Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An open letter to Prime Minister!!!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We all know the astounding mandate your party got in last general elections. We know how majority of those who voted  in those elections wanted you as prime minister of the country. We know how hard you are working to meet the promises you made during your high profile election campaign – bringing Acche Din was what summed it all up.
I, for the record, am also one of your supporters. Not a bhakt, to clarify, but a supporter. There is a difference between the two. Bhakt supports everything you say or do. A supporter doesn’t do bhakti. His support is conditional. In case this stint of yours as prime minister doesn’t turn out to be as well as it should be, you are likely to lose lot many supporters than Bhakts. Please do note that I used “as well as it should be” and not “as expected” because expectations from you Mr Prime Minister, are sky high. I doubt if you can really blame others for that.
I am afraid that in me, you are quite close to losing a supporter. Please allow me to tell you why.
Before that, let me tell you who I am. I am a middle age middle class citizen of this country. I pay my taxes or rather I am made to do so. I am inclined to make this world a better place and to do that, I keep trying on Facebook. I am easily outraged against any kind of injustice and immediately do my bit to rectify things by tweeting about them. For everything wrong, I hope someday some messiah will come and change the world for the good. See, I am perfect recipe for your kitchen.
So whatever you do, you must think about me before doing it. I wish you had been taking care of this fact.
For example, take this Yoga thing. I agree with all the positives of Yoga, the branding it needs, the jazz it deserves and rest of the razzmatazz with it. All that is fine. But have you ever noticed that most middle aged middle class men are married – not just to their wives but also to their ever growing bulging tummies, laziness and couches on which they sit like potatoes. Have you ever thought what a highly advertised campaign like this does to them? 
Please allow me to tell you what it does. 
It lets their wives know that they are sharing their husbands the co-wives I just mentioned - bulging tummies, laziness and the couches. What you’ve done is handed something in the hands of all those wives – you’ve handed them a mission. A mission to make their husbands shed their laziness and do Surya Namaskara every morning. That Mr Prime Minister, a mission in the hands of wives, is more dangerous weapon than cell phone in the hands of Shane Warne, microphone in the hands of Rakhi Sawant or license to remake an old classic in the hands of Sajid Khan. What may irk all these middle aged middle class men who happen to be husbands as well that you yourself don’t have to face the music they face because you Mr. Prime Minister, do no stay with your wife. You enjoy complete freedom. Whereas they, they just don’t.
No. It doesn’t end there. I would go to where it all started. It started by Mann ki Baat. I understand the objective behind this initiative. Or I think I do. I see this as more like monthly status report by a prime minister given to people of his country. That’s something unique especially when people of this country haven been habituated of listening to the prime minister only twice in a year – 15th August and 26th of January. I get that. But couldn’t you have chosen a different name. Mann Ki Baat? Really?
Imagine the plight of a husband who religiously listens to your Mann Ki Baat every month. Now imagine their wives asking them “Honey, how does my nail paint look?”
Husband responds, “They look good” without looking at them. He is too engrossed in listening to your Mann Ki Baat.
Wife angrily responds, “You haven’t even looked at them. What is that you are watching on TV”
“Give me sometime please. I am listening to Prime Minister’s Mann Ki Baat”.
Mann ki Baat? You have all the time to listen to everyone’s Mann Ki Baat. Only person’s Mann Ki Baat that puts you immediately to sleep is me. You are never interested in my Mann Ki Baat”
Dear Mr Prime Minister, since you’ve not been staying with your better half, you would have no idea of the consequences when a wife talks to you like that, when she taunts you that you aren’t interested in her Mann Ki Baat. You have no clue of the storms that come in such situations - they have capacity to eradicate salaries of months. Hence my humble question to you is – couldn’t you have named it a bit differently? Couldn’t you have named it what it is – PM’s status report or Pradhan Mantri ke Kaarnaame or since it is a monthly status report informing us about how dutiful you are, Pradhan Mantri ka Masik Dharma?
There is more to come. But before that, let me complement you first. You are always neatly dressed and admired all across the world for your dressing sense. So much so that we have a Modi Kurta in the market. I wish I had dressing sense like you have. I really wish. But sometimes, you do go overboard. Yes. I am talking about that suit which had your name written all over it. How could you do it? How? Didn’t you, for once, think of how it can impact the middle aged middle class men who happen to be husbands as well?
What if a wife demands, “Darling, why don’t you wear a suit like our PM did”
“Which one?” husband may wonder
“The one on which he had his name written all over it”
“Ah, that one. Sorry. In my book, that qualifies as narcissism. How can someone wear a suit with his own name written all over it?”
“No. I am not asking you to do that. That was so crappy. Really, how can some do it? I know you are too modest for that. That’s why I love”
“Then?”
“I want you to wear a suit with my name written looking all over it”
“What? Why?”
“Darling, don’t you love me?”
No. There wouldn’t be any pressure from wives on husbands to wear suits with husband’s name on them? It could be a bit different. Wives may demand that husbands wear a suit with wives’ name written all over it? And if, my Prime Minister, are wondering about the rest of the conversation - it normally ends with husbands wearing suits with their wives' names written all over them. 
No. I am not joking. You wouldn’t know but in married life, such thinsg are possible. Yes they are.
So my dear Prime Minister. This is my humble request to you. Next time you launch a new program for the betterment of the nation, please do think about us – we are middle aged middle class men who happened to be married. Life isn’t easy for us anyways. Please don’t make it more difficult.
Thanking you,
Your supporter.

PS: I am a Modi fan. This piece in written in expectation that people will find some sense in my humor and my understanding of section 66A of IT act is not horribly misplaced. In case you have a problem, letting me know via comments section would not be a bad idea. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The baton is being passed!!!

I am the best cricket analyst around. No, I am not joking. I am. You may call me an arrogant narcissist but that will not change what I think. I am the best cricket analyst you will ever find.
Eleven years back a friend placed a bet on how many runs did Curtley Ambrose scored in an ODI against India in Perth in 1991-92. I not only told him how many did Ambrose score, I also told him how many balls he played, how many boundaries did he hit against which bowler, who was the highest scorer and who took how many wickets. Once I told a friend at what score did Ganguly got out in second innings of Eden 2001 and what India’s score was by the end of day three, he asked back if all day I do nothing but memorize cricket scores. Once in an interview, an interviewer tried to check my confidence about Tendulkar’s score in 1992 world cup match against New Zealand by saying, “He scored 88 and not 84”, I replied back saying “He scored 84 of 107 balls. Its cricket. I know what I know and I know what I don’t know”
The ego, as you can see, is quite high. I am never, I repeat, never wrong when I claim to be right.
I have failed only twice. Once it was when I answered about the date on which Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in Durban – I answered 17th September whereas it was 19th September. Second time I failed when I put myself to Albert Einstein’s level of understanding test.
Einstein said - “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
Oh boy. Explaining things to a six year old is tough. Very tough. During every day of any test match, when my six year old asks me, “Who won?” I have hard time explaining that a test match is supposed to last five days and you may or may not get a winner at the end of it. It is not easy to explain to him that in a test match, each team can get a chance to bat twice, one after the other although one team can bat twice successively. Things get tougher when it comes to explaining the rules. Leg before wickets means batsman putting his legs between bat & wickets to avoid getting out. But people have been given out when their shoulders kept the ball from hitting the stumps. If the ball is going to hit the stumps and you block it from outside the line of off stump, you shouldn’t be given out. But not when you are not offering a stroke. How to define if someone is offering a stroke or not is not well defined. But yes, if the ball has pitched outside leg stump, you can do all you want. Now try explaining it to a six year old.
It is tough explaining to him that although a test match lasts five days, days apart from five is a critical word here. Test matches are played during daytime. ODIs are played under the lights. And there is a limit on number of overs bowled in ODIs – you don’t start playing in the morning and play till mid-night. Play starts from afternoon in day night matches. And no, CSK doesn’t play in world cup.
Damn. I failed the Einstein test.
Okay. All those arrogant words in the first paragraph – I was joking. I am not as good as I have written. After all, I failed in the Einstein test.
But then, some failures make you notice something else. Failing to answer some questions make you happy that at least, questioner is inquisitive enough. You feel happy that a six year old is getting interested in the game you’ve always followed so passionately.
When wife asks “Oh ho. He has also started getting crazy about cricket. Does it run in your family or what”, you feel like answering with the biggest grin ever and thumping your chest like a gorilla, “Yes. This is third generation. I am happy.”
But then, all you do is put a mild smile on your face and shrug like Munaf Patel. After all, wives are wives. They aren’t to be messed with.
You feel happy that now cricket wouldn’t be limited to TV and internet and phones and facbook and the likes. Cricket will be played. Someone in the house will do it.
You play with him. In the gallery. In that tiny little space. Shoes kept a foot apart make the stumps. One tip one hand is out. Wall behind you becomes the boundary line. Window panes start fearing for their lives. That tiny little space becomes your MCG, your Lords, and your Eden. The Gayles, the Dhonis, the Mallingas, the Ashwins make frequent appearances in that tiny little space.  But after every good shot, the six year old asks, “Don’t I play like Virat Kohli?” Virat is his favorite player. If you ask him what would he like to become when he grows up, “I will play cricket like Virat Kohli”
You are taken aback a bit. Or rather, you are taken back - back in time. Or both.
Few years ago, not so long ago, you had your own MCG, Lords and Edne. The Azhars, the Akrams, the Injemams made frequent appearances in that tiny little space. But after every good shot, you asked, “Don’t I play like Sachin Tendulkar?” Sachin was your favorite player. When you were asked what you would like to become when you grow up, “Sachin Tendulkar” was your answer. You just traverse back in time. But then, you are also taken aback at how time has just flew past by.
You keep throwing balls at the six year old and realize how simple this game is. Even a six year old can play all those famed shots - the drives, the flicks, the pulls.
 This is all about how human body responds. The drives, the flicks, the pulls – they are all reactions against the action caused by the cricket ball. These are just names given to how your body moves in a particular situation. When a ball is pitched outside off, it is instinctive reaction to take one step towards the ball, extend your arms and hit it. Nothing special about it. Anyone would play it like this. Barring MSD. He would play the same shot with both feet in the air. But then, he is MSD.
When it’s his turn to bowl, you keep telling him to roll his arm over, “Roll your arm over, don’t bend the elbow”. He tries. Sometimes he succeeds. Mostly he fails.
He asks who he looks like when he is bowling. You respond, “Virat Kohli” – part truth, part fiction. But those six year old eyes just lit up, smile broadens and he bowls the next ball double quick and asks for confirmation, “This is how Virat Kohli bowls, right?”
See, Virat Kohli is back again. Like Tendulkar was.  In batting. In bowling. Even in fielding, sometimes.
You somehow persuade him to let you go. The game ends. Not before he asks again, “When will I play exactly like Virat Kohli?”
You respond back trying to calm him down, “You are too young. You will play better than him when you grow up”
“How old I am”
“Six”
“Not six. Six and a half” he retorts back with extra stress on “and a half”
You smile and come back home and tell him, “If you want to become like Virat, you must eat well”
He immediately demands for a glass of milk.
Ah, you realize it is repetition of past. This is exactly how Tendulkar made you do things which you often avoided to do. This is exactly how it used to happen.
It is just that names have changed. Curly haired teenaged named Tendulkar is a thing of past now. Tattooed Virat Kohli is fast becoming the craze. Like it must have happened few years back. When Gavaskar became thing of past and Tendulkar was the future.  The baton was passed then. The baton is being passed now.
While your previous generation and you dreamt of becoming Sachin, you and your next generation would dream of six year old becoming Virat.
But they are all just means to carry something bigger – dreams.
Dreams of childhood. Dreams of parenthood.   
Generations have changed. Years have gone by. Roles have reversed.  
Dreams, they are still the same. The names just pass on the batons.