does your aunt know of family planning? Have you seen their kids?
Have you seen this Isabella Kaif MMS?
Sorry, I am Really sorry. Listen, lets go out for dinner.
What’s with the headache when it’s my friends?
First tell me, what does mauve look like?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Autobio of the Fraud Mallu..

Disclaimer: No part of the following literary piece may be reproduced, used in any manner  causing stress and premature greying to the author.

Apart from playing with an absymally large nose of a Delhi neighbour the author fails to recollect any earth shattering events from the toddler days... Little did i know, the intrusive nose was a feature of every self respecting Delhiite...

So Flashback and Skip to teenage days:

It was just another hot April afternoon. The Sun blazing down in all its glory, the peripherals of the huge school ground filled with the chattering of girls who were watching the boys of their class miserably failing at impressing them with their football skills.

Not even a single girl noticed the rotund teenager loitering around oblivious to the world around him. He was dreaming.... Sigh... still replaying the weekends Superhit Muqabla in his mind... They had showcased a song called Chura Ke Dil Mera which had been topping the chart. Our idling protagonist had not been able to express his true inner feelings for that woman, what was her name yeah Shilpa Shetty because of the parents disapproving gaze.  

But now, here, free from the confines of his house, he was watching Shilpa Shetty being Chained to the Goalpost in her Leopard Dress. Just as he stepped towards her with Shakti Kapoor like intentions, a flying football swerved from its formulaic trajectory and found its mark near his temple.

"I CAN WRITE" were the next words that came out of my mouth. Friends, not really getting the hang of the deeper and meaningful connotation simply took their Goal keeper to the Doctors room..

Now the Doctor being subject to a variety of excuses that students cook up, did not take the student at his face value, and thankfully coz it was a bloody mess.. Instead while examining him, he asked him "Ok, What have we got here, A bruised forehead, swelling ..., Did you meet an accident"

"No Sir, I met a speeding missile head on..  i wonder why is it called football if you are supposed to use your head even in this game"

" Listen You smartass. You want me to believe you that you are hurt and this is not an excuse to bunk the next 2 classes

" No and yes sir.. Am not a smartass and yes, this is not an excuse"

" You Nincoomp, wait let me take an X-ray , Till then you can entertain me by telling me about your miserable existence in the world, i myself dont like the game of football these days"

" Why Dr"

" Too much of sex and violence involved these days, and i get lots of them at home..... Apart from the sex ofcourse"

" Oh...."

And So it was that Nitin knowingly/unknowingly gave his first introduction... Ofcourse you, my dear lady inspite of being a total stranger can be privy to the conversation that happened in Room no 21 of St Francis De Sales School, New Delhi that day...

"Dr... Twas the Autumn of 81, New Delhi... I was born to Mallu parents who had shifted to Delhi some years back.. I have lived in Delhi for the first 21 years of my life. Hence I shall refer to Delhi as my Home town..

Dr:" Spare me the matrimonial kinda talk... Plus how do you know you will be in Delhi till 21"

"Just a feeling.... Touche.....Anyway Dr, you wanna listen or not"

" Yes, pl go ahead"

" So Sir... My Schooling.. Well, to be honest i dont remember any significant event save the 3 incidents that have made me the man that iam today"

" Boy!!!.. and what were these incidents"

Well, the first incident to have shaped my little mind was back in pre-primary. It was my first day in School and i had apparently threatened to shoot the pre-primary teacher with my LEO gun if she didnt allow me to go home... Needless to say the next one hour was spent on top of a cupboard..

Learning no 1: " Never, I repear Never ever threaten a teacher with a Leo gun especially if you are afraid of heights.. Correction, never threaten anyone if you are standing at the top of a tall structure".

The 2nd incident that was worth remembering was my Inter-school Karate tournament after Class 9th..

"Oh you had taken up Karate is it"

" Yes, and there i was... a junior green belt supposed to fight a brown belt, just because of the lot system in the open category"

" Oh, am sure you must have beaten him, made you proud did it"

" Oh No, As much as i would love to say i kicked his ass, truth is he beat me within an inch of my life"

" and then"

" Then, while eating Mushrooms for Dinner that night, i had my second learning"

" which was"

" Gandhi was right.. Violence begets Violence... Heck i didnt even touch him and he beat me to a pulp, Imagine if i had managed to land one or two kicks... He would just have killed me... "

" So, there ended the violent life of Nitin Nair"

" Meaning"

" Meaning, I gave up Karate and took up Pottery.. Oh what fun it is to create"

" You idiot, you gave up Karate, how do you think you are gonna do after your marriage"

" Dr.. i dont quite..."

" Never Mind.. Continue.. What was your learning"

" Never be the one to start an obituary section in the school newspaper.. There is plenty of time later on in life"

" True.. I dont like dead ppl either... Anyway what was with the 3rd learning"

" This one time, there was a play in which Shivani was acting... Now Dr, you ofcourse know who Shivani is right.. She is the headgirl who looks like Hema Malini and has the strength of Sunny Deol. Half of last years residents in your room were courtesy her.... Anyway inspite of this, i so badly wanted to be in theatre that i went up to the head of the house and told her i was ready to be anything, a horse, a tree, the background voice.. anything as long as i got to be in the play. This pleading went on for 5 days until she relented and made me a Boulder. I was ecstatic.. My joy knew no bounds..

2 days before the play, lil shylock comes down with measles or so we are told... The frustrated head of the house looked at the Boulder and said " Buckle up and study these lines"

The Boulder almost did a waltz with her . It was only her stern gaze that prevented such thoughts from being implemented.

So, the boulder turned Shylock merrily started rehearsing... It was all fine till the last rehearsal when the Shylock actually met the lead actress who was playing Portia.. Shivani..

To be Cont....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Night Army marched into Delhi

4th April, 2012

PTI News.

The news of an entire unit of mechanised infantry inclusive of its fighting vehicles moving towards Delhi from Hisar has sent shock waves throughout the government and has threatened to tear the very fabric of our evolved democracy.

Online sites have been going berzerk with supposed Conspirators ranging from the General VK Singh, the RSS and Mayawati. India TV has gone on to accuse the producers of Agent Vinod of this publicity stunt.

As news channels, newspapers face an unprecedented and severe backlash for their news on the attempted coup by the Indian army, we are now in a position to confirm that parts of the report are true. An attempt was made and stalled on that fateful night

Confirmed sources tell us that an attempt had indeed been made, India had been periliously close to an army rule and Manmohan Singh becoming just a silent ceremonial stooge. Much to our chagrin and later pride we have learnt that this attempt of the army was stalled neither by the Defense ministry, nor the Judiciary, It was a brave effort by a Haryana police constable that ensured that the air you are breathing as of now is a democratic one.

We have given below excerpts of a recorded conversation between the army commander Lt Gen Ak Singh and Suresh Tokas the constable at the road blockage outside Najafgarh.

Gen: Constable, Yeh Blockade hatao

Constable: Arey Chodu Singh, Tu hain kaun, Na Minister hain koi, Na Inspector hain, Manne bol raha hain ki chaukhat khol dey

Gen: Hum Northern Infantry ke commander hain aur hum Coup karne jaa rahe hain Delhi

Constable: Abey Baawlipoonch, Bade naye shauk paal rakhe hain army waalon ney, Koooo Koooo karne Dilli jaaney ki kya zaroorat hain, Tu kahein toh yahin bulale naachne waaliyon ko. Koyal si teri boli.. Coup Coup Coup Coup... Coup Coup Coup Coup

Gen: Constable, How dare you !!!, Tumhe pata hain tu kissey baat kar raha hain...

Constable: Naaaa... Tere ko bhi nahin jaanta, tere baap ko bhi nahin jaanta.. Abey Roz paala padtha hain Dilli ke londo se.. Yo sab kahin aur jaake boliyoh..

Gen: Tum samajh nahi rahe ho. Humara jaana zaroori hain

Constable: Dekh Bhaya, Thand ka Mausam hain, Kuch Haath Garam karne ka Sadhan hain toh bol.. Idhar tu pocket dheeli kar, idhar main security dheeli kar deta hoon

Gen: Constable, Yeh Indian army hain, Yeh Coup mey bhi ek misaal kayam karti hain... Removing Corruption is our primary objective, we cannot give you what you asking for

Constable: Matbal.. Gen Saab..aap meri baat samjhe nahin... Aap jaayengey Dilli, Ban jaayege bade aadmi, Hum toh yahin isi Roadblock ki duty kar rahe honga na..

Captain Sharma (who had been silent till now): Sir, Kya iski bak-bak sun rahe ho, hamara paas Bofors Gun hain, 120 round per minute waali LMG hain,supersonic MIG vimaan hain... Iskey paas kya hain...

Constable: Mere paas.. Mere paas Laathi hain Beti@#$@#...

Gen: Dekho Constable, iam giving you 15 seconds to remove this blockade.. otherwise ill have to order to forcibly remove you guys..

Constable: Now visibly palpitating... Sirjee baat kar lete hain na please...

Gen: 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9,8,7.....

Orderly running towards General: Sir Sir,, A boy has fallen into a well in Orissa...

Gen: So...

Orderly: They want us for rescue operations..

Gen: Damn this.. Had to happen today only... Sharma, Give the order to retreat.. Constable, we will be back...

Constable: phew!!!!!

As the convoy retreated, the other constable who was watching this exchange without coming close, came to our constable and asked him.. :Nai, Keey hoya bhai, Sab theek thaak toh hain"

Constable: " Kuch nahin Ramsevak, Army waala tha, Dilli jaana chahta tha.. Maine Keh Diya seatbelt ke bina na jaaney doonga.. Uskey Tank mey thaa hi nahin.. Wapas chala gaya"

We got in touch with eminent personalities from various fields and asked them their opinion on Constable Suresh Tokas..

Said Rohit Bal " Tokas is the symbol of a resurgent India, fighting against all odds. My fall collection is dedicated to this man and will be called THOK ASS.. Taslima Nasreen was however shocked to learn that the entire episode didnt feature a single woman "This is a prime example of male chauvinism, if a female had been in charge of the military batallion we would have a woman president today... Oh wait..."

While we expect the whole country to rejoice the arrival of this new hero, political parties to fall over each other to incorporate him into the party, Tokas was last seen trying to haggle with a couple caught making out.

Even as we were going into print, Mahesh Bhatt, Suhel Seth and Arundhati Roy remained unavailable for comments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Buy the Correct Running Shoes

The Marathon season is around the corner, leading to a spike in shoe sales. Now buying shoes is easy business right... Wait for 40% discount season, walk into the store and look for the best colour and design thats available.

Unfortunately not, when it comes to buying running shoes, one needs to take special care. While Running on the treadmill/road your joints, archs, feet come under so much stress and one could do severe injury to oneself if one is not careful about ones running... While there are other precautions that one needs to take while becoming a full fledged runner, when it comes to shoes it is imperative to buy the right shoe according to your feet type and running style.

Heres a small note on how to purchase your running shoes:

Process for buying Running Shoes:

Step 1: Check out feet type, whether its flat feet , normal arch or high arch... you can do this test by dipping your feet in water and leaving an impression on a plain piece of paper. If you can see the imprint of the entire feet you are flatfoot if only little bit of the midfoot is visible you have normal arch and if the middle portion imprint is almost invisible you have got high arch.. There is no best feet type to have. Just the correct running shoes for it.

Diff foot types require diff running shoes...

for eg flat feet require lot of stability and midsoles so that your feet does not bend at your ankles. These type of runners usually go for stability shoes.

Normal to High archs require shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. These type of runners usually go for cushioned shoes, from neutral to high cushioned depending on normal to high arcs.

While the wet foot test is fairly used across the world, it is not fool proof as it fails to determine your running Style.....

Step 2: Style of Running... This is the most important process in buying a shoe. To understand the style of running,one has to understand a concept known as pronation. Pronation is the bending of your foot every time it lands on the ground. The degree of rotation varies from people to people...

To understand how you pronate, the best way is to check your old shoes... Understand where the wear and tear is taking place. Look at the front and midsole and find out if the wear is happening on the outside part of the shoe or the inner part of the shoe...

Ideal (or neutral) wear will be in the middle of the toe, Underpronation or Supination would be indicated by wear towards the outside of the toe & overpronantion would be shown by wear on the inside portion of the toe

Note: "We shouldnt look at heels for this assessment as most of the runners land first on the outerpart of the heels..."

Step 3: Weight and Toe Box...

If you are a heavily built runner you require different types of shoes as compared to if you are light weight runner. Also check out if your toe is wide, if its so then you may need shoes with a wide toe box....

To Wrap Up...

1) Find out your feet type with the wet test...

2) Find out where the wear of your current shoe is happening.

3) Is your toe Box Wide enough. Does it cause discomfort when your little finger in the feet hits the fabric of the shoes...???

The Kind of shoes for you:

If you have a neutral to high arch and are more likely to underpronate: look for Cushioned shoes
If you are a moderate to flat feet and are likely to overpronate: Stability and Motion Control Shoes

The above recommendation is based on the assumption that for majority of runners, certain arch types go with certain pronation styles, but this is not sacrosanct.

In case you are not in the majority, and you have to make a choice, buy shoes according to your running style(pronation style) rather than foot size...

Hope this post helps!!! Happy Running...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Confessions of an Average Cricket Lover

Confessions of an Average Cricket Lover: So there I was vociferously jumping around like a stock broker who had just made millions. Dhoni had just slammed a six to start the biggest party India has seen since probably Independence. Involuntary tears flowed down my rotund cheeks as the Indian players hugged, cheered, cried together. First things First… Am not your maniacal head tonsuring cricket fan, neither am I the indifferent EPL lover. For most of the Indians born in the late 70s and early 80s, Cricket started with Kapils Devils lifting the trophy at Lords. It would be a lie if I tell you that I remember the 1983 World Cup. I was a 2 year old toddler in a houselhold with no television. So lets fast forward a bit… My earliest remembrances of Cricket were Sunil Gavaskar scoring his maiden ODI century against New Zealand and Ravi Shastri driving around an Audi though not necessarily in that order. I also faintly remember my father trying to explain the game to me. Iam sure he had an easy time as compared to fathers of today who probably have to explain referral systems, Powerplays, Duckworth Lewis, Poonam Pandey and the works. Allow me to get a bit nostalgic.. and Why shouldn’t I… Those were simpler times… Fodder was meant only for animals,Coffins for dead people, MBAs did not command the kind of dowry an Engineer or doctor could, everyone wanted to have body hair like Anil Kapoor, people could name atleast 4 players from the hockey team and Krishi Darshan would have beaten IPL hollow in TRPs. Cricket was no exception, Dawood Ibrahim was a respected figure in cricketing circles, India dreaded playing against Pakistan in Sharjah on a Friday, No Asian player used to feature in Bush Great Catches, and a Yorker was supposed to be dug out and not helicoptered out of the stadium. It was during this unblemished age that the 1987 World Cup was conducted in India. Frankly I don’t remember much of this tournament either. It was quite surprising considering that slowly but surely I was transforming into a couch potato with little or no talent in actually playing the game. What I do remember is my father explaining why the Eden Gardens is the greatest stadium in the world and a picture of Allan Border and his team holding the trophy in Times of India. A few boring years afterwards, I saw a curly haired lad along with Kapil Dev claiming that Boost was the secret of his energy on Television. That lad was already being hailed as the next demi god after Kapil Dev, though my class mates were unkindly mentioning how he would never get the Palmolive endorsement to his credit. However Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar remained in the background for quite some years as Kapil Dev tried hard to match Richard Hadlee’s record, Pakistani bowlers found ways to cast a spell on the ball. This era was probably known for India playing mostly against Pakistan, England or West Indies, getting walloped in the process. And then just when international cricket was getting a bit too stale for my liking, 3 things happened… 1) My Dad bought a Color Television 2) Manmohan Singh and his now famous policies resulted in cable revolution 3) Nelson Mandela was released from Prison and South Africa was welcomed back into the cricketing fraternity This made for a heady mix as we came to know for the first time, how South Africans due to years of isolation from the rest of the world had forgotten all about gravity, that lightning was fast and had a colour. It was around this time that the 1992 world cup began in NewZealand and Australia. For the first time I watched open eyed as I realized that cricket grounds were meant to be lush green and that cricket could be captured from more than 2 camera angles. The Production Quality of matches in Australia would in years to come still maintain its superiority over the desi channels. I remember New Zealand was a strong favourite back then with the likes of Mark Greatbatch, Martin Crowe in the lines, but what I also remember is rain doing India in, Duckworth and Lewis playing spoilsport with those unlucky South Africans and a young and surprisingly lean Inzamam blasting both New Zealand and England on their way to win the world cup. That Sachin was promoted to the role of an opener and he was very successful at that was only read by me much later as I slowly started reading the sports page of the newspaper before the front page. It was around this time, that I finally figured out what exactly TEST matches were. Not that I was too keen to watch them as they were as engaging as Jeetendra in Justice Chaudhary. My father had now started seeing Cricket as a potential threat to his son fulfilling the family dream of becoming a doctor and hence just at the beginning of my 10th standard, the cable guy was asked to take a walk. Unfortunately like Anna Hazare, I could not go on a hunger strike because more than cricket I loved food. But more about that later. Luckily for me, the World Cup that year was held in India and I can vouch for the fact that inspite of my board examinations I followed all the weekday matches( Both my parents were working and I used to have preparatory holidays) .Heck I even watched the South Africa vs UAE match where Kirsten scored that magnificient 183. The 1996 World Cup remains the most distinct World Cup ever for me… Sachin piling on runs, Jadejas charge against Waqar Younis, the Venkatesh Prasad Aamir Sohail faceoff, South Africa again knocked out during the quarterfinal after being the best team in their group, Warne bringing back Australia from the brink of defeat in the semifinals against West Indies, Heartbreak for India and Vinod Kambli crying at Eden Gardens, and finally Sri lanka deservedly winning the 1996 World Cup. The next few years saw the emergence of 2 young stars on the cricketing horizon Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly. And also a barrage of so called fast bowlers and wicketkeepers whose names I have trouble remembering. The year 1998 was a special year with Sachin scoring 9 ODI centuries something Salim Malik has hit in his entire ODI career. The innings at Sharjah, his disdainful treatment of bowlers around the world along with the Tony Greig commentary made for some spectacular viewing. It was also around this time that I entered college, started playing cricket and became an full blown addict. The 1999 World Cup was extremely boring what with the venue being England, India crashing out pretty early, but not before giving us the pleasure of seeing Dravid and Ganguly mauling the SriLankans. There was just two moments in the world Cup that will remain entrenched in my mind, forget the onesided final, forget the dropped catch by Gibbs, forget Indias early exit… What you cant forget is Sachin returning to play even after his fathers demise and Lance Klusener and the runout with Allan Donald. That day, it was not just South Africans who were in mourning. Come 2000, the supposed Y2K problem fizzled out, but what hit instead was bad, very bad. The Match Fixing Scandal…. More than Azharuddin, Jadeja, it was shocking to hear that Cronje that much loved captain was involved in cheating the cricketing fans. This incident cannot be looked into in isolation. It had irrevocably damaged the psyche of every cricket lover in India, so much so that every close match from thereon was viewed with lot of suspicion for over a decade. I remember discussing with my college buddies the South Africa vs Australia match at Durban immediately after that. Never had I seen South Africans play with such passion as that day after the scandal. Specifically remember Pollock dedicating the win to Hansie. In between these years, lot of incidents happened. Some memorable, some not so… Some of the memories that will forever remain stuck in my mind are… Gangulys captaincy, Kumble and Srinaths mothers jumping in the stands as they watched their sons forge an unlikely winning partnership against Australia, Hrishikesh Kanitkar becoming the out of nowhere hero for that spectacular 4 in the last over against Pakistan, Saeed Anwars brazen 194 in Chennai, Sachins highest score against New Zealand, a Sachin look alike only a lot fatter making it into the Indian team, Yuvraj and Kaif chasing Englands total at Lords prompting Ganguly to do what Poonam Pandey never did. So it was with a mixed feeling that we entered the 2003 World Cup. No one expected us to win when we were at an early stage almost expected to bow out. A dream Quarter final win against Pakistan drained the Indian team so much so that they were totally outclassed by Ponting and his team in the final. The Chapell era didn’t do much for the Indian team; with the early exit in the 2007 World Cup courtesy Bangladesh , and advent of IPL, my interest in ODI cricket started waning so much so that I stopped reading even the newspapers. To quote from LOTR, it was then when all hope was lost that a young lad from Ranchi and an ex-South African Batsman turned Coach together embarked on a mission to make India the no 1 Cricket playing nation in the world. But again it was that innings from that Shivaji Park lad who scored a magnificent 175 against Australia in Hyderabad in a very tight finish that told me ODI was not over, not as long as there were innings like these. That he went onto hit a double century against South Africa was simply another ornament in his shining armour. As I stood there at Wankhede watching the fireworks, I realized this was not about a Sachin Tendulkar, not about a World Cup coming home but about an entire generation justifying those millions of hours spent either playing or watching the game. The Dhoni Kirsten era will be earmarked as the most successful era in Indian cricket winning everything from the T 20, Test and ODI championships. Sachin is THE best batsman in the world with the only thing that eluded him now in his cabinet, Dhoni has taken India to the top of evey ranking possible, Indians have fielded as good as any champion team…. Sachin will probably play for another couple of years ensuring that even a revival of Pontings fortunes is not good enough to beat his records, Dhoni will go on and become the most sought after celebrity for Advertisements, IPL will have 92 teams by the year 2016 and we will Finally Finally Finally not be subjected to videos of Balwinder Singh Sandhu bowling out Gordon Greenidge.. So what now from here??? Logic says it can only be downhill from here.. I mean when you are the top the only way to go is down …The easy thing is to retire… “Reaching the top is easy, Its staying at top that is gonna be tough” Now if it took 28 years and a Sachin Tendulkar to reach the top, Iam just wondering how tough it is for India to remain at the top…. But I shall be there India, I shall not retire, I shall continue watching, criticizing, applauding you as you enter the tougher part of the battle… Australia 2015, Here we come….