But for an act of God, wish of SIR Jadeja or unforeseen circumstances at work, this is my last week here. Six more days on the ground and one more in the air – I shall be at the place I always want to be, home. It has been four months here, my longest stay outside India. Last time I stayed out of India, it was for a brief period of four days. I was in Nepal.
Past, more distant it becomes, more seems to be the pace at which it just flew by. Future, if an event is eagerly awaited, seems to be coming at a pace slower than Venketesh Prasad’s slower ball. Mind you, some of the balls he bowled in late 90s are yet to reach the batsmen.
Learnings, like other phases of life, have been a plenty. It is only when you move out of your comfort zone you realize existence of things thought as unimaginable at one point of time. Christopher Columbus moved out of his motherland imagining India and happened to discover a piece of land bigger than thrice of India. In case he had heard about the riches of India, his discovery would surely have disappointed him utterly – if my history is not as bad as Dhoom 3 was, the land he discovered was nothing more than a just piece of land. Only if he had the power to peek-a-boo in the future, he would have beaten his chest like a Gorilla on rampage – he had discovered a land which Indians refer to as Watan.
I didn't discover anything beyond the piece of land below my feet. But yet, I did have a few eye opening realizations.
Cooking – Cooking is no rocket science. I don’t know anything about rocket science but you don’t launch any rockets while cooking, unless you put a few drops of water in hot oil. It wouldn’t be utterly wrong to say that women have made a mole out of mountain about this six letter word – cooking. It is simple.
But only, if you have to cook once in a month.
To do it daily is utterly boring and demands high degree of self-motivation to keep doing it.
Let me correct myself. It would be utterly wrong to discard cooking as “what’s the fuss” kind of thing. It is tough.
For all the progress mankind has made, cooking remains to be more of an art than science. There is no fix recipe. Everything is add to taste – spices, salt and all that. Every ingredient has to be perfect. Every step to achieve this perfection comes through years of practice to guess things correctly. Every investment that relies on guesswork is immensely risky. Every investment which entails high amount of risk must result in high returns. It’s the return on investment which keeps an investor interested.
For the women in your life cooking for you, day in and day out, returns come in form of your praise. That’s what keeps her motivated to clean the kitchen every night after dinner, get up next morning and cook again.
Now I understand the reason and eagerness to ask that question for which answer always needs to be “It’s delicious”. The perennial question is, “How is it”.
So next time you are served with bitter gourd on dining table, make sure you say “It’s delicious”. Oh there are ways to avoid eating it after saying so. But you are the instrument in which the investor has invested. Return is what you must provide. The return my dear friend, have to be good.
Oh yes, make sure you don’t jump in too quick to shower her with your praise. I have quite often heard in reply, “Pehle Khaa to lo” when I praised a tad second earlier than I should have. One must make sure the praise looks real even if it isn't. After all, mastering the art of masquerade is one of the keys to keep her happy. Do it.
People –Window seats in the local trains are the first to get occupied. If you are waiting for a train on a railway platform, you will be pushed around if the platform is crowded. It doesn't matter if you are in Mumbai or Melbourne. People are same, almost everywhere. If not same, similar for sure.
I landed here expecting everyone to talk about cricket. For the first few weeks I wondered if this country plays cricket at all. A 5-0 ashes victory later, I had people not only talking about cricket but questioning me about my own team’s performance. They are everywhere. Fair weather fan is the word for them.
Only thing that stops people from breaking traffic rules is fear of getting caught and punished for that. Only thing that differs is the frequency of doing it. Frequency of doing so is a habit which is developed over a period of time. So is all the warmth, kindness, gentleness and all that.
If I were to derive a mathematical equation which produces above mentioned qualities, mismatch in demand supply will be a key variable in that. More the resource crunch, more the chances that animal in this social animal called humans will come to fore. If demand supply mismatch was drawn as a straight line, developing nations and developed nations are likely to find each other at opposite ends in lot of cases. Economics of this mismatch drives most of the things on this planet if not all the things. The so called phrase, “day to day life is so simple and easy in developed part of the planet” isn't untouched from this phenomena.
Oh yes, if you don’t want your future generations to hear about the four letter word we keep hearing so often these days – Rape, stop killing female fetus. We are fast shifting toward the unwanted end of demand-supply mismatch spectrum in this regard.
Scenery – All those beautiful scenery, natural locations and what not look fantastic in the first look. They look good in the second. After a few more times, they start to become boring. Then the realization comes, it’s not the places that carry eternal beauty. The beauty lies in the immortals around you. Those places are nothing but the backdrops. What matters in a play is the actors performing in front of those backdrops. Maybe that’s why the saying, there is no place better than home. The sweet home.
Celebrities – I didn't even think of going to Leander Paes and asking for his photographs – on both the occasions I spotted him dining in a bistro bar. Maybe that’s because tennis is not my game. Meeting a gentlemencalled Vivan Richards is something I would rate as one of the topmost moments of this trip. I still jump like a kid and tell people, “You know, I have met Sir Vivian Richards”. Maybe that’s the impact of larger than life figures what you stamp upon people you admire. But then, they are all humans. They walk, they stop, they talk to you and they walk away. They aren't very different from you. What’s different is what they have done which makes you to want them stop and talk to you.
A lot has changed since I have landed here.
India’s #4 no longer holds the image of “good boy”. Sachin Tendulkar has joined the bandwagon of ex-cricketers. Virat Kohli’s middle finger is still not forgotten.
A new political party has done the unexpected - thrown away a government of over a decade and formed its own government.
Uday Chopra has given yet another masterpiece performance in Dhoom 3. It was rumored that he might retire after this movie. Not sure if Abhishek Bacchan has gone from bad to worse or it’s Uday who has improved but Uday looked to have acted far better than AB in Dhoom 3. Even the auto rickshaw AB drives in his first scene has acted better than him.
People have openly started accusing that Arnab takes money from political parties to mentally torture his panelists on his show. Not even in my dreams I had ever imagined that people would have guts to question the integrity of an honest journalist.
Lot of other things have changed too but more the things change, more they remain the same.
India’s #4 still walks out to bat when score is 10/2, a nightwatchman is always sent in to bat ahead of him and his centuries continue to go waste.
A political party will always be a political party. Their nature hasn't changed. They all act in the most expected manner and that manner hasn't changed over the years.
What I have heard that Dhoom series hasn't ended. Eagerly looking forward for next parts.
Arnab is unstoppable, just unstoppable. Not sure if it’s my imagination or true but only thing that has become more prominent in the way he talks is his tone – it has become more poetic.
Lot of other things have remained the same.
Maybe this is the last part of this series, maybe this isn't. In case it happens to be, I must say it was fun. Complete fun.