Friday, 21 September 2012

Do Legends have the luxury of being mere Mortals?

It seems an eon since Sachin Tendulkar, India's Prodigal son has blasted a bowling attack into oblivion. Over a career spanning two decades he has done this with regularity with a few lean patches thrown in between to remind us that he's only mortal.

The typical Indian Cricket fan refuses to consider him human, though:
'Cricket is my Religion,
Sachin is my GOD'

scream the banners across world stadia (his ardent followers turn up in all corners of the world).

'God' is showing alarming signs of age catching up. 

Having begun his Test career at a tender age of 16 years + something against Pakistan (among the most fearsome bowling attacks in cricketing history) way back in 1989 till date, his childlike passion remains the same and is clearly visible to the lovers of the great game.

Whether his ability still matches upto the passion and hunger is another story. All evidence points to a decline in ability.

'Statistics are like Bikinis, what they reveal is suggestive, what they conceal is vital'.

In that respect, for a man who practically owns all batting records, the recent Stats are quite miserable:

In the years 2011 and 2012 he has just one Test ton to show having played 14 Tests during that barren period.

Compare that to 50 Test tons in 176 Tests prior to that-
One ton per 3.3 tests as against the recent drought of one single ton to show in 14 tests. 

Form is temporary, class is permanent as the purists would say (I am one of his ardent fans). 

Statistics apart, his defensive approach against mediocre bowling as compared to his penchant for murdering renowned attacks in his heyday, unsure movement of feet, getting foxed by spinners he would have devoured maybe a few years ago..

Getting bowled in all his three innings against a less than fiery New Zealand recently should make even his die-hard fan sit up.

When another Indian legend, Gavaskar, candidly pointed out the possibility of age catching up with Sachin, the criticism wasn't well taken by many others.

People rose to his defence in a knee jerk reaction:
'This phase is temporary, he's been there before'.
Much as I would like to believe this, one would do well to keep in mind that sport spares none, especially competitive Team sport.

Javed Miandad, the Pak legend, among many others, rose to Sachin's defence:
'Others like Gambhir, Sehwag also failed in the NZ series, so why pick on Sachin?'

That's precisely the point: Legends like Viv Richards, Lara and Sachin have risen above the game: more often than not they have contributed to their Team when others have failed.

That is cost of carrying the legend tag: expectations run high, you are not comparable with others, you have to constantly outperform not only the Opponents but also your own Team members: this is cost the legend has to pay for retaining the Halo.

It was a sad day for world cricket, I recall, when Viv Richards (possibly the best player of his era) was dropped from the West Indies team- what an ignominious departure for the man with the swagger.

We revere Sachin especially for his Match-Winning, never say die, buccaneering brand of Batting.

No doubt, he has had to adjust his style and stroke play after injuries. There are other attacking batsman like Sehwag who have filled in his attacking role.

Rahul Dravid heard the warning bell after just one dismal tour of Australia and gracefully called it a day (although he had a great series away in England earlier).

Sachin has been abysmal against England, the Aussies and now New Zealand.

He already has the coveted, history creating 100th 100 and hardly has anything left to prove.

Dread to see him facing the fate of the great Viv Richards.

Friday, 7 September 2012

A Suitcase that changed my Life!

I had taken the usual path for my morning walk. On the way I saw the park which I came across daily but had never visited. For a change I decided to venture in.

Although it was open to visitors, because of the early hour I could see no one there. It was a pleasant early morning and I decided to spend some time relaxing in there. The bench was difficult to resist and made me say to myself, I could sneak in a small break and then resume my walk.

The bench was cold due to the morning dew and that prompted me to remove my sneakers: Aah! The feel of the cool wet grass under my feet!

Shut my eyes for a moment and tried to enjoy the quietness around me. The only sounds were the chirping of birds which were music to my ears.

There was still something bothering me and I could not relax completely. On opening my eyes, I saw an old man sitting in front on the opposite side of the park.
He seemed to be enjoying the moment much more than me and smiled at me.

‘It is your first time in this park’ he said. I nodded back.

‘You have something on your mind that’s bothering you’ he said ‘Let me see if I could be of help. Look to your right, do you see the Red suitcase?’

Before looking anywhere, I asked myself whether it was worthwhile going through this at all? Wasn't this old man being intrusive? I did not have much faith in mystics either.

All the same, I could not but look towards my right. Hang on! Had I seen this bright Red suitcase when I walked in? I certainly could not have overlooked it…

‘Don’t trouble your already troubled mind. This really works, look, it will do you no harm. Just think of the three things which are troubling you the most right now. They have been at the back of your mind for a while..Think of them’

I decided, let’s try this out: of course it can’t work- at least I can prove him wrong.

Hesitantly, I ruminated on my top worries and anxieties. Not difficult at all, easy to identify them:
Uncertainty about the future, health concerns and lack of zest.

‘Now look at the suitcase with concentration, and think of these troubling thoughts.’
The Bright red suitcase suddenly popped open- just like that!
It was magical! As I began identifying each of those negative thoughts a man who appeared out of nowhere, would come to me and slide his hand right into my brain! He would rummage inside and pull out a sheaf of dull rusty brown material and dump it into the bright Red suitcase. It was confounding to watch someone having control over me, with me being rooted to the bench.

One worry gone and he would repeat the process for the next. I noticed the moment he began working mechanically on the next set, I’d already forgotten my previous worry!

At the end of it all, the bright Red suitcase was crammed full. He came back to me and offered his hand. Mesmerised by now, I followed him. He picked up the Suitcase and led us to the far side of the park. I could hear the pleasant sound of…of a stream flowing? It turned out to be a stream ending in what looked like a waterfall. Strange! Never heard of one in this area!

The man took us to edge of the stream and threw the suitcase into the gurgling waters. It disrupted the flowing water with a big splash. I could see the bright Red of the suitcase bobbing in and out amid the froth of the stream as it was rapidly carried further away from us. As I watched it going further away it was getting difficult to spot it, despite the bright red colour. The now tiny dot was there for one moment and gone down the gushing waterfall the next..

Amid all this unnerving action, It dawned on me that I was feeling like a new man! I could not even remember what my worries were! I found myself sitting on the bench again.

The old man said with a glint in his eyes, ‘Now look to your left. Do you see another Suitcase?’

This one was a fluorescent Bright Green Suitcase.

‘Open that’ he said to me, ‘This, young man, is my Gift to you.’

Enraptured, I did exactly as I had been told to. It was an indescribable moment!

On opening it I could see an image of my mind it! Cleared of all the negative dull grey thoughts and worries, the bright Green of positivity was shining through! My Brain appeared to be a network of brilliant green strands, dazzling to look at!

Everything that I could ask for was there in abundance:
Creativity, Passion, Enthusiasm, Genius, you name it and it was there!

I gratefully picked up the bright Green suitcase and turned around to thank the old man who I had thoughtlessly mocked,.

He was nowhere around. I checked to see if my prized possession was safe: the bright Green suitcase, was gone, too! In fact, the early dawn hour had given way to gentle sunlight, and there were many people in the Park.

‘Are you alright’ a small boy asked me sensing I was looking lost.

I sighed, ran my hand through his hair and assured him I was fine. Come to think of it, I had never felt better in my life!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

It's in her Genes! Diti's Art Works

As I had mentioned earlier, have been guiding, rather than teaching, Diti my 7 year Daughter how to Draw and Colour.

She has a strong sense of Colour and form, has a vivid imagination (takes on her proud father!).

Here's the result of her last two sittings.

She thought of adding the Words in the drawing below: 

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