Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some dreams are just not meant to come true!!!

Some dreams are just not meant to come true,
All you can do is to cry and rue

No matter how hard they try,
Penguins just cannot fly.
No matter how hard they try,
Deserts will always be dry.
No matter how hard u try,
Sometimes you will just never know why.

Some dreams are just not meant to come true,
All you can do is to cry and rue

When heart breaks and u cry
You shed tears till it all goes dry
You look up to the sky and ask him why
You hope for his smile saying you are my kid, oh my

Some dreams are just not meant to come true,
All you can do is to cry and rue

Slowly time passes and you come back to life
U learn to live, you forget the strife
But some dreams hurt you till the end of the life
They go through your heart like a butcher's knife

Some dreams are just not meant to come true
All you can do is to cry and rue

What if you had tried a bit harder?
What if you had run a bit faster?
What if you had been a bit wiser?
You can try it again, you can try it all
But it'll all be in vain if the writing is on the wall

Some dreams are just not meant to come true
All you can do is to cry and rue

Monday, August 29, 2011

India in England -

२९ अगस्त २०११, लन्दन - इस सप्ताह भारत और इंग्लैंड के बीच ५ एक-दिवसीय मैचों की श्रंखला आरम्भ होने वाली है जिसकी शुरुआत एक टी-२० मैच से होगी. विदित होकी ४ मैचों की टेस्ट मैच श्रंखला में भारत पहले ही धुल चाट चूका है. यद्यपि भारत के कप्तान महेंद्र सिंह धोनी इस एक दिवसीय श्रंखला में संभावित प्रदर्शन को लेकर काफी उत्साहित नजर आये. धोनी ने कहा की, "हम विश्व चैम्पियन हैं और एक विश्व चैम्पियन की तरह ही खेलेंगे." जब उनको यह याद दिलाया गया की टेस्ट श्रंखला के पहले भी वोह नंबर १ थे लेकिन उनका खेल तो नंबर १० से भी बदतर था तो धोनी हलके से क्रोधित हो गए और बोले "आप लोग चाहते हैं मैं वोह सब भूलूँ या नहीं? ४-० की हार भुलाने के लिए कल मैं फुटबाल का मैच देखने गया. साला वहां भी मेरी पसंदीदा टीम ८-२ से हार गयी. अब उनके कप्तान ने खून पी लिया है मेरा फ़ोन कर कर के की कैसे इस सदमे से बाहर आया जाए?"

धोनी को संभालते हुए भारत के कोच Duncan Fletcher ने कहा की "देखिये, भले ही हम यह श्रंखला ५-० से हार जाएँ, हम फिर भी विश्व चैम्पियन रहेंगे. इंग्लैंड यह बात भली भाँती जानता है अतः उसके पास इस श्रंखला में जोर लगाने का कोई कारण ही नहीं है. हम बार बार यही चिल्लायेंगे की हम विश्व चैम्पियन हैं और इंग्लैंड पे इतना मनोवैज्ञानिक दबाव डालेंगे की वोह बिना खेले ही हार मान लें." लेकिन जब उनसे यह कहा गया की इंग्लैंड जैसी शाश्क्त  टीम ऐसे कैसे हार मान लेगी तो उन्होंने कहा "उनके आधे से ज्यादा खिलाडी दक्षिण अफ़्रीकी हैं जो विश्व कप के नाम से ही हथियार दाल देते हैं. हमको पूरा विश्वास है की हमारी यह योजना सफल होगी. Kevin Petersen ने तो श्रंखला आरम्भ होने के पहले ही  खेलने से मन कर दिया है" उन्होंने यह भी बोला की "हमने भारत से काफी सारे युवा खिलाडी बुला लिए हैं. अब हमको अंतिम ११ खिलाडी चुनने में कोई समस्या नहीं होगी" जब हमने उनसे पूछा की क्या उनका इशारा २८ वर्षीय मध्यम तेज गति के गेंदबाज विनय कुमार की तरफ है तो उन्होंने कहा "नहीं, मेरा इशारा टीम मेनेजर शिवलाल यादव की तरफ था."

वहीँ विश्वस्त सूत्रों से यह समाचार मिला है की गौतम गंभीर को अपने सर पे लगी चोट की वजह से भारत लौटना पद रहा है. लेकिन हमारे विश्वस्त सूत्र यह भी कहते हैं की गौतम के सर की चोट एक बहाना है उनकी भारत वापिसी का. असल में जबसे गौतम और इशांत के बीच पनप रही घनिष्ठ मित्रता का खुलासा हुआ है, उनके घरवालों ने गौतम पे दबाव बनाना चालू कर दिया है. गौतम के एक करीबी रिश्तेदार ने नाम न उजागर करने की शर्त पे बोला की "हम कब से कह रहे हैं लड़के की शादी करवा दो. लेकिन यह लोग सुनते ही नहीं. देख लो अब लड़के का क्या हाल हो गया है. इसलिए हमने बोला की लड़के को वापिस बुलाओ, बाबा से उसकी इस बीमारी का इलाज करवा के जल्दी से उसकी शादी करवा देते हैं. मैंने तो अपनी बीवी के मामा की भतीजी स्वीटी का रिश्ता भी भेज दिया है. बड़ी ही सुन्दर और सुशील कन्या है स्वीटी."

वहीँ बीसीसीआई ने एक वक्तव्य में यह कहा है की वोह विडियो गलत तरह से प्रदर्शित किया गया है. बीसीसीआई ने यह भी कहा की यह भारतीय टीम के मनोबल तो तोड़ने की एक साजिश थी. लोग भारतीय टीम के दो महत्त्वपूर्ण खिलाडियों के चरित्र पे लांछन लगा कर टीम पर मनोवैज्ञानिक दबाव बनाना चाहते हैं. हमारे संवाददाता ने जब पुछा की "टीम फॉर्म को देखते हुए किसी ऐसी चाल की जरूरत भी थी? अंतिम टेस्ट तक तो टीम में न कोई मन दिख रहा था खेलने का और न ही कोई बल दिख रहा था. कोई वैज्ञानिक भी चमत्कार नहीं कर सकता था" तो इसके जवाब में बीसीसीआई ने कहा की उन्होंने एक कमिटी बनायीं है जो सारे मामले की जांच करेगी.
 
PS: Hoping that you will find some sense in this stale humor. Any sentiments hurts, related to any person living or dead or any organization is deeply regretted. This article is completely fictitious.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anna!!!

25 अगस्त 2011. मुंबई – ट्विट्टर जगत में कल रात उस समय हडकंप मच गया जब भारतीय टेनिस परी सानिया मिर्ज़ा ने ट्वीट किया की वोह भी अन्ना हैं. इसके पहले की वोह अपनी स्तिथिति साफ़ कर पाती, धार्मिक नेताओं ने उनके खिलाफ फतवा जारी कर दिया. धार्मिक नेताओं ने अपने वक्तव्य में कहा है ,”सानिया इस पवित्र धार्मिक नाम है. सानिया इसे बदलने का सोच भी कैसे सकती हैं. क्या वोह यह कहना चाहती हैं की वोह मरहूम अन्ना निकोल स्मिथ का अवतार हैं – वोही अन्ना निकोल स्मिथ जोकि एक पोर्न कलाकार हुआ करती थीं? यह धर्म के खिलाफ है और सानिया ने धर्म की तौहीन की है. सानिया ऐसी अश्लील हरकत करने की सोच भी कैसे सकती हैं?"

सानिया के पति शोहैब मालिक ने माफ़ी मांगते हुए बोला की धर्म की तौहीन का सानिया का कोई इरादा नहीं था. जब उनसे अन्ना के बारे में पुछा गया तो वोह बोले “माशाल्लाह अन्ना की कला का मैं बहुत बड़ा कायल हूँ और उनसे ज्यादा रोले में कोई जान नहीं डाल सकता. मैंने उनकी सभी movies देखी हैं. जिस अन्ना की बात कही गयी है वैसे भी उनकी movies अश्लील नहीं कलात्मक थीं”

लेकिन शोहैब के इस बयान ने आग में घी डालने का काम किया. जैसे ही यह पता चला की porn देखना भी अधार्मिक है, शोहैब ने सफाई देते हुए कहा की उनका मतलब अन्ना हाथवे से था, “मैं अन्ना हाथवे का बहुत बड़ा फेन हूँ. देखिये, हिंदुस्तान ने एक सानिया दी और हमने उसे अन्ना बना दिया. आप सुषमा, मीरा और जयंती को भेज के देखिये, सबको हीना न बना दिय तो कहना”

परन्तु जब शोहैब को भारत में चल रहे भ्रस्टाचार के विरुद्ध आन्दोलन से अवगत करवाया गया तो वोह अपनी छाती चौड़ी करते हुए बोले “मैं सानिया को सप्पोर्ट करता हूँ और अगर वोह अनशन करती है तो मैं तह-इ-दिल से उसका साथ दूंगा“ शोहैब ने अन्ना के बारे में और जानकारी लेते हुए यह भी पुछा की अनशन के बाद अन्ना का वजन कितना कम हुआ है. बाद में वोह यह फुसफुसाते हुए पाए गए कि “भाईजान, please अनशन करवा दो उससे. कुछ तो मोटापा कम हो. मुझे देखो और उसे देखो. रहम करो”

यह विवाद थमता हुआ तब नजर आया जब सानिया ने सफाई देते हुए कहा कि उनका इशारा अन्ना कौर्निकोवा कि तरफ था. सानिया ने कहा अन्ना कि तरह उन्होंने ने भी अपने सौंदर्य और टेनिस के बलबूते पे कामयाबी हासिल कि है. परन्तु जब हमारे संवाददाता ने यह टिपण्णी की कि सानिया ने अन्ना कि तरह मैच भी नहीं जीते हैं, सानिया ने उसको 2 मुक्के जड़ दिए. हमारा संवाददाता फिलहाल लीलावती हॉस्पिटल में अपने जबड़े का प्लास्टर करवा रहा है.

दूसरी तरफ यह भी खबर आई है कि अन्ना कौर्निकोवा ने कल यह ट्वीट किया कि वोह सानिया हैं. कहा यह जा रहा है कि उनका निशाना प्रसिद्धि हासिल करके बॉलीवुड में काम करने का है, वोह अपने इस ट्वीट से महेश भट्ट को आकर्षित करना छाहती थीं परन्तु महेश भट्ट ने अन्ना का साथ न देने का इरादा पहले ही कर लिया था. श्री भट्ट ने कहा कि आकर्षण में उनकी कोई रूचि नहीं है, अब वोह केवल मर्डर में अभिरुचि रखते हैं. सुना जा रहा है कि अन्ना को प्रकाश झा ने अपनी अगली movie में नायिका का प्रस्ताव देने का मन बनाते हुए उनसे बात की. उसके फ़ौरन बाद अन्ना ने ट्विट्टर पे माफ़ी मांगते हुए कहा कि उनके पिछले ट्वीट में टाइपिंग में त्रुटी हो गयी. असल में वोह यह कहना चाहती थीं कि वोह सानिया नहीं सोनिया हैं. तब से समछार जगत थोडा दिग्भ्रमित हो गया है क्योंकि सानिया अगर अन्ना हैं, अन्ना अगर सोनिया हैं तो फिर यह अन्ना कौन हैं.
  
PS: Hoping that you will find some sense in this stale humor. Any sentiments hurts, related to any religion, politician, human or bill, is deeply regretted. This article is completely fictitious.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hope is not a bad thing!!!

I have learnt a lot about life by following cricket for over 22 years. Oh, the first thing you would have learnt after reading the first line is that I am more than 22 years old. Good going. You are learning as well.

This game keeps giving you lessons. When India collapsed after Sachin slipped in 1996, I dreamt of becoming India’s next Sachin and played cricket from 5:00am to 7:30PM, during the month of April, in UP where temperature hardly fell below 40 degree centigrade. I learnt a big lesson – to dream and dream big in life. It’s another matter that I ignored my exams to be held in first week of May and paid a heavy price for it. I learnt another lesson – dream but don’t day dream.

Adversity and prosperity are two extremes but they should never be looked upon in isolation. In adverse situation, one should think about the times of prosperity. When someone is prospering, do not forget the times of adversity. Former gives hope - the biggest driver to succeed. Later keeps the feet grounded which is important for sustaining success.

At this point of time, I cannot recall when the last time I felt was so sad, so hopeless, and so given-up. Well, there have been a few but I am not sure they could match this one. Here are a few of them which I can recall.

10. India – Australia 1991-92 – the never ending torture – India toured Australia for 5 test matches, one long triangular series, and a world cup. The tour lasted so long that even Australians looked like asking Indians – do you have any intentions to go back. We lost in Brisbane, we lost in Melbourne. Thinking Australia is a heaven for pacers; we dropped our spinner and played four pacers in Sidney. Yes. Sidney. We lost in Adelaide where we weren’t so far from winning it – margin of loss 38 runs while chasing 330 odd. Perth was a mere formality - 4-0 loss in test series. Barely reaching the finals and losing it all there in the triangular series. World cup is not worth talking about. Heads got rolled. Vengsarkar retired. Srikanth never played for India again. I am not sure if people remember Subroto Banerjee. Sourav Ganguly was dumped for 4 years.

9. India – South Africa 1996-97 – rape in Durban – 100 in first innings, 66 in second innings, Alan Donald literally running through our batting line up. They said pitch was like a minefield but Donald didn’t even need pitching to take some wickets – fast, very fast Yorkers did it for him. Sachin kept holding his bat like a pendulum and Donald kept sneaking through. We did come back in Johannesburg but so did our bad luck. Bad light, Klusner and Cullinan saved South Africa on the last day. I was still happy. At least we made a comeback. ODI series, even though we lost, was much better than the first two tests. We did put up a fight in the final.

8. India – Pakistan 1998-99 – Sach-an-Indian team – Pakistan came to India – lot of goodwill gestures and all that during that series. We played them in Chennai. We let Afridi, score a test hundred. Yes Shahid Afridi who didn’t seem to know anything other than a cross batted heave. Just when Pakistan was running away with the match, Venketesh Prasad woke up – last 6 wickets fell for 13. We needed 271 to win, on a lively pitch, against a formidable attack, and most importantly against Pakistan. May be we weren’t expecting to bat so soon – we lost half our side before crossing 100. Ganguly was given out Steve Dunn when the ball bounced almost a twice before being caught. Sachin played like he normally does – like God. Mongia gave him company. Mongia got out. Joshi gave him company. Sachin got out. Rest of the batsmen decided to give him company – in the dressing room. When Sachin got out, we needed 17 to win. We lost by 12.

7. India Pakistan 1998-99 – those Yorkers – It was time for Asian test championship. It looked like Eden was bathing in fog. Maybe that was the reason Pakistan’s batsmen couldn’t see the ball – they were 26/6. We acted like a good host and allowed them a way-out. Chasing their 185, we were cruising at 147/1. Shoaib Akhtar produced awesome magic. We were 147/2. Sachin came to bat. Akhtar repeated his magic. We were 147/3. We got a miniscule lead in the first innings. Suddenly it became a repeat of Chennai. Anwar was running away with the match when Srinath woke up – Pakistan’s last 7 wickets fell for 54. We needed 279 to win. Our openers gave us an excellent start. Sachin came to bat and he was batting like, well, God. But what was that? He got run out in one of the strangest ways. It was that man again which caused his downfall – Shoaib Akhtar. In the series of goodwill gestures and all that, Pakistan didn’t even think about it. They were, are, and will always be Pakistan. We needed 90 odd runs with 6 wickets in hand. We lost by almost 50.

5. India – Australia 1999-2000 – when Australia slapped us thrice and all we could return was love – Three-Love. A 3-0 defeat. I had seen India winning against England and Sri Lanka by a margin of 3-0 but it was the first time I came to know how it feels to be on the other side. It looked as if India left everything to Sachin – Oh you are our captain, you do it then. All that we won on this tour was an ODI against Pakistan. Yet I took solace in Laxman’s 167 in the final test. It did turn out to be a turning point for him and India in future years. At least some positive we could take out from the royal rape.

4. India – South Africa 2000 – no longer the kings at home – When South Africa came to play us at home, I was happy – we are going to win again. I was wrong. We started in Mumbai. Sachin got a nick when he was at 75. He used to walk during those days. He didn’t. He nicked at 97, down the leg side, faint edge and he walked. So did the rest. It was 1-0. In a 2 match series. I expected a comeback in Bangalore. What I got in return was a meek surrender. In the second innings Azhar got hit on the wrists. He went back - retired hurt. He came back and scored a century in a typical Azhar fashion – classy, attacking, awe inspiring. That was the last time he batted for India in whites. He was a great batsman. Period. We lost it 2-0. Our period at home was over.

3. India – Australia 2004 – revenge of 2001 – We had made Australians eat their own medicines in 2001. They came back in 2004 to their last frontier – the so called invincible Indian fort. Sachin was injured – didn’t play all the matches. Newcomers didn’t have the stomach to fight. We lost in Bangalore. Sehwag fired in Chennai - the way he was batting on the penultimate day in Chennai, I am sure we would have chased down 220 odd on the final day. Alas, last day was washed out. Ganguly opted out at Nagpur. Not that he could have saved us there from losing but it sent lot of negative vibes. We won the final test in Mumbai. Australians, as expected, cried foul about the pitch being a dustbowl but how could they not score 104 in the 4th innings. We lost a series at home – second time in 5 years. But it could have been 2-2 if rain had not prevented play on the final day in Chennai.

2. India – Sri Lanka – the Mendis mania – Dhoni, the man with the Midas touch, opted out of the series to take rest. Sri Lanka claimed to have unearthed a bowler in Ajantha Mendis who could bowl hand grenades. They weren’t joking – Mendis was coming from army. But I laughed at their claim thinking, we are the best when it comes to playing spin. Our batsmen proved me wrong. We lost the first test by huge margin. I was shattered. Sehwag understood my pain and won the second test – on his own. But by the time third test started, looked like our batsmen had taken an anti-Mendis stand – we don’t want him to play this game. If he bowls, we will protest and rush to the pavilion ASAP. We lost the series 2-1. Sri Lanka had beaten us in the area of our strength – playing spin.

1. Yes, you are right – It’s the current series which wins the race easily, very easily. Even after we were 2-0 down, I was confident of a comeback. After all we have made comebacks even during those horrendous 90s. But last night, after seeing their batsmen enjoying a bon-fire on a pitch we found difficult to stay alive, it was the worst I have seen. It’s not the loss but the surrender that is hurting.

Hope we have touched the bottom. In last 12 years, we have always been shocked once in 3-4 years. Be it by South Africa in 1999 or by Australia in 2004 or by Sri Lanka in 2008 – we have always come back and come back strong. Maybe we are following the trend in 2011.

In last 22 years, I always kept my hopes alive. Match after match, series after series, world cups after world cup, I hoped to win. We didn’t. I still followed the game with same interest, same devotion, and same enthusiasm, relentlessly. But things did start turning after 2000. We became a top team. We won the world cup.

I know it’s tempting to give up at this hour of darkness but I won’t. As Andy Dufresne writes to Red in Shawshank Redemption – “Hope is not a bad thing”



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Office humor – part 5!!!

Office humor is back. Here are the recent additions.


Come or Cum -

My colleague, MPwala guy, was going out to have his lunch. He was looking for someone to accompany him. He invited another colleague of mine, let’s call him X.

MPwala guy shouted at the top of his voice, “Hey X, had your lunch?”

“Not yet” said X.

“Want to give me company?”

“Okay” replied X.

“Let’s come” said MPwala guy with a smile.

I thought something was wrong but maybe he meant to say “Let’s cum”. But asking a guy to cum? I am in the process of gathering courage to ask him if he said come or cum. Both of them sound similar. Hope the process gets completed.



Working hardly –

MPwala guy was again looking for company to go out somewhere. He took a colleague, P, along with him. He asked another colleague, Q, to come along with him.

“Dude, want to have a cup of tea?” asked MPwala guy.

“No. I am tied up with something”

“Oh, you are busy”

“Yes”

“Come then, Q is busy. He is working very hardly” said MPwala guy to P and off they went.



European conundrum -

A colleague, A, popped a question, “This UK, doesn’t it come in Europe?”

B responded, “No it doesn’t “

MPwala guy chipped in, “Not everything is in Europe. See England. England is not UK. It’s not in Europe also”

A wondered, “Is it?”

C gave his two cents, “If you see history, even US was counted as a part of Europe in earlier days. Check google, you will find the details. Some part of it still comes in Europe”

All of them started searching US in Europe.

I thought – ‘Before these guys shift my beloved nation to Europe, I must leave for home. Left I did.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When Potter met Strauss!!!

             Date: 09th August 2011.

             Time: 8:30 PM.

             Place: Somewhere in Birmingham.




Andrew Strauss, taking advantage of 2 hour curfew break, was walking towards the shops across the street. He was sporting his team’s jersey which had “Captain – England Cricket Team” written behind its back. He was hoping that at least someone would recognize him and come to take his autograph. It had been ages since he signed any autograph. He had even forgotten his signature. Only time he used his signature is when ECB called him to sign the contract.

The streets were a little crowded with people rushing to get things done and reach back home before curfew break was lifted. Strauss was slowly moving towards the shop hoping that someone would recognize him. He greeted people who met his eyes. Some of them greeted him back, rest just didn’t bother.

Suddenly he saw someone familiar. He saw a boy who looked shorter than Tadenda Taibu, younger than Shahid Afridi, fairer than Nasser Hussain. The boy was wearing specs and often touching a Z shaped scar on his forehead.

‘Z? Is he a Zaheer Khan supporter? Damn. Let me handle him. Let me avenge Zaheer’s atrocities against me. Thought Strauss.

“Hey. Hey you, the boy with the scar. Stop” Andrew shouted.

The boy turned back and said “Who? Me?”

Andrew came to the boy and looked at him. He looked pleasantly surprised, “Harry Potter!!!”

“Hi” said Harry.

“What are you doing here mate? Doing some magic to stop this non-sense?”

“Well actually sir, I am going to the police station”

“Why?”

“I lost some stuff”

“What? Why don’t you use your magic to get it all back?”

“Errrr”

“What have you lost? And how?”

“I lost my wand and invisibility cloak. A stranger asked for my wand and cloak to have a look at it. He put the cloak on and disappeared. I have been looking for him since then. Bloody muggles, they just cannot be trusted”

“Did you know him?”

“No”

“So you handed over the objects of immense power to some stranger. Even I would have done what he did to you. Anyone would have done the same Harry. You are so naïve. To make the matters worse, you are blaming him”

“Actually I was busy watching Trent Bridge test. By the way, do you know Ian Bell? He is a master in the art of acting naïve, isn’t he?”

“Of course I do. He is my team mate. If you are referring to that incident, it wasn’t his fault. Our opponents have little respect for the spirit of the game” said Andrew while broadening his chest, “By the way. I am Andrew Strauss, captain of soon to be number one cricket team in the world”

“Of course, I know you. You have done exceptionally well in this series. Good that those riots seem to have stopped. You can go on to win it 4-0”

“That is what scares me Harry. The Dementor is back. Plus no one is giving any chance to our opponents. They are at their dangerous best when least is expected out of them”

“But still, you can make it 4-0”

“What if they make it 2-2 Harry? I don’t know when I shall get a chance to be the captain of world’s number one team”

“So you wanted the series to stop.”

“I don’t know why the hell they haven’t stopped it. If we were in our opponent’s place, we would have rushed back home even before the riots started. Bloody Muggles are they. ”

“Yeah, the scenes were too bad.

”Exactly. Wonder how they could stand these things. In the past, we have refused to visit them even if we heard a sniff.”

“Brave people are these”

“Brave? They are used to of this kind of stuff you know”

Harry didn’t know what to say.

“So how is life Harry. Now when Voldemort is dead, what is keeping you busy?” asked Andrew.

“I am looking for a job now. Looks like recession is going to set in. Every time I come back from Hogwarts, I am told that recessions is about to begin. I wonder if you guys have ever seen a boom"

“Yeah, tough times” said Strauss in a sympathizing tone.

“If I don’t get a job soon, Ron won’t allow me to marry Ginny.”

“Oh, that is sad. And she is hot.”

“Yes. Help me Andrew, help me getting a job”

“Not a problem at all. I will hire you. With your magical powers, we shall become the best team in the universe.”

“But I have lost my wand”

“Not a worry. Everything is made in China. I will get a new wand for you. You are hired. Job begins now”

“What is my first assignment?”

“See, we are playing in Edgbaston. Opposition has brought in a new Dementor. They call him Say-Wah. “

“Is he good?”

“Bloody hell, he tormented us in 2008 as if were dogs”

“Oh. But I heard a lot of them succumbed to the injury prone conditions you provided to them.”

“Yes they did. But I don’t know how this one has come back”

“What about that little one, Sa…..”

“Ssssshhh…don’t take his name mate. He is our you-know-who. We infected him with virus but looks like he himself is a virus – just refuses to die down”

“Yeah, I remember uncle Dursley talking to someone that this you-know-who is going to retire within a few months. And this is before I joined Hogwarts”

“I don’t know mate. He just keeps coming back. He looks like Dobby but plays like Dumbledore” Andrew was looking disgusted.

“You have sent back another one. What was his name…Err.. Yu…”

“Don’t take his name Potter. He is our you-know-who part two. Barbie will start crying if he hears his name”

“But Barbie has done wonderfully well in the series, hasn’t he? The way he has played, looks like he is a wizard. Or he is a witch? What is he Straussy, a witch, or a wizard?”

“I don’t know myself Harry. But Barbie still cries if you take the name of you-know-who part two in front of him”

“I thought he would have buried the ghost of Durban by now” wondered Harry.

“People die and become ghosts Harry. Ghosts never die”

“What about their captain – the obviously, off course guy?”

“Oh yeah, we have got him under the mat. He has played so much of cricket that he is doesn’t know a thing about his whereabouts. He plays cricket while sleeping and sleeps while playing cricket. In the end, he ends up doing nothing”

“But I’ve heard that he is really rich - plays in some IPL or something. Why don’t you play IPL Andrew?”

“Oh that is crap cricket” Andrew made faces as if he had just touched horse-shit.

“Is it? Really? Or that is your Ian-Bell episode”

“Well….” Andrew looked to avoid eye contact with Harry.

“Anyways, so you are all geared up for Edgbaston. What you expect from me?”

“I don’t think you can do anything for this series Harry. Importing your wand from China will take some time. Plus I will have to time my trade so that I can get some benefit in currency exchange. Once we get your wand, I will ask you a favor”

“What would that be?”

“Get me an IPL contract Harry, get me one. Please”

PS: Imagined while sitting workless at work. Any violation of copyright or unintended insult to any dead/alive man, woman or Barbie is regretted.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Empowering the poor!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, within a few hours, we shall be marching ahead into the year 2015. 2015 will write new chapters in global economy, universal humanity and Suraj Badjatya’s new movie – Saare Vivaah Aise hi Hote Hain. Its 2015 when Sachin will play his last world cup, although we have been saying this for last 4 world cups. Shahid Afridi has announced that he will come out of his retirement in 2015 on the day he turns 30. 2015 is the year in which Rakhi Sawant will get married in Khataron ke Khiladi – 6. Government of India, seeing excessive load of population in Tihar, has announced to develop phase 3 of the prison. Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, given his experience and expertise, has been given the responsibility for this noble act. This year we shall complete the hat-trick of dodging the Mayan prophecy of doomsday. This year, 2015, promises a lot ladies and gentlemen. 2015 will also bring QE24 – the-once-in-a-decade event happening for 24th time in last 5 years. Entire universe is waiting for QE24. The opening ceremony for QE24 will be held in Wankhede Stadium and it would be organized by IPL managing committee.

I, Tracer Bullet, will be your host for the evening to discuss first QE of the year 2015. With us today, we have Miss Rosy Printer – the chairwoman of FED (Fraudulently Eating of Debt). Miss Rosy is here to enlighten us about FED’s plan for QE24. So let’s start to hear the mind behind the 24th occurrence of this world saving event – Miss. Rosy Printer.

TB – Hello Miss, how are you doing?
RP – Well, we are doing a bit differently than last time. We have decided to print it all in India.

TB- Oh that is great. Why this change of location?
RP – We have tried a few locations. We started with printing it all in US. But soon we realized that for every currency note printed, we need to give away two notes for social security. We found it hard to meet our costs. Hence we shifted it to China.

TB – And why are you shifting it from China to India now?
RP – Whatever they printed, they kept it all saying that it’s their money that we owe to them. Right now they have more US dollars than we have.

TB – So it will happen in India – to save costs and in hope of getting it back.
RP – Precisely. How very intelligent you are. That is the reason we value India so much.

TB – But what if Indians refuse to give it back to you. We aren’t the least corrupt nation in the world.
RP – Even if you do refuse to give it back, where will you keep it - with the banks in northern hemisphere? And you think you are going to get it back from there? How long people have been going on hunger strike demanding to get that money back?

TB- Err..
RP – Even if you don’t give it back to us, you are going to keep it with us or with the people like us. Our money will be safe either ways.

TB – But don’t you think printing too much money will reduce its value and kill its meaning?
RP – Is it? We are going to print it anyways. If you think it will reduce the value of your money, why don’t you donate whatever you have? I am willing to take it all. What is the use of holding onto a depreciating asset which is soon going to be meaningless?

TB – I didn’t mean it that way. But printing too much money will send the global inflation to moon, isn’t it?
RP – Won’t you be happy if inflation goes to the moon, marries Laika and happily stays there. I hope Laika is attractive enough at this age.

TB - My question was serious. I meant inflation will be uncontrollable.
RP – What is inflation? It’s a rising demand scenario resulting in a price hike. Hence one must keep pace with it. Those who keep pace with it will survive whereas rest will languish. Hence we are creating an extremely competitive scenario which will only accept the survival of the fittest. This will pose a challenge to our race – humans. We shall all improve, leaving behind the laggards. There shall be a whole lot which will be left behind. We plan to empower them in later editions of QE. We shall be a much improved breed.

TB – But commodity prices will sky-rocket.
RP – Oh my dear TB. Tell me how you define commodity – something any Tom, Dick and Harry can trade and that too in bulk? What is common between Tom Cruz, Dick Cheney and Harry Potter – they are all very special people. You cannot commoditize them. Problem is with the definition of term - commodity. I know you are referring to the prices of natural resources which are often known as commodity. Dear TB, they are gift from mother earth to all of us. Hence they should be treated as luxury as they all are precious, very precious. That is what we intend to do – make them so precious that only Tom, Dick and Harry can afford it.

TB – What about common people? What about the rest?
RP – Don’t you get the meaning of this exercise? We shall empower them. That is why we are printing money.

TB – But everything will still be pretty much out of their reach.
RP – We can only give them money to buy. Rest is not in our control. If they want prices to come down, they should stop buying. Don’t you know prices are a function of demand?

TB – So you will act as a socialist hidden behind the mask of a capitalist or vice versa?
RP – See, we are the most powerful nation. For ages we worked hard on our capitalist ways to reach the top. Now the time has come for us to bring others on equal footing with us. All we want to do is to strike balance between capitalism and socialism.

TB – You are confusing me?
RP – See, a socialist society ends like USSR. A capitalist lives a royal life like us.

TB – You mean like a parasite?
RP – I like your sense of humor. Haven’t you seen Dark Knight – If you don’t die as a hero, you live long enough to become a villain?

TB – So you feel vindicated. You think you have been unnecessarily being portrayed as a villain.
RP – Yes, you are right. For ages we have been blamed for empowering the rich – which meant us. Hence we have decided to empower the poor now. This will help people understand the nobility of our hearts. We are no villains. We are heroes who just don’t die.

TB – What about your currency losing its value?
RP – You are thinking like a pure capitalist. Think a bit like a socialist. For ages, our currency has been a dream for most of the world. You know people have died without even having looked at how a 100 USD note looks like. We don’t want to be that cruel. We want each and every human present on this planet to hold onto the most coveted piece of paper in this world. We want mass empowerment. For every man who could never see a 10 dollar note, we want his grand children to see a million dollar note. Don’t you see the phenomenal growth?

TB – You might well see a time when currency will just be a piece of paper. Next time you visit Mumbai, you might well see people eating Bhelpuri in the paper-pot made of a 100 dollar note.
RP – Ah, that will be a great day. George Washington was a great leader. Won’t he love to see an open mouth feasting on the food splattered on our great leader’s face to satiate a hungry stomach? His soul will be smiling cheek to cheek every time something like this happens. He may himself demand for some Bhelpuri. We must plant seeds of Bhelpuri near his grave. By the way, what is Bhelpuri? Can I get it in Wal-Mart?

TB - It’s an Indian fast food dish. You may find it a bit too spicy for your comfort.
RP – Oh India and its spices. That is the reason British came here. That is the reason I have come here, spices. I want to see spicy food being eaten up on our notes. That will strengthen the globe. That is our dream, world’s dream. Yes we can.

TB- Wow. So what is the plan of action now?
RP – Oh I have to rush now. I have to attend a meeting in FED’s office to chart out a plan for QE25.

TB – Thanks a lot. Ladies and gentlemen, we have had an enthralling session with Rosy. Atmosphere here is just electrifying and there is a buzz around the world. Now without taking too much of your time, let’s all welcome Q24. Let the show begin.

A helicopter showers US dollars in denominations of 10,000. The ceremony begins.

PS: Work of pure fiction cooked in my mind which has been absent for last few months.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Final Call from the Wall!!!

“His shoulders look too tight. He is not fit for this type of cricket. They should play him only in test matches” said my father about Rahul Dravid as we saw him bat in his first few ODIs in Sharjah. I hated the selectors for picking him in ODIs. He was the first cricketer whose domestic career I had followed with keen interest. Dravid looked a perfect fit for India’s middle order in test cricket.

Soon I hated Dravid when I saw him bat in ODIs. A batsman is priced for his abilities to pick gaps in the field. Dravid was special. He had amazing ability to pick up fielders in the field. Ball after ball, he would keep hitting it to the fielder stationed at point or cover or mid-wicket. Ball after a ball, it would be a dot ball.

“We have new Sanjay Manjrekar here who himself was new Ravi Shastri” we often joked.

But my opinion changed a little bit on that night in Durban. It was an extremely well compiled innings which included a straight Six of Donald. Yes, a straight six of Donald. By Dravid. When Dravid hit that Six, we all jumped in pleasant shock and Donald abused him with eyes red in anger. Next ball was hit for four, we jumped in joy, and Donald sledged him with eyes wide open in surprise. Next ball was flick was missed by the full length dive of square-leg fielder, we all laughed in happiness, and Donald shouted at the fielder with his eyes evading Dravid. Even though India lost the match, Dravid’s magnificent 84 earned him MOM award.

If Durban changed my opinion about his abilities in ODIs, Chennai earned him loads of respect. His first century in ODIs gave us hope that we would be able to chase 328. Yes, 328, on the back of Dravid, Dravid who was considered to be a complete misfit in ODIs.

He was changing as a batsman. It didn’t surprise me a lot that he turned out to be leading run scorer in WC99. These runs included batting at the other end during two biggest partnerships in the tournament and a crucial half century against India’s final in the tournament – the match against Pakistan. Its England where ball swings 10 feet, cuts on the seam, bounces, doesn’t bounce, and sometimes even turns. It’s England where Dravid enjoys batting.

In his era, Ganguly faced a problem which has stayed with us for ages. His batsmen couldn’t bowl, his wicket keeper could do nothing, but to keep wickets and his bowlers didn’t even know how to hold their bats. Ajit Agarkar was the best available all-rounder to us which says a lot. Ganguly wanted to fit in an extra batsman. Dravid was his solution. With Dravid keeping wickets, India could play 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers. The argument given against this strategy was – If 6 batsmen can’t do the job for you, 7th will surely not. However, it was the 7th batsman who resulted in showing us the most famous topless show in cricketing history. And 7th batsman winning us the match wasn’t restricted to this occasion.

Dravid was soon becoming a good finisher in ODIs. In WC03, it was him and Yuvraj singh which won us the match against Pakistan after Sachin’s blitzkrieg. It was the same pair which won us a match in 2002 while chasing 271 in Lords. It was his unbeaten century which helped us in chasing 325 against West Indies in Motera.

Rahuld Dravid in ODIs was a changed batsman. He was the solidity India needed to see them through in case top order failed to finish the job. He had become the wall of last defense resulting in many victories in the area which for long had been India’s shortcoming.

It was fitting that it was his captainship under which India won 17 consecutive ODIs while chasing – a world record. It was all looking fine till that week of 17th-23rd March in 2007. We lost it all. Doomsday had struck. We were out of the world cup before we could even start.

What happened later didn’t matter much. India, the favorite in WC07, suddenly found it difficult to even compete in ODIs. Voices were raised to bring in young blood to replace old warhorses. When an unknown and unheard Indian team lifted the T20WC07 in South Africa, it was only a matter of time before selectors did away with people on the wrong side of 30s in shorter version of the game.

Dravid didn’t find a place in India’s scheme of things for ODIs. I thought I had seen his last in ODIs. I didn’t mind it much then. I would prefer to see Dravid ducking to a bouncer on a minefield in Durban rather than seeing him slogging on a flat pitch in Hyderabad.

Young blood brought in lot of agility in the field, lot of alertness while running between the wickets. But what it lacked was the ability to score runs when the bowlers had their say. It became very evident in T20WC09.

Selectors fell back to the old warhorse that always cherished in conditions favoring bowlers. Dravid was picked for Champions trophy to be held in South Africa and the series before that in Sri Lanka was given to him as practice. This step of going back to Dravid was like someone was coming back to his wife after finding that his mistress had robbed him – “Please forgive me. I know I was wrong. Please help me”

I thought I had seen the last of Dravid in ODIs. The wife cheater came back to his wife again after India’s dismal show in current India-England series. Dravid was picked again. I was surprised. Dravid announced his retirement. This made me sad. Not that I was used to of seeing him in Blue dress of Team India. But it made me sad that with him, a great chapter of Indian cricket in ODIs will officially end. With each retirement like this, a bit of my childhood, which has remained there thanks to memories associated with these legends, dies. Even the remote chances of seeing them play again for the country are dead. It’s like how you feel when a girl who has turns down your proposal. She may live next door or across oceans, one corner of your heart always remains hopeful that one day, she will change her mind. But the moment she gets married, your heart gets shattered – more than when your proposal was turned down. Because you know that this is THE END. Oh yeah, our neighbors on the western front may feel differently about retirements. But we are different.

Dravid may play in IPL till 2072 but it were the memories of him playing in Indian colors what I really cherished. I grimaced when he blocked, I grinned when I saw those square cuts racing past point boundary. I thought he was awful when he kept hitting to the point fielder, I was in total awe when I saw those inside-out sixes over extra-cover boundary. There came a time when I was more of a Dravid-fan than Sachin-fan because Dravid’s ability to see us through once Sachin got out. Sachin has often been blamed for his inability to finish off matches. This is one area where Dravid has been blameless.

It’s good that he is getting a chance to play in ODIs before he hangs his boots. It would have been a shame had Dravid retired like Uday Chopra. Okay, I am joking. But it would have been a serious insult to ODI cricket had Dravid retired in silence. He deserved a final showing. We deserved to see Dravid's final act, with the knowledge that this will be the final act,  on a stage where he made his mark inspite of being considered a misfit. I hope he gets to play in all five matches, turns out to be the leading run scorer in the series and India wins the series with Dravid being declared as the “Man of the Series.”

There will be a time when Dravid announces his retirement from the art of batting in test cricket. I hope that time is delayed as much as possible.

For the time being, let’s all salute the wall.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Bell – come back!!!

Sleep is a wonderful weapon against a mind running high on entropy. It calms down your mind. It makes you see things which you were invisible to you when you were last awake. So when I woke up this morning after sleeping with a mind as unstable as our lower order batting – a torturous Monday morning awaited me, England were in a position to call the shots in Nottingham test after being given two life lines by us, and we had shown gamesman spirit to a team who knows all the uses of Vaseline , my mind was in a more rational position to think.

We, barring rain or a miracle like this, are on our way to go down 2-0 in this series which will make English dancing on our heads for few years unless we win the next two matches. They have all the rights to do so. If loss at Lord’s was because of lack of preparedness, injuries, and illness apart from cricketing reasons, there is no excuse for our position in this test. Twice, I repeat, twice in this test we have handed over the same gun to them which we were using to hold them on their heads. As if we wanted to say “Tere liye to mere hath hi kaafi hain” Unfortunately, our hands have either hamstring problems or shoulder issues. Oh yeah, they even have an elbow problem.

Second issue was the one which will be remembered as the image of this test match – Ian Bell’s run out and then not out. Last night I was furious about it – forget England, no other team would have called a batsman back if he was given out within the laws of the game.

We did call him back. But if we called him back for the sake of gamesman spirit, why did we run him out in the first place? Didn’t we know that there would be a gigantic hue & cry after this? Agreed getting Bell run out was within the laws of the game and we must give credit to Bell for it – he acted wonderfully well pretending he was NOT trying to take a run.

Praveen Kumar threw it to Dhoni, who lobbed it to another fielder and stumps were broken. It was going to be a huge wicket but at that point of time, England was anyhow well ahead. I don’t think his dismissal was going to make such a huge difference. It would have been 4th wicket but the way we have allowed to let England’s tail bat in this series, it is unlikely that England would have folded up like we did in our first innings in this match or first innings in Lords or second innings in Lords. Anyhow, a wicket is a wicket – that too of a centurion who was batting exceptionally well. We had all the rights to run him out. Those who say it was against the spirit of the game to run a batsman out who is not taking a run, please go watch the video again. Even if you do not agree with me, you have all the rights to disagree with me.

So Dhoni ran him out knowing Englishmen would make deafening noise about it. Everyone contributed – those in favor or those against it. The entire crowd booed Indian team. We were made to look cheats by the crowd after we were accused of possible cheating by current and ex England players – Vaseline issue.

Teams came out for the port-tea session. Bell walked out to bat. Boos immediately turned into cheers. Dhoni, who was shown as a desperate cheat moments ago, was applauded for his sportsmanship spirit.

Now look at the issue this way. What did we have to gain if Bell had got out? We would have got a crucial wicket that too of Bell who was murdering our bowling. But Bell had scored enough to make sure that his team was in a match winning position.

Why did we do it - because of the heat of the moment? But where was the heat in that moment for us. We were looking colder than death after that partnership between Bell and Morgan. Had a newcomer done it, I would have accepted this argument. But it was Dhoni who lobbed the bowl to the fielder who broke the stumps. Isn’t he known as one of the coolest brains in the circuit?

Why did we reverse the decision - to show that we believe in the spirit of the game? But if we actually believed in it, we shouldn’t have run him out in the first place. Belief is a strong word. It cannot change within 20 minutes of tea interval. If we did run him out, there was no point calling him back. Either you believed that we needed that wicket at all cost or you did not. But it looked like as if we agreed to pay the cost but moments later realized it wasn’t worth. It wasn’t a mistake. It was well thought of.

Dhoni must have thought like this, ‘If we can get away with this silently, we get a wicket. If silence is met with the deafening noise, we can always withdraw our appeal till the next ball is bowled. After all we have a 20 minute tea break to assess the situation’

It was a win-win situation for him. When he saw that hell did break lose during the tea break, he withdrew the appeal and became the true ambassador of the game.

Rest of the world will argue for/against it for the time to come, weather what he did was right or wrong but none will question his integrity as a cricketer. He has stamped himself in the pages of Vishwanath and Walsh. They had a lot at stake. Dhoni had lot less as compared to them. Andrew Strauss may keep the series-trophy in his most secure locker, he may keep fantacising his number one test ranking for the rest of his life, but the Dhoni has stolen lot of fame from him yesterday. It will be known as the series of Dhoni's sportsman spirit which England won. It was a masterstroke by him.

I know there are more Dhoni bashers around than his supporters –most of us may not be brave enough to accept the reason behind it. One may argue that he is not the best captain we have had which and I agree – Ganguly was the best we had. Very few may argue that given his current form, he deserves a place in the side – be it keeping or the batting and to certain extent, I agree to it as well.
But he is one of the shrewdest mind I have seen playing cricket. England is most likely to win this test but the match will be remembered more for Dhoni’s sportsmanship than England’s victory.

For all those who are still arguing for or against his act of last evening, I would say what I said when Dhoni accepted that playing Nehra in the WC11 semi final against Pakistan might have been a mistake in hindsight .

I would say, “Read between the lines you morons.”

PS: Credit for the title of the post goes to Ramesh Srivats. I stole it from his tweets, yesterday. Hope he doesn’t sue me.