Pehli baarish main aur tu :D

•July 3, 2009 • 4 Comments

My first monsoon roadtrip:

Here’s the route -> Pune – Wai – Panchgani – Mahabaleshwar – Poladpur – Mahad – Mangaon – Tamhini – Mulshi – Pune

When leaving the misty winding road behind is as sad as leaving memories behind....

When leaving the misty winding road behind is as sad as leaving memories behind....

Wait for the travelogue n the pics …:)


How we should setup against Barca @ the Camp Nou ..

•April 16, 2009 • 8 Comments
Flood the left and attack from the right.

Flood the left and attack from the right.

Hmmm , While this strategy discussion can go on and on, about how Chelsea should setup against the Catalans, I thought I might just put up a formation strategy (a rather wierd looking 4-2-1-3) to know more viewpoints on them. While we realize that the tie at Nou Camp could just decide the semifinal (a poor performance there would cost us dear), we need to be counter-attacking well on the flanks to make sure, we dont give a ManUtd like performance (last year’s CL semis). But what this has this forced me to do – Leave out Ballack of the starting eleven. Although this doesnt mean, he is left out for the 90 mins, he will be primary substitution for either Anelka/Malouda if and when that happens. So lets get straight into the analysis :

Main Strategy : Clog the left and attack through the right

1 . Defence – This is the most important piece of the jigsaw for us. Our main worries is through Messi on the left without Ashley Cole. This one of the reasons I have depolyed both Mikel and Essien in the starting XI. Mikel can slow down the game and stop Messi running and cutting into the box from the left.  We need an experienced defender as left-back who has pace and grit. The only two who fit this are : Riccy Carvalho and The Machine – Bosingwa. I assume Riccy can play left-foot, and would be my first choice to start left-back. If Bosingwa is fit and ready to start, I would not hesitate putting him into left-back , and playing Carvalho center-back. But, this makes us lose Alex, whose aerial threat from set-pieces is immense considering Barca’s stunted players. Ivanovic is first-choice on the right to counter Henry’s smart runs, and Terry-Alex can counter the pace and aerial threat of Eto’o.

2 . Midfield – While we miss Ballack for his attacking duties, the main reason I leave him out is the fact that, he doesnt defend as well as the younger legs and gives the ball away at times. With Barca’s midfield waiting to pounce on such let-aways, I feel it might be a gamble worth taking and keeping him afresh for the second leg at the Bridge. Essien gives us the strength in right-midfield and Frank as  usual will be the knight controlling it. Essien can counter Iniesta, just the way he marked Gerrard earlier, and Lampard can nail Barca’s holding midfielder – Xavi.  The midfield and defence are going to nail the story for us.

3 . Attack – Nothing changes much here. Drogba to aerially and physically attack Puyol and Milito. Anelka’s’/Kalou’s place can cause major problems for Abidal and Malouda will need to fight it out without Ashley’s services against Dani Alves. The reason I put Deco as an option for Malouda is sheerly to put the talisman against his former players, so that there is a sense of waryness and know-how :).

Advantages : Our aerial strength with Alex, Ivanovic, Bosingwa, JT, Drogba, Anelka, and physical strength with Ivanovic (The Rock), Essien, Mikel, Anelka and Drogba ofcrs :).

Disadvantages : Messi can make it reallllllly Messy. If Henry and Messi switch flanks (which is unlikely to happen), then we might be caught napping, but we too might need to switch our fullbacks. Also, we need to combine man and zonal-marking. While we would need to man-mark the Messi-Eto’o-Iniesta triangle, we might need to zonally mark Henry- Xavi and their free-kicks. We have to be realllllly careful with the way we defend Messi (We need to make sure the 90K crowd doesnt influence the referees to award a PEN in favour of Messi).


I would not be surprised if he switches to a 4-4-2, in case he plays Ballack into the midfield. That will leave us without Malouda and Kalou. But that would mean extra-clogging of the midfield which is good (from a defence pt of view) and bad( more difficult to create spaces and get that vital away goal). Whatever it is, We are in gr8 form, and the presence of JT and Lamps should see us through this tie at the Camp Nou.

My heart says : 1-1

Travelogue : Maandardevi

•April 14, 2009 • 1 Comment

Welllllllllll, I dont quite recollect since when Maandardevi was loooming, but since the time my office colleague almost skid off the driving line enroute Maandardevi (All was well in the end) , I wanted to be there ! Maandardevi, an age-old temple known for its infamous stampede which killed hundreds of innocent people, is not quite the best way it would want to be remembered. I n Yogi, had not hit it off for a loooong time, and this time we decided it was happening whether he had company or not ! Yogi came to my place at 6:15 in the morning, and we then put on our jackets and headed straight to the Bangalore bypass. A couple of photos here and there near the Katraj viaduct, and we were on hitting 90kmph (Well I had decided  not to overshoot this time).

This was a typical bag-packers trip and therefore apart from Maandardevi, had no agenda to it. When we turned right from Nasrapur into Bhor, we found some beautiful fields and flowers, that we could not identify at speed. We got down, and got a closer  look, but still did not manage to find the answer =:D .. Then there was a man, who charged hurriedly towards us, fearing we were pricking on his yeild. I dont think we look as bad 😀 . After a few words here and there, we managed to gather his belief. Then came the answer we were looking for – Carrot ! . It was impossible to believe Carrots wouls spawn  would have such lovely flowers :)..

Flowers off carrot roots

Flowers off carrot roots

The pleasure to drive terrain ..

The pleasure to drive terrain ..

After driving on for 20 more minutes, we came to the scenic drop where River Neera forms a snake-like structure ( See my post – Panoramic Snake). Both of us adventure-lovers decided to climb down the hill to get a dip into the beautiful river. More so, we also spotted a Wire-tailed swallow and a vibrant green Bee-eater. It was time then to grind the car through curvaceous turns of the Maandardevi ghat – roads to which seemed recently done up. It is a 45-min climb, and an enjoyable one for any moto-enthusiast. After visiting the ancient temple and sipping on two cool “Salted Nimbu Sharbat(Lemon Juice)”, we left on our way to drop down into Wai. Beautiful countryside roads nestled with greenery even in the scorching heat, this is a good drive back. I haddddd to come back to my favorite countryside setting – “The Menavli Ghat”. If you are around Satara and dont know what to do to kill time – Do Come here. A temple on the banks of a backwater body, and village kids diving as if they were the next Phelps, is a treat to be. After clicking a few gravity-defying pics of the school kids, We gave intothe temptation ourselves – Jumped right into the water to beat the scorching heat ! This rounded off a lovely day filled with grinding roads, scorching sun, a beautiful river and a pristine countryside.

The kids and their aqua-antics!

The kids and their aqua-antics!

When we put aside the Blues @ Anfield

•April 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

Anfield !!! No less than a battlefield as I call it. We had been here three previous times in the last three years and had never won there, with the best result a 1-1 draw last year under Avram Grant. When I run through the minds of the players, I am sure they would be saying – “Its difficult to go there and even play, forget about winning, but we need to go there with a philosophy that we have never taken to Anfield”. I believe, they exactly practised what they preached before the game, that of going to Anfield and not bogged down by tha occasion.. While, they all left their positions to move forward, there was one man who Guus Hiddink, handed the responsibility of shielding JT n the back line, from the threat of Gerrard and Torres – Micheal Essien.

I am just going to do what I love doing – ripping apart the strategies and tactical difference the teams played out yesterday.

1 . If Guus Hiddink had played John Obi Mikel, it would have been yet another Chelsea-Liverpool encounter, a tie that played out similar ways in the last 3 years. With due respect to Mikel, he is a wonderful holding midfielder, but what would have happened is the formation of the clogged midfield with Ballack, Gerrard, Lampard, Alonso and Mikel. Rafa Benitez played Gerrard in his customary European Rule – a shade behind Torres, to work triangles with Arbeloa, Torres, and Kuyt. Now since there was no Mikel there to hold him, it had to be someone who not only can move into defensize positions alongside Gerrard, but also one who could open the pitch out when demanded. That is what Essien did – made Gerrard look like yet another marked Talisman and provided the assists that Frank, Kalou and Malouda required.

2 .This meant Chelsea did not have attacking options that they would normally have with Essien playing out attack. Ballack, also held himself back, which meant Gerrard and Alonso did not get any creative license to move around. The questions now is – “How did Chelsea manage to attack the way they did?”. Essien typically played out long balls to Malouda, which meant the left hand side of Liverpool was exposed. Drogba got two balls from the left flank, both of which he missed :(.  All this looks very easy to talk – but execution is always difficult. Hiddink is a great tactician, but if you were to go back and analyse our inclinations – it was clear. Gerrard and Alonso had to get cut out from the game, which happened. But what worked in our favour was the dual role played by Essien – attack and defense. Most of the corners came from assists from Lampard and Essien and those produced two crisply struck headers from Ivanovic.

So, have we won it ? NO, WE HAVENT ! But it sure gives us great cushion to take to the Bridge. The Merseyside have the ability to bounce back. This brings us to a delicate situation as to whether do we sit back and defend at the Bridge ? NOOOO ! .. We have to play normally, but with immsense caution, in order to suck them into submission. Flanks will surely be strong, in order to convert counters. Nevertheless, the next leg will be as tactical as this one and I am sure, we would not get down to complaecency ! Hail Chelse hail !

Till then, I am just going to tap down n celebrate – I just took my colleagues out for a dessert as I normally do when the Blues turn it around 🙂 . This is how my workplace looks today 🙂

Painted the workplace blue !!

Painted the workplace blue !!

From the land of art ..

•March 7, 2009 • 1 Comment
A Rajasthani portrait

A Rajasthani portrait

Finally, A Code of Conduct for Data Centers – Green IT taking shape ..

•February 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I was so so happy to see this report from SearchStorage, the first official regulation from any country on the use and maintenance of data centers. I am sure, all we green IT enthusiasts would love to hear something similar from the US as well ..

The Sustainable Development and Energy Innovation of the U.K.’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has challenged the IT industry to prevent further climate change with the official launch of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centers on November 19.

The Code of Conduct was created in response to increasing energy consumption in data centers and the need to reduce the related environmental, economic and energy supply impacts. It was developed with collaboration from the British Computer Society, AMD, APC, Dell, Fujitsu, Gartner, HP, IBM, Intel, and many others.

Those who choose to abide by the voluntary Code of Conduct will have to implement energy efficiency best practices, meet minimum procurement standards, and report energy consumption every year.

The UK is also the first country in the world to approve legally binding climate change laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; data centers in the U.K. are responsible for about 3% of electricity use, and the goal is an 80% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2050.

America is far behind Europe with climate change policies, but it looks like it might finally be getting its act together in terms of protecting the planet. Climate change legislation and carbon emission regulations promise to become a reality under President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to enact global-warming legislation.

Unfortunately, the legislation would impose a cap-and-trade system on utility companies that could raise the price of power an estimated 20% across the board, so getting as efficient as possible before the legislation takes effect would be a wise move.

To that end, vendors have come up with highly efficient servers and lower watt CPUs that perform just as well as their higher power predecessors. There is also software to control power consumption and to cap server power usage, and finally reliable virtualization software to increase server utilization, so there really are no excuses for running under-utilized systems these days

The Draw of draws !! – Champions League knockouts

•February 24, 2009 • 1 Comment
The battle of battles !

The battle of battles !

Whoaaaaaaa ! I still remember the day when I was in Bombay, waiting anxiously for the knockout draws to be rolled out. The one thing that I wished against (bcos I seriously felt it would turn true) was drawing two of my favourite teams together. And that’s what happened – Chelsea were drawn to play against Juventus – a match I may so dearly miss than see one of my loved teams go out. Its such a mixed feeling for me as it is for the players to see themselves compete against Juve. I love ADP aka Alessandro Del Piero and the Chelsea players are very respectful towards former manager Claudio Ranieri. But, its just not for the Chelsea-Juve tie that makes this year’s Champions League knockouts more than interesting. A rivalry everyone would like to see renew is the Mourinho- Sir Alex rivalry and goddddddddd, they got that. In fact Mourinho was heard screaming before the draw that he would rather be drawn against the champions than anyone else.  What guts man ! I still admire the man for the confidence he oozes.

One of the other mouth-watering clashes is the Liverpool-Real Madrid contest. I seirously dont feel Liverpool are going to have it easy this time as Madrid are facing a drought of impressive CL results off lately and they would be more than eager to erase that.

The fixtures start today and I would be excited to see how my predictions fare

Inter 1 – 0 Man Utd ( San Siro)

Chelsea 1 – 0 Juve (Stamford Bridge)

Liverpool – 1 -2 Real Madrid (Bernabeu)