Thursday, March 26, 2015

India, it's time to rise and shine!

The Australian test series saw Virat scoring four hundreds, Rahane getting to his century, leading many to believe India will do better, but they only got worse. Exactly one and a half months and a series ago, India showed itself as just another team in the Carlton mid tri-series, playing against Australia and England, where they lost every other match they played against these two teams. Indians were a shoddy bowling unit, projected a frail top-order, a less than mediocre middle order, and ended up as a disappointed team with no hopes of a turn-around anytime soon. 

It all happened right here, on the Australian pitches, when the assemblies of blue in the stands were forced to let out noisy grunts, of anger and disenchantment. They did not expect this from the 2011 World Cup champions and definitely this was not the cricket they had seen India play. M S Dhoni was let down by his team and so were the millions of fans trying to cheer the flailing performers. 

But why did this happen? And how did this happen. There is a very simple and easy analogy to it. The players were on the Australian pitches way too long, away from their homes. They performed well in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but failed miserably when it came to the ODI format where they struggled to get themselves out there. They were fatigued and out of good rest, little home support and had the big World Cup on its way.
There were paragraphs of criticism from the pundits and angry cricket fanatics; there were heart-breaking memes over the internet, thrashing the team for their inability to ‘deliver’, quite literally. News websites became unabashedly reproachful and the conventional next-door-uncle glanced at the sports section in the newspaper, eating popcorn in a moving train, casually exclaiming that the team was never going to get anywhere. He was wrong. 

The Men in Blue have easily erased the bad memories, by not just defeating every other team in the group stages and the quarter finals, but by ‘bowling ‘em all out’! What went right with the team is what nobody is talking about. The fact that the bowlers have stepped up their game is quite evident. But the batsmen have done their bit, so have the fielders and our very own ‘captain cool’, M S Dhoni who has been the core of this victory albeit the individual performances have turned heads. India has pushed itself to face the winner of five World Cups, Australia in the semi-finals and is a class-apart.

Suddenly everyone has forgotten the days of seething anger and searing pain these players went through, the bashing media thrusting their pens in the players’ noses and cameras flashing at their faces, as if to pronounce the committing of a crime. Everyone is bathing themselves and the team in the glory of the ‘70 wicket in 7 games’ scenario, with seven straight wins and seventy wickets to their credit. 

Right now, all that matters is India finishing this game against Australia in the best possible manner. I saw tense faces all around when I walked to work, most of them in blue and some sitting by the side-walks, patiently listening to the commentary on their phones and transistors. This part of India has not changed. It never will and it never can.
I should mention the anticipation of the billions looking for a path-breaking record of ’90 wickets in 9 games’ and of course, to retain the Cup. 

But to get there, we need to bid farewell to the Australians, boys.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Everything amiss!

It was scorching heat and the bumpy auto ride back home did not seem to end. There were sweat beads on her forehead and cuss words all around her. There was a commotion and a traffic jam. She turned around to see a row of cars behind her loudly honking like a mistuned trombone. 

She sighed 'not again! Mumbai is so crazy'!

She missed home - the everyday sights, sounds and the cacophony of prices being shouted in the familiar language. A language she could fathom and use double-entendres, where she could swear and feel the effect of the word on the opponent. She missed her dad's mash up of songs that he ended up singing every morning before leaving to office and her mom's effort to stop him from changing the tune of each song. She missed her mom's cooking and her kind words of affection and anger, both unending and unforgettable. She missed her grandmother's ways of interrogation whenever she said bye to her each morning. She missed the late night phone conversations with cousins and the Sunday sessions of omelette and tea-making with her dad. She missed how she showed her newbies from shopping to her grandfather's photo, silently and secretively when no one was watching. She missed her temple visits and the usual suspects who greeted her, and the uncles and aunties who she greeted. She missed walking on those tree-lined lanes and her Gulmohar tree which she and her grandfather planted in 1997. The flame of the forest was gone and so was he.
Reality hits her as a heavy vehicle this time, as a biker rams his front wheel against the auto's rear ensuing another commotion. The auto driver gets out and slaps the biker. The loud honking returns and the city presents itself to her as the unapologetically vociferous, uncaring and ruthless, Mumbai. Only this time, she gets out of the auto and decides to endure the menacing heat by walking on the dusty lanes sipping water from her red bottle. 

The memories and pangs of sorrow will always remain, nestled snugly between the everyday realities of life and the continuous effort to try and live.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Perks and pangs of being a lonesome pine

My parents never pushed me to do anything. They never 'expected' me to score in subjects, they never wanted me to be the 'class-topper' and more importantly, they never wanted me to become what THEY wanted to become. They never thrust their ideas or opinions on to me, never even wanted me to 'compete' with other kids of my generation. 

Some people might say I was pampered and given a lot of attention. Some might say I was brought up with a lack of focus or dedication. I would like to believe that I, on the other hand, had the privilege to develop the most individualistic and opinionated mind ever. I was not born into a family of aristocrats or ancestral-affluence. Although part of my folks might brag about this 'ancestral-affluence-that-didst-us-great-good-and-respect-in-society-nonsense', I do not like to get to the nitty-gritties of it, unless I know someone who knows about what I am talking out here. 

Anyway, let me tell you the pangs and perks of being an only-child. 

The perks.

A desperate, attention-seeking, pampered, eternally fancied, never-sharing, sibling-less existence, filled with happiness is what many people might have imagined my life to be. Contrary to popular belief, I was brought up with a lot of love, I do not know what fights mean, I do not like to hold grudges and I forget an adult- fight two minutes after it gets over, which, by the way is advantageous, because, I never come across as egoistic. Also, I can never be. I have never cloned a sister or a brother, never looked at anyone as a role model, nor have I been through the stage of 'comparison', that usually ends up marring a relationship. And no, I was never compared to my cousins who were much better than me academically and otherwise. 

Nobody taught me to write, nobody expected me to express my feelings and nobody ever told me I would earn an extra twenty grand, had I become an engineer. That just goes to show my upbringing and my parents' mindsets. Open and happy. Free-flowing and funny. Loving and capricious. I love them. My dad is an engineer and my mom, an entrepreneur. A simple, small family with substantial standards of living and an outlook far greater than any opulent man's Swiss Bank account. They let me do what I want. They let me study what I wanted and they let me explore my strengths and weaknesses. They were proud of me although I never accomplished anything and egged me on when even I did not know I needed it.    

But what others still do not know is that, even as I have not taken care of a sibling, I have always learnt to take care of myself. I am independent and strong. I make mistakes and learn from them. I do not need the advise of an elder sibling on how I have fared in my math paper, I am not accountable to anyone, except myself. I get hurt when someone makes a rude remark. I cry, not for attention, but because I get hurt thinking how someone can use their sharp tongue to slay words at a person, arbitrarily. I also, do not have to share clothes or shoes, or even a room, I have my privacy. I completely agree to what you are thinking. 

There are pangs. 

And a lot at that. I have never enjoyed the company of someone, elder or younger, whenever I have been alone. I had the company of my wonderful grandfather and after he was gone, the company of books and nothing else. I do not know how to answer back. I do not know how to contain my emotions and I also do not hurt someone, physically or emotionally. I feel weird when someone fights and I don't know how to react when someone argues, because I am just not used to it. I do not cheat in a game and it is okay even if I lose a game, because come on, it is just a friggin' game and it really doesn't matter if you compare me with someone. I just don't care, because it doesn't affect me. I don't enter a house and say 'the remote is mine' or 'I am using the bathroom first' or 'DIBBS on that! I need it', because it doesn't matter again. These things are so petty, it sometimes breaks relationships. It doesn't lead you anywhere. And anyway, what if you wait for two more minutes for your buddy to get out of the loo?

I may come across as a pampered brat, but the feeling of emptiness I get when someone raises an eyebrow and says 'wow, so your parents are doting, aren't they?', is so inexplicable, it brings tears. At least, my parents shower love. They do not have a choice to be biased. I am happy.

I feel like slapping that person's face with a brick and never want to see that person again. I want to burst out and say how I feel about it, but obviously, 'the morons', will NEVER get it. This emptiness and the feeling of being ALONE, the reality that every day when you go to bed you do not have a sibling who will appreciate or criticize you for what you have done. And the feeling of sharing the best 'holiday-trip-secret-memories' or 'the little secrets' with someone of the same blood, or the fondest memories of 'being happy as little kids' will never exist for me. The rest of the world will not get it. They just won't.  

But the next time you begin your condescensions, ask yourself how far it might go to affect the life of the lonesome pine in question. 

No? Nevermind, you will never get it.  

The 'deal-breaker'!

While there are hundreds of people who are happy with their salary, there are always those handful of people who crib, no matter how much they earn. Sometimes, some months get pretty tight, so I tend to fall into the latter category. I have some strong rules that I follow and break, and follow and then break, all over again, every three months. 

My first rule, is 'say NO to online-shopping', but I picked up my Moto G Second Gen. off Flipkart, just a week after I made that resolution/ rule/ principle, whatever you may want to call it. Then, I made the rule again. And broke it again, when I found myself looking for a 'trendy phone cover'. Well, 'I bought my PHONE online, this is just a cover', I said to myself. Then my rule lifted its hat and presented itself to me neatly, so I averted those thoughts. No phone cover. 

A month after that was my best-friend's birthday. And isn't it scandalizing to not gift her anything? Especially when I am earning? And especially when I know that she has showered me with the best goodies from across the globe? So this time again I look into the 'online shopping site' and guess what, I gift her an unnecessarily expensive watch. 

At the very root of it, I think it is the 'ping' that you get in your mobile when you know your salary is credited. All said and done, it is an amazing feeling, but that feeling is what makes you spend, right at the click of a button, sitting at your desk, using free-office-WiFi or your 'work time'. Then, you promise myself that you will NEVER do an online transaction again, be it shopping, charity, paying taxes, anything! 

It has been six months and I feel exceedingly excited and proud to announce that I have contained myself and stood away from shopping online, because, thank my Divine Goodness, I forgot my online transaction password and my card is locked! I haven't tried to get it fixed ever since, not because I am lazy, but because I do not want to. It is a pact, that I have made with myself. A deal, which I, will never break. 

Until, I get another ping on my phone, saying 'SALE! 90% OFF ON NEW STOCK!'
The bloody 'deal-breaker'!