Sachin the virtuoso Tendulkar

This post was long due, a tribute to the man, who still gets me in frenzy about cricket. More than 100 times he has composed the lyrics, sang the tune with his rhythmic flow of bat and provided the spectacle unmatched and unparalleled in its beauty in any sports arena. The swift movement of legs and a gentle glance towards the on-side, those down the track moves and a nonchalant bottom hand lift of the bat, the ball flying over the bowler’s head and the bowler looking back in awe, wondering how to respond to this genius, with a quiet return to his bowling mark or a well deserved bow of head.

He has woven magic over and again. On mention of his name, my heart has swelled with pride, never needed a reason or an occasion, every day, in and out for the past two decades simply because he is an Indian. He has been a figure constant in the ever evolving world, he has been a name associated with my life since my year of birth. 1989. Yes, the year when this humble fan was born, fortunately sharing it with the debut of the figure that would in coming years be revered as God.

When I think about cricket for last 21 years, and cricket has been my first love in sports forever, not a moment, not a picture comes to my mind which is not shared by the genius. A punch in the air after each of the five wickets against the mighty Australians in Cochin or the blizzard of two centuries that he brought to get India, the Sharjah cup in 1998, these are not mere calendar events. These are emotions that bring you the nostalgia of the time when a man would jump and make you jump with him. For whom the country of a billion hearts pray together, the man can’t be just a sportsperson. He is a phenomenon to have inscribed in three generation of Indian life. One lucky person happens to be me.

The 200* in ODI was not just a stats for record book. It was an experience of life time. The whispers among friends in classes to update with the score, those unexplained exclamations and jubilations which caught the teacher’s attention, and then the sudden rush to watch it happening, on the television. This feeling followed by a search of the nearest TV set, those friendly pushes in the crowd to be able to get a glance of the 21 inch screen and in it the giant figure of a tiny man. To bear the heat and crowd, yet cheering out loud with every gesture of the man, and those profuse use of obscenities if any opposition fielder as much as looked back to the genius in his eyes.

Win or loss will never matter after sometime, no one would bother if we were in the finals of the 2003 world cup, but the memories which will last with me are those blatant strokes of indignity that sent many bowlers wondering if they really deserved the shame. That enterprising pull against Andrew Caddick, which sent the leather way past the ground, those upper cuts and drives against the speedster Shoaib Akhtar which ruined his reputation. Those more than 600 runs in that world cup fest, each and every one of those will stay in memory, for those are not mere statistics, those are the experiences attached with this sport.

The legend has not stopped, the story has only reached its climax, and the end has just begun. Only if someone could defy the mortality of human body, this man deserves to get that grace. Not for the sports, not for his team, but for the billions, whose hearts throb and miss a beat with every ups and downs of this man’s fantasy world and with every win and his defeat. A salute to the mammoth that is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who was born to play a humble sport of bat and ball and take it to the ranks of divine, in the country where religion and caste are the basic fundamentals of his identity.

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Mixed Curry

Since I own this place, I thought I may as well use it once in a while. Now there’s nothing interesting happening in social sphere, apart from the here and there good news and terrific news (I tend to ignore the bad one’s. Too upsetting for my taste.), I looked around the political sphere. Quite surprisingly there are no notable events in that domain too. Apart from the usual corruption charges on the men in power (oh, its always the power which corrupts), there haven’t been juicy scandals or sensational political statements to talk about. Have the political leaders decided to mind their conduct in this holy month of Ramadan? Must be, I guess. The sports arena is also quiet. Sachin’s scoring as usual in cricket and there is always a debacle around the corner like the one against New Zealand. And as usual all other sports are suffering, a bit extreme this time around with the non-existence of Hockey Federation of India or whatever that was called.

Ah ! There’s one event worth talking about, the movie – Inception. What movie, boss. All I can pray is that no Bollywood actor/director/producer (there stays no distiction between them of late with actor becoming director, some producer becoming actor and all actors becoming producer), so I was praying that no actor and all others, who have the authority to copy a movie, tries to make a Bollywood remake of this movie. I would kill him. Now then you can have an original story to make a movie into. A deranged fan of a foreign movie kills the indigenous actor/director/producer, alleging the deceased that he was involved in defacing the work of art, the greatest art of probably this generation.

Umm, so this is basically what these times are all about, nothing out of ordinary. Hopefully that 15th of August is near, there would be a rush in patriotic feelings, some politician would also get jingoistic(Stay wary Pakistan! ), and ofcourse as nothing lasts forever, this feeling will wear away with time (a bit sooner in this case), and if not, will definitely shrink in proportion, that people showing their love for motherland will get a bit more concerned about their states, language and culture and hunt anyone down who would wander by on their pastures looking for more greenery. Isn’t it so, Mr. Shiv Sena? But that later, for now, I will find that dose of patriotic drug from nearby store. To those who are monetarily concerned, just take ample amount that lasts at most 20 minutes between flag hoisting and anthem singing, you can get back to your usual corrupt methods later.
Thank you and …umm…Jai Hind. (Flavour of the season isn’t it ?)

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Life of a Police man

Having witnessed the deaths of the CRPF cadets against Maoist once and again over the last few months, every person feel for Police force who risk their lives in the line of duty. All of us have vehemently criticised the government for their plight. Also NHRC has suffered our wrath for not representing the CRPF cadets and only cribbing about the injustice done on the dead bodies of Maoists and other terrorists. Rightly so!
Glad we can express these feelings. However this post will give you a couple of instances where our voices have failed us and those unnoticed instances and nuances that have deterred our police once and always.

1. Batla house encounter case-
This can be taken as a classic example when our national politics that has been based on “minority” appeasement and vote bank dynamics ensured many hassles for our Police force. Even though in this encounter a Policeman lost his life there were questions on its legitimacy. It was snubbed as a fake encounter even though the results showed that there were arrests made in Gujarat, Mumbai and other places and NHRC (the national watchdog more interested in noting the mistakes of Police than actually worrying about human rights) gave a clean chit.
However this was not enough for our politicians to accept the genuineness of the encounter for it did not comply with their political “manifesto”. Congress man Digvijay Singh, Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh were among the few who were concerned about the “fake” encounter incident.
A report by the media can be found here (1), (2) and (3).

2. The Internal Politics –
There was an incident in 2004, where the Special cell police of Delhi Police went to nab the dacoit who was involved in the shooting of Phoolan Devi. The arrest was made in the dacoit homeland of Jahanabad. To the shock of Special cell members, they had to face the apathy of the local police. The Police chief facing the local politics pressure, did not consent to going in for arrest with his force. This made the task dangerously difficult for the special cell members however after they nabbed him, a call was made to the district chief.
To their surprise they were all over the media thanks to the press conference by Jahanabad police who made claims ro share the credit. This only led to the task being made pretty difficult for they had to escape the media and everyone else’s glare for keeping a safe passage to the capitol. A member of the task team recounts to have got a phone call which challenged them to take the convict out of state. Though rest was smooth sailing. (Based on the accounts of a Special cell police member as told to the author in personal capacity).

3. Media’s bigotry account- Media has once and always been a watchdog against the atrocities of the Police, however they fail to present the unbiased point of view from both the sides. Here is a link in which a national news channel showed how couple of police constables hit a mentally challenged person on a railway station. However we have seen in the past that some of the anti-social elements pose as mentally challenged to have a free access to many places and have committed thefts among other crimes. The video doesn’t explain whether it was medically established that the victim was mentally challenged nor does it tells as to what prompted the police to act in the manner they did. (I am not justifying the inhuman beating but a more detailed report is what is expected than just some visuals from an amateur camera).

4. Pay scale and other hazards of the job- A 24×365 job does require sacrifices from the personnels mentally, physically and from the family as well. A member of the special cell recounts the Delhi bombings in 2005 that he had taken leave from duty to be able to celebrate Diwali with family after much complaints from his wife and sons. However he ended up being at the front line of duty for next month or so.
There have been complaints about the pot bellies of policeman. When we face fitness issues we take to the air conditioned gym in our Nike shoes. Does a meagre pay-scale of a policeman allows him such liberties? I personally hold the opinion that a police station should have an accompanying gym to give them an opportunity.

These are only few points that comes to mind at present, however living a policeman’s life would definitely be more complex than this post.

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Rupee symbol- Will India stay unite on this one ?

India has taken pride in its diversity which is more of a forceful compromise with its fate rather a wilful acceptance for the only time India as a whole came up in the maps when it was forced under British regime, else where it was merely a bunch of kingdoms at the best not bothered about each other and at worse, killing and looting among themselves.

This divide features a number of times right from the moment our boundaries were drawn until when constitution was framed.

1. National Song –
‘Vande Mataram’ was the most likely candidate for the national anthem but for the opposition by Muslim community it couldn’t be selected. Muslims have continuously opposed the selection of Vande Mataram and have refused to sing it. The controversy is because of a stanza in the song which compares India with
Ma Durga to bring out the strength in the nation to be united. It is ironical that this stanza which praises India’s unity made it stand divided.
The other controversy which came up against the national song was much later in 2006 when the centre made it mandatory for students all over India to sing the song. Muslims either stayed away from schools or stayed quiet while the song was sung.

2. National Language-
Hindi was a favourite to be selected as the national language for the vast majority spoke and understood the language. However it drew criticism from several quarters most vociferous of them from Tamil Nadu where protests were as extreme as self immolation. One of the Tamil Nadu leaders went on to suggest that Hindi be taken as a national language but be written in Roman script rather the Devanagiri script.
PS: Its interesting that we use Roman script in all our modern communication, be it sms, email, chat or others to write Hindi.

3. National Anthem-
The song was most widely believed to be composed in the honour of George the V-th and was sung for the first time when he came to India. Thus its appropriateness to be selected as the National Anthem was questioned.

In this scenario, it will be interesting to watch how does the national rupee symbol is selected and if it draws flake from any quarter especially when the most likely symbol to be selected is going to be in Devanagiri script.

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Bash-less Allegations

This seems a season of allegation, Mamta Banerjee alleging the Left to have a hand in the sabotage, for which the Home ministry and every one around is alleging the Naxals. Indian army has decided to make into the daily news even in peace time and has been on forefront in getting involved in allegations , and of course Lalit Modi has a 10000 page thesis, God knows how many allegations he has put up, or wait he is already an accuse on many counts. The greatest allegation of the season has been on God Himself of having sent Adam and Eve away from heaven due to reasons other than the Apple controversy (No not the one which smacked Windows, the one they ate ). So, celebrating this season, here I am panning out some of my own allegations.

1. Naming my first accused- the famed BCCI for not sending the team to Asian Games.
Unlike most of the people, I have no qualms of losing a medal, it was hard to come by any ways, but what pissed me off is that, now the players will be treated as demigods once they have beaten the poor Kiwis in the home series on super turning tracks. Oh, and one more thing which I will miss is all the gossips that would have followed after the debacle in the asian games. Sad day indeed for media!

Accuse 2- The Ambani Brothers -Why on earth did you have to make up? You made so good headlines, now will have to stick to Ekta Kapoor’s series for the dosage of opulent industrialists and their family row- crying mother, fighting sons and all that. Passing note- Heard that Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi got scraped? Sad day indeed for the media, again.

Accuse 3- Arundhati Roy…hmmm have to be careful, dont want Naxals running around my home looking for my head. Heard recently they looted some nice rifles from CRPF!
Madam Roy, I tried reading your book “God of Small Things” but you have cramped way too many complex character name to be able to enjoy (speaking strictly for myself, don’t give me that booker winner shit)! Got inspiration from Illiad, eh ? No doubt your life is always so complex, you fail to understand the basics, like try this one “Naxals are a threat to everyone! ” Never mind she wont understand, but I shall wait for her new novel “Gandhians with Guns” (All right she alleges the media to have framed the word for her, she never said that.)

*Update — I read the book and its one of the greatest I read but doesn’t change my stand on her.*

Accuse 4- Marcus Tulio Tanaka for injuring the great Didier Drogba.
Sad indeed for football fans !

After so many allegations, the risk stays of being slapped with a law suit as it happened in the case of poor facebook-er, however I am sure that my friends will bail me out.

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Leisurely Sunday morning and the newspaper.

The morning started pretty late today, and as usual with the Hindustan Times. The front page covered the tragic plane crash at Mangalore and once again I felt aggrieved but having read all the articles and followed the news the whole of yesterday, there could have been nothing new that the newspaper could report.
So as I looked through other articles, I was overjoyed to see the students from Bihar board scoring more than ninety percentage, for they always suffered at the hands of examiners who for some reason never marked them above 90, the highest until the last year was around eighty-five and thus the students would always be at a loss compared to their peers from other boards.
The editorial consisted of a few good articles with the inimitable Khushwant Singh ruling the roost. His article All in a (Hot) Day’s work provided the best possible start to a day, and the humour on Barack Obama and the Queen was all you can ask for to refresh yourself and thus setting a real good mood to read. Having read the articles by Karan Thapar, Vir Sanghvi and the special guest columnist Carla Bruni Sarkozy, all of which were very refreshing, as I moved from one page to the next, I came across the leisure/listings sections (could not find an internet link) which consisted of the Tarot Power predictions by Ma Prem Ritambhra.
That I am enjoying the luxury of free time, I thought of reading this as well (on other occasions I would prefer a gossip column to predictions). My star sign predictions started thus :
“You tend to think negatively and torture yourself endlessly by imagining the worst about major decisions and changes this week.”
I had to read it again to understand its implications, and thus it caught my interest. I was determined to know, how or what instigated such an accusation on my otherwise joyous and positive pattern of living!
Proceeding further, I found out that I would connect with a special friend this week and celebrate privately. This sounded interesting, but still did not make sense. All I am to do this week is stay indoors, away from heat and read. The only time I would go out would be to the gym but then meeting someone and above all celebrating “privately”, is definitely not on my mind. Also it did not explained the first allegation of negative thinking so I was a bit disappointed.
“You can also get in touch with family and parents as you are sentimental and caring”
Don’t know about the qualities but I am at home because it is vacation.
“You can over analyse situations, confuse yourself and miss opportunities”
Ma Ritambhara would chuckle and point out to this article and say “See ! I told you, analysing a tarot card prediction? common get a life! “, to which I had to respond that madam, it is you who got me to analyse this by pointing out that I am to think negatively and torture myself, for me these are as worse as suicidal tendencies.
However Ma Ritambhara, must have decided to give me a respite and went on to say how I can achieve anything I desire to and that I should consider aiming higher. Thank you ma’m. Your encouragement is noted and well appreciated.
The last line again got me to thinking: “Take time out of your busy schedule for some introspection and alone time”– I wondered whether to sacrifice couple of hours out of the 10 hours I sleep or some other time when I am reading some thing or the other which I consider a luxury of long vacation. May be I will sacrifice the reading time (and ‘analysing’ time) I spent on this tarot card prediction.
PS: My lucky colour is creamy white, hoping some one buy me a vanilla ice-cream.

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Politically Illiterate

While an average Indian family is getting rich, we young life are happily bearing the direct fruits, sipping cola while digging into the variety of flavoured potato chips offered by the multi national corporations, trying our best to get to the next level in some simulation game or practising hard the best warfare techniques in a huge screen supported by PS3, with a look here and again on our touch screen cell phones, waiting for that invitation to the nearest club or discotheque, thus starting a never ending time of revelry, where the spirits soar high as the spirits flow around, shot after shot, cheers to the life so tinsel and happening, dancing on the tracks remixed and refined, getting into a state of trance to relax, rejuvenate and refresh our selves.

Oh so much for ‘work hard and party harder!’

Lets contrast it to a scene a few years back, had we been to our older generation.

We would be sitting probably with a newspaper in hand trying to get the story that refreshes us, occasionally coming across some story that we are bound to be attracted to, considering the importance been put on that issue with every big wigs and who’s who chipping in their own wise opinions. May be we get a phone call from a friend who decides to come over to your house as there is no great hangout place. May be you go to a common refreshment centre serving desi samosas, where there is a communion of people of all ages, some of who are discussing issues of national importance passionately which may disconcert you for a while and you may laugh off, pointing out the ironical position this man is in, sitting in this poor place discussing policies that affect the nation. But may be in that fleeting moment you would have offered your opinion about the issue.

Is that a good picture or a bad picture ?

I want a life of choices, in which if I can, and I will make the most sophisticated choice I want to. I would like a particular kind of dessert, a butterscotch ice cream, with a coating of chocolate, served in a silver plate in a particular AC restaurant which has probably has a table for two and where the crowd is young. I would like to go to this restaurant dressed in a not so funky t-shirt, which probably has a size of xxl, a bit hanging, round necked, and of course with a brand label that is hip, teemed up with a denim boot legged trousers, with incisions at the some place near knees. The footwear also needs to be very specific. After all you dont prefer to play tennis in a foot wear that is supposed to be conducive for running, so how can you go in this particular restaurant in any footwear, so yes, the footwear alsohas to be specific. Trendy watches, funky sunglasses, all these go without saying.

We google for specifics, ‘I’m feeling lucky’, we shop for specifics, we have a diet of specific nature,we have developed a life of specific order. Where is the existence of those flying by issues that affects our society in this life? Do they find a place in our lists of specifics?

No wonder, many of us do not know our President, or other policy makers, who directly affect our life. No wonder we are voiceless on many issues that unfolds in front of us. No wonder, our expert degrees in a specific field leaves us politically and socially  illiterate. No wonder the Indian middle class go unrepresented.