Saturday, December 24, 2011

Swimming In The Dark ... !!

It's not a secret to most of the people who know me that I am in love with swimming. Having made it my favorite past time for the last 5 odd years, the love affair refuses to end. I aint complaining. Its quite refreshing to swim early in the morning. Sets up the entire day perfectly. Fitness may be an added incentive but I love swimming just coz of the feel and the experience rather than the fitness aspect. Did I forget stamina? Well, almost.

People also find me weird. For good reason. Not that I am obsessed with doing weird stuff but somethings have happened and some things have been made to happen. It was quite against the run of play when an opportunity for adventure presented itself this week.

I swim at Parsi Gymkhana(PG) which is situated at the most isolated of army surroundings in Camp. People who know the Hollywood Gurudwara in Camp will relate to this beauty of a place. Surrounded by trees and lonely narrow roads with the army quarters setting up a picturesque avenue. PG stands alone with its evergreen campus and lonely atmosphere.

Being winter, lot of people do not opt to jump into ice cold water at 6 in the morning. I was also one of these people until some years back but now I seem to be smitten by these early morning dips. So, there are only 2 regulars at PG nowdays. A guy called Tulsi and me. Tulsi runs around the Race Course before coming to PG. Something Amruta and I used to do for a considerable amount of time earlier. Nowdays, I just go to PG. Tulsi and I have become good friends over the last 3-4 months and I like people who are regulars at PG. Whether they swim or not is immaterial since there is so much you can do at PG.

I will like to provide some history before I actually narrate the adventure.

When I first started swimming at PG, it used to be open well before 6 am. A Parsi uncle (we now call him Keku uncle and thats his name. I swear.) used to open the Gymkhana. Initially I thought he was the owner of the place but later I realised that the owner was too lazy to get up so early on in the mornings and hence asked a good samaritan like Keku uncle to do the needful. Keku uncle is a 87 year old man and he is fit as a fiddle. Happened to be Mr. India in 1952. Thats what he says. I have no evidence though. But I dont doubt one bit that he must have been Mr. India. Has so many stories to say in typical Parsi manner. But since age is not on his side, he was quite irregular at the pool which meant that the Gymkhana would remain shut on days Keku uncle was not able to come to the pool. So the baton went back to the owners who employed a person called Bhaskar to open the Gymkhana in the morning.

Bhaskar is the typical government employee. He will work according to his will and wont budge on most occasions. He was being late everyday for the last 2-3 weeks which meant I had to go back home without swimming on many occasions. One day, I lost my cool and we had quite a verbal altercation which was quite ugly for any onlooker. But it seemend to have an effect since he started coming earlier than normal. We had asked him to come up 0630 hours but he started coming even earlier by 0610 or 0615 hours. This was quite pleasing. This also meant that Tulsi and I started coming even earlier than normal days.

It was Wednesday when I reached PG at around 0615 hours. Tulsi was there too. He told me that Bhaskar is going to go to his hometown today which meant that his replacement (Munna) will open the Gymkhana today. We called Munna and he told us that Bhaskar's trip has been delayed by 1 day and he will open the Gymkhana today. Bhaskar was there at 0630 hours and that day passed without anything worth writing about.

Thursday. Same time. Tulsi and I were there at PG. Today, Bhaskar was not going to come. It was going to be Munna. We called him and he said that he will try to come only by 0645 hours. Now what?

PG has quite a big campus. There is this huge gate which is the entry point to the campus. Once you enter, its almost 100 meters till the next gate. This gate is the entry to the badminton court, swimming pool and the gym. The area between the 2 gates is mainly for parking on the right and the huge club house on the left. Both these gates are locked when Tulsi and I meet everyday.

There are 2 dogs that have made PG their home. One white and the other black. Every morning, as soon as Tulsi and I are at the gate, these 2 dogs start barking and eventually come out and start playing. Since Tulsi and I had around 30 minutes to kill, we decided to have a stroll down the army quarters. We talked about a lot of things. During one such discussion, I interrupted him quite abruptly and asked:

Me: Ek baat batao. Yeh kutte baahar kaise aate hai? Koi raasta hai kya baahar aane ka? Gate to locked hai.
Tulsi: Hhhhmmm. Pata nahi. Kyu?
Me: Kuch nahi. Aise hi soch raha thaa ki yeh kutte raat mein andar rehte hai yaa baahar.
Tulsi: Maine to andar hi dekhe hai har baar.
Me: Thoda dekhte hai kya? Koi raasta hai kya?
Tulsi: Dekh sakte hai.

PG has a fence manning its campus which runs along the outer gate. Obviously, this fence is the first and last barricade on the way inside. Right? Wrong.

The outer gate has a huge tree which had fallen off sometime back in a way that the top part of the tree has fallen off completely but on the outside while the bottom part is still inside. This top part covers the fence towards the left hand side of the outer gate in a way that the fence is not visible at all. We had to bend down and get within the leaves of the fallen tree. The fence had a small opening which was quite decent for a dog to get through. Not sure if a human would get through but we were going to try. It was quite a good stretching exercise for us but we managed to get in. But there was another fence immediately after the outer fence. We walked towards both the left and right side to find another opening in this fence as well which was even wider than the earlier one. We had now breached the outer gate but we still had to find a way past the inner gate.

Once we were at the inner gate, I walked towards the right (towards the badminton court) while Tulsi walked towards the left (clubhouse passage). Both of us could not find a way past. We switched ends just to be sure. But no luck. On my way back from the clubhouse passage, I noticed that the fence inside was not a fence actually. It was a criss-cross arrangement of bamboo sticks covered by a huge green curtain-like thing. I tried to kick at this curtain with every step just to find out if it results in the curtain going back completely. The first few instances resulted in a thud and it was not doing my foot any good especially on a chilly morning. But then I found what I needed. There was quite a decent opening being covered by this curtain. And Tulsi and I were inside alongside our beloved pool.

It was quite easy just to dive in and enjoy this little discovery of ours. But no. This needed to be planned. Not today atleast. We went back the same way. Met the dogs on our way and were back outside the outer gate.

Munna came at 0645 hours. Tulsi and I were done swimming by around 0730 hours. We both were leaving together. Just before leaving, I felt this is the right time to start the plan.

I spoke to Munna about the time he would open the Gymkhana tomorrow. I told him quite sternly that even 0645 is quite late. He was quite honest in letting me know that he wont be able to come earlier. I said I didnt mind but just let me know the exact time and stick to it. Just to make matters interesting, I told him its OK if he comes at 0700 hours too as long as he sticks to 0700 hours. He fell for it. He said it works out well for him too. 0700 hours on Friday morning. The plan was set. I had intetionally asked him to be late.

I told Tulsi to come earlier the next day at 0545 hours. So that we could sneak in, swim and go home well before Munna arrives. Initially, he sounded interested but just when I got onto my bike, he said he is not comfortable and that its quite risky. I didnt force him to partner me in this heist. I was quite sure I am going to do it.

As decided, I was at PG at 0545. Tulsi was not there. But, something told me that I should not park my bike at the same place as usual. This was coz I didnt want anyone to know that I have come. So people wont wonder where I disappeared after parking my bike. That was the only logic. I picked up my bag and helmet and the sound my shoes hitting the turf was enough to get the dogs barking. God. I completely forgot about the dogs.

Getting in from the gate and sneaking through the fences is quite a different ball game altogether. Will the dogs still relate to me as a daily pool member or as someone who is trying to sneak in? Questions. Doubts. So not my way of a plan. Now what? I had to get the dogs out before I could go in. Else who knows they would tear me apart. Thinking cap on.

I decided I will just about annoy them to an extent that they would come out without sacrificing on my well being. I sneaked through the first opening of the fence and I made up my mind that I will come out immediately as soon as the sound of the barks went up which meant they were close to me. It worked. I entered and exited in around 20 seconds. The white dog was out in jiffy and he identified me. Part 1 of the Dog show was done. But why wasnt this 2nd dog coming out?

I tried the same trick again but to no avail and I was losing precious time. The last thing I wanted was for Munna to come to the pool and find me swimming away to glory when he was about to open the gate. That would have been chaos. I didnt know what to do. Just then, I wondered whether it would be good idea to just park my bike at the usual daily place coz thats how these 2 dogs came out every day. Why not? I parked my bike outside the outer gate and Voila. Part 2 was done and dusted too. The 2 dogs were away with their other non-PG mates. I re-parked my bike away from the outer gate and I was inside soon.

I know PG quite well. The way the pool works, etc. There is a tap which needs to be opened for the water to flow into the pool. Not that the pool doesnt contain water. But it works on a re-cycling mechanism. The new water replaces the old and so on. There is a motor that needs to be switched on so that water is available in the bathrooms. I did both of these. And I was inside at 0600 hours. I decided that I will swim till 0650 hours. 5 minutes to change and 5 more to get back out. That will make it 0700 hours and Munna will be here.

What followed was absolute joy and beauty of life. No one to disturb you in pitch darkness on a very chilly morning in ice cold water. Normally, the lights are switched on in darkness but I was not gonna risk that. I was just bobbing in and out of the water for the next 50 minutes. I was out by 0650 hours and changed back to my clothes by 0655 hours. I went through all those secret passages and was very close to the outer gate. And then I froze. I was quite careful to turn the tap off but I had forgotten to turn the motor off. If the motor is switched on even after the tank is filled to capacity, it causes the motor to over heat and eventually burn. I ran back and switched the motor off and ran back even faster to be at the outer gate.

I met Tulsi over there and he saw me coming out of our secret passage. He was just about to say something when Munna made an appearance.

Munna: Dekha. 7 bola thaa to 7 ko aaya hoon nahi to aap fir bologe
Me: Haan. Sahi hai.

I start to get on to my bike.

Munna: Arey, kya hua? Jaa rahe ho?
Me: Haan. Aaaj mood nahi hai.

Tulsi smiles wryly at me and I promise to meet him tomorrow.

An adventure well planned. And took me back to times when I hardly cared of what I was doing. Over the last 2 years, I have treaded a path ready to explode. Boundaries have not felt like boundaries and it always takes me back in flashback mode.

I relate a lot to the opening few lines of Rockstar. I have my own version for Rockstar's version.

Sahi aur Galat ke beech ka maidan. Yaa to mujhe dhundna hai yaa fir ... fir se banaana hai.

Swim ke liye saala kuch bhi karega ... play the music ...

Cheers ... !!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reading Myself ... !!

I just happened to find a bit of time to idle around.

I was actually trying to find a post that I had written a long time back. After locating it, I went into a self-trance mode reading posts around the one that I was trying to locate. And i got so engrossed that I ended up reading almost all my posts. Only after reading all this, I realized that I didn't have a bit of a time but quite some time at my disposal. But it was fun.

I realized that I used to write much better earlier on. It has faded over time. The older posts had a lot of spark and zing. The latest ones lack that. I was quite enthusiastic when I used to write and it showed in the posts. Of late, its been kind of a drag. At least I feel so. Blame it on age. Actually what's age got to do with it anyway? I don't know. Well, there you are. Aptly said. I don't know. Yeah, I really don't know. Maybe, I am not doing anything worth writing to be honest.

Some of the posts quite distinguishly stand out. I was talking to Priya the other day about my posts. I asked her to ignore all my posts and just read one post which is and maybe will remain my all time favorite. That about Andre Agassi. I went back to my seat and actually read that and felt so wonderfully good about it. But there were others too. May not be in the same league as Andre's post. But good to read nevertheless. AT mein Velhe giri ka kaafi time milta thaa. Never realised that when I was in AT itself.

I loved reading the review of DON, the review of Mandi, my dear friend Addy, a monsoon experience in traffic, golfing posts, Foot fetish, a Stumbled upon post, the DAPP Calendar, table tennis posts about the tournament held in AT, my bike, my bike trip to Goa, Sweden posts, foodie posts, etc. So much for my bragging persona.

What have I come to? There is something seriously wrong with me. I met Pranay yesterday and told him the exact same statement. There is something seriously wrong with me. I guess he kind of agreed to me.

A long way to go and many battles still to be won. Starting with the battle with myself.

Cheers ... !!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aspirations Revisited ... !!

Sabhtarsha and I have known each other for 11 years now. Actually a bit less coz the first 3 years were spent just being class mates without any indication of being long time friends. One of the better friends that I have made in life. We have tread quite a similar path in our careers so far with subtle differences of course. And we keep crossing each other's paths.

We did our Graduation and Post Graduation from the great Fergusson College and have been friends ever since our MCS days. Or should I say our Swing days? One and the same thing.

We both got through the first company on Campus. Persistent Systems. Ended up in the same BU. More or less, we ended up in the same product but were doing different things. Out of the 10 that made it from Fergusson, we were 2 out of 3 who were not provided Placement. Where was the similarity going to end? Sooner than later I thought. But it didn't.

We ended up at ATN through I guess one of the only Ads that ATN has published in the papers. And we learnt everything we know today at ATN. Almost 5 years more were spent exploring each other's likes, dislikes, tantrums, falaana, timka. And then there were aspirations.

We both are quite straight forward and blunt. Brash at times. He is more sober than me I guess.

At all times, we knew what set us apart. We both knew that Sabhtarsha is much more technically sound as compared to me. I dont need to mention that actually. All our friends will vouch for that. But at the same time, we both knew that if you take into account everything other than being technical, I was better. This will also be confirmed by all our friends that know us.

He was destined to be a technical Guru. I was destined to be non-technical, people management, project management kind of a guy. And so we pursued. I always envisioned he will be an Architect sooner than later. He always felt I would be a Manager around the same time.

Then I quit ATN.

Today, we are in a strange situation. Sabhtarsha happens to be a Manager at ATN. With appraisal time at work and my promotion due as a Manager, I have been asked by the organization to become an Architect and not a Manager. Strange are the ways the world functions.

When I was asked to change my preference to Architect, I thought of Sabhtarsha. I smiled to the person speaking to me. He asked me the reason and I told him our story. Its still uncertain whether I will be promoted or not to either a Manager or an Architect. But that's immaterial.

I called Sabhtarsha and we met near ATN and spoke of the old times. Our aspirations. Our current standing. Very happy for each other and there is still a long way to go.

Good times.

Cheers ... !!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Junior Cometh ... !!

Its close now. Very close.

I have always loved my wife. That's not a secret I guess. But for the last nine months, I don't know if I should say that my love for her has increased. That does not sound appropriate, does it? Sounds too cliched maybe. Yeah. Lets end it there.

Maybe, its the respect and care that has shot up. Yeah maybe. Something has changed for sure.

I am not famous for most of my relationships. I have been quite a disappointing son. A sucker at being a brother. None of my cousins are close to me. There were some but not any more. I am quite a pathetic Mamu. I have just about managed to be a below average son in law. So ...

The 2 relationships that I have somehow tried to save the ship is with my wife and my friends. Even here, both of these have taken a hit over the last year. I have hardly reached out to any of my friends and I have a wife whom I have kept waiting. Sounds like a self bashing up, isn't it? It is ...

I would have liked lots of things to be different. I would have liked to read more stories to my would-be-baby. I would have liked to satisfy more of my wife's cravings. I would have liked more of those late night strolls with my wife planning for my baby's future. I would have liked to be there for all of the get togethers of my friends. I would have liked and I would have liked. That list is pretty long. Not so great for a person who is going to be a father pretty soon.

That's the next relationship test for me. Being a father. I get goosebumps imagining that one more relationship might end up the same way as so many have in the past. Dratch.

Somehow, for a person like me who likes to be confident (and over confident a lot of times) almost always, the pressure is getting to me of being a good father. And that's the last thing I need. I don't want to be pressurized to be a good father. That will make matters worse.

But, I hope and I kinda know that all is not so bad. I am more than looking forward to it. I (along with Amruta) will ensure that our child gets to live a good life, if nothing else. I am sure all parents feel the same. I don't think I am saying anything new here to be honest.

Nervous. Tensed. Excited. Happy. Jittery. Anxious. In a loop.

Waiting to hold Junior in my arms.

Cheers ... !!

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Its been 13 years since I last visited Chennai. I guess it was called Madras then. I had some very emotional memories of this place. The last time I was here was with my best friend, Aditya who sadly passed away in 2007. The flight was close to touching down in Chennai when it was circling over the sea. It was obvious that we were flying above Marina Beach. Chepauk stood out like a huge black box. I was with Aditya at Marina just one day prior to our departure from Chennai in 1998. Sigh.

It was quite unexpected that I was to go to Chennai. It was late Monday afternoon when I was informed about a visit to Chennai for 3 days starting from Tuesday. I was to go there with Lokesh and join Guru in Chennai for a KT session for the team being set up in Chennai.

To be honest, Chennai did not give me the same big city feeling that a Mumbai or Delhi or Hyderabad gives me. Even entering MEPZ which is supposedly the IT park of Chennai did not impress me coz it looked like the old industries of Pimpri-Chinchwad area in Pune.

Anyway, the 3 days in Chennai were great fun.

We reached Chennai at 0730 on Tuesday morning and reached office by 0830. Well before anyone showed up. The KT started at 11 am and I started it and it had a very smooth flow to it. The 3 of us were really enjoying this KT without any PPT or other documents. Just a marker and the White board. Frankly, I just got up on Tuesday morning at home in Pune and got myself to the airport at 0430 hours. I hardly knew what I had to speak before I left for Chennai. So having said that, I was surprised at myself and the others for having answered all questions asked by the audience. Well done.

We were now brimming with confidence and that took us into the lunch break and we had some local stuff like Rassam Rice, Sambhar rice, etc. The 2nd session continued in the same way and we had a great KT day.

We were discussing plans to drive to Pondicherry but being a Union territory, friends in Chennai said that stuff shuts down by 11 pm over there and we will need to find a place to stay to avoid the cops. Plan dropped. Now what? Booze anyone? Sure.

Guru took us to a fine bar called Aatangudi close to MEPZ. We started at 7 pm and were there till 11 discussing vague stuff like whom do you like the best in the team as a person and as a crush. Whom do you hate the most, etc. It was insane. When people are drunk, they can say such a lot of great stuff and in a great way about people they like. In the same way, the manner to express anger about people whom you hate is equally enjoyable. It was 11 pm. Now what?

We had our guest house booked but we hadnt been there yet. Lokesh and I set off in a cab with Guru and Uday on their bike. It took us some time to locate our guest house but Whoa. What a place.

A huge 3 BHK with one bedroom allocated for 2 people. So Lokesh and I took one. Uday and Guru being locals had to go home some time. The other 2 rooms were occupied by other folks. We had a cook for everyone who made us lovely tea at 12:30. A Wi-fi router, A/C, lavish bath and we were set for the night. The terrace was huge and we made frequent visits for tea over there. To make matters worse, I forgot my Pyjamas at home. So I was going around in a towel all along.

We played cards. Surprising. :) I taught them how to play a game called Minimum and the very popular Maharashtrian game of Mendi Coat. It was fun and Cards + Tea ensured we were up till 0530 hours. Having slept at 2200 hours on Monday night and having got up at 0330 on Tuesday morning, we were asleep for just 6 hours since Monday. Damn it.

Guru and Uday went home at 0530 hours. Lokesh and I reached office by 11 the next day all drowsy. The next day again had some KT sessions. In the evening, we decided to head off to Marina. In a local bus. Yeah.

It took us around 1.5 hours to reach Marina. We had some Fried Fish, Bhajias and Ice cream there. Marina reminds you so much about Juhu. Beautiful place which has unnecessarily been commercialized. Sigh. We were still hungry and we also had Yuvaraja with us today. He is also a local from Chennai who was in Pune for 2 months back in February. He wanted us to have food at Sarvanam, one of the most popular South-Indian joints around the world. Apparently, present in 18 countries. Impressive.

So we were back in a bus headed to Chennai Central. There is a Sarvanam branch at Chennai Central itself. And it was a lip smacking delight. Parota Bhaji, Chilli Parota, Ghee Idli, Sambhar Rice. Just out of the top draw. Yuvaraja left for home. The 4 of us boarded a local train to Guindy. And then a cab to the guest house. It was 12 again. We played some more cards and some more tea was consumed. This time we needed to sleep early since we didnt have any sleep. But the bed supported only 2 people. But we had to adjust for 4. So be it. Done with plenty of space to spare.

The last day was more of a drag. Our flight was at 2115 hours and we decided to go down for final round of tea and gupshup at 1900 hours. We also called the cab so that it arrives by 1930 and we can reach the airport in time. At least we thought so.

It was 1940 and no signs of the cab. We called him and he said he will be there in 5 minutes. Called him again and he said it will take 10 minutes more. It was 1955. This was getting scary. Finally, we called him again and he said the number of the cab is 5588 and the name of the cab driver too. The cab turned up but to our surprise the cab driver said that he had to pick up someone else. Doomed.

We were fortunate enough to get an auto immediately who demanded Rs. 170. We did not care. We just wanted to reach the airport. He said that it will take 20 minutes to reach. It was 2005. The auto driver was driving like a man possessed and we were hoping we would be alive by the time we reached the airport. And then calamity strikes. We ran out of petrol. What more can go wrong? We were still around 3 kms from the airport. We started yelling at him but to no avail. He did not understand Hindi or English and we did not get Tamil. Panic struck, we started waving at cars and buses to stop but it was of no use. Finally, we saw an auto and literally stopped in front of it. We just jumped into the auto and asked him to take us to the airport. Now this guy was in no hurry at all and was driving at his own sweet pace.

But, we were at the aiport at 2035. 40 minutes away from departure. And now we realised that autos are not allowed inside the airport campus. Dratch. We ran for 2-3 minutes to reach the Departures gate and showed our tickets to the Guard. Problem. This was International Departures gate. Man. A jog for another 2-3 minutes got us to Domestic Departures gate. We got out Boarding passes and the lady said "Gate 7. 1st floor." OK. Again a jog for 1 minute got us to Gate 7, 1st floor. But it was a Delhi flight. As John McEnroe would say ... YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.

We had not even looked at our boarding passes. It said Gate 2. Where the hell is Gate 2 now? Ground floor of course. Back to the jog again. Reached gate 2 to realise we are the last 2 to get in to the bus that takes us to the aircraft.

Just the icing on the cake for the most memorable 3 days in Chennai.

Some incidents ...

Me: How do you guys survive over here man?
Guru: You mean the humidity?
Me: No dude. The crowd. The girls. There is hardly anyone to look at.
Guru: Aah. I see. Yeah. North Indians are very beautiful.
Me: Well yeah. But, even Pune has such a great crowd. You will agree right?
Guru; Yes buddy. By North Indians, I meant north of Chennai.

Lokesh: (singing a song from Robot) Kilimanjaro. Ladki parvat ki yaaron. Iska roop nikhaaro. Yaaro Yaaro. De do hamein ek chhoti bosi. (and then stops singing). What is the meaning of Bosi in Tamil?
Yuvaraja and Guru: Bosi? Whats that? We have never heard such a word.
Lokesh: Its there in the song
Yuvaraja and Guru: We dont know
Lokesh: Maybe it means a kiss. Ok, what do you call a kiss in Tamil?
Yuvaraja: Muttam
Me and Lokesh: (look at each other and burst out laughing)
Yuvarja and Guru wonder why.
Lokesh: It sounds so funny.
Yuvaraja: Why? Is there a meaning for Muttam in Hindi?
Me: Yes. Kind of. It means Piss or Pee.
Guru and Yuvaraja start laughing. This is the time when we get into the lift and are waiting for the door to close.
Lokesh: How funny will it sound if I say to my girl friend ... Can you give me a Muttam?
At this very time, 3 girls enter the lift and stare at Lokesh. Yuvaraja and Guru yell at Lokesh to cool it. Its a big issue here. ROFL.

It was fun. Cheers ... !!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Tales Of A City ... !!

I am back.

Its almost like every post of mine is a I AM BACK post. Unfortunately.

Here I am sitting at home and basically just relaxing. Am I? Well, weekdays are quite hectic in office and even today was hectic despite me taking a day off. Some long pending household chores. But that's done. Perhaps the best take-away from a holiday spent at home is home-made hot lunch. Delicious.

But anyway, life at office has been so fulfilling. I have already bragged about my new responsibilities in some previous post. So its no use repeating that.

I have had the chance to work with some very cool people. One of them being Guru. The background is that we needed some Senior SQL developer and he joined the team in December when I was on leave for a week. So, when I came back from my leave, Guru was the first person I met. He hails from Chennai and was supposed to be in Pune for just 2 months. Well yeah. ;)

It's August and every attempt of his to return to Chennai seems to be running into a road block. In the meanwhile, he seems to be enjoying his stint in Pune. It's not that bad after all.

But my first distinct memory of Guru goes back to either December or January. We were having a casual chat about some basic introductory stuff like Where are you from OR Where have you worked previously.

The chat meandered towards whether both of us have been abroad. And we both had. He mentioned that he had worked for L&T Infotech. I told him that I went abroad working for Tieto which is a Finland based company. And then it was like back to my strange relationship with co-incidences.

I mentioned to him that I was in Sweden. Being in Malmo, you tend to mention Sweden as compared to Malmo since it is not one of the more popular cities of Sweden. Surprise surprise. Guru was also in Sweden. I probed him about which part of Sweden had he been to. Without taking the name of the city, he mentioned something like its a small city in the southern part of Sweden. Then I mentioned to him that I had also stayed in a small city in Sweden called Malmo.

That's it. He didnt need another invitation. Guru happens to be very touchy about Malmo and how he regrets returning back to India from Malmo. He intends to be buried in Malmo apparently, maybe at the cemetry in front of Gustav Adolfs Torg. Since then, barely a week passes without us talking about Malmo and trying to find out ways to return to Malmo. We have even irritated our team mates with our Malmo tales. As a co-incidence, we both still carry our Skanetrafiken cards in our wallets. When I showed him my green Skanetrafiken card, he was quick to flip through his wallet and show me his white Skanetrafiken card. Memories.

And another co-incidence. He lived at Davidshallsgatan which was like one bus stop prior to the one I got down at, at Mollevansgatan. We both knew identical super markets, hang outs, etc.

And the discussions dont seem to end.

Two tales of two super sentimental losers about a beauty of a place called Malmo.

Cheers ... !!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In my lifetime ... !!

Yes. Something I cringed for every 4 years. Prayed that I could see India win the World Cup when I was alive. And its here.

Its quite a common Indian trait to own something special that has happened. As in this case, I said "And its here". It sounds like I myself made it possible. Its not. But thats why I say we tend to own it. And why not?

One thing that binds the entire country. Cricket.

I am quite infamous for my boasting (did someone say Fudkya?). And here comes another. Being a pious Indian supporter, I have this tendency of supporting the team no matter what. While it was obvious during the league stages that we were far away from the great quality of cricket that we usually play, (and I knew this), I somehow still couldnt bitch about the team. After the South Africa game, I had boastfully written that this would be India's last defeat of the tournament which meant that we will win the Cup. Honestly, it was nothing more than a boast, sheer optimism for a lot of people. But I am like that. Someone will really need to convince me to bad mouth my country. And that someone has still not been conceived.

It was not the most ideal World Cup for me as a spectator. I was on leave during the 2nd week of the tournament wherein I caught the India-England and India-Ireland games but for the remainder I was a hassled individual. Working late in office and setting off early in the morning.

The first real sign of India gaining momentum was against the West Indies when we were going through the motions only to take 8 quick wickets to win and set up a mouth watering QF against 3 time defending champions Australia.

Back in office, having been aware that we have been set 261, I thought it will be a tough chase. When I left office, we were 5 down and we were still 70 odd runs adrift. I was going home in my car, one of those rare days when I get a car to office. I am a bit superstitious in the sense that I feel India does not play well when I am watching. Sounds absurd. So as soon as Dhoni was out, I decided I will drive ever so slowly so as to reach home after the match is over.

Sounds simple aint it? Far from it. Even after convincing myself to do so, I was so inquizitive trying to pick up signs on the road. With a TV shop frequenting me every now and then I was trying to make out things. A crowd of 10-12 people watching the game with great intensity. What does that mean? They are not even looking at each other. Does that mean we lost another wicket? A traffic signal had very few vehicles. The next had some more. Does that mean we lost a wicket and more people have switched off and come out? No. Please No. A lot of youngsters on the road. Why arent these guys watching the match? Another traffic signal. A Pulsar stands next to me. I want the 2 guys on this Pulsar to say something about the match. I will pay you guys. But say something. Not even a word about the match. This is killing me.

I drive for 40 minutes to reach Nimantran hotel (normally on a road as isolated as this day, it takes me 20 minutes to reach home) which is still 2 kms away. From my calculation, there are still 5-7 overs left in the game. Whats happening. I dont want to reach home and start crying if India has lost. I park my car outside Nimantran. And curiosity gets to me. I switch on my cell and head to cricinfo. 28 required of 35 balls with 3 boundaries in the last 7 balls and still just 5 down. Thats it. No more waiting. As I slam the first gear, Raina hits a SIX off Lee. I covered the last 2 kms in less than 2 minutes. And rushed home. Ravi Shastri exults "He has nailed it through the covers". Yuvi almost does his own version is the Sajdah midpitch. Raina embraces him and sparks off huge celebrations. Lots of things happen. Punter eats the humble pie and gives up captaincy. But more importantly, its India-Pakistan in the Semis. HUGE ... !!

Same old story. There is a mail circulated in office to assemble at 2:20 for the National Anthem. We get Poster Paints and color people's with the tri-color by lunchtime. People wearing India jerseys (those who had it). Others had to wear Blue atleast. I was one of them. National Anthem at 2:25. Goosebumps. Sehwag starts like a train on fire. Pakistan respond. Typical India-Pakistan match. They drop the GOD several times and finally when he goes for 85, there are some who celebrate. Wonder why? I ask them why are you celebrating. Pop comes the reply. "Come on. Be a patriot. He fell short of his century. We win." I smile sarcastically. But still hoping that it comes true. Anything for an Indian win.

The tension starts getting to me. I decide to play TT to release the tension. The TV is adjacent to the TT table. Hafeez and Akmal start briskly. When will the first wicket fall? Not with me watching the match. Well if its a hoodoo, then lets try it methinks. I rush upstairs. Shove my bat in the drawer and head home. This time I am glued to my cell.

43/0. Crap. This aint meant to be this easy. I fiddle around and almost drop my cell on the road. "Akma falls after brisk start" exclaims Cricinfo. We are in it. I reach home to find them at 52/1. Run rate was not bad. Shafiq and Hafeez look confident. Hafeez plays a T-20-final-Misbah shot and gets out. 2 down. 8 to go. I am not going anywhere. Shafiq and Younis start stitching a partnership. Why? Why? My demons are coming back to haunt me. I cant watch it anymore. There is a huge screen put up in the society. So I have to get away from that too. I force Biwi to come with me even though she wants to see the match. We walk for hardly 200 steps from the society gate and huge roar. Shafiq bites the dust and in some time Younis follows suit. We are back home. Umar Akal sams Yuvi for a four and 2 sixes. I am back out. But it does not last long. Bhajji takes out Akmal. I am back home. Munaf takes out Razzaq. You wonder where is Afridi and the Powerplay. But Misbah is taking care of India :). Afridi hits a few. Misbah hits one. Its happening again. I start feeling twitchy. Mom says "Arent you supposed to be out"?. I nod. I walk into the night. No roars. Whats happening? Pin drop silence for well over 15 minutes. And finally its here. A huge roar. Afridi goes. But I am not going up so soon. Again, a period of no roars. Wahab Riaz and Gul are also out. They are 9 down. Surely, India wins now, right? I run back home. And Misbah hits 3 in a row off Zak. I almsost do a McEnroe "You cannot be serious". He hits Munaf for a Six next over. Good Lord. What made me come back? Off I go again. Praying that the last over should not have a target of less than 20. Its 30. 30 off 6 balls. I am convinced that India can bowl atleast 2-3 good balls. I go up again. Dot ball. Dot ball. Dot ball. Dot ball. Out. Huge celebrations. Its India vs Sri Lanka in a dream final at Mumbai. One win away. First World Cup won ;)

The Big Final. Super Saturday. I convince myself that I will watch every ball come what may. We are at my in-laws place. I had taken 4 chilled bottles of Canon for me and my father-in-law "khoob jamega rang" style. India start off well. Its almost like a wall on the off side. Lanka cant penetrate Yuvi, Raina and Kohli. But Mahela plays a blinder and Perera ends in style. 275. Stiff. But possible. Malinga takes out Viru and SRT. Curtains? For once, I decide to stay put. Biwi and Saas-Sasur have had it. They move to the balcony for some TP. I am all alone watching the Finale. Believe. Believe. We need to be 7 down to lose this match. Until then ... Believe. We surely cant lose this. When will we be in a Final again. I woudlnt have taken a loss. Besides, Rajnikanth was in the building. No way we are going to lose. The Totkas were running around everywhere.

Kohli and Gauti steady the innings. And Dhoni stamps his authority. What an innings for a big match. I start my "one-up" chatter with my in-laws. I am on a rampage about India. Dhoni dumps the ball in the stands to win the Cup. Lay down the red carpet. Start blowing the trumpets. Let the booze flow. I get some more beer, call up relatives and the plan for Sunday is done.

The scenes at the stadium were unreal. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS ... THE MIGHTY MIGHTY CHAMPIONS ... !!

Yes ... in my lifetime ... !!

Cheers ... !!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ultra Dumb Reaction Syndrome ... !!

It happens ... happens quite a lot ... and it goes into the bracket of "It happens ony in India" ...

OK ... so much has already been said of the UDRS decision going against India in their match against England. For starters ... we need to move on ...

Maybe, it has become such an issue because India was involved. It is very likely too that it is more so because we could not defend 338 and even more so coz after being outplayed by England, we somehow got the grip back only to tie the match ... so are we running away from the reality once again?

Well lets first see what the UDRS means? It stands for Umpire Decision Review System. According to this, each team gets 2 reviews per 50 overs. So each team gets 2 reviews in the first 50 overs as well as 2 reviews in the next 50 overs. The UDRS essentially tells you about 3 things ...

One ... whether the ball pitched in line and not outside the leg stump ...
Two ... whether the ball is hitting the pads in line and not outside the line of off stump ...
Three ... whether the ball is hitting the stumps after impact with the pads ...

In addition to these, the UDRS checks if its a legal ball by verifying if its a NO-ball ...

Now there is a catch ... if the Third Umpire is not sure even after reviewing ... he may ask the on-field umpire to stay put and keep the decision unchanged

... lets see the following examples ...

Lets say a batsman was given Not Out and the bowling side asked for a review ... now the Third Umpire got an affirmative response for the 3 points mentioned ... I mean the ball pitched in line, hit the batsman in line and was also hitting the stumps ... but it was hitting the outside of leg stump ... in such a case the Third Umpire will ask the on-field umpire to keep his decison unchanged since there was a minute chance of it hitting the stumps ... so the on-field umpire keep his decision unchanged ... had it been hitting the middle stump instead ... it would have been a reversal of decision ...

Imagine the same scenario with the exception that the batsman was given Out by On-field umpire and the Batsman calls for a review ... even in this case the Third Umpire will inform the on-field umpire that the ball is hitting the outside of leg stump ... so you decide ... and hence the on-field umpire does not change his decision and the Batsman is Out ...

This is where I agree to what Dhoni says ... how fool-proof is this UDRS? If it is still going to let the on-field umpires make the decision then you are forced to question the credibility of such a system ... however I do not agree to one point of Dhoni ...

Even with the fallacies of UDRS, it is still enabling the game to have fairer decisions as compared to previous times ... for example, a huge inside edge can be detected by the eye (this is very important) and the batsman can be saved from a howler ...

This brings me to the next point ... why is this UDRS half-baked for an event as big as the World Cup ... where is the Snickometer? where is Hot Spot? If you are going to use technology, you bloody well use it in its entirety and dont get installments of it out ... a very faint inside edge for lbw or for a Caught-Behind cannot be detected by the naked eye ... you need a Snicko and Hot-Spot for that ... and the reason given for this is Money ... good lord ... if the ICC (or should I say the BCCI) cannot arrange money for a Snicko and Hot-Spot who will? Its almost laughable ... how come folks in Australia are using it on a normal basis ... even in domestic cricket?

And finally, there is this 2.5 metre rule which I guess 99% of the people did not know ... I dont think even the ICC knew about it ... so what is this rule?

It states that if the impact of the ball with the pads is more than 2.5 metres away from the stumps (which means that either the batsman has had a huge stride forward or he has danced down the wicket), then the Third Umpire informs the on-field umpire of this and then the on-field umpire has to think again and make a decision ... in most cases ... a 2.5 metre distance most definitely means that the ball has a long distance to go before hitting the stumps and its highly improbable that it will hit the stump coz the bounce may take the ball above the stumps ... quite true ... but as an umpire, you have to think about a lot of things before giving a decision ... the current state of the pitch, the angle from which the bowler bowled that particular delivery, the pace of the delivery, was it a particular kind of delivery (a yorker, full toss, good-length ball, doosra, off break, leg break, skidder?) ... lots of things which may not give a correct decision ...

This is exactly what happened in the India-England game ... Ian Bell was given Not-Out by the on-field umpire and India reviewed ... the review showed that the ball was pitching in-line, hitting in-line and going to hit the middle and off stump half way up ... but the impact was more than 2.5 metres away from the stumps ... so the Third umpire may have said to the on-field umpire that it has 2.5 metres to go ... if that is what he said indeed then its a problem ... probably a message should have been sent to the on-field umpire that despite being 2.5 metres ... its hitting the stumps only half way up which means that it didnt make a difference if it was 2.5 metres away ... it was still not a boundary decision ... and it should have been given Out ...

That's that ... did it change the course of the game? Maybe ... Maybe not ... Ian Bell did go on to play a match winning innings ... but then thats just food for thought ...

The reaction in the media and within the Indian team was appalling ... Dhoni giving out statements in the press was most uncalled for ... poor Ian Bell was being grilled for no fault of his own ... after all he did not give that decision ... if anything Dhoni should look at himself ... there was 2 instances where Strauss nicked to Dhoni but there was no appeal ... if they would have appealed maybe Strauss would have been on his bike ... the field placements were downright ugly ... England picked a boundary per over with utmost ease ... if it hadnt been for Strauss's shocker to have the batting Powerplay in the 43rd over ... it would have been curtains for India ... Dhoni wad forced to keep an attacking field in the Powerplay and it brought India back into the game ... lots of stuff for India to think ... they better look at themselves before giving this UDRS thing too much attention ... but then again I aint a cricketer ... I am sure Dhoni knows what he is doing and he does not need any advice ... at least not from a non-cricketer ...

Then there is the media ... I have come to the point of hating Arnab Goswami ... you put him in any Newshour Debate and he brings some pre-conceived ideas and keeps putting his point across while embarassing himself as well as Times ... that too in front of legends like Barry Richards ... come on guys ... move on ... how can you say something like "Did Billy Bowden's (the on-field umpire who gave Bell Not out) ego stop him from giving a correct decision?" ... ridiculous ... how can you state if it was a correct decision or not? There is this so called Cricket historian Boria Majumdar ... well this guy is good ... he has a lot of Cricketing knowledge but still ... you put your opinion forward and move on ... dont be hell bent on proving your point when it is clear that the debate has no proper conclusion ...

Lets enjoy the World Cup ... it will have its low points for an Indian spectator ... but its still a spectacle ... if anything then this match was a cracker for a cricket buff ... its been years since I saw a cricket match from the first ball to the last and it ended in a tie ... more than 675 runs in a day ... what more do you want?

I am quite sure India will come out all guns blazing in their next matches ... they were caught off-guard by a resurgent English team ... but who's to say that we still cannot win the Cup? I wouldnt ... as long as we keep our focus on the game ...

Go India ... !!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cup tales ... !!

They say it does not take a lot of effort for Indians to provide advice ... and Cricket rules the roost in here ...

The mother of all Cricketing events is here ... THE WORLD CUP ... and no matter how much you hate Cricket, you cannot escape being engulfed in this phenomenon ... you will at least have to ignore it ... ;)

Every Cup has a tale ... and I feel privileged to have grown up in an era when Cricket craze was at an all time high ... the mid 90s and early 2000s ... but

when did it all start?

I was just a year old when India brought home the World Cup in 1983 ... so I was not even aware of what it was or what it meant ... today when I speak to my father, he says that Yes ... it was quite a happy atmosphere all over India during that time but still people did not feel it was a big deal ...

My first teeny tiny memory of the World Cup was of 1987 ... I wont say I distinctly remember everything ... but I do remember the India-NZ match at Nagpur when Chetan Sharma got a hat-trick and Gavaskar got his only ODI hundred ... he had totally shunned his drop-anchor image and blasted Sir Richard Hadlee and others for a brisk 100 ... even Krish Srikkanth was only a spectator ... imagine ... I remember it more coz it was probably one of the few matches in which the Man of the Match was shared between 2 players ...

I also remember my father getting very angry when India lost the semis to England ... as the experts very fondly said ... Gooch sweeps India out of the World Cup ... but I was still very naive even to understand what it meant to win or lose a Cricket match in the World Cup ... I remember it more for our home being flooded by gully-waalas to see every match ... the days of the TV antenna ...

My first real World Cup experience was in 1992 ... I was in the 4th Grade and I was a totally fanatic Indian supporter (I still am) and I had participated in Scouts and there was this All-Pune Scouts associations meet on the opening day of World Cup 1992. India was playing England at Perth that day. Scouts participants from Schools from all over Pune had marched till Dastur High School just to be part of the event. This was very early in the morning and there were no TV shops open too so as to check the score. So I was missing it bigtime. By the time all this got over and my father came to school to pick me up, the England innings was already over. I guess they got 230 odd. By the time I reached home, India had lost the top order and SRT and Pravin Amre were trying to get India out of the hole. SRT looked on track until a Botham beauty ended his innings ... and India fell short by some 20-30 runs ... not the most ideal beginning ...

This Cup had several memories ... Pakistan being all out for 70 odd against England only for the rain to intervene and give both teams 1 point each ... this 1 point enabled Pakistan to make it to the semis ... Jonty Rhodes' acrobatic run out of Inzy ... India's teary 1 run loss to Australia ... the emergence of SRT and BCL ... South Africa's re-entry to international cricket albeit a very sad end to their campaign by Messrs Duckworth and Lewis ... Martin Crowe using Dipak Patel as an effective opening bowler which saw the Kiwis go right uptil the semis ... but my best memory is of the India-Pakistan match at the SCG ...

India and Pakistan had never squared up against each other before in a World Cup ... so this match was going to be rough and tough ... India were still suffering from Aquib Javed's 7/37 (including a hat-trick) at Sharjah ... and we did not put up a huge total ... it was around 225 ... thanks mainly to SRT again ... I remember coming home when Pakistan's reply was about to start ... and we got some quick wickets ... but it was going to be Miandad, Imran and Malik who were going to be thorns ... Javed was nursing an injury but was still playing (come on ... it was against India) ... but he was playing very slowly... Imran came and went ... I guess he was stumped ... Prabhakar took out Malik with a trademark banana ball ... and Javed finally fell to the rising Srinath ... there was this Kiran More-Javed tussle too which was great to watch ... everyone remembers this incident but something that not a lot of people remember is the way Azhar got angry ... you seldom saw Azhar lose his cool but so much was at stake ... India won against the actual winners ... the 1992 Jersey was by far the best Jersey that any Indian team wore ...

In 1996, there was a lot of hype for the World Cup ... I remember Sony being one of the upcoming channels and they ran a special pre-cursor to the event
hosted by Harsha Bhogle called The Final Countdown (it also had the same song :)) ... I remember lot of experts voicing their opinions about who will win the World Cup and there was one man who said Sri Lanka ... that was Sir Richard Hadlee ... he said Jayasurya and Kaluwitharna alone can win the Cup for them ... well a lot of other players (and teams ;)) put their hand up for the Lankans and it was great to see them defeating Australia at Lahore ...

I was in the 8th Grade during this time and the TV room at Lunn Dorm was abuzz every day for any match ... Mr Guzder used to be very keen in knowing the scores from any boy who was emerging out of the TV room ... I remember my sister being in college at that time and her college was next to my school ... she used to pick me up specially during the World Cup so that I get to see more of the matches and waste less time travelling in a PMT bus ... I distinctly remember her screaming "Lara out ho gaya" when she came to pick me up during the India-WI match at Gwalior ...

I remember Nathan Astle getting the Kiwis past the Poms in the first match ... India starting off with a win against Kenya ... Courtney Browne dropping a sitter off SRT at Gwalior ... Manjrekar's stunning catch to dismiss Ponting ... Jayasurya and Kalu almost ending Manoj Prabhakar's career at Delhi ... Kenya upsetting the Windies at Pune ... the Proteas winning everything only to come up against Lara at Karachi and lose in the Quarters ... Heath Streak reducing India to 30 odd for 3 including uprooting SRT's off stump only for Vinod Kambli to play a blinder to rescue India ... Warne winning the semi against the Windies from a hopeless situation ... but again the cake goes to the India-Pakistan high voltage clash at Bangalore ...

So much at stake ... Wasim Akram pulled out ... SRT played an uncharacteristic innings on 30 odd ... but Sidhu played well and later it was the Jadeja show against Waqar ... but everyone was silent when Anwar and Sohail bludgeoned India in their reply ... until Sohail got out to Prasad after some pointing and sledging ... from there on it was India ... and it was a comfortable win in the end ... not the fairy tale ending that Javed was hoping to have ... and India were in the semis at the Eden Gardens ... only to lose to the Lankans ...

Switch to 1999 ... you wondered why the World Cup was played only after 3 years ... ideally it is 4 years ... now it makes sense since the venue was England and its generally held in the English summer ... waiting another year would have meant a 4.5 year wait ... I was in Junior College at this time and was enjoying the summer holidays and not-so-enjoying the Vacation classes for 12th ... my father bought me my Yamaha during this World Cup ... this was the first World Cup since I started going to college ... and around the same time I started playing for Deccan ... so it was quite memorable ...

It was a different format ... the Super 6 made its entry ... India lost their first match against the Proteas at Hove ... and then calamity struck ... SRT rushed back to India since his father passed away ... India lost to Zimbabwe in the meanwhile ... but SRT came back and India won their last 3 matches against Kenya, Sri Lanka and England to make the Super 6s ... the hammering meted out to the Lankans at Taunton was sweet revenge for 1996 ...

This World Cup was best remembered for Lance Klusener ... both for his good stuff and his stupid stuff ... he was clearly Man of the Tournament but he played the choker to the hilt in the semis against Australia ... indeed one of my all time favorite one day games on a rainy day in India ...

India played Pakistan in this World Cup too ... and we won again ... bat first and bowl them out seemed to be an evergreen script for India against Pakistan ... this time it was Prasad who was the tormentor ... but India lost the 2 other Super 6 games and didnt make the semis ... Shane Warne lifted himself for the semis and final after a bad start to the tournament and Australia started the most stunning sequence of victories which is still ongoing ...

I guess 2003 was my most enjoyable World Cup ... Dada had changed the face of Indian cricket and finally we could say that India's fielding was good ... the team had a balanced outlook and the expectations were very high ...

I had a steady girl friend at this time (who is my wife now :)) ... I was in my final year of Graduation and this was the time when we had to finish files for practical assignments and also submit our final year project ...

every game of India is etched in my memory ...

India were embarassed by the Aussies in the first game and it resulted in a fierce backlash back home ... no one would have thought that India would surrender so meekly especially since Warne was banned from the World Cup ...

This was also a time when Pranay, Satya and I used to study at Satya's place and also play Cricket in his courtyard ... I remember seeing the India Zimbabwe game at Satya's place ... given the unpredictable history of India-Zimbabwe games, we were expecting a tough match ... but India won handsomely to get off the mark ... in between India also won against Holland with Yuvi taking 4-6 ... incredible ... I had received a call from XLRI Jamshedpur and my interview was in Mumbai ... I had gone there with my Jiju the same day as the India-Namibia match ... there was a Electronics expo bang in front of Bandra Kurla complex and we saw the Indian innings at one of the giant screens put up there ... the next game was India-England ... and this was the time we were having night labs from 9 pm to 6 am in college ... since there were 2 divisions in college and the night lab schedule was distributed across divisions ... it was not our turn that night ... instead our lab timing was 7-9 pm ... and then the other division took over from 9 pm to 6 am ... the match started at around 6 pm and Pranay, Satya and I were watching it at Satya's place ... Satya's Dad's expression is still so vivid when SRT hooked Caddick into the parking lot ... he had both his hands on his forehead in pure disbelief ... we then attended the lab from 7-9 pm only to rush back to his place to catch England's reply ... and AshishNehra took over ... 6/23 ... almost all dismissals were behind the wicket ... it was great to watch an India pacer bowling such a spell ... and finally India-Pakistan ...

This has a story ...

It was our practical assignments submission day in college and there was utter chaos for getting sheets signed and submitting the files ... and it was a day game which meant it would start at 2 pm ... we had planned a big Biryani-Booze bash at my place that day ... we were done by around 1 pm and rushed to my place in the afternoon ... I dont exactly remember who all were there ... I guess Pranay, Swapna, Mahesh, Suchit ... who else? Dont remember now ... and it

was hungama when Zaheer got the first wicket ... but Pakistan played well to get 270 odd ... by the time India's reply began, the Biryani and Booze were ready ... and so was SRT ... the most astonishing knock ... the first over from Shoaib Akhtar was magical ... a cut over third man for SIX, a wristy flick backward of square for FOUR and the best of the lot ... a trademark SRT check on-drive past mid-on for FOUR ... there was a poster backfoot cover punch from SRT off Wasim in between ... India were away and Yuvi-Dravid saw us through ... this was followed by Pakistan-Zimbabwe (or was it England-Zimbabwe?) match being abandoned which meant Pakistan crashed out of the World Cup ... yipppeee ...

In the Super Six, India faced Kenya and almost made a hash of it only for Dada and Yuvi to bail us out ... and then we won convincingly against the Kiwis and Lankans to make the semis comfortably ... I remember Pranay, Swapna and I were sitting outside a printing shop near MIT watching the India-Lanka match ... we were waiting for our Project copies to be binded ... in the Semis we were pitted to play the Kenyans again ... this time we won more comfortably ... but the Final is a bad memory ... the Aussies were just too strong ... but it was a memorable World Cup ...

The Proteas again ran into Lara in the first match of the Cup and failed to get their calculations right against a D/L affected match against Lanka ... Kenya upset the Lankans and later defeated Zimbabwe in the Super Six ... John Davison of Canada smashed an unbelievable 60 ball century against the Windies ... I guess Vaas took a hat-trick in the first over of a match ... lots of people took over 6 wickets in a game ... Bond, Nehra, Mcgrath, Bichel ...

By 2007, I must admit I was not following cricket the way I used to ... I was married just 2-3 months before the World Cup started ... the format of this tournament left a lot to be desired ... and India and Pakistan were knocked out in the first round itself by Bangladesh and Ireland ... sigh ... it hurts ...

There was still some hope for India especially after they hammered Bermuda ... but they had to win against Lanka ... and I was back at Satya's place watching that match ... we didnt play badly ... the reply was strongish but we kept losing wickets ... and Satya and I could watch no more ... and went off to sleep only to get up in the morning to see newspapers and TV channels spewing venom on the Indian team ...

The tournament went on an on and never seemed to end ... the loss of India and Pakistan took the sheen away from the 2nd round ... Australia won another World Cup on my birthday in 2007 ... I was in Matheran that day ... but I didnt seem to care ... I didnt watch the 2nd round at all in that World Cup ... one of the forgettable World Cups ...

But here we are in 2011 ... back in the sub continent ... and India are a strong team now ... but there are several good teams ... here's hoping for some more tales ... and wishing Team India all the best ...

Baaki baatein baad mein ... Cheers ... !!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Badhaai Ho ... !!

No, its not something great that has happened in my life.

One of those things in life for which I am infamous for ... my sad sense of humor.

A colleague of mine was on leave for a week. He called me from his hometown just to ask about what is happening in office. I was in the middle of some important work at that time and I was not paying too much attention to the discussion on phone while pretending to take immense interest in it. After discussing about the state of affairs for around 2 minutes, he said ...

He - Aapke liye ek khush khabari hai ...
Me - Haan haan bolo ...
He - Meri shaadi fix ho gayi ...

This was the time I completely ignored the task I was doing and started wondering why it could be a good news for me if his wedding has been fixed. This guy is probably the sweetest person in the team by a long distance and is extremely innocent. Had it been a bumchum, my reply to that statement would have downright cheap ... I am sure all my good friends reading this know what I mean ;)

Anyway ... since I could not completely ignore the job at hand and I could also not afford to hurt him and I wanted to finish the discussion soon, I had to say something ... and I failed miserably at it ... my exact words were ...

Chalo ... tumko aur mujhko bohot bohot badhaai ho ... tum aa jaao fir saath mein celebrate karte hai ... (one can possibly think of gazillion meanings for that statement)

Dratch ... after about an hour or so ... I realised what I had said ... even though I knew it was something uncalled for ... I still feel ... hell forget it ... he said it was a good news for me so why cant I congratulate myself for that ...

Just a day in the life of Pratik Beri ... RIP bro ...

Cheers ... !!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pressed for time ... !!

I just have 5 minutes ...

The last 2 months have been so painstakingly busy that I go home when my wife is asleep and by the time I get up the next morning, she has already left for office ... damn ...

Weekdays have joined forces with weekends ... if anything, then weekends are busier than weekdays ... and not at doing household chores but at office itself ...

I have had the chance to learn a lot ... thats the only saving grace ... I am finally doing something which I always wanted to do ... and to be honest I think I am enjoying myself and doing well ...

But at what cost? I need to strike a balance between work and family ... aah that evergreen cliche ...

I have missed out on so many posts ... the larger than life wedding at Bihar, the escapade to Corbett, the year gone by post, the first set of appraisals that I have done, Calendar 2011 ... man I have missed my blog posts ...

Koi nahi ... my watch tells me that I had only 5 minutes ...

See you later alligator ...