A tribute to Pele. 10 Trivia about the legend who made the Number 10 jersey something to aspire for.

Pele: A sporting icon who made football beautiful - BBC News

Maradona, Messi, Neymar, and many more top football players wear the number 10 jersey. However the man who wore it first was none other than Pele and it was bey chance. As the legend himself has said, “The number 10 jersey was given to me at a world cup match in 1958. Nobody thought it was important to wear the No.10 and it coincidentally dropped to me to wear at the world cup”.

Pele went on to always wear it, and will always inspire players to wear the Number 10 jersey with pride.

Let us recollect 10 trivia about this legend, who will be in the all time top 3 list of all, and may be the number 1 in the 3 of most.

Born on 23rd October, 1940, Pele’s real name is Edson Arantes do Nasimento. He himself did not like the name Pele at first since he was proud that he had been named after Thomas Edison and wanted to be called Edison. He initially thought the name Pele sounded horrible. How he came to be called Pele is interesting. His family’s nickname for him was Dico or Gasolina. He idolized his father’s football goalkeeper friend Bile and as a child used to say that “when I grow up, I want to be a goalie like Pile”. He innocently distorted Bile as Pile, and it became Pele and the name Pele stuck-for him.

As a child, Pele was poor. He worked as a shoeshine boy and he scavenged through scrap. He also worked in tea shops as a staff boy. His 1st football boots were bought by money from roasting and selling peanuts stolen from goods trains parked at the railway station.

When Pele was nine, he saw his father cry after Brazil lost the 1950 world cup final to Uruguay. The little boy told his father, “I will win the world cup for you”. He did, thrice.

Pele’s 1st international match was against fellow football superpower Argentina. It was a 1-2 defat for Brazil, and he was the goal scorer. He was just 16 years 9 months and he became the youngest goal scorer for Brazil. Today, 65 years later, he still remains the youngest to score a goal for Brazil.

Pele was not chosen for the 1st two matches of the 1958 world cup. Neither did Garrincha. One of the main reasons for their omission was the adverse report of the team psychologist who had sated that Pele was “infantile and lacked fighting spirit”, while Garrincha was plain irresponsible. The coach disregarded the views for the 3rd match versus USSR and Brazil won the match, with Pele becoming the youngest player ever to play the world cup, and in this match he provided an assist for Vava’s second goal.

In the Semi-finals of the 1958 World Cup, Pele scored a hattrick, becoming the youngest player to do so at the World Cup. His goal in the 1958 Final is regarded as one of the best goals ever in the World Cup. He scored two goals in the final and after Brazil won the match, he passed out in happiness, and was revived by Garrincha. After he recovered, he wept inconsolably in happiness.

Pele once stopped a war. Between 1967 and 1970, more than a million died in the civil war in Nigeria between the Nigerian Government and the secessionist state of Biafra. In 1969, there was a football match between Santos and the Nigerian Super Eagles (which was a 2-2 draw), and a 48 hour ceasefire was declared so that all could watch Pele peacefully.

European Football Clubs have always tried to identify the best football players across the world and sign them up. Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan were some of the clubs who were keen to sign up Pele. In an extraordinary gesture the Government of Brazil declared him a ‘National Treasure” in 1961 so that he would not be transferred out of Brazil. Pele was just 21 at that time.

“The Beautiful Game” is a phrase not just popularized by Pele but making it synonymous with football. His autobiography too was named, “My life and the beautiful game.”

America calls football soccer. It is not a popular sport there but Pele was a nationwide sensation. Even the President of America took his autograph on a football. In his last match, which was for Cosmos, Pele scored a goal and ended his career with a goal. This match was watched by Mohd. Ali and Bobby Moore. When the match was coming to an end it started to rain, and newspapers came out with headlines, “Even the Gods were crying.”

Pele, we will always have you in our hearts. It is players like you who have majorly helped to make the beautiful game beautiful.

Inspired by Pharaohs, this mega-rich Brazilian wanted to bury his 310000 pounds Bentley with him. WHY?

Bentley Burial

I am a proud organ donor who has taken the pledge for organ donation. The pledge was taken to celebrate my 51st birthday, and my wife Milly joined me in this noble cause since both of us are convinced by the urgent need for organ donation whereby one person can save several lives. The pledge was taken by us as we want to live beyond, love beyond, and not just receive the gift of a life well lived, but gift it further.

We humbly request all to take the pledge for organ donation or whole body donation.

Thane Chiquinho Scarpa, (referred to as Scarpa from now on) who was one of Brazil’s richest men, announced that inspired by the Pharoahs’ he wanted his 310000 pounds Bentley to be buried with him so that he can drive around in style in his after-life.

How is this related to the cause of organ donation? Read on.

Scarpa said that he wanted his Bentley to be buried with him. This caused lot of consternation and people were very angry even at this selfishness by the tycoon, exhorting him to sell his costly car and donate the proceeds to charity instead. Scarpa bluntly refused and was adamant to go ahead with his idea, which he called as path-breaking

He even said that he was used to a comfortable car and wanted to have an equally comfortable car for his after-life and after working so hard to make so much money he was entitled to it. He refused to listen to any logic to the contrary and rather said that he wanted lot of publicity and lot of people to see this function. He posted details on his Facebook page as well.

Scarpa even ordered a huge pit to be dug for the car. In an elaborate ceremony, the car was prepared to be lowered to the ground. An angry media prepared for live broadcasting for the entire country so that no one would do something so eccentric again.

Moments before it was done, Scarpa stopped its lowering and said it was all a stunt. He then asked everyone, you all wanted to donate my car, but is it more important than heart or eyes or kidney or liver? He said that he had timed his stunt to match National organ donation week, and had planned this stunt to raise awareness.

Scarpa’s campaign was a huge success and there was an increase in organ donation in Brazil by as much as 31.5%.

Do we need a Scarpa to drive home this blunt truth to us, that we wont be taking our organs with us to the after-life. Do we not take off the jewelry, chains, bangles and costly watches off the body of our loved ones so that it can be of use to those who are living? However we do not pledge our organs which are infinitely more valuable and which can save the lives of several persons. Let us do so.

“Angdaan karle maanav, bhagwan ban jaoge”. These beautiful words are part of the lyrics of a song sung by Udit Narayan, with lyrics by Nilesh Bhai Mandlewala, founder and President of Donate Life. It means donate organs so that by gifting life, from man you become GOD. Donate Life is an NGO which has undertaken the noble cause of organ donation, and spreading the need and awareness for organ donation. It has set admirable standards of transparency and commitment for this cause. Nilesh Bhai himself has sacrificed his entire life for life of others and is an inspirational personality. Will write a separate blog on Donate Life and on him only.

Coming back to the cause, we always compare ourselves with western nations. Do we know that we have only 0.5 donor per million population, while the corresponding figure for Spain, USA and Croatia is 36, 27.2, and 35.

Can we not try to increase the number? Join us in this mission.

I will end this blog by differentiating between organ donation and full body donation. Both are noble missions. One is for life, and one is for science. In body donation, the entire body is donated to a medical college for scientific research and for teaching medical students. Two famous persons who have gone in for full body donation are Jyoti Basu and Nanaji Deshmukh. Similarly many famous persons have gone in for organ donation and taken the pledge. Some of them are Priyanka Chopra, Madhavan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Vijay Deverakonda and many others.

We often like to emulate celebrities and famous people. We want to copy their hair style, their clothes and their sunglasses. Can we not copy them for their noble decision to go in for organ donation or full body donation.

Organ donation pledge can be taken by all, rich and poor. If it is taken by an extremely poor person, has he/she not proved that he is extremely rich.

Five lakh persons die every year in India due to lack of donors. For those needing the most precious gift of eyesight. the number increases to ten lakh.

Let us try to address this issue by taking the pledge. We have done so, we request you to do so as well. Let us live a life, after life. Love and regards to all.

Ronaldo swallowing his tongue, Sneaker Wars, Customs seizing Puma shoes, the “Pele Pact”. Football Musings.

Pelé's daughters say he was hospitalized last week with a lung infection  following bout of Covid-19 | CNN

One of the biggest unsolved mysteries in world football is what happened to Ronaldo just before the 1998 Football World Cup Final. Apparently the star footballer swallowed his tongue and had to be virtually saved for death by one of his teammates. He was originally not in the team sheet, but then was included in a revised team sheet in the starting 11. Ronaldo was off colour and France won the 1998 World Cup against Brazil with Zidane being the star for France. Ronaldo would however make a remarkable comeback by scoring both goals in his teams win over Germany in the 2002 World Cup Final.

There are various conspiracy theories about Ronaldo’s illness and his playing the 1998 final, and one of them is that Nike had a 105 million pounds sponsorship deal and one of the clauses was that Ronaldo had to play if he was declared fit. Nike also had invested 50 million pounds into Brazilian football, and it was stated that they arm-twisted Brazil into playing an off-colour Ronaldo versus France.

Whatever be the truth about Ronaldo is not known, but it certainly is the truth that sneaker companies have a very important and powerful role in world football. American sportswear giant Nike has always been associated with big names in world football, and currently they sign CR7, Lewandowski, Mbappe, and many others. German based Puma has Neymar, Reus, Griezeman, Suarez, and others. Adidas, also Germany based has Messi, Son, Benzema and many others.

Have you heard about the Sneaker Wars and the Pele Pact. Read on.

In the 1960’s there was a terrific battle between Puma and Adidas and the two companies had bitter rivalry leading to too much loss of time, energy, and money. Top athletes and players too started playing one company against the other and this resulted in lot of needless financial loss. The top officials of the companies also started trying illegal methods, and in the 1968 Olympics Adidas officials allegedly bribed customs officials to impound Puma sneakers. The background was that all-weather tracks started in 1968, which would allow athletes compete in bad weather without worsening their performances. Puma came up with the Brush spikes which had 68 needle like spikes enabling better grip. US athlete John Carlos broke the 200m world record and suddenly the Brush spikes became the craze. Adidas reportedly bribed the Customs officials to seize all sneakers, and it was rumoured that they too were trying to get their version of spiked shoes onto the market. The 200m World record of Carlos was negated as well. Subsequently a law was passed that sneakers cant have more than six to eight spikes.

Carlos incidentally is famous for the Black Power salute with Tommy Smith after he won the bronze in the 200m race in the 1968 Olympics. Tommy Smith of course won the gold with a 19.83 race and became the 1st to breach the 20 second barrier. The Black Power salute will always be a symbolic moment in the history of the Black power movement.

Coming back to the sneakers war, I have stated above that the two companies were hurt financially by the wars. Both companies came to a peace treaty, and one of the highlights was the “Pele Pact”, a deal NOT to sign Pele, because both companies feared the bidding war would be disastrous even for the winner. Pele signed a deal with Stylo instead.

As for Pele, he is probably one of the top three players to play football, and he led the Brazil team to the 1970 final which was against Italy. It was a highly anticipated match, and the excitement had reached feverish heights. Just before the opening whistle, Pele asked for permission to tie his shoelaces, and the camera zoomed to his sneakers, and he was wearing Puma sneakers.

Pele Pact

The “Pele Pact’ had been broken. A Puma official named Henningsen who was friendly with all players of Brazil decided to make a deal with Pele without the company’s consent and then took it to the Puma top boss, who came to the conclusion that the deal was too good to refuse. One of the key part of the deal was that Pele would tie his shoelaces which would draw attention to his wearing puma sneakers.

With this defiance by Henningsen and Pele, the sneakers wars restarted.

Currently too there is a sneakers war going on, but between Nike and Reebok. However the sneakers war between Puma and Adidas will always be a part of football folklore.

Strategy, teamwork, skill, and technique. Reasons behind the extraordinary year of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

Max Verstappen

Ferrari is a Formula-1 racing giant. It is the only F-1 team to participate in every year of F-1 history so far- from 1950 till now. It has won 16 Constructors titles and 15 drivers titles. It completed 1000 races in 2020. Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen are three Ferrari legends. Ferrari is easily the most successful F-1 team in racing history.

At Number 6 is Red Bull racing with just 5 constructors titles and 6 drivers titles. The 5 constructors titles are in the years 2010-2013 (4 in a row), and after a 8 year gap, in 2022. All the 6 titles have been earned by two extraordinary drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen. Vettel won 4 years in a row from 2010-2013, while Max has now won 2 in a row, last year and the current year, 2022.

In between Ferrari at Number 1, and Red Bull at Number 6 are Williams, McLaren, Mercedes, and Lotus.

Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell are Williams Legends, while McLaren legend Ayrton Senna sadly died in his 3rd race for Williams. Alain Prost was a McLaren champion as well, and he and Niki Lauda had a very close rivalry in 1984. A few years later, the team of Prost and Senna dominated. Hamilton has won a world championship with McLaren as well. He then left for Mercedes and in an unprecedented domination for 7 years, Mercedes won 7 constructors titles and 7 driver titles, with 6 to Hamilton and one to his teammate Nico Rosberg. Mercedes even succeeded in getting Schumacher out of retirement and the legend raced for 3 years before being replaced by another legend in the making- Hamilton. Finally, at 5th place we have Lotus, which dominated racing in the 60’s and 70’s.

This year has been the year of Max Verstappen and Red Bull racing. Max won his second world championship with 4 races remaining while Red Bull won the constructors title in Texas with three races still left in the season.

How did Red Bull overtake their fancied competitors?. How did Max have such a dominant year?.

This article seeks to find out some of the main reasons for the same.

First and foremost, they have in their team the extraordinarily talented Max Verstappen, already a racing legend at an early stage of his career. He has the ability to hold on to leads, he has the ability to overtake, and he has the ability to win starting from the back. Max has set a Formula 1 record of 15 wins from a single season, and he has also set the record of most points scored. He went ahead of legends Schumacher and Vettel who had done it in 2004 and 2013. The maximum points was 413 by Hamilton in 2019, which Max smashed in Mexico with 2 races to go.

Some critics would say that Schumacher won 13 out of 18 while Vettel won 13 out of 19 while Max won 15 out of 22. However the fact also is that they had a more dominant car than Max has since in 2022, all constructors started from scratch. Moreover Vettel won all of his 13 from pole while Schumacher won 11 out of 13 from pole, What about Max, He won 14 while only 5 were from pole and three were from second position. He also won starting from as back as 8th, 10th, and 14th.

Winning as many as 6 from outside top 2 is phenomenal.

The best part about Max is that he is not interested in numbers. After the Mexico win the double world champion said, “I was never really interested in stats. I just live in the moment, try to do the best I can every single weekend”.

Red Bull and Max have an excellent tyre strategy which is also a reason for their season of dominance. This was acknowledged by none other than Hamilton who said that at Mexico he too should have started with soft like Max did instead of medium before switching over to hard. Max also showed that he is a master at preserving the soft tyres which he used for an incredible 26 laps instead of the 20-22 which others do. Using the tyres for more time also gave them a big boost plus extra time to analyse while other teams started pitting. Both Hamilton and his fellow driver in fact complained about the tyre strategy but were told by their team that Red Bull’s tyres would give up. They did not, and one reason was masterful driving by Max. With at least 10 laps left, Hamilton accepted that it was all over. This was acceptance from one of the toughest competitors and a 7-time world champion, showing how good a driver Max was.

Their Team work is amazing which is a must in this highly competitive sport Max apart from being an extraordinary driver is also a realist. Lets see what he himself says, “A lot in Formula One depends on the whole package and we have a great package right now”. What are some of the factors which are essential for a good racing team? Some are- an excellent car with good engine, good tyre management, effective pit strategy, proper communication, and teamwork between the two drivers. For instance there is a clear number 1 and number 2, and Perez is an excellent point guard/defense and when the time is right, he has his own wins too. Perez is a master at tyre preservation and now Max has shown that he is as well. An excellent example of coordination was Perez, at Mexico, going in for medium tyres ahead of Max, to give the analysts time to analyze the stats on his car before putting it on Max.

Credit needs to be given where due. Red Bull is extremely well led by the technical genius engineer Adrian Newey and Team Principal Christian Horner. Helmut Marco, head of their driver development program needs to be credited for scouting Max as well, who started straight at the top, bypassing Formula 3 and 2 (unlike worthy competitors Leclerc, Russell…and recent F2 winner Mick Schumacher).

Congrats Red Bull racing for dominating the Formula 1 2022 season since all started equally due to the radical rules introduced , and with a cap on investment /spending on the car, mainly the engine and the tyres. Further, there is an emphasis to encourage closer racing which essentially means more overtakes, and hence skill of the driver is even more relevant now. To explain in a simple manner, F-1 cars have severe turbulence behind each car, which reduces the downforce generated by a car directly behind, making it difficult to overtake. However, cars of 2022 have seen greater use of ground effect aerodynamics, and modified wings, to reduce the turbulence behind the cars, which makes it easier for skillful drivers to overtake. Why talk about Max alone and his wins from 8th, 10th, and 14, even Riccairdo went from 14th at one point to finish 7th in the highly technical Mexico GP.

Looking forward to the 2023 season which promises to be even more exciting with Mercedes catching up and Red Bull being penalised by the FIA for an accepted breach agreement resulting in reduced wind tunnel time. However, an unfazed Christian Horner promises thgat “What we lost in wind tunnel time, we will gain in motivation and come out fighting next year”.

Will Red Bull continue to dominate or will 7 time consecutive constructors champions Mercedes (2014-2021) get back their crown from Red Bull racing. Will Verstappen continue to dominate or will the hugely talented Leclerc step up to become the new world champion, or will Hamilton have one last hurrah to go past the incomparable Schumacher by claiming his 8th world championship.

Watch this space.

Adieu Sebastian Vettel; One of the best racing champions of all time retires from F1 racing.

LONG READ: The lesser known Sebastian Vettel – getting to know the man who  snubs social media | Formula 1®

Sebastian Vettel is not very social media savvy. He says he does not text messages and he hardly receives and phone calls throughout the day. Recently Vettel opened an Insta account- and his 1st post was to announce his retirement from Formula 1 racing. One of the greatest champions of all time, Vettel had his last race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 20th November 2022 in which Max Verstappen had an extraordinary 15th win of the season and Vettel finished 10th.

Let us go on a trivia journey of this amazing champion’s career which some say was a journey from being loved to hated to loved again.

Sebastian Vettel is from Germany. As a child he had three Michaels as idols, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan and Michael Schumacher. He wanted to be another Michael Jackson but says that he did not have the voice to pursue a career in singing. He chose racing and like his idol, he too ended up as one of the legends of this highly competitive brutal sport. Schumacher is rated by many as the GOAT, but Vettel certainly will be in the top ten list of ALL, and top 5 list of most. Isn’t that amazing?

Let us recapitulate some of his extraordinary achievements;

Vettel is the youngest ever world champion. In 2010, he was just 23 years and 233 days, when he became the youngest world champion, eclipsing the record of Lewis Hamilton who was 23 years and 300 days when he was world champion in 2008.

Vettel has won four world championships in a row from 2010-2013. He matches Juan Michael Fangio who did it from 1954-1957, and Lewis Hamilton who did it from 2017-2020. Ahead of them is the incomparable Michael Schumacher who won five world championships in a row from 2000-2004.

In the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 2008, Vettel, at 21 years and 71 days had become the youngest ever Grand Prix winner. What was extraordinary was that he won it racing for Toro Rosso, and it was Toro Rosso’s 1st ever win. Incredibly, he won with an engine specification of 2007, and he won in hostile wet weather. Noticing this terrific feat, Red Bull signed him for the 2009 season, and he responded by becoming world champion four years in a row from 2010-2013, just a year after racing for them. In his 1st year as well he had a great season and he was second behind Jenson Button by just 11 points. He was just 22. As mentioned above, he still became the youngest ever world champion the next year.

Since then Max Verstappen has become the youngest Grand Prix winner at 18 years and 228 days when he won the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016.

Vettel is third ever on the all time list as regards races won. He has 53 race victories and ahead of him are Schumacher with 91, and Hamilton with 103.

Vettel is 4th on the all time list of pole positions. He has 57, and ahead of him are Hamilton (103), Schumacher (68) and Ayrton Senna (65). This stat also shows the greatness of Schumacher who has 68 pole positions but 91 wins.

Vettel has the record of maximum 9 wins in a row which he achieved in 2013, in which he won 13 races. The 13 races won was also a joint record with Schumacher which has been broken by Max Verstappen who has won 15 races in 2022.

Vettel has 122 podium finishes, and he is 3rd on the all-time list with Hamilton (191) and Schumacher (165) ahead of him. Max Verstappen is already 8th with 77.

We have seen that Vettel won 4 world championships with Red Bull racing. Let us see his career after that. A resurgent Mercedes saw Lewis Hamilton being world champion six times (in addition to his earlier one with Mclaren). In two of these years, Vettel, driving for Ferrari was second to Hamilton in 2017 and 2018. In 2017 he competed almost till the end of the season. 2018 too was a competitive season, and it was billed as the Fight for Five, since Vettel and Hamilton both had won 4 and were trying for their 5th world championship. Vettel parted ways with Ferrari in 2020, and raced for Aston Martin in 2021 and 2022.

Lets end this blog with some Sebastian Vettel trivia.

Inspired by World War 2 Ameican bomber pilots, Vettel names his cars. His 1st car he had named Julie, and the Aston Martin he raced at the end of his career he named Honey Ryder, after the 1st Bond girl in Dr. No.

Vettel when he started his career was called Baby Schumi, as his driving style and mastery of wet weather conditions was compared to Schumacher. Like Schumacher, he too was known for visiting the tyre factory and talking to the manufacturer for getting better insignt. He was also just the second racing champion to win the acclaimed Laureus World Sportsman of the year award. The 1st was none other than Schumacher and subsequently, Hamilton and Verstappen have been awarded as well.

Being a pragmatic person, Vettel accepts that Aston Martin is not expected to compete against Red Bull Racing and Ferrari, and lesser chances of podium finishes played an important role in his decision to retire. That apart he has lots of other plans, such as being a champion for sustainability and the environment. As he himself says, “My concern for the environment is one of the factors that definitely played a role in my decision to retire, seeing the world changing and seeing the future in a very threatened position for all of us, and especially for the generations to come”.

Vettel leaves the sport with rich tributes from his rivals and competitors, both as a champion and as an individual. As world champion Max says, “Vettel is a super nice, caring person, who is not there just for performance but because he means well.” Most colleagues shared similar sentiments. To give just two instances, Alonso, who started behind him in his last race said he would not attempt to pass Vettel, and would like to relax, sit back and see him take several laps. Hamilton, who had two ferocious battles with Vettel hosted a private dinner for Vettel in which all the 20 racing drivers attended and spent time with their valued competitor. All were of the unanimous opinion that a great driver and a nice man was leaving the sport.

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Thanks Sebastian Vettel for the entertainment and all the best for whatever you plan to do in the future.

Pics credit; Formula 1.com. Info credit,; Info freely available on public social media.

DAMAN. This Odia movie, soon to be released in Hindi is making waves. It is a must-watch.

Watching the Odia movie DAMaN took me back to memories of my UPSC interview on 19th May, 2000.

Running Houseful Across Odisha & Outside, Odia Movie 'DAMaN To Be Released  In Hindi Soon - odishabytes

Amongst other questions, I was asked what I felt was the most important problem the country was facing. I said population explosion. I was asked in detail and I responded the best I could. Thereafter I was asked 2nd, 3rd and 4th important problems and I said, Education, Health and Corruption, in that order. I remember I was asked why I had put education before health and not vice versa and I answered with an example of a Tribe of Orissa which believed that quinine is made from dead man’s bones and therefore they refused to eat quinine and consequently many died of malaria. I answered that if they had been educated then their health would have been better.

How is this sample from an interview related to the movie DAMaN which is making waves and has been declared tax free by the Naveen Patnaik Government.

omkar hota

DAMaN stands for Durgama Anchala re Malaria Nirakarana, i.e Eradication of malaria program in inaccessible areas. The movie is based on the true story of Dr Omkar Hota, who worked in Chitrakonda block of Malkangiri, Odisha and earned the trust of the local people to become a messiah like figure and played the pivotal role in substantially reducing the menace of malaria in the district. He has also been felicitated by the Hon’ble CM of Odisha and the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha for his sterling efforts. His pic is above, sourced from Business standard newspaper. He was also felicitated by UNICEF for his overall efforts and his incredible feat of carrying a woman on a cot for over ten kilometres to save her life. UNICEF Brand ambassador Kareena Kapoor said that Dr Hota’s story has been embedded in her mind and heart and she committed to visit such areas and to experience what such mothers are going through and help them come out of their agony.

Let us take a look at the plot, the main actors and plans ahead.

The Plot; Dr Siddarth is a young MBBS doctor who has to serve for three years in rural posting as per the Governments policy. He goes to rural Malkangiri against his wishes . Shocked at the arduous terrain, staying standards, and complete lack of any kind of facilities, he initially wants to come back after a single day. However, his desire to serve patients and save lives takes precedence over his concern for material discomfort. On of his amazing achievements is carrying a pregnant lady for ten kilometers on a cot and saving her and her baby’s life. Dr Siddarth comes to realise that the simple tribals of the area are averse to medical treatment and prefer to take shelter in superstitions and fake medicine men called the disari who have brainwashed them into thinking that ghosts are responsible for their illnesses. Subsequently he realises that the main illness of the area is malaria. The movie takes us through his efforts to spearhead a movement towards eradication of malaria. He faces lot of resistance and there is fear of loss of life from Naxals as well but an undeterred Dr. Siddarth is successful in his efforts. Hence the name DAMaN, Durgama Anchala re Malaria Nirakarna ( Eradication of malaria in inaccessible areas).

The main actors; Odia movie superstar Babushaan plays the role of Dr. Siddarth and puts in a breathtaking performance. The son of legendary actors Uttam Mohanty and Aparajita, Babushaan was originally named Tanmay but is popularlu known by his screen name Babushaan. The music of DAMaN is excellent, and Babushaan, who is also a talented singer has sung one of the two main songs with the other by the talented Rituraj Mohanty.

Playing a complementary role to Dr Siddarth is pharmacist Ravindra Muduli, and the role is played by Dipanwit Dasmahapatra, an Engineer turned accomplished actor and theatre artist, who has acted beautifully.

The writer and director of DAMaN are Debi Prasad Lenka and Vishal Mourya. This is the 3rd movie of Debi Prasad Lenka, with the earlier two being B for Bundelkhand, and Biju Babu. He is also the editor of DAMaN. Vishal Mourya was also co-director of B for Bundelkhand and Biju Babu , and now of DAMaN. He is an engineer who left his career in MNC’s to pursue his passion.

Looking forward to more enthralling movies by this talented duo.

Congrats to the producer Deependra Samal, the cinematographer Pratap Rout, and the music director Gaurav Anand. This is the 4th movie of Gaurav as music director and best wishes to him for many more.

It is also a matter of pride for the State of Odisha that the director, editor, sound designer, and cameraman are all products of the State’s film institute, Biju Patnaik Film and Television Institute of Odisha, Cuttack.

Made with a budget of less than a crore, DAMaN is expected to cross 50 crores. The makers are planning to release it in Hindi and Telugu. Kudos once again to the makers, Well done.

I recommend you all to watch DAMaN, a wonderfully executed movie.

Pics credit; Business Standard, Indian Express and Odisha Bytes.

22 Trivia about the 22nd edition of FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar in November 2022

The FIFA World Cup has been organized 21 times so far. The most successful team has been Brazil who have reached the finals 7 times and have won 5 times. The only team which has reached the final more times is Germany. They have reached 8 finals and won 4. Eight countries have won the world Cup so far. Other multiple champions are Italy (4), Argentina, France and Uruguay (twice each). England and Spain have won once each. There are five other teams which have reached the Finals but could not win. These are Netherlands (thrice), Czechoslovakia (twice), Hungary (twice), Sweden, and Croatia.

The 22nd edition of the world cup starts on 20th November, 2022. I bring to you 22 trivia about the 22nd edition in this informative blog.

Know the key rules introduced by Qatar government for FIFA World Cup 2022
  1. This is the 1st world cup to be held in the middle east. It is just the 2nd World Cup to be held in Asia after 2002 ( hosted by South Korea and Japan).
  2. This will be the last world cup with 32 teams. The 2026 World Cup, which will hosted by the USA will have 48 teams.
  3. The official mascot of the 2022 world cup is Laeeb, an Arabic word meaning super-skilled player.
  4. The official match ball is Adidas Al-Rihla, which in Arabic means “the journey”. 1% of total sales of the official match ball will go towards supporting the common goal movement, a pledge-based charitable movement. This movement was launched 5 years back and encourages professional football players and coaches to pledge 1% of their earnings for the cause of promoting football.
  5. The official song of FIFA World Cup is Hayya Hayya which means better together. It is sung by US stars Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Qatari singer Aisha.
  6. The official FAN Anthem is Tukof Taka, a catchy number sung by Nicky Minaz, Maluma, and Myriah Fares. Lyrics are in English, Spanish, and Arabic.
  7. World Cup is normally held in May and June. However because of the intense summer of Qatar, it will be held in winter and will be the 1st ever world cup in November. Organizers say that they will arrange futuristic air-conditioning in the stadiums.
  8. Qatar is the smallest nation to host the FIFA world cup. The previous smallest was Switzerland, host of the 1954 World Cup. However Switzerland is 3 times bigger than Qatar, and those days only 16 teams played in the World Cup.
  9. The population of Qatar is 3 million, and 12 million fans are expected during the tournament.
  10. Qatar is the 1st country to be awarded the world cup without having qualified for any of the previous world cups. Japan, the co-host of the 2002 world cup was awarded in 1996 and had also not qualified earlier while co-host South Korea had qualified. However Japan did qualify for the 1998 world cup. Italy the 1st hosts of course did not qualify earlier but that was because they were the 1st hosts and no world cup had been played earlier.
  11. 36 referees and 69 assistant referees will oversee the world cup. For the 1st time ever, 3 female referees and 3 female assistant referees will be part of the referee team.
  12. Columbian superstar performer Shakira had performed in the opening ceremony of the 2006, 2010, and 2014 world cups. She was supposed to perform at the 2022 world cup but withdrew just 4 days before the opening ceremony.
  13. The 2022 World Cup could become the most watched event in history. 3.57 Billion had seen the 2018 World Cup, and this number could touch 5 Billion in 2022.
  14. The 2022 World Cup is the most controversial world cup in football history. FIFA officials have been accused of corruption and allowing Qatar to illegally buy the hosting rights.
  15. The defending champion is France who had defeated Croatia in the final of the 2018 World Cup, hosted by Russia.
  16. As a result of its war against Ukraine, Russia has been banned from participation in the 2022 World Cup.
  17. Messi and Ronaldo are amongst the greatest players of all time. This could be their last World Cup, as they are 35 and 37 respectively. They would like to go out in a blaze of glory.
  18. This is the most expensive world cup in history. Qatar has reportedly spent 220 Billion Dollars for the event. Before this only 2 world Cups, more than 10 Billion dollars were spent, 11.6B$ by Russia in 2018, and 15B$ by Brazil in 2014.
  19. A FIFA requirement is allowing sale of alcohol in stadiums. Qatar had agreed but in a last minute decision (just two days before the event), beer in stadiums was banned, which was a massive blow for the sponsors, Budweiser, and thousands of fans. The speculation is that there has been intervention by the ruling family for this stunning U-turn. An embarrassed FIFA President is now saying that “fans can survive three hours without beer”.
  20. Like earlier World Cups, once again Europe will dominate the World Cup as regards participation. 13 European teams are there out of the 32. There will be 830 football players, and 73% play in European clubs.
  21. The opening match is between Qatar and Ecuador. It was originally the 3rd match but organisers wanted the opening ceremony just before the host’s 1st match and they realised it would be odd that two matches have already been played before the opening ceremony. Hence the schedule was hastily reorganised. The President of Ecuador was supposed to attend the match but has skipped in the last minute citing concerns about domestic unrest.
  22. Many global leaders will visit to see their country’s matches. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken too will visit and watch the 1sdt match of the USA. He will also have some diplomatic talks on a variety of topics including (significantly) human rights.

The Games begin tomorrow. Looking forward to see some exciting football. May the best team win.

Sachin, Sachin….Sachin, Sachin. God of cricket retired today, 9 years ago, after giving us millions of happiness moments.

Virat Kohli During Sachin Tendulkar's Farewell At Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai  | VK 18 Fan Club™

On 24 February, 1988, Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli stiched together a 664 run partnership for their school Sharrdashram Vidyamandir versus St Xaviers.

On 14 November, 2013, after an eventful career, Sachin Tendulkar retired from International cricket. He had played 664 matches, comprising of 200 test matches, 463 ODI’s and 1 T20 International. 664 and 664, what a coincidence.

Many describe Sachin as God of cricket. A few get angry and upset at hearing this. Why? Does it matter? Is it important if he is described as such? Who did first. Was it Matthew Hayden ? The belligerent former Aussie opener and current mentor of the Pakistan cricket team had said, “I have seen God. He bats at number 4 for India”. Did someone else say so as well. That doesn’t matter too. It’s just that the description caught the imagination of many, and it became popular .

By the way Sachin himself initially was amused and a bit surprised. Let me share his reaction when I showed him the pic of a close friend, Rohit Rdx, who could have been a professional cricketer but chose engineering and consultancy as a profession. Rdx has a funny pic of touching Sachin’s feet. Not the real Sachin, but Sachin’s wax statue at Madame Tussaud’s, London. Seeing this pic made the real Sachin distressed and disoriented for a good 2-3 minutes, and he kept on repeating, “your friend Rohit should not have done this, I do not like this, Please please tell him not to, No one should do this, no one , No one”.

It is widely stated that Sachin is the best batsman since Don Bradman. What does the Don himself say about Sachin, “I never saw myself play, but I feel this feller is playing much the same as I used to”.

Some say that Viv Richards was the best after Don Bradman. What does Sir Viv say, “He has been a genius when it comes to ability, a Trojan when it comes to work ethic, and manic when it comes to his focus”.

Just 2 more quotes, one from a fellow great who debuted with him, and one from his close friend Brian Lara, who is also in the list of best batsmen of all time.

Waqar Younis says, “He can play the leg glance with a walking stick”. Lara says, “Sachin is a genius, I am a mere mortal.”

Anyways it certainly is not important why Sachin is called God of cricket, does he deserve this accolade or it can be dispensed with. He will be the 1st to cheerfully dispense with it, by the way.

What is important is that a young boy started playing cricket and he played it well. When he scored a hundred in his Ranji trophy debut, there was discussion that the new Sunil Gavaskar has arrived. Kapil dev cautioned that there have been prodigies before, so don’t rush. Dilip Vengsarkar disagreed with Kapil and even asked him to bowl to Sachin at the nets. Fittingly, in Sachin’s debut test, the man of the match was none other than Kapil Dev.

Thanks to a brilliant selection committee he played early for India. Raj Singh Dungarpur said, “usse lag jayega toh”, and Naren Tamhane thundered, “Vo lagane vala player hai, lagne vala nahin hai”.

The astute RajBhai agreed and Sachin was selected to play for India and he went on to have a memorable career. Sachin was also the undisputed mentor of all. However, he had one request that the player shopuld ask for the tip as he did not want to be seen as overbearing or dominating. Sachin with his keen intellect and study of the game was instrumental in recommending Mahi to be the captain of India and Mahi became the most successful captain in Indian history. One thing remained. World Cup. That too was won in 2011. Winning abroad had already been achieved under captaincy of Saurav Ganguly. It was important to be the worlds top test team. That too was achieved All this and more was achieved over the 24 years of Sachin’s career. All that came to an end today, nine years back. Sachin retired, to the chants of Sachin, Sachin,…… Sachin, Sachin.

We are happy that we have seen the greatest cricketer of our generation for a long period of 24 years. I have put two pics here in this blog ( Pics credit, Getty Images). In both, Virat is there lifting him up, one with Raina, Bhajji, and Yousuf Pathan after the world cup triumph, after which Virat said, Sachin carried the burden of the nation for 21 years, its time we carried him”. The other is of Virat and Mahi carrying him after his retirement from test cricket. Virat looks glum and Mahi philosophical. Sachin looks happy in both and is proudly holding the National Flag in both. He knows that the game will go on (and it is), and he has played a sweet knock.

Thank you Sachin Tendulkar. Thanks a lot.

Tendulkar has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years; It was time we  carried him: Virat Kohli | Latest Sports Updates, Cricket News, Cricket  World Cup, Football, Hockey & IPL

Formula-1 Champions over the years. Compilation of interesting information.

Netflix documentary on Michael Schumacher – DW – 09/23/2021

Formula One is also called Formula 1 or F-1. It is the premier car racing championship around the world and year after year is increasing in popularity worldwide. A simple illustration of this is that the USA originally had only one Grand Prix at Austin, but recognising the popularity, now has a second Grand Prix at Miami (FROM 2022) and will have a third at Las Vegas from 2023.

The two prestigious championships at the F1 are the Constructor Championship and the drivers championship. The latter is called the world champion and he is a global celebrity- across sports.

Let us know some interesting information about F1 world champions over the years.

63 times out of 74, the drivers champion was driver for the Constructor Champion team as well. There have been just 11 instances when the driver was from a different team, and these instances are used to highlight how a champion’s championship is even more creditable if he wins with a different car. Max Verstappen did it in 2021. The 1st was Mike Hawthorn in 1958. The only champion driver to do it twice was Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983.

By the way, there is a Max-Piquet connection. Piquet’s daughter Kelly Piquet is the partner of Max.

Who was the 1st F1Champion?. It was Guiseppe Farina in 1950. His car was Alfa Romeo. The current champion is Max Verstappen who has become world champion in 2021 and retained his championship in 2022. He is from Red Bull racing.

Who has become F1 Champion with maximum races remaining? It is none other than the legendary Michael Schumacher, who many reckon is the best racing champion of all time. In 2002 he became the world champion with as many as six races remaining.

Which world champion has won maximum consecutive championships? Once again, it is Schumacher who has the record with 5 consecutive championships from 2000-2004. He has also won consecutively once more which was in 1994-1995. Lewis Hamilton too has won consecutive championships twice. One was in 2014-15, and one was 2017-20.

Two other driving champions who have won four times in a row are Juan Michael Fangio (1954-1957) and Sebastian Vettel (2010-13). There are 7 more instances of double consecutive championships with the latest being Max Verstappen in 2021 and 2022.

Which Country has given us maximum world champion drivers. It is UK. 10 of the 34 champion drivers so far are from UK. Overall if we see, drivers from 15 countries have been world champions. Next to UK’s 10 are Germany, Finland, and Brazil with 3 each, while there are many countries with 2 and 1 drivers.

Who is the youngest ever F1 World Champion? It is Sebastian Vettel when he won the 1st of his four consecutive championships in 2010. He was 23 years and 134 days. He broke the record of Lewis Hamilton, who was 23 years and 300 days when he became world champion in 2008.

Who is the Oldest World Champion?. It is Juan Michael Fangio who was 46 years and 141 days when he became world champion in 1957. He broke the record of the 1st champion , Guiseppe Farina who was 46 years and 308 days when he won in 1950. Fangio’s record may stand the test of time.

What about youngest and oldest race winners?. The youngest is Max Verstappen who was 18 years and 228 days when he won the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016. Max became the 1st Dutcham to win a race and the second to have a podium finish, with the 1st being his dad, Jos.

The oldest race winner was Luigi Fagioli who was 53 years and 22 days when he won the 1951 French Grand Prix. This record too is likelt to remain forever.

Who has won the Maximum World Championships?. Schumacher and Hamilton share this record with 7 each. Hamilton almost won a 8th in 2021 but was pipped by Max. In 2022, Max has won comfortably, but towards the end of the season Mercedes has shown improvements in its car and in 2023 I have a feeling that Hamilton will have a serious chance at being world champion for a 8th time.

Who is the only world champion to be posthumously awarded the world championship?. It is Jochen Rindt who was just 28 in 1970 and was leading the championship race when he died in a crash while practicing for the Italian Grand Prix. His closest competitor Jackie Ickx could not get more points than him in the remainder of the season and hence Jochen was the 1st and only posthumous world champion. Jacky in fact was the runners up twice in a row, as the previous year too he had finished second.

Who has maximum race wins? It is Lewis Hamilton who is the only driver to have crossed 100. He has won 103 races, and is followed by Schumacher with 91, and Vettel with 53. Hamilton can win a few more of course as he still looks great.

Who has won maximum races in a season? It is Vettel who won nine in a row in 2013. In that year he also equaled Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a season. This record was broken by Max in 2022. Italian Alberto Ascari in 1952-53 had won nine races in a row across two seasons. Vettel says that Ascari’s feat is greater since those days there were not even 9 races in a season, races were much longer, and cars were breaking down more easily, hence it took a masterclass of an act to win none in a rwo across two seasons.

The 2022 season will be over soon. Congrats Max Verstappen for being the world champion in 2022 and looking forward to a fantastic 2023 season.

Hope you liked the compilation above. I have two other F1 blogs in mind, one will be an analysis of how and why Red Bull racing and Max dominated the 2022 season, and the other will be a tribute to Sebastian Vettel who will retire at the end of the 2022 season.

Watch this space.

Sikandar Raza of Zimbabwe. One of the best white-ball cricketers of the world.

Biography of Sikandar Raza - SportsUnfold

We mostly talk about cricketers from the major cricketing countries. However, there are stars in the so-called weaker teams as well who often punch above their weight, have got famous wins for their team and have earned glory for their country.

Let us look at one such star from Zimbabwe, Sikandar Raza who currently is one of the best white-ball cricketers in the world. In fact, he won the ICC player of the month award for August 2022, a month in which he had 3 ODI hundreds. He also had a very creditable T20 World Cup and played an important role in the upset win of Zimbabwe over Pakistan.

Sikandar was born in Sialkot. He wanted to be an Air Force pilot and studied for 3 years in Pakistan’s Air Force School. There were only 60 seats for admission and there were 60000 applicants. He was one of the successful ones. However he could not pass a mandatory vision test which was a must to become a pilot. Ironically 7 out of every 10 persons have this particular issue, but then to be a fighter pilot, one has to be in the other 3. This was the main reason that Sikandar migrated to Zimbabwe when he was 16. Thereafter he studied software engineering in Scotland where he played cricket and realized that he had a future as a professional cricketer. He got citizenship when he was 26, and thereafter he has consistently played cricket for Zimbabwe in all formats.

Let us look at his records in different formats.

Test Matches; He has played 17 test matches in which he has scored 1187 runs. He has hit eight 50’s and has one hundred. His only test ton was a fighting 127 which helped give Sri Lanka a huge target of 389 which Zimbabwe however could not defend. Two of his 50’s were in the same match which was versus West Indies, and he also had a fiver (five wicket in an innings). This feat of two 50’s and a fiver has been done by only all time great Jacques Kallis and by Sikandar. His best bowling performance has been 7/113 against Sri Lanka.

ODI. Sikandar is a terrific ODI player and has as many as six centuries. As mentioned above, he had three in the same month. Sikandar values his wicket and does not give it away easilt. His 1st duck came in his 98th match, and ahead of him are Dravid (120), Martin Crowe ((119) and Kepler Wessels (105). Sikandar is ahead of Javed Miandad (96).

In 2017, Zimbabwe defeated Sri Lanka 3-2 in an away series and Sikandar played an important role throughout the series. In the final match, his was the match-winning, and series-winning knock. In the same match, he had his best ever bowling figures of 3-21 in 10 overs. Sikandar’s century versus India will be remembered for long as his counter-attack came when his team was 169/7, and he scored 115 in just 95 balls. In the process he featured in a 104 partnership for the 8th wicket which is a top ten record in the history of ODI’s. Versus Bangladesh, he scored consecutive centuries in two consecutive chases. He is the latest member of the 1000 runs, 50 wickets, and 50 catches club, which has all time legends Viv Richards, Kapil Dev, and Allan Border as its 1st three members. Sikandar, if u get a chance to read this blog, I hope this will bring a smile to your face.

International T20. Sikandar has played 66 matches in which he has scored 1259 runs at a strike rate of 128.86. His highest score is 87 and he has hit 47 sixes which shows his value since nothing lifts a team’s morale than a hit for maximum.

Sikandar says that the greatest challenge for him was the rule that one has to be in the country for ten years before getting citizenship since one could play for Zimbabwe only after becoming a citizen. However he modestly says that maybe it was all for the best as he may have been a failure if selected earlier. He also says that he likes cricket because of all it variables and the challenge it poses, as one ball can have an impact on your career. Hence he also says that being an allrounder is helpful as it gives a second chance, since if one does not do well with the bat, one can try to make up with the ball and vice versa.

My good friend, Lalchand Rajput Bhai, was coach of Zimbabwe for 4 years from 2018 to 2022 be fore handing over the responsibilities to David Houghton, the 1st test captain of Zimbabwe, and one of their top two batters along with Andy Flower. Lalu Bhai says that his dream was for Zimbabwe to participate in the 2022 T20 World Cup which they did, and great that the team also ended up with a win over the extremely strong Pakistan team.

All the best for the future Sikandar.

Pics Credit; Getty Images. Information credit- Information freely available on public social media.