Thursday, December 10, 2009

20 glorious Years of the Master

Hi All,

15th November 2009, the date is significant in a way that very few are in any Cricket enthusiast's mind. On this day our beloved Sachin, - Sachin Tendulkar a.k.a. 'Master Blaster' a.k.a. 'Little Master' has completed 20 years in International Cricket. He may be aged 36 now, but all the Cricket lovers around the world, still see that fierce yet modest 16 year old Cricketer in him.

The Little Big Man ... The reason of joy to a country of Billions ... 1989, aged 16, commanding authority, oozing confidence, glimpse of what lies beneath .....

20 Years back ...

It was in game reduced to a charity match that which we first saw the reason for the hype. A sixteen year old had gone to Pakistan, amidst some media frenzy (for the time that is) with none other than the great Sunil Gavaskar gifting him his pads with a statement of the sort “This kid plays as good as me. And can play way more strokes than I ever could.” While people remember the savage flood of sixes against Qadir and Mushtaq, what I remember is how, of all the players in the Indian team, only he showed a willingness to fight and give it his all, respecting the time of people like me who were watching the game when they were supposed to be studying Life Science, something that the rest of the team could not be bothered as they went through the motions, talking and laughing, since it was not an official match (as if anything involving India and Pakistan can be unofficial). It would prove to be one of the defining characteristics of the man for twenty years— his commitment, his seriousness and his utter professionalism.

Trying to understand the legend that is Sachin, one needs to look at him through two prisms—that of the game and that of everything but that.

The Little Master. Sachin's earliest photograph holding a cricket bat.

Whether Sachin is the greatest batsman after Bradman has been debated threadbare on many forums with reams of statistics drawn from Statsguru and it is not my intent to go over that. Arguing about the greatness of a batsman with numbers and averages is to me mostly an exercise in futility, somewhat like evaluating movies based on box office collections or the taste of food by its glycemic index.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar - Mixed Moods

Although Wisden declared Sachin the greatest Batsman of all time by announcing him at No. 2 for all time in Test after Bradman, and at No. 2 for all time in ODIs after Viv Richards, and also, Sachin currently holds most of the Records in Batting (most number of Runs & Centuries in both the form of Cricket & various others); it all still sounds a bit academic.

I therefore go by two things.

First is the evaluation of experts, people who have played the game and not done too poorly themselves, people like Don Bradman, Hanif Mohammed and Shane Warne and his contemporaries around the world, for whom the general consensus is that overall Sachin has been the greatest batsman of modern times.

Sachin with the greatest Batsman ever - 'Donald George Bradman'

Sachin with his contemporary batting legend 'Brian Charles Lara'

Sachin with 'Shane Keith Warne', arguably the finest leg-spinner of all time

And second is the evidence of my eyes. My favorite thing about Sachin, what I feel sets him apart from other greats like Ponting, is his balance. It is what I believe is the secret of his shot-making, what makes him move the ball two feet away from the fielder at square leg or lean back and work the ball over the slips or rock back and thump it through cover point, all with equal dexterity. It is that sense of balance he loses when he goes out of form—-which is when you will find him falling over to the front (like how he got out in the 2007 World Cup match against Sri Lanka—possibly the lowest point of his career) or reaching out for the ball, a game defect caused by a slight disturbance in weight transference, triggered with increasing frequency by his dodgy back and shoulders.
Majestic Square Cut

The way he plays those audacious Straight Drives, or piercing Square Cuts or the taunting Upper Cuts, the cheeky paddle sweeps or even the dismissive Pulls, all clearly states the fact that there is no shot inside the book of Cricket or outside of it, that this little man can't or doesn't play.
Glorious Straight Drive
Teasing the Slips
Short Ball dismissed

Sachin is supremely talented and amazingly proves that day after day relentlessly. His sporting attitude, agressive game coupled with humble nature makes him the most loved and worshipped in a country of a billion and also several places outside it. But, Sachin not just equates to a mere Run-Machine delivering pile of Runs. What however makes him what he is, the God of all Indian cricket fans, is not just his technique or his ability to dominate bowling.
Thanking Heaven

It is that for decades he has represented one thing.

The man - the charioteer of hopes of a country of billion

Maybe the batsmen at the other end suck. Maybe they have sold out to bookies. It does not matter.

As long as he is at the crease, anything is possible. The vendor selling nuts knows it. Grandmother knows it. So does the opposition captain.

One of the characteristics of his greatness as a batsman is he, more than any of his contemporaries (Sehwag comes close somewhat to this at his best) can play the same irrespective of the pitch. Numerous times I have seen matches where it has seemed that Sachin and his partner batsman are batting on different pitches—-nowhere more evident that in that semi-final at the Eden Gardens when as long as he was batting, one could not quite understand what a minefield that pitch had become, why Sanjay Manjrekar at the other end was playing the ball with his chest and thighs, whereas Sachin was playing with consummate ease. Once he got out then we realized what had come to pass.

Creamed through the covers. Ahead of his contemporaries, by Miles

But in order to fully understand Sachin the phenomenon, as an identity that subsumes Sachin the sportsman, one needs to take a step back and look at him from a non-cricketing perspective.

To call him India’s most famous sportsman ever is like calling Mahatma Gandhi the country’s most famous politician.

Sachin is much more.

He is a cultural icon, someone who has his place booked in the history books. No not just cricketing history. National history. This is because of what Sachin represents—- the epitome of the Indian dream. A man from middle-class origins, not a star-son or the scion of a political dynasty who rises to the very top by the dint of his own merit, not because he looks good or can shake his body but because he has a genuine skill which very few in the world have, an inspiring success story in a country where the odds against you are mounted in every domain unless you are an “insider” with “jugaad”.

The most loved & worshipped School Boy ever

Sachin with his wife Anjali
Starting a new partnership, a new innings in Life ...

Sachin recieving 'Padma Vibhushan' award - Second highest civilian award in India

But that’s just half the story. What makes Sachin “God” is because once he has attained fame, he has still held onto the values Indians adore—-that of being humble, unassuming, possessing a commitment to his work which is emphatic without being aggressive, well-defined without being brash.

Putting it in an another way, his supreme quality in life is that he has maintained balance. Just like he does when he is in sublime batting form.

Wielding the willow everytime the country & the billion countrymen asking for it.

The little boy, who will go on to become the unstoppable stud .....

He may drive a Ferrari and may be one of the biggest names in the country but he is found in the same building he grew up in, still playing cricket with the locality boys when his schedule permits. He does not compromise his dignity on the field or off it. Unlike his colleagues who punch cameramen, shout at groundsmen and in general behave like brats after attaining a fraction of what he has achieved, Sachin never for once in his life has ever betrayed a “I am a VIP so stand aside” attitude, being unfailingly polite to everyone from ground-staff to fans, at the same time not compromising on his privacy or his personal space. Without getting into eyeball-to-eyeball slanging matches, he has been as aggressive on the field as the best of them. Anyone who has tried to verbally intimidate him, from McGrath to Kasprowicz have realized Sachin’s toughness after being hit into the stands, as players all over the world recognize that abusing him is like spitting at the sun, the froth goes up and lands up in your own face.

To me personally Sachin’s most endearing quality is that he still cares. Unlike his colleagues who hang out with groupies after a defeat shrugging it off as a bad day in office, even after twenty years he still feels the pain of a defeat, just like the fans do. It is a pain that even a cynic like me recognizes to be genuine and while I may chuckle at displays of overt patriotism in a sport where the only thing that matters is money, my throat still chokes up seeing Sachin kissing that little square on his helmet after scoring a century or when he says post-match that he has lived his dream of playing for India for twenty years. It is so straight-from-the-heart, an emotion stemming from such a child-like conviction in the honor of representing one’s country that it melts the most cynical of us.

A Billion Hearts beat faster with each of those shots

It makes us want to believe. That there is something greater than us, our wallets and our lives. Yes it makes us believe. At least for a few seconds.

This is the magic of Sachin.

This is why he is different.

And this is why we love him.

Satadru Roy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

16 Most Breath-Taking Bridges around the World

Hi All,
Today we can check out about some of the most awesome and Breath-taking Bridges around the World. Mind you, each one of them are absolutely mindblowing in their own way, it is only that I ranked them as per my preference. So friends, let me present you all ...

16 most breath-taking Bridges around the World

While most of these Bridges are open for public, some of them are for commercial purpose and some of them are Entertainment oriented or recreational. But all of them has one thing in common, they are all Outstanding.

16. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, United States of America

15. Tower Bridge, London, England

14. Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, United States of America

13. The Wind and Rain Bridge, Sanjiang, China

12. Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy

11. Pont du Gard, Vers-Pont-du-Gard, France

10. Khaju Bridge, Isfahan, Iran

9. Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

8. The Malaysia Sky Bridge, Langkawi, Malaysia

7. Tianjin Eye Bridge, Tianjin, China

6. Henderson Wave Bridge, Singapore, Republic of Singapore

5. The Falkirk Wheel, Falkirk, Scotland

4. Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Gateshead, England

3. Aiola Island Bridge, Graz, Austria

2. Seoul's Banpo Bridge, Seoul, South Korea

1. Magdeburg Water Bridge, Magdeburg, Germany

I hope one day I will be able to visit all of the mentioned Bridges.

Satadru Roy

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Impossible is nothing - Never say "Nobody is Perfect"

Hi All,

In the History of Sports, how many sports-person are there who have altered the perspective of the Results upside down; who have shown the world the things that are seen never before; who have redefined the ceiling; who have changed the definition of Possibilities ??? In the last 100 years we have seen numerous Sports Stars who are brilliant in their sport, immensely gifted and equally dynamic, they thrill the audience with their amazing Skills to secure a place in their hearts. However, it can be counted in fingers when you try to search for Sports Stars who were like never before or never after. These very few people who actually challenge what is said to be Impossible, and with their skills only they redefine the standards of possibility, the standards of humanly achievable. They become better than perfect, they become the Legend.

How many of you have really heard the name of Nadia Comăneci ???

Nadia Elena Comăneci; born November 12, 1961) is a Romanian gymnast, winner of three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and the first ever gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10, in an Olympic gymnastic event. She is also the winner of two gold medals at the 1980 summer Olympics. She is one of the best-known gymnasts in the world and, along with Olga Korbut and Nellie Kim, is credited with popularizing the sport around the world. However, she is undoubtedly more known as the Best Gymnast of All times, who forced the Olympic Committee to change the Electronic Scoring System.

After winning numerous International Competitions with 'all-around titles' (Overall Prize over numerous categories in Gymnastics) and countless Gold Medals even before her 14th Birthday, Nadia was already considered the greatest threat to the mighty Soviets in their own field (Russians were always known for their dominance in Gymnastics).

Then came the defining moment, the moment of revelation. In 1976, Nadia Comăneci at the age of 14 was representing Romania in Montreal Olympics. Nadia's stupendous performance earned her a "Perfect 10" as many as 7 times in different events during the course of the Olympics.

During the team portion of the competition, her routine on the uneven bars was scored at a 10.0. It was the first time in modern Olympic Gymnastics history that the score had ever been awarded. The world witnessed awestruck as Nadia repeatedly mocked with the saying "Nobody is Perfect", as she perfected her scores again and again, with unprecedented finesse and audacity, compounded with unequal fluency and perfection.

Nobody in the Olympics even dreamt in their wildest of the dreams that anyone can score a "Perfect 10" in Gymnastics. The scoreboards were not even equipped to display scores of 10.0; so Nadia's perfect marks were reported on the boards as 1.00 instead. Over the course of the Olympics, Comăneci would earn six additional 10s, en route to capturing the all-around, beam, and bars titles and a bronze medal on the floor exercise. The Romanian team also placed second in the team competition.

Nadia Comăneci was the first Romanian Gymnast to win the all-around title at the Olympics. She also holds the record as the youngest Olympic Gymnastics All-around Champion ever at 14 years of age. After Montreal Olympics, the Electronic Scoreboard were revised and were made to display the elusive 10.0 also (although it was not observed to occur more than a single digit of times after Nadia & Nellie retired).

(Prior to the Olympics, In March 1976, Nadia competed in the inaugural edition of the American Cup at Madison Square Garden in New York. She received unprecedented scores of 10.0, which signified a perfect routine without any deductions, on vault in both the preliminary and final rounds of competition and won the all-around. Comăneci also received 10s in other meets in 1976, including the prestigious Chunichi Cup competition in Japan, where she posted perfect marks on the vault and uneven bars. The international community took note of 'Nadia Comăneci' : she was named the United Press International's "Female Athlete of the Year" for 1975.)

Nadia Elena Comăneci, at the age of 14 single handedly changed the notion of "Nobody is perfect". She has proved in front of the World that, Perfection is not Impossible to enact. She has shown the world if you have the Will, and if you possess the Skill, you can be Perfect. In fact you can be better than the Perfect, you can actually be the Legend.

(BTW, a small information, even after reading this if you still say "Nobody is Perfect", just remember "I" am that Nobody ..... ;-))

Satadru Roy

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vodka Martini - Shaken, not Stirred

Hi All,

One of the most famous statement of Hollywood film industry is "Shaken, not Stirred ..." Ever wondered about this typically different yet radically catchy Bond one-liner ??? Today I am going to tell you about the origin of this one ... Read on .....

"Shaken, not stirred" is a catch phrase of Ian Fleming's fictional British Secret Service agent James Bond, and his preference for how he wished his Martini prepared. James Bond is known to have a affinity for Vodka Martini in high profile parties or Casinos and Bars. However, he usually mentions it to be only shaken and not stirred. The phrase first appears in the novel Diamonds Are Forever (1956), though Bond does not actually say the line until Dr. No (1958). It was first uttered in the films by Sean Connery in Goldfinger in 1964 (though the villain Dr. Julius No offers this drink and utters those words in the first film, Dr. No, in 1962). It was used in numerous Bond films thereafter with the notable exceptions of You Only Live Twice, in which the drink is offered stirred, not shaken (Bond, ever the gentleman and not wanting to cause his polite host embarrassment brushes it off, telling his host it's perfect), and Casino Royale, in which, asked if he wants his martini shaken or stirred, Bond replies, "Do I look like I give a damn?"

Bond first ordered a drink to be shaken in Fleming's novel Casino Royale (1953) when he requested a drink of his own invention which would later be referred to as a "Vesper", named after the Bond girl, Vesper Lynd. James Bond ordered this drink to commemorate his strong feelings for its namesake Vesper, who was also one of the 2 girls in Bond’s life with whom he had extremely strong emotional attachments (the other girl is 'Tracy di Vicenzo', whom Bond actually marries before she was shot and killed). After just meeting his CIA contact Felix Leiter for the first time, Bond orders the drink from a barman while at the casino.

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'

'Oui, monsieur.'

'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'

'Certainly monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.

Bond laughed. 'When I',' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I think of a good name.'

Casino Royale, Chapter 7: Rouge et Noir (1953)

A “Vesper” differs from Bond's usual cocktail of choice, the Martini, in that it uses both gin and vodka, Kina Lillet instead of vermouth, and a lemon peel instead of an olive. In the same scene Bond gives more details about the Vesper telling the same barman that vodka made from grain instead of potatoes makes the drink even better. Russian and Polish vodkas were also always preferred by Bond if they were in stock. Although there is a lot of discussion on the Vesper, it is only ordered once throughout Fleming's novels and by later books Bond is ordering regular vodka martinis, though he also drinks regular gin martinis. In total Bond orders 19 vodka martinis and 16 gin martinis throughout Fleming's novels and short stories (obviously the offered Vodka martinis are discarded from this calculation).

Since many of the original ingredients from 1953 are no longer available or have been reformulated, several variations are available that attempt to recapture the original flavour of the drink "Vesper" :

  The original recipe called for Kina Lillet. Lillet Blanc (also known as Lillet Blonde) is a typical replacement.
  Dry Vermouth (e.g. Cinzano Extra Dry) may be used as an expedient in the place of Lillet Blanc if it is unavailable.
  To recreate the original bitter flavour of Kina Lillet, add a dash or two of Angostura bitters or a pinch (1/16 of a teaspoon) of Quinine powder.
  For a more traditional flavour, use 100-proof Stolichnaya Vodka to bring the alcohol content of the Vodka back to 1953 levels (it was also one of James Bond's favorite brands along with Smirnoff in later days).
  Likewise, Tanqueray Gin provides the traditional flavour of 94-proof gin; whereas Gordon's Gin was reformulated to less than 80-proof.
  Some esoteric Bond fans may prefer to substitute Boodles British Gin, as it is named for Boodle's gentlemen's club, of which Ian Fleming was a member.
  A cocktail glass, which is larger today than was common in 1953, is often substituted for the deep Champagne goblet (see Champagne stemware for the original look of the drink)
  A "Green Vesper" substitutes absinthe for the Kina Lillet. Lime peel may be substituted for lemon.
  A "Matin" substitutes the Italian aperitif Campari for the Kina Lillet, and reverses the proportions of gin and vodka.

Esquire printed the following update of the recipe in 2006:

"Shake (if you must) with plenty of cracked ice. Mix 3 oz Tanqueray gin, 1 oz 100-proof Stolichnaya vodka, 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc, 1/8 teaspoon (or less) quinine powder or, in desperation, 2 dashes of bitters. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and twist a large swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.”

Usage in the Bond Films :-

Sean Connery

The shaken Martini is mentioned twice in the first Bond film Dr. No (1962.) Once when Bond had presumably ordered a drink from Room Service to his hotel room, it is mixed by a waiter, who says "one medium dry vodka martini mixed like you said, sir, but not stirred" (a slice of lime was in the bottom of the glass.) And again when Dr. No presents Bond with a drink and says "A medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred."

Bond did not vocally order one himself until Goldfinger (1964). However, in the 1967 film You Only Live Twice, Bond's contact Henderson, prepares a Martini for Bond and says "That's, um, stirred not shaken. That was right, wasn't it?" To which Bond replies politely, "Perfect." Since then, each Bond has himself ordered the drink, except for two.

George Lazenby

George Lazenby's Bond doesn't actually order for a Drink in his only film On her Majesty's Secret Service. He has some other drinks like island Rum and Whiskey but never orders for the Vodka Martini.

Roger Moore

Roger Moore's Bond never actually ordered one himself, but has one ordered for him several times, nonetheless. In the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, Major Amasova orders him one. In Moonraker, his drink is prepared by Manuela. In Octopussy, Octopussy herself greets Bond by mixing his drink.

Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton's Bond ordered his trademark Martini in each of his films. During The Living Daylights he and Kara arrive in Austria where he orders a martini "Shaken, not stirred" shortly after entering their hotel. For his second film, Licence To Kill he doesn't directly order it. Instead, he tells Pam Bouiver what drink he'd like as he plays Blackjack.

Pierce Brosnan

In Die Another Day, Bond is coming back on a rather turbulent British Airways flight. The air hostess (played by Roger Moore's daughter Deborah) serves him his martini, to which Bond replies "Luckily I asked for it shaken". However in World is not Enough, Bond orders for a Martini in a Bar, but it was more due to initiate a conversation.

Daniel Craig

The Vesper was reused in the 2006 film version of Casino Royale, while Bond is playing poker to defeat Le Chiffre. Daniel Craig's Bond ordered the drink in Casino Royale providing great detail about how it should be prepared. Later though when the barman asks whether he would like a Martini shaken or stirred, the younger and less experienced Bond snaps, after losing the poker tournament, "Do I look like I give a damn?"

This phrase has become a recognizable catch phrase in western popular culture, and has appeared in many number of films, television programs and video games for its cliché value.

Now have a go and invent your own Recipe ... Cheers !!!!! ;-)

Satadru Roy

Monday, September 7, 2009

Top 10 Killer Cats

Hi All,
I happened to see this coverage that came upon in one of the shows of Discovery Channel. It showcased the "Top 10 Killer Cats". I hope you all will like it and will go through gradually to find out a nice surprising fact.

These Cats are all magnificient in their own way and all of them have the skills, looks, style, manners and killer instinct to the core. However, excessive hunting, poaching, habitat destruction and food shortage are slowly pushing these beautiful animals to extinction; and the reason is Human. So, we have to be aware and take necessary steps to withdraw, otherwise slowly but surely we might move these creatures over the edge ...

10. Cheetah

The World's Fastest Land Animal has the ability to reach upto 70 miles an hour (114-120 Kmph). Its entire body is made up for Speed - Incredible Speed. It can accelerate from standstill to its devastating top speed in less than 3 seconds (faster than a 'Yamaha R1' accelerating from standstill). However, Cheetah can run at their Top Speed for very short period. Also due to its lighter mass it lacks strength to grab or hold onto bigger preys. Hence it usually gets its prey about once in 20 attempts. The round, black spots on the Cheetah help them to camouflage when hunting. The head of the Cheetah is much smaller compared to other big cats, and during its running its entire body becomes as aerodynamic as possible to extract maximum speed. The Cheetah will eat mostly mammals including gazelles, wildebeests, and zebras. When a Cheetah sprints for its prey, its body temperature becomes so high that it would become fatal if kept at that level for a long period of time. Cheetah is comparatively a social Cat, as it is often found a Cheetah family moving together for hunting purpose. Cheetahs are on the World Conservation Union list of vulnerable species. There are said to be about 12,400 cheetahs left in the wild. Cheetah are the only Cats who are not much efficient Tree-Climbers.

9. Fishing Cat

The Fishing Cat is a medium-sized cat, whose disjunct global range extends through South-East Asia. Its fur has an olive-grey color with dark spots arranged stripe-like running along the length of the body. The face has a distinctly flat-nosed appearance. The size varies between locations. The Fishing Cat lives along rivers, brooks and mangrove swamps. It is well adapted to this habitat, being an eager and skilled swimmer. It is among the few Cats who enjoy Water. As the name implies, fish is the main prey of this cat, of which it hunts about 10 different species. It also hunts other aquatic animals such as frogs or crayfish, and terrestrial animals such as rodents and birds. The inter-digital webs on its paws help the cat gain better traction in muddy environments and water, like other mammals living in semi-aquatic environments. It is the only Cat which has its physiological structure perfectly adapted for hunting in Water and Swamps (although Tiger and Jaguar also enjoy Swamps and Water, they are not commonly known to have aquatic species as their prey unless they encounter one). The Fishing Cat is endangered due to its dependence on wetlands, which are increasingly being settled and converted for agriculture, and also due to human over-exploitation of local fish stocks.

8. Wild Cat

The Wildcat is a hunter of small mammals, birds, and other creatures of a similar size. There are several subspecies distributed in different regions spanning around the Asia, Africa and Europe. The Wildcat is extremely timid. It avoids approaching human settlements. It lives solitarily and holds a territory of about 3 km². The Wildcat is predominantly a carnivore; insects and plants are unimportant parts of its diet. Most of its prey are small mammals, mainly rodents and rabbits, with lizards being the third most common prey, and birds the least common (However, some sub-species of the Wild Cat, such as 'Serval' is known to actively feed upon Birds). In jungle where its relatively smaller size makes a big threat for itself, it actually lives in ease, adapting to the habitat and the food available extremely fast. Its versatile ability of Tree-Climbing, Stealth, Quick Attack comes into its help. Among several variation of the Wild Cats, 'Serval' - an African Wild Cat is known to jump 8-16 ft vertically up to catch some of the flying Birds. Servals are very friendly animal while trying to be domesticated and serve as a wonderful pet. However, they tend to share an emotional bond with any one of the human family and becomes unhappy on being away from that person. Hence is USA there are strict rules for commitment and plannning imposed by government before keeping a Serval as a pet.

Often it is seen that these Cats simply jump over 10 feet vertically from the ground from its sitting position to catch a low-flying Bird successfully.

7. Puma

Also known as 'Cougar', 'Mountain Lion', 'Catamount' or 'El Tiger', the Pumas are known to kill animals twice of its size. Native to the Americas, this large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the Puma is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the American continents after the Jaguar, and the fourth heaviest in the world, along with the Leopard, after the Tiger, Lion, and Jaguar, although it is most closely related to smaller felines.
A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the Puma pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources include ungulates such as deer, elk, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle, horses, and sheep, particularly in the northern part of its range, but it also hunts species as small as insects and rodents. In fact as a successful generalist predator, the Puma will eat any animal it can catch, from insects to large ungulates (over 500 kg). Like all cats, it is an obligate carnivore, feeding only on meat. Moreover, it prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it can live in open areas. While it is a large predator, it is not always the dominant species in its range, as when it competes for prey with other predators such as the Jaguar, Gray Wolf, American Black Bear, and the Grizzly Bear. It is a reclusive cat and usually avoids people. Attacks on humans remain rare. Due to excessive hunting following the European colonization of the Americas, and continuing human development of cougar habitat, populations have dropped in most parts of its historical range.

6. Lion

The Lion is one of four big Cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the Tiger. Lions are usually found in Africa and Asia only. The male Lions seldom live longer than ten years as fights with rivals (other Male Lions) occasionally cause injuries. They typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they may take to bush and forest. Lions are unusually social compared to other cats. A pride of lions consists of related females and offspring and a small number of adult males. Groups of female lions typically hunt together, preying mostly on large ungulates. The lion is an apex and keystone predator, although they will scavenge if the opportunity arises. While lions do not typically hunt humans selectively, in rare cases some have been known to become man-eaters and seek human prey. Visually, the male lion is highly distinctive and is easily recognized by its mane. The lion, particularly the face of the male, is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture. Lions are known to attack and kill large preys. Lionesses do the majority of the hunting for their pride, being smaller, swifter and more agile than the males, and unencumbered by the heavy and conspicuous mane, which causes overheating during exertion. They act as a co-ordinated group in order to stalk and bring down the prey successfully.

A pride of Lioness are known to even bring down even an out-of-group Elephant. However, if nearby the hunt, males have a tendency to dominate the kill once the Lionesses have succeeded and eaten. They are more likely to share with the cubs than with the lionesses, but rarely share food they have killed by themselves. Smaller prey is eaten at the location of the hunt, thereby being shared among the hunters; when the kill is larger it often is dragged to the pride area. This big Cat, referred as the King of the Jungle is also resembled for greatness.

5. Snow Leopard

The snow leopard (Uncia uncia or Panthera uncia), sometimes known as ounce, is a moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia and the Himalayan region. Snow leopards are smaller than the other big cats but like them, exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 54 kilograms (60 and 120 lb). Body length ranges from 75 to 130 centimetres (30 to 50 in), with a tail of nearly the same length. Snow leopards have long thick fur to keep them warm in the extreme cold conditions, the base colour of which varies from smoky grey to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their body with small spots of the same colour on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tail.

Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold mountainous environment. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their feet are wide, which distributes their weight better for walking on snow, and they have fur on their undersides to increase their traction on steep and unstable surfaces, as well as to assist with minimising heat loss. Snow leopards' tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance. The tails are also very thickly covered with fur which, apart from minimising heat loss, allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep.

Snow leopards are carnivores and actively hunt their prey. However, like all cats, they are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever meat they can find including carrion and domestic livestock. They are capable of killing animals three times their size but will readily take much smaller prey such as hares and birds. The diet of the snow leopard varies across its range and with the time of year, and is dependent on prey availability. Since the availability of the prey is much less in these terrains, the snow leopard needs to be accurate and hunt with maximum efficiency. And Snow Leopard does just that.

In the Himalayas it preys mostly on bharals (Himalayan blue sheep) but in other mountain ranges such as the Karakorum, Tian Shan, and Altai, its main prey consists of Siberian ibex and argali, a type of wild sheep, although this has become rarer in some parts of the snow leopard's range. Other large animals eaten include various types of wild goats and sheep (such as markhors and urials), other goat-like ruminants such as Himalayan tahr and gorals, plus deer, boars, and langur monkeys. Smaller prey consists of marmots, woolly hares, pikas, various rodents , and birds such as the snow cock and chukar. It is not averse to taking domestic livestock, which brings it into direct conflict with humans. Herders will kill snow leopards to prevent them from taking their animals. Snow leopards prefer to ambush prey from above and can leap as far as 14 meters (46 ft). These magnificient animal, very rarely seen, survives happily in these extreme terrain and hence comes at our number 5.

4. Tiger

The largest of the Big Cats, the Tiger is an apex predator and an obligate carnivore. Reaching up to 4 metres (13 ft) in total length and weighing up to 300 kilograms (660 pounds), the larger tiger subspecies are comparable in size to the biggest extinct felids. Aside from their great bulk and power, their most recognizable feature is the pattern of dark vertical stripes that overlays near-white to reddish-orange fur, with lighter underparts. The most numerous tiger subspecies is the Bengal Tiger while the largest subspecies is the Siberian Tiger. Tigers are extremely efficient hunter, mixing their speed, swimming ability, tree-climbing, stealth and power to the devastating effect.

The Golden-Black Stripes of the Tiger makes it the most beautiful of the Big Cats and also the most deceptive in the grass lands. The White Tiger, a subspecies and not an Albino; is pretty rare and extremely beautiful. Although the Tiger is known for its stealth and powerful attack, the Tiger is also known for its Royal life style with don't care attitude. Highly adaptable, Tigers range from the Siberian taiga, to open grasslands, to tropical mangrove swamps. They are territorial and generally solitary animals, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support their prey demands. Excessive Hunting, Poaching and Human advancement along with their habitat destruction has made this greatest of the Big Cats an endangered species. Tigers are perhaps the most recognisable of all the cats (with the possible exception of the Lion).

Tigers have the additional distinction of being the heaviest cats found in the wild. They also have powerfully built legs and shoulders, with the result that they, like lions, have the ability to pull down prey substantially heavier than themselves. However, unlike Lions, the Tigers kills its prey alone. With their superior hunting skills along with their comouflage due to the stripes and their sudden burst of speed Tiger remains among the deadliest of the big cats.

Tigers are essentially solitary and territorial animals. The size of a Tiger's home range mainly depends on prey abundance, and, in the case of male Tigers, on access to females. A Tigress may have a territory of 20 square kilometres while the territories of males are much larger, covering 60–100 km2. The ranges of males tend to overlap those of several females.

The relationships between individuals can be quite complex, and it appears that there is no set "rule" that tigers follow with regards to territorial rights and infringing territories. For instance, although for the most part tigers avoid each other, both male and female tigers have been documented sharing kills. For instance, George Schaller observed a male tiger share a kill with two females and four cubs. Females are often reluctant to let males near their cubs, but Schaller saw that these females made no effort to protect or keep their cubs from the male, suggesting that the male might have been the father of the cubs. In contrast to male lions, male tigers will allow the females and cubs to feed on the kill first. Furthermore, tigers seem to behave relatively amicably when sharing kills, in contrast to lions, which tend to squabble and fight. Unrelated tigers have also been observed feeding on prey together.
Male tigers are generally more intolerant of other males within their territory than females are of other females. For the most part, however, territorial disputes are usually solved by displays of intimidation, rather than outright aggression. Several such incidents have been observed, in which the subordinate tiger yielded defeat by rolling onto its back, showing its belly in a submissive posture.

Once dominance has been established, a male may actually tolerate a subordinate within his range, as long as they do not live in too close quarters. The most violent disputes tend to occur between two males when a female is in oestrus, and may result in the death of one of the males, although this is actually a relatively rare occurrence. To identify his territory, the male marks trees by spraying of urine containing the pheromone.

In the wild, tigers mostly feed on larger and medium sized animals. Sambar, gaur, chital, wild boar, nilgai and both water buffalo and domestic buffalo are the tiger's favored prey in India. Sometimes, they also prey on leopards, pythons, sloth bears and crocodiles. In Siberia the main prey species are manchurian wapiti, wild boar, sika deer, moose, roe deer, and musk deer. In Sumatra Sambar, muntjac, wild boar, and malayan tapir are preyed on. In the former Caspian tiger's range, prey included saiga antelope, camels, caucasian wisent, yak, and wild horses. Like many predators, they are opportunistic and will eat much smaller prey, such as monkeys, peafowls, hares, and fish. Adult elephants are too large to serve as common prey, but conflicts between tigers and elephants do sometimes take place. A case where a tiger killed an adult Indian Rhinoceros has been observed. Young elephant and rhino calves are occasionally taken. Tigers also sometimes prey on domestic animals such as dogs, cows, horses, and donkeys. These individuals are termed cattle-lifters or cattle-killers in contrast to typical game-killers. Old Tigers, or those wounded and rendered incapable of catching their natural prey, have turned into man-eaters; this pattern has recurred frequently across India. An exceptional case is that of the Sundarbans, where healthy tigers prey upon fishermen and villagers in search of forest produce, humans thereby forming a minor part of the Tiger's diet. Researches have shown that the regular flooding in the mangroves and thus washing away the Tiger's territory has made the Tigers of Sunderban much hostile than natural. Tigers will occasionally eat vegetation for dietary fiber, the fruit of the Slow Match Tree being favoured. Unlike the leopard or some of the other wild cats, Tiger owing to its royal life style, never bothers to care for its prey moving extremely close when it is not hungry.

Tigers usually hunt at night. They generally hunt alone and ambush their prey as most other cats do, overpowering them from any angle, using their body size and strength to knock large prey off balance. Even with their great masses, Tigers can reach speeds of about 49-65 kilometres per hour (35-40 miles per hour), although they can only do so in short bursts, since they have relatively little stamina; consequently, Tigers must be relatively close to their prey before they break their cover. Tigers have great leaping ability; horizontal leaps of up to 10 metres have been reported, although leaps of around half this amount are more typical. However, only one in twenty hunts ends in a successful kill. Despite its bulk, Tiger is also known to make astounding vertical leaps. In rare occassions, it is reported that a Tiger has leapt over 5-6 metres (16-20 ft approx.) from ground vertically to catch its prey.

In a poll conducted by Animal Planet, the Tiger was voted the world's favourite animal, narrowly beating the dog. More than 500,000 viewers from 73 countries voted in the poll. Tigers received 21% of the vote, dogs 20%, dolphins 13%, horses 10%, lions 9%, snakes 8%, followed by elephants, chimpanzees, orangutans and whales. Animal behaviourist Candy d'Sa, who worked with Animal Planet on the list, said: "We can relate to the Tiger, as it is fierce and commanding on the outside, but noble and discerning on the inside".

However, excessive poaching and hunting by Human has rendered Tiger to become an endangered species. This magnificient creature needs preservation to survive. Several countries have came up and joined their hand in Save Tiger movements, and subsequently banned all these Hunting and Poaching activities. With the royal Style, extraordinary Gravity, abundant Power and ferocious Attitude; the Tiger remains comfortably as the 4th greatest Killer Cat.

3. Jaguar

The ultimate all-rounder of the big cats, the Jaguar is devilishly stealth, extremely swift, exceptionally good swimmer and equally great tree climber. The Jaguar is the third-largest feline after the Tiger and the Lion, and the largest and most powerful feline in the Western Hemisphere. The Jaguar's present range extends from Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. This spotted cat most closely resembles the leopard physically, although it is usually larger and of sturdier build and its behavioral and habitat characteristics are closer to those of the Tiger. While dense rainforest is its preferred habitat, the Jaguar will range across a variety of forested and open terrain. It is strongly associated with the presence of water and is notable, along with the tiger, as a feline that enjoys swimming. The Jaguar is a largely solitary, stalk-and-ambush predator, and is opportunistic in prey selection. It is also an apex and keystone predator, playing an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating the populations of prey species. The Jaguar has developed an exceptionally powerful bite, even relative to the other big cats. This allows it to pierce the shells of armoured reptiles and to employ an unusual killing method: it bites directly through the skull of prey between the ears to deliver a fatal blow to the brain.

The Jaguar is a compact and well-muscled animal. There are significant variations in size: weights are normally in the range of 56–96 kilograms (124–211 lb). Larger males have been recorded at 159 kilograms (350 lb) (roughly matching a tigress or lioness), and smaller ones have extremely low weights of 36 kilograms (80 lb). Females are typically 10–20% smaller than males. The length of the cat varies from 1.62–1.83 meters (5.3–6 ft), and its tail may add a further 75 centimeters (30 in). It stands about 67–76 centimeters (27–30 in) tall at the shoulders. A short and stocky limb structure makes the Jaguar adept at climbing, crawling and swimming. The head is robust and the jaw extremely powerful. It has been suggested that the Jaguar has the strongest bite of all felids, and the second strongest of all mammals; this strength is an adaptation that allows the Jaguar to pierce turtle shells. The base coat of the Jaguar is generally a tawny yellow, but can range to reddish-brown and black. The cat is covered in rosettes for camouflage in its jungle habitat. The spots vary over individual coats and between individual Jaguars: rosettes may include one or several dots, and the shape of the dots varies. The spots on the head and neck are generally solid, as are those on the tail, where they may merge to form a band. The underbelly, throat and outer surface of the legs and lower flanks are white. A condition known as melanism occurs in the species. The melanistic form is less common than the spotted form (it occurs at about 6% of the population) of Jaguars. These Melanistic Jaguars are informally known as Black Panther.

While the Jaguar closely resembles the Leopard, it is sturdier and heavier, and the two animals can be distinguished by their rosettes: the rosettes on a Jaguar's coat are larger, fewer in number, usually darker, and have thicker lines and small spots in the middle that the leopard lacks. Jaguars also have rounder heads and shorter, stockier limbs compared to Leopards.

Like most cats, the Jaguar is solitary outside mother-cub groups. Adults generally meet only to court and mate. In some cases Males are found together without fighting. Mating fights between the males occur over a female, but are rare, and aggression avoidance behaviour has been observed in the wild. When it occurs, conflict is typically over territory: a male's range may encompass that of two or three females, and he will not tolerate intrusions by other adult males. The Jaguar is often described as nocturnal, but is more specifically crepuscular (peak activity around dawn and dusk). Both sexes hunt, but males travel farther each day than females, befitting their larger territories. The Jaguar may hunt during the day if game is available and is a relatively energetic feline, spending as much as 50–60% of its time active. The Jaguar's elusive nature and the inaccessibility of much of its preferred habitat make it a difficult animal to sight, let alone study. Like all cats, the Jaguar is an obligate carnivore, feeding only on meat. It is an opportunistic hunter and its diet encompasses 87 species. The Jaguar prefers large prey and will take deer, capybara, tapirs, peccaries, dogs, foxes, and sometimes even anacondas and cayman. However, the cat will eat any small species that can be caught, including frogs, mice, birds, fish, sloths, monkeys, turtles and sometimes even armadillos and pacas. Some Jaguars will also take domestic livestock, including adult cattle and horses, however Jaguars avoid human intimacy.

The Jaguar is a stalk-and-ambush rather than a chase predator. The cat will walk slowly down forest paths, listening for and stalking prey before rushing or ambushing. The Jaguar attacks from cover and usually from a target's blind spot with a quick pounce; the species' ambushing abilities are considered nearly peerless in the animal kingdom by both indigenous people and field researchers, and are probably a product of its role as an apex predator in several different environments. The ambush may include leaping into water after prey, as a Jaguar is quite capable of carrying a large kill while swimming; its strength is such that carcasses as large as a heifer can be hauled up a tree to avoid flood levels.

2. Leopard

The Leopard is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera; the other three being the Tiger, Lion and Jaguar. Having a range over Asia and Africa its numbers are greater than other Panthera species, all of which face more acute conservation concerns. The leopard has relatively short legs and a long body, with a large skull. It resembles the jaguar, although it is smaller and of slighter build. Its fur is marked with rosettes which lack internal spots, unlike those of the jaguar. Leopards that are melanistic, either completely black or very dark, are one of the big cats known as black panthers. The master of Tree Climbing and Stealth Attack with devastating ferocity, terrific speed and unmatched agility the Leopard can easily co-exist with the larger predators competing for the prey. They typically face the competition from the Tigers in Asia and the Lions in Africa. This is one of the reason Leopards try to kill its prey at the slightest of the opportunities seen, even if it is not hungry; as many times it has to desert its kill due to arrival of a larger Cat. The species' success in the wild owes in part to its opportunistic hunting behaviour, its adaptability to habitats and its ability to move at up to approximately 58 kilometres (36 miles) an hour. The Leopard consumes virtually any animal it can hunt down and catch. Its preferred habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains. Its ecological role is similar to the American Puma.

The leopard is an agile and stealthy predator. Although smaller than the other members of the Panthera genus, the leopard is still able to take large prey given a massive skull that well utilizes powerful jaw muscles. Its body is comparatively long for a cat and its legs are short with the Tail being about half the size of the body. Males are about 30% larger than females,[17] weighing 37 to 91 kg (82 to 200 lb) compared to 28 to 60 kg (62 to 130 lb) for females. The larger-bodied populations of leopard are generally found in areas isolated from competing large predators, especially from dominant big cats like Lions and Tigers. Leopards may sometimes be confused with two other large spotted cats, the Cheetah and the Jaguar. However, the patterns of spots in each are different: the Cheetah has simple spots, evenly distributed, the Jaguar has polygonal rosettes of spots, many of which have a central spot, while the Leopard normally has rounder, smaller rosettes without a central spot. The Leopard is larger and much more muscular than the Cheetah, but slightly smaller and more lightly built than the jaguar. The leopard's rosettes are circular in East Africa but tend to be squarer in southern Africa.

A melanistic morph of the leopard occurs, particularly in mountainous areas and rain forests. The black color is heritable and caused by recessive gene loci. (While they are commonly called Black Panthers, the term is not exclusive to Leopards; it also applies to melanistic Jaguars.) Melanistic Leopards are particularly common on the Malayan Peninsula: early reports suggested up to half of all leopards there are black, but a 2007 camera-trap study in Taman Negara National Park found that all specimens were melanistic. The Black colour that works as an extremely efficient comouflage in the Dark and in the Rainforest, doesn't work that good in African Savana.

The Leopard is known for its ability in climbing, and it has been observed resting on tree branches during the day and descending from trees headfirst. It is a powerful swimmer, although, not as strong as some other big cats, such as the Tiger. The Leopard is also very agile, and can run at over 58 km/h (36 mph), leap over six metres and jump up to three metres vertically. The leopard is primarily a nocturnal creature, and many of its operations are done by night. However, there have been recorded instances of leopards hunting during the light, especially when the sky is overcast. It spends much of its day resting and sleeping, up in the branches of trees, underneath rocks or in the grass.

Leopards are opportunistic hunters. Although mid-sized animals are preferred, the leopard will eat anything from 20 gm dung beetles to 900 kg (1,984 lb) male giant elands. Their diet consists mostly of ungulates and monkeys, but rodents, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish are also eaten. In Africa, mid-sized antelopes provide a majority of the leopard's prey, especially impala and Thomson's gazelles. In Asia the leopard preys on deer such as chitals and muntjacs as well as various Asian antelopes and Ibex. Prey preference estimates in southern India showed that the most favoured prey of the leopard was the chital. The Leopard stalks its prey silently and at the last minute pounces on its prey and strangles its throat with a quick bite. Leopards often hide their kills in dense vegetation or take them up trees, and are capable of carrying animals up to three times their own weight this way. The Leopard is also the only Big Cat that can carry its prey up into a tree.

Because of their wide habitat range, Leopards must compete for food and safety with other large predators such as Lions, Tigers, spotted Hyenas and both African and Asiatic wild Dogs. These competitors may steal the Leopard's kill or devour its young. A single Lion or Tiger is capable of killing an adult Leopard. Leopards have adapted to live alongside these other predators by hunting at different times of the day, and by avoiding areas frequented by them. In search of safety, the Leopard will often stash its young or a recent kill high up in a tree. Lions are occasionally successful in climbing trees and fetching Leopard kills. Although Tigers are much more royal in their manners, if motivated, an adult Tiger might also scale up a tree to acquire food. Leopards avoid intimating human the most, however they tend to be the most ferocious when there is no other choice. Because they can subsist on small prey and are less dependent on large prey, leopards are less likely to turn to man-eating than either lions or tigers. However, leopards might be attracted to human settlements by livestock or pets, especially dogs, and they may resort to the eating of humans should conditions demand it, and no other food is available.

1. Domestic Cat

Surprised ??? Don't be ... The cute looking cuddly harmless creature have a superb split personality and easily converts itself into the greatest Killer Cat in a blink of an eye. All the previously mentioned variations of Cats fight for their survival, hunt for their existence, attack each-other to show their authority; but our House Cat need not do anything of that sort in general. They need not learn hunting as they live on provided food or scraps. They love being contented with the food they get without problem. Then the big question is, how come they learn to hunt other animals ????? A house cat in its life time on an average kills over 10000 animals and insects from over 200 major different species. It kills any animal it can, upto around its own size. And the funny fact is most of the time it doesn't eat them. House Cats don't need to kill for its food ... So, why ???? Why does it kill, when it really doesn't need to ???? The answer is, the Cat kills mainly for Fun ..... It loves to kill ... It loves to play with its prey - a deadly life and death game ..... And then if need be, eat them in turn .... The Cat simply enjoys killing ...

The Cat, also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felines and felids, is a small carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and its ability to hunt vermin and household pests. It has been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years and is currently the most popular pet in the world. A skilled predator, the Cat is known to hunt over 1,000 species for food. It can be trained to obey simple commands. Individual cats have also been known to learn on their own to manipulate simple mechanisms, such as doorknobs and toilet handles. Cats use a variety of vocalizations and types of body language for communication, including meowing, purring, "trilling", hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking, and grunting. Until recently the Cat was commonly believed to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt, where it was a cult animal. However, in 2004, the earliest known location of cat domestication was discovered to be ancient Cyprus, and a subsequent study in 2007 found that the lines of descent of all house cats probably run through as few as five self-domesticating African Wildcats circa 8000 BC, in the Near East.

Cats have excellent night vision and can function at only one-sixth the light level required for human vision. Cats have excellent hearing and can detect an extremely broad range of frequencies. They can hear higher-pitched sounds than either dogs or humans, detecting frequencies from 55 Hz up to 79 kHz, a range of about 7 octaves; while humans can only hear from 31 Hz up to 18 kHz, and dogs hear from 67 Hz to 44 kHz, which are both ranges of about 6 octaves. Cats do not use this ability to hear ultrasound for communication but it is probably important in hunting, since many species of rodents make ultrasonic calls. Cats' hearing is also extremely sensitive and is among the best of any mammal, being most sensitive in the range of 500 Hz to 32 kHz. This sensitivity is further enhanced by the cat's large movable outer ears (their pinnae), which both amplify sounds and help a cat sense the direction from which a noise is coming from. Cats have an acute sense of smell, which is due in part to well-developed modification to their nasal system. To aid with navigation and sensation, cats have dozens of movable vibrissae (whiskers) over their body, especially their face. These provide information on the location of objects in the dark, both by touching objects directly and by sensing air currents; they also trigger protective blink reflexes to protect the eyes from damage. Finally these modification aids to a Cat's normal tendency of Killing, which is its natural instinct.

A Domestic Cat can survive the dangers of the forest with its survival skills even if it has never seen one before, but other Domestic animals, such as Dogs can never do that. The hunting in these Cats are natural ... It runs through their veins and although they remain the cutest domestic pet, their pedigree lies under their very skin .... With this tremendous natural talent for killing, our House Cat becomes the Ultimate Killer Cat .....

Those Cats are really cute & cuddly !!!

Satadru Roy