Friday, November 17, 2006 

Poore 30 over

Those who don’t understand the title, it very simply translates as ‘poore tees over’. My cellphone is nearing its 2nd anniversary and so is this phrase on the display of its screen. It is one phrase which changed a lot for me.

Cricket has taught me a great deal in life and I have always tried to draw parallels between cricket and life. But nobody ever taught me cricket. I don’t remember as I must have been 4-5 then when my father would have handed me a plastic bat. He might have taught me how to hold it. But that was it, I had no body to learn it from. Like most kids of my age I learnt cricket through TV. I was never able to get in to a serious cricket coaching where someone could teach me the nitty grties of cricket. I missed studying cricket from someone.

I still remember that six year old who was bullied by some 9-10 year olds for not being able to bowl with a legitimate action. I was a throw bowler. That day and place will forever be in my memory. That was the first time I felt insulted and humiliated.

I was never a prodigy and success to me can never come overnight, that is if at all it comes. I have always had to work hard. I was ready to work hard and clear myself off this tag. Through my school years I was a famous bowler but never made it to the school team. I could never even find courage to ask my mother to let me go and play cricket every Sunday morning for 3-4 hours. That would have been enough to take me to the school team. When I came to IIT I had left studies and parental pressure behind me and it was time to give it everything.

I finally got a chance to play for the IIT Delhi team. IIT gave me the opportunity to play cricket as none other could have. It was a dream, and it had come true. My captain in my second year used to tell us that if we stick out the full quota of overs i.e 30, we were unbeatable. He used to keep shouting ‘poore tees over’ from the edge of his seat from the dressing room. We did win many matches and it really struck me how potent that phrase is. The phrase stuck with me and has always given me inspiration. What it means to me is that if you go the full distance and put everything you got, you will never lose.

It is funny how this phrase never really worked in real life. I wanted to do well in cricket, and wanted to prove it to myself that I can play well. I did satisfy myself. It is the passion within me that helped me. Success breeds on commitment but you need passion to let that commitment make any sense. That is the reason we are not good at everything. It is only the things we are really passionate about that we are able to do well through hard work. That’s why I sometimes feel that all through life there will be situations where letting something go will look like an easier option rather than putting an effort and fighting. Long story short, life is not cricket! So it doesn’t matter how much you try sometimes you will just fail.

As I slowly start to accept the fact that cricket is now fading away from me, at least playing it, I still hope it does not. It beats me sometimes how I became a lover of cricket almost finicky some might say (some actually do say, but I take that as a compliment). But I am proud of that and always will be. It’s just sad that I can’t say that with absolute confidence about myself for life other than cricket.

The other day I heard that famous dialogue from the movie ‘Being Cyrus’ – ‘once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in to the same box’. It was a really good one. None much better though than one of my own a couple of days back – ‘I wish life was cricket, I would have done so much better’
P.S. – ‘Ye sab behen di taki beer da kasoor hai’ hehe no no I don’t drink. I do make jokes and sarcastic comments. And ofcourse I hate alcohol, but lets leave it for some other time.

Monday, November 06, 2006 

It’s Just a Game
- Keith Miller (1946-56)

The last week at office was probably the fastest. I was so amazed to realize one morning that it was Thursday already and the next two days were no different. Work is starting to come to a steady state and both of us have made our peace with each other. It’s the life outside the office which is becoming a TV serial to say the least. The drama I have come across over the last couple of weeks or so has been disconcerting and the reason I call it a TV serial is because fortunately I have to only look at it from a distance.

We take many decisions in life, some instantaneous and some with a lot of thought. But are we always sure that we have made the right choice? In fact what hurts one most is to realize later in time that the decision was not a good one. This is one aspect about life that I am very wary of. I am not afraid of making wrong decisions; they are bound to happen. I am afraid of repenting having made bad decisions. More often than not when we look back at time we feel so stupid about having cribbed about that little toy car in the store that mom didn’t get you, or having lost sleep over not having done your homework or having had to a go through an informal channel of politics to be a student representative. And most of all making enemies at various points in life for reasons that have no consequence in our life now. We see at the years gone by and feel stupid about ourselves, laughing at those crazy demands, fights and even ideologies.

Not me. I believe one person can never be able to understand thoroughly what another person feels, and this is how I guess it is meant to be. I believe with every passing second in our lives we become more intelligent, more experienced and posses more knowledge than we had the previous second, and with all this knowledge we become a different person. Our perspective is by all means a function of time if not anything else and it can never be the same. Therefore what we feel now about those issues of yesteryear is understandable, because we have stopped understanding the person we were in that yesteryear. I think this is unfair to that person who made all those choices based on whatever he knew about the world at that time. That person did not have the wisdom we have now.

I think all the animosity, ideologies and grievances of the early times are invaluable for me. Those are the parameters that have molded me as a person at various points in my life and I am proud of it. Whenever I have taken a fight (although these have been rare occasions) with someone it has been on a point of principle. That point may lose its value later in life but at some time it was important and had to be done. I have come to think about all this whenever I have had the chance to look back. My biggest memory would be the tear in my eye and almost choking feeling upon winning a cricket tournament in IIT. The fact that it took five years to win it made me emotional at that time, but I will always respect that emotion because I know at that time it was the biggest achievement for me.
Its all good for Keith Miller (who was an exemplary all-rounder for Australia, for the benefit of those who may not have heard of him) to say “its just a game” because he had been a soldier in the Australian air force in the II WW and had seen blood shed on the battle field, no wonder the cricket field was a garden for him. But that’s not the point, when you are in there it is war, and you have to play it like it is war. I would never love to hear, that cricket is just a game. It is what I am made of. It’s not just a game, it is everything.

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