Thefeelgoodfactor's Blog

Random thoughts

The case of Subramaniam Badrinath

The first time I heard his name was when I was in 12th standard. He along with Venugopal Rao had ensured that South Zone chase down 500+ runs in fourth innings to defeat England A in a duleep trophy match (Yes, there was a period when foreign teams played in domestic competition). (Match scorecard) Rao went on to represent India from there and was out of the Indian team in no time. The only memory of Venu’s international career I have is the way he got out to Shane Bond after being substituted for a bowler (image) (Of there was a time when players were substituted in cricket too!). Another hero of the aforementioned match, Sridharan Sriram, too represented India in a handful of matches but without much success.

From then on, Badrinath and Sridharan Sharath kept piling runs in Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu. The problem with Sharath was that he was already in his 30s at that time and given the strong Indian middle order and the emphasis for youth ( it was Mr. Chappell’s period), it was difficult to see him representing India. Badrinath, on the other hand, had time on his side. He was selected for India A team and scored heavily wherever he played. There was a point in time when Dinesh Karthik was in the Indian ODI team as a batsman( I always believed there were couple of things wrong in that, one, there were many better players in the country at that time, Badrinath included, two, if Karthik was in playing XI then he should be the keeper, he was a good keeper at that time, sample).  Selectors along with the national coach kept making weird decisions and what happened in 2007 WC is known to everyone.

And finally when Badri got a break in ODI, he helped India win the very first match he played. However, he couldn’t continue this form throughout the series, and selectors ignored him for the next series.( Virat Kohli, on the other hand,  was lucky. He didn’t have a great series but selectors persisted with him). Doubts were raised about Badri’s ability to play in an ODI, after all he had scored in 4/5 day games mainly. For time being lets agree with this argument. The treatment meted out to him in Test squad is still inexplicable. When Ganguly retired, Yuvraj was named as the replacement which was perfectly natural in spite of his performance in Test cricket till that time. After all, he had represented India for around 7-8 years by that time. What was surprising is Raina’s selection in the team ahead of Badri. ( Agreed Raina has been in ODI side for some time, but Badri’s superior first class record speaks for themselves). And unfortunately when Badri finally got a chance, it was against Dale Steyn and Co. I personally feel that not much should be read into his failures in that series as even the best of the batsmen find it difficult to face Steyn and Morkel.

IPL-4 was probably a good thing to happen to Badri, he showed that he can adapt to the shortest form of the game as well. Being among the top two run scorers in Ranji Trophy, it was natural that he was picked in the squad for WI. Badri says that he finds inspiration from his IPL teammate, Micheal Hussey, who also started representing Australia in his early 30s. Frankly speaking, Hussey was helped by the fact that he had a dream start to his international career and he averaged around 80 in his first 2-3 years in test matches. Not everyone can expect to get that kind of start.

To be fair to Badri, the kind of pressure on him is unimaginable. He has got an opportunity to prove himself after 7 long years.( in the mean time I finished my B.Tech, worked for a couple of years and enrolled in an MBA institute). With every failure, Badri runs a danger of being labelled as a good domestic player at best. Age is not in his side. This is one of the reasons why he will not get as many chances as Rohit Sharma, or even Robin Uthappa, for that matter. What is worse for him is with every single failure in the current ODI series, the probability that he will be overlooked for the test series increases. And this test series probably is his last chance. By next year, when the seniors retire, Raina and Yuvi would have filled 2 of the 4 slots. Kohli would and should be given a chance to prove himself in the middle order. Cheteshwar Pujara would be back in the reckoning. ( Given a choice between Pujara and Badri, I would pick Pujara purely because I don’t want another player to miss out like Badri). I just hope Badri is selected tomorrow and he manages to score a century, for anything less than that might mean that his international career is over.

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Zh

I was talking to my Tamilian friend couple of weeks back in Mumbai and our discussion veered towards various IIMs. And when I pronounced Kozhikode , my friend was shocked. I was schocked looking at her reaction as I couldn’t believe that she would think it is कोज़्हिकोद् . ( After all, Tamilians should know how zh is pronounced). To my relief, my friend was not happy with me because i told Kolikode and not Kozhikode (If you are not a south Indian, you probably will not know what i mean). Even though my skills in Tamil are limited, I always believed that I can pronounce “zh” properly. In fact till couple of years back I went about correcting people that it is not कोज़्हि but kozhi. Not any more. I have realized that more than half the country doesn’t know how it is pronounced and it is a collective waste of time trying to correct each and every person.

Sometimes I feel like thanking my ancestors for spelling tamil as T,A,M,I and L and not T,A,M,I,Z,H. Otherwise, तमिल would have become तमिज़्ह by now. One contra view is in that people will know the correct pronunciation of zh,but given the pessimist I am I seriously doubt so.

By the way, I seriously feel sorry for Kanimozhi.

PS: For those who want to know the correct pronunciation of Kozhikode, here it is:  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Kozhikode_mal.ogg

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Commentators and Analysis

This blog is inspired by Mr. Gavaskar’s comment on appointment of new coach. Sometimes I really find it surprising that I waste significant amount of my time listening to/ reading the analysis of experts. I mean most of the commentators just talk non-sense and more often than not say contradictory statements. Take for instance, the chat between the commentators post a world cup match.

Harsha: Gentlemen tell me, how do you play a bowler like Mendis?

Symcox : I would watch his action to see if there is a difference. ( Really! I mean you feel the players in the international level can’t find that out!)

NS Sidhu : My dear friend, Symcox doesn’t know anything. You should watch the bowlers’ release position and look at his fingers closely. That’s all is needed for succeeding against Mendis! ( And the players are stupid, right)

Ganguly : When we toured Lanka, we realized that it was difficult to pick the carrom ball, even Sachin couldn’t figure out using Mendis’ action/release and finger position. We found that direction of rotation of the ball was the key.

NS Sidhu : Experience speaks for itself. I have never played Mendis, so I didn’t know this.

My point is,if you didn’t know then why do you speak in the first place. By the way, Sidhu is not alone in making such ridiculous statements. ( Though he certainly is the most annoying). When India lost the match against SA in the WC, everyone in the studio was cursing Dhoni. Dean Jones in an interview to a news channel said Dhoni can’t ride on his luck and needs to have a proper plan. And when the team against Pak was announced, Sidhu was furious that Nehra was in the playing eleven instead of Ashwin. At the end of the match, Sidhu called Dhoni’s decision to play Nehra a masterstroke. Dhoni told later in the press conference that he misread the pitch. Many former greats immediately reacted saying that’s what makes Dhoni a fine captain, he admits his mistakes(DJ also felt the same). I am sure the reaction would have been different had India lost the match.

And there are commentators like Rameez Raja who are extremely biased. Any boundary scored by a Pak batsman is of a wonderful well-timed shot. And in case Pak is at the receiving end, the batsman was lucky or the bowler unlucky. And there are Madan Lals of the world who will just state what is happening on the field. No analysis at all. Come on, we are not blind. Say something that gives an insight/ some perspective. This is the aspect in which I think Harsha Bhogle and Ian Chappell stand out. Harsha, apart from his speaking style, stands out because he has this ability to look at things from a different perspective and put it in a simple to understand language. I recollect an instance when a co-commentator was worried that req. run rate (RRR) was increasing with less than 10 overs remaining. Harsha put things in perspective saying, the problem with RRR is that when the denominator is smaller the fluctuation is larger; One good over for the batting team and the scenario will change.

What makes Ian stand out is his no nonsense approach. He might not always make the right prediction, but he always has a good cricketing reason behind whatever he speaks and he stands by his statement. ( I remember there was a time when Zimbabweans were banned from T20 first but were playing ODI, which Ian thought was ridiculous. He felt lesser the overs, more the probability of an upset. Such a simple reasoning and how true!)

Finally there are some analysts who think they are clever ( and they are not of course). They try to avoid taking a stance by uttering non sense. The most illustrious person in this category is Sunil Gavaskar ( Ravi Shastry has a tendency to globe as well). After India had lost to Zim in 1999 WC, someone asked SG about India’s chances of advancing to the next round. SG replied,” My heart says India will qualify but my head says it won’t.” I mean he can justify he was right whatever be the eventual outcome. ( Similar incident happened in this years’ WC as well).

Two years down the line, irrespective of Fletcher’s record, Gavaskar is going to prove himself right. In case Fletcher fails ( I sincerely hope he succeeds), Gavaskar will say that he knew Fletcher would fail as majority come from Hindi speaking belt and culture is different blah blah. In case Fletcher succeeds, Gavaskar will say he was misinterpreted, he had no doubt in Fletcher’s ability, just that someone like Amarnath would have been more successful. ( which can never be disproved!).

Ending this blog with an incident.

Harsha : ” Zaheer somehow flicks it on to the leg side and manages a single.”

Sunil : ” Had laxman played a similar shot, we would have said what a wristy shot.” ( He wasn’t being sarcastic)

Harsha : ” I am sure Laxman would have been in awful mood had he played such a shot.”

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Nostalgia

There are some incidents/ one-liner / events that remain etched in one’s mind forever. Here’s a list of such events:

1) Probability prof in my B.Tech college ( SP) : How can I award you marks. Your answer is wrong.

Student(AP): But madam, I solved this question using different method, that’s why I am getting different answer.

SP: (Asking another student in class) Is AP’s method correct? Should I give him marks?

Student: Yes madam I think he deserves some marks at least for his method.

SP: In that case, I will award him 5 on 5.

2) Physics sir in school had just finished giving back our answer scripts.

Me : Sir, why have you deducted one mark for this answer? My method is correct and the final answer is also correct.

Sir: You got 4.73. Answer is 4.6. I have deducted one mark for that.

Me : In that case, why did you deduct only 0.5 marks for him (pointing at KS). He got 8xx as answer.

Sir: His method was unique. That’s why I have awarded him marks.

Me: But this is wrong method sir.

Sir: But it is innovative.

The guy sitting behind me, KG : Sir, please give me 2 more marks somehow, else my mother will scold! Needless to say, his marks were increased!

3. This happened when I was in 8th standard. My chemistry teacher had called me and my friend,AS, to help her in putting salts in test-tubes for 11th standard exam. ( We weren’t told why we are doing that though). Me and my friend got confused if copper sulphate was to be placed in test tube number 6 or 8. The teacher was discussing something with 11th std students. I go and ask her in a low voice, ” Madam, copper sulphate kisme daalna hai? No. 6 ya 8?”                              Teacher ( sarcastically): ” Aur zor se kyun nahi bolte?” And I repeat it loudly! Thank god it was copper sulphate and hence I didn’t give away any clue.

4. I go to check my marks in Numerical Methods paper in college. I wanted to get an idea about the range of marks obtained. Me: Sir, how many people got full marks?

Prof, SMH: There is one boy called Balaji in ECE. He got full marks. Oh even you are from ECE right.

Me : Yes, sir.

5. Someone in class asks doubt in LIC course as to why a particular component is behaving in that particular manner. Prof’s response : “It is like that only.”

6. My neighbour in college, AG, came with a punch dialogue : ” Dont believe XYZ. Today he will laugh with you, tomorrow he will laugh at you!”

7. AIR 20, a day before an exam: “Man I don’t feel like studying at all. I haven’t started yet. Have no idea about the course.” Goes and sleeps at 8 in the night and wakes at 6 in the morning, He scores 85, which is the highest. The next highest,65.

8. Mech prof in first year: ” If you play with me, then I know how to play with you.”

9. Smile of a certain ECE prof 🙂

10. ” Don’t take shortcuts, it will cut you short.” – PSB, God of ECE Dept.

11. ” Bai,kyun gamsta hai bai? Chasma nikalo bai. Where is the scope for laughing” – Physics prof.

12. ” Good morning students. This week’s star class award goes to class xyz. Thank you.” – Bio prof declaring the best class of the week award ( Oh god! we had award like this too!)

13. ” The list of reference books for sunday’s exam has been put up on the notice board. The initial list didn’t mention Halliday and Resnick. I was furious. How can they forget to include Halliday when they put up H C Verma” – Physics prof at BASE. Needless to say, he was a Halliday fan. The same prof, once explained the difference between mathematician and physics major chap. ” Integration of log of sin x squared and cos x cube divided by cot x power 5, the whole multiplied by e to the power …… ( went on for two min) exists, that’s all we care for in physics. Mathematicians, on the other hand, try to evaluate such things!”

PS : My intention was not to hurt anyone by posting this! These are small incidents which I will cherish for a long time to come. In case you remember any more, do add on to the list!

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Akka and Thambi

I have often wondered how different I am from my cousins PK(Akka) and AP(Thambi). We grew up in different places and hardly meet each other. I meet my thambi(chitappa paiyan) once a year at max. The last time I met my akka( dodamma ponnu) was when I was in 11th standard. Even though akka is in my gtalk list, we hardly chat, the green dot against our name seems to suggest that  there is no news worth sharing!  There’s one thing common amongst us though.None of us have any sibling.

But I guess that’s where the similarity ends between me and AP.( Barring of course the innovative answers we give while answering the question,” Manushanku yen irandu kaadhu kuduthirukange anal oru vai mattum irukudu?”). AP hates cricket. He couldn’t understand why people were excited after India won the World Cup (seriously). I, on the other hand, can probably tell the latest score of a county match taking place in England. Top three channels he would watch are Cartoon Network, HBO and Sun TV ( daily soaps).  I would end up watching those only if suddenly all sports and music channels were banned. AP can start a conversation with anyone. If you lock me in a room with a stranger, unless it is a life and death problem, there’s a 99.99% chance that I would not be the first one to speak.

He is in 12th now, and he has a very clear picture of what he wants to do. I have either followed the crowd( deciding my branch for engineering) or took up something because I had eliminated the other options. ( I hope he doesn’t succumb to societal pressure of taking better course). He is more of theory Y type of personality( he has already done night outs while preparing for IIT! , I did my first night out last year in IIM-C ) and I am more of X type of person, inherently lazy. He likes chemistry, I love Maths. He is a gadget freak, he has had 3 mobiles in the past two years. I have changed my mobile only once in the past 6 years.( That too after relatives forced me to buy a new one. I never understood why people had issue Nokia 1100. I have dropped it more times than Akmal has dropped catches and still it worked!)

Akka and me , on the other hand, share a great deal in common. She was passionate about cricket and used to follow matches closely( I don’t know if she still does after going to US). We both have similar sense of humor. And surprisingly I found out that we both had similar style when it came to eating vegetables with rice. ( In case we like the poriyal, that will be the last thing to be eaten; if we don’t like the poriyal, we will eat it before rice is served!. I guess both of us discovered that there was no point arguing with mom). She is a more diligent planner than me and like me she used to get upset when things don’t go according to the plan. ( I guess she would have changed by now with kids around!).

And I continue to wonder how different we would have been if we grew up together!

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Most important things I learnt in the past three years

I have been wasting a lot of my time off late (ever since I decided to stop taking mocks/ learning new stuffs for CAT). I was thinking of sharing the stuffs I learnt in the past three years. Hence this blog. I will be suggesting some do’s and dont’s for CAT based on my experience. (My roomie has already started calling me a CAT veteran).

1.General tips

1.1 Attempt as many questions as possible in CAT. I remember an analogy made by one of my friends. CAT is not like a traditional cricket game where if a batsman makes one mistake then he can’t bat any further in the innings. It is more like a double wicket cricket tournament(http://static.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1997-98/OTHERS+ICC/PAK_DBL-WKT/PAK_DBL-WKT_1997-98_RULES.html) where the batting team loses tun runs if a batsman gets out. So the basic idea should be attempt as many questions as possible in CAT(100% attempt is the best scenario). After all no marks are given for not attempting any questions.

 

1.2Accuracy – Somehow I am convinced that accuracy of about 80% in quant and DI and 60% in verbal is more than sufficient provided you follow the first advice(or advise?).  100% accuracy is not really required and  it may mean that you are attempting less questions.   (This doesn’t mean to say that you should not aim at 100% accuracy).

As far as verbal is concerned 60% accuracy may look a bit low initially but it is not so. Let’s take CAT 2008’s example. Assume that someone attempted 80% of the questions with 50% accuracy(for  the sake of ease of calculation as I am not good at number crunching).

80% of 40 questions = 32 questions.

50% accuracy = 16 right and 16 wrong

Marks obtained = 16*4 – 16 = 48

This was more than sufficient to clear the cut off.

 

1.3Shortcuts – Disclaimer : I am not against short cuts.

If you want to use shortcuts then practise /practice it hazaar times before you  write the actual CAT. (Especially if it has to do with number crunching shortcuts). This just reminds me of a wonderful incident. A couple of week ago after finishing my CL mock cat I was returning home. I wanted to know my approx percentage but was too lazy to take out my mobile to calculate it. I had got 93/198.

Suddenly i realized 93/198 = 31/66 = (33-2)/66

2/66 = 1/33 = 100/3% which is approx 3%.

So my percentage is nearly 47%. Now doing this outside the exam hall was easy. But I am sure I would have made some mistake if I were to do such things in CAT.(Better do the calculation in a piece of paper and let your brain relax for some time!!!).

 

1.4 Bad form – In a mock season , one is bound to have some bad mocks. Sometimes three-four continuous bad mocks. So what does one do then? Try harder? I believe trying harder will only make the situation worse.( Remember Rahul Dravid trying hard Down Under and struggling against Mitchell Johnson). Best thing is to take a week or two off from preparation and then come back strongly.

2.Quant and DI Tips:

1)      It is not necessary to solve the problem to get the answer. Eliminating wrong answers is equally a better option. Let me take a question that I came across in a CL mock CAT:

 

Question:

In a triangle ABC, AB = 10 cm, AC = 4 cm. 3(∠CAB)+2(∠ABC)=180°. What is the length

of the line segment BC (in cm)?

(1) 2 sqrt(15) (2) sqrt(17) (3) 5sqrt(5) (4) 4sqrt( 7)

In ÄABC , AB = 10 cms, AC = 4 cms.

⇒BC>10−4=6 cms

Option (2) can be ruled out as 17 < 6.

Again 3∠CAB+2∠ABC=180°

and ∠CAB+∠ABC+∠BCA=180°

or, ∠BCA=2∠CAB+∠ABC .

⇒∠BCA is the largest angle of the triangle ABC and thus

side AB (= 10 cms) will be the largest side.

⇒BC<10

Each of the options (3) and (4) can be ruled out as 5 5 and

4 7 are both greater than 10.

The actual solution is more than a half page long!!!!!\

 

2)      Mathematical induction: If you ask me which is the most important topic from high school maths useful for CAT i would say mathematical induction. (This wasn’t supposed to be a topic to be forgotten in school itself). It just makes life so simple. Assume n= smaller value, substitute n in answer and check. Induction will take care of itself for higher value of n. (Unfortunately in school I believe this topic is not covered the way it should be). Let me take an example from IMS mock:

Arjun fires at an animal forma distance ‘2a’. If he misses the target he fires from the distance ‘3a’,’4a’….’na’. If he misses the target from distance ‘na’ the animal escapes. The probability that arjun hits the target from distance ‘r’ is ‘a2/r2’. Find the probability that animal is shot.

a)      (n+1)/2n

b)      (n-1)/n

c)      (n-1)/2n

d)     None of these

 

Why bother solving the above problem when all we need to do is put n=2 and see tht only option c) matches.

You may argue that none of these might be the answer. But if you don’t know how to solve this then marking c is a better idea than leaving it(just like I did).Remember as I said earlier 100% accuracy is not necessary, we can and should take such calculated risk.

3)      Try to learn in a systematic way. Probably I will explain this in my next blog as this itself is a very vast topic.

4)      In case of DI case, go through all the questions. There is a high probability that there might be a question which does not require us to solve the case. For eg in one of the TIME mocks (1002 I think) there was a caselet based on tennis knockout tournament.

Q. Only 5 (all knock out) tournaments played in a year with some rules. One player wins 21 matches and loses 5 matches. How many tournaments has he won?

1) 0 2)1 3) 2 4) 3

 

Frankly speaking this was a no brainer. You don’t need an Einstein to answer that if a player loses 5 matches  in 5 knockout tournaments then he could not have won even a single tournament!!!!

But the problem with this question was that it was preceded by  4 difficult questions in the same case and hence many people missed it.

3.Verbal

Somehow I am convinced that mugging word list is not necessary. After all CAT doesn’t ask difficult words but confuses people with usage of simple words. Try to identify the kind of questions that you are good at. Attempt all the questions of those kinds. Remaining (like vocab based) you can just have a glance.

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