Thursday, November 28, 2019

MovieNotes: Six Dreams

Continuing my niche football documentary series viewing.

Six Dreams is my second foray into the world of Spanish football and La Liga after El Corazon de Sergio Ramos. But this series presents the flip side of the to the footballing royalty represented by the likes of Real Madrid and its star captain Sergio Ramos. 

The series follows six protagonists as they go through the ups and downs of the 2017-18 La Liga season. 
  1. Andres Guardado, captain of the Mexican National team who plays for Real Betis. An experienced campaigner who has played in 4 World Cups, he is closer to the end of his career. 
  2. Inaki Williams – the first Black player to play for Atheltic Bilbao. Somebody who is trying to fit in despite the discriminations he has faced in his career. He is rewarded with a call-up to train with the Spanish national team.
  3. Saul Niguez – a youngster playing for Athletico Madrid and the Spanish national side.
  4. Eduardo Berizo – who starts the season as Manager at Seville, discovers he has cancer during the season, then undergoes treatment and later hi ousted from the job. Ends the season with a new coaching assignment at Athletic Bilbao.
  5. Amaia Gorostiza – President of Eibar, the only female club president in La Liga. She has to deal with the business side of her small club, which continues to survive in the top league.
  6. Quique Carcel – Sporting Director at Girona, who are having their first season in the La Liga. And they go on to have the best ever finish for a debutante club in the league’s history, including a victory against Real Madrid.
Their paths keep crossing over the course of the season. The players are concerned about being fit, getting play time, scoring goals, trying also to be in national contention and sometimes looking out for a bigger pay cheque as well. The staff on the other hand try to ensure the business side of the game keeps running. For the smaller teams like Girona and Eibar, sometimes success can be disastrous as their players & coaching staff become hot properties on the transfer market! They have to keep searching for newer revenue streams. e.g. Eibar was the 3rd most popular La Liga club in Japan because they had a Japanese player. However, he is transferred to a new team who see the investment as an opportunity to get into the Japanese market. Coaches are under pressure from national squads at times, after all it’s a World Cup year! Then there are the personal tales of the players, how they came up to their current position and what they believe the future holds for them. And of course the superstitions – one of which forces the Amaia to wear yellow heels throughout the season!

Overall, it was quite an interesting watch. And a good promotion for La Liga, who showed that there is more to the League than Real Madrid & Barcelona. Although there are times when switching between stories gets a bit confusing, especially when two of these six come face to face!

Previously on MovieNotes: El Corazon de Sergio Ramos

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

LearnNBlog #17: Okhil Chandra Sen’s Letter

Dear Sir, 
I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with ‘lotah’ in one hand and ‘dhoti’ in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on plateform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur station.

This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report! to papers.

Your’s faithfully servent
Okhil Ch. Sen.

This was the letter sent by an irate Mr. Okhil Chandra Sen to the Sahibganj divisional railway office in 1909. While the contents of the letter may seem hilarious, it does have a very important place in the history of Indian railways. The authorities took note of the seriousness of the issue and decided to introduce toilets in train bogies. So that no passenger would have to suffer the fate of Mr. Sen.

Yes, major changes can be brought about by an act of a single person.

The original letter has been preserved and is displayed in the National Railway Museum in New Delhi.

Previously on LearnNBlog: A lesson From Sir Edmud Hillary

Thursday, November 14, 2019

MovieNotes: El Corazon de Sergio Ramos

Continuing my football documentary series viewing!

El Corazon de Sergio Ramos (The Heart of Sergio Ramos) is an 8-part documentary chronicling the life of Sergio Ramos, who is the captain of the Spanish national football team and the Real Madrid team.

The documentary has been filmed during the 2018-19 football season. During the course of the season, the viewers get to know more about Ramos’s family, his roots, his non-football interests (music & horses), his plans for his legacy et al. This is about a player who knows that he is closer to the end of a glittering football career. There is even an exhibition showcasing his achievements.

The documentary comes about as an honest insight into Sergio Ramos’s life. Even though there are some bizarre elements like his wife appearing on a TV show where she is seen shooting an arrow through a flying toast into a balloon! What really makes the show watchable is the fact that 18-19 season wasn’t the best of times for either Spain or Real Madrid. Not hiding from showing failure adds to the allure of the series.

Now comes the question. Is there a Season 2 being filmed? After all, the series had an MCU kind of end with Zidane appearing in the end-credits!

P.S. The series is in Spanish. And I love how the Spanish commentators keep going “Goal! Goal! Goal!” after every goal scored!

Previously on MovieNotes: Make Us Dream 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Road To Tokyo: Episode 9

The Indian Qualifying Contingent has grown considerably since Episode 8 with both Hockey teams qualifying & additional Quotas earned in Shooting.

The New Qualifiers 
Both the Men & Women teams have qualified for Tokyo after winning their respective qualifiers. The Men defeated Russia 11-3 on aggregate, at one time it was 4-3! The women had a roller-coaster ride. Leading 5-Nil at one point in the first game against USA, then being 5-5 at the midway stage of Game 2, before adding one goal while defending resolutely to overcome them 6-5!

Indian Shooters picked up 6 Quotas in the Asian Shooting Championships taking their tally to an all-time high of 15!

Ashwarya Tomar picked up the 2nd Quota in Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions, Deepak Kumar picked up the 2nd Men’s 10m Air Rifle Quota, thus ensuring that India should be able to field two teams in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle. Angad Bajwa & Mairaj Khan booked the Men’s Skeet Quotas. Tejaswini Sawant opened India’s account in the Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions & Chinki Yadav picked the 2nd Quota in Women’s 25m Pistol. 

The qualifiers have come to an end. Only the World Ranking allocations are pending. There is also a chance for re-allocation of Quotas in case NRAI chooses to send different Shooters at the Games and some Shooters (e.g. Manu Bhaker, Anjum Moudgil) eligible for multiple events. Should be an interesting exercise.

In Other News
In the Women’s Boxing World Championships, Mary Kom became the most decorated boxer ever (male or female) with her 8th World Championships medal. Overall, India had a good outing with 1 Silver and 3 Bronze Medals. Mary Kom & Lovlina Borgaohain’s Bronze medals were in the Olympics weight categories while Manju Rani’s Silver & Jamuna Boro’s Bronze came in non-Olympic categories. Now to the first set of Qualifiers in February.

However, there is a bit of controversy with Nikhat Zareen wanting a trial against Mary Kom!

Asian Games Silver medalist Fouaad Mirza is currently in pole position for the regional Quota after winning the Group G Qualifying Event.

India will play host to 3x3 Qualifiers in March, 2020 for both Men & Women

Was reading up on the Marathon achievement of Eliud Kipchoge and how much science played a role in his breaking the 2-hour mark. Was reminded of the problems faced by OP Jaisha in the Rio Games marathon. The athletes do their bit, but who works on providing that extra boost which bridges the fine line between superstardom and anonymity! 

Total Count – Sports - 5, Events – 21, Entries -32, Participants – 60.

  • Nikhat Zareen’s Letter to Sports Ministry (Link)
  • Eliud Kipchoge (Link
  • O P Jaisha Controversy (Link
  • Road To Tokyo: Episode 8
Episode 10 should drop in by the end of this year!