Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From India with Love!!!

Kindly read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series before reading this - 

“Hey Vinod, how are you?” James Bond called up his friend, Agent Vinod.

“Mr. James Bond. What a pleasant surprise. How are you my dear friend?”

“Just surviving the ordeal called life, V”

“What happened mate? Why are you sounding so dull? All well?”

“Yeah V. All is well.”

“I read about the hike in MI6, James. Bravo. I knew with the kind of hard work you put in, recognition was never far away”

“That’s all farce, V. They are offering me less than 3%. The news in papers is not exactly the way things are.”

“Holy cow. That’s terrible, James. How will you survive?”

“I know V. I have decided to quit.”

“Is that so? Where are you joining in that case?”

“Nowhere V. I have decided to do something of my own”

“What will you do James?”

“I will do anything that gets me big money. That’s why I am calling you V. I’ve heard there is shitloads of money to be made in Bollywood.”

“Yes James. That’s true. In fact you have called me at the right time. I have been working on a script and it’s ready. I am looking for a producer. Can you be one?”

“That’s very flattering V. Why don’t you produce it yourself?”

“Oh James, I am a poor man. I belong to working middle class in India who pay half of their salary in taxes and other half is snatched away by their respective better halves”

“Perils of a married man, V. What is the movie all about? Tell me the script. I will see what I can do”

 “Oh James, thanks a lot. It’s a wonderful, never told before script. You will love it. In fact the world will love it.”

“I am listening” said James.

“It’s a love saga. It’s about dreams. It’s about love in dreams and dreaming about love”

“Go ahead. Start the story”

“Raj and Simran are boarding a train from Bhatinda, a small town in India. They are planning to go to Delhi and catch a flight to London. It’s on the train where Rahul spots Simran and falls in love with her. It’s love at first sight. But Raj and Simran are about to get married and Simran is already in love with Raj. Rahul sees his hopes getting shattered”

“So Rahul kills Raj? That’s too predictable” says James.

“James. It’s India. We don’t kill for love. We don’t need to. We have better ways. Now if you would please let me complete” Agent Vinod sounds perturbed with the interruption.

“Okay. Please go ahead” says an apologetic James.

“Rahul calls up his aunt, Rifat Bee. Rifat Bee has a solution for every problem. He advises Rahul to take Simran in his dream and plant an idea that she loves Rahul. If that happens, it will be lot easier for Rahul to make Simran fall for him in love”

“Interesting”

“Rahul sings a song to make her sleep. I’ve even written the first few lines of the song. I have kept international audience in mind while writing it. Here it goes

Of my dear dove, here is my sleep inducing love

Oh mere pyare kabootar, yeh raha mera sulaane wala pyar

So the moment Simran dozes off, Rahul takes her to his own dream. They get down at Zurich and meet up”

“What? There is a direct train from a small town in India to Zurich?” wonders James.

“Dude, it’s a dream. Anything is possible in a dream. Now if you please allow me to….”

“Okay. Sorry. Please proceed” said an apologetic James.

“Rahul and Simran meet in Zurich and start seeing each other. But suddenly Rahul’s childhood friend Sunny turns up”

“Wonderful. I like the name Sunny. It reminds me of Mrs. Leone”

“It is her, James. It is Sunny Leone”

“What? Sunny Leone is Rahul’s childhood friend?”

“No really. But I introduced her in the story to keep it real. Ever since we have seen 5

th season of Big Boss, no dream of an Indian man can be complete without her”

“Oh is it. The same applies to me as well” said James with a chuckle.

“Now it becomes a love triangle. Rahul loves Simran. Sunny loves Rahul. And Simran is confused between Rahul and Raj – who has also entered the dream”

“I don’t know why this story is giving me a feeling of Déjà vu. Anyhow, please go ahead” says James.

“It’s all a big tangle now. Rahul and Simran have become good friends and their friendship is progressing towards love. Raj and Simran are seeing their love proceeding towards friendship. Sunny is friends with all of them but she loves Rahul who loves Simran”

“Then what happens?”

“While Rahul has had some success in planting the idea in Simran’s mind, his success isn’t complete. He cannot see Sunny being sad as well since Rahul is refusing her proposal. He gets another idea and needs to plant it in Raj’s mind that will make Raj and Sunny fall in love for each other. So he decides to take everyone in his dream”

“But they are already in his dream, aren’t they?” wondered James.

“That was first dream. Now they are entering in another dream – let’s call it dream two”

“Dream within a dream? But that is….”

“I know that is brilliant. That is work of a genius. That is a never told love saga. That’s why I have decided to name this movie as

Beinteha Sapney – dreams unlimited. You want to know what happens next or not”

“Go ahead”

“Rahul again sings a song

Sapno mein dekh sapna, kiya paraya maal apna

Saw dream within a dream, made other’s stuff as mine

They all go to sleep. They all go in Rahul’s dream, the dream two. Raj falls in love with Sunny and Simran falls in love with Raj. The movie ends”

“The movie ends? They are still in their dreams, aren’t they?”

“Yes they are. We will end this movie here and let the audience wonder about the same. That gives us scope for making a sequel to it”

“Please forgive me if I am wrong V but isn’t this a direct lift from Nolan’s Inception?”

“Mr. James Bond, in India we call it inspiration rather than lifting. To add to this, Inception was all about violence and destruction. This movie is all about love and friendship and emotions”

“Yes, that’s there”

“So tell me James, are you going to produce this?”

“I cannot commit anything right now V. I will have to think about it”

“Sure James. I will be waiting” said Agent Vinod and hung up the phone.

Bebo¸ Vinod’s wife came to him and asked “Oh my Nawab, who were you talking to for so long”“It was James Bond. I was telling him about my script”

“Wonderful. Did he like it?”

“It doesn’t matter if he liked it or not. What matters is that he is quitting MI6 because MI6 refused to give him any salary hike. Soon MI6 will be seeking his replacement. It’s time to mail across my resume”

“But what about your dream of making a movie?” wondered

Bebo.

“That can wait

Bebo. But right now what I am more interested is getting a job in an MNC. I am sick of these Indian companies. They suck blood like a vampire and pay peanuts”

“But you just said that MI6 is not giving any hike to James. So will it be too different, MI6 I mean”

“It doesn’t matter

Bebo. It is an MNC. And with posting in UK, I will be multiplying my income by 90”

“That’s great honey”

“Just think about it, we can move to London, earn in foreign currency, pay off our bank loan for our 2BHK in Vasai, save some more money, come back in a few years and make a movie on my own”

“That sounds like a plan my

Nawab. I am sure you will make it large

”  

Yes. I will make it large and I hope that what I wouldn’t need to wonder this time would be “who made it large” thought Agent Vinod while opening his bottle of McDowell club soda. 

To be continued..

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The hike is not enough!!!



Please read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series in case you have not read already.

Charming any member from the other side of gender divide had never been a problem for James. One look into the eyes and female sorority fell on his feet like, as Ravi Shastri would have described, a pack of cards.As he was on his way to score another goal with opposite gender, he saw a copy of LeT (London Eco Times) in her hands.

“MI6 announces 12-15% salary hike across the board” was the headline which caught his eyes and they widened like the mouth of an anaconda. His mood, which was touching the nadir after his meeting with Lucius Fox at Wayne Enterprises, had suddenly got an uplift. He was filled with hope. He was filled with happiness. He just couldn’t wait to reach MI6 office and thank M.

“Hey M. Thanks a lot. This was a fantastic surprise” said James as soon as he met M. He was sure that word about him looking for a job at Wayne Enterprises had reached MI6 and the declaration of salary hike was a result of that.

“James. How was your meeting with Lucius” said M.

“How the hell you know about that?” said James. While he had expected the news to reach MI6 but he didn’t expect M would be so direct with him.

“Double O. You maybe world’s most famous secret agent but don’t forget, I am the boss of very same most famous secret agent. It is my job to keep my eyes and ears open” said M.

“Well in that case, we don’t need to beat around the bush. Thanks a lot for the hike, M. I would love to continue my service for MI6” said James in a happy and thankful tone.

“You are most welcome James. I hope we continue our association till eternity”

“Sure M. You see, money isn’t everything. What I like most about MI6 is the culture, the values, the mission and the vision.”

“I am delighted to see your spirit James. Worrying about money is for those who are shortsighted. Those who are farsighted, look for better reasons, get down their head and work. They align themselves with the organization DNA and work for a better future. You need to look for a career, James and not just how much extra penny you make every month. Usain Bolts don’t win in the race of life James. Its marathoners, like Stephen Kiprotich, who do it.”

“I totally agree with you M” said James.

“So here is your hike letter Double O. You are getting a hike of 2.89% on your gross salary. Go have a read.”

“What? 2.89%?” James couldn’t believe his ears.

“Yes. That’s good considering the circumstances, isn’t it? And by the way, read it carefully. 80% of that increment goes towards the variable part of your salary. Rest is fixed”

“Bloody hell. For last five years, MI6 hasn’t been paying any variable to me. And what about the 12-15% hike I read in the papers, M?”

“Variable pay is a reflection of your performance James. You are not getting any because you haven’t been performing”

“What? I have not been performing? Do I need to talk about my work?”

“Well that was all expected from you, James. Nothing extraordinary there”

“Okay. In that case, should I talk about the mole I’ve placed as Team India’s cricket coach?”

“Oh James, both of us know that it was easier than getting Navjot Siddhu to talk”

“Look at the results too, M. Ever since He has taken over, team India has been slipping down faster than Sunny Leone’s dresses”

Well James, let me put it this way. Job well done but that doesn’t warrant a variable”

“Okay. Then tell me this. Media announcement for hike was 12-15%. You are giving me peanuts. Why?”

“Oh James, I hope you didn’t take it as maximum 12% and minimum 15%. I hope you are not that stupid, are you? That was supposed to be an average, weighted average. I hope you know the math”

“I do know my math, M. Weighted average is always a number and never a range. Now if you would please enlighten me?”

“Let’s just say – MI6 always appreciates the top performers and awards them appropriately. At the same time, we also don’t mind rewarding those who also ran”

“So I belong to the category that also ran. May I request you to tell me, who are the elite, the rarest of rare, those for you care, the top performers?”

“Thanks for the kind words, double O. You are looking at one of them”

“You? You M? You, who sit behind the desk, just take and make a few phone calls and sips wines in few meetings? You are a top performer getting 12% hike?”

“It’s actually 25% James. Obviously this information is classified.”

“And I, the one who gets blood on my hand doing the entire dirty job, belong to the category of also ran?”

“That, I am afraid, is true” M’s tone was stone cold when she said it.

“Hey, but you also got dividend recently. On top of that you are getting a hike. May I know why?”

“Well James, you may claim to be getting your hands dirty and doing the entire field work. You are surely a treasure for MI6. But owning a treasure isn’t enough. You need to manage it too and manage it well. Any idiot can get lucky and get to own a treasure. But the one who manages it well is the one who does the real job”

“But unless you have a treasure, you will be sitting in your plush cabin doing nothing” James tried to argue.

“Let me cut it short, double O. It’s all because of people like me you get to do your job or in other words, you have a job. You may be doing all the shooting but it’s yours truly who calls the shots.” M was back in her bossy tone.

“But…”

“Now you know your hike, James. My offer remains the same as our last discussion – take it or leave it. We have no shortage of agents. In fact, we may soon hire a super hero – the Spiderman. At least we won’t have to spend on expensive clothing with him. Just Rupa Thermocot and Lux Cozy, both imported from India at dirt cheap price and colored by Peter himself, will do the job. And by the way, your friend Agent Vinod is just a phone call away”

“M…” James, the world’s best secret agent was finding difficult to speak.

“I need to go double O. Have a good day” said M and rushed out.

James slowly walked out of M’s cabin and took out his cell phone. He called up Gordon.

“I heard about it. You must be looking to up your price at Wayne Enterprises, I know. But I must tell you, that is going to be bloody difficult” said Gordon.

“I am in no position to do that. These guys aren’t offering me what was claimed in the media. They are offering me half of the hike what Fox offered me”

“Then my dear friend, join them. You are getting almost 100% more at Wayne Enterprises. Do that math. I would help you out in getting an accommodation at Gotham” Gordon was hopeful that he would be able to rent out his 1bhk in Gotham to James Bond.

“No Gordon. I have done my math, physics, chemistry, biology, zoology and love-o-logy. I have had enough of this corporate crap. I will do something of my own now.”

“You will become a mercenary, Bond? Don’t even think about it because if you do so, you will always find me at the other end. After all I am a cop”

“Let me use a bit of corporate crap, Gordon. I will become a freelancer now” said James and disconnected the call.

He had decided. From now on, world’s best secret agent will be the master of his own fate. He wouldn’t surrender to the corporate crap and live to die another day.

To be continued…

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Wayne Enterprises!!!


Please read this before reading this piece.

James was sitting in the office of Wayne Enterprises. He had come to Gotham on an assignment. Since his allowances approved by M wouldn't have gotten him an accommodation even in a 3-star hotel, he decided to stay with his old friend James Gordon. Not only Gordon had given him a shelter in his house, he also promised to arrange for some hotel receipts so that James could claim the expense reimbursement from MI6. It was Gordon who had told James that Wayne Enterprises was looking to hire someone to replace Batman. Although Batman had died in everyone’s eyes, they had a story in place to tell the people of Gotham that Batman survived the nuclear explosion and was returning.

“Hello Mr. James. How are you?” enquired Fox as James entered his cabin.

“I am fine. How are you doing?” James enquired politely.

“I am fine as well. Tell me, what brings you here?”

“I was told by Gordon that you have an opening which suits my profile. I would like to explore this opportunity”

“Yes. We have an opening and Gordon did tell me that he would be sending you here. But to tell you frankly Mr. James, I am not sure if you would be the right fit” Fox didn’t sound very encouraging.

“Is that so? Then why did you call me here?” said James a bit angrily.

“Well, it’s always better to meet in person than going by the reputation a person carries. So tell me, what you know about the profile”

“I’ve heard that you are looking for someone who can fit into the shoes of Batman”

“It looks like Mr. Gordon has told you more than he should have. So tell me. Why we should hire you?”

“I am world’s best secret agent. I am assuming my reputation would have reached you before I did. You would already know my exploits in the past across the globe. I can kiss, I can kill. I can be a ravishing Casanova. I can be a rampaging Gorilla. I can be frightening as a wolf. I am wily as a fox. I can hide from the world and yet see it all. I can see what all is hidden in this world. I am a spy who can fly. I am the best secret agent in the world. And the world knows that the name is Bond, James Bond.”

“That is all well appreciated Mr. James. But you see, the role here is completely different. In the capacity of double O seven, you may have been dealing with global villains and villains across the globe. You may also have been dealing with a geo political issues in your current job. But Gotham is a small city with simple people. We get a villain who is well recognized, can be handled without involving international issues and comes out of its hiding once in 2-3 years. So you get loads of free time. These days you don’t even need to watch the roads for petty criminals as they are all locked in Blackgate prison. So it’s more like slogging once in 2-3 years and happy holidaying for the rest of the period.”

“I agree but…” James tried arguing.

“Actually the opening isn’t for world’s best spy. What we need is - someone to replace a superhero that spent his life behind the mask” Fox said while interrupting him.

“But you need someone with the qualities of a superhero. You need someone special. You need someone who is the best in the world”

“Not necessarily James. See, we need a walking figure behind the mask of Batman. He should be good, no doubt. He should be really good. Our organization sets very high standards for recruitment and only a few in this world can qualify, I can assure you this. But what I am worried about hiring you is that I might end up hiring a sniper for a shooter’s job. Hence I am a bit apprehensive about your candidature”

“Sniper and shooter, are they not…..”

“Not only that. I fear if your nature, so used to of global exploits, will suit this job where we need someone with domestic experience and expertise. We need someone with more patience whereas you are known to shoot and kill. We need someone who possesses feelings of an idiotically romantic whereas you are known to be a heartless Casanova. We need someone who first tries to discipline the criminals whereas your first aim is to diminish them. See James, we need someone who possess qualities of a superhero but he should also have strength in his character. We need someone who is ready to digest the anonymity Batman’s mask brings but you are too accustomed of flaunting your Bond tag. You may be a good fit in Mr. Tony Stark’s organization. Why don’t you try there? Maybe he is looking to hire?”

James could see his hopes of changing the job diminishing. For all his life, he had been world’s best and most famous secret agent. He had been world’s most human superhero. Superheroes have some special powers granted by nature or technology. Even though James didn’t possess any of these yet he exceeded all expectations, always. Superheroes often work behind a mask so that they can pull out their masks and live a normal life without the fear of getting shot by some lunatic. James, even though he was a spy, was always bold and brave enough to expose his identity to even his enemies. Forget all this. One area where James always prided himself over all the superheroes was dressing. James roamed around the world killing dangerous terrorists, defusing fatal nuclear bombs, stealing super confidential secrets while donning his Armani suits. Superheroes were so pathetic in their dressing sense that they wore you-know-what over their pants. In James’ eyes, superheroes were overvalued and overpriced.

“Tell me if you don’t want me here. I can replace any superhero in this world, even if I am woken up from my sleep and asked to do so” is what he often used to tell M in his appraisal discussions.

James was surprised to see the way tide had turned in his life. He was getting interviewed to replace a superhero – whose job contained less than 50% of risks James faced in any of his assignment and yet James was seen as a candidate not good enough to be hired. James self-respect was getting brutally killed by Mr. Fox.

Only if M had given me a raise or I had a job in hand, I would have thrown this old man in front of an ambulance and driven the same ambulance over himthought James. But James didn’t have many options. His confidence, like his salary, was really low than what he actually needed.

“Mr. Fox, I agree I have a few shortcomings. But I am willing to learn. I have been a fast learner. If I get this opportunity, given the skills I have and my willingness to learn, I will make an excellent superhero.”

“I don’t say you are not capable Mr. James. But requirements we have here, we will need to invest time and money in you. You are the best in the world and we would love to hire you but…”

“Where are we headed?” James interrupted Fox.

“I am willing to hire you but the salary you are demanding is impossible to pay”

“But you are Wayne Enterprises, one of the best paymasters”

“Ah, those days have gone. Bruce invested hell lot of money in CDS market and it’s all lost. We are on a cost cutting spree”.

“Tell me, what is your offer?” James decided to cut the crap.

“Here it is” Fox took an envelope out of his pocket and threw it towards James.

“You had it all ready?”

“Time is running out, James” said Fox.

James opened it. It contained his offer letter – 256 pages long. He reached the page which contained information about his salary. He calculated. He was getting 5.78% hike.

“You are offering me 5.78% raise? That’s it?”

“At least we are giving you a hike. I know what happened at MI6”

“But still, 5.78% is too small a hike”

“Think of it this way, James. You will move to Gotham from London – one of the most expensive cities in the world. Gotham is a small city where cost of living is nothing as compared to London. The current job will not require you to travel so you will get good work-life balance. Plus what I can guarantee you in Wayne Enterprises is that you will get plethora of growth opportunities”

“Growth opportunities for a superhero?” James wondered.

“Now if you will excuse me, I am running late for a meeting. Please take the rest of the details from Alfred Pennyworth. He handles HR in Wayne Enterprises and sits just outside my cabin” Fox tightened the knot of his tie, shook hands with James and walked out.

“Hi. Are you Alfred?” James asked an old man sitting just outside Fox’s chamber.

“Mr. James. How are you? When are you joining?” said Alfred.

“I have just got the offer, old man. I need to think about it”

“Hurry up Mr. James. Wayne Enterprises is a dream organization for many superheroes. In fact, Mr. Fox has just gone out to interview Mr. Peter. You know Peter, right? Peter Parker?”

“You mean the friendly neighborhood?” guessed James.

“Yes. That’s why I say hurry up. Fox is going to have his final discussion with Peter today.”

“And if they reach an agreement, he is hired and I am not?” wondered James.

“No Mr. James. As the head of human resource department in Wayne Enterprises, I would like to hire you. We are a global organization with local intellect. With you, we will get some international flavor to our intellect. In Wayne Enterprises, we promote different cultures bringing on different perspectives on the floor. Being British, you will bring that to us. We had just one concern in hiring you – the price. But Mr. Fox fought really hard with the board members to get a fat cheque approved for you. Hope you are happy with it”

James shook his head and walked out. He tried to call Gordon but his phone was busy.

Gordon was talking to Fox on phone “So, you nailed him?”

“Yes. I think he is trapped”

“Don’t tell me. You offered him peanuts and he agreed?” Gordon couldn’t believe it.

“He hasn’t yet. But he will. His situation isn’t too good” Fox said with little confidence.

“What if he doesn’t?”

“That’s why I am asking you to contact Peter. He may not be half as good as James but we need someone urgently and badly. We need someone cheaply too.”

“Yes. Let’s hire whoever costs the least. Don’t forget my cut, Fox.” said Gordon and hung up the phone.

To be continued…

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Careless Whispers - Beparwah Fusfusaahatein!!!


Time can never mend the careless whispers of a good friendSamay kabhi ek acche dost ki beparwah fusfusaahat ko badal nahi sakta
To the heart and mind, ignorance is kindDil aur dimag ke liye, agyan dayalu hai
there's no comfort in the truthSatya mein koi aaram nahi hai
pain is all you'll findKewal dard milega
Should've known betterAcche se maloom hona chhahiye tha
I feel so unsureMain itna asurakshit mahsoos karta hoon
as I take your hand and lead you to the dance floorJaise hi main tumhara hath lekar tumko nritya manch ki taraf le jata hoon
as the music dies, something in your eyesJaise hi sangeet marta hai, kuch hai tumhari aankhon mein
calls to mind the silver screenChandi ka patal mashtisk ko bulaata hai
and all its sad good-byesAur yeh sab dukhi alvida hai
I'm never gonna dance againMain dobara kabhi naachne wala nahi hoon
guilty feet have got no rhythmGlani bhare kadamon mein koi lay nahi hai
though it's easy to pretendYadyapi chalawa karna aasan hai
I know you're not a foolLekin main jaanta hoon tum koi bewkoof nahi ho
Should've known better than to cheat a friendApne mitra ko dhoka dene se behtar jaan-na chhahiye tha
and waste the chance that I've been givenAur mera diya hua mauka barbaad karne se
so I'm never gonna dance againIsliye main kabhi dobara naachne wala nahi hoon
the way I danced with youJis tarah se maine tumhare saath naacha tha
Time can never mendSamay kabhi badal nahi sakta
the careless whispers of a good friendEk dost ki beparwah fusfusaahaten
to the heart and mindDil aur dimag ko
ignorance is kindAgyanta dayalu hai
there's no comfort in the truthSatya mein koi aaram nahi hai
pain is all you'll findKewal dard milega
I'm never gonna dance againMain dobara kabhi naachne wala nahi hoon
guilty feet have got no rhythmGlani bhare kadamon mein koi lay nahi hai
though it's easy to pretendYadyapi chalawa karna aasan hai
I know you're not a foolLekin main jaanta hoon tum koi bewkoof nahi ho
Should've known better than to cheat a friendApne mitra ko dhoka dene se behtar jaan-na chhahiye tha
and waste this chance that I've been givenAur mera diya hua mauka barbaad karne se
so I'm never gonna dance againIsliye main kabhi dobara naachne wala nahi hoon
the way I danced with youJis tarah se maine tumhare saath naacha tha
Never without your loveTumhare prem ke bina kabhi nahi
Tonight the music seems so loudAaj sangeet itna tej lag raha hai
I wish that we could lose this crowdMeri iksha hai ki kaash hum is bheed ko kho sakte
Maybe it's better this waySayad yeh behtar tareeka hai
We'd hurt each other with the things we'd want to sayHum ek doosre ko un cheejon se chhot pahucha sakte hain jo hum kahna chhahenge
We could have been so good togetherHum ek sath itne acche ho sakte the
We could have lived this dance foreverHum yeh nritya humesha jee sakte the
But noone's gonna dance with meLekin koi mere sath naachne wala nahi hai
Please stayKripiya rahiye
And I'm never gonna dance againAur main dobara kabhi naachne wala nahi hoon
guilty feet have got no rhythmGlani bhare kadamon mein koi lay nahi hai
though it's easy to pretendYadyapi chalawa karna aasan hai
I know you're not a foolMain jaanta hoon tum koi bewkoof nahi ho
Should've known better than to cheat a friendApne mitra ko dhoka dene se behtar jaan-na chhahiye tha
and waste the chance that I've been givenAur mera diya hua mauka barbaad karne se
so I'm never gonna dance againIsliye main kabhi dobara naachne wala nahi hoon
the way I danced with youJis tarah se maine tumhare saath naacha tha
(Now that you're gone) Now that you're gone(Ab jab tum jaa chuke ho) Ab jab tum jaa chuke ho
(Now that you're gone) What I did's so wrong(Ab jab tum jaa chuke ho) Maine itna galat kya kiya tha
that you had to leave me aloneKi tumhe mujhe akela chhodna pada

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sports day and the Beautiful Ladies!!!

I fail to understand the schools these days. They charge you a fortune although two plus two has been, is and will always be equal to four. They keep telling you that the seats available in their classes are thousand times lesser than the real demand although they keep calling you with different offers. Quite often I feel – like real estates, this industry is also sitting on a big bubble. Maybe not exactly same but events like this  give strength to my belief.

I cannot even recall the number of times I have gone to my son’s school till date – he is in Junior KG, for different reasons be it PTA or some other event. I am sure you would all agree that I don’t have a bad memory but I still cannot recall more than 5 occasions when my parents needed to go to my school – from lowest class to class XII. Yours truly deserves some credit too – whenever there was a need for parent’s visit at school, I sorted it out at my end.

So there I was today morning, at sports day function where 2-3-4-5 year old kids were running different kinds of races. Some were crying, some were laughing. Some were running, some were falling. Some were winning, rest were not.

And parents, parents were busy clapping. Fathers were holding their bulging tummies whereas mothers were managing their make-ups in the flood of sweat. Don’t count me as a pervert but looking at the mothers gives me a strange feeling. A look at them and I feel like calling them “Aunty”. After all I have been calling married women as “Aunty” for ages. But I must have been fancying few of them or others like them, not so long ago. Feeling of getting old is so cruel.

Finally the kids’ running session ended. It was time for parents to showcase their sporting and sporty side.

The event jockey made an announcement “What a wonderful performance by the children. Now dear parents, it’s you turn now. Can all the mommies stand up and gather at the race track?”

I didn’t see many ladies buzzing from their places.

Event jockey was an intelligent lady. She rectified her announcement “Okay. Can we have all the beautiful and lovely ladies gather at the race track to participate in the race?”

The race track was filled with all the mothers within no time

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Raise another day!!!

James was walking inside the MI6 office towards M’s cabin. He had been on an assignment which was to catch hold of the photographer who had clicked the prince in his birthday suit. While there were a few more assignments, MI6 had chosen its best agent to carry out any assignment – request for the same had come from very top, the prince himself.

James was happy. After ages, he had carried out this assignment without getting hit, beaten or needing to do any stunts. He didn’t get a chance to get laid this time but managed to add a few chicks to his FB.

James walked past Moneypenny who was busy with her laptop.

“Good morning M”

“Good morning James. What took you so long?” enquired M in her usual bossy tone.

“Oh, the usual” said James with a wink.

“You were again watching the videos of that stupid show, Big Boss? How can you, James?”

“What do you mean by how can you? For the first time in my life, I have developed an interest which doesn’t involve any kind of guns. I need to have a life too, don’t I?”

“Okay. Have a life. Tell me why you are here?”

“I got hold of that shutterbug, M.”

“Oh James, we have already sent him to serve his sentence. You wanted a meeting with me to tell just that?”

“Actually no. I wanted to have a discussion about my future, growth path, role, responsibilities, my next mission and MI6’s vision for me”

“Come to the point, double O”

“I want a hike”

“Goodness gracious. You want a raise. Are you kidding me?”

“I am not. I am serious about it”

“If I may ask, why should you get a hike?”

“M, I have been MI6’s best agent. Whenever an assignment has been given to me, I have ensured timely completion. So often I have put my life in danger. So often I have nearly lost my life. So often I have been shot. I have done everything, always.”

“That’s what you are supposed to do, double O. That’s why we pay you. That’s you job, James.”

“I agree M. But look around you. I am not able to meet my expenses and pay my bills. I have been maintaining my credit card by just paying minimum balance for last so many months. This inflation is killing me.”

“That reminds me James – you spent a fortune in Vegas during your last assignment. The payment was made using MI6 corporate credit card. I cannot approve more than 50% of the expenses”

“But M, I had to do it. Unless I had played Russian roulette with that shutterbug, I wouldn’t have gained his confidence hence nabbed him”

“But you made those expenses without my approval, James. That’s not allowed. That’s against our policies”

“Policies? Since when, MI6 has started having policies?”

“Ever since we have gone public, James. We are accountable to public now. We cannot just let you spend shareholder’s money in a casino. Even then, I will approve 50%. You have to bear the rest of it”

“Damn. How do I make that payment?”

“That’s your problem, James. You should have thought about it before spending like a king in Vegas and elsewhere”

“Okay, what about the hike?”

“You are not getting any.”

“M, I cannot do it in my current salary. Everything has become so bloody expensive. Petrol prices have tripled. My rent has doubled. I don’t remember when the last time I went shopping was. My wrist doesn’t fancy a Rolex now – it’s down to Timex. I had to sell my Sony-Ericson and I am using Samsung Guru these days – the model my friend Agent Vinod gifted to me”

“Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. We have sold your Aston Martin. You will be driving an Indian brand now – Maruti Alto. It gives excellent mileage”

“Holy cow. What’s next? Wearing some cheap brand in place of Armani?”

“Bingo. From now one, you will be wearing Peter England”

“That’s enough of cost cutting M. Please give me some hike, at least. I have been a performer, a real one” said James with a wink.

M was fully aware with Bond’s escapades for fairer sex “Oh I know what you mean. Do you know there is a sexual harassment case being filed against you?”

“That’s not possible, M. All my “interests” die as soon as I am done with them. No trace is left, not even a single one”

“You couldn’t have let the prince die, could you?”

“What the…..” James Bond, the world’s most famous secret agent got a shock of his life.

“Don’t worry. I will handle it. But considering the negatives we have against you, we cannot appraise you to get a salary hike. You may leave now”

“Okay. I quit” said James in his usual nonchalant style. He knew they couldn’t afford to lose him. He knew they will fall on their knees as soon as threat of resignation is thrown across.

“Thanks a lot James. I knew this might come. We have identified your replacement”

“What the hell? Who is it?” James almost fell down.

“It’s your friend from India, Agent Vinod”

“Bloody hell. You are going to hire him to replace me?”

“Why not? He is as good as you, if not better”

“But he isn’t English. I am.”

“Wake up double O. He is a professional. We will pay, he will do it. He wants to make it large and we will make sure he does.”

“He will not have the kind of love I have for England. He just won’t.”

“His granddad played for England, double O. He qualifies based on that criterion. Plus all Indians love to serve us – they have been doing it for generations”

“But…” Bond, James bond wasn’t able to cope up with the shock of getting fired.

“We have another problem with you. The way you have been introducing yourself in the style of, the name is Bond, James Bond, there is no secrecy in you being secret agent. This factor isn’t missing with him. Apart from a very few, no one knows about him.”

“But he recently got married, M. That will slow him down”

“Indians are born to get married. That has never slowed them down. See, how soon they’ve crossed the number of 1.25 billion. In addition to this, hiring him means we get the benefit of currency arbitrage. Hence, I don’t mind you leaving.”

James Bond had no answers. He was just shocked, shell-shocked.

Suddenly M’s phone rang. She picked it up “Oh has it come? Okay. I am coming.”

M turned to James Bond and asked “So tell me quickly. Are you resigning?”

“No” said James.

“Okay. No hike. Take the details of your next assignment from Moneypenny. I have left a packet for you at her desk” said M and rushed out of her cabin.

James walked out slowly. He looked at Moneypenny. She was still engrossed in her laptop.

He asked her “What the hell are you so busy with?”

“Our board meeting just got over yesterday. I am finalizing the notes for the same”

“Okay. Where has M gone rushing?”

“Oh, she has gone? She was expecting delivery of her Maybach, today. What a car that is. Simply awesome”

“God damn it. She has bought a Maybach? How did she arrange the money?”

“Don’t you know? The board has declared dividend for top bosses. She has made a fortune”

James slowly picked up the packet and walked out.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

When the English were annihilated!!!

The situation wasn't the same but quite similar. India has had a horrific year or so in the past. Test series in Australia was lost by 4-0 and only test playing nation they defeated in World Cup was Pakistan. India almost ended up following on in Zimbabwe’s debut test match. Later, test series in South Africa was lost by 1-0 and ODI series by 5-2. The ever so strong Indian team on paper had once again tasted the bitter truth.

Questions were being raised about quality of the team, poor selection, poor management and BCCI’s vision for Indian cricket.

Public opinion was that BCCI wasn’t really bothered about Indian cricket. On the other hand England which was slated to tour India within a month had sent one of the senior members of England’s support staff to Johannesburg to watch the test match and spy on India’s performers and their performances. On the only shining light for India in the Johannesburg, a leg spinner who took six wickets in South Africa’s second innings, he said “But he didn’t turn a single ball”. His assessment about the leg spinner can be counted as one of the worst in the history of cricket. Anil Kumble never believed in turning the ball – he believed in tormenting the batsmen and that’s what he did in next series and subsequent years.

Azharuddin’s performance as a batsman had gone from bad to worse in last year and a half. He was sure to lose his captaincy, if not the place in the side as well. Yet the selectors, with no real options as a captain to replace him, decided to give him one more chance for the first test in the series. His bashers were over the moon and had almost declared that next test was going to be his last, at least as a captain. They had missed one important point though – the most important one.

Azhar was going to play his last test in Eden – as ground where he could have put gallons of petrol on himself, jumped in a fire and yet walked out of it totally unhurt.

The first day of the first test in Eden is known for Azhar’s second career saving century in 4 years – first came in Faisalabad in Pakistan when he played just because someone else wasn’t fit enough and saved his career. It was a typical Azhar innings – elegant, classy and full of wrists.

Yet a score of 371 looked like too small for the opponents who had some good names. Last time India and England had met for a test series; Gooch had scored one triple hundred, two more hundreds and two fifties in a 3 match series. Gatting was supposedly known as murderer of spinners in England. Graeme Hick was better than Bradman in county cricket. Robin Smith was extremely talented. England batted till number eight – Lewis was an excellent all rounder.

But England was in for a shock – a big one.

I don’t know it just happened or it was a well thought of plan or a mixed of both, but duo of Ajit Wadekar and Azharuddin had unearthed an excellent plan to dominate test cricket on Indian soil – with two genuine all rounder’s in the side, play three specialist spinners, dish out turning tracks to the tourists, pile up runs and let the pressure take its toll. If England could throw Lord’s at us, if Australia could make us hop and jump in Perth and if South Africa could bounce us out in Durban, there was nothing wrong in returning the favor.

Once England’s age old theory of “sweep anything that a spinner bowls” was crushed by Rajesh Chauhan’s off spin, Raju’s leg spin and Kumble’s leg spin, in England’s first innings in Eden, the series became a formality with India winning 3-0. England didn’t even put up a fight – like we didn’t do it last year. There were few sparks of brilliances like Lewis’s century in second test or Hick’s magnificent 178 in Wankhede but it all stopped at that.

Instead of introspecting, England looked more interested in finding the most bizarre excuses – from small beds in hotel rooms to Taj, Chennai serving stale prawns, from sub standard pitches to too much noise made by the crowd, from Indian weather to the breeze in Chepauk which carried the stink of a drainage passing nearby the stadium.

Truth was that they were no match to us in that series. They didn’t even put up a fight.

Success shows us many stars. Vinod Kambli announced himself to test cricket. India’s spin trio was being compared with the quartet of 70s. With Kambli, Sachin and Amre scoring doing the duties in Indian middle order,  Ramakant Achraker could easily have been declared batting coach of the side. Suddenly, the team which couldn’t win anything had started looking invincible.

With what happened on 6th December 1992 and its aftermath, this dominance over England did provide a bit of euphoria. With a proper test series outside subcontinent being 3 years away, the 3-0 win over England did give us belief of having winning formula in pocket – play three spinners, play on turning tracks and let the rest happen. In turn it made us believe that we are really that good especially when India’s next proper test series, outside the subcontinent, didn’t happen for next three years.

Well, we are not very different now. Not many years have been as bad as last year – last two trips outside the subcontinent have been horrendous. But we will not be playing outside the subcontinent till the end of next year. On top of that England is coming; or rather it has already come when like 1992, most of Indian cricketers were returning from South Africa.

Do we dish out square turners or be stupidly brave enough to give them “sporting pitches”. But there is one major difference between 1993 and 2012. We could have blindly given them dustbowls with knowledge that our batsmen could play spin with hands tied at their back. This time, there is no assurance about our own batting, though.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Un-Jinxing!!!

I cannot talk about the entire nation but I was in a definite shock. Three buildings within the vicinity of 2 kilometers from the place where I worked were brutally attacked by terrorists. This was just part of the attack. My CEO was caught in Taj during the first night of attack and had his stories to share with all of us. We had all been glued to TV for days watching it happen. For the first time in Indian history I think, we saw live televised version of a terror attack.

There was a fear in all of us, at least in Mumbai, for weeks.

Things were chaotic. Media was coming up with sensational news every day. New agencies were being talked about to improve national security. There was a blast after 26/11 in Assam but I didn’t see anyone getting really bothered. The focus was in Mumbai. I hated this indifference.

It was one of the rare occasions in my life when cricket wasn’t the first thing in my mind. But the moment I realized about England’s tour to India starting in December, cricket was back to priority.

On cricinfo, I read Sachin’s comment about 26/11 where he had said something on the lines of “It wasn’t an attack on Mumbai. It was an attack on the country”.

He doesn’t talk much but whenever he does, he makes sense, was what I thinking.

The cricket was back in Chennai. First day of the test match went in our favor. England had lost half their side within 250. Under such scenario, you don’t expect opposition’s score to cross 300. But we have always exceeded this expectation. England ended with 316. When we started batting, I thought we would score 600+ and try for an innings victory. But our batsmen looked in hurry. English bowler’s hurried them with their determination, discipline, intensity, pace and spin. If that was not enough, Flintoff sledged Yuvraj into submission. 140 odd for 6 at the end of day 2 was a score which had put us in a gigantic spot of bother.

Those were the days when Harbhajan Singh knew what batting meant, Zaheer Khan used to believe that batting wasn’t all about moving down the leg side and try hitting the ball to ZKs in Lullanagar, and rest of the tail could hang around a bit. We still ended up conceding lead of 70+.

With England losing 3 wickets in the second innings for almost nothing, hopes of making a comeback were back. However, Andrew Strauss and Collingwood had other ideas. Twin centuries meant England was out of trouble. With England having a clear edge in the test, it was up to them to decide “how much is enough”. It was a tough call. They couldn’t have gone on too long and ate up precious time.

India had the batsmen who could last sessions after sessions although history had enough evidences of Indian batsmen collapsing hopelessly on the final day.

They couldn’t have given too little to chase and ended up like a bunch of idiots. India had Sehwag.

Finally, England declared. 387 was the target.

I boarded my flight to Kolkata.

I was going to the treasure land - Barbil, a small town in Orissa which is known for abundance of iron ore.

“Don’t tell me we have lost.” I called up a friend as soon as I landed on Kolkata airport.

“Such a pessimist you are. We are 131/1 and will win tomorrow”

“Sehwag?” I was confirming more than asking it.

“Yes. Who else?”

“Gone?”

“Yes but we will win” he was beaming.

Sehwag had scored a 68 ball 83 and India was scoring at more than 4 runs per over. This was exceptional. This was phenomenal. This was historical. My only regret was – why it happened when I was in the air and not on the ground.

Next day went in travelling and seeing iron ore mines. While seeing the mines were a good experience, the roads travelled were the worse I have ever seen. More than that, I feared for my life. The town was in the heart of Naxal activities. Things were scary there. Not more than three months after I came back, Naxals blasted the railway track in that area. And they did it again. And again.

But my mind wasn’t far from cricket. Every now and then, as soon as my cell phone could catch the network, I would call up a friend to enquire about the score.

“Gambhir gone”

“Dravid and Sachin doing it fine”

“Dravid gone but don’t worry. We have Laxman, the crisis man”

“Laxman gone. If Sachin doesn’t erase the memories of Chennai – 1998 today, maybe he will never do it”

“They are going fine but it will be tough”

I decided – enough is enough. I told the Miner’s employee, who was accompanying us, “Boss, I think we have seen enough mines. I don’t think one mine differs that much from another and even if it does, I am not competent enough to differentiate. Let’s go back to the hotel and seal the victory.”

He was more than happy at my suggestion and back we were.

Sachin was batting with Yuvraj and he was batting beautifully. Flintoff was trying his best to sledge out Yuvraj but wasn’t succeeding. Maybe it’s the presence of greatness at other end which ensured sanity of mind for Yuvraj. Well not maybe, definitely it was.

A trademark paddle sweep and we did it. We won the test match. Sachin got to his century. It was, ladies and gentleman, like a dream coming true – not for Sachin but for me.

I would not be becoming a cricketer – this realization had come very early in my life. So I played cricket through Sachin. Sachin will never win us a test match while chasing a tough target – a doubt which had occupied my mind ever since that gloomy evening in 1998. The doubt wasn’t cleared but it was brutally murdered with that beautifully crafted innings which had determination, elegance, aggression, arrogance and finally sweetness of victory.

The ghost of 1998 was buried. The blot on Sachin’s CV that he cannot see the team to a victory while chasing difficult targets was erased. More than anything else, it was a well fought and earned victory while we were all recovering the mental trauma of 26/11. The victory didn’t erase the pain of that horrific attack but it did make us all smile while we were all trying to recover from the trauma. The nation smiles when Sachin does – had been a theory for close to two decades and it was further strengthened on that evening. And Sachin’s word said it all

“In no way am I trying to say that this will make everyone forget what happened in Mumbai. But I'd like to thank England for coming back to play Test cricket. We've witnessed a wonderful match. People are again enjoying cricket the way it's meant to be.”

Few days later, another Jinx was broken. South Africa chased down target of 414 against Australia and for an infinitely small period, washed off the tag of Choker. Maybe the period of 11st December to 21st December should be declared as a period of Un-Jinxing. 

Picture courtesy - Cricinfo.