Sikkim Diaries – day 6

Good Morning, Kewzing! Woke up to a lovely view of the sunrise … Wanted to get a sunrise pic so picked the mobile and started clicking. Think I should have clicked a few with my camera as well.. Ah, anyway.

IMG_20170413_061307.jpg

Good Morning, Kewzing.

Technically not a “sunrise” picture .. I was too mesmerized by the view to think of taking a picture 😀 I had initially planned to capture the sun just peeking from behind the mountain.. but you can see the sun has already crossed the peeking point.

We had planned to start immediately after breakfast and proceed towards Gangtok – our base for the next 2 days. We had to start as early as possible because we wanted to go paragliding at Gangtok (weather permitting ;)). Plus there was another reason for reaching Gangtok early – the permits for Tsomgo lake, Baba mandir, and Nathu La. The permit office closes at 6pm, so we had to reach Gangtok before that.

So goodbyes said to our lovely hosts (the kitties included), and we set off for Gangtok .. There’s a Buddha Park at Rabong (Ravangla) just a short distance from Kewzing and we wanted to explore that too. Rabong means wet goat in the local language (Ra-goat, bong-wet) This place (also called Tathāgatha Tsal) was consecrated in 2013 by the Dalai Lama and it has a 130 foot statue of Buddha. We reached way too early – the ticket window was closed and we had about 30-40 minutes to kill. So we decided to walk around and explore the place. Not before clicking the Buddha statue, and the prayer wheels from the outside.

IMG_1860

Tathagatha Tsal, Rabong

And sure enough we came to a monastery gate – Mani Choekerling complex, Rabong. The monastery was closed for some restoration/repairs work but we spent some time outside – taking pictures.

IMG_20170413_090454.jpg

the monastery – closed for restoration work

IMG_20170413_085300.jpg

Prayer wheels at the monastery

IMG_20170413_090918.jpg

The plaque at the monastery entrance

I think we spent an hour at the monastery.. but soon it was time to go and visit the Buddha Park. The ticket window was open, so we purchased our tickets (Rs 50) and went inside.

 

Lot of people inside the park, but it wasn’t overcrowded or noisy. Saw a lot of people praying.  The statue is on top of a shrine like place – plenty of wall murals on the life of Buddha inside this place. Saw some people meditating.

Next stop – Gangtok. But first PARAGLIDING!! We reached this paragliding place – Adventure Zone and found out that we have to wait for a while – 1. because all the pilots (paragliding instructors) were already out, and 2. the wind. You need a fair bit of wind for your flight. So there was nothing we could do but wait for the pilots to be free, and also the wind to pick up some speed. We registered ourselves – weigh in done, and signed a form, and had a quick lunch (chow mein, maggi, wai wai noodles).

Soon the wind picked up, and it was time to fly. The paragliding start point  – a cliff overlooking the Gangtok valley, is at a short distance away from the registration office. So off we went in a rickety van 😀

While we were getting ready for the flight – setting up the parachute, harnesses etc, my heart was pounding – so loud that I thought the others could hear it. So all set and I was asked to run towards the edge of the cliff for the take off. So.. THIS IS IT! With a pounding heart, the rush of adrenaline I run towards the cliff, and the next thing I know I’m flying. Whooo!! What a feeling. That rush. I AM FLYING.

The paragliding people give you a small camera that can be attached to your gear, so that you can take video of you flying. But I didn’t take it. I just wanted to fly and enjoy the view. Once air borne I spread my arms – Titanic King of the World pose 😉 I didn’t have to control the parachute, so why not! The landing was as smooth as the take off. I was asked to keep my legs straight slightly above ground level to avoid any injury. With smooth action we landed – it was a military sports ground. Wow. Wow. What an experience that was! I flew. Nothing can beat that.

Back to the registration office – some had opted to carry the camera, so they had to get their videos transferred on their phones. Oh, and we were also presented with certificates. So there’s your proof 😉

With that awesome memory we proceeded towards Gangtok, and our home stay for the next 2 days. We had the evening free to walk around the city, explore the markets, and the cafes. So after a short break, we set out for M.G Road – probably one of the most famous destinations in Gangtok.

I didn’t find M.G. Road thaat great – it’s just like any other shopping street, but the old market just after M.G Road looked like a good place to shop. Another experience of how early the city shuts down when we entered a coffee shop and found they were taking the last orders for the day. The place shuts down at 8 pm, and it was 7:45 when we entered. They did take our orders – and while we were waiting, and also when we got our food and were eating we saw the coffee shop staff winding up.. shutting down counters etc. Haha! Can’t imagine this scene in Mumbai.. 8 pm is when most of the places are just coming alive.

IMG_20170413_195534.jpg

Of course it does!

So ‘dinner’ done, and we walked back to the home stay – a good nights sleep. Fingers crossed cos tomorrow is a big day. We’ll be going to Tsomgo Lake, Baba mandir, Nathu La – if we get the permits.

IMG_20170415_091941.jpg

pretty flowers, Gangtok

While we were roaming on M.G Road .. my sinus started acting up. Bad sign. Bad bad sign. Really want to be fully charged, fully fit for the trip tomorrow. Plus those places are at a higher altitude so needed a sound sleep too.

Went to sleep hoping to get the permits to these places, and also for my sinus to behave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Hello, Mr. Pochettino. Few minutes to spare?

“We’re coming for you!!”

I had originally planned to write this blogpost at the end of the season. But then I thought, we’ll all be busy celebrating after watching Hugo lift the trophy. So decided to post this right now.

This isn’t a season review post. I never do that, no. Not before the season ends. Last time I posted about how great our season was progressing, and how we were going to play Champions League the following season .. well, we blew a 10 point lead and a guranteed (almost) 3rd place finish. I’m kinda superstitious about all things Spurs. I believe that post jinxed it. That’s not what really happened. But hey, superstition.

So, this is not a review post. Not going to utter (um type, actually) a single word about what’s been happening this season.

Okay, first things first.

This post is an apology post. Long overdue apology. Mauricio Pochettino! I owe you an apology. So sorry man. So sorry I ever doubted you. And I’m glad I was proved wrong.

Remember the days when there was a lot of speculation about the next Spurs manager .. Remember? Plenty of names were being linked to us. LVG among them. And back then my first preference was LVG. Mainly because he had the ‘experience’ managing big clubs. And Pochettino? He was with Southampton. He had them playing great football, no doubt. But it’s Southampton! Come on. They aren’t as big as us, no? Also I had no clue about his previous clubs. HOW WRONG I WAS!!! And how ignorant. How stupid. How judgemental. How … …

Looking back .. at Man Utd, and their season. It seems like we dodged a bullet. Not a bullet. We dodged a flukking A bomb.

A couple paragraphs above I said I won’t be talking about our season .. Ha! It’s Spurs. You just can’t shut me up.

My love affair with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club started in Feb 2001. How (and why) I fell in love is a different and a long-ish story – and a separate blog post. More about that later.

All the years I’ve been supporting Spurs, only a handful of seasons stand out as ‘Whoa’ seasons. My favourite being the lassagna gate season. Proper Spursy! Dream a lovely dream only to end in a Heartbreak, and I cried. I actually cried after a football match. That is not me.

Well, lassagna season – you’ve been demoted to second place. Say hello to my new favourite season of all time (until the start of 2016/17 season, anyway). And the person responsible for that is Mr. Poch. (Sorry, again). He’s not the only one instrumental in bringing about this change – but this post is about MP. So…

Watching Spurs play has ALWAYS brought a smile to my face. Win, lose or draw. Can’t smile without you. And I’m smiling right now (watched the highlights of Stoke vs Spurs – AGAIN). But this season it has been different. Very different. The way the lads are playing is Unbelievable!!  We’re playing as a team. A well drilled unit. There’s no “one man team”. No toys out of the pram superstar tantrums. We’re TOGETHER. Together THFC! (Kinda sounds like “We is Us”, yikes!). The transformation from a wannabe challenger to actually challenging for the PL title is phenomenal. Loving every minute of it. And with 4 games to go (and 5 points behind the Foxes) I haven’t given up. Still dreaming. A sharp contrast to previous seasons when the dream started fading away after March.

Every season it is a Head vs Heart argument – Head says we’ll do okay. Heart says TOP 4 or nothing. And in the end Head always won. Not this season, no way. I believe we will fight till the end. Till the final whistle.

So once again – Sorry for doubting you Mr. Pochettino. You’re COYS AF.We’re gonna do it.

Oh, and Mr. Levy. Give this man a raise, and a new contract.

COYS, forever and always!

 

1

Post match rant … why can’t we keep things in control?

So, Newcastle visit the Lane, and walk away with 3 points. Fortress, they once called it. Hardly.

Another loss. Another hard to digest loss. Why do we do that? West Brom – who were at the bottom of the table, and without a win, visited the Lane and went back with 3 points. It was Newcastle’s turn today. Why are we so generous like that? Why can’t we be a bit (or very) stingy with the points.

Actually it’s not the loss that’s prompted me to get out of my lazy bubble and blog about it. It’s the manner in which we lost.

Losing – I can take. It’s a game. Win some, lose some, draw some. But giving up without a fight. It’s just unacceptable.

Talent is overrated.

I’m sick of hearing about the talent we have in our squad, and how we’re gonna be world beaters the day they click and start playing beautiful football. Talent, is overrated. It counts to nothing if you don’t show the fight. Honestly, I did not see that intent, the hunger, the ‘can do – will do’ attitude today. They just seemed to be running around like headless chickens.

I don’t dwell on the past .. never cry over players who have left – But what we lacked today was someone like Scott Parker, or Michael Dawson out there. These guys – they always gave 100% out there.

Am I going to lose sleep over that result? Don’t think so .. I guess all these years supporting Spurs have made me immune to this kind of disappointment. Never easy.

I can’t let a part of me die every time Spurs lose. I’d be a zombie by now.

Two days ago, everyone was raving about that rabona. Hmm?

I don’t want a rabona in every game, I want goals. Doesn’t matter how ugly that goal is. Just score one more than your opponents. That’s all I ask. Too much?

0

We’re havin’ a laugh!

So, last season the mighty Spurs beat Man City and stepped into the promised land of Champions League football. Not exactly Champions League. We still had to get past the qualifiers beast. But, 4th place nonetheless. Beating Chelsea, Arsenal, and Man City in the final week to get to 4th. THAT was an awesome feeling.

That “head in the clouds, walking on sunshine” feeling was short lived, and many of us came crashing down to terra firma on that ill fated day in August. A team that goes by the name of Young Boys, and who plays on an artificial turf raced to a 3-0 lead before half time. And, that’s when they started the “We told you so” chants.

Who’s “THEY”?  They is them lot .. the haters, bitters, and non believers.

They laughed when Young Boys got a 3 goal lead. But what they didn’t know is that a football game lasts for 90 minutes.

They laughed. Spurs got beat by Young Boys. “Y’all have no business playin’ the Champions League”, they said.

They didn’t notice the final score line. 3 in twenty minutes, but 3-2 at full time. Two away goals. No, they didn’t notice.

The 4-0 mauling of the ‘Boys’ at the Lane went unnoticed. “Young Boys? Who are they anyway?”.

They laughed when we let go a 2 goal lead to draw against Werder Bremen, in Bremen. That’s 2 away goals again. They made a big issue of Werder missing key players due to injury. But, didn’t we miss Defoe, Dawson, King, van der Vaart (for some games)? Who cares about injuries to Spurs players, huh? Bremen were unlucky. They have too many injuries. Poor babies. If they’d had all their players fit, Spurs wouldn’t have scored 2 goals.

They laughed again, and this time the hardest, when Inter went 4-0 up at half time. They didn’t see the Bale monster tormenting their right back, and the 3 goals (away goals no less!) in the second half. Inter switched off, they said. Switched off or not. A football game lasts 90 minutes, doesn’t it? That proved Inter were stupid enough to sit on a 4 goal lead and let Spurs attack and decimate them. Inter, the team managed by Benitez, whose ex-team had come back from a 3 goal deficit to win the Champions league some years ago. Really, you can’t be that stupid. Or, maybe?

But, still they laughed. Kept laughing.

The home wins over Inter, Bremen and Twente were because Spurs got lucky, because the referees sided with them, and because the opponents were missing their key players. No, Spurs did not play that great. They don’t belong here, in the Champions League.

They had another go at the laughing, when Twente came back thrice to draw 3-3.

Guess who’s laughing now? You lot, or us lot?

Into the knock out stages of the Champions League, and moved there in style. 18 goals scored, and conceded as many. But group winners. The so called ‘tough’ group. Still laughing, you trolls?

They said Spurs don’t deserve to be in the Champions League. Spurs will get thrashed in the qualifiers.

Then they said, Spurs are in a tough group. There’s no way they’re getting out of it.

Now, they’re saying you lot got lucky. The round of 16 will be your last.

Oh, you keep trolling, and keep laughing. My Spurs will keep proving you guys wrong.

Looking forward to the Last 16 draw. Doesn’t matter who’s drawn against us. This has been a roller coaster of a season so far. And we are lovin’ every minute of it.

0

Hammered at Upton Park

Where do I begin?  It’s the day after, and I’m still totally pissed. I dismissed midweek’s loss to the swamp things as a minor blip, but yesterdays defeat to the mighty West Ham was the last straw.

So, what went wrong? Whatever happened to the team that finished 4th last season, and was supposed to give the Chelseas, and Man Utds of the world a run for their money? A team that’s filled with midfield maestros. What happened?

The Carling cup defeat was swallowed with a pinch of salt. Easy to dismiss that loss as “Hey, we’re now a champions league team. Couldn’t be bothered with the Carling cup. Could we?”

Yesterday, something happened. Something that even the most bitter of Tottenham haters wouldn’t have predicted. The team that’s playing in the champions league, one that boasts of players like Robbie Keane on their bench, lost to a team that’s sitting royally in the 20th and last place in the Premier league table.

What went wrong? What excuses this time, ‘Arry? Handing out favours to ex-teams, are we?

Let’s analyse the team selection..

Keeper Cudicini, deputising for the injured Gomes.  He isn’t that bad, for a No2 keeper. But that’s it. Nothing more. Doesn’t inspire confidence. Let’s face it.. he’s a good keeper, but nowhere near Gomes’ level. Sounds strange, but just the presence of Gomes in the goal is a peaceful sight.

Back 4? Totally unbelievable selection!

Bale at Left back? That kid is a monster on the left wing, but when pushed back to defend, he’s better off left on the bench. Have someone defend the left side, not Bale. He’s born to boss the left wing.

But, Bale’s position at LB yesterday was understandable. Assou-Ekotto, the only other left back in the team was carrying a knock, and had to be kept fit for the midweek Champions league encounter.

Corluka at Center back? Are you kidding me!?

What happened to Steven Caulker? That boy, Caulker, who had such an impressive debut against the old enemy in the Carling cup. If you dismiss that penalty he gave away in extra time, Caulker’s game was good. He looks calm at the back. Yes, Ledley mark2.

After the Carling cup game, Harry had heaped praise on the young lad, calling him an appropriate successor to Ledley. Well, if he’s so damn talented, why wasn’t he in the team? Should have been on the bench at least, if not the starting XI. Anyway, he’s going to Bristol City on a season long loan now. Good for him. At least he’ll get regular playing time.

Bassong, on the other hand had an okay-ish game. He’s good on his day, that lad. Potential? Yes! But he’s like the pre-2008 Dawson. He’ll be a great partner at center back only if he has someone experienced alongside him, either King, Dawson or Gallas. Left to himself, like yesterday, he’s completely clueless. Sounds like the old Dawson, doesn’t it? Having Corluka beside him must have messed up his head big time.

The midfielders, except Van der Vaart, and to some extent, Modric, were all pathetic. Jenas tried hard, but he was bossed around in the midfield. And when a team lying in the 20th place does that to you, it’s bad.

Tommy Huddlestone, the captain for the day! God, why him? Captaincy and Huddlestone do not go together. He was out of sorts too. Lennon is still having a nightmare. He needs to get back his pre-injury form. ASAP!

Another big mystery is why Peter Crouch starts every single game? That leaves two very frustrated strikers, Keane and Pavyluchenko, on the bench.

What do they have to do, to get in the team?

And, 4-5-1 in the premier league? It’s not a frigging Champions league game! Should have started with the good old 4-4-2.

The premier league is a 38 game season, and some blips are expected along the way. But what has happened since the start of this season falls under the ‘Not happening’ category. Spurs have had one too many blips, and the season’s just getting started.

Just 6 games into the season.. not the time for knee jerk reactions. But the blips have to stop. Time to get out of the rut, and play like a top 4 team.

Champions league feels great.. mid week European games, and all that money flowing in. But shouldn’t we be focussing more on the Premier league, maintaining our place in the top 4?

Though it was a 1-0 loss, it seems like a hammering.

0

Carling cup madness

Still hurting after the 3rd round loss against the goon lot.

But a quick glance at the other third round results eased the pain.

MENTAL – That’s the only word to describe most of the results.

Here’s why,

Chelsea LOST to Newcastle

Liverpool LOST to Northampton (on penalties)

Manchester City LOST to West Brom

Everton LOST to Brentford (on penalties)

Bolton LOST to Burnley

Mental, or what?