Thursday, March 31, 2011

SIBM Bangalore!

Love - Hate, Gain - Loss, Success - Failure, Hope - Despair, Trust - Doubt, Madness - Method in the Madness, Silence - Clamor, Recognition - Ignorance, Conviction - Fear, Empathy - Apathy, Togetherness - Loneliness, Brilliance - Mediocrity, Convince - Brainwash, Learning - Unlearning, Friends - Acquaintances, Lecturers -Teachers, Job - Career!

SIBM Bangalore!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

World Cup - The Memory Remains - I

Just one month to go for the Cricket World Cup and what better time to just refresh a few memories from the previous editions. Memories which are etched in the minds of about a billion people. All said and done in spite of all that has happened over the past few decades in the sport, the world cup still remains the most coveted trophy at least as of now. Even the Twenty20 world cup falls short of it. Will this trophy retain its importance 4 years down the line, I am not sure but today it is the most coveted piece of silverware that every cricketer worth his salt wants to lay his hand on. And the world cups in the past have given us such unforgettable moments. This post aims at primarily reliving some of the best and worst Indian moments in the world cup that I can remember of. Moments which made me jump in joy and and also moments which made us hold our head in our hands.

Benson & Hedges World Cup 1992

This particular world cup remains a haze in my mind. I cant really recall watching a lot of matches live. All I can remember is rain affecting most of the games, visuals of Indian players waiting in their dressing rooms, shortened games and some really close ones out of which India ended on the wrong side most of the times. But yes we did manage to beat Pakistan in what can be turned as a forgettable campaign for the Indian team. But still I think the format of the world cup which involved each team playing all the other teams once, a kind of league format was the best ever in all the world cups. Ideally it should have eliminated the 'luck' factor, but unfortunately weather played a big part in the cup. Remember this was the pre Duckworth-Lewis era, so the rules for shortened games were more or less lopsided in teh favour of the team batting first. South Africa learnt it the hard way when due to rain two overs were reduced. The rules then were so absurd that the overs in which minimum runs were scored by the opponent were taken off while adjusting for rain. South Africa rued the two maidens they had bowled and from 22 off 13 balls it was down to 22 off one ball. All this due to just about 15 minutes of rain. This led to the birth of Duckowrth-Lewis system for rain affected games which has held out for nearly two decades now.

The picture says it all- South Africa's dream campaign ends abruptly.

But before that Jonty 'Superman' Rhodes showed the world what fielding and agility was all about running out Inzama-Ul-Haq being almost parallel to the ground as he ran in from point and crashed into the stumps.

The most memorable image of this particular tournament remains that of a young Inzamam probabaly playing the innings of his life in the semi-finals against New Zealand. Almost single-handedly from a position of little hope he ensured a place for Pakistan in the finals.

And then of course Wasim Akram tearing down the pitch in the finals. The Pakistan team ensured that Imran Khan ended his career on a high note, and inspite of the criticism of his acceptance speech where he did not mention his teammates but instead just spoke about himself and his upcoming cancer hospital Imran Khan had delivered his nation their first piece of sporting glory.

Wills World Cup 1996
The second world cup played on the subcontinent and the only one which include the concept of quarter finals. It was a world cup where Sachin Tendulkar announced himself on the world cup stage. He was the leading run scorer of the tournament by a good margin and we thought with every match this was going to be our cup, but it was not to be. Some of India's best moments fresh in my memory are as follows:

India vs Pakistan - Quarter Final
This was the first match where I officially got permission from my parents to miss school so that I could watch each and every ball of what promised to be a legendary game. India after a good start had lost their way somewhere towards the end and looked like they would fall short of a competitive score at the Chinnaswamy. Waqar Younis at his peak known for his deadly inswingingers landing in the block-hole was slotted to bowl in the slog overs. Enter Ajay Jadeja. The way he slaughtered Waqar in the last two overs was just unbelievable. The innings of a lifetime when India needed it the most. India were 236 for 6 with 3 overs to go and Waqar to bowl 2 of them. Ajay Jadeja with help from the tail-enders ensured India got 51 off the last 3 overs and those extra 30 runs were what made a difference in the end. It was not just about the runs that he got - The setting, the pressure, the stakes involved made it a memorable one. By today's slam bam standards it might not look too special, but it was a unparalleled innings for reasons more than one. 45 off 25 balls. Take a bow Ajay Jadeja.

And of course who can forget the Venkatesh Prasad Vs Aamer Sohail face-off. The emotions were running high everywhere. Pakistan had got off to a good start chasing a target of 288. Aamer after hitting a boundary off Venkatesh Prasad got all pumped up and decided to tell Prasad where he was going to hit his next boundary. Prasad being the guy he was had nothing to say except a stare and immediately turned back to his run-up. And what happened the ball after is a story that will never be forgotten in Indian cricketing folklore. Straight delivery on the off-stump. Aamer decides to slog it over mid-wicket. Misses. The ball takes the off-stump and there we were jumping in joy. This time Prasad did had some things to say and showed the way to the dressing room to Sohail. What a moment that was. Literally had got goosebumps seeing it happen. That was a turning point of the match. From a position of strength Pakistan went all downhill and India had won comfortably. The celebrations in the streets were unbelievable. It was as if India had already won the cup.

India vs Sri Lanka - Semi Final
But what followed next was a contrast. From the highs of the quarter-finals to a new low in 4 days. The semi-final vs Sri Lanka to-date remains one of the most disappointing moments in Indian Cricket till date. Azhar won the toss and against conventional wisdom decided to ball first, probably because Sri Lanka had chased down a strong Indian target comfortably in their previous target. In general Sri Lankans had built up a reputation of being very good chasers. Instead playing to their own strength and conditions, Indians decided to bowl first based on their opponents strengths. And initially it did seem that the decision would pay off. Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharna - the formidable opening pair around whom majority of Sri-Lankan victories had been achieved in the world cup both were dismissed in the first over. But Sri Lankan manage to regroup and put up a decent target of 250. It looked achievable. Tendulkar and Manjrekar had put up a steady partnership. There were signs that the pitch had deteriorated a lot and the ball was spinning considerably. As long as Tendulkar was there, things looked easy. Difficult but achievable. India were 98/1. Then it all started. Tendulkar had a freak dismissal which could be termed more as a run-out than a stumping. What followed was absolute disaster. Soft dismissals, batsmen getting bowled round their legs and India had reached from 98/1 to 120/8

And yes the match was being played at Eden Gardens. We were watching the match with our Bengali neighbours. I still remember the passionate old man in the house throwing his head in despair each time a wicket fell, but the crowd behavior left him disappointed too. A section of the crowd just could not handle the sudden fall of wickets and decided to vent their frustrations The match had to be abandoned due to unruly crowd behavior. And the image of a weeping Vinod Kambli was all that we were left with it. The dream was over. India were knocked out. The World Cup was lost.

A detailed post on the Australian domination and another near miss for India in the next post.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A week to remember! Two Months to relish!

2011 couldnt have begun much better. A jam packed week with lots of exciting things happening all around. And a week which has promised that the next few months are going to be the same if not better. The joys of playing scrabble after 3 years, the excitement of trying to barge into a 5-star at 2.30 in the night, the fun in meeting up with students from US of A and having a discussion about 'Modern India' with them, and food ranging from local undiscovered spots to the finest places in town. The week had it all. Breached the deadline of reaching back to hostel almost every day and thus the feeling of how we are going to miss this 'deadline' after a few months has become stronger.

Just a couple of months to go in this place, May be I will never meet some of the people that I see here everyday. It might be years before I again meet some of them. Closest of friends might be lost in the realms of distance and routines. Two months is all that is left to relish. To build memories that will last for a lifetime. So I say to my SIBM buddies/friends/acquaintainces/enemies(?) lets live these 2 months to the fullest. College life is never going to bless us again. Well for most of us that is ;) Have already made a list of things to be done before college ends. Lets see how it goes..

Its been a perfect week and I am sure the next two months are going to be rocking as well. The jigsaw puzzle is almost complete, but still a big piece is missing. Once that piece falls into place, it is going to be the best jigsaw puzzle I have ever solved in my life. Here's looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's time to go public! 8 Years and still counting!

The year was 2003. The Date - 15th Feb. The ICC World cup had just begun. Not too well for India. After just managing to scrape through against Holland, we were getting severely mauled by the Aussies. Why do I remember all this so vividly? Well yes of course if you know me, you know I have a penchant for remembering seemingly useless facts and details. But this was no ordinary day. Who would have thought on that day that this would turn out to be India's second best world cup camapign ever. And yes not till long ago, I would have imagined that this was going to be the day I met you.

You came into my life as a cool breeze of fresh air. It was time to say goodbye to the teenage flings, the short-term affairs which you know are not going to last long even when you are getting into them. It was time for the real deal. Although I must admit I was totally bewildered the day when we first met. I had never had an direct experience with someone so mature, someone so beautiful ever before. I had to get in a friend to help me break the ice. But that was for only for that first moment, by the end of the day we were on our own, going slow and steady but without a care in the world. We knew it then this thing was for the keeps.

I still remember that first night. That first quality time that spend together on that wonderful lonely highway. You helped me break free from my monotonous college routine. The drag that the third year was. I started looking forward to the long 15km commute to the college everyday. You made my rest of the college life much more easier. And as I think today I can't imagine how i could have got through the final year or so without you. We had so many of our little adventures then - sometimes with other friends, sometimes just the two of us.

We have been through a lot of ups and downs over the years. But no matter what, you never gave up on me. You never deserted me. All that you asked for was a little attention and you were fine with it. You didn't need any pampering, you never had any exhobirant demands. We shared an almost perfect relation till not so long ago. We never let the newness, the freshness of our relationship die. You were with me, when I needed to explore the hills, you were there, when I needed to head out to beach, you were there with me when i wanted to be in a storm, you were there through the thick and thin. Most importantly you were there when I wanted to think, when i wanted to make some important decisions. I was at my best when I was with you.

And then MBA happened. We got separated for a while. Everyday I would think of you, wonder if it was the right decision to move on to a new city without you. I tried hard for a couple of months, but I knew this was just not going to work. We had to be together. And there you were again in my life. I was excited to have you back here, but little did I realise what was in store for us. We had shared such a pure bond until then. Nobody had ever entered in our lives, and though I used to occasionally admire some of the new entrants on the circuit, I always used to come back home to you. But the B-School life changed it all. You started hanging out with others, and all though I didn't approve of it every single time, I just couldn't find out ways to break free from this new rut. I couldn't face it upfront and I couldn't every time say no to your hanging out constantly with other people. You picked up some bad habits along the way. Although you still haven't ever given up on me, you started showing signs of fatigue. The freshness of our relation was gone. It started becoming more of a recreational activity. Only when it was absolutely necessary, did we go out together. It was all my fault - I should have been more possessive, I shouldn't have let the other guys get to you. I should have kept you only to myself and I know you would have still remained the same as you were 8 years ago.

I knew in my mind somewhere 8 years ago too, that you indeed had come with an expiry date. And yes you have served more than your purpose. You have given me more than what I could have imagined in these 8 years. And now as we enter the last stage of our relationship, I promise you I am going to make every second counts now. We will ensure that the last few months that we might have left will contain some of the best moments ever.

So here's looking forward to the rest of our lives together. I thank you from the bottom of the heart.

I love you my BAJAJ PULSAR 150!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Passion.. Where art thou?

First there was Cricket . Watching cricket matches with a special notebook in hand, recording details of every single delivery bowled in the match, Preparing scrapbooks filled with clippings of cricket scores appearing in the next day's newspaper, Begging with parents and somehow convincing them to miss school for India Vs Pakistan Quarter finals of 1996 world cup, Sitting without food and water in scorching heat to watch a live cricket match in stadium. Those were the years where keeping track of every single international match in the world was a duty and not a option. Remembering what happened in every single match of every single series, including Ameya Khurasiyas debut match to Akash Chopra's last.

Then there was music - Discovering new bands, new genres. Right from classic Bollywood to Blues, Classic Rock and Country. A good amount of time used to be spent in tagging randomly downloaded songs according to artist, albums, movies and even actors and lyricists in case of movies. Had almost tagged the entire RD Burman Collection which included every single song of his ever released. Downloading entire discographies of artists and saving a few, deleting the others

Reading meant real reading and not pseudo reading of carrying on the same book for months. Right from completing "Mritunjaya" an Marathi epic on Karna in less than a month in school days to reading and then re reading certain portions of Fountainhead in similar time. To finishing mystery novels in about 2-3 days, reading meant pure unadulterated pleasure, a moment of strange solitude where its just you and the characters of the book.

Then there were movies, writing, and a few other things. The point is where have all of them dissaperead suddenly.

Suddenly off late - maybe in the last one or two years, everything seems to have died down. Cricket matches still happen and I do manage to catch a glimpse of them, but its no longer the same. The joy of watching Kanetkar hit a four to win the match in Dhaka or Rajesh Chauhan hitting a six in Lahore to seal a famous win will be never recreated. Music still goes on in the background, but except for a few exceptions dont remember the last time I stumbled upon a new artist or a new genre and was awestruck. Reading has almost stopped and there is no real passion for things. Yes certain things generate interest off and on. College has kept me busy, there are still spurts when I get that feel, that passion about the things I am doing in college, but retrospectively again what else could have been done.

If I really had to look back on the last few years, I really cant put my finger on what exactly I have been doing. There's nothing that will feature in the list like I mentioned above. Apart from that, I have also lost touch with a lot of people who were extremely good friends till a few years ago. I dont really know what happened, but there seems to be this bubble that surrounds me and keeps everyone away except the people around right now.

That bubble needs to be broken, the lost passion needs to be rediscovered, and it will be. A few bubbling ideas in mind. Need some time to sit down and channelize ideas into something more.