Sunday, November 30, 2008

Champion of the Champions

Last month marked the sensational return of Roger Federer in his top gear to lift the US open title for the fifth consecutive year. Federer was not in any sort of rhythm going into the US open this year. But he fought with full dedication and lifted the crown which he definitely deserves for many more years to come.

I am a great fan of the greats of the open era like Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, Steffi Graff, Navaratilova, Justine Henin apart from Roger Federer. One common factor among all these champions is that all had a single-handed backhand which is a delight to watch. What makes Federer stand unique is his versatility on all surfaces. One might argue that he could not win a title in French open still. But, if not for Nadal, Federer would already have been champion there for 3 consecutive years. Sampras has never entered the final of French open ever as he did not have a proper game for clay court.

At present, both Federer and Nadal are injured but gearing up for the next show in the Australian open early next year. This absence has given opportunity for Djokovic and Murray to regroup. On a given day, these four are capable of defeating each other with their skills. It is surely a great situation for the Australian open with these 4 being the most probable semi finalists.

Being an admirer of Federer, I strongly feel that Federer would overcome these hurdles to win the Australian open and therefore equal Sampras' record of 14 grandslam wins. Federer would then be crowned "The Greatest of all time" by statistics as well. I just can not wait for the cracking contests in Australian open next year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - Book Review

I managed to complete reading The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga last week. I normally do not read non-technical books especially fictions. So, I am not the right person to review it either. However, I am trying a hand at it. I got a copy of this book to just see why there is such a hype around that book. It was an easy read for me as the context of the story was quite familiar to me. Let me provide review of this famous Man Booker prize winner of this year.

This novel is nothing but a letter to Chinese Premier from a successful entrepreneur called Balram Halwai aka The White Tiger. I can observe that the motivation to write this novel was to show how this person becomes an entrepreneur in Bangalore. He comes from a remote Village near Dhanbad which the author frequently refers as 'Darkness'. He joins as a driver cum servant to a person called Mr Ashok in Dhanbad. The incidents which lead him to murder his boss and migrate to Bangalore in a new avatar of an entrepreneur forms the crux of this novel.

This story is quite straight-forward. But the brilliance of the author comes out in stitching lot of interesting incidents together, though there is something artificial in each of those. There is a sense of repetition as the author tries to make fun of each and every system in India. The novel sounds like a typical Manirathnam movie in which he usually would analyze lot of sensitive issues only to conclude the movie without suggesting any proper solution.

I have some particular queries once I completed reading the novel. I am not sure if the author tries to convey that settling in a city from a village is the only solution to problems in India. In my opinion this is just an escape from the core problem. Also, I am not sure if the author is supportive of the corporate life in cities which blatantly copy the culture from the west. I would have been satisfied if he had made more fun of urban guys as well.

On the whole, I do not see this novel to be a path-breaking one and I am not sure if this novel is worth the hype around it. I agree that there are abundant funny moments in the novel which a non-indian would enjoy. Indian citizens may not like them as they are being shown in bad light.

I am certain that, now onwards, high-class people would be very much wary of drivers and servants after knowing the fate of Mr Ashok in this novel. If this is the only change, if any, the author intended to achieve with this novel, he has achieved it with considerable success!