Monday, March 20, 2006 

Square Cut

honestly the point of writing blogs for me is really to have people read them, i really don't intend it as a diary entry, the problem is that i don't know how people will read it. i have tried putting my blog address as my yahoo messenger status, but i dont think that has made a difference. Anyways i also like writing what i do and sso here i put something again. third year in IIT was forgettable for many reasons, nothing and almost nothing went well for me personally as well as for people i was with. be it my cricket team both the IIT and the karakoram teams which lost all their matches in their respective tournaments, be it elections and poltu where i personally had a very bad time aur be it the time at the end of the session when i took up my industrial training in the beautiful wilderness of Roha in maharashtra. sometimes i feel like going back their to check if such a place actualy existed or was it just a big dream. i made a great bonding with all my friends in this year though and that still stands to be the most important thing to take from that year. i realised then that i have a huge bunch of people around me who would care to listen to mu stupid jokes and laugh on them, but square cut is about what made me call myself collectively with my friends...'losers'. the term losers gives you an instant sense of satisfaction that you cant be worse so whatever you do you will improve and that was more or less the motto. when nothing seems to be going right you assume at times that nothing in future will. the first in the series was my inter iit. I was then the vice captain of the iit team and had been very happy about it. we went to mumbai for that years inter iit and it just never went our way, i had a bad inter iit, not that i have had great figures in inter iit's but this one was specially bad. at other times i have bowled tightly and taken early wickets but thic was really bad. nothing clicked and we got kicked out losing all our league matches. and then the run continued in the inter hostel as we lost our league matches there as well. cricket seemed like slipping away from me and motivating myself for another year looked difficult. then came poltu, after some bad experiences the previous year i was very cautious in making my judgements this time. i dont know whether i made a good decision or not, but what i was happy about was that i did what i always thought i should do and i would thank sindhu sameer for making me realise that, it a long story of personal relations i will delve into some time later, but i always thought that my decision should not be affected by the heat of the moment, i was happy that it wasnt'. then came the issue of contesting election for gsec, again we were sitting in a losing alliance and most of it was clear, i was asked to contest for the BSW gsec at the very last moment, i remember using words like over my dead body or something but i did it and that will always remain one of my biggest failures as an individual. thankfully i lost the election and did not have to carry the burden. infact some might say i came out as a shaheed fighting a lost battle:P...but thats not funny also. then came the big one...Unichem laborartories at Roha in maharshtra the place where i was supposed to do my training. i had not felt the magnanimity of the situation till the day i landed in roha, it all seemed like a fun trip to a far plave with nice scenaries and landscapes. well there was surely no dearth of that it still remains to be the most beautiful place i have ever been ahead of nainital, dharamshala and only a few others i have been to. but lonliness is quite a pain. i realised there how important everyone is in my life, my father my mother even my sister with whom i used fight a lot, occasionaly but very crudely. my friends and most of all my cricket. the trip started with me accompanying shivek to the mumbai office of the company where we found out that we'd be getting a stipend of Rs2500 which was great since we came expecting nothing. but as we went to roha i had lost all contact with the modern world it seemed. thankfully since the place was in maharshtra food was not a problem for me as much as it was to shivek initially. ifact the food in the company was too good and i would still love to eat in that mess sometime. but when we went to the office it was lonely, there was no one to guide me no body to talk to, and most of all no work. i had to invent work, i used to take a trip to all the different plants and try to follow the process. that was over in the first week, what about the remaining 2 months:((. o had absolutely nothing to do, there was only one guy my boss( i am not sure if he was my boss but i used to sit in his office) he was very nice man and i will always remember him. he was hard working and very dedicated and always tried to make me feel at home. i used to sneak into his room to check my mail and chat with friends and when he used to come back he would sit quietly on the other chair till i was done. towards the end of my training he also gave me some intersting things to do which i could finally show in my presentation. roha was a very small place with no internet at all. it didn't even have classic milds. i started with gold flake there:P. and since i was alone for most part of the day i smoked a lot at that time. another parameter that would make you understand the lonliness of the place was the fact that i read a complete novel in roha something i still havent done in my life. 18th july was the date that kept ringing inmy mind through out, and the day came and i was free. so happy i was that day that it can be one of the 5 happiest moments of my life. it was like coming out of a prison. the year was filled with such instances which made me believe that it was not possible that something would go my way, it was one of those times, the important lesson that year told me and specially roha was that nothing is too big. if you have a problem face it and it will go, time heels everything your effort has to be your best the rest will take care of itself and if it doesn't then try again. the day i came out of roha i told myself that now i can do anything patience is one of my assests now i believe. hard work maybe not so much hehe:P

Sunday, March 12, 2006 

Well this is my first blog so don’t think I would quite get the hang of it right away. I hope there are few people who do read my blog and post comments because after all that is more or less the whole purpose. So where do we go from here. Let me start with the engaging tale of the dawn of my karakoram cricket team. What could anyways be more apt for me to talk about but cricket. Those images of karakoram batting making a joke of itself have made great impact to me and to come out of it has been a journey worth living.

So we go to 2001, I was a great cricket enthusiast and till then my contribution in the hostel through participation was negligible. I used to be there all the time but never had the chance to represent, apart from a slick narrators role in the ever famous facha skit which sparked great enthu in my batch. So there I was at the nets bowling at alien batsmen and enjoying. Come the eve of the match slot P strikes and I get the first blow of t, I was not included in the 14 selected to play vindy. But I still sat there on the ground hoping someone would want to rest for a while and I would get a chance to take the field. Didn’t happen. Then for the next match I got a place in the playing eleven. It was the most miserable and embarrassing start to a good enough stint. I fell first ball and went in the history books as the fifth of amit gupta’s 6 bunnies. Amit gupta had taken 6 wickets in six balls and we had our heads hanging in shame. Ara rode over us and chased a good enough target of 141 with ease. It all started from that day and I always wanted to take 6 wickets in an over to make my revenge. Well that didn’t happen but I have no regrets on that.

For the nest 2 years kara gave shameful batting performances one after the other and completed a string of ending last among 7 hostels for 4 years. The last match against nil in my third year gave me some strength as kara fought hard trying to dismiss nil for 54 to enter the second round and had them reeling at 9 for 5 but a certain Mr. Khushu spoild our party and took nil to victory. I took five wickets in the match and ended a disappointing year in cricket both for the hostel and the institute. With me was rajat who had now seen 2 years of finishing last. Though we had had a consoling victory over ara in the previous year but could not qualify for the next round. Defeat had become inevitable, I had a horrendous year in sports then, my goalkeeping studdapa is no secret but anyways I would not elaborate. Lets just say kara lost to nil 5-0.:P

Come 2005, we had a an average inter iit, and I personally had a bad one. As of me not much had changed but a lot else had changed. Three names that changed the whole outlook of kara cricket for the next two years came into the team. These were roushan singh, nikhil bansal and rounak bhandari. While roushan is an experienced high level player the other two were very much like any of us having played gulli mohalla but their performances seemed much better. With a great mix of experience and fuchas( I wont call them youth hehe) kara set out to do the unthinkable……. Victory! Our first match was against vindy where roushan singh on his debut took 5 wickets and we wrapped them up for 92. and I thought that we have made a good start, but it wasn’t gonna be easy. We lost a lot of wickets and it was down to 34 runs from 8 overs with 4 wickets in hand. Duda and me were at the crease. We took the innings to within 7 runs when duda got out and then when 3 were required I got out. We barely scampered through winning by 2 wickets with 2 balls to spare. But we won and did the unthinkable. The second match was against nil. We batted first and slumped again this time to a poor 43 for 7 in the 12 over or so. But a gutsy inning by utpal jain and the partnership between him and me saw us get upto 121. we defended well but not well enough. We lost the match in the last over by 4 wickets or something. But it was a good fight and good things were sure to come.

Then came the match of our times. Karakoram vs. kumaon this match will be discussed amongst cricketers for as long as kara and kumaon play cricket. Well maybe not that long but it was some match. 26th January 2005 it was kara and kumaon playing a virtual quarter final against each other. Kara had a bad start with the unavailability of Balaji our terror fast bowler. I think kumaon won the toss that day( they must have if I had gone for the toss) and elected to bat.

the very first ball we had a chance of winning the match when a run out chance on gopal went a begging, and after that gopal just tore the attack apart. that innings to me is the most delightful any opponent has ever played, i was virtually clapping my hands everytime the ball went to the boundary, i have seen only one more person play a knock like this, it was just around the corner. i had a sore index finger in that game from an injury that i had had against nilgiri while fielding, towards the end we pulled kumaon back from a huge total ,gopal skied on in the air and i took tha catch conscious all the time about the finger, i do remember actually applauding gopal for that inning as he was leaving. as the inning ended kumaon got 165 in 25 overs a target many thought was beyond us including me.

during the lunch break i started feeling sick, i had some temperature and was coughing non stop. i remember our lunch had not arrived and our kumaon counterparts in great sense of sportsman spirit and a touch of arrogance about the 165 offered us thier food, well i ate it because i thought if we have to lose i'll be a good loser. the inning started with the normal dismisal of manna cheaply. what happened next was a treat of every cricket lover in iit delhi. roushan singh came out at 3 and played the most brilliant innings that i have witnessed in my 5 years of cricket in this institute. he showed no sign of pressure or tension and played with impeccable control and finesse, he didi not concede a single chance. supported on the other end by farshad bahmed who got 33 in a partenership of 96 runs. farshad's dismissal however meant that we only had one recognised batsman. as i walked in next i didnt know if i was ready to take up the challenge, but i had a few runs under my belt in the previous matches so i went in and just rotated the strike. roushan made 84 unbelievable runs and we won with 3 balls to spare, a victoy clinched from the jaws of the early celebrations of kumaon. samir srivastava till date has no clue as to how they lost that match.

karakoram cricket life was never to be the same since that day, we won the semi final easily against shivalik, but lost the finals to ara very closely. but that certainly wasn't the end of the road.

defeat is an integral part of victory and defeat makes the victory every bit sweeter. there has not been any sporting team aur player who hasnt suffered defeat, its how you take it and work to your advantage that makes you a better player.

-shreyas dhamdhere 13th march 2006

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