Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adios Class of 96!!!


How much fight we put in every aspect of our respective lives to get the results we want. We dream to win, we toil to beat. We try being honest, we don’t mind deceit. We work hard and strive for harder. We all want success but want it faster. But nothing in this world is in our complete control.

You may give it all at work but can’t do much if the sinking markets force the company to close down. You may give it all to impress the girl you fancy but can’t do much if she is fancying your sister. You may be an excellent driver who drives on the roads with utmost care so that his beloved car doesn’t get to see a scratch but can’t help if some buffoon bangs his bike into his car while its resting in the parking. As I said, nothing is in your hands.

Life is a like a jigsaw puzzle where not even one part is totally under your control, including yourself. You may try putting all the pieces together but what if one piece suddenly disappears. What if that piece refused to fit in? Or what if you forget the complete picture yourself? There is nothing really under your control.

All we can do is to try putting all the pieces in their respective places and hope they provide the complete and correct picture. Or maybe there is something totally in your control. And that something has got to be hope.

Hope or rather ability and willingness to hope, ladies and gentlemen, is something totally in your control. We all hope for a better tomorrow, a better world, a better life and a lot of other things. And this hope is something which no one can take away from you. Hope is your very own weapon which can take you to success even in the times which are darker than darkness. As Andy Dufresne said in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” – hope is not a bad thing. In fact it’s the best of the things.

I learnt this lesson during March 2001. My lesson started on 13th of March 2001 during that Eden test, completed a brief session on 15th of March 2001 and its still continues. If there is one man who deserves the credit for teaching me, and lot of others, about the importance of hope in life – it has to be VVS Laxman.

From a man who was all beaten down by the end of 12th of March 2001, India was raging fire and holding the enemy by the scruff of the and punching him all over the body by the time sun started to say good bye on 15th of March 2001. A new era had begun. Hope had found its place in the hearts of Indian cricket fans. From then on, no match was lost cause for us till the umpires removed the bails.  From then on, we always carried some hope of winning – no matter how hopeless the situation was.

And from time to time, he kept reminding us about it – bailing the team out of a hopeless situation. Maybe VVS vied for hopeless situation to show his class – not many teams have found themselves in hopeless situations against minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and not many times VVS did well against these sides. His class was reserved for the better teams and best of the class was reserved for Australia.

When India was 85 for 4 down chasing Australia’s 550+ score in Adelaide-2004, VVS joined Dravid and the due laid foundations for one of the best victories in tests for India. Mohali 2010 was worse than hopeless but VVS did his wonder. When India had almost squandered the advantage of a significant first innings lead in Durban-2010, Laxman’s innings of 96 bailed India out of troublesome 56/4 to a match winning 228. There was Napier too. There was Colombo.

There used to be a time when I never worried about match’s result if India was chasing in a test – “We would lose for sure” used to be my thinking. Then came a time when I stopped worrying about a match result – “VVS is there. He won’t let us lose” became my thinking. Not that we never lost but we always hoped to win till he was there. Such was his magnificence, especially in 4th innings. And I am not even talking about the beauty, elegance and style of his batting – do I need to?

But like all good things, it has come to an end. VVS has gone. With him, the class of 96 has completed its lifetime. Dada went in 2008, Dravid went during the first half of 2012 and now VVS. One of the members of class of 89-90, Kumble retired along with Dada. I fear for the day when the second member of this class, 89-90, will retire. But he will, one day.

With VVS’ retirement, the golden era of Indian cricket, in tests, has almost ended.

Human character has several qualities. Motivation is one of them and Sachin has been the motivation for us Indian fans to follow the game. Kumble was sheer discipline. Dada infused self-confidence and pride in us. Dravid was epitome of determination. But this all may well be meaningless without an underrated but equally important quality – hope. VVS provided us that. Not once, not twice but every time he walked out to bat after that heroic innings in Eden.

That day I learnt that we should always hope for a miracle in life. Their occurence is a rarity but unless you believe that a miracle is just around the corner, it is not going to happen anyhow. So never give up hope. But the irony is that if I say we hope to get another VVS soon, it won’t be hoping, but daydreaming.

But the irony is that if I say we hope to get another VVS very soon, it won’t be hoping but daydreaming. Another VVS will never come.