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I, me and Sachin

Those who know me well will vouch with full conviction that I hate waking up early in the morning and I prefer to be a late-night person. So, when I had a grueling three weeks in office including some of the weekends as well, I had looked forward for a day off yesterday when at least I can sleep till late in the morning. I had just landed on Thursday night in London from a business trip and was on my way home thinking of the next day off from office. The next day was Friday and so effectively an extended weekend for me … the day was 15-Nov-2013.

And yet it is amazing that I setup the alarm at 3.45 am on that day (remember a holiday for me !) which will allow me the 15 minute settling down before the last journey begins. Because that was the day I knew for sure Sachin Tendulkar will walk in to bat for the last time in his life. I had to be part of that walk, I had to accompany him for his last innings. And so it was a cold morning in London, me waking up, wrapping up in a blanket, sitting on the sofa, switching on the TV at 4 am (9.30 am India time) and waiting for the Master climb down the stairs from the pavilion amidst a deafening sound of “Sachiiiiiiiiin Sachin”. Yes, I could not afford to sleep for some more hours on a holiday, because within me my heart told that I should at least sacrifice some hours of sleep for a person who became a part of my life.

Why is it that Sachin Tendulkar became part of myself, became so integrated with my life, became so much embedded with my heart and emotions ? He does not have a great personality, he does not look great, he definitely does not have a Amitabh Bachhan-like voice, he rather looks like a dwarf on the field, his mannerism while batting is not great – specially his squatting while holding a part of his body is quite comical …. yet this person, whom I have not ever met, had unknowingly become a part of myself !

Probably it was the similar age between Sachin and myself … maybe it was the time when I could imagine myself being represented in the great sport of cricket through the body of Sachin … maybe it was the classic straight drive with a straight bat whether be in the front foot or backfoot … maybe it was the courage of one Indian cricketer who could counter attack the pace bowlers who tormented Indian cricket throughout the years …. maybe it was his humility … maybe his grace while batting touched me as a cricket lover …. maybe his passion for cricket and India  … maybe it was a combination of all these.

While I was young and growing up & Sachin was also growing and maturing to the best ever batsmen ever, I had two “guru”s defined in my life and I used to tell openly that to my mother – one was Kishore Kumar and the other Sachin Tendulkar (It was much later on that I learnt Sachin also loved Kishore Kumar songs so much – what a pleasant coincidence !). It was a common fact that if Tendulkar played well, my mother used to say that my mood will be very good and that I will eat that extra bit during dinner. My uncles knew about this and very often during family occasions used to plan within themselves and pretended to throw discussions with the message that Sachin was a rubbish batsman – and my reaction was predictable – I used to fight hard to prove that they were totally wrong.

Later on came Saurav Ganguly as the successful captain of India. With him came the common debate amongst most Bengali’s hovering around the point on who is better – is it Sachin or Sourav ? And the debates often rose to heated discussions with expletives being thrown left right and center. As was with every fan, I could not tolerate any ill-speaking of Sachin and sometimes to cover up his failures, I had to think of some different point of view so that I can divert the debate to some other sensitive topic so that people forgets the main reason behind the debate.

Every match of Sachin, every Indian match was something I need to watch – whether it is India vs Bangladesh or India vs Australia, it did not matter. And when Sachin used to bat, the tension was doublefold for me. If Sachin hit a four on a delivery, I used to force my friends not to shift from the seats they were seating till the over is finished. Generally the unofficial rule for me became – ‘first Sachin should score runs, then India can think of winning’ – a selfish way of thinking, no doubt.

So during the last 24 years, starting from the debut vs Pakistan till the end against West Indies, I grew up with Sachin … and the lines got merged with his playing and my growing up. His success made me feel as if I am myself successful, his failures made me scramble for excuses like ‘the ball was simply unplayable’, his centuries made me feel that I had went to bat and scored a century, his brilliant over at the Eden Gardens Hero Cup final made me shout “finally, we have got a great all-rounder” …….. without me knowing consciously, over the years Sachin became me, I became Sachin in life.

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And so, when Sachin’s last day came today on 16-Nov-2013, I am personally feeling a great void within myself … as if I have retired and will not know what to do tomorrow morning. People say that I am not that much an emotional person – but I literally could not hold my tears when Sachin walked back up the stairs on 15-Nov-2013 after making the majestic 74. It is so rare that a person whom I have never met could have impacted myself so much.

This story is nothing unique and all Sachin fans are perhaps experiencing the same feelings … that is the greatness of the man. So, when through BCCI I get the above personalised digital photograph of Sachin, I feel like a teenager once again – elated, happy and showing off the picture to everyone.

Today while I say THANK YOU SACHIN for the immense pleasures he gave to me for my last 24 years, I sign-off here with an online magazine on him, a small tribute to “a part of my life” (called Sachin Tendulkar) from myself : https://flipboard.com/section/all-about-sachin-tendulkar–bAlhRO

Wish Sachin all the best for the years to come …. and if ever I happen to meet him face-to-face, I will probably shake his hands and say “you made me complete as a human being … thank you for that”

 

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We want a mature, patient, civilised world …. not to be ‘trigger-happy’

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We live in a so-called civilised world driven by the power of law, which has been formed by thoughtful groups and lots of common sense. One definition of ‘civilised’ means to have a high state of culture and development bound by basic virtues. We have found lots of ‘unions’ which gives us a platform to resolve issues at the highest levels, in case disputes are hard to solve at lower levels. We have vowed for following the rules, the ‘unions’, the ‘bodies’ we have formed across the world.
We call ourselves ‘mature’ – which has an inherent meaning of looking at a broader picture, taking lessons learnt into account  and then take decision based on facts, based on debates and consult these ‘unions’ & ‘bodies’ to come up to a decision that will be respected by all. When decisions are taken, it is normal that all parties who participated in the decision-making debates may not come to a unanimous consensus – but when a majority decision is taken, even the parties who had been advocating for the reverse, respects that. These all come under ‘maturity’.

We call ourselves ‘patient’ and that is linked to ‘maturity’. By patience, we imply that a decision will be taken by weighing different options, by hearing all sides of the story and then coming to a meaningful conclusion which we believe has been taken after much deliberation and to the best of our efforts. For that, respecting other’s opinions, understanding the context and the implications of the decision is key.

However, still why do we have the most ‘powerful’ and most ‘matured’ persons takes huge decisions in a trigger-happy manner without even deliberating with a broader forum ? Maybe that is the correct decision – but why do we have to behave like a ‘know-it-all’ person without any ‘patience’ and declare that the rest of the ‘unions’ and ‘bodies’ are of practical no-use, simply because we fear that those ‘unions’ & ‘bodies’ may come up with more logical & mature thinking that may result in a different decision ?

I hope we all can really behave as a civilised, mature and patient way resulting in uniting the world to collectively take a decision (and not just by myself) that will benefit in the long run ….

It’s yesterday, once more ..

It’s yesterday, once more ….
Not a Carpenters special
Another incident of terrorist attack
Another incident of loss of life
Another incident of tears from loved ones
It’s yesterday, once more …

It’s yesterday, once more …
Not a Carpenters special
We ‘spend’ billions in scams and corruption
We ‘spend’ several hours in passing the buck
We ‘spend’ efforts to take political mileage
It’s yesterday, once more …

It’s yesterday, once more …
Not a Carpenters special
Value of life is so ‘cheap’
Our expression of helplessness is so ‘cheap’
Our excuses are so ‘cheap’
It’s yesterday, once more …

It’s yesterday, once more …
Not a Carpenters special
We say ‘no’ to pointed questions on safety
We say ‘no’ to execution of proven terrorists
We say ‘no’ to a strong political will
It’s yesterday, once more …

The mighty cannot protect the common man
The mighty cannot assert himself in international forum on this issue
The mighty cannot have enough intelligence
The mighty cannot hit back if slapped
The mighty cannot act except making speeches
The mighty cannot learn from mistakes
The mighty cannot stop spending millions on entertainment to divert funds on security measures
The mighty cannot say “enough is enough”

The mighty can only say ‘It’s yesterday, once more …”

When will the day come to show your inner strength
When will the day come to act and stop talking
When will the day come to spend money where it’s absolutely needed
When will the day come to give exemplary punishment to the guilty
When will the day come to execute justice in months and not years
When will the day come for us to say “yes, we are free !”

When can we say – its not yesterday, its a new tomorrow !

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The donkeys and the monkeys

In the cricketing world, a controversy has been again created by Nasser Hussain by describing some of the Indian fielders as donkeys on the field. I am not sure whether he really meant the same – most probably not. But what I liked was how the Indian cricket team reacted – basically, they did not react at all. I think that is an example of maturity, unlike what we are normally used to see from countries like Australia or England.

But let’s do a role reversal, even if it is hypothetical. If Ravi Shastri or any other Indian described the fatty Patel playing for England as a “fatso” on the field, or Broad as a “dog” when he brings out his tongue after being hit for a four or a six, then what would have been the reaction ? Maybe allegations would be thick and fast of being ‘racist’, demands for immediate apology, with proposals of banning the individual ? Most probably yes !

Why the difference in this hypothetical behaviour ? Because in England, you can very often call someone a donkey if he is messing up things and you never ‘mean’ that. However, if similar reasoning is given by India, there will be so many surprised faces with “you are lying, you meant that” all written on those faces. Why ? Because normally countries like US, UK, Australia always knows better and the rest of the countries ‘just shut up’.

This reminds be of the famous “monkey” spat between Harbhajan and Andrew Symonds in Australia. Monkey can be a racial world, while abusing somebody else’s father or mother are just the way of life. That’s exactly what the Aussies do during sledging – but when the same medicine is given back with a hint of hot Indian spice, it becomes all racial.

I think those days are over now. People should have the heart and spirit to accept a behaviour which they in turn gives to others. Because that’s exactly what you will get back. Because that’s exactly what Newton’s third law states ‘to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’.

And as experts say, Newton’s laws are never proved wrong !

But there’s an alternate option as well – don’t say anything that can potentially hurt someone, just play the gentleman’s game like a gentleman and not like a rogue on or off the field.

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