Monday, June 20, 2011

A man beyond numbers; beyond words: Rahul Dravid

Salt and pepper hair crown his temples. A bright young face is now a more matured one, with wrinkles peeping in from here and there, indicating an obvious passage of time. Jitters and butterflies in the stomach have now been replaced by an aura exuding confidence, and the reckoning of a challenge accepted. The young lad has grown into a man; a legend; a hero. My hero; our hero; a nation’s hero. A sport's hero.

15 years. 12,000 + runs. 31 centuries. 58 half centuries. Judge him by the numbers, and he’s undoubtedly one of the best cricketers the game has ever seen. But, the man, the hero, is beyond these figures. He’s beyond statistics, for they are just numbers. And numbers, just don’t seem to excite the legend. Along the years, we, his fans have celebrated every milestone crossed, broken into an impromptu jig everytime he’s belted that once-in-a-blue-moon sixer, swayed in a mini Mexican wave from where ever we are when he crafts his artistic shots. But, we’ve also learnt from him; adopted his philosophy as our own; understood that every achievement is a record, yet is only a number, a figure that might go down in history, but will not remain there forever.

Even as he approaches yet another milestone in his glittering career, his fans are clear about one thing – that today isn’t the day to celebrate what has happened over the past 15 years. It is the moment to cash in glory for the performance in the match that is coming our way. Chests swelled with pride, heads high, shoulders firm, for its been a decade and a half of impeccable cricket; a career articulately painted with blissful strokes, rock solid defense, an enviable temperament, and a kitty full of records. But are these the only things that define him?

Not really. He’s a man whose positive vibes have transcended the boundaries of the stadium. Humility, dedication, a clinical approach to his game: attributes that are rare to find in the breed of the younger cricketers in the team. He’s motivated his fans to think like him, approach every crisis-ridden situation with a calm and eased-out mind. Maturity; a slow yet steady graph that began its journey from mediocrity to scale the peaks of excellence; the hunger to perform; the passion to drive the team home; the ability to take charge of unfavourable situations; the guts to put team before self – these are the things that define the man, the hero.

While totally unrelated to this post, he might have a million fans, and I might not be the craziest or biggest of them all, but all I want to convey through this post is that I admire him a lot. He’s inspired me in every walk of my life, and I’ve tried imbibing his thought process – of taking criticism with a pinch of salt, of fighting till the end, and of being a team player. I do not know whether he will ever read this, or even know that someone called Parvathy Gopalakrishnan even exists, but all I know is that fifteen years, and counting, one thing has been consistent in my life – the man, the sport, the prayers, the well wishes, the heart-in-my-mouth and the ‘yes, we’ve done it bhai!’ moments.

Here’s taking a bow to my hero: Rahul ‘Mr Consistent’ Dravid! :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's in a name? Bahut Kuch!

When Shakespeare wondered aloud “What's in a name?”, he sure mustn't have been aware of the complications of modern day affairs. He had no cheques to be cleared, for I assume, the man slept on bundles of notes. He never had to shell out taxes, and for that purpose, never had to wait for his TDS certificates. He did not need bylines, he did not have to get bank accounts, pan cards or passports to be made. His life was Simble. One explanation for “What's in a name?”

Zoom ahead to THIS day, and Mr Shakespeare would've had second thoughts. A rose probably would have smelt differently if was called a lily. Yes. Now, we have menaces like bank formalities, bylines, and press cards, and there is certainly loads in a name. Ask me!

I've been having trouble with my name, ever since...well never mind. “K G. Parvathy”: thats what Mommie dear and Daddy dearest chose to call me. Parvathy is kinda ok; what's with the K.G, I don't know. Most southies have the name of their village and their dad's name as their initials, and my parents did not seem to play trend -setters here. Hence, we followed the rest of the herd, and “K.G. Parvathy” it was. Signed, sealed, delivered.

Moving on. I'd always been the butt of ridicule, all thanks to my name. “Kindergarten Parvathy”, “Kilogram Parvathy”: and my creative little friends had more to offer. More on that, later. I'd mastered the art of ignoring these demons, and quite blissfully so. Yay!! Not for long though. Come college life, and we had bundles of forms to be filled. And then a certain college peon popped up the query that had me fuming. “What's your name? KG or Parvathy?” I was muttering curses under my breath, at the same time, astonished at the fact that someone could be so friggin' dumb!

Urgh-ness was coming. I grew up; not an extraordinary phenomenon, for most of the world also did. From a gawky student, to a gawky journalist, I had been in three different cities, and the name game had almost ceased to exist. But when I filed my first ever story for The Times of India, it came back to haunt me. My seniors were of the opinion that “KG Parvathy” in the byline would look errmm... a little tacky. So, to make it less tacky, I chose Parvathy Gopalakrishnan. Standard, I thought. And convenient too, since I had a facebook account by that name.

The decision was taken, and for the rest of the four months, I happily continued to file all my stories under my “less tacky, more standard” name. Internship stint was over, and it was about time that I stepped into a new job. It happened and I filled all the forms with my new, standard name. And then the trouble began. All my official papers were under the new name, while my certificates bore the old one. My bank account too, was by the name of KG Parvathy, and cheques were being issues in the new name.

Realization struck later. Money screwed, pan card screwed, press card screwed, bylines screwed, and if there was anything left, that would be screwed in installments. If ever our dear Mr Shakespeare's ghost happens to read this blog post, the the infamous lines would be reconsidered.

PS: I like my name, its just that the complications tagging along with it piss me off, BIG TIME!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Keep It Simple Silly!! :)

 ***Boy to girl: Err…I don’t really want a relationship at this point in time.

  Girl to boy (heart-broken, yet pretending to be calm): Ok. And why is that so?

  Boy to girl: See, this in one phase of our life when we can have fun, live life the way we     want to, without thinking too much. Relationships make life complicated. That’s why.

  Girl to boy: I get your point. We’ll think about a relationship later on. ***

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Most couples these days think not just twice or thrice, they think over a hundred times before they nod their head in approval when it comes to the “being in a relationship” part. So, what is playing villain in the normal lovey-dovey scene?

Five years back in time, guys used to hesitate asking a girl out. Reason: what if the girl rejects the proposal? And now, five years down the line, guys face the same perplexity, but with a minor difference. The hesitation is still there, but the apprehension, a little different. Reason: what if the girl accepts the proposal? Ironical, isn’t it?

Relationships are no longer trending. I know it does not sound a trifle cool, but then, that is how it is. The grey area between being in a relationship, and not being in one, is oft perceived to be disgusting. “Time-pass” is what the Tom, Dick and Harry would term it as. But, come to think of it, is it really only time-pass?

I beg to differ. I don’t think love should be relationship- bound. You can love someone, care for someone, miss that person, enjoy his/her company, without being a couple. No rishte ka naam, and the world and its wife think you’re doomed. But it isn’t like that. Look at the pressure every individual is facing. If you’re a student, the pressure of doing well academically is not the only thing that’ll be on your mind. Extra-curricular activities, internships, jobs and “being in the league of uber-cool peers” will consume most of your sanity.

And if you’re a professional, its worse. Moving up the ladder, elbowing other possible competitors, keeping the family happy, earning more than your batchmates, and more to make you a lunatic. Amidst all this, one does need to take out time to switch off. One needs have that “special someone”, who can be by your side, make you laugh, and comfort you; a “special someone”, who has to be more than a friend.

Relationships aren’t harmful. No they’re not. But what makes them messy is that the expectations rise at a mercurial rate. Its like, “You bloody need to take my call even if you’re on your death-bed” Was a possibility once upon a time, but not anymore. Every individual comes with his/ her own set of problems, and it’s best not to pile on one’s issues on the heads of others. Even if it’s your “significant other”. People need closeness, yet they need space. The best way to make it a win-win situation, is by drawing a line.

We have to understand that our existence is a complex saga. Relationships lead to arguments, arguments lead to fight, and they leave you with a feeling of wretchedness inside. What’s worse, when you’re in a relationship, there’s a cent percent possibility of a break-up. No relationship, no break-up. Yay! It always feels good to live in a Utopian world, and relationships CAN make your life complicated. So, just like an animated Ranbir Kapoor says, “Keep it simple silly!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Me and My Mumbai! :)

It almost seemed as if time had boarded a jet plane and whizzed past me. A year in Mumbai now, and it feels like my wobbly toddler steps into the media industry happened just yesterday.

I was on the threshold of a four-month stint with the baap of all publications: The Times of India, and I could feel the butterflies fluttering inside my system. Apprehensive, nervous, excited; boy, I was a bundle of emotions. And TOI Bombay was my little paradise. From growing professionally, to coming to terms with the vastness of Bambai nagariya, this has been an incredible journey so far.

And the local train joyrides. Ah! I love ‘em! From going “Dadar kaunse side pe aayega?” to being on the other side of the fence, life has come a full circle. The art of elbowing out people in the race to get a footing space in the train that would be literally spilling with commuters, the rail tracks have been more than a learning curve.

And then it was all about people who mattered. Enormously talented people, who had a very light head on their shoulders! Being in their circle makes just leaves me with the feeling of fast-spreading glee! Yeah, the big fat family at TOI was more than I could’ve asked for. Internship ended, and it was yet again time for the dreadful goodbyes. Hellos are far more difficult than bye-byes. With bye-bye, there’s hope, with hellos come apprehensions. That of course, is me, looking at the world through pessimistic glares! If moving away from friends was sad, looking forward to new company was equally exciting!

It was mid-October, when I was reeling under multiple high BP causing incidents. Lost wallet, no cash in hand, no job, I was almost feeling like a refugee. And happened, and along with it walked into my life, some of the most wonderful people. Life has been good ever since, all thanks to these angels in human form.

As I bring in the first anniversary of my arrival in this city, I have to thank all the people who’ve made this journey worthwhile and beautiful. And I have to admit unabashedly that I am head-over-heels in love with this city and its aura!