Friday, April 29, 2011

Job Ek Khoj – the lessons in the flashback

Ladies and gentlemen, I am back to the stories of my job hunt. This story is from the memory bank. While everything is from the memory bank, but I deposited this in the memory bank when I didn’t know what an ATM was or I was yet to hold a cell phone in my hands. It is from the old days which really good – college days.


Life is quite like a crazy boss – every time you think he will act sane, he will act insane and vice versa. There is no predictability. It is quite like IPL 2011 – every time you think your team is almost certain to make it to top four, it falls to the bottom of the table. Yeah for some like Mumbai Indians, they have always been at the top.

I recall my engineering college days. Well this is something you often do when you are at wrong side of 30, don’t you? In my class, my marks always stood in top four but only if the list was made in ascending order. I was never a bright student but I enjoyed my life at campus. Three years just flew by. As I entered the fourth year, campus placement started. There were 30 guys and 2 girls in my class and all of us started gearing up - some prepared to pretend that they were the best, for some the best they did was to pretend to prepare. I fell in the second category. But for all my shortcomings, I thought two of my qualities will take me through – confidence and positive attitude.

First company was an IT giant headquartered in Bangalore. They believed in being powered and driven. They hired 15 of us. 17 were left now. Suddenly, the class of 32 was divided in two groups. Those who succeeded were calling up parents, friends, visiting temples, partying and enjoying life. Those who were yet without a job, were sulking. Sometime later, some from the first group started consoling some in the second group. I found this situation a bit funny.

“We don’t have just one company visiting the campus. There are many more to come. And one company was not going to pick up all anyhow. Some of us will fail at some point of time. Why to feel so sad about it?” I was thinking.

Second company was also an IT giant headquartered in Bangalore. They claim to apply lot of thoughts in their business. Out of the 17, 15 were eligible for the written test. Out of 15, 12 cleared the written test. I was one of them. After our interviews, all of us came back to our hostel. 5 guys who couldn’t appear for the interviews were preparing for other companies. Others were waiting for the result.

If atmosphere was gloomy after the result of first company, I felt as if someone had died now. 11 guys and a girl had cleared the written. I don’t know about the girl as she stayed in a place I could never dare to visit – girl’s hostel, but 9 guys looked so sad as if the dean had told them all – “We saw a copy of debonair in your rooms. We have called your parents to tell about it. Pack your bags now, you will be rusticated” I was the only guy with a smile on his face. I was confident I will make it. I was very positive about it. And even if it didn’t work out this time, there were other companies lined up.

But other 9 were not like that. One by one, I was going to each of them to cheer up their pensive mood. Everyone was cribbing “Why will they hire me? I am not going to get a job.” Two of them were actually crying. They had given up hope of getting through the interview, all of them.

I pitied them – how could someone lose without having actually lost it.

“It’s year 2000 – the IT boom. For so many months we have been reading about the recruitment spree. This is just second company. Result of the interviews is yet not out. How can someone say he will pass out without a job in his hand? How?” I was laughing at this defeatist attitude. “If they actually do not get this job, half of them will actually commit suicide” I thought.

After 2 hours of efforts, I along with some others, were able to cheer them up – not all but some of them. We had our dinner in the mess. Result was expected to be out by 10:00PM.

“Hooooooo…..yaaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!” I heard two guys chanting. These two guys had gone to check the result at the placement office and were coming back. Within no time, all of us were out and running towards them.

“What happened? Who got through? Did I make it? Do you have the list?” they were being asked by everyone.

“All of us made it. Everyone got through” one of them said.

“What? Really?” someone responded.

“Oh sorry, 11 made it. 1 didn’t” came the reply.

“Haha. Kiska Kataa” (Who missed out?) I asked. I was almost laughing. “To miss out when everyone made it needs some talent” I said with a laugh of arrogance.

Tumhara kata.” (You missed out)

Silence. Pin drop silence. Just that I felt that silence. Others were still shouting in joy.

I went numb. I went deaf. It wasn’t the failure but the way it has come which was causing the hurt. “How can I miss out when every tom, dick and harry made it? What the hell.” I was thinking “Am I so bad?”

Those guys were almost in tears few hours back. Two of them were actually in tears. I was the only one who was upbeat. I was consoling them. Now they were jumping on their feet whereas I had lost my ability to hear.

Slowly I gathered myself. Things became normal.

“Bad Luck” said some.

“See your grades are not good. You should have taken more care of your studies” said a guy who was crying.

“You shouldn’t have said THIS in the interview” was another remark.

Next company came within a few days. They looked beyond the obvious. I got lucky third time. But I had learnt a lesson, a hard way, about the unpredictability of life.

The economy was booming, may be at a pace faster than it should have. It had to fall at some point of time. It did fall next year. To make it worse, US lost its twin towers.

The company which believed in applying thoughts delayed the joining by a year. So 11 of them had to wait for a year before they could start working.

The company which looked beyond the obvious asked me to join within a few months. For all the sadness on that night a year ago, I had a feeling of relief. I learnt another lesson that day – life keeps teaching you lessons, just that few of them come a hard way.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just to make it see sunlight – Part 5

Finally the book moves on. It took me almost two years to complete this story which will occupy maximum of 3 pages. Going at this rate, I will complete a 200 page book sometime in December 2078. I cannot take this risk. What if my concept gets stolen? The rate at which my expenses are exceeding my income, I am sure I will not have any savings to pay to fight a lawsuit. Hence to be on a safer side, I will keep posting it here. In case you have forgotten the context, please read first few paragraphs of this. I have already started working on the next story. Here is the current story.


Friends!!!

“Hi Swapnil. I am XXX. I was just browsing through FB and came across your profile. I was surprised to know the kind of similarities you and I share. You did you MBA from Calcutta. My father had taken all of us to Calcutta when I was a kid. You are a CA. I go to my CA every year to get my IT return filed. You like bungee jumping. My uncle’s son’s friend’s neighbor’s daughter also likes bungee jumping. You are wearing green color shirt in your profile photo. The color of grass in my garden is green. See, there are truckloads of similarities between you and me. So I thought let’s just get to know a bit more about each other.”

While you do not mind receiving such a mail from a female, I had been around long enough to know the most possible source of any such mail – any of your mail friends trying to lure you into a trap. So I did not believe this mail. But then human mind never gives up one thing – hope. “What if it’s genuine? What if it’s really a girl has sent this to me? I don’t look that bad after all, do I?” was the second thought that struck me.

So I replied while keeping my fingers crossed. And it started a mail chain.

One fine morning, I got a good morning call from her.

“Hello!!!”

“Hey!!! It’s XXX. ”

“Hey. How are you?”

“I am fine. I just thought of making morning good for you. So I called up”

I was so glad that it wasn’t a trap. It was actually a girl sending me these mails. I do have a charisma. I always knew it.

Slowly the frequency of calls increased.

One fine day, we decided to meet up.

It was going to be a blind date.

There a stark similarity between a blind date and watching a Shakeela movie – you know it will be a disappointment yet you watch thinking “what IF something is there worth not missing”

So I landed at the pre-decided venue – CCD. It was crowded. As expected, she had not arrived there.

“Women in life and police in movies are similar. They are always late” I thought.

I started ogling at a hot chic sitting alone in her seat. “Let me enjoy my evening before it gets spoiled” I thought. The hot chic caught me staring at her so I started searching for other good-looking faces in CCD.

But she stood up and came marching towards me. “Oh no, I smell trouble here” I thought.

“Hey, are you Swapnil?” she asked me.

“Till now I am but I can be anyone else also if you like” I said, only in my mind. In reality, I said “Yes”.

“Hi. I am XXX” she said.

“Ok” I said coldly. I was lost in her, completely. She was beautiful. She was gorgeous. She made me forget everything.

“Hello!!! I am XXX” she repeated in a louder voice.

“Oh hi, how are you?” I said with disbelief written all over her face. I had hit a jackpot, a jackpot.

“Is she? Is she really XXX? Am I dreaming – only the bill will tell that if I am?” I was thinking. I immediately started searching for hidden cameras in CCD. “This is surely MTV Bakra, surely. Where is Cyrus Brocha? He might have been a hit in all his shows but today he is going to flop. You cannot fool me. Even if you lure me to drop in your trap by using a model, I am not going to fall for it. Noway.” I was thinking as I sat down.

It took almost 15 minutes to ensure that it was all real and I was not going to be an MTV Bakra.

She was clad in a white sleeveless top and a red skirt. It looked as if she had taken at least couple of hours to get ready.

I was wearing grey trousers and a light blue shirt. It looked as if I had just played a match of Kabaddi.

I wonder how girls always manage to look so fresh. Only time I look fresh in a day is when I am coming out of toilet. Yeah, it really feels so fresh.

We did hit off reasonably okay for the first date. We chatted for an hour or so. She was all words. I was all ears.

Aim of her chat was to do a preliminary check on me – if I was marriage material or not. For me, she was a damn good material.  

Her stubbornness did hit at my ego a few times– it didn’t make me feel like getting up and running away but it didn’t make our meeting a completely pleasant one also.

I felt that she found my Desipana a bit too much to handle – I wasn’t too shabbily dressed to look like a Yankee but I wasn’t at my suave best either.

As our date came to an end, we decided to go for a movie on our next date.

While parting away she said in her mellifluous voice “I want to say something to you. I hope you will not mind. After all we are friends, aren’t we?”

“What? She is going to propose to me. Boss, this is surely MTV Bakra else why would she say – I hope you will not mind. But even if it is MTV Bakra, I don’t mind it. This Bakra was really well fed before being sacrificed” I was thinking while expecting a Bakra cap to appear in her hands.

“Please go ahead” I replied.

“I think you can carry yourself better. Please don’t mind. It for your own good.” she replied in a tone which I found a bit disparaging. I would have easily taken an MTV Bakra surprise instead of this.

I nodded while trying to put a smile on my face.

“I also want to say something to you. I hope you will not mind. After all we are friends, aren’t we?”

“Yeah sure.” she replied.

“I think you can talk a bit less. Please don’t mind. It for your own good” I said to her but she was gone before I could complete my sentence.

That was the first time we met. That also was the last time we met.



“Where did it go wrong?” I asked a friend of mine few days later.

“@!#@$%!#$@!%” was his reply.

Part 6 to come soon.…

Monday, April 18, 2011

Office humor!!!

Here are some of the incidents that have happened at my workplace. It’s described as a conversation between me and the other person (OP). There are some jokes you have to let the world know about - it's your duty as a human. Any resemblance to anyone in any form is deeply regretted. But no big deal. Regret is an unwanted but not detachable quality of human nature.



Madhya Pradesh –

OP – Which part of India does Madhya Pradesh belong to? Is it east, west, south, or north?

Me – Dude, its Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh.

OP – Yeah that I know. But which part of the country does it belong to – east, west, south, or north?

Me – See, the state is huge and its spread in all the direction. You pick which part of it you want to choose– east, west, south, or north.

Finally someone had to show him the map of India.


Kids -

OP – Dude, when are your kids coming back?

Me – Next month.

OP – Both will come back next month?

Me – No. younger one will come back next month. Elder one is too small to travel alone so he will come back when my wife comes back.

My wife is currently at her parent’s place with the 2 kids. I have two sons – one is two and half years old and other one is a month old.


Paneer –

Me- You know how to make Paneer?

OP – Yes, by boiling milk?

Me – How?

OP – You boil milk. Water evaporates. Remaining solid is Paneer. It's common sense, isn't it?


Stock Price –

Me – Wow, XYZ’s stock price has run up 13% today.

OP – Great. Is that listed?

Me – No, it’s not. But since the stock has run up by 13% in a day, XYZ has decided to come up with an IPO.


Cricket World cup 2011–

OP – What? There is no match to decide the third place this time?

Me – There was one. But ICC wanted you to raise your voice. Hence they scrapped that match.


PS: Above conversations are a mix of truth and fiction. While my statements have a tinge of fiction, the tinge is completely missing from OP’s statements.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Doosra!!!

April 2, 2011, sometime in the morning –
Wife calls up “I am going to see the doctor in sometime.”
“What happened?” I ask while reading something on Cricinfo.
“IT could be today.” She replies.
“But it was supposed to be on 6th” I say.
“Well IT could be today” I get to hear.
I am shocked thinking “I cannot take two tensions on a single day. I cannot. God please help”
God does help. IT is delayed. We win the cup.

April 4, 2011, sometime in the noon -  
I have to catch a train at 4:30 PM to reach Bhopal today. I leave office at 12:30PM. At 12:45PM I am about to board my train at Churchgate to reach Borivali.  I get a call just before I board the train “She was needed to be hospitalized. Operation will start soon. It should be over around 3.00PM or so.”

I become nervous, very nervous. It’s twice in three days that I am anxiously waiting for two different kinds of results.

I reach Borivali, get down from the train and catch an auto-rickshaw to reach home. When I am hardly 10 minutes from home, I get a call “It’s a boy.”

I am happy, very happy. But the timing of the call makes me think “I was at Churchgate when I got the first call. I was told that wife was being hospitalized than. By the time I reach Borivali, it’s all done. Not sure if medical science has become really fast or distances in Mumbai are really long”.

“During the journey between Churchgate and Borivali, and an expectation gets converted into a delivery” I am thinking. There is a hoarding showing Rohit Sharma doing some ad.

I start sending SMS to all my friends. Very few of them know that this was going to happen. So my SMS “It’s a boyJ” gets replies like “Whose?” I get furious only to realize that it isn’t their fault. When I told them that I had sent my wife and kid away so that I could watch the world cup peacefully, they believed me. “Anything for the world cup” was my punch line.

So when they ask me “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” I reply saying “I wanted to give you a surprise”

Now the tussle for the name will start. I have already decided the name - Rahul. As expected, it has met with severe protests. So I am going to give everyone another choice –Sachin.

First, let me explain why Rahul.

In 1985 when I was 7 years old when one of my uncles had a baby boy. Seeing the first kid in the family, I fell in love with the kid. I named him Rahul. It was accepted. I was dreaming “When he grows up and becomes big, I will tell everyone that I gave him his name”.
Every child dreams a lot. Very few of them come true. Rahul was soon dropped and replaced with some other name. Every child has a huge ego. I also had a big ego. I felt insulted. On that very day I decided – “Whenever in life, if I have a son, I will name him Rahul. Nobody and absolutely nobody will change it. After all he will be my son”

Like I said, not every childhood dream comes true. I proposed the name Rahul for my first son. It was disposed. My first son was named Divyansh. But God has given me another chance to make my childhood dream come true. And I am not going to miss it this time. Noway.

If you want me to explain why Sachin, just leave this page and go jump out of the window. Someone asked me the meaning of the name Sachin and I said “God of cricket”

Let’s see who wins - 1985 or 2011, number 3 or number 4 or simply Sachin or Rahul.

I will keep you posted.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Now What???

A kid, let’s call him X, is watching a cricket match. He is cheering for his father who is batting.
“Who was the guy who got you out?” he asks his father once the match gets over.
Gopal Sharma. Very soon, he is going to play for India” his father responds. Gopal Sharma makes his debut in 1985.
Few years pass by. X doesn’t have a TV at home. So he watches some cricket match at a neighbor’s place. Ravi Shastri bats at snail’s pace but still India wins. After the match, Shastri drives entire team in an Audi.

Next year, when X has a TV at home, there is a big match being played in Sharjah. X decides to do the scoring for the match in this notebook. He does it ball by ball. On the 600th ball of the match, a six is hit. India loses. X becomes very sad.

There is a world cup next year. X’s maternal uncle tells him about a Sardar who has come in the team. He hits sixes at will. X goes to his grandfather’s house to watch the next match. A legend scores his first ODI century. India is in the semi finals.

India loses the semi final. The loss makes X sad again.

X also starts playing cricket. People say he bats well. X doesn’t disagree. His school timings are 9-5. So he plays on Sundays. Come the summer vacations and he plays 5-9 in the morning and 4-7 in the evening.

People are talking about some Sachin Tendulkar who looks to be the future. X comes to know about Sachin from his father. India goes to Pakistan. Like everyone else, Sachin impresses X’s father also. As the tour nears its end, Sachin tears apart the reputation of a legendry Pakistani spinner. By this time, X’s dad has become a big Sachin fan.

X asks him “Does he bat better than I do?”

“This kid is the best I’ve seen.” His father responds with a smile.

X thinks angrily “No. No kid can be better than me. May be I can be bettered by a grown up man but not by a kid for sure. How could you say that?” He becomes envious of Sachin. He starts admiring another Indian great – Azhar. Balance of power is required everywhere. So the house gets divided between Sachin and Azhar.

Father says “Azhar is an excellent batsman but nothing beats Sachin. He is the future”

Son says “Azhar is THE batsman. Sachins will come and go. Azhar will stay”

When Azhar gets out, father remains hopeful that Sachin is still there. When Sachin gets out, X tells his father “See, he is good for nothing”

World cup tournament is held in Australia. Azhar does well. So does Sachin. The team jumps into a well – 8 matches, 2 wins, 5 losses, 1 no result.

X asks his father “Have we won any world cup?”

“Yes. 1983. Yashpal Sharma’s flick for a six. Kapil’s 175. Lords. West Indian opener shouldering arms. . Sandhu's in-swinger. Richard’s assault. Kapil’s catch. Mohinder Amarnath. Holding. LBW. Crowd. Lords Balcony. Yes we won it on 25th June 1983” he responds. X listens.

X gets an offer to play for a local club but for that, he needs to compromise on his studies. His father tells him “You have to decide. You want to study or play cricket.” X chooses studies over cricket. Gopal Sharma never became a regular in Indian team. “Only big city guys can make it” thinks X.

But his interest in the game doesn’t drop. There is not one version of Cricket Samrat that he hasn’t read. He keeps playing.

Rivalry between Sachin and Azhar continues at home. Being an obstinate, X supports Azhar even on days when he is awful. But every time Sachin excels, he leaves X in awe. Awe wins over awfulness, always. There is always a difference between the great and the God. It starts getting visible.

Slowly X starts appreciating his father’s admiration for Sachin. But Sachin turns out to be a magician. He turns even a non fan into a devotee. X becomes his fan. Like the rest of the things, Sachin is not satisfied. So he does his magic again. X becomes a devotee.

India loses more often than not. X still doesn’t lose interest in the game. Every time India plays, he watches hoping a victory. But considering the mediocrity of the team, only one man can win it for them – Sachin. It becomes a case of – We win if Sachin does well. Even if we lose, he does well. He always does well.

So he thinks “Can he score a 100 this time? 50? 25? Can he hit a boundary at least? The straight drive would be worth watchin.” X stops following cricket. He starts following Sachin.

Another world cup comes. This time it’s in the subcontinent. Azhar does okay. Sachin does the best. India does better – they make it to the semi final. But the team rest of team again jumps into a well once Sachin gets out in the semi final.

“Was the team in 1983 something really special?” he asks his father.

His father is lost in the memory lane “Yes. We had Kapil. We had Patil. Yashpal. Gavaskar. Madanlal. Binny. Srikanth. Decent batting. Good swing bowling. Excellent fielding. We had everything and everyone.” His father consoles him “But don’t worry. Nobody gave us a chance in 1983 yet we won it. There will be another world cup. May be we will win that one” X recovers from the shock.

Life starts moving again.

Another world cup comes, in England. India has found some new talent which not only looks promising but also delivers it. This is X’s first world cup as an adult. He is a bit more matured now and knows that the hopes are not great. This time he doesn’t ask his father about 1983. X has read/seen so much about 1983 as if he himself followed it – each match, each ball.

He knows that maybe Sachin alone cannot win it and without Sachin we surely cannot win it. Team proves this theory right. By now, X is used to of it. He accepts the fact that we are a bad team. Only Sachin is good but he is not good enough.

Life starts moving again.

X gets up one morning to a catastrophic earthquake. X is told that many a matches in whom he cheered India to victory were pre-decided. The term given is fixing. And one Indian who is supposed to be the biggest villain in this entire story is none other than his childhood hero – Azhar. X is shocked. X is shattered. Every day he searches the news papers for the news on fixing – “Is Sachin involved too? No. Please no. He cannot be. Sachin cannot fail me.” Sachin doesn’t.

Every earthquake changes a few things in life. So does this one. India gets a new captain, a new coach, and many new faces. Things start changing. Things start improving.

Even the dependence on Sachin is decreasing. X likes it. Maybe Sachin doesn’t. In next world cup, when team looks really impressive, he scores an unbelievable 673 runs. Sachin proves his importance to the team, again. When Sachin gets out cheaply in the finals and the team responds saying “You cannot fail. You are not allowed to. In case you do, we shall fail too.” X is thinking “One cannot have everything in life, not even Sachin. May be this is one trophy God doesn’t want him to have in his showcase. May be this is his – even moon has craters thing”

X is proud of whatever India did in this world cup. Entire country is proud of it.

Life is moving on. Clock is ticking.

4 years later, another world cup has come. This is considered to be Sachin’s last. But the world cup finishes even before it starts – another failure, another missed chance. “Nope, one cannot have everything in life. Sachin cannot have a world up in this life. In fact, Sachin could not have a world cup in this life” X was thinking “Thanks Sachin. Thanks for entertaining us in 5 world cups”

Clock keeps ticking.

The World Cup tournament comes home. Sachin is still there. “Is he phoenix or what? This is surely is last. Hope we win and he does get EVERYTHING in life. If someone deserves it, it’s him” X is praying.

Everyone is saying “We have to win it for Sachin.” The way Sachin bats in the tournament it looks like he is saying “Thanks mates. But this is not in your league. I will help myself”

We reach the final. X is nervous. Not because “What if we lose.” He is used to of that. He is nervous because “What if we win?” Sometimes it’s easy to swallow failure because it comes so frequently. It’s difficult to cope with success because it comes so rarely.

Game begins. Like last 22 years, the rule of the game hasn’t changed. If someone has to do it, that someone has to be Sachin.

“In Sachin we trust. Rest is all Tait”  X thinks “What if fails this time also. This is surely his last, surely.”

Some fears always come true. This is one of them. Sachin fails.

“See, he is not destined to get it” X thinks “But hey, this is not the team of 90s. These days we win even without Sachin. Everyone promised to win it for him. Now it’s time to deliver. Can they?”

And they do. Yes they do. X can’t believe it but they do. They win the bloody world cup.

X is over the moon. X is ecstatic. X is numb. “Yes we did it. Yes. Yes. Yes.” X keeps shouting till he loses his voice.

He sees Sachin running into the ground to hug his captain. A boyish smile, innocence, sense of achievement, satisfaction, tears, joy, it’s all there on Sachin’s face.

X is surprised that he is not crying, "May be my tears dried up in last 2 decades." But X knows that lot of his friends are crying. X is thinking “I don’t care even if I die now. My soul will rest in peace”

Next morning X gets an SMS from a friend “Good morning world champion”

This must be the best morning X has had in a long time. X gathers his mind which had fallen apart last night.

X is a world champion now. Suddenly a question strikes his mind “Now what?”

He wanted to see India winning a world cup. It happened. He wanted to see Sachin getting his hands on the trophy. It happened. Everything he wanted, God obliged. Now what? He is confused.

Cricket will re-start soon. It never gets bigger than the world cup. We won the world cup. But what is the motivation to follow the game now?

X mulls over giving up on cricket. “Retire on a high” he thinks. Maybe X is right – higher will not come; it will just be another high. X feels aimless.  X has no ambitions left. Without any ambition in life, there is no motivation. X’s mind his occupied with just one question - Now what?

It’s a bit clichéd but I am X. However, you can change my story by 10-15% and you could be X.  Saturday night was as if after ages of struggle, our generation achieved our goal. Our prayers of a world cup on Sachin’s CV are answered. And we all are facing the question “Now what?”

Saturday, April 02, 2011

If tomorrow, Cup???

My alarm shouts. Its 6:36 AM.

“Damn. I’ve got to get up. I might be late for the work today. Why? Why God Why? Why do I need to get up every day and go to work? Can’t I sit at home?” I crib today. I did the same yesterday. I do it every day. I will do it tomorrow as well. No, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday.

“One more day, just one more day” I somehow get ready and force myself into the local train. I hate my job.

“Wow. I got the window seat today” I am joyous. It is as big an achievement for people living in Mumbai as it is for a virgin to lose IT. I pretend to read the newspapers and think “Why do I have to do it?” I hate my job. I sleep within 10 minutes. Not for nothing a window seat in a local train is the most coveted seat in Mumbai. Sorry Mr. Chief Minister, your seat comes second.

Next station Churchgate, agla station Churchgate, Pudhil sthanak Churchgate. Announcement buzzes in my ears.

I need to get up and rush to catch a cab now. “Why?” I keep complaining till I turn right. And as I turn right, something happens. It all changes as if I have been Portkeyed  to a completely new world.

On my right is Wankhede Cricket Stadium, hardly 20 meters away and waiting. It’s waiting to be filled. It’s waiting for the purpose of its reincarnation to be fulfilled. It’s waiting for 2:30 PM, April 2, 2011, Saturday.

I forget about my job. I forget my complaints. I forget about the life in Mumbai. I forget everything. From the state of unhappiness in life, I reach the state of uncertainty about the future which unfolds tomorrow. I am lost, completely lost.

I reach office. The daily rut starts. Meetings, discussions, work, this, that and everything. But I am oblivion to all of it. I am in a completely different world. Remember, I was Portkeyed?

All I am thinking is about tomorrow. What will happen tomorrow? Are we going to win it? Is Sachin going to get a dream retirement – 100th century in a world cup final in Mumbai, hitting the winning runs, getting MOM, lifting the trophy and announcing his retirement from ODIs?

Or it will be Murali who gets the dream retirement? But Murali has already got one dream retirement in tests, hasn’t he? Okay he is a legend. He deserved it. But how many times? Has God reserved all the rewards for greatness for just one person? Isn’t Sachin great? Doesn’t he deserve anything? Or maybe he himself, being God, will decide it tomorrow. I feel nervous, very nervous.

But is Murali playing? I open cricinfo to find out but it is blocked. Damn Websense.

“Bloody morons, they don’t know me. I am just too good for them.” I still manage to open the website. Vaas and Randiv have been called up as backup.

“What? Lankans have called up a debutant as a backup for Angelo Matthews?” I read the article and think “What? It's Chaminda Vaas? Hasn’t he retired?”

Angelo Matthews and Murali are not certain to play the final. So is Nehra.

“Shall we call up Venkatesh Prasad as Nehra’s back-up? Or shall we go back to the legendary Joginder Shrma?”

I start calling/pinging my friends. Everyone enquires about my wellbeing “How are you?”

“Don’t ask man, don’t ask. I m fucking nervous” I respond.

Apart from a very few, almost all of them enquired worryingly “Why? What happened? All fine”

“Oh God, I haven’t made many friends in life, have I? Do they need to ask this? Today? They haven’t come close to knowing me even after knowing me for so many years. Am I so hard to understand?” I think while explaining in detail about the reason of me being nervous.

I get a call. A client wants to meet me at Hyatt tomorrow.

“What about 11:00 AM? What do you think?”

“We will win” I say. Luckily he doesn’t hear it.

“Fine” I said. Maybe I can watch the match there till 33 overs and then rush back home. “Anything for the world cup” I thought.

Looking at my phone reminds me something. I am married. I have a son. I haven’t talked to my wife or son since last night. I must.

“But when did I get married? Ah, 2007 when rest of the world played a world cup in Caribbean. India didn’t take part in that world cup. Oh yeah. The date was 19th February, same date when this world cup started.” Portkey starts losing its effect. “When did my son come? Three days before India- Australia series started in 2008. His Namekaran was done about an hour after Kumble retired. I don’t remember the date though.” Every hash-search has its keys.

I call up my wife. She asks “What’s up?”

I reply “I am just too tense”

“Are you mad or what? There are more than 24 hours to go. Just chill and relax. We will win” she knows me. Yes she knows me.

Clock keeps ticking. People are busy at work – just a talk about the world cup here, a bet about tomorrow there.

Someone suggests about the team tomorrow “Dhoni is in such a bad form. We should drop him and play Yusuf. He can bowl off-spin too”

I start searching for Cheeka’s twitter account. May be I can convey the message to him.

Another one questions “When is the match to decide the second runners up this time?”

It’s an engrossing challenge to fight a genius. It’s impossibly suffocating to survive amidst mediocrity.

Cricinfo declares that Angelo is ruled out. Randiv replaces him.

I call up a friend to discuss. I tell him “Dude, I am too nervous. I don’t know what I will do if we win. I might cry”

“Oh. Make sure you do not watch it alone. Make sure you have a hospital’s number in your phone. Don’t go to the roof top. Don’t keep any hard objects with you. In case we lose, you might break your TV.” He suggests.

“No dude. Losing isn’t a problem. I got a taste in 2003. I am used to of it. Problem is what if we actually win. I don’t know what I will do then. Failure breaks your heart but if success has been really rare, it may result in heart failure” I was becoming philosophical.

Office becomes a bit deserted. I slip away. I notice the weather – it is not hot and humid by Mumbai standards, nice breeze is blowing from west, there is a tiny bit of cloud in the sky and overall it’s nice.

I board the train. It starts. Wankhede comes – on my left this time. It looks lot better than what it looked two years ago – even if you watch it from a train.

I cannot see what is inside the stadium. But I know what it holds. It holds suspense. It holds future. It holds the answer to the question – What shall I be doing in less than 24 hours from now?