Wednesday, November 28, 2007 

dancing down the track !!!

Fun is a very complicated word. Often used loosely to mean enjoyment without really sending a definite objective message. There are times when you just have fun, and then there are others when you want to have fun and there are some others when you are trying to have fun. I like the first one better, because it’s so difficult for me to psyche myself up to have fun.

Having seen most of the movies made in
India I am pretty much smitten by the music bug and none less by the desire to shake a leg. When I was young I used to lock the room which had the speakers of our small time stereo and danced like anything. I used to be very secretive about it and never wanted anyone to know. I didn’t really have a passion for dancing or music for that matter. But it felt nice to do the brake dance, especially the danger zone song which was on one of the duplicate cassettes my dad had bought. It was a great feeling, but somewhere I stopped doing it. From class 9 to 12 I hardly danced either alone or at public gatherings.

Then I came to IIT and dancing again had the same meaning was again equidistant from the real definition of the word. We used to have birthday parties in the first year at a common place in the hostel and after the requisite ass bumping we would get down to dirty dancing if I may. This was dance in its cheapest yet the most invaluable form. You can get a bunch of guys to do bharatnatyam but to dance the way we did it really needs plain and simple freedom of expression. I danced a lot through those five years and the last time was in the fifth year dancing with juniors on winning some of the coveted trophies in that year.

In the last two weeks I was in three parties, which revolved quite a lot around dancing. The first was a pre marriage party by a senior, who I barely knew. He had invited me to his house where there was going to be a ‘party’. I knew there would be alcohol so I was trying to prepare myself for interacting with some drunkards. Of course it was a dance party so you have to dance. You know think about it you enter a party after riding the bike at
1am in the night, and you know dilli ki sardi, and straight away you are on the dance floor. It’s bad enough for me to be surrounded by inebriated people asking me to dance. But it gets tough you know when people sitting around include the parents and relatives of the groom. I just can’t do it. So there I was, trying to have fun. It doesn’t work.

Next up, there was an office party for the promotions of some of our team members, including yours truly. Now this may sound like a weird construction, but I hate such parties. I mean I like going for dinner to celebrate, but alcohol and dancing in a pub is not really on my list. But that’s exactly what it was planned to be. Since I was not paying for it I was able to at least be sporting enough in planning the party. I went to the party and just didn’t feel like dancing. Fortunately I had a sour throat a slightly abnormal temperature so I bailed myself out of the dancing pool. I sat outside alone, one of my favourite pass times, and was eagerly waiting for dinner to start. Some of my friends forced me to come and dance and that’s when you don’t know what to do. Please anyone of you reading this post, who might have the time of posting a comment please tell me what do you do in such a situation? If you don’t agree to dancing after repeated persuasion you are not a sport and you disrupt the party, and if you do agree then you are tagged ‘ye saala bohot bhaav khata hai’. I am tired of hearing these remarks, I guess the best thing to do is do nothing and let people blabber whatever they want to. Who cares? So there I was, wanting to have fun, but couldn’t. I think I put a very heavy price on fun and enjoyment. I can not just go to a pub and start dancing, I need some occasion or some sense of achievement to groove.

The weekend was great. I went to my cousins wedding and I got to meet my relatives. Most of my uncles and aunts both paternal and maternal, have spent their childhood in
Jhansi and know each other very well. That way we are a lot more closely knit than an average Indian clan. So it’s always great to catch up with cousins and actually their sons. Wow time passed by so quickly. The wedding was wonderful, atleast by Jhansi standards. There was a DJ, well if you would like to call him that! But he was playing songs from some CDs and starting and finishing them as if it were a game of musical chairs. But fun was in the air. I stepped on the dance floor and with catchy bollywood numbers, in no time the dance floor was full with people. The cameraman asked me a couple of times to move because I was hogging the camera, you know the wedding was for someone else hehe. But that didn’t stop me and after the cameramen had had their shoot, we went back to the dance floor only to pull the crowd back to watch us. It was only us cousins but it felt as if I was in IIT again. The dancing had the same meaning or lack of it. I think for the first time I danced with my sister, who like me is not a special dancer but likes to dance. I had such a great time dancing, and I am sure my sister did too in the little time she got away from Zui, her barely two month old. I in fact didn’t feel like stopping, but some of us dropped a bit of steam and it was definitely leaked by the man changing CDs (I wont call him a DJ). But there I was having fun, that easy. I never realised that I had shed any inhibition of dancing with people in front of people.

I was just dancing. I mean you don’t step out to every ball you face do you. You see a flighted ball judge the length in the air and then dance down the track to meet the ball on the full or at worst a half-volley. And when that happens, it's absolutely Mauja hi Mauja !!!


Thursday, November 15, 2007 


My face has never had a harami sort of look. Not an obvious one atleast. Neither do I have a cunning smile or a mischevious one. The first impression people get about me is that I am a nice person, devoid of any kind of cleverness or pranks. Well I don’t really know if they are right (smile). But my face is the best representation of my innerself. It does not hide anything and sends across all possible things inside as much as it can.

Having been bred in a middle class high traditional value background, I have been served the idea of honesty and morality at lunch and dinner. My mother once or actually 2-3 times burnt my hand with a hot chimta when I lied. Knowing how much she loves me it is impossible to understand what pushed her to dish out such severe atrocity on me, her son. My punishments used to range from being slapped without the permission to cry to being asked to stand on the terrace in the hot sun without any footwear. Hunters were out of fashion by that time and my mother seldom used an external source to hurt me. How pain helped me grow individually is really the irony of life.

I have been afraid of lying since I was a child. Though as a child I wanted to lie but couldn’t. But as I grew up I hated lying, mainly because I was very poor at it. I have always tried to be honest, as honest as I can ofcourse, but I avoid hiding things as much as I can. I have truly internalised that habit in whatever I have done – sports, studies, relations with people and also in my professional experience.

And when it comes specifically to playing cricket I hated cheating and I hated cheaters. I used to be on the receiving end all the time when I was 10-11 playing with kids in the colony park. I used to win mostly and the other guys used to intentionally hide the ball in some bushes when it got dark pretending that they didn’t find it. I always knew that they would turn up later in the evening to find the ball, but I played along. I was surprised to see what people could do to win, even surprised to see what they were trying to win.

I would say that I maintained an image of being a person with high moral standards in college. Not in the sense of being right or wrong, but that I stuck to what I believed and I never made any secret of it. Being a true, dependable and honest sort of a guy was not by choice, this was because of how I was prepared. But if you leave some grass on the pitch you can’t complain that it doesn’t turn. This morality and honesty had its downsides. But I always knew that they were not worth giving up on my belief. In my adult life so far, I have been accused, even looked down upon for being honest, “technically correct” if I may, because it never helps the scoring rate (pun intended). So much so that I thought it would be a nice idea to put honesty as a weakness in my resume. I am not kidding I actually thought that. But people told me that won’t take me anywhere either.

The fact of the matter is that truth and deceit are just two qualities and no one can claim to have 100% of either. Everyone judges on which side of this line between truth and deceit one wants to stand according to the need of the hour. But when it comes to cricket I will always be on one side of that line. Others may not see what I am trying to win. Beating others is fun and exciting, but beating yourself is a different high all together. When you compete with yourself its like one of those C++ commands – i=i+1, you can grow constantly and do not have to rely on the standards set by others.

As a batsman I have had much lesser opportunities than as a bowler, and being a tail ender I have faced very comprehensive dismissals. But the one or two close calls I have had I have always walked, I hope. I remember walking an lbw decision, oh I was plumb! As a bowler I have mostly been the umpire’s favourite, because even though I used to hit the batsman’s pads more often than anyone else with my in swing, I only appealed when I was pretty sure I had my man.

I think having a decided rule for yourself to follow makes the life easier, and isn’t that what we are all trying to do. It’s a difficult road, but that’s how it looks from the outside. When you are doing something you think is right, it comes naturally to you and you don’t have to struggle, not a lot anyhow.


Thursday, November 01, 2007 

White Lightning

If cricket is education, the TV has been my teacher. I can not clearly recall whether I first held a bat in my hand or saw a match on TV. It must have been the former in all probability though as I do remember having had a plastic bat while the first match I saw was probably India vs. West Indies in 1990 when I was seven years old. Needless to say the game grew on me since then.

One of the downsides of watching cricket on TV, at least for me, was that I was so overwhelmed by the mastery of the players playing on TV that it inhibited my instinctive talent. Even though India did not have a rip-off fast bowler in those times, I somehow got hooked up to fast bowling. Of course I developed a legitimate bowling action (read: non-batta (eeta, chuck, throw)) only by age 7 or 8 and by then the TV had taken over me. The first time I send down the legitimate bowl I copied a bowling action. Not sure if it was Ambrose or Marshall, but that was how it started. In an effort to emulate such great bowlers I ended up copying their bowling actions. As a kid you only know that you need to bowl fast and hit the stumps. Line and length were not part of the thinking process.

Through the early days I had spells of being fascinated by a particular bowling action. Starting from Ambrose, McDermott and after the world cup in 1992, Aaquib Javed. These were very short phases though. My first real stint with a particular bowling action was Dany Morrison. I loved his bowling. He was all of 5 feet and 8 inches and sent down bullets. Then came the more my capacity phase of Heath Streak and by class 7 or 8 it was Damien Fleming.

As I came to class 9 we started playing inter class matches with the leather ball. Desparate as I was to get in the team, I decided that I had to do something special. I thought to myself who has the most beautiful and successful bowling action around. Since I was right handed, a fact I regret sometimes because it stopped me from copying the best of them all you know who. I settled for the then best right hander. With sunscreen around his lips, a little on the tip of his nose and the ability to swing the ball both sides at pace Allan Donald both looked dangerous and bowled dangerous.

I started with some success in class 9 and 10 with his bowling action becoming the best bowler in my class. Come class 11 things were different, I was in the science section which was supposed to be made up of geeks. We played one of the commerce sections and I got michelle. It was my first time. Michelle again is an Australian slang for five wickets, which they used call fifer and then after the actress michelle phifers name they started calling it michelle. We beat the commerce section in that match and in the next revenge match as well. In the second game I dismissed the captain of the school team with a slower delivery. He was so foxed that he invited me to play for the school team. That didn’t materialize though, but I was one of the best bowlers in my school for two years straight.

Then I came to IIT. The Donald action was with me, and I tried to bring it to life again. It had died by then. Something killed it. The only chance I got to play in 1st year at IIT I was given an old ball and only two overs. The two overs went for 12 runs. I knew that Donald had to go. It was now time to graduate to a more adjustable bowling action. An action that made me more famous than my actual bowling skill initially. Since then which ever team I have played for, Kara, IIT, Evalueserve I have been referred to as ‘hamara McGrath’. Things that are exterior to you have a shelf life, they work for you for sometime and then they don’t anymore. You have got to be innovative all the time in life to stay ahead. It is hard to give up on things that brought you success, but being inventive is important to survive. On the other hand, internal facets are much more concrete and pretty much live and die with you. And you don’t copy these facets from other people because these are things which truly define you.

How much impressions have impacted my life is probably apparent in whatever I do. Simple mannerisms that I have are inherited from people around me. Like those who have closely observed me would know that I rub my eyes ever so often. That’s my dad’s. Whatever acting skills I have are mainly imitations and mimicries of other people, I am grossly incapable of exhibiting emotions on my own. I have found it hard to deliver a style of my own in every field. But then again that probably is my style and I kind of like it. What fun is it to be the same guy for all years anyway? I am so happy that I imitate anything and with the grace of my parents have the sensibility to take the good and leave out the bad. Not many people, I believe, are born with that gift.

You know, one day I marked my run up and did a bit of free-your-mind exercise. I thought lets try to see what bowling action comes out naturally. I got nothing. It made me realize how the bowling action is an exterior quality, a manifestation of what I have learnt from people around me. But the ability to copy and absorb impressions is an internal facet, that’s not something I learnt from someone else.

Bottom line - no matter how hard you try to be someone else you can never succeed. What you are you always will be, its up to you to acknowledge it and appreciate.

ASHES is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
First Aid and Health Information at Medical Health