Legen – wait for it – dary

There are host of events going on after exam. Panagea and Whitfest are just over. If you don’t know, Whitfest is the after-exam day-long event in Whitworth Park. People are touring and visiting places as well. A week and half back, I went to Old Trafford to see the Legends match between Manchester United and Real Madrid. This was a charity match organised by Red Heart United and the match raised over £800,000. The entire amount will go to Manchester United Foundation, to help fund projects that benefit young people in disadvantaged areas of Greater Manchester.

The first leg was played in Madrid with result 3-2 in favor of Real Madrid. The Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos played that match, who didn’t play in the second leg. I personally would love to watch him play. But, we were blessed to see the match with this lineup.

United: Van der Sar (van der Gouw 70); Berg (Martin 9), Stam, Johnsen, Irwin; Blackmore (van Nistelrooy 46), Fortune, Scholes, Sharpe (Thornley 51, Blomqvist 87); Yorke, Cole.
Real Madrid: Contreras (Sanchez 62); Salgado (Pavon 69), Helguera, Pavon (McManaman 46), Amavisca; Figo (Vazquez 78), Hierro, Makelele (Sanz 62), Zidane; Morientes, van Nistelrooy (De la Red 46)

For me, the best player in my generation is Zidane. He was the primary reason that I went to the match. We had good seats as well, just in the second row at East End. It is another matter though that the better play happened at Strafford End. Nevertheless, it was thrilling to see the reflexes of Van der Sar, anticipation and tackle of Stam-Hierro-Makalele, vision and skill from Zidane-Figo-Scholes and striking power of Nistelrooy. Rest all, the likes of Yorke-Cole-Salgado-Morientes, played well as well.

Zizou the Magician

Before the match, there was a concert which I personally found boring. Anchors continued to engage the audience and made very nice interaction with the crowd. Specially the conversation between few kids and the anchor was really funny. And then there were priceless expression of those kids, reacting to comments like ‘You look like Scholes, don’t be ashamed, that’s a good thing’ or ‘Josh, is that your sister or girlfriend’! 🙂

The players took over around 2.10 pm. Even in the warm-up, we felt that this was going to be a serious match, not like friendly stuff that we used to see in the past. When the organizers announced the players’ names, the largest cheer was reserved for Niselrooy, Scholes, Zidane and Stam.

Maestros - Figo and Scholes

It should be noted that Niselrooy was the only player in this match, played successfully for both teams in his career. He started the game wearing Real Madrid jersey. In the first half itself, Van der Sar saved at least half-dozen attempts on goal. Zidane-Figo-Niselrooy combo threatened Manchester United defense again and again. In both halves, Figo’s wing play was absolute treat to watch. Scholes and Stam tried their best, but lack of proper strikers made Manchester United second fiddle in the first half.

At the end of first half, the score was 1-0 in favor of Real Madrid with Morientes as the scorer. Second half started with Nistelrooy switching sides from Real Madrid to Manchester United. The match then shifted to even balance. Nistelrooy equalized soon in the second half. But, just few minutes before the end, De la Red scored with a beautiful chip to end the match in favor of Real Madrid with 2-1.

Nistelrooy evaded a tackle from Stam

During the whole match, players seemed to be fit enough to play regular league matches. Scholes is recently retired. Zidane-Figo-Stam played like as they did in their younger days. Zidane and Stam both played full match-duration. Another person who was present at the match is Sir Alex Ferguson, smiling and enjoying the game. He even initiated Mexican wave at the second half. Also in the first half, there are rounds of Mexican wave went around the stadium. After the match, primiership trophy was paraded with huge cheer. With the supporters encouraging players(not in case of McManaman though ;)) and cheering for the teams, we all had a great match. We understood that players like Zidane-Figo-Stam-Van der Sar were, are and will always be Legends. Leaving you with Match Highlights.

Strive for better world

The official exam period is about to end. Apart from few students, others are now rejoicing. Undergrad students will now either be on vacation or internship. But, the university will continue for poor souls like us – the postgraduate students. We, the Masters(Taught) students, have our dissertation deadline in September first week. Basically, we have just three months to complete our dissertation. This is very valuable for all of us, as the dissertation alone has 60 credits out of total course credits of 180. Including the ‘Research Methods’ module, this increases up to 90 credits, half of total course credits.

All students may not do well in exams. But, everyone aims to do well in dissertation. Three primary reasons behind this is –

  1. It is your own dissertation, you chose it yourself.
  2. The problem is there to solve since January, you got plenty of time. In reality it is not, I have started to realize that. And…
  3. It is not boring theory anymore, it is practical. One senior interviewer at Google wrote in his blog that he rejected one postdoc just because the interviewee started his answer with ‘well, if i must do coding’. The point is, learning theory is not worth unless you can apply it practically.

These dissertations are all research projects. Consider the Masters students, PhD-s and Postdoc-s and figure out yourself how many research projects are going on in the university. All these research directly improves the academic value. It improves the university ranking. It also generates lot of revenues and even spin-off companies come out of these projects. Exciting research is going on with Graphene, with the university driving it forward. SpiNNaker is another project which is ranked among top projects to watch out for in recent future. And there are many more…

It is interesting to note that many of these research problems deal with interdisciplinary subjects. Expert collaborations often happen in these projects. Sometimes, we wonder what if someone knows all necessary subjects well. At least, a solid background would help very much even in case of collaboration. Now, most universities acknowledge the importance of flexible courses. Depending on student interest, he/she can choose a subject from Science and another from Arts/Humanities for his/her graduation. Double degrees, if selected judiciously, often help later. There are holistic courses launched like Science One in UBC Canada, where students can experience all science subjects in an integrated format.

Far away from Manchester, a ghastly murder took place in Woolwich. It was a sick murder first. And then using hungry media outlet, murderers preached words of terrorism. Sadly, terrorism is happening through out the world, mostly based on radical religious views. Honestly, I don’t get it. I have come from a country which probably has followers of every religion in the planet, and yet there is a strong secular fabric in its social structure. Thankfully even here, I get open-minded people around me. I have been to Temple, Gurdwara and Church with my friends here in Manchester. Everywhere, I received sincere warmth and each time I came out those places, I felt absolute peace of mind. Life is a bliss and the world is beautiful. Let’s keep it like that!