Zero Sum Game

Ballwinder goes technical. Happiness in England and Sadness across two continents.

“Paaji, where have you been?”, I asked,”I have been looking for you since the Kroos rescue.”

Ballwinder was indifferent to my question, rather more focused in dressing his nachos with diverse toppings. He replies ” I was busy.” Clearly, one could see doing what..

Nachos GIF
Grooming the Cleopatra

“Either ways Paaji, 6-1! 6 goals by England in a World Cup finals! Where the first match nearly gave everybody jitters and now just look at them. Hell! even the English cannot believe this! Must be the happiest day in their lives after a very long time”, I said with a little sense of rejoice.

Shocked Celebration GIF
Cannot Believe we won the first two games on a trot!

Ballwinder smiles, without breaking any concentration of arranging his plate of nachos  “It was a true depiction of Zero Sum game. Do you know what a Zero-Sum game is? ”

cooking GIF
Ballwinder gets a chick when he breaks an egg.

“Yes.” I said, thinking that the sum of any two things is zero. How hard could it be. Hello! I know what I am talking about.

Pizza Gerry GIF by TAXI Ad Agency

Wait a second. “6-1=5 ; How is it sum zero?”  I realized while rechecking the score of England Panama. I asked while gulping my fear of the known..”But ….How…?”

Related image
But….uh oh. 

Ballwinder smiles, acknowledging my nervousness after a 3 second stint of ultra cleverness.

Spoilers GIF
Don’t worry. I know you are a git.

Ballwinder sits down with his platter of Nachos, picks up a Nacho and sweeps it across the dip and starts munching. He then ordains,
“When you win against someone. You are happy. The one who loses is sad. Thereby maintaining the overall balance of happiness and sadness. Your happiness and your opponent’s sadness when added gives you a Zero-Sum. English fans were deprived of this happiness and pleasure for ages. They would always witness the opponents celebrating on their loss. Imagine the amount of grief and sorrow they must have been bearing for all this while and just today, they have virtually given it all back with compounding interest. Countries from two continents were taken down by the English. The magic number being 5”

I win when you lose.

“What exactly does that have to do with English fans who were surprised by their enormous victory in the World Cup last evening!? And two continents? Which two continents? North America and Central America?? And what is this magic number 5”, I won’t surrender this time. I will clarify all my existential doubts.


Nicolas Cage Film GIF
Two Continents? Magic number 5? Wait..What?



Ballwinder replies, “Now listen carefully.”

Related image
When Ballwinder speaks, you should carefully listen.

“Last evening England won its game. In two different sports. England won against Panama which falls in North America. Right?”

England beat Panama (6-1=5)

England also won against Australia, which is also a continent. And the Aussies lost the series 5-0.”

Sam Curran of England celebrates after dismissing Ashton Agar
Whitewash (5-0=5)

“Not only the football fans, but even the cricket fans of England were happy. Then there were people who were double happy for winning at both the sports thereby transferring their age old sorrows of losing, to the two continents which are diagonally opposite to each other. And these victories came at the margin of 5 each. Therefore maintaining the Zero-Sum game in the global context.”


Image result for England football fans reactions 2018
Football Fans
The Barmy Army are renowned for supporting England on overseas tours all over the world
Barmy army

I was left baffled by his intelligence.

Animated GIF
Mr Ballwinder is a genius.

“But Ballwinder Paaji, do you really think that just this one day can balance all the disappointment and heart breaks of English fans for all these years? I am sure it can compensate the last decade but what about the decade before that?” I again asked in my innocence.

Related image
Do you really think ?

“Don’t be silly”, said Ballwinder, while licking his fingers after finishing his mega plate of Nachos.

oscar isaac eating GIF
Don’t Be Silly

“That’s when the English organize the Royal Wedding”, quipped Ballwinder.

Related image
Doing it just for you lads!










Elephant vs Tail

India lost yet another test cricket series abroad. Ballwinder explains elephant and its tail over a cup of Black Ivory Coffee.

“And yet again Indian Cricket team loses a test series abroad”, I said with a quick glance towards Ballwinder Paaji while swapping the sports channel to the one where Premier League was on.

England vs South Africa 2017, third Test match, Day 2: LIVE streaming, TV listing, date, time, venue
We did it again, lads! PC: Reuters


“How can you claim to be the best batting line up in the world when you collapse before such low totals?”, I looked again at Ballwinder paaji. “Who is responsible for such performances?”, I was on a rant, hoping for some response. It had been long, I did not realise what exactly was I asking for. Ballwinder paaji was busy burning the fresh Arabica beans for his double/triple shot espresso. But he was listening.

tea espresso GIF
There is coffee, and then there is espresso


“Elephant and its tail”, said Ballwinder.

baby elephant GIF
Lemme introduce this beauty called the elephant, and well of course, its tail.


“You sire, are in for a ride. Perhaps an elephant ride”, I said to myself. The most exciting thing about an elephant is its size, its trunk, its tusk. Why would anybody even think about its tail. Who has ever even thought about its tail.

Elephant Hair-Facts About Circuses
Elephant’s tail


Then there is Ballwinder. Ballwinder would tell me not only the significance of an elephant’s tail, but also its relevance in the context of Indian cricket team losing yet another cricket series abroad. Now I don’t even bother asking the obvious question like “Ballwinder Paaji, What on earth just happened?  I just commented on the consistent claims of Indian team to be the best in the world despite losing abroad, series after series??”. But I did not ask. I just patiently waited for Ballwinder to address the “elephant” in the room. He knew what I was thinking. He looked at me with a slight smile and only broke eye contact when his coffee did the magic for him.

good morning drinking GIF by Panic! At The Disco
“I know what’s on your mind. Wait, this coffee is ecstatic!”


“Elephant is such a majestic animal. You are in its absolute awe. That trunk, the tusk, you are blown away. A creature of magnanimity, true class. And then there is its tail. A tail which does not go with its size, style, trunk or tusk. Something that is there to give it acceptance in the jungle. Everybody’s got one. Well, elephant should also have it. What’s its purpose. For example, look at a cheetah, its tail helps as rudder when it attacks. Look at a crocodile, its tail gives a torpedo effect in water. We, homo sapiens, did not have any use of it, so it vanished. Poor elephant is stuck with this tail. Just as a part of nature’s contract. Quite a price to pay, must I say.

Cheetah’s tail


Crocodile launches completely out of the water, using its powerful tale. Photo: Trevor Frost, screen grab
  Crocodile’s tail


Image result for elephant tail
Again, Elephant’s tail


“That’s interesting, Ballwinder Paaji”, I said with intrigue. I actually was. Useless, elephant’s tail. As enlightening as it sounded, I still sought an answer to my question. “I understand this much, that you are referring to the Indian cricket team as an elephant. Its character can be compared to the class that an elephant belongs to. But what’s with the tail? Who is the tail? Why is the Indian team losing series after series”, I had to address the “elephant” in the room.

benedict cumberbatch sherlock GIF by BBC
What’s the tail gotta do with the Indian cricket team?


“The tail end of the Indian batting is the elephant’s tail”, said Ballwinder in a firm voice. A voice that sounded as if coffee was still somewhere there in the throat. I was shocked. I was taken aback. Not as much by the voice as by his reply. “The tail end of Indian batting, you mean the bowlers? They are not supposed to be batsmen”, I was enraged. At the tip of being offended.

Mohammed Shami
Why always me?


“Indian bowlers are not tail end batsmen Ballu Paaji, they are bowlers. We have to play them else the English would never have gotten out. In fact, Ballu Paaji, they got the England batting limited to such low scores! Here (England) as well as against South Africa! They did their job!”, I  said, now officially being offended.

how dare you GIF
Indian bowling is not tail ending batting!


Ballwinder was unmoved. He was not at all moved by my reaction. Somewhere he knew that truth is as bitter as coffee. Not everybody can handle it bitterness the first time they sip it. One has to get used to such bitterness called the truth to relish its flavour and slowly come to terms with one’s mind and soul. He continued to sip his coffee, while my blood boiled in ignorance.

sipping modern family GIF
Coffee is bitter, so is the Truth


“I understand your angst”, said Ballwinder Paaji while trying to patronise me. “But this is the bitter truth. Indian batting is as majestic as an elephant. You have to, have to admire it. You don’t have any choice. You just can’t criticise. Someday you might admire its trunk (Kohli), someday its tusk might stand out (Pujara), maybe never as a whole, but you can never condemn the elephant in its totality (The “grand” top order batting performance). Because you just cannot question the beauty of the elephant. Everybody ends up disgusted with the tail, never with the elephant. Who is acknowledging the fact that the Indian bowling performance has been unprecedented, that they have been successful in limiting the opposition batting to such low scores in the recent test matches? If the bowlers themselves cannot fend the challengers’ bowling attack, play between the gaps, keep rotating the strike, hit the odd one out for a boundary, and reduce the bat-pad gap, well then, they are as efficient as an elephant’s tail.”

 Although I could not even raise them, Ballwinder Paaji opened my eyes. I wish I never had to find out the truth. Not at least this way.

My eyes were opened, just couldn’t raise them.


“Ballwinder Paaji, how would you go about dealing with such an elephant?”, I asked gathering back my zen.

“I will make the most beautiful roasted coffee through the elephant’s digestion – Black Ivory Coffee”, responded Ballwinder paaji.

Black Ivory Roasted Coffee


“In fact, I was just having it. You want to try some?”, asked Ballwinder Paaji as a gentleman.

“Thanks, but no thanks”, I said with the straightest possible face.

sui dhaaga, sui dhaaga movie, sui dhaaga trailer, sui maa, hilarious memes, anushka sharma, anushka sharma memes, virat kohli, virat kohli and anushka sharma, england, virushka, sui dhaaga memes
Elephant fermented coffee – Thanks but no thanks



The Game Changer so far.

Group stages done. Look at who has emerged out to be the real game changer so far.

FIFA has seemingly turned a page in the history book of footballing entertainment.  This page in the history book was quite into the turning for almost the whole decade, with the events like awarding of the world cup to new hosts like Russia and Qatar,  the sitting president coming under the scanner, and perhaps the most debated refereeing system. With this world cup in action one can safely assume that the page has hence turned for the better.

The balance of upsets in the group stages and the first day of knockouts has been quite as expected. The previous world cup winners exiting at the group stages has been the unsaid norm for a quite a few world cups now and hence this time too the tradition continues.

When you wait for the bus that has already left.

The real twist in the tale of this world cup which many people were cautioning about has instead swiped us all like the penultimate episode of every Game of Thrones season. The game changer so far:

VAR- Very Angry Response

Congratulations to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) for making the game even more entertaining. I also personally condole all the Foot-draggers and the naysayers who had written the epitaph of the beautiful game with the advent of a TV review system. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has come out to be the best surprise and has hardly failed anyone in getting entertained.

Video Assistant Referee (VAR)

About 50 matches have been played as yet in the World Cup and the VAR has come into action for about a couple of dozen times. The biggest complaint that the critics had was the slowing down of the game due to over indulgence in the review. The other vehemence in the argument was that any outside intervention at a crucial moment in the game would affect the sanctity of the arbitrariness or uncertainty in decision making. The joy of such arbitrariness was being defended as the real excitement of the game and the advent of technology as a corrosion of pure entertainment.

The VAR has done nothing short of impressing the viewers, perhaps even more the neutrals like you and me who want to see the controversial decisions being taken and then either being confirmed or being reversed by the VAR.  The suspense that looms for that time period and you sitting at home and judging with the referee is the unprecedented excitement that has taken us by surprise. The probability of its fairness has also increased. The apparent penalty that Neymar won against the Costa Ricans that was later confirmed to be the step of Neo-dodging-bullets that caught the referee’s imagination and was later overturned after VAR review is the whole reason that this review system is a success. More than anything, it is the FIFA that has gained any goodwill for not only making the game fairer but even more exciting.

‘Justice was done’: Praise for VAR after Neymar penalty decision reversed (VOTE)
Neymar seen dodging the bullets. Until, of course Agent VAR steps in.

The sense of grief that arises from injustice is only put to rest when you vindicate yourself in the future. The joy of vengeance perhaps leaves a deeper scar on the minds and hearts of the ones being perished, even more when such vengeance is attained at the cost of injustice. Because then two injustices added up to make one justice. A great approach to life, this, in the medieval times. Today you would have only tightened the noose on the neck of the beautiful game had the use of adequate technology not been put to test.

Related image
Technology to medieval thinkers

Has the VAR actually changed the fate of the game so far? Yes! one at least. Spain getting back the goal that was ruled offside right at the brink of the game against Morocco. Just one game, is this worth it then? Of course! Imagine the sense of injustice had Spain not qualified due to the wrong decision.

Offside that never was

VAR courtesy Gianni Infantino is one of the real game-changers that has really entertained this world cup.


You are welcome – Gianni




World Cup Police Diaries -IV

Someone might have seen this boy in Russia.

Finding Nemo


“Nemo…Where are you?!?! Nemo!! Where are you son?!”, shouted the concerned father across the crowded streets of Russia.

Image result for finding nemo Dory looking concerned
Looking for his son, Nemo


“What happened sir, are you looking for someone?”, asked the helpful Russian Police Officers

Image result for how can i help you + police officer + images
We’ve already qualified! How can we help you?


“Sir, I am looking for my son, I had adopted him, we happily lived in Paris, he is missing since the beginning of the year, I have been looking for him. I was told he might be here. Please help me find him. Please officer please! I have been looking for him since the start of the World Cup! I just cannot find him”

I beg you. Please!


“Ok! Ok! Stop! We will help you! Do you have any picture of his?”, asked the cops in a heavy voice.

crying peter parker - stop, just stop I'm sorry ok?
Stop. I am sorry I asked.


“I call him Nemo, here, this is his picture”



“What the hell?!?! You don’t look like his father!?”, said the cop getting annoyed

How does he even look like your son?!


The man looking annoyed, pours a plate on his head and says “Happy?!”

Related image


“Alpha to Charlie, Finding Neymar, Copy, Over”, said the cop over the radio.

Cop Walkie Talkie Terrific Timeline July 12 2012 7 15pm First Arrest
Did he turn up at least today or what?!?


“Good news sir, He has finally turned up today, he is safe, diving and dancing “, confirmed the Cop.



“Thank you very much, Sir! I am glad he finally showed up today!”

robert downey jr relieved
When you see him doing a Messi, but suddenly Ronaldo happens





Horse vs Donkey

Horse, donkey, Argentina, Croatia. Ballwinder speaks over a bowl of museli.

“Paaji, goodness gracious me!”, I shouted after watching the latest drubbing of Argentina by Croatia.”What a marvelous game to witness as a neutral. But how can a team of that individual stature struggle?”.”It is unfathomable to see arguably the best footballer in the world just might not qualify to the knock out stages”, I was on a rant.

Croatia win 3-0 against Argentina

“There is no denying the beauty of a game that the Croats displayed on the pitch, but Argentina did not even look like in competition”.

Croatia celebrating

“What was the main difference between the two teams tonight?”, I demanded an explanation while Ballwinder was pouring chilled milk over the museli.

How Many Calories are in a Bowl of Kellogg's Cereal With 2% Milk?

I had said enough. My job was to quietly wait for Ballwinder to speak and enlighten me, yet again.

“Have you seen a stud farm? I grew up next to one”, claimed Ballwinder while crunching his delicious looking dish. I was quiet. I was waiting for the genius to start the game. I would then play catch up.

Thoroughbred Horses on Farm : Stock Photo
Stud Farm

“Every stud farm has at least one donkey. Do you know why?”

Donkey and Horse

“So as to remind the horses, that they could also end up like a donkey!”, I laughed at it as if it was my best joke of the season.

Related image
So funny I thought

After a brief pause by Ballwinder, he said “Alrighty then…”,

Related image
Ballwinder’s reaction to my response

“The primary reason of having donkeys on a stud farm is for protection.”

The basic purpose of a donkey

They keep the farm safe from coyotes and other kind of canines. They are considered as a good friend by the horses”, Ballwinder added. “A very basic, simple job for a donkey. Nothing complicated. Nothing like what the horses have to do.”

This is it. Fasten your seat belts, Ballwinder will now take you through the journey of life. Riding on a horse. Or maybe a donkey.

Image result for saddle up partner gif
Saddle Up! It’s Ballwinder time.

“The Argentinian goalkeeper was the donkey among the stallions. His only job was to protect the goal, by being a donkey. He started getting a feeling that he is a horse too. He thought his master will like what he sees and perhaps someday parade him with the horses.”

Calamity Caballero and Sampaoli tinkerings leave Argentina a broken mess
Donkey – when he realizes that he is not a horse.

“Always remember”, Ballwinder concluded, “If God has made you a donkey and kept you in a stud farm. You are very lucky to be there. Your job is the simplest. Do not try to be a horse. Just be a donkey and earn your respect by protecting the farm”

I could not hold my tears. I was smitten by this basic lesson of life.

diego maradona world cup argentina
My reaction after learning a new lesson from Ballwinder

I took a deep breath, and asked ” Ballwinder paaji, just out of curiousity, are donkeys and horses from the same family?”, while Ballwinder slurped his way to the peace of infinity.

Ballwinder slurping down his “Deadly Healthy” combination

After enjoying his last slurp, Ballwinder wipes his face, and says ” Ofcourse! Look..”, pointing me towards the horse and the donkey.




Willy Caballero


World Cup Police Diaries -III

Barmy and Negligent driving by the English in Russia.

Barmy and Negligent Driving!


“Excuse me sir”, said a polite, composed voice, to which the Police officer turned.

The officer who turned to the polite, calm, soothing voice

“We wish to lodge a complaint.”, said the warm, welcoming, local Russian fan base

The local Russian fan base

“Yes, How can we help”, responded the alert police force

Will a name-change clean up Russia's corrupt police force?
The alert police force. Picture Courtesy: Retuers

“We wish to report rash, negligent driving in the neighborhood”, said the leader of the local fan base in his polite pitch.

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY…Monster Truck Madness!
Barmy and Negligent driving

“Who do you think is behind this?”, asked the concerned cops

Concerned Cops

“The English…”, politely pointed by another member of the neighbourhood

Image result for Russian hooligans
Politely pointing out

“The English hooligans!?”, asked the Cop

UEFA EURO 2016 England - Russland Ausschreitungen in Marseille
English fans Picture Courtesy: Reuters/ J.P. Pelissler

“NO Sir! the English football team”

Three Lions on Unicorns, living it dangerously
Pickford crashes off the inflatable unicorn as Maguire (right) watches his goalkeeper falling
Barmy and Negligent skills
Lingard turned photographer as he used a camera to take photos of defender Ashley Young
Recording their over-speeding antics.

The Russian police officer was left spellbound.

Related image
Officer left spellbound

World Cup Police Diaries -II

Egyptians complain again!

It all started on the first day of the World Cup, when the Egyptian team went to the cops to complain about their loss.   Check out the first complaint that was made

It saw a trend of many people now complaining about different things to the cops. The Russian cops have taken out a report of all the complaints that have been made as yet:

Egyptians complain again!

The pharaoh went teary eyed to the Cops, “One more complaint please”

The Pharaoh – Mo Salah

“Whats the matter this time around? Whodunnit?”, asked the Cops, looking satiated after a comforting victory against the Egyptians.


Related image
The Cops asking “Whodunnit?”


The pharaoh replied, “Ahmed Fathy”

Image result for Fathy own goal
Ahmed Fathy displaying the goal difference between Russia and Egypt through his legs

Russian Cop, without changing much of his facial reaction, “Awww, don’t worry, we have a perfect punishment in mind for him”, while trying to placate Salah with some flowers

Image result for russian cop reactions
Yuri Smityuk via Getty Images


“Ahmed Fathy !”, Shouted the cop, “Come here. ‘Kneel Down’!”

Pic Courtesy: https://kenididdis.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/kneel-down-and-raise-your-hands-2/