The man who knew Infinity.

Finally, You had to call it off. An illustrious career spanning 23 years. Long journey,  and you’re tired. Aren’t you? Yeah, I can understand. It had taken a toll on only your body but not on your mind. You still crave to come to the center when India opens to play, have a glance at the field set, drive the ball by a front-foot punch, glimpse of MRF logo on your bat, ball through the rope and we’d be blessed with an insane joy.

No Sachin, Every boundary for us isn’t the same for us. Neither is every century.

463 matches. 452 innings. 18,426 runs. 44.83 average. 86.14 Strike rate. 49 centuries. 96 half-centuries. 62 Man of the match awards. 16 Man of the series awards. 154 Wickets. One life-time. You just got close to infinity with those number. You knew the ‘Infinity’.

When you had made your choice to quit, I had to just give a thought on how this fascination for your game had started. Instead I was stumped to discover the coincidence of events. It wasn’t just fascination for ‘your’ game but it was ‘the’ game. Yes Sachin , it was about the ‘connect’ you had created. How I, for that fact, majority of people around me, connect to a sport called ‘Cricket’ in this country.

Late 90’s. I was learning this ‘Art of reading the scores and analyzing how they affect the events in a cricket match’ when a match is telecasted live on Doordarshan for I had to attend to my Dad’s occasional calls from his workplace and update him with the score. And then he asked me if you were at the crease or not. But why were you so important? I was clueless.

Had to make my course of learning about the game much insightful to assess that ‘Importance’ of yours. What does a ‘Century’ exactly mean? What does a ‘Maiden over’ mean? What’s the difference in a Pace bowling and Spin bowling? What’s a straight drive? What’s a sweep shot? And who the hell is this ‘Night watchman’ in a test match? Does he guard the venue of the match over-night? Silly. But you see, it all started off with you. For you.

Sharjah. 1998. 143 against the Aussies. I didn’t see the match for I wasn’t much acquainted with the schedule of matches back then. I could see a big picture of you on the front page of a newspaper. Never seen a sportsperson on a front page before. I understood you were something momentous in the game.

World Cup 1999. 140 against the Kenyans. I was told that your father had passed away 1 or 2 days prior to that match by the commentator when you lifted your bat for longer than usual to celebrate the hundred. But you still made it. Some sense prevailed in me. Later knew it was called ‘Respect’.

World Cup 2003. 98 against Pakistan. Missed a century? Huh, That innings was more than 10 centuries from you. That upper cut off Akthar’s ball in the second over of the match. I might forget my first crush at school. But not that shot! And not that moment I switched off the television after you got out in the finals. They are etched deep in my memory.

Gwalior. 2009. Double century against the Proteas. A fine weekday afternoon. I remember, I was about to board the train for my journey back to home from college. You just crossed your century, like as many times before, and I had left to the station with my friends. SMS’s were exchanged with your score updates. They were getting more and more frequent by your innings. Heck! No SMS’s. It was a live commentary on the call by few friends when you were in 190’s. And you made it. Such a delightful moment! And I had not caught a glimpse of that live.

I remember I didn’t sleep much that night in that journey. Couldn’t resist to go back home and see that moment you had reached the glorious mark. And I do remember buying every newspaper available in the station the train had halted in the very next morning. That was a minor redemption for the longing I had to see how it happened.

Yes Sachin, You gave me memories. Memories to cherish.

I don’t have much knowledge about the technicalities involved  in the course of play, the joy of watching you at the center and the audience erupt to celebrate each big shot of yours was immense. But what was more enchanting is your endurance in the game. 23 years it had been. Marodona to Messi. Sampras to Federer. You still take a go into the field.

You were, and still, an undemonstrative champion. You could do nothing to sully the innocence or dampen the impish bliss. Fame couldn’t take even the slightest toll on your game. To occupy the space where fame and achievement intersect, is to take a concentrated spot under a magnifying glass trained under the sun, and remain unburnt. You had maintained the equilibrium. Spick and span.

sachin

Like I said earlier, A typical set of question I had heard growing up was like (to put it in my own mother-tongue) “Score entha?” (What’s the score?) , “Sachin unnada?” (Sachin at the crease?).

Didn’t understand why the second question was of such spontaneity and how did it matter. Until I was old enough to understand the faith you had instilled in us by being there at the crease. Did I say ‘Faith’? Oh yeah! When there’s faith, we believe. When there’s belief, it can give way to a religion. And one who had blessed us with the faith. Huh! Sachin, you know we don’t call you ‘God’ for no reason.

And of course, there are people who write you down. Lara or Ponting might be the better contemporaries for them. They just measure you by the mere numbers. But they never knew what it takes to play in the middle when there is one-sixth of this world’s population with their hopes pinned on you. Each behaves as if you owe them a century. The demands are insoluble. No, not even Bradman is experienced in that.

Your centuries were a not auspicious for some time. They weren’t that lucky, it seems. You had got out on 175, leaving the team 12 runs and 10 balls short off the massive target of 351. No, the team couldn’t win it. And they blamed you for not staying till the very end. Never mind, they’d say the same even when you score a triple century in that match. Little did they know that there are ten other guys in the team. On a brighter side, if I were to rephrase their intentions, for them, you are a one-man team.

The problem is everyone got the suggestions pouring in for you. And for the game. Start a match, you have people as audience. End a match on losing note, you have the same passing suggestions as if they were BCCI’s aspiring selection committee chairmen.

And Yes, there are people who pick up numbers from last 10 or 20 innings of the career of some greats and show that they are above par with your last few innings. And hence, deciding that you can walk off the ground. They don’t have sufficient vision to see the breadth of your career.

You didn’t fare well as a captain of the team, a decade ago. You were barricading the inflow of new talent into the team with your position, it seems. Whose place are you obstructing? The same people who had grown up watching you in the game. The same people who had brought the bat into their hands and scored runs, aspiring to fit in your shoes. You failed to inspire a team as a captain? You had inspired a billion. A generation. Inspiration never dies.

There was one article on one popular Indian magazine about a week ago, which had decided that it was your time to leave and further analyzed your prospective replacements with few players. And I was ROFL. Whose replacement are they talking about?!

For all that you had done and set, you had more than earned the right to take a call on when you want to quit. No one ever has the least of prerogative to decide that. What if you are not contributing much for the game now? You aren’t just able to match the very own standards set by you. Time had taken the toll ultimately, not before you had made it stand frozen in front of you for a long while.

Hockey didn’t define Dhyan Chand. It was the other way round. Same with you. For me, you’ve been bigger than the game itself. Period.

And there you leave us with a little note that you wouldn’t be donning that blue number ’10’ jersey again. That’ll hurt us. And we know it does more to you. You didn’t let us know that the ODI way back in March against Pakistan was your last. Sachin, this hurt us even more. I’m glad that you didn’t call off from all formats. There is the classic test cricket left. We do understand that wouldn’t last long with you *Secretly hopes you’ll prove us wrong*. Please don’t let us down again by not telling what’d be your last. Please.

I wouldn’t say I’d quit watching one-days from now. You had retreated in gradual fashion off this game, which I must be very much thankful. Gave some time, not enough though, to sync with it. But the game isn’t gonna be the same without you. I’ll miss the chants in the stadium. I’ll miss your exquisite shots. I’ll miss the roars of audience when you score a century. I’ll miss you.

It’s been a privilege growing up watching you play. Thank you, Sachin.

P.S. ‘The man who knew infinity’ is actually the title of biography of the renowned Indian mathematician, Sreenivasa Ramanujan. 

Rockstar, It wasn’t just about music.

Our mainstream cinemas always stayed good. Make us feel good. Asking us to follow a path that this society rates to be good.

But you know what? All the shining idealism showcased on the screen is just the distant dream that many secretly desire for. The characters go from rags to riches, falling in love to the so-called ‘Happily ever after’ before the end credits start rolling. ‘Aal izz well’, That is what must be fitted to the climax. And it is, Always.

All-in-all, any script or character stays adhered to the norms set by this society, a place where you would be rewarded for staying in its order and punished for a regress of the set line. They say we had turned more civilized and the society is developing, or in other words, it is only that we mend ourselves to stay in the line and turn complacent.

When you talk about such complexities on the screen, it is easy to identify these with love stories. They had highly deviated from a story where the man had given up his dream girl as in ‘Devdas’ to a pursuit of generating a parental consent as in DDLJ. Million more tales of Love, and the audience never care to get bored with them. I always feel amazed at this phenomenon what drives them to spare few hours, and if possible, few tears, for these love stories.

A scene where protagonists sees each other to fall head over heels with each other in love, Love-at-first-sight, few friends and riveting circumstances that drive the story through a twisted path, a heroic effort to set everything perfect and few savior moments to the couple’s rescue and stay ‘Happily-ever-after’.  Voila! There you have, a ‘Wanted’ Love story.

Walk out of the screen, and you’ll meet the ever raging ‘Realism’. There are no super heroes. No ‘Universe-to-conspire’ moments. A reality that you are used to, where you struggle against to meet the standards of society which instill a ‘Respect’ with your name.

It takes a great deal of expertise to execute a script that will ditch this idealistic shows, yet make the audience settle in a convincing fashion and Imtiaz Ali pulled it out perfectly. And he named it ‘Rockstar’,  a film that Indian cinema screen definitely missed in ages.

Janardhan.  The name might sound boring, so does he feel. He’s comfortably cocooned in the nest of his family until he thinks something was wrong with himself as there was nothing that went wrong with him! He was just a ‘Halka aadmi’ as his mentor calls him. ‘Pain’ was a stranger entity to him.

Jordan, as rechristened by his lady-love Heer, is inarticulate in expressing himself with anything but only through music. He joins Heer, who wants to have her last blast of merry life before she gets her knot tied,  flying down to Prague and gives up his audition he is in due with Platinum records and here he was in Kashmir. With the girl with whom liked to spend his time with.

He’s in Kashmir when he is supposed chase his dreams of turning to a ‘Rockstar’. He’s in Prague reviving the old happy moments the couple shared as friends when he is actually there for the recordings. And he was at her house breaching all the security, just to bid her a goodbye when he is due to fly back to India that night. It’s about being where he isn’t supposed to be, doing what he isn’t supposed to. The forbidden.

He never had his intentions settled and that’s how the screenplay of the movie. The scenes oscillated on critical random points after unveiling as a jigsaw puzzle until Heer surrenders to him at Prague,  The flow simply complemented the mind-set of the protagonist. Wonderfully done.

The beauty of Jordan is his free-flowing thought. He wasn’t able to jam into someone else’s composition (Sheher). He candidly admits he couldn’t understand the sense of Shehnai or classical music with an iconic veteran. He felt that was rigid and structured. Perhaps, that’s how an artist can put up his case of why he had chosen his art.

Image

He never wanted the system or the rules to mess with his pursuit to get his woman. The moment when he breaks into her house and that’s where he set his motive against the rules he is supposed to adhere with. A point where his muse for music turns into the passion as a ‘Rockstar’.

Yes, ‘Rockstar’ was always about the freedom. About the choice. It wasn’t about the clichés like drugs, booze or sex as most of them perceive it. The rock music was a rage against the system, the society. His angst grew day by day. He was just standing there and singing to escape from his pain. Sadly, his emotions no longer private. He screamed through his art. Music. He had earned all the fame in the world, yet drenched in loneliness. Only to remain craving for one woman who he wished was there with him. That only meant he was searching for something that’s long-lost and there’s nothing more ironic in this world than a man chasing something that was long gone.

“Mein galath hoon toh phir kaun sahi?” 

There were no savior moments for him. There was a chance when he was with Heer when she was back at home for her treatment from her mysterious illness. The cause wasn’t a mystery. She was infected by Jordan’s presence in her life. Being with him seemed to be cure, at least we were made to believe that. But I’m glad Imtiaz Ali decided to pull the plug here. The cure was beyond the touches. She had to depart out of this world ultimately, leaving Jordan in solitude. He was left with nothing but his music.

The most interesting thing is how story had been woven to make us feel that Jordan arrives at the position which he desired to be at according to his revelations in the beginning of the story without seeming to take his steps intentionally because he wanted to be there. He just make us feel that he was there when he had lost. Lost in god when he was at the Nizamuddin dargah. Lost in love when he was told by Heer that she doesn’t want to see him anymore in her life.

He felt amused while sharing the fact with his friends that Jim Morrison was able to show up the finger. He too did it later. But not because he dreamed to do it. He was pushed into the circumstances that had ultimately landed him at what he had aspired. What he had dreamed. But the only inspiration stood to be his pain and separation set by the society. His transformation had been complete, only being aware of why he is there, but not how he made it there.

Ranbir Kapoor’s lifetime performance, Imtiaz Ali’s masterful story-teller abilities, Mohit Chauhan’s powerful vocals, Irshad Kamil’s sagacious lyrics, Anil Mehta’s wonderful cinematography and many other talents worked behind the screen to churn out this compelling soulful rock opera.

You only get chances to judge the actor by what award he received. Not the other way. On an exceptional note, Ranbir enabled you to do that not just for this time, but again through ‘Barfee’. Go, judge them.

Yes, I’m totally aware that I missed out the legendary music composer’s name in that list. Who could be a better choice for a film which is screaming for the best of music right in its title, other than Rahman? I can’t praise him enough to justify the fact that this album is on my top-played songs list till date. It will remain forever. Atleast ‘Kun Faaya Kun’, for I do not know what does even a single word mean but had got that element of divinity instilled on me just through music. Religions never count when you start to appreciate art.

Rarely do you come across a film where the songs form an indispensable part of the story. When every lyric makes sense. Why did we lose this habit of listening to the lyric and soaking in the meaning when they can explain how the characters felt and the rationale behind them? And the placements of the songs were as meaningful as the placement of words in the lyrics. They can make a film to purely seem to be a poetry in motion.

On other note, I just can’t give up appreciating the kind of pattern Imtiaz Ali had displayed over his last 3 movies. It was about the point where the lead couple realizes the love for each other. It strikes just before when the girl is about to get married in ‘Jab We Met’. Right after she gets married in ‘Love Aaj Kal’. And here, it happens about two years after she had been married. Not sure if he had deliberately followed this outline throughout his movies, but that’s just brilliant!

In the end, It all sums up to merely to just one ordinary line that had been told post two third of the movie, “Main Sirf Tere Saath Hi Set Hoon, Yaar.” This is how Imtiaz Ali can swiftly trickle down a million emotions in a compelling  fashion.

Thank you for making this film and I’m glad someone had the guts to showcase the ambiguity that prevailed for a fim-maker. In other words, he did show his finger to this system.

Mann bole ke ras mein jeenay ka harjaana duniya dushman
Sab begaana inhe aag lagaana
Mann bole mann bole, mann se jeena ya marr jaana..

The Cinemas that savaged me.

Watching a flop film is different from watching disasters. Flops give you a feeling ‘Why the hell did I watch this film!’ ,when disasters make you repent ‘Why the hell am I living!’. Here I list out those latter versions. In any case if you like a film mentioned in this list, I’m afraid of your psychological state. Get well soon!

On other note, I make it clear that I don’t tend to make sarcasm of greatness of film making, but I  seriously make fun of these films which brought disgrace to the word of ‘Cinema’.

Dare to watch!
Dare to watch!

Subhash Chandra Bose (Telugu) – A tale of a photographer who was a freedom fighter in his previous life. Please don’t ask me how he recollects his past life, You would ask if the director (This was his 101th film) – ‘Are you nuts?’ .  An ultimate calamity on the screen. Watching it at a remote area in non-AC DTS theater in the mid of summer, it is quite an achievement that I’m still alive.

Khatarnak (Telugu) – A milestone of a film from RaviTeja! Went to this film with friends in the evening to beat our hectic day after preparing a project report in class XII. Our bad, the day worsened further. Utter meaningless movie. And I must tell you these epic lyrics from the last song of the film..

“Doma kudithe chicken guinea , Prema kudithe sukham guinea!” That was one hell of a lyric. ROFL!

Komaram Puli (Telugu) – Being a Pawan’s fan , didn’t make any delay to get harassed  at the theater ( Watched this at sharp 9AM on Day 1). Could assess the torture I was to bear with just 15 minutes into the film when Pawan did few super human stunts. A third degree torture!

Andhrawala (Telugu) – Aah! Can’t forget this one! Went out to watch this one a ‘Happy New Year’ day. Ironically, the ‘Happy’ part got robbed away by close-to-a-quintal weighing Jr NTR . Watching him don the role of a father was a disastrous surprise. And Chakrisinging all the six songs in the film, I hope you feel the pain in my ears.

Blue (Hindi) – My fate was so bad that I bought the tickets in black. Sharks and Star-cast doesn’t make a film. It’s the story that counts. I still wonder what makes this most expensive Indian Cinema. And for God’s sake, Sanjay Dutt must stop doing duets. Please.

Pyaar Impossible (Hindi) – Dekhne ke liye bhi ‘Impossible’.  Uday Chopra in a ‘Geek’ look – That tells it all. A wild African monkey on National Geographic channel looks much better than this ape-faced actor.

Sainikudu (Telugu) – Saving lives of people held in a rainstorm with the help of plastic water bottles? And the heroine loves the villain, instead of the hero. Gods must be crazy!  A film that gave me headache for the first time in my life! I still have no clue of why Irrfan Khan chose to debut in telugu through this legendary film.

On an interesting note, this was the third on a row in Mahesh-GunaSekhar combo. Both started with a super hit of Athadu, delivered an average fare with Arjun and aggravated with this film. Wonders happen!

Palnati Brahma Naidu (Telugu) – Do I need to introduce you to BalaKrishna’s heroics? A train being sent away in reverse when he slaps his thigh. Yeah, Watched this at theater, which is a definitely bigger stunt in comparison to what he did on-screen. Isn’t it?

8×10 Tasveer  (Hindi) – Day 1 at the theater. Hero possesses the power to see through one’s vision at the time of clicking a particular picture. I wish I had the same power to estimate the agony of watching the film through the ticket in my hand. My bad, I’m not Akshay Kumar.

Panchakshari (Telugu) – 1st Day,1st Show. And I’m doomed to the core. The various tamil dubbed Ammoru-based  films you come across on the TV are much better than this dud. And this gives me one good reason to kill my friends who made me book the tickets a day in advance. Screw you guys!

Maro Charitra (Telugu) – One more film from Varun Sandesh and I’m going to declare World war III. No idea of why the makers intend to remake the all time classic with two morons in the lead. The heroine resembles a human version of the aliens in Avatar. Terrible!

Varudu (Telugu) – Again a Day 1 affair. The publicity gimmick of not revealing the heroine’s looks until the actual release was the greatest trick of telugu cinema so far. I was held between choosing which is worse – the heroine or the film?

If you wonder where this *Hot Chick* heroine is from, just have a look at the Switzerland episode of ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’. You can spot her in Minishha Lamba’s friend’s gang.

Tees Maar Khan (Hindi) – Never thought winning Oscar was such easy till I watched this film. Akshay Kumar & Katrina Kaif at their dumbest best. Now, I demand an Oscar for Farah Khan too!

Anaganaga O Dheerudu (Telugu) – Siddharth as a warrior prince, sorry, a blind warrior prince who can lead the way through the mountains for the ones who had clear sight. Argh! The best thing about this flick was it got over in just 2 hours. I’m saved!

Saleem (Telugu) – A masterpiece that could explain the film making aspirants of how a film should not be made. Tagline of the film – ‘Dhummu leputaadu’ , kaani aa dhummu mana kallallo padutundani oohinchalekapoyanu.

Luck (Hindi) – Consider yourself  Lucky if haven’t seen this flick. The hero is alive after facing bullets into his chest as he was so lucky to have his heart to the right side of his chest. I thought ‘Luck’ had limits all this while.

Aisha (Hindi) – Sonam Kapoor isn’t a cupid. She is the biggest stupid. Completely hopeless film!

Drona (Telugu) – A gang of villains kidnap kids to train them in a far away island on how to rob banks. Cheap! And I’m a lunatic to travel 80 km to and fro along with 20 of my friends to witness this mind-boggler. Absolute facepalm!

Hope I had taken you through a list of memorable movies. And do tell me any movies of this genre that you might had come across, so that I’ll be safe and do not attempt any life-threatening risks in future.

P.S : None of Hollywood films found a place here as I’m very much selective on those. Considering that I haven’t seen even the best ones like ‘The Dark Knight’ yet, watching the worst is evidently impossible with me.

Learn from the game we love!

“Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” – Red to Andy Dufresne in the classic ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, 1994.

‘Heads’ was the call of Sri Lankan Skipper , but we kept our ‘Heads’ throughout the game and held high at the last.

We started their final hunt with a hope. It was profound in our fielding at the early power-play phase of the game, making one suspect if Kirsten injected any of those South-African genes into our players. Zaheer was un-hittable by the Lankan openers , banishing the fretful memories of the 1st over that he bowled to Gilchrist at the other occasion when we made it to the same stage. A fine century of a Sri Lankan batsman, only to be driven to vain with two 90’s from our side, one was stern and easily the cornerstone of the innings, while the other being masterful towards the end.

In case ,your brain is still in the buffering mode to get which match I’m talking about, let me be pleased to ask you this question, ‘Seriously, Which planet do you hail from?‘ .

Already a lot said about the Glory , let me share my perception upon the country’s RELIGIOUS festival.

A night of illimatable delight.

A night of illimatable delight. Midnight. April 2nd 2011.The scenes on major roads of India had to be seen to be believed. Men and women, old and young, inebriated and sober, on vehicles and on foot - all bound by one fact and one only: They had discovered the Indian in them. Have you ever seen the tri-color flag fluttering across every corner of the country on such a massive note held high with pride in the post-Independence period? They were all soaked in pride and glory, something many would die for.

A score of 275 wasn’t really a great threat considering the fire power of our batting, even when Sehwag departed off the very second ball of the innings but fear gripped onto millions for this ,

6.1 Malinga to Tendulkar, OUT, The ball that silenced a billion.

But as I talked earlier the ‘Hope‘ emulated in me by the way we fielded and later strengthened by watching Rajinikanth in the stands 😛 -> the result was a ‘Celebration’. Yes, when Cricket happen to be the religion, World Champion status would mean a one-way executive class ticket to paradise. So lets look upon the takeaways of this spectacular achievement.

->Sachin Tendulkar : I say HOW? 37 years , 6th World Cup , and you still manage to figure in top 3 run scorer’s of the tourney. Boost is not clearly the secret of your energy. We waited 28 years along with you for this moment. What if you had not scored runs in the finals, you had the date with the destiny and you kept it. Inspiring the ‘Player of Tournament’ to win the World Cup, apart for a billion, for yourself. Yeah, now I can convince more people why you are called the GOD.

GOD.

GOD.

All those who want Bharat Ratna for Sachin, he already earned more respect and honour from people than what that award can envisage upon him , Let it come naturally rather than asking for. (No disrespect to the highest Civilian award). Learn from the master, the modesty and humbleness, besides how to be an ‘Inspiration’ for generations.

->MS Dhoni : First, A name which India doesn’t even know when we were thrashed at the same stage 8 years ago, now leading the entire side! Second, Tell me how many guts one must have to come up the order leaving behind a player who has got four MoM’s in the tourney. That too highest of his score being just 34 so far in entire event . And this man doesn’t thwart. A Man of the Match in the WC finals, that is a LEADER. Mr.Captain, I’m in awe with your cool quotient and innovation in the decision making! Ask me what was so special in that final knock? He didn’t even lift his bat or realize that he completed a half-ton, coz he knows that there is much gigantic task ahead. Look at his eyes when he hits *THAT* six. They speak volumes about what he is made up of. His famous Hindi comments at a press conference, in fact, sum up his calm interior: “Pressure lena nahin hai, dena hai!

April 2nd 2011 - 10:50 PM. *THAT* six!

April 2nd 2011 - 10:50 PM. *THAT* six!

There was a comment from a satire website on Twitter while the world cup final was happening which said: “All the politicians in Wankhede, please note, that’s what a leader looks like” #Dhoni. Though the comment is from a satire website the truth is not far away from that. The country needs to learn from Dhoni’s example, not just the politicians but every single citizen of this country. Learn the leadership,the Cool attitude and more importantly,taking the responsibility for your actions.

Tears from a MAN are always precious.

Tears from a MAN are always precious.

->Yuvraj Singh : Brought back into the team with strong back-up from Dhoni after being let down in most of India’s games last year, He was the Talisman of the team. Saying that he won the World Cup for Sachin,  he went on to become the ‘Player of Tournament’ . Let it be the final roar he makes down the pitch when he hunts the Kangaroos or the emotional outburst in tears after the finals, he was someone special. In a recent TOI interaction he says, “When I wake up in the morning for next 4 years, I always start the day in taking the pride that I was part of a World Champion team”. Sure,you deserve that dude!

Learn to raise to the situation and deliver,being a game changer and of course, how to get ‘Inspired’ from GOD!

->India-Pak Semis at Mohali : I suspect cricket was just invented just for the encounter of these two teams. A final clash, of course, would had taken up  the exponent much higher. Anyone who is there claiming the match was fixed, let me  take the privilege to get your brains fixed.   Pak were deprived  of their prime seamers  on betting charges, but still made it big at game. Let me not forget Wahab Riaz miracle  spell, especially his Yorker to Yuvraj. For me, that was ball of the WC 2011.And the maturity of Afridi, or for that matter even Sangakkara, speaking at post-match ceremony was   truly dignified,up with grace.

Learn how to show courage and dignity in defeat.

Guru ‘Gary’ role is indispensable in shaping the Champs.Also a silent toast to all other greats of the team who were part of raising the team to the summit,even though they are past and not the part – Saurav,Dravid,Laxman,Srinath and many more.All respect to Murali, for this match had marked the exit of the spin wizard from international arena.And the master mind,chief psychologist of our team,Mike Horn,who made their minds tune to the words “My will to win is much greater than the fear of loss”.

->RajiniKanth : Yeah, apart from GOD at crease, we had another GOD at the stands ,wearing the team’s blue jersey. “Anhoni ko honi karde, honi ko anhoni,ek jagah jab jama ho teeno…RAJNI,GAJNI AUR DHONI” read a tweet. Seriously,He is doing no good to stop the never-ending inane rajni jokes by helping India win like this. We played a fair game against Lankan captain fooling at the toss, we didn’t make use of ICC rules that even the spectators can be used to replace the fielders and get Rajni onto the field.In that case, The scoreboard would read, SriLanka 0/10 and every batsmen dismissal  – [ c Rajnikanth(sub)  b xyz ] Heh! Learn, wait a second, got the talent to learn from him? Already Vodafone 3G zoozoo’s had learnt a lot from him.

LoL!

LoL!

An image continues to flash in my mind, a person in the crowd holds a slogan : “We are waiting since 28 years” and the camera shows Sachin walking into the center. Goosebumps, do you feel them? And Rahman’s ‘Vande Mataram’ in the background and World Cup with Men in blue. Sheer poetry. A hope was kept and persevered.

The memories.In my possesion :)

The memories.In my possession 🙂

A few generations later, I can silently reminisce with pride and nostalgia that I was there, with my team, while they made me and my country proud.Thank you Team India.

“Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Andy Dufresne, in reply to Red. From, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, 1994.

P.S : If you like this post , You may find this video interesting too.A must watch.

 

 

An Australian Sunset

An epic meets its end. Indians overpower Aussies outfit to erase the name ‘Australia’ off the records in the Semis phase of the WC 2011.A well executed Indian innings with three half centuries and the concluding stand of Yuvraj-Raina withstanding the pressure, pulled the result in the favor of a cricket fanatic nation. We now stand at the verge of new frontiers for ourselves , a triumph which can place the cricketers just next to the Gods. But all this hope raises from the ashes that we burnt – ‘Australia’.

It had been 12 years since they won their first World cup of the Hat-trick. 12 years of dominance. 12 years of grandeur. 12 years of defining what is the style in which a Champion team plays. The era of invincibility which was marked by habit of terminating  a test match just within 3 days to sign off with a win , numerous white washes , sending a chill through the spine of the opponents by their own style of taking charge of the play. Records like 16 successive wins in tests (Not once but twice!) and 21 for ODI’s, back-to-back Champions of the Champion’s trophy, Numero Uno  at the rankings for a decade just add to the testimony of the era. The unmatched caliber and dedication of the team to the sport of cricket gave a new dimension to the word of ‘Dominate’ or ‘Attack’ in the cricketing circuits.

The last 3 World Cups showcased the ultimate supremacy you would ever come across by a team. Every final ended as mere one-sided match. I still remember when Gilchrist and McGrath sent out clear indications of whose hands are gonna be on the Cup in their very first over’s of the innings when i glued to the TV for the first time ever with thousands of prayers at my heart. Gilchrist going on all cylinders firing on the other occasion at the Caribbean isles is still in the nightmares for the Lankans. No country has ever matched the feat even in the FIFA World Cup. Since Steve Waugh’s men began the dynasty in 1999, the football title has changed hands four times: from France to Brazil, then Italy and now Spain. Winning one world tournament is exceedingly difficult, let alone three in succession.

There were few equally great failures as well to strike off them, the loss of Border-Gavaskar trophy ,the Ashes on home soil, the T20 finals against the English, only to make their return a more offensive on the contesting teams. And I must agree, India and England played a dominant role in making them look vulnerable during the period.

The fairy tale was scripted with likes of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer, Jason Gillespie, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds and the man who stood for the team as the leader, taking the cue from Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting – the only survivor from where it all started. The expertise of these men made the side a connoisseur of modern cricket. Batting, Bowling or Fielding – They were the indomitable genre. Only two options were left for the competitors – ‘Inspire or Envy’. In the course of time , they had fallen from the summit , only as if to complement the departure of these heroes.

Ricky Ponting , a captain who is not universally loved but that is what makes him a cricketer. Only motivation behind his cricket was a logical one – Win. From the context of Quarter finals , he is a tragic hero. Lost much of his form since last 18 months, but delivered when it really mattered for his team, not with commanding stroke play like the one in WC2003 finals, but masterful nonetheless. Played late, watched the ball to come over and worked it into the gaps. The man who was at the at heart of their World Cup dominance made the strongest fight.  But at the end it was futile attempt in his last World Cup innings. Apart from his personal imbalanced image, the game he played was an inspiring tribute for his team, standing just next to Sachin in many records of the game and the greatest Australian batsmen since Bradman. Even the way he fields at the covers at this age of 36 is highly remarkable. When asked if he was a tragic hero at the post match press conference , he replied “I honestly don’t know how to answer that, I’m a tragic hero? I don’t feel much of a hero at the moment, I must admit.”  He is now free from the shackles. Free from expectations of winning the next Ashes or fourth consecutive World Cup. And the time arrived where he must step down to make way for the next-gen in order to retain dignity without inhaling the drug of leadership.

A line goes to say – ‘The image of bleeding Brett Lee – He dived in vain on the ropes to prevent a Yuvraj boundary – convey the sort of night it was for the Aussies’. Yeah, that was how they love the game and accomplished the greatness. (When the match reached the climax, there was a background score for this team running through my head for few moments, the same as the one that comes when the Návi tribe is attacked by humans in the film Avatar, making me forget which team am I exactly rooting for! ) Despite the result of the match, Ricky and Lee emerged to be the heroes.

Why am I so much in praise of this yellow outfit? When I look back, My interest in following the game was accompanied by their uprise, Growing up along with their magnificence at the ground. Witnessed their spectacular legacy in every rise and fall. I surely had not seen the golden ages of the Windies in the early 70’s and 80’s as they describe so, but I had given a thought maybe it was just like this. Sledging was part of their game, only to enrich the quality of victory of the opponents when they had the final laugh in a match. May be it had spanned just a little more than a decade, but they defined me what is the style to play it to be acclaimed as a ‘Champion’. When you come across such dictatorship at the field, you definitely lose interest to follow their matches at some point of time because they are not our home side to cheer up for. Same happened with me, and now when they make an early exit from where they stood invincible, It sounded a bit harsh to evoke an empathy towards them. While I’m no one in the picture and had got this feeling, I can understand the emotions behind Ponting’s devastation, emotions of every other cricketer who made the era possible and thousands of fans back home who witnessed the days of glory. But I can say one thing for sure, the Aussies were not overtaken in the race, they just applied their brakes inevitably when their heroes left. And this tempted the opponents to accelerate . All I can now do is wait and see as who reaches the benchmarks set by these legends. Ofcourse, I love to see my own country achieve that.

The sun shone bright but it has to set. The mighty Aussies too, relinquish their hold on World Cricket. It all started with a World Cup and ends with a World Cup. Perhaps, It was a poetic representation of time that things come in a full circle. Take a Bow, Mates!

 

Indian Origin?No,Thanks!

Sunita Williams, when set out into the space in the Expedition 14 and 15, was hailed as the embodiment of what Indian women can achieve, or, Indian-Origin, if you please. Only catch, Sunita Williams was not born in India.

Bobby Jindal’s election as the Governor of Louisiana State, was celebrated more in the Indian media than in the US media. Again, yet another ‘Indian-Origin’ individual shines in a land away from India.

These are just two famous examples of  ‘Indian-Origin’ achievements which are hailed and celebrated by Indians.

My questions:

  • Why? Why bring in the country of origin into picture when in most cases, the person in question knows as much about India as our Indian Government knows about proper governance?
  • Why take credit, or try to nudge in that pseudo-nationalism into someone else’s achievements?
  • Why behave like a small country desperate for attention? Which I believe we are, definitely not small by any means, but desperate for attention, a screaming yes.

This mentality amuses me a lot. We are a country of billion plus, with intelligence levels ranging from intellectuals like Manmohan Singh to caricatures like Raj Thackarey, and we still do not leave a chance to take borrowed credit! I am sure this small country mentality is here to stay for a long time, and will only fuel in more pseudo-nationalism.

We are such shallow minded people that we do not wait a second before claiming the person is of ‘Indian-Origin’, but have problems  accepting Sonia Gandhi as an Indian. Irony.

I have only one question to all those people sending scrappy email forwards about ’30% of NASA employees are Indians, 25% of Doctors in USA are Indians’. 100% of ISRO employees are Indians. 100% of Doctors in India are Indians. 100% of Engineers in India are Indians. WTF did they achieve?

This led me to think, what if other countries take credit for Indian-nationals achievements?

> Japan: Erm, how about they taking credit for Saina Nehwal’s ranking? She uses a Yonex, after all!

>Pakistan: LK Advani, Manmohan Singh among many others were born in Pakistan.

>England: Ok, this is a serious one. The Indian Railways. The Railway’s total route length as of today is approximately 64,000 km, out of which approximately 53,000 km was built by the British Raj before 1947.

>Finland/Sweden: They can collectively take credit for most, if not all, of the phone calls made in India. Nokia is the market leader in mobile telephony, and Ericsson provides the equipment to BSNL.

>Russia: I’d preferably call Indian Navy as Russian Navy.

And most importantly,

>China: Huh! ‘Made in China’- You know the value of that tag better than i can explain over here.

It is lame and stupid to take credit for others achievements! It’s like saying the guy who used to sit on my bench is now the college topper, and it’s because of me. I know its a lame point, but basically you get the drift, right?

So the next time anybody of ‘India Origin’ gets thrashed down under, or wins the Nobel, or an Oscar,Just let it be.If you figure out that there is something worth to derive an inspiration from their achievements , look upon the way in which they excelled in the field.