August 2007


This is a continuation of the Ragas and Scales post covering why a raga based melody sounds so different from a western melody even if both can be said to be based on the same scale. I am comparing the raga Sankarabharanam with its western counterpart – the major scale, and covered a few obvious differences in the previous post. Now I will cover a couple more here. First one again is perhaps obvious, but the second is a very interesting and important difference.

Discrete vs. Continuous
In carnatic music, the gamakas not only adorn/embellish swaras with pitch modulations, but also perform the role as “links” between previous/succeeding swaras in the melody. When going from one swara to another swara that typically takes gamakas, it is common for this transition to be started with a slide as the initial part of the gamaka. Let us go back to the sample that played the Sankarabharanam swaras just straight up and down in Carnatic style:

If you listen carefully, you will find that the modulation of ri (the second swara being struck) in this case included a lead-in from the previous swara sa. The same applies for ma (4th swara), and for dha (6th swara). This sort of a movement where a “slide” is implicitly part of a swara that has gamakas is quite common although not mandatory. In my opinion, it helps in maintaining melodic continuity as you transition swaras – something which seems important in Carnatic music. Even when you have jumps like sa-pa (D-A), sa-ma (D-G), and smaller jumps, it is quite common for it to include a slide from the first swara to the next.

Looking at the flip side, in western music notes are held flat more often, a lot lot more often. While slides are indeed part of the music, they are not used as often, and not “implicitly” (as explained above) as in Carnatic music. So it is typical for a Carnatic music listener to perceive a western melody to have a “discrete flow”, and a Carnatic melody to have a much more “continuous flow”.

Skippin’ n Jumpin swaras/notes
The last difference I cover seems like an important key to the puzzle. I learned about it first in a DVD by Guitar Prasanna called Ragamorphism, where he deals with this same topic – how is a raga from a scale? He says that in a western melody, there will be lots of jumps between notes. By a “jump”, we mean e.g. a transition from D to F# in the major scale on D, and thus skipping the E note which is indeed part of the scale (note: for the majors scale on D, F is absent). In a Carnatic melody, a jump would e.g. be a transition from sa to ga for a raga that includes ri in the ascent. In a scale, you are free to jump from one note to any other note with aesthetics as being the only criteria. On the other hand, in a Carnatic melody, you have to honor the ordering of the swaras in the underlying raga structure. Prasanna mentions that this does not mean that jumps are disallowed in Carnatic melodies – just that in general, order must be followed. Prasanna then demonstrates by first playing something that is based on the major scale, and then something in Sankarabharanam.

That section from that DVD was a very good clue to an answer I was searching for a while. It wasn’t a complete answer as Prasanna does not explain much beyond that i.e. what is meant “general order must be followed”. He just let his guitar do the talking. I delved into this a bit more and I think I am now able to understand it better.

Western music does have more jumps compared Carnatic music even though the latter Carnatic music does permit jumps – sa-pa, sa-ma, ga-da, ri-pa, ni-ri, da-ri etc. all figure regularly. So what does “Western music have more jumps that Carnatic” mean? This can be summed up by two points:

  1. Two consecutive jumps are quite rare in Carnatic music. An example of this is D-A-E in major scale, where D-A is a jump followed by A-E which a jump. In Carnatic, this would e.g. be ni ri n or sa ga pa say in a raga which includes all swaras in ascent and descent. I will refer to these as Double Jumps from now on.
  2. The # of jumps itself is not that high in carnatic music. Hence, the probability of a swara being either preceded or followed by one of its neighbouring swara in the raga structure is very high. So for example, if we take ri in Sankarabharanam, the chances of it occurring as one of sa-ri, ri-sa, ri-ga, ga-ri is very high. In other words, “general order of the swaras in the raga structure” is followed.

Note that by ‘jump’ here we also include jump from one note/swara to the same note/swara up or down an an octave.

But how rare is rare and how high is high? How does it compare to western music? We of course need some metrics that allows us to see whether there is any truth to the above assertions. So here it is: I analyzed the melody lines of a few Western and Carnatic pieces, tabulating how many note/swara transitions there are, how many of them are double jumps, and how many are single jumps, and thus how often is the next note a neighbor (as per scale/raga structure). Here are the results:

Name Transitions1 Double Jumps Single Jumps Next / Previous
is neighbour
Western
Pastorale – Domenico Zipelli 119 53 (44.54%) 7 (5.8%) 59 (49.58%)
Minuet in G – Mozart2 92 44 (47.83%) 6 (6.52%) 42 (45.65%)
Minuet in G – Bach3 111 7 (6.32%) 13 (11.71%) 91 (81.97%)
Gavotte – Arcango Corelli 69 20 (28.98%) 4 (5.8%) 45 (65.22%)
Carnatic – Sankarabharanam raga based songs
Sami ninne – Adi tala varnam 331 4 (1.21%) 50 (15.1%) 277 (83.69%)
Chalamela – Ata tala varnam 499 11 (4.01%) 64 (12.83%) 424 (84.96%)
Carnatic – other ragas
ninnukOri – mohana raga varnam 271 3 (1.11%) 17 (6.27%) 251 (92.62%)
evvari bodhana – Abhogi raga varnam 290 3 (1.03%) 17 (5.86%) 296 (93.11%)
vanajaskhiro- kalyani raga varnam 345 11 (3.19%) 38 (11.01%) 296 (85.80%)
era napai – todi raga varnam4 458 44 (9.61%) 61 (13.32%) 353 (77.07%)

1 – Does not include transitions involving accidental notes in western pieces (very few if any for those shown).
2 – Minuet in G by Mozart involves key shifts from G-Major scale to C-Major Scale. The pieces also contain a few accidentals.
3 – Minuet in G by Bach involves key shifts from G-Major scale to C-Major Scale. The pieces also contain a few accidentals.

In the above table,

  • Transitions is the total number of note/swara transitions or change of note/swara including jumps to the same note in a different octave in the song/melody (a repeat of same note is not a transition: B C C D D or S R R G G would contain 3 transitions). In case of western pieces, this also does not include transitions involving accidental notes. The pieces shown above have very few accidentals (if any).
    • Also, it should be noted that only the melody of the treble clef was considered. This does distort the picture a bit as the bass line melody could be “compensating” for some jumps. However, my guess is that this is not a significant distortion
  • Double jumps is the # of transitions that are part of two consecutive jumps as explained above.
  • Single Jumps is the # of occurrences of a transition from note/swara X to note/swara Y that skips over one or more intervening notes/swaras as defined by the scale/raga.

I should note that the western pieces picked are not exactly a representative set. They are just the ones my colleague gave me “as a start” when I asked her for some pieces which are in the major scale, did not use accidentals much and stuck to one key. Judging by the number of transitions between the western pieces and the carnatic pieces, we can see that perhaps more complex ones from western should have been picked. However, it is also possible that in more complex western pieces, there would be more accidentals, more key/scale changes, and also polyphony, making a comparison less meaningful.

What the data means
As you can see from the table, the varnams involve a lot of transitions, which I think is not that unique to varnams, and would be typical for all carnatic melodies. In spite of the large number of transitions, these melodies involve very few double jumps. Looking at the last column, the percentage of time that a swara is preceded/followed by the neigbouring swara in the raga structure is quite high – 80% or even higher. This I believe is a key characteristic of how a Carnatic raga uses its underlying swara structure. This seems to apply to all ragas although it is easier to quantify for ragas that have a symmetrical structure.

You may notice that even among the Carnatic set, the mohanam and the abhogi varnams have very very few jumps, with the last column showing a figure > 90%. This could be because these ragas have pentatonic structure – this is just my guess. Also you may notice that the todi varnam has a much higher percentage of double-jumps compared to other songs. A large portion of the varnam has the pa (fifth) is completely absent. Skipping pa (but done judiciously) is not uncommon for that raga. Perhaps symmetrically, it is also not uncommon for the sa (tonic) to be skipped. All this allows for many M-D-M or D-M-D, and N-R-N occurrences, and thus perhaps a high jump %, and a lower (<80%) last column figure.

In the western side, Bach’s Minuet does have “Carnatic like” usage of the scale implying that even this is possible in western music. However, all others involve significant # of double jumps, which I suspect is more common.

However, an analysis of a bigger sample set with more representative pieces may be needed before we can confirm this.

Conclusions

So there you go. There are several factors that make a carnatic melody sound very different from a western melody based on the equivalent scale. You have

  • Gamakas
  • Continuity between swaras
  • Fundamental difference in how the basic structure is used in terms of avoiding double jumps, not too many jumps, and thus honoring order determined by the raga structure.

Have you ever wondered why sometimes a film song that is supposed to based on raga has only a faint hint of that raga? We all know film songs can be like that, but how/why are they different? Why can’t they resemble Carnatic songs in that raga more? Well – it could the absence of one or more of the above. Besides it may employ accidentals or foreign notes and also change keys change like western pieces. So film songs that are loosely based on a raga are sort of like western pieces. However, they are typically much closer – they may include one of the above.

That’s it folks. Hope you found the Ragas and Scales comparison interesting.

The end

In my About page, I mention that my current interests include dreaming about vacations in exotic places. This is one such dream. A dream vacation to my paradise – Bora Bora. I have no doubt that it will come true one of these days …

By now, I have a whole list of exotic places that I feel I must visit during my lifetime. But Bora Bora … Ah – Bora Bora! It was the very first entry on that list and it still remains at #1.

I think I first heard the name Bora Bora in some Cheers episode. The name sounded funny and it was used in the context of a standard sitcom joke. I remember thinking it must be an unimpressive place because the way they were talking about it in that joke. But later I realized, that I must not have gotten the import of the joke correctly, since as I soon saw some pictures of Bora Bora, it was like Whoa! I must go there!

I have it all planned out – this trip to my paradise. I know exactly how it will be.

(Warning: Lots of pretty pictures ahead – not sure how much time it would take to load on slower connections)
(more…)

Over the weekend, I attended an Onam festival conducted by one of the Malayalee organizations in the Chicago area. We had a very busy morning that day at the end of which I had a pounding headache. I was tempted to skip the program because of that, and also the introvert in me felt that I wouldn’t enjoy being in the middle of about 600-1000 people who spoke a language that I barely understood, and celebrated something which I could not relate all that well.

However, there were commitments – people whom we knew would feel happy to see me there, and I also had to be the driver for a group of dancers who would be decked in fine, Bharatanatyam costumes. It would have been hard for them to drive by themselves dressed like that. The festival was at a high-school 30 miles away in the city – which also meant I drive. A couple of ibuprofens and a nap later, my headache and excuses evaporated. I decided that it was better to go out than sit at home, watch TV as the day darkened to night. Staying at home on a weekend particularly during the darkening twilight hour always seems like a dull prospect.

We arrived at the high school, and the festive atmosphere was immediately obvious. A group of men and boys were in procession playing the Kerala drums (Chenda) . I wanted to see the procession and take a few snaps – but this was Chicago, and I had to find parking. By the time I parked, the procession was over.

The auditorium where the cultural programs were held was pretty crowded. A lot of men (I guess more thanI have seen elsewhere) were in a half-traditional attire – i.e. a western shirt and a dhoti/veshti in traditional Keralite colors – off-white with gold border. Women and young girls were also dressed in saris, and half-saris with the same traditional Keralite colors. Sounds of Malayalam filled the air. There was standing room only, and I stood in the back – feeling very conscious that everyone probably expected me to know Malayalam and I knew squat. However, while a part of me felt out of place, a part of me strangely felt comfortable – perhaps it was the down to earth hospitality that our friends showed us when we arrived. But the real reason became more apparent once the cultural programs began.

The first program seemed like a very traditional Onam thing, where a group ladies dressed in traditional attire, each carrying a tray performed a kummi stle dance. What struck me was the song – it was in Anandabhairavi raga, and suddenly I realized how beautiful the Malayalam language is! I couldn’t follow a single word, but each of then seemed coated with honey and sugar. The song put me right at home. It was just like any Carnatic song with folksy touch in Anandabhairavi – very “homely”, always a winner.

Then a very little girl came and sang a couple of film songs – a Malayalam one and a Hindi one. Following this was a dance program which had a collage of classical styles – Mohiniattam , Bharatanatyam and even a little taste of Kathakali. The first two was under the backdrop of a familiar Purandaradasa song in Kannada.

A couple of semi-classical items followed, this time performed to Tamil film songs with a classical base. This was then followed by a presentation from the group I chauffeured. They did a classical Bharatanatyam piece where the song was in Telugu set to various Carnatic ragas. This was followed an extensive dance presentation celebrating India via 3 dance styles – Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, and folk (impressive costumes!). At the end of this, we realized it was getting very late, we had a long drive back, and so we had to leave.

During all this, I realized that this may be a celebration of Kerala, but it is also a celebration of India (perhaps mostly South India), and its diversity. That is why I felt right at home. I was glad to be a part of it, and I felt enlightened in more than one way. Yes, the people there spoke a language that I did not understand, and their food and customs were different from mine. But it did not matter at all when there is so much in common. We can either focus on the few differences between us, use them as a reason complain, ridicule, and come to blows; or we can focus on the many things that are common between us and celebrate life together. The choice seems obvious to me. In the end, I felt that I could relate to everything there because their culture is similar to mine, just as Indian as mine. I felt connected.

I also marvel at the openness, and tolerance exhibited by the Malayalee community here in Chicago. In a festival that specifically celebrated their tradition, they were being so inclusive, celebrating other languages, and other cultures of India. I salute them for this!

Note: See update at the tail-end which sort of puts a damper to this party!

WorldSpace Satellite RadioShruti Carnatic Radio Channel

If you are a carnatic music fan living in the US, in case you have not heard, the 24-hour carnatic music channel Shruti on WorldSpace satellite radio is now available online!

I have heard only positive things about the programming on Shruti – my parents in India love it. They say it has excellent programs that satisfy both the casual and the serious listener, and that the audio quality is also quite good. I have heard something similar in rasikas.org too – and believe me good compliments from that community don’t come that easy 😉 !

I have heard about the release of the online version of Shruti a few weeks ago on rasikas.org, and today, I finally decided to give it a try. Well – it just works (albeit not on Firefox?)! It requires registration (free to “just try it” for 24 hours) which strangely mandates that you provide a phone number. I made up one and gave it in US style i.e. (nnn) – nnn-nnnn. It rejected it saying only numbers are allowed. It obviously expected the Indian format. The fact that I couldn’t guess that beforehand only shows that I am like most people in US – US centric! Shame on me!

Once registration was done, it sent a temporary password to my email address, which I arrived pretty much instantly. Using that I logged on, and the first thing it asked me was to change my password. I liked that. Soon I was able to play the carnatic channel Shruti – Sanjay’s bhairavi, Hyderabad Brother’s kalavathi, Balamurali’s chitrambari, John Higgins’ Anandabhairavi, Namgiripettai Krishnan’s chayatarangini , Alathur Brothers’ chakravaham, and an exquisite saveri by the not frequently heard Smt. Ranganayaki Rajagopalan on the veena (karaikudi style) so far.

The audio quality is excellent. Very few glitches/pauses in streaming audio – only twice in about one hour of listening. That is not bad at all. I am at work with a fast connection. Maybe that has something to with it, but I expect it to be as good at home with my DSL connection too. I should note though that website itself is sluggish – but it does work. And of course, the window that has the radio player did not come up when I used Firefox as the browser.
I think I have been waiting for this day for a long time and it is finally here. I remember a couple of years ago checking if WorldSpace satellite radio is available in US just so that I can get Shruti, and being just plain ticked off that the US market had only stuff that was US centric for mainstream US tastes (sigh!). But now, the internet has once again shattered a silly “old world” hurdle. I cannot wait to hear the interesting programming on Shruti that I have heard about so much about.

BTW, the main link is http://worldspace.msnserver.com/index.aspx, and the link to Shruti is http://worldspace.msnserver.com/shruti.aspx. Note that there is also a Hindustani channel , as well as Bollywood, Telugu and Kannada hits channel (How come no Kollywood channel?).

The whole operation seems to be in beta stage, and I am crossing my fingers that it will remain online for a long time. If the quality continues to be as good, and reliability is good, I will not hesitate to start subscribing to it (one price of $9.99 per month for all five channels). From my experience so far, I highly recommend it for all carnatic listeners.

Thanks to WorldSpace radio, thanks to Shruti, and more importantly, thanks to the internet and the world wide web for making this possible!

UPDATE (Sep 28 2007): Well I am not “loving it” now. At the tail-end of my 24-hour period, the connection went out for a couple of hours. So I decided to get a feel for their tech-support. I sent them email asking what’s up and some suggestions on making it more widely accessible (other browsers). No replies to this day! They are asking for $$ commitment but can’t reply customer support emails – how pathetic is that? So right now my stand is – unless they can improve reliability AND tech-support, I am going to hold off.

Online Shruthi Verdicts:
Initial Verdict: Big Thumbs Up
Current Verdict: Thumbs Down – Way Down. If I am hand is up, its not the thumb which would be out 😉

(Note: This turned out to be a lengthy topic. Since I ramble endlessly even for small topics, I will deliver this in a couple of installments, and this is the first. Also, all audio samples are MIDI (i.e. computer) generated – so may sound “lifeless”, and may have glitches and imperfections. Please accomodate.)

Please take a listen to these samples:

Sample 1:

Sample 2:

(If you have trouble listening to the streaming audio, please click on these links to download the samples: Sample 1, Sample 2)

Now, consider the following:

  • Both are based on the same western music scale, the major scale, which has the same notes (swarasthanams) as the carnatic raga Sankarabharanam. Were you able to perceive this? Please listen again if needed.
  • The two samples uses all the notes of the major scale. Are you able to spot any resemblance (even if you have stretch things a lot and it is still faint) between the samples and Sankarabharanam?
  • If so, among the two, which one is kind of, sort of,”relatively closer” to Sankarabharanam? If you think it is sample 2, that is a good guess.

So what is the point of this exercise?
(more…)

Here are a few things that make me go What’s the big fuss? I don’t want to pass judgment on everyone who feels otherwise – but I probably am 😉

  • Reality Shows on TV: It is everywhere now – Animal Channel, Discovery Channel, Home & Garden, Food network. My colleague and I joked that soon we will see them on CSPAN too. Then we both realized – Duh!
    • In essence, much of the reality show rage can be explained by We need Dirty Laundry as echoed by Don Henley in an awesome, awesome song (check out the powerful lyrics and the live video). The song of course is squarely aimed at newscasters – but based on the dirt on reality shows aimed at satisfying their audience’s thirst for it, I think it has much wider, almost universal applicability.
  • Beer: I really don’t get the fuss about beer. To my taste buds – it is a vile tasting, weak drink. It makes you very thirsty, and output at least twice as much as you input. So what’s the point? Now there are even non-alcoholic drinks that I love which others consider vile (e.g. coffee) – i.e. they are an “acquired taste”. So I can definitely understand that beer is like that – no problem. But what I don’t get is the status of beer. The fuss people in the US make about beer right from youth into college and into adulthood for something that is so blwa…h – I just don’t get it. There are much better tasting and much stronger choices.
  • Beer commercials: Even more confounding. It supposedly has the target audience as “the macho man” – i.e. the one who does not want to look stupid, and wants to swing it with the fairer sex. But paradoxically, the ads seem to convey the opposite:
    • A man ignores the offers of a sexy lady in favor of a lousy Heineken. Now which idiot would do that? And which “macho guy” would be idiotic enough to want to relate to that?
    • Just touch a Coors Light bottle, and it starts to get very cold and snowy, but ladies in skimpy bikinis appear out of nowhere and dance happily. The first time this appeared – you can say odd, but perhaps interesting imagination. But this is the theme of every Coors Light commercial! Are you taking me for an idiot? But I did try Coors Light just in case – no luck yet.
    • Every one of those Miller Light commercials. I would like a warrant out for their advertising folks. Enough said.
    • I did not think beer was exactly a drink of “the sleek and sexy woman” – but I guess it is so according to these well informed commercials.
  • Pickup Truck Commercials: Another one aimed at the macho man. Apparently, Chevy/Ford/Toyota trucks can haul anything you want, even a big 18-wheeler loaded with concrete slabs stuck in a huge mountain. Heck in fact, they can haul the entire mountain itself! I am sure such power can come in handy. And of course all of this is somehow patriotic. Perhaps they are going simply move the mountains “Tora Bora” with some Ford F-150s and Chevy Silverados so that they can literally expose Bin Laden.
  • Golf as a rage, and a major sport: Prime-time coverage – on par with baseball, basketball and football in the US. Now the sport I can believe is relaxing – but showing it on TV, and talking so much about it everywhere? I just don’t get it.
  • Hunting as a sport and on TV: Need I say more?
  • Men and Video arcade games: Never got into it and holds zero appeal to me. An outing to a place like Gameworks, or Dave and Busters does not get me excited, and I have had to go there many times for company celebrations, social outings etc. I try a couple of those car racing games – fun for a couple of minutes. But, I pretty much get bored in precisely 10 minutes.
  • Muscle Car Magazines/Shows and Babes: This is a superb example of a pure fantasy of a stereotypical male: Loves muscle cars, loves muscle car parts, and loves babes in skimpy clothes. Never mind that the last one does not exactly seem to be related to the first two. But who cares? He still thinks – wouldn’t it be so cool to somehow have all of these in one fantasy? Wouldn’t that be ultimate? But how? How? How? Eureka! Simply have the skimpily clad girls stretch sexily on the hood of a muscle car! You could have those girls talk about mufflers, brakes and pads. Now, which girl wouldn’t want to do that?
  • Popularity of obnoxious personalities: These are loud mouthed, pompous asses, but extremely popular – many times for precisely being that. Their ticket to fame is a similar theme: I am an open book. I am honest. I speak what is on my mind. And I believe in what I say. I always stand by my beliefs. People apparently love it when you say what you have on your mind – even if you come out as an obnoxious, opinionated, jackass. But for me, if you are a jackass that trumps everything else – you are going to be one whether you speak your mind or not. You cannot hide your “jackassity”. Besides in many cases, we find these guys are not that honest either. Well, surprise, surprise!
    • I stand for what I believe in: An admirable trait, but is a double-edged sword. It makes you not want to re-examine things, that perhaps you were wrong. It puffs up you ego and confidence and leads you to be a stubborn jackass, and not admit mistakes (but not to worry your fans will still admire you as a strong leader, since you stood your ground). There are too many obvious examples today of this.
  • Baseball: OK, I am sort of kidding ;)! I can certainly understand why it is so loved in the US. I am including this only because:
    • I love cricket for its elegance which I cannot find in baseball. Just cannot get passionate about a game that seems like a more boring (than cricket – if you can imagine that 😉 !), pale imitation of another sport that I love.
    • There are too many games, and more often than not, my favorite re-runs on TV are not on because of a slow, and mostly meaningless regular season game. Aaarrrrgh!

When you are afraid to lose, you will almost never win since the best result you are looking for is not to lose.

Where is the fun in such attitude? But that is cricket for you – Indian style. I am of course referring to the anti-climactic finish to the last test match between India and England that just concluded. I am not an active fan of cricket nowadays but I do follow it fairly regularly. I have only one thought about the Indian team’s approach in the last match – What the @#%$ ?

Maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought Shastri said “India should go for the kill.” And this is how one goes for the kill? But maybe he was talking about killing the possibility of an exciting finish, killing the interest in test match cricket? You know the interest that was dead a few decades ago, but was rejuvenated by the Aussies via their fabulously successful, killer-instinct strategies. Other teams have also adopted this with good success, and I think this is a huge reason why test cricket has been very interesting during the last decade. Not a great fan of the Aussies – but the guys did make test match cricket much much more interesting for me.

Let’s face it – Indians were playing not too lose, and they did not lose. With so many balls being bowled, and batted, in the end they just didn’t have the balls.

Was their approach was safe? Yes. Smart? Hm…m ok yes. Was it wimpy? Yes! Was it downright, pathetically wimpy? Oh bloody yes!

Come on Team India! Live a little!

But why would they adopt such an approach? To make sure they won the freaking test series of course – a win guaranteed even by a draw! Oh, nothing uncommon in cricket – but how lame is that? I am sorry – but in a sport where a result is not guaranteed in every bout, the idea of a “best of” is a farce, a big joke and a big bore. It is a convenient excuse for the conservative to go into his shell. It justifies draws, and it is the root of big boredom. It makes way for the Gavaskars, the Mudassar Nazars, the Tolchards (ok that should tell you i am an old timer).

I started loathing test cricket because of these idiotic draws. And in those days, in a 5 match series in India, if India wins the first one – you know what to expect for the next four. Yes – India will play for draw in every subsequent match, even if there is the slightest risk of losing. Of course, Gavaskar would bore you to death with big knocks racking up records. Great concentration and application yaar – the fans and media would praise. Sure enough – but who cares when watching him is like watching a 3-day chess match? Many such innings made a match into a boring extremely long movie or television-series. Actually, worse – because the story doesn’t end in the last episode. There is no closure.

It is time we find a way to at least drastically reduce the possibility of the draw, if we cannot eliminate it completely from the test cricket vocabulary. But how? I have no idea. All I know is that I hate these kinds of draws. I hate that a sport I love allows for it, allows for you to justify it, feel good about it.

Maybe at the start of the test match, we should divide the # of sessions equally among the two teams. So you have an initial cap on an inning which will hopefully prevent those Gavaskar knocks of 100 runs in 1.5 days. You bat through those # of sessions – you declare whether you want to or not. However, if a team is bowled out for lesser that the allotted # of sessions, the other team can gain that session which can allow for building a good lead by going above the initial cap.

I have not obviously thought through this and I am sure it has many holes and it won’t work. But I loathe freaking draws in test cricket! Anything to reduce the possibility would be welcome. Maybe, if a match is drawn, all players should be required to give up their match bonus, which will be used to refund the audience. Yes – they will then tear each other apart to avoid a draw!

See – if it were not for a rain forced draw, match #1 would have gone to England and we would 1-1. Maybe India would have been more aggressive in the last match. But who am I kidding? The wimps would have been even more scared of losing the match and the series, and would have gone for the draw from the beginning!

Oh – if and only if they had enforced the follow-on! England would have batted and come with a nice response in their 2nd inning. And since they had more to lose, and absolutely needed to even the series, they would have setup up an interesting Indian 2nd inning – evenly poised, a fitting last bout.

Ah! That would have been quite a match ….

But – time to wake up. What am I thinking! Knowing India, they would have collapsed and lost. I would then be complaining – Why the needless risk? They had the series bagged – they should have forced the @#$% draw! Morons!

It is indeed nice to have your cake and eat it too …

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