Friday, 4 November 2011

Tryst with my Hero

It was early morning at Bengaluru International Airport. Bleary-eyed people criss-crossing each others paths - somehow none bumping into the other. I joined the security queue.
Sometimes the apparently stupid decisions in life strike gold. I joined the longest queue cos I had time to kill. And then it happened - I glanced back.
The person in question was already piled in between others joining behind.
I couldnt believe no one took notice ! Maybe a minute passed just for me to compose myself - thoughts immediately converged on that morning of 12 Aug 2008 when I first heard the news. By the end of the minute, I was shaking hands with Abhinav Bindra !!
The most amazing thing in all this was I was the only person mesmerized - I still cant believe it. In front of me was someone whose achievement parallels that of Nobel laureates Tagore, Raman, Amartya Sen when it comes to intersection of "an Indian" and "highest prize in their field". I wonder how people around couldn't identify Abhinav !
The next ten minutes were like gold-dust in my life. We joked about joining the wrong queue. Abhinav is quite unathletic (dare i say like you and me) for a sportsperson - let alone a Olympic gold medallist at that. So it was easy to strike communication naturally - like casually bumping into a youngster of your age.
We spoke about some reasons that make him "one in a billion". Abhinav shared with me his thoughts on what we could do as a nation to improve our sporting profile. In ten minutes, I was jokingly congratulating him for being so inconspicuous inspite of this achievements. The joke was actually on our people who would throng the 13th man of Punjab IPL team but not even as much as recognise an Olympic gold medallist.
I could feel a void in Abhinavs' feelings - after all who wouldnt like to be adored. But then on the upside, he could hang out in the terminal without being molested by pen-wielding crazed people.
It took me another 15 minuted to catch my breath, call home and tell baba all about the encounter before I took this snap of Abhinav (talking on phone in queue to board his flight)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Cricketing Justice

Its been a long time coming - and finally justice has been done. There are two emotions I want to express - One is that England and "English cricket" really deserved to win a World Cup (WC). I mean seeing them lose in '92 as a school kid is still fresh in my mind in some sense- and then hearing about the '87 final loss to Australia at Kolkata. Add the  '79 loss to windies - and it makes a sorry story. Until today - now its changed - England are rightful World Champions.
Secondly, I want to write an ode to this particular side - really to make a case that - this win has not been a fluke by any stretch of imagination. If anything - we are in for a mouth-watering Ashes down-under come December.
It is funny to think that I wasnt surprised at all at the way England won the final - almost as if it was written in the stars ....The point is - England team for this tournament was the most balanced of the participating teams. Look at the way everyone chipped in - its been a good cricketing lesson to see this unit blossom.
Right at the top - Kieswetter and Lumb have been brilliant and for a change - predictably consistent. I think in them, England have found a good opening pair.
Collingwood has been as dependable as ever.
Pietersen has been brilliant - to say the least. I mean travelling across the atlantic and back in the middle of a high-pressure tournament - and then performing as if nothing really happened - is sheer brilliance personified.
Eoin Morgan is a responsible and as good a batsman as the best in English side on his day.
To have a flambuoyant batsman like Luke Wright at No. 6 is kind of a luxury for a team.
It doesnt stop here - the team is so amazingly balanced - that Michael Yardy, the Sussex skipper, is playing the role of a regular bowler - whereas on his day - he is a prolific batsman. To have 5 "regular" bowlers in a T20 game is a luxury - one which only the English team could afford in this years' tournament.
Graeme Swann is turning out to be one of the best English spinners in a long time - attacking when you need it - and containing the runs - if so be the need. Also he seems to have a good head on his shoulders so to say. Definitely seems to be mentally more tougher than Monty Panesar. Personally, I think Adil Rashid from Yorkshire is the next spinner to watch out for - until then Swanny is going to be the man-of-choice.
The English pace trio of Sidebottom, Broad and Bresnan have been amazing in this tournament. All of them have their own styles - and have looked a really complete attack.
Just to sum up - or to prove the strength and balance of this side - try imagining that Broad has the talent to be one of the best all-rounders in the game. I have heard talk of him being compared to Flintoff - but I think he can go farther than that.
To win with such a team - shouldnt really come as a surprise to anyone. Off course I am saying all this in retrospect. I agree that I wouldnt have been saying all this at the start of the tournament - but it has been a nice experience to see the English team improve right through the tournament. I mean you could make out that they were gelling well as a team - each with a defined role (as Collingwood always puts it).
By the time it was finals day - in my mind I was sure England would win - I mean I didnt see how the Australian side could stop this juggernaut. I feel amazed myself to be saying all this - given the track record of Australians in WC finals. But I was vindicated - and it all bodes well for English cricket.
After all the game has its deepest roots here - and it will be nice to see a WC trophy finally making it to the racks of a cupboard somewhere at the Lords - "The Home of Cricket".

Friday, 22 January 2010

Pocket clearance

I am taking the easier route today - just going to clear the stuff I have been carrying around for months/years in my wallet ... For one, things are getting soggy by the day - what with the incessant rains in this part of the world. some of these collector items have got so wet that I can hardly read them now. I feel like I am trying to restore some archival stuff. some of the stuff I have written when I was walking around London. And for lack of space (on paper) I scribble things in the margins. And you know the margins are the first places to get wet - so I may have lost some writings. That reminds me of the famous margin where Fermat wrote down his last theorem :)
So here goes - an unedited, abridged version of my back pocket writings in random order -
 (excerpt from Lee Iaccoca's book)
"Apply Yourself ! Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something !! Dont just stand there, make something happen. It isnt easy, but if you keep your nose to the grindstone and work at it, its amazing how in a free society you can become as great as you want to be. And, of course, also be grateful for whatever blessings God bestows on you."
A walk thru Green park .. Children playing around ... ice cream stalls ... beautiful flowers ... constitution hill .. buckingham palace .. Quenn victoria memorial 1911 designed and exec. by Thomas Brock sculptor .. Victoria Regina Imperatrix .. Boat, swords, a child .. St. James park .. country house built for duke of buckingham, purchased in 1761 ... central island (1913) .. Sir Aston Webb - Victoria memorial .. Memorial includes marble statue of victoria and fig. of Victory, Courage and Constancy, ornamental gates facing the palace given by aust., South Afriac & Canada.
Buck. palace stands at the end of the Mall; a ceremonial route with St. james park .. at other end lies Admirality Arch .. Public buildings .. Mall - Lancaster House .. Focal point for high society .. Royal residences in victorian era ... Not only flora .. harmony between .. what i call .. humanised animals .. squirrels, piegons .. hurt your ego ..
Birdcage walk .. leaving Admirality arch to left .. short break on bench .. Inst. of Mech. Engg., Civil Engg. .. Parliament Square ... Seat of govt. .. Statue of churchill, smuts, palmerston, Disraeli, Peel & Lincoln ... Turn head ... Big Ben (1856), Westminster Hall, Victoria Tower, on Westminster bridge (renovation) .. South Bank .. view of houses of parliament across river .. Big Ben .. Blessed place .. aquarium .. county hall .. Royal fest hall .. National Theatre .. London studios .. Waterloo bridge .. South bank .. Jubilee gardens (never far from garden) ... golden jubilee bridge ... Embank. other side .. Blackfriars bridge .. Waterloo Millenium pier .. Shell centre .. Jubilee oracle .. Jubilee walkway .. London eye never goes out of sight ... Queen Elizabeth hall .. skate boarding .. Alexandria rock (embankment) .. Nat. Film theatre .. Portland stone .. Benches .. Food, Drink .. The pleasure boat(Marchioness) .. 1989 Aug .. The Queens walk (Blackfriars bridge .. westminster)  7 Dec 1988 Queen ..
IBM South Bank . Hungerford bridge, on other side - Kings college, embankment .. HQS Wellington, HMS Preident, St. Pauls cathedral .. Oxo tower ...
Lambeth, Westminster, Hungerford, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Southwark, London Bridge, Tower Bridge
Stunning view of Blackfriars bridge .. red lining, trains !
... something for everyone ... London Tel. Center .. Shakespeare Globe, Gabriels Wharf, Oxo Tower wharf .. gallery o british coastline ..
St Pauls cathedral .. Sunday service .. slave trade .. Here Queen Victoria offered thanks to lord almighty on her 60th year of accession (June 22 1897).
statue of Queen Anne .. walk down sermon lane ... From here, St. Pauls dome looks like Capitol, White house .. Millenium bridge .. Tate Gallery of Modern art .. Shakespeare Globe theatre .. Exhibition, bankside pier .. London bridge .. Winchester palace .. Golden Hinde (Museum) .. Southwark cathedral .. Bus from London Bridge .. cross bridge .. take left .. St. to St. Pauls cathedral ..
- Most people are rational but only seek solace -> purpose is more imp -> seek happiness (state of mind)
- cant enforce rationality
- Shiva statue - art - representative
- If science is closed, can explain religion
- What will happen at 10 pm today -> do we have control on the fate
- Publication on this - all ideas expressed here.
- love is how you define love -> ppl. dont realise that definition of love and good are universal.
Science -> simple
- Conciousness -> evolved under pressure of evolution

A brief summary: I think the above was the start of my random walk series in London which lastd for a year .. It always used to start from Imperial College (late at night if it was a weekday, morning 11 am otherwise) ... and then was abruptly terminated bcos i had to move to s'ton .. but the above is only a snapshot .. it misses out on Hyde park, where i think was busy watching the big ducks than scribbling random thots ... Regents park, by far my favourite park in London .. then there is the busy oxford street, tottenham court road et. which do not find a mention here - i guess they are too crowded to get place to stand and write peacefully anyways .. And then lastly my thots wander to Greenwich Hill .. so peaceful that you dont feel like writing ..

okies.. clearance sale over.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Sachin Tendulkar makes a point to Dinesh Karthik after wrapping up the match

Sachin Tendulkar makes a point to Dinesh Karthik after wrapping up the match

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Who is Mr. Cricket ?

Yesterdays incident at Cuttack when Dinesh Kartik hit a stupid six and denied tendulkar a chance to score his 89th century brought many thoughts to mind  -
Did tendulkar advice Kartik to play freely ?  Did Kartik feel pressurised to score at a slow rate to allow tendular a century ? How must tendulkar be feeling ?

I think to me the answer is clear - Tendulkar, is not only a brilliant cricketer, he is also a role-model for cricket itself. He is upholding the standards of the game by rating an indian victory much higher than individual records.

In summary, I think he advised a budding cricketer call Mr. Dinesh Kartik to play each ball on its merit - a loose ball with 6 written over it - dispatch it to where it belongs. And in the process Mr. Tendulkar has given us a lesson on what is 'cricket' !