Sunday, March 25, 2007 

Lost Cause

So the dream is over. India lost to Sri Lanka and that really puts them back on the plane to India. But I think it’s a difficult time for the Indian players and I wish I could do something to bring some respite to the butchering they are going through.

Indian team failed a million hopes and there is huge disappointment and dejection. But anger is not something I feel. I think the team made the one big mistake against Bangladesh and were caught on the wrong foot. Sri Lanka was always going to be tough. But there is nobody ho should be blamed for the defeat. Sure enough someone has to take the responsibility and Dravid rightly took the responsibility for the poor show. But this is not to say that there was something lacking with Dravid, its not that someone else could necessarily have produced a different result. Even the team selection was never a worry apart from the inclusion of Sehwag. But he had the support of the Captain and provided some support to his captain in return as well. India played tow good practice games and there was nothing wrong till then.

But TV channels as expected are going after the players and ofcourse the coach. People are questioning his process. I even heard an aajtak reporter say that what was the coach thinking playing khokho and kabbaddi in practice sessions. Such idiots who have probably touched a cricket ball equal to the number of hundreds greg chappel would have made. But suddenly everyone knows what’s wrong with the team. The fact that Greg Chappel is a failure can not be overlooked, but to question what he was doing not the way out.

I might not be able to put down my thoughts on this issue in a structured manner right now, but sure enough I still support the Indian team. I will stay up tonight to see if Bermuda can surprise Bangladesh and India can sneak in.

There was an interesting comment in the paper that said we expect our team to beat everyone, we end up losing to Bangladesh and this difference in expectation and reality is making our cricket suffer. As I tried to analyse some of the previous world cups I realized that in 1983 nobody expected India to win the cup, not many put their money on Australia to win in 1987 in the subcontinent. I don’t think even Pakistan would have thought they had any chance after losing to India and bowled out for 74 against England in 1992. Sri Lanka were clearly not the favourites to win in 1996 and again in 1999 Australia had their backs to the wall and had put the burden of expectations in the trash and just went out and won. Sadly something like that can never happen with India.

Even I hope India wins almost everytime they play, but I know like most of the crickets that have ever played the game that defeat is as much a part of the game as victory. So if you lose one you look forward to winning the next one.


Thursday, March 22, 2007 

Group of Death

The world cup is on and there is very little else I can think of these days. Not to mention India losing to its neighbours has really set the nrr meter running. Cricket is the flavour of the day and nobody can escape it. As an Indian supporter you obviously want them to win but lately there is so much happening behind the scene that put victory and defeat out of perspective.

There was an interesting article by Sambit Bal editor of Cricinfo that I was reading yesterday. It really puts many things in to perspective. I have never been a cynic always suspecting match fixing problems in cricket. I still believe the game is much cleaner than it is shown to be. However, the vast infiltration of money in to the game is something that worries me now. I believe the game is always the biggest and nothing can be above it nor players, nor ICC nobody. Money however is getting ahead of the game now.

Matches are being scheduled in a way so as to generate maximum revenues, television rights are being sold to TV channels who offer maximum money irrespective of the quality of coverage they can provide and the ability of these channels to maintain the tempo this once in four years event deserves. Its absolutely a disgrace to see a half naked women sitting with cricket experts having no idea of whats going on, and add to the that the commercials of tv serials between overs such as durgesh nandini, ghar ki bahu ki aisi ki taisi and what not. What one wants to see is the world record sixes the Indian team hit recently in highlights. Setmax has brought nothing but shame and it is killing enthusiasm in young kids who like their game.

Cricket has created a violent following which is fed by the Indian cynicism and compounded by our inherent belief that we know better than the Indian captain. People bringing down a young man’s house because he got out for 0 is an inhuman behaviour. Sure when Indian people praise the team even that touches a certain barbaric proportions.

The major worry is that this bubble of money is expansing and there is only one end to it that it will explode. Such high expectations, pressure, nerves is adding a different angle to the game which is not part of the games’ natural evolution. Sure the game needs to be bettered constantly new rules should be brought in to make it interesting. But the ‘new rules’ should not be a back door to generating more money. The players are surely getting a lot of money, but I believe that every cricket is still in the game because he loves the game and he’d be still playing it if were getting a tenth of what he is getting now. The money is being pocketed by advertisers, bookies and administrators.

Such pressure of expectations should not result in countrywide demonstrations, burning of effigies, discussions in the parliament and stupid news channels running senseless misleading programs such as ‘match ke mujrim’. Criticism has its place in every sphere and it is necessary to have a different opinion. But it should not create a situation where players are playing for their lives.

Sambit Bal ends his article with two very beautiful lines as he remarks – ‘Greg Chappell was slapped on the back by a man in Bhubaneswar seeking his fifteen seconds of fame. He was obliged. It could get worse. Someone could get killed. Perhaps someone has already been killed.’


Monday, March 12, 2007 

Calculated Risk

They say you get the most out of something when you expect the least. Well it came true for me last weekend as I had rocker time with ninety one others from my office at Hrishikesh. I have been to Hrishikesh once before when I was five. This one was absolutely different. This was going to be a three day party and so it was.

We started with a late night bus journey which ended in the early hours of the morning. I have often failed to understand what many people mean when they describe the air as ‘crisp’. But at 8am in the morning surrounded by the beautiful Shivalik hills I kind of got the idea. Exhausted from a sleepless night in the bus I got no rest as we staright away got on the road to go for rafting.

Rafting is an amazing experience, not scary (or certainly not the one we did) and very very fun. I jumped out in the water and I thought that even the water was crisp. It tasted better than bisleri and was chilled like no other. It was really relaxing lying in the Ganges. Then came the most absolute fun part of the whole trip for me. It was worth going to Hrishikesh already. I did the cliff jump. I know everyone must have done it by now. But that was one emotion I had never really experienced before, fear. Standing on the edge of a clip and talking about jumping of it sounded foolish to me. But I did it, and once again after that. Mind you there were three golden words that helped me through as I screamed “Jai Kara Ki” and both my feet had left contact with surface. Three seconds later I landed in water. The feeling that I actually jumped from the cliff was a huge rush and immensely satisfying. Ofcourse I was helped by the fact that a girl had done the jump just before me so I didn’t have much choice than jump did I?

We came back to our hotel, finally had some rest. By the time it was night it was alcohol time. But to entertain everyone there was some artistic contributions form various people. People sang songs from ‘do dil mil rahe hain’ to kishore kumar general hits. And then I was called to sing in front of this crowd. I had had I had the perfect audience for it. The song goes like ‘patli kamar chikna badan’. Everyone just loved it and I was glad that I could raise the tempo of the evening. Then I also sang another song amidst “requests” ;). The next one was up there as well ‘me aayi hu UP Bihar lootne’. I got loads of compliments and advise to be the agla idol.

The next day was slightly less inspiring. Although I did manage to graze my skin across rough rocks and pebbles while rock climbing. But beach volleyball, a game of kabbaddi made it an all round enjoyment day. That night was to be our last night of our retreat and so we danced. Imagine 90 odd people shaking a hip in absolute enjoyment. I had seen such a thing for the very first time. I normally don’t dance among a group of unknown people. But the songs were good and I jumped in as well.

I like dancing but strictly as an expression of my happiness. It was probably the first time when I was dancing with a lot of women around. But the best part was that nobody bothered. The point was that everyone was letting the hair loose as they say. Although at the end of the day dancing with women around is slightly restrictive, you know what I mean. But you can’t keep the restriction if the DJ puts on ‘sapne me milti hai’. That is one of the songs which calls for the “maa kasam dance”. I really missed the days of absolute dancing in the hostel with all the guys. Nothing can beat that!

As I was packing my bags to board the bus to leave for Hrishikesh the only thing on my mind was the call I had with the client which I had to rush and attend and then leave for Hrishikesh. On our way back to Gurgaon there were multiple thoughts but one that was taking most of my mental space was to keep a hold on the other thoughts and key it into a blog. I did not know most of the people around me in the office before the trip. The only difference now is that a lot of people now know me thanks to my singing or in fact my choice of songs (which transpired the nick name item boy :P). I will cherish everything I learnt through this trip, about Hrishikesh about people around me and of course my own courage levels, for a long time to come.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007 

Dressing Room

Last Tuesday was one of my many visits to IIT, since I passed out of it. The financial year is coming to a close and I had a couple of sick leaves in the balance, so I decided to put it to good use. I woke up at 11.30 that morning, went back to my bed at 12.30pm and got out of it again at 1.45. Good start eh? Then I suddenly remembered of some unfinished business at IIT and decided to get going.

My hostel basketball team had a match with Kumaon. This had the makings of a great game and it was perfect timing as I would be able to watch it. I went to my hostel much earlier than the match though. Found some of my juniors, some entangled in the ins and outs of living through the motions of a never ending final semester, while some others having a lot of fun with after dark activity of the campus we like to call “POLT”. It’s a really funny word.

I had a great time talking about old things and new, learning how even to this day Mess secy’s are keeping the torch of sucking off the M.Techs alive. Not to mention the great darkhorses of their times the BSW reps slowly sneaking in to the ‘top jobs’ on the campus. We discussed everything from girls to tv serials to naukris to latest tryst with bhang and grass some people had had on holi. I never even realized that I had passed of two and half hours.

Then it was time for the match, the basketball court superbly lit with white light is really an amazing place to be. It really sets up the energy level required for a basketball match. I have been part of a successful basket team and when I say that I am careful of not saying that I was successful. Only the team was successful and that was how much I frankly cared.

We played well after a vintage initial hiccup. We won convincingly and deservedly to a fighting Kumaon team. In many ways it was nice to there. This was the last time a hard working and talented Rajat Agarwal represented the hostel. After the match the team had a few things to discuss and took off for the hostel. I however, had to get back to gurgaon. I wanted to be with the team, to savor the moment of victory. Nothing can beat the enjoyment of a post match conversation for a match that you win. Ram’s fruit shop and surd shop were ideal places to do that. Nothing really succeeds like success.

In the last ten months my relationship with IIT has been very close. I have seen quite a few competitive events. I get the feeling as I am still part of the hostel just that I am not allowed to participate in any of the activities, maybe due to some disciplinary action for drinking alcohol in the hostel. Which is ironic because I hate alcohol J.

Sunday, March 04, 2007 

Holi Shit

According to history, Holi is celebrated to mark an event where the so called ‘lord’ Krishna‘bura na mano holi hai’ which if read in subtext would mean that we have the right to do whatever we want and you can’t complain. In a way this is another of man’s ways of proving his righteousness. Full marks to Krishna for doing such a shameful act and getting away with it, with people making a celebration out of it. I much rather prefer people drinking alcohol in their drawing rooms, rather than slapping lousy color on someone’s face who doesn’t even want it.

threw some water or color on some of the women of his area. In that light I believe Holi is a celebration of eve-teasing. Well to an extent it is. To cap it the slogan goes as

I hate that helpless feeling where no one would understand that you just don’t like it. In fact you are considered stupid for not celebrating the ‘festival’. I like the fact that it brings an opportunity to talk to relatives, old friends and in fact neighbors. But I hate it when someone puts color on me and you can’t get mad as it is holi. I think if I have to kill someone then I would like to kill that person for throwing color on me on holi.

I think a festival should bring you happiness and not a constant sense of fear and apprehension of where the next attack would be. I haven’t played holi in years. There is only one of my uncles who comes to our place every holi puts colors on us. Since he is older I can’t revolt, so I just go through a few moments of sulking, and when he goes I take a bath, and get on with the rest of the day. I have no real belief in god, or god stories. But if this one is to be believed then Krishna
was the biggest cheat there ever was. He did everything just to get his goal even if he had to use deceit. Why hindus call him a god is beyond me. I think he was a plain human with super powers. So while the powers themselves did some good things, by the time he grew old the humane side took control and cheating was the only thing he could do.

I hope everyone had a good day at Holi, but if unfortunately someone didn’t don’t worry. Good time will come. This time holi was on a Sunday, so it was all the more useless.

P.S. past another landmark, 175 hours since I last smoked….watch out Viru here I come.

Saturday, March 03, 2007 

We wanted to win the cup without dropping a game

- Glenn McGrath on the 2003 World Cup

Last two weeks at office have been rather hectic. Hectic to the extent that I have fallen sick. My body has been giving me signs of weakness which has slowly translated in to poor focus at work. It might be a little early to comment on this but I believe that if you work hard day in and day out, you get a handicap. A handicap of not being able to focus on trivial issues and having the ability to only work under a stressed format. I experienced that for a couple of days and quickly shifted gears to get my focus back on the steady pace.

However my health couldn’t quite shift gears. The problem was compounded by three late night outings this weekend and eating grapes on Saturday. I also played a lot of cricket on Saturday where I scored a lot of runs and in the process tired my muscles further. Sunday night was the worst as I had to go to bed early as I had caught fever by then.

Monday mornings are never pleasant are they? Mine wasn’t any different, as I spitted out large amounts of cough that I had accrued over the weekend and that gave me a sour throat. I am very sensitive about my throat and I can never have a good day if my throat is aching. So I decided that I will not smoke today. Whoopy it worked!

Couple of years back sometime in May 2005 I had quit smoking for the first time. Very suddenly and abruptly with no aids or anything. I just woke up one morning felt pain in my throat and decided not to smoke for a while. A year and seven months later I had my first drag after a break.

I believe it is always easy to achieve something as compared to maintaining it. Take for example Australia, they don’t just pride themselves on winning a world cup but the fact that they defended it is what is valued more. An achievement made against the odds is easier as against an achievement made being in the middle of attention with all eyes on you. Not to mention your own expectations weighing you down. So I guess what I want to say is that I am having a crack at defending the title, or maybe not, but I definitely feel that the defense of the title is much more difficult.

P.S. Its just past the 50 hours mark since I last smoked….already a standing ovation I believe J

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