Tuesday, 29 July 2014


We Indians love our Cricket. The idea of two stick wielding gentlemen hitting a ball to all parts of the ground with eleven other men running behind it thrills us. Some of us will religiously follow every cricket match, even the insignificant ones. It’s a wonder why Hockey is our national sport then, it clearly isn’t anymore. Yet, once every four years, when the FIFA World Cup comes calling, we all want to be known as the greatest football expert ever.

Some of us though, find it hard to make meaningful conversation when the talk revolves around football. All we can do is stare into oblivion, or maybe make do with a smile and a generous dosage of affirmative nods.
So if you’re one of those who tried oh-so-hard to keep up with the football frenzy, and yet learnt nothing from the experience, here are some things you can CLAIM to have learnt about football after the FIFA World Cup 2014:-

  1. The World Cup is truly a WORLD event – With more than 200 countries playing football, the FIFA World Cup truly is a world event. So what if 35% of the world’s population (read: China and India) don’t get to play at the finals? Our claim to fame are the Olympics (China) and the Cricket World Cup (India, nevermind that England and her former colonies are the only ones who play the sport)
  2. Well ‘rounded’ tournament – The FIFA World Cup has many stages – the Group stage (eight groups with four teams each), the round of 16 (pre-quarter finals), the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. How many teams do we have at the Cricket World Cup?
  3. Footballers take inspiration from other sports – Apart from a few slightly complicated rules, (the offside rule for example) football is a simple sport that involves kicking a ball into your opponents’ goal post. Hence, footballers consider it their duty to make the sport more appealing, by including aspects of other sports. Diving, for example (Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo, Welbeck), is an art that very few can perfect. Wrestling is another sport that is increasingly gaining popularity among footballers. Honduras took the term ‘fighting for a win’ too seriously. Too bad Portugal crashed out at the group stages, we hardly got to see Pepe in action.
  4. What goes up will come down, and how – Spain was the perfect example of a meteoric rise followed by an abrupt thud. The defending champions were the first team to crash out of the World Cup. And it wasn’t pretty.
  5. Global Team – Switzerland was the perfect example of a global team, with immigrants constituting almost 80% of the squad. Not surprisingly, USA came a close second in this aspect.
  6. If you can’t beat em, bite em – Uruguay’s Luis Suarez showed us that he was good not just with his feet, but also with his teeth. In doing so, the ex-Liverpool forward he made us realise that not all the knowledge we received at school was accurate. The food chain, for instance, should have actually looked like this.
  7. Non-football attraction – Some teams made more news for their female fans than for their football - Mexico, Ecuador, Belgium, Algeria and South Korea to mention a few. Turkey, Sweden and the Czech Republic were missed.
  8. No cup for one-man teams – Brazil’s show at the World Cup proved that football is a ‘team’ game. With Neymar having to leave the tournament mid-way with a back injury, Brazil suddenly lost their magic. Although they reached the semi-final, their journey was hardly convincing. Their last two matches showed their vulnerability. Messi managed to take Argentina to the final, but the writing was already on the wall. Germany, the real ‘team’, were deserving champions. Building a team around one player is not a good idea after all.
  9. How to celebrate goals – Columbia showed the world how to celebrate goals. Every goal had a unique dance move to go with it.
  10. Managers can be fun to watch too – Those who watched Mexican coach Miguel Herrera in action will vouch for this. This guy was all over the place during Mexico’s games.
Images courtesy: www.wpmedia.o.canada.com, www.express.co.uk, www.epa.gov, www.ibtimes.co.uk

Saturday, 5 July 2014


I was just about to volley the ball past the Brazilian goalkeeper when I was shaken out of my dream by the sound of my new phone ringing. It was Sahil calling. I took the call and was greeted by a really shrill "You awake?".

"Whatever happened to good morning man?", I said, stifling a yawn and failing miserably.

"It's 6 am dude! Are you ready?" His voice suggested he was frantic rather than excited. The voice was loud and crystal clear. "We've got to leave in half an hour".

"Gimme about fifteen minutes", I said half-heartedly and disconnected the call. But I stuck to my word and was in front of his gate in fifteen minutes flat.

"That awas quick! Sheesh! Didn't you have a bath?"

"Took just 2 minutes", I shrugged, matter-of-factly, "I'm clean".

"Where's your camera?", he asked, yanking out his own gadget, just to show off I assumed.

"Nah. Won't be needing that".

"You kiddin me? We're going on a nature trail for heaven's sakes!" Sahil was visibly annoyed.

"I know", I retorted. "I have all I need right here in my pocket". Saying that I pulled out my brand new phone and flashed it right in his face.

"A phone?", he sniggered, following it up with a loud burst of laughter. "Some lazy buffoon you are. I'm the one who's gonna end up with all the best pictures today".

"We'll see", I said, my confidence not wavering a bit.

"New phone huh? Lemme see."

I placed it in his hand.

"What is this? Some kinda rock?"

I smiled. "You can say that".

"How much did you get it for? Twenty grand?"

"Less than that my friend."

"Then, my friend, you have a really cheap phone, and you can't expect a cheap phone to do much except save you some money."

"You're sadly mistaken Sahil. This, my friend, is a smartphone with super powers. It's my brand new ASUS ZENFONE 5. And it's a SUPERPHONE."

"Oh, I see", he replied nonchalantly. "And what are its features?"

"You'll know, in time."

We reached the spot where the forest began, in just under a hour. The weather was cloudy, but we were hoping it wouldn't rain, just for the sake of our gadgets. Sahil pulled out his 16 megapixel digicam and clicked a selfie of both of us together. The picture was good, but the screen was just about 4.5 inches long. I knew that what his camera could do well, my Zenfone 5 could do better. So I pulled out my phone and took a selfie in the same pose. The picture was better, with natural colours, in spite of the camera being only an 8 megapixel one. Plus, the screen being bigger at 5 inches, we could see the image better. The results shocked Sahil.

"PixelMaster technology", I answered him before he could pose a question. "The rear camera is loaded with 8 megapixel resolution, a Sony BSI sensor, a 5-element lens, and largan optics. The focus gets locked in no time. It can even take shots with shallow depth field. It also has software-based image stabilisation, by the way, which makes all pictures I click with this phone virtually blur-free."

"You just got a lucky click", he dismissed my explanation. I only smiled.

We walked ahead, slowly getting deeper into the forest. We were having a great time, putting our clicking skills to the test and indulging in healthy competition. Somewhere along the way though, where the tree cover was thicker, we encountered bad light.

"What happened? Not gonna put your Superphone to the test? Too dark eh?", he chided me.

"Why not?", I said, whipping out my phone and getting a dozen pictures clicked. The results were outstanding, and Sahil was left astounded.

"The low-light mode works really well dude. Does it work in absolute darkness as well?", Sahil was curious to know.

"Sure does. Even in absolute darkness, you'll get a fairly bright picture."

"What other modes does it have?"

Sensing that I was soon getting a non-believer on board, I went in for the kill, "It has a beautification mode, Panorama mode, an HDR mode, a time rewind mode, a smart remove mode, a smile detection mode, and my favourite, a GIF animator."

"A gif animator too?", he was excited, "that's so cool."

I nodded.

"Tell me more", he demanded.

"Well, it works on an Intel Z2560 Atom chipset, 1.6 GHz dual-core, and 2 GB RAM. The Atom chipset helps it run more than 10 applications at a time, smoothly. All this, without the phone heating up."


Our trip was pretty long. After 5-6 hours in the forest, we headed back homewards in our jeep. We had many stopovers, sometimes for food, for tea, and also for pictures. By But along the way, Sahil's camera conked off, having run out of battery. My phone, however, was up and running.

"The battery is amazing too?", his jaw dropped.

"Yup, With a 2,110 mAh battery, you can keep the phone running for practically the whole day."

"Dude, this sure is a masterpiece." He was already floored.

"Nope", I interrupted him. "It's a SUPERPHONE".

To learn more about the ASUS ZENFONE 5, visit this link ==> ASUS ZENFONE 5