Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Déjà Vu

The cursor was blinking on her screen. The blog post begged to be completed. It had been more than a fortnight that she’d begun penning down her thoughts. They were there in her head; a nameless voice inside her, dictating words that aptly expressed her emotions. But the words got trapped within the boundaries of the head. The flow from the brain through the keyboard to the document was blocked. She read the few lines she’d managed to type; the sight filled her with rage and disbelief. It seemed as if she’d lost the power to transcribe her thoughts. “The only talent that I thought I had, has also rusted,’’ she thought aloud. Talking to herself had become a habit. She sometimes wondered if these were symptoms of her going insane, sometimes she consoled herself thinking that great people often had conversations with themselves.

Life had never seemed so mundane. Her life was no less than a farce. She switched of the laptop and looked at the time. It was five past two. She’d been burning the midnight oil, literally, yet she could see no evident progress in her blog. Writing, a one-time passion, had been mercilessly reduced to a vocab-enhancing exercise. “I wish,” she said to herself, “that the postcards of life never became blurred.” She tucked herself into her quilt, the warmth of which scarcely managed to soothe her.

She dreaded waking up every morning, not knowing what to expect from the long day that lay ahead. The trend hadn’t been great for over half a year now. A day well started would end in the most depressing manner. She’d leant to hold back her tears. But sometimes, the emotions broke out of their barriers; times, when she would weep uncontrollably, her body being rocked by her sobs. She had a lot of people who would gladly cushion her from the storms of life, but strangely, she did not feel the urge to seek comfort from them. She had become indifferent, cold, numb, selfish to a certain extent. She did not like the change in her, but then she thought, change is inevitable.

Although her character had assumed different shades, the memories refused to let her go. They haunted her; they would come gushing down on her at random moments. A word said in a meeting would remind her of someone, a conversation between two random people in the train would take her down memory lane. A photo, a moment would cause déjà vu. “There’s no escaping it.” She was talking to herself again, this time in the bus. She’d gotten used to the embarrassment of people staring at her post her monologues. “Dumb asses,” she said, this time being careful to blurt it out loud. She’d already faced wrath from a lot of people close to her heart.

The moments of recollection of thoughts would take her into a state of tranquility; they would make her question herself, the answers hard to come by. Everytime she’d be lost in the flurry of thoughts, she’d be rudely awakened by the mechanical pace of the city that she lived in. Work gave her relief, but these instances were momentary; the memories were inside her, the love the longing, the hope, all packed in her heart and mind. They were omnipresent, and however hard she tried to ignore them, suppress them, they always found their way out. She’d learnt the art of putting on a mask, and camouflaging the storm that raged within her. She’d learnt to live with the memories, for they had been interwoven with her identity. Yes, there was no escaping them!

Monday, October 18, 2010

World spell-bound, Australia whitewashed, Indians all smiles! :)

Indian sports has taken the world by storm. Be it the gold mining at the CWG, or getting our mates from down under taste a dose of their own medicine, it has been a fortnight of tasting some sweet revenge! The dazzling opening ceremony of had the world spell-bound by the immense diversity of Indian culture. If the world was bowled over by the opening ceremony, they had a few more surprises in the days to come. 96 medals and still counting, the international sporting arena has now been woken up to sit back and take notice: India has arrived.

Being the cricket frenzied nation that we are, CWG or Olympics, nothing can stop the Indian sports lover from keeping track of any ongoing cricket series. The India-Australia clash, happens to be amongst the most significant. One of the reasons for this contest to surpass the intensity of even that between the rivals who share a common border (IND Vs PAK), is that, of late, these contests have started grabbing eyeballs for all the wrong reasons. Be it abusing on field, and calling each other names, or just cheating their way through to a victory, the Australian players have always offended the Indian cricket freaks.

This test series was exceptional for a number of reasons.

1.Australia whitewashed. More significant because this has happened for the first time in nearly three decades. The last time happened was way back in 1982 against Pakistan.

2.Aussie domination ends. Post this series, the Kangaroos slipped to the 5th position. This has happened for the first time since 2003.

3.India justify their being at the top of the charts. Individual performances were the cherries on the pie.

4.The Mohali test somehow, managed to steer back attention to tests. Being the cliff hanger of a match that it was, the nail-biter, brought back the old world charm into the homes of people, who had long lost their interest in the extended version of the game.

5.Zaheer and Tendulkar at the helm of the top test bowlers and batsmen tables respectively.

6.The 216 chase was one of India’s highest run chases ever. Nerve racking too!

7.If we talk about the positives for the Indian cricket team to take back home, young lad Cheteshwar Pujara holding on his nerves was fabulous.

8.Very Very Sorted out Laxman. Injury nibbled on to him, yet the next-to-impossible victory that he earned for the team was emphatic.

9.SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR. Words fall short. If he is called the God of world cricket, well there’s enough substantial reason to justify it. 37th year of his life; 1270 test runs; mind-boggling average of 97.69. Two half centuries and a double hundred in this series also took him past the 14,000 test run mark, making him the first person to have achieved it. The Lord of the Pitch, we bow down to thee!!

And what can I say about the crowd at Bengaluru? Even the great Tendulkar couldn’t stop himself but be all praises for them. Here’s hoping that this golden run continues!

Monday, September 20, 2010


The match that went down to the wire. The warriors: Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians. The result: Well, not quite to my liking.

Tight bowling by RCB, coupled with brilliant backing by the fielders, not just put Team Blue under pressure, the timely wickets put a lid on the scoring rate. Till 15 overs, things looked pretty rosy for the Red and Gold Brigade. Just then, the tables turned. Silky-haired Saurabh Tiwary and burly Bravo took it away from RCB. Clobbering the ball, the gritty batting by them ensured that they amassed a piling total that would give them a cushion to defend. The RCB campaign kick started in style with both Kallis and RD having a smooth sail with 40 in the first five overs. Unfortunately though, Kallis made his way back to the pavilion a bit too early.

RD’s innings was class and elegance personified. Divine drives, picture-perfect pulls, charismatic cuts and his trademark defense. Ah!! Treat to the eyes! He did what he always does best: anchored the innings, kept the scoreboard ticking and gave the more attacking batsmen most part of the strike. But the MI bowlers chipped in with wickets at regular intervals with Sixappa and Rossco falling cheaply. And then came the man who tried his best to turn things around. Playing the ball on merit and thrashing every delivery that had the slightest possibility to be hit, he hammered four consecutive boundaries off the 19th over by Malinga.

The last over. The equation: 13 required off 6 balls. Zaheer Khan to Kohli. Leg bye. They picked up a quick single. Zaheer Khan to Rahul Dravid.  A hit and a miss.  RD ran for his life. Hearts pounding. Kohli back on strike. Relief.  Next delivery, whacked for a boundary! 7 from 3. Heart beats pumping. Next delivery, dot ball. 7 from 2. Kohli brazened up, Zaheer fired in, wham went the timber against the leather. Four more! 3 needed off the last delivery. Intense discussions. Zaheer with the last ball. Top edged by Kohli. The ball went up almost till the heavens and then settled down comfortably in the gloves of Rayadu.  Goosebumps.

The scene: stunned silence from the RCB camp. Ecstatic cries from the Mumbai Indians. Kohli down on his knees, unable to believe that his heroics went down the drain. RD walked upto him, consoling him like a protective and concerned elder brother. MI won by 2 runs.
RCB now go into their next match, a knock out match against the Lions. With a NRR better than the Lions, all RCB needs to do is win the match to book a berth in the semi-finals.

Phew! Quite a match that was. Awe-inspiring cricket all around.  Although I would have been happy had the result been different, yet, nothing’s more satisfying than a good cricketing contest. The match had its moments. An animated Rahul Dravid with his fist punching, a mature RD with his caring gesture. More importantly, the unbeaten 71 that has gotten him back into form. And yes, the find of the match, Abu Nachim. The lanky pacer from Guwahati, who outdid Kallis in his very second delivery. I could not help but feel proud of him. 

Watching it in the comfort of my home was the best part. Discussions with dad, who tried hard to ignore the looks I gave him when RD reached his half ton. His caring hand that ruffled my hair when I was in shock after the match was over. Ah! Priceless!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Voice Inside My Head

When you are a muddle head, the worst thing that can happen to you is being constantly reminded about the fact you chose to be oblivious of. As I walked out of my aunt's flat on to the bustling road, searching for an auto that could ferry me back to my grim PG, my eyes started wandering. ''Ah! What a glamorous car'' I thought to myself, admiring a metal-coloured beauty on four wheels that zipped past me. Just then came a crude reminder. ''Stop ogling at that thing that's far beyond your reach and get down to the business of getting yourself an auto, loser!" said that shapeless, genderless, evil squeaky little voice inside my head. Ok. I know I am a moron, or worse still, a loser. Why the hell do I need to be reminded repeatedly? And finally, when I did get the sent-straight from-God's-own-garage sort of rickshaw that I promptly plonked myself into, I could not help but grin an extra wide grin at all those who were still waiting for their's to come past! I chuckled at my childishness, then I heard it squeal again. ''Do not laugh at those unfortunate souls. Some one else may also laugh at your expense, loser!''  What humiliation! Had this been some earthling, I swear I would have slapped the shit out of that person. But unfortunately, the idiotic squeals were coming from right within me, and what made it worse was that I realized that it was right.

I live in this old fashioned flat thing that doesn't even boast of a lift. Adding to my piling woes is the painful fact that I live on the fourth floor. By the time I climb those stairs to reach my PG, I look like a coolie; and start smelling like one too! Waking up early morning and rushing back to your PG with an assignment at hand, a lecture from the bugging rikshaw walla is the last thing you would ask for. ''Pehle hi paisa nikal ke rakhne ka tha na..kitna time barbaad karte ho..'' he grumbled. Getting out of the auto, I was muttering a zillion curses under my breath, and it let out the irritatingly familiar squeal again. ''No need to curse him. You didn't waste his time; you wasted yours, moron!"Bang on again!

Struggling up the stairs, with the oh-I-am-so-out-of-breath look pasted on my face, I toppled to my PG. Just then I realized that my keys were playing hide and seek with me. ''What timing', I thought to myself. The squeal: ''Why cant you keep that jhola of yours organized? Keep finding the things that you need the least and find no traces of the stuff you need urgently, loser!'' Yeah right! Panting for breath, I just wanted to squeeze that shapeless bugging thing hoping that it would lose its voice or something, but I was helpless. I had to leave home for a ''far-off'' assignment and I was running al around the house like a kitten whose tail was on fire. I took my bath, got dressed in a jiffy, and was busy gobbling down the yummy breakfast while juggling with my phone and the food, and every time the bugger would be, '' Hurry up you idiot. You are such a lazy bum and a loser!'' I had enough of it. I am the one who is hunting for an auto, getting lectures from the idiot of a rikshaw waala, exerting myself climbing four floors opening the door, hopping around the house to be on time! I wanted to scream out, '' Technically, I am not the loser you dimwit, YOU are!!'' And I did scream. Only to wake up the peacefully (and thankfully) sleeping hyper active PG auntie of mine. That was the last thing I wanted to happen. I was dreading about being quizzed, '' Beta, kahan ja rahe ho so early-early?'' Thank Heavens, nothing of that sort happened.

The rest of the day was quiet, as in the squeal, it wasn't there quite that much, apart from the instructions and speculations like, ''Time to get off; the platform must be on the right side.'' Not that I missed it. I was gleeful that I probably didn't go wrong anywhere. Moreover, I was busy covering a story. But then, I heard her again. Two voices, or rather sounds that my ears sprung up to. One was the angry growling of my stomach, demanding for some fuel; the other, the bugger: ''You should have picked up some sort of food that you could have nibbled on your way back, you loser.'' Thank you, was the only thing that I could manage to grumble.

Back to work and I had far more voices hat I would listen to happily. And the irritating yet intellectual thing knew when to shut up. It did shut up. And for a pretty long time. ''How nice. Commotion all around yet a profound silence within. This is what I want'', I thought. But whatever said and done, I know that voice keeps me going. Talks to me when there's no one to comfort me. Consoles me, lashes out at me. But, its always there. And its always right!!!

First RCB Fan Meet-Up, Mumbai, 2010

Surprises aren’t always pleasant; sometimes they are just mind blowing. As I was gearing up for the first RCB meet-up at Colaba, I received a certain call, which made my sleepy eyes light up with excitement. That was Disha Shetty informing me about a latest addition to the list of participants: the new addition was, of course, none other than Siddhartha Mallya!! Before I could let it sink in, I found myself imagining how the meet-up would be, and most importantly, how lucky the Mumbai RCB gang is! 

I was super excited owing to a number of reasons. Firstly, this was my first meet up. Secondly, being new to Bombay, I know very few people, and hanging out with people sharing the same passion was something that I was looking forward to with bated breath. The new twist in the tale introduced by Disha sent the excitement meter ticking!! 

Celebrities are never on time is the usual assumption. But contrary to popular belief, Mallya Junior turned up way before time! As Disha and I walked up to him, introducing ourselves, we could see how happy he was to see two RCB fans in the house! Little did he know that there was a bunch of chirpy fans who would be pouring in a while. 

The meeting kick started in trademark Royal Challengers style. There was beer on the table, and Mallya Junior insisted that we sip beer as the proceedings began. Although he was a little surprised that we chose not to taste a home product, yet he was polite enough to excuse us and let us have juice instead. Then started a conversation, which we wished would never end. He shared with us his vies on player retention, who is the ideal player for the CL, who is in great shape, who’s not et all. However, what emerged to be the most interesting part of the event was all the inside-scoop he shared with us.

Going by the way he spoke, the man does have in-depth knowledge of the game, and he knows for sure, the nitty-gritty of the business he is into. The ease with he discussed the sport, chipping in with facts and figures, the fans were charmed and bowled over. With some off-the-record scoop and future plans like altering the jerseys, who-goes-in-who-faces-the-axe kind of stuff, the meet-up was refreshing! 

He posed with the fans, and when I asked him about the meet-up he said, “I am never lost for words. If today I am, it is because I am overwhelmed by the turn out. And considering the fact that this is Bombay, I have to confess that such a huge turn-out was least expected. It feels great though!” 

What followed was a stint of an awareness campaign, with the RCB fans sporting colourful stickers on their jerseys. These stickers courtesy an NGO called Corner Stone, had some thought provoking slogans printed on them. A march and a photo session leter, we were a bunch of happy youngsters. Community Managers Natasha, Nidhi and Ankit along with chief blogger Aneesh also joined us. What a awesome day it was! I not just got a chance to break away from the monotony of home-workplace-home, but also got to know some of the RCB fans in town and most of all, made a lot of new friends! If this is the way the meet-up would turn out to be, I am GAME FOR MORE!!!! :) 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Asia Cup: An Overview

India’s Asia Cup campaign begins on the 16th as they take on the underdogs Bangladesh. This quadrilateral series comes as a golden opportunity for the butchered heroes to bounce back and regain their lost glory. The boys are at the Emerald Isles on a mission: to rectify their pathetic show of the past few days; to clinch a series victory and shatter the 15-year-old jinx of not having lifted the Asia Cup and most importantly, climb up in the ODI rankings.

The Asia Cup assumes a lot of significance. It is the perfect ground for the 2011 World Cup preparations, given the fact that this part of the subcontinent will host a pretty major chunk of the event. Again, with four test playing nations in the run, the series should witness some high quality and competitive cricket being played. The dwindling popularity of the 50 over format of the game could be transformed if the event is a hit among cricket lovers. Given the fact that the ODIs are being crushed in between the traditional tests and the zippy T20s, countries like England and Australia have already begun experimenting with his format, adding zing to it by splitting it up into two innings of 20 overs each. An innovative way to combine the elements of two of the stellar forms of the game.

Defending champions Sri Lanka will start as favourites, vying to script a hat trick Asia Cup victory. Apart from having a home advantage, the hosts will be grinning because of the in form Dilshan and the return of the stalwarts, Sangakkara and Jayawardane. Angelo Matthews, the hero of the IPL, will also be a player to watch out for. Their trump card:

1. The bowling combination of newbie, Suraj Randiv and surprise pick, Ranjana Herath along with the veteran, Muralidharan.

2. The deadly opening pair of Dilshan and Jayawardane, who could come out with all cylinders firing.

Pakistan, a side known to be back with a bang after a bout of conflicts and controversies, will also try to set their Asia Cup record straight. Having lifted the Cup only once, this side would be aiming to come up with credible performances. It would be interesting to note how the team gels, given the return of the “back-biting” former captain Shoaib Malik and the twin dope offenders, Shoaib Akhtar and Md. Asif. Struggling with a lot of issues, including internal differences in the team, it would be a perfect time for the team to rise above these trivial matters and perform as a unit. The return of speedster Akhtar could work in the team’s favour. Their trump card:

1. A deadly pace attack with Mohammad Aamer, Md Asif and Soaib Akhtar at the helm.

2. Presence of the blistering batsman Umar Akmal.

India would be looking to heal their bruises and get back to winning ways. Advantage one would be the fact that the seniors would be fresh after a long beak from cricket. What the team needs to do at the moment is to shed all the baggage of the past, and start afresh. The focus should on one match at a time. To avoid being rusty, the team will have to sweat it out at the practice session. Their trump card:

1. Return of the likes of MSD, Sehwag, Gamhir, Harbhajan, Nehra and Zaheer.

2. In form Raina and Rohit Sharma.

3. Ashwin, Dinda and Saurabh Tiwary could emerge as surprise performers.

The Bangladesh team could well enforce an upset in the series. With experienced customers like Mortaza and Ashraful, the young guns could give the prominent teams a run for their money. Their trump card:

1. A fairly new squad. Could spring up a few surprises.

2. Tamim Iqbal, in peach of a form, going past the half century mark in six of his seven innings in tests.

Another interesting aspect of the upcoming edition of the Asia Cup would be the random dope tests. This is a first in the history of the series. Two players each from two sides will be picked post each match for the test. It could bring past offenders Akhtar and Asif under the scanner.

With all the teams gearing up for the onslaught, the meet would take the competitiveness to a higher level. If all the teams perform to their potential, it will a treat for all cricket enthusiasts

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blurred Horizon...

Team India's tryst with shoddiness continues, with back to back humiliation at the hands of the gritty minnows. The Men in Blue were struck by a bolt from the blue as the hosts registered their second thumping victory, this time with close to 11 overs in hand. Cruising towards a berth in the finals, the "underdogs" even bagged a bonus point. With no more late nighters to be taken shelter under, the boys are sure to face some blaring music once back home. 

Sadly, the saga of of absurd team selection continues, even post the World Cup debacle. Murali Vijay earning a place in the team despite the outright horrendous performance in the WC has raised quite a few eyebrows. Poor shot selection, substandard fielding, erroneous bowling...the list of blunders can go on. Making mistakes and shamelessly repeating them seems to have become a habit.

This brings me to a question that has probably been hounding the heads of every thinking follower of Indian cricket. Is it about time to fall back on the stable shoulders of the seniors? With most of the pro's leaving a profound and lasting mark on all formats of the game, it would probably be wise of the selection committee to let the colts blossom under the shadow of the seniors, rather than letting them fend for themselves. Their inexperience and immaturity to handle even an easy opponent like Zimbabwe is a cause for concern. With preparations for the next World Cup on full swing, it would be better for the BCCI to nip the problem in the bud than cry over spilt milk later on.

The killer instinct seems to be missing. This young team, which should be oozing with enthusaism and zeal, is ironically, looking pale, with no spark or zing. The fate in this series is dependent on the performance of the other teams rather than their own. Unfortunate. But they have only themseleves and the board to blame. 

The BCCI is already under the scanner after refusing to send a team to the Asian Games. A series loss will only add on to their woes. Being labelled as a commercial sport, the immediate future looks a little too bleak for the BCCI’s comfort. It is in a muddle of issues at the moment: sports authorities slamming them for their move regarding the Asian Games, successive pathetic shows by the team at major outings, the evergreen Lalit Modi issue. Quite a bit on their plate!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Place I Call Home...

When someone asks me where I belong to, I always say Assam in an instinctive response. Hailing from Kerala, I have spent almost 17 years in the picturesque state. The name triggers fear on most people’s faces; ironically, it is the same place that I call home, a place that has showered me with love and warmth; bestowed upon me cherubs whom I call friends. The topography, the language, the cuisine, the populace: I am head over heels in love with the place.

Embracing an outsider and making her feel as a part of the community, the hospitality bowled me over. Being a part of the culture since a tender age, I was awestruck to discover what a rich heritage the state has been blessed with. But when people shudder with fear at the prospect of visiting Assam, I am hit hard by the reality that bites.

Lush greenery, the full flowing Brahmaputra, the straight-out-of-a-wallpaper looking landscape, the ridges, the hills, flowers that bring about a riot of colours, the one-horned rhinos. All these are the pride of Assam. Sadly though, something gruesome has overshadowed the rush of nostalgic emotions that these marvels of nature invoke.

Despite well over a decade of independence, Assam bleeds. Every wound festers, with nothing to heal it. One bruise after another is inflicted upon the terror-torn state. Bomb blasts that have ripped apart Axom time and again have become a part and parcel of lives of the people in the gateway to the North East. Be it regional and language based riots, extortion or terrorist attacks, the beautiful state is now held tight within the deadly clutches of extremism.

Making matters worse is the fact that it is an earthquake prone zone. Floods, disrupting normal life have become a common phenomenon. These are some of the hiccups that Assam faces on its path to development. Nothing much can be done about the external attacks and natural calamities. But what about the cancer breeds within Axom? It is malignant and is continuing to spread its diabolic roots.

Time for the true Axomiya to raise their voice and make it heard. Time for some concrete action to be taken, to show these intruding elements that we are not the ones who will take things lying down. With the rich diverse culture, abundance of natural resources, and a beautiful landscape that holds potential to attract swarms of tourists, Guwahati is one of the most rapidly developing cities in the country. If anything destructive proves to be a hitch, it should be dealt with in a stringent manner.

Assam, now looks like the sun held in the captivity of an eclipse. Hope to have a free Axom sparkling like a gem, developing and utilizing its resources to the fullest.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Caribbean Campaign a Washout!

West Indies appears to be ominous for Indian cricket. The blemished Indian World Cup record in the Caribbean seems to have had a sad repetition in the blitz form of the game as well. A forgettable outing this, the Men in Blue are basking in the limelight for some reason or the other. For some people, they are the butt of ridicule, for others an easy scapegoat for criticism, for some the source of heartfelt disappointment.

From being sloppy on field to lacking tactics with the timber, the Indian team came up with outrageously substandard performances. The solitary match in which the team performed to their potential, was the first match against minnows Afghanistan. Had they lost that match, it would have been better for them to take exile in Afghanistan itself!

This disastrous exit from the WC has brought MSD straight into the radar of the fuming fans and former cricketers. To make matters worse, the media seems to have picked up on one teeny weenie little phase that escaped from his mouth. He has been quoted holding the IPL post match parties for player burn out. This statement cooked up a storm in the entire country, with people from all walks of life taking time out to stop and comment.

First things first, had the IPL been responsible for the burn out, it would have also been applicable to the foreign players who were a part of the much hyped league. Instead, a lot of the players carried their great form into the WC. KP, for sure, is one such player. Secondly, knowing full well that the WC is round the corner, the players should have objected to attending such parties. Here again, one needs to take notice of the fact that attending such parties is not mandatory for the players. It is a matter of personal jurisdiction.

Therefore, before making such unwarranted comments, MSD should have promptly thought about the ripples it would create. But, having said that, he did not hold the IPL parties entirely responsible for the debacle. What could have been let off as a passing comment, was perhaps blown out of proportion.

The WC was a tragedy of errors. The selection was bizarre. Picking the one match wonder M. Vijay ahead of the king of sixes, Robin Uthappa was a shocker. Apart from that, the Umesh Yadav visa episode was a farce. Despite having made the cut, the poor lad, playing for Delhi Daredevils could not join the team. He could not have done anything much for the team though. The team was ousted from the event, even before he would have reached.

The individual performances are not even worth discussing, the only saving grace being Suresh Raina, who seems to have blossomed at the right time. The short balls were an effective weapon that each of the teams tried against the struggling Indians. Fielding was disastrous. Jadeja, in all probability will need to whip up a miracle to get back to the good books of the selectors. His batting was callous, his deliveries were whacked for boundaries and his fielding was dismal, with the dropped catch of Gayle proving to be very expensive. That drooped sitter, probably changed the entire course of the game, and also, played a huge role in sad turn of events for the Indians.

To add insult to injury, some team players seem to have been involved in a pub brawl. With the Indians being shown the door, there’s not much left to speculate. Hope that this poor show is not repeated in the contests to come.

The Pursuit of a Wanderer

In the vast misty sky,

The dreamy eyes of the wanderer search for the silver lining;
For a ray of hope that can fill the lifeless vastness
With hues of brilliance and positivity.

Like a boat in the rough tides,
Life sails him away from the safe shores.
It cooks up a storm,
To entrap him within a whirlwind of trouble.

Cuddled inside the blanket of darkness,
Life seems to smirk at him;
Trapping him within one snare after another,
Sarcasm seems to be painted on its face.

His skin burns beneath the torrid spell,
He has no shield against the woeful rain,
Nature saps him of the every ion of energy he has,
Yet he moves on.

No pole star to guide,
No oasis to quench his thirst,
No companion to accompany,
Yet he goes on.

Life sniggers and jeers at him,
Yet he moves undeterred,
Battling all odds,
Towards a hazy horizon.

He wanders from place to place,
Memories painted on the blank canvas of his memory,
Meeting and greeting people,
Yet has no one who longs for him.

Life has the last laugh,
He dies unknown,
No one sheds tears for him, no one remembers him,
The unsung hero..the Wanderer

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Living on the Edge

As I stand along the edge of the train, a gust of wind caresses my hair, blowing it away from my face. It fills me up with a fresh lease of life; gives me a sense of having broken away from all shackles. Despite having a place to sit, I choose to stand, just to feel the breeze hit my face. The chilly breeze is in pleasant contrast to the humid weather.

The city looks dazzling at night…tall towers look studded with a thousand stars; each of them stands apart. The constant hustle at the stations baffles me, as I wonder, are these stations ever devoid of people?

The city of hope it is called. Every face radiates the passion to excel. The eagerness to carve a niche of their own is perhaps the driving force. I have, as of now, become a part of the ever swelling population of the country that proudly calls itself Mumbaikars.

With a thousand dreams in my eyes, I have embarked on a voyage marked by paths of uncertainties and dilemmas. The challenges of the profession, the survival of the fittest, all these characteristics seem to be implicitly reflected by the train journey.

I have brazened up myself to cross the innumerable hurdles that my life will be peppered with; imbibing the spirit of the city that never sleeps, I have begun enjoying living life on the edge.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Day Fiasco!!

The anticipation, nervousness, excitement were all giving me the typical butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling. As I geared up for the D-Day, waking up unusually early, and sending out thousands of silent prayers to the Big Gun up there, I could sense a gush of emotions surging inside my system. The run up to the first day of internship was disastrous to say the least.

The plan of taking a train, to get used to the early morning blues went haywire, because of the motorman strike. If that was an ominous start, I was completely in the dark of what was to come! As I rushed with my parents to catch the “BEST” bus, I could feel the strap of my almost new chappal snap. Damn! I dragged along my chappal, cursing the Janpath guys under my breath, for having made a fool of me; selling me a chappal that couldn’t survive the first day of the Mumbai struggle.

The possibility of being late on the very first day scared the shit out of me. I was nervous and freaking out! The silent prayers were bearing fruits..I managed to reach on time. What followed was a long and indefinite waiting process at the HR department, time that me and Aaheli utilized to get my chappal fixed and get her recharge done. Once we entered back the magnificent heritage building where our new office was nestled, we bumped into fellow TSJian Sunanda. Leading her on to the HR, we had another short session of the irritatingly tedious wait.

Feeling a mild hunger pang, me and Aaheli decided to check out the canteen, which boasts of food that adequately fits into the bill of “aap ke zamaane mein baap ke zamaane ke daam”!!! With astonishment beaming on our face, we munched on the delicious food. Half way through our lunch, we were summoned by the HR female. The assistant to our RE allotted us our particular departments: I got sports and Aaheli bagged business… lucky girl, she had her team around, who assigned her with work on the very first day itself. Someone described that as “first day, first show”! Apt.

With none of the sports guys turning up till 4, I had a miserable time for four hours that seemed to last for an eternity. Reading and re-reading the paper for four hours at a stretch, with no one around to have a word with, it was excruciatingly boring! When the team finally arrived, confusion was scripted all over my face. With Aaheli off on her first venture, I felt lost and hopeless!! Looking at everyone around, seemingly working on something or the other, I got a loser feeling!

With a cool editor and a fun loving bunch around me, I felt a little bit at ease. Chatting with Karthik also helped to a great extent. My editor tried explaining the outdated and obsolete tes thing to me, half of it was registered, and the rest of it shot miles above my head!!! The team was bowled over when I learnt about my plight. They exclaimed that I looked “fried”!! My considerate ed let me off at 7. Aaheli told me that waiting for her would be futile, with the strike playing spoilsport again.

My first taste of the typical Mumbai local train crowd was scary. All the locals running way beyond time, I had to stand for a painful 45 minutes, before the train finally started moving, inching towards the destination. Figuring out the stations was difficult. The crowd in the train and the rush on the station coupled with poor vision all helped the cause. With the hyperactive women pushing me on to the right station, I couldn’t thank my stars enough that it was over. And almost successfully. Apart from the pinching fact that I wasted a day…doing nothing!!!!

The first day was weird…and nerve wracking too.. hope the days to come are not a sad repetition!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Post Mortem!

RCB has done it yet again. From treading on the right path at the initial stages, to losing it mid way: the team never capitalized on the initial advantage it got. Blazing away to four straight victories gave the team a cushion, from where they could comfortably proceed to the semis. But pathetic performances, coupled with some mindless decisions by the management created all the road blocks. So what were the ingredients that cooked up the perfect recipe for disaster? Complacency? Overconfidence? Laid back attitude? What went wrong?

An analysis:

- Jacques Kallis: Unfair to call him THE culprit. Yet, he was in some manner, responsible for the sloppy start in terms of run rate. The top contender for the orange cap, the way every innings of his was paced, somehow reflected that the orange cap perhaps was the reason behind his cautious batting. Prime example would be the match against the Rajasthan Royals, where the bowlers managed to restrict them to a modest total. What seemed to a cake walk, was complicated because of a snail-paced batting by the burly South African. However, one cannot really overlook his contribution with both bat and ball.

- Batting order: RCB never had a fixed batting order. Goswami was an utter failure. No fixed opening pair, no fixed middle order batsmen. It could have worked in the team’s favour, for the intention was right: to keep the opposition in the dark, so that they would be unable to come up with a substantial strategy to combat the batting line up, that looked pretty strong on paper.

- Team Selection: More often than not, having a constellation of stars in the team, and being made to pick and choose from them leads to a happy headache. Some of the top international faces: Kallis, KP, White, Merwe, Boucher, Steyn, Taylor, Morgan are unbelievably, a part of the same team. However, the dilemma arises when the management’s hands are tied to picking up only four of them. With such quality players, it becomes difficult and confusing to drop the axe on some of them. That leads to a rather distorted vision regarding the ideal team combination.

- Bowling Attack: The bowling lacks sharpness. Apart from Steyn, no bowler could generate pace while not compromising with the basics. Vinay Kumar was impressive, yet, lack of experience did play a role. The spin department was spearheaded by Jumbo, which, undoubtedly was effective. However, The semi finals witnessed Jumbo’s deliveries being thrashed, with the no balls adding insult to injury. Bowling needs to be focused and clinical.

- Fielding: Inconsistent. From coming up with blinders, to dropping sitters, RCB has done it all. Ground fielding was average; field placements were not attacking. Strategic Time Outs were inconsequential. Leaking singles and doubles spelt doom. 

- Batting: Despite having a 60% winning rate while chasing, it was ironical that RCB lost all the crucial matches batting second. A solid batting line up, they seemed to be in a wild goose chase, even when the target was meagre. In the blitz form of the game, every dot ball ticks the required run rate higher, and after the piling run rate, it is more or less an uphill task.

Despite the issues mentioned above, there have been a number of postives that have emerged post the IPL. Robin Uthappa’s towering sixes, Vinay Kumar’s and Appanna’s lethal bowling, Rahul Dravid’s superb catching…These are positives not just for RCB, but for the national side as well.

Whatever happened will be heart-breaking, yet we will continue to cheer loud and clear…..We are Game For More….always!!!! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Looking Back.....

As the clocks tick, as each second passes, little do we realize that these are the moments that will haunt our memories and become a part of our identity. The unpredictable journey of life takes us to unknown destinations, and each of them endows us with memories; some heart warming, some heart wrenching. We meet people; faces of some are intertwined with our personality; faces of others fade away into the darkness. 

The footsteps towards every new junction, compels us to learn and de learn. One never knows when one step could be a giant leap. We move in a linear manner, but somewhere down the line, the mind wanders off…recollecting all the moments of bliss and melancholy.

One of the most important pitstops in my journey was TSJ. Met a lot of people, shared a cordial relationship with most. But there were a few with whom I struck an instant chord. The first meeting itself sparked off what would be a bond for life. In a city where relationships are short-lived; where friend turns foe in a split second, relationships that endure all hardships are a rare occurrence. I am, therefore, extremely glad to have come across people whom i would love to keep in touch forever.

From testing mental endurance to emotional capabilities, every individual at TSJ reached his or her tipping point. As the journey reaches its fag end, there is a gush of memories. The first day, where every person’s eyes reflected their aspirations. Some faces that had the gloom of leaving behind their families; the excitement of exploring a new world altogether; the apprehensions of surviving in the rough and rude industry. 

The Monday morning blues that robbed us of our peaceful slumber, the piling assignments that we despised. The classes that facebook made tolerable. The canteen, the lab, the corridor: every part of this BCCL building will be etched on to our memories. From friendly fights to hair pulling disasters, every moment is worth recalling. 

Tausif, the “chacha”, with a political inclination. Rachit, the philosopher lost in his own sweet world. Arora, the avid blogger. Aaheli, the sweetheart and visionary; the Argumentative Indian. Aryani, the tomboy. Shaily, the damsel. Rudrani, the lethal combination of beauty and brains. Viraj, the boy next door. Purba, the self proclaimed hard core feminist. Annanya, the unassuming. Gandhi, the efficient worker. Payal, the grammarian. Neha, the journalist with a mission. Shuvait, the storehouse of immense knowledge. Karthik, the techno guru. Kumari, the prolific writer. Sasha, the chilled out chick. Pallavi, the architect of the pages. Vani, the super talented. Upasana, bubbling with energy throughout the day. Akshita, the fashion consultant. Sunanda, the potential star alumni of TSJ. Navjot, the excellent orator. Dipika, the able leader. Sneha, the silent achiever. Tista, who never hesitates to lend a helping hand; “Misshap”, “ Misty” (m sure tiss u mustv understood!!). Binesh, the superlatively talented; the macho man. Poonam, the smiling beauty. Sandeep, the man of few words; the next big thing in the field of political journalism. Shweta, the invincible. Ragini, the girl with a golden voice. Alpa, the cutest and the friendliest of all.

With such a diversity and variety of individuals, coming from across the country, this class has been rightly christened as “Mini India.” With every individual exceptionally talented, one thing is for sure: it will not be long before each of them carves a niche of his or her own. This batch will go places, and I am sure, Sunny sir will be will be beaming with pride.

As this journey ends, marking the beginning of a new and exciting phase, recalling every single event will bring about nostalgia. From hysterical bouts of laughter to intense debates, from sustaining under pressure to blossoming due to competition, from gossip sessions to hanging out in the canteen, all memories are frozen in time.

I will definitely miss TSJ!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sniffing a Victory....

With a crushing defeat vs the Mumbai Indians, and almost no credible reason to take solace in, the team morale is down in the dumps. So what should the perfect strategy be to combat MI, who are in peach of a form, perching comfortable at the top of the table?

Firstly, what happened at the preliminary level is of no use now. It is a question of taking it one match at a time. The batting order needs to be revised. The bowling options are limited, but Jumbo spearheading the attack, opening the bowling with his lethal and deceptive spin, could be effective. Catching, after the last match, has become a sphere of concern.

Another question is KP or White? Thumbs up for KP, keeping in mind his consistent performance and ability to chip in as a part time bowler. Appanna and Vinay too have been impressive. But then again, comes the question of picking up one. Steyn can be devastative with his blistering pace. Kallis, who is in the eye of the storm, needs to perform, and perform with an awesome run rate. VD Merwe deserves a chance, but serious doubts on whether the management would take a gamble.

If Kallis makes an early exit and returns to the pavilion, the ideal strategy would be to promote Dravid up the order, to render consolidation to the innings and pumping up the run rate later. With a hard hitter on one end, and an anchor on the other, setting a target or chasing down one should not be impossible.

Fielding needs fine tuning. Catches need to be scooped out of thin air. Dropping sitters is a sin. RCB needs a sharp fielding attack, with the fielders always on their toes and a shrewd field placement, that will put a lid on the leaking out of singles and couples in the slog overs.

MI is a formidable team, and the kind of winning streak they are in, a bit of both brawn and brain is a prerequisite to cruise through the semis. Analysing the blunders made in the previous matches and trying not to repeat them is the key to victory. The top order needs to fire, and one of the batsmen should always aim to up the ante, and put pressure on the bowling side. Bowlers need to stick to their basics, and not err in line and length.

For all RCB fans, this is the time to be a solid mode of energy revival. The team needs our support, and all RCBians need to cheer for them wholeheartedly.

The venue of the semi finals being shifted to Navi Mumbai is definitely gonna play a crucial role, as the Chinnaswami Stadium is known for the awe inspiring support it lends to the home team. Nevertheless, playing excellent cricket will compensate for that, and playing with the spirit of being only two steps away from that beauty, should be inspiring enough to see us through to the finals.

Time to roar like the Royals. Time to answer back. Time to rise from the ashes. Time to Win! We are Game for More!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

C(h)at Fight!!

Chat: One of the saviours that prevents you from dozing off in the middle of a class that can put you to a state of opium induced sleep! Sit next to your friend and gossip and bitch big time, apart from sharing your problems, without the rest of the world getting a hint of what you are up to!

I was multi tasking last evening. Profound and very professional it may sound though, for everyone’s benefit, let me clarify that I was watching the IPL and chatting on Facebook!! With the entire class fragmented because of internship, and with a lot of my friends scattered, chats do help in keeping touch with them.

I was chatting with the Cricket Guru and Master Geek, Karthik. Both of us were on the opposites sides of the pole. One, a hard core CSK fan, the other, a die hard RCB loyalist. It was indeed a clash of the titans. With one battle on field, there was another one, a miniscule one on Facebook. It was Karthik Krishnan Vs Parvathy Gopalakrishnan, engaged in a battle of words! It was time for Chat Fight! Every development in the match paved way to a new twist in the tale, in the CSK vs RCB replica on Facebook.

Multitasking at its best! One glance at the match, and a brainstorming for a perfect one liner that could give one an edge over the other. As the match reached its final stages, the Facebook Battle also intensified. Smileys were also thrown in to compliment the witty comments and counter comments we were coming up with!! Every boundary led to smirks from his side and the fall of every wicket invoked a devilish smile on my face, translated through words and smileys!!

The match ended with CSK screwing us up! Karthik Krishnan, for sure had the last laugh; and I could only copy him in saying, “What Misery?!!”