Rains

Let it flutter with the breeze,

let it go down with the wind.

You smell that petrichor alright,

let it pour down.

When the heart is heavy

Or you brim with joy

The mist in the breeze,

That music of the rains,

That calmness in the chaos

That stillness of the moment.

Breathe, reflect and rejuvenate you must!

But you pour down

…oh you pour down!

START

To quit a job for something of your own is an excellent thought and a courageous move.

One needs to be working on the plan till he is satisfied and confident enough to take the plunge, however no one can be as confidant as the business demands before actually getting into it. So research all you want but zero in on something that is the best you can do or the best you’d want to do and START.

The nuances of business will get better along the way, as they say one door would lead to many and once one is shut on you there could be multiple others opening simultaneously. Take for example this write-up, I was not sure how to start it or was waiting for the energy/mood/timing to start but I just could not gather enough meaningful words and today I just plugged the laptop and started writing and I have come this far without any perfect mood or energy. This could be possible all because of the start that we all dread.

As the cliché’ would have it, there are two facets of growth or prosperity, the famous one being Success but the more important one is the Failure. The journey to success ought to be accompanied by failure or multiple failures. This not only sharpens your craft but also lets the best version of you to the fore.

So, my young and old friends, let today be the day you put an end to all your doubts, inhabitations, conflicts, self-negotiations. Let today be the day you START. 

…and there I see the stadium!

As my bus wizzed past other vehicles on the expressway, I see water droplets on the window pan, my eyes lit up & my mind starts wandering.

It’s drizzling outside, the kind of pleasant rain which looks mesmerising.

I see a series of mountains and waterfalls falling from them, quite blurr amid the drizzle, the environment though, feels warm, I ponder why!

As I progress in my journey, I see different flowers planted on the divider, fluttering as the wind passes through them, like the Williamwordsworth described it with the daffodils, so many petals on the floor depicts nature’s way of beautyfying loss, the plants swirl in harmony as if wanting to tell us something. It could be to enjoy the journey of life no matter what, could be to stay happy all the time or to chug along with the journey life presents you with. May be something else! I can’t read nature, requires better capabilities than the ones in my resume.

It’s about dusk, the sun is almost done for the day, the haze blurs my vision but the place looks majestically picturesque.

I’m distracted by the cars wizzing past me before I blink.

Oh I love these roads!

Is it just about the rains then? There’s something about Mumbai-Pune expressway which makes me love it every time I travel. The amazing road, the mountains alongside them, the n number of waterfalls and those beautiful tunnels, there’s everything you expect out of a road trip, the kind of highways they showed in Need for Speed games.

Enter the tunnel and everything goes pitch black, the window pan is mist again and I draw something on it with my finger..the shape disappears as the window grows misty..I keep drawing, her long hair, her nose, I put a nose pin on her nose and it looks beautiful here too.

Why I’ve always wanted my girl to have that nose pin.. I try finding answers with a smile.

To me that nose pin is as beautiful as this journey, makes you smile every time set your sight on it.

Joyous little things of life.

All these thoughts wandering in my head as we are nearing the end of the expressway and there I see the stadium from a distance…MCA international cricket stadium, gahunje, Pune!

Have you ever felt a series of thoughts which your mind was engaged in suddenly vanishing and you enter a complete new world of thoughts on totally different aspect of life? The same happened with me and I get lost in to the oblivion of thoughts pertaining to cricket and the dream of that blue jersey!

Another Rahul at number 3

As I was boarding the train to Saharsa my phone rang, it was Alok, a very close friend who I fondly call Aaloo. He is one guy who I can talk cricket with anytime and anywhere! We’d sit and watch Test matches of other nations than India, resulting in a mouthful from most of our friends, not to mention a certain “Chinu Bhaiya”.

“Doosre country ka Test match kaun dekhta hai be?” They would howl!

Only if they understood the beauty and thrill of a test match! The adrenaline of a perfect out-swinger on a seaming track, the pump of a flying slip cordon, the speed of those deadly in-swinging Yorkers! Only if they could!

Aaloo: “Dude where are you? Match dekh raha kya?” and before I could answer, “KL one down aya hai!”

What’s with this one down or the number three conundrum? Why is this the most talked about batting position? I used to wonder growing up!

Every cricket lover can relate to a certain Rahul and number 3, such beautiful had been their love affair. Cricket pundits world over have often advocated the use of the best batsman or technically the most sound batsman of the team at number 3. Come to think of number 3 in Test cricket for India and the only name that pops up is Rahul Dravid; a genius, a true blue gentleman, a fabulous cricketer, a complete team man and a legend!

Another angle of looking at it, is, he batted ahead of someone known as Sachin Tendulkar, THE Sachin Tendulkar, some good food for thought! it has been argued by cricket lovers world over that Rahul Dravid possessed a better technique when the conditions were challenging, like the ones in England. To each their own but when a player like Jacques Kallis rates Dravid as good as the game has ever seen, you can’t help but look deep into it and try to get numbers and analytics to your rescue. A quick glimpse at the test numbers for RD shows 164 matches, 13,288 runs, 36 centuries and 210 catches! Not to mention a batting average of 52 for a career over one and a half decade!

For me it’s no mean achievement to have even been considered in the same league as the GOD! We poor mortals!

Cut to June 2018, India plays host to Afghanistan for their inaugural test and who comes to bat at number 3? Voila! It’s a Rahul again! albeit KL Rahul! Forget your respect, emotions and affections for Pujara and you’d definitely feel warm to see a Rahul at that number 3 again. Even Virender Sehwag couldn’t help put his warm feelings across through a tweet for the same! Which read “ek arse bad ek Rahul number 3 par!” (After ages we see a Rahul at number 3 again)

Though an opener by choice, Rahul possesses excellent technique to be the next number 3 given the terrific form he and the Indian openers Vijay and Dhawan are in, in test cricket, also the recent struggles of Pujara in the matches abroad. Many would certainly differ from this opinion of me, but there are two things to look at, first and foremost the form he’s in and second the conditions are apt to put his technique to test, for India plays 5 test matches in England and then Australia.

Pujara can be pushed to 4/5 depending on the situation and then the ever dependent Rahane. Try to look at this batting order:

Vijay, Dhawan, Rahul, Kohli, Pujara/Hardik, Rahane, Saha, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Ishant, Bumrah.

For the records and statistics lovers out there, KL has played 24 test matches scoring 1512 runs at an average of 41 and a strike rate of 57, he’s still finding his feet in ODIs having played just 10 games at different batting positions and  has still managed to score a century, as far the T20Is go, out of the 19 matches he’s played, he’s scored 696 runs at an average of 50 and a mind blowing strike rate of 155 with 2 centuries and 4 fifties! It’s about time he starts making it to all playing XIs for the country because at the moment the ball is more often than not finding the sweet spot of his bat and that loud “Takk” sound of ball meeting the bat is reaching one and all! Ah that sound! If only I had words to describe it!

Nevertheless If we want to be the world beaters in test cricket, especially travelling abroad, we’d need to think and act like one and take a leaf out of the Australian team captained by Ricky ponting, their funda to a layman like me was: the best player in the form would make it to the playing eleven, no emotions no tantrums and no talks, you will get to serve your nation at the peak of your form! No ifs and buts whatsoever! Never lose hope of a positive result and play hard!

It is indeed humongous boots to fill to be the next wall, which is impossible to replicate, but a solid brick in the form of KL is taking shape for sure which does augur well for Indian cricket.

Let’s hope we get to see this Rahul make that coveted number 3 his own for he possesses the technique and has shots to survive at this level and that too with some elan and panache. A bit of temperament and maturity can only seep in with time and more matches, he’s still in his twenties, let’s hope we get to turn the clock back and see something as solid as the number 3 once boasted of for India!

A war torn nation and cricket!

“Hey! Yunus what’s your family car?”

“Shut up! Chocha! It’s not a tank!”

He’d say this and give me a warm hug! Yunus was a friend at Fergusson college Pune, from Afghanistan. He and his friends would love this city and play football as good as anyone!

I pondered what It’d be like for them playing the same sport and taking the same computer course in their own country! That was way back in 2008, now after a decade when I see the Afghanistan cricket team play their debut match against India, top ranked test team in the world, my heart fills with warmth. For not many test teams get to play a test match against India at home. India has been very accommodating to the young talents sprouting out of the afghan cricket circuit. Players like Rashid khan, Mujeeb, Md. Nabi have had the opportunity to experience cricket culture closely with their stint in IPL. As I write this blog Afghanistan may well have lost the test match against a very strong Indian team but this match was much more than the mere outcome. This marks the entry of Afghanistan in the big league and against their most welcoming neighbours! India always were the overwhelming favourites but cricket gets enriched by such historic test matches. I’m sure Afghanistan would only learn and grow from here and that is something which will make every afghani proud! Not long ago they were practising in the camps without any proper cricketing facilities. To have come all this way and to play a test against India in India, beating all odds, speaks volumes of the talent and the passion Afghanistan has to offer to the cricketing world.

Cricket pundits have put forth their thoughts and well wishes to Afghanistan cricket and I’m no different!

Eid mubaraq Afghanistan! May you continue to blossom and keep taking good strides in the sporting world of cricket!

Baba i want that bat…

Best feelings as they say, can’t be expressed in words; Passion certainly not. It can be reaching the ground an hour before the practice starts or it can be sitting on the wet field and getting a hang of the ground during monsoons. It can also be just fielding at 3rd man for months in a hope to make it to the team’s batting practice someday. Different people have different ways of intellectually giving shape to their passion using words but I doubt I can do that.
I, like many or any other Indian, dreamt of playing this sport called Cricket. Did not hesitate giving my sweat and blood to this game at any point of time only to later realise the dream I was weaving had lots of complications. One such complication is  having someone who hated the sport as my father.
We’d wait for our summer vacation eagerly, a bit for mangoes and a lot for cricket. Summer vacation was one time where all kids of my age and seniors would be there at the village and cricket would be intense to say the least! There were 6 footer cousins and uncles who’d be unplayable even with the tennis ball. Wicket keeping to them was tougher than what one could examine from outside! Playing them and scoring off them would have its consequences, a full quota of colourful verbose of abuses and challenges and a la Brett lee send offs! Ah! Cricket those days was a challenge everyday and yet so satisfying!
One such summer vacations was when I was in the eight grade! The Best cricket I played during school days was in this summer vacation! A batsman never forgets, they say, I’d second that! In those 40 days of vacation I played every single day! Batted every single innings! Oh by the way I was playing in the Senoir team and by then and was a respected member! The reason I vividly remember that vacation is:
1st we had a good mango season then and 2nd out of the 35-40 matches we played, I was out in Only 5, rest all matches I remained not out!
But as destiny would have it, I was not encouraged to pursue the dream of that coveted blue jersey, like many other Indian kids from a middle class family.
Baba I still want that bat..I really do!