Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Lost Key

Every one remembers their first bicycle - so does he.

It was not new. His dad borrowed it from a friend and it was a ladies’ cycle to boot. More memorable than the moments spent on it were the moments he spent caring for it.

That first week when he took it to a repair shop to fit a new seat, a carrier, a bell and new tires was more fulfilling than the first ride itself. The shop filled with the scent of grease, oil and old cloth brought more thrill than he would care to admit. Since then, every Sunday evening was spent cleaning that old bicycle. Even if he had ridden it for all of 15 minutes the entire week, he took 30 minutes to clean it - but he always fell short. In spite of all his attention, the paint peeling off the body told everyone that is was nearer its end than its beginning. But boy did he care?

In spite of all that love, through the years, the one lasting memory that remained with him was not of him cleaning it, or riding it. In the hot summer of 98, owing to his poor performance at school that year, his father had grounded him. He was not to play cricket with the local lads for the entire summer. He tried protesting, pleading and begging and when nothing worked he resigned himself to the confines of his home. When one day his mom asked him to check if kerosene was available at the local ration shop he jumped at the opportunity to go out.

Leaving a clean but punctured bicycle at home, he decided to go on foot. On his way back, he just happened to notice that he had the key to the bicycle in his trouser pocket. With no one around, the mood caught him and he decided to have his own catch practices. He lobbed the key high into the sky and caught it with both hands. The sharp pain he felt on his palm was very satisfying. May be he was pleased at having fun and flaunting authority - we will never know. The higher he threw it the sharper it stung, but he loved it. Sometimes the sun made it hard to catch, but the thrill of pain was worth the next few seconds of blinding darkness in his eyes and a mild pain between them.

Halfway to the house, he threw it with all his force. He heard a rustle from the tree above and looked up and didn't know what happened after that. May be the extra effort veered the key off the intended trajectory. Or the blinding sun made him not look carefully, but the key was lost to sight. He waited for the inevitable fall, the crunching sound of key on sand or the metallic clink on the tar road. It never came. Newton failed him. He spent the next 30 minutes staring at the different branches of the tree, from different angles, but his key eluded him and he returned home empty-handed. The only good news was that kerosene was indeed available.

To this day, when he happens to walk that way, he cannot but help look up at the tree. Somehow hoping he can spot that key today. Or that his almighty strength had sent the key so far up, that it is still in its descent.

Or may be his heart only wants what it can't have.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why are we hooked to Cricket?

Have you ever questioned "Is Cricket a global tournament?"
Comprising only nine full time members and a world cup format which continues to undergo constant changes with every edition, it certainly is not. Then what compels us to continue watching it? What keeps the media rolling? Why do celebrities rush to the stadiums to get even more glam?

Cricket on its own is a much more complex game than many others. Which other game comprises three formats and runs up to five days? (There was a time when timeless tests were played and they have ended in draw as well). The mind boggles to come to terms with the intricacies of the game that include no-balls, DRS, mandatory powerplays, optional powerplays, super overs and what not? Add to that the dynamics of the game that include crumbling pitches, the dew factor, a D/L formula, fielders at catching positions, fast bowlers, spinners and more. Then there are the law keepers including two on field umpires fighting the modern cameras, the third umpire and the fourth. Our childhood days only added complexity and layers to this myriad plethora by adding one-pitch-catches and under-arm-bowling.

Cricket has had its share of controversies. Controversy is very much like a mistress. You don't want one in your household, but if your neighbour has one, it gets the tongues rolling. You need the talk, not the pain. In essence, this is what makes for a wonderful time pass. We have had our brush with bodyline, sledging, drugs, match-fixing and more lately spot-fixing. And just as with your neighbour, over time, you forget the mistress, ease out the animosities and let life move on. The game of cricket continues on.

And then there is the eternal paradox. A batsman has to make one mistake to return to the pavilion whereas a bowler makes a mistake and lives to fight another ball - and we still call this a batsman's game? No other game has had one team ruling the roost for more than a decade(AUS). No other team-game has an unbeaten champion for 12 years. Add to the mix the eternal Chokers(SA), ones who manage to pull above their weights(NZ), the unpredictables(PAK), the waning force(WI) and the eternal underdogs(ENG). And this is the only sport where we, the Indians enter as favorites. The latest twist in the tale being an attempt at felling the gods of the game, the umpires, with reviews. My mind boggles to find another sport played as much in the field as in the brains. No wonder our no-brain friends from America are having a hard time to come to terms with cricket. Hopefully one day, it will get the following accorded to Football and the like. Until then, we will be the early torch-bearers who carried the game on our shoulders when the time needed it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Turning 40

What do I want to be when I am 40?
A Writer? An Entrepreneur? A Professor? School Teacher? Sports Journalist?
Looks like I have no clue.
Let me poll my friends.





The future is still foggy. But not an Entrepreneur. Too much competition.
But if so many of my friends run their own business, I will at least not be out of a job.

Or will I still be?

The raw data collected is stored as a Google spreadsheet.
May be 14 years from now, I can check if the others are what they want to be. ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I don't write...

Me: I have this great idea I want to write a book about
Ravi: Great. You at least have ideas. I have no inspiration. I don't exist.

Me: The thing is, I don't think I can write a book now. It takes months. Plus, there is no telling if it will even be published.
Ravi: Dude!!! You at least got balls and brains. May be write a blog entry of it. That way, you can build on it when you have time.
Me: WRITE!!! NOW!!! I am not sure. How about tomorrow?

Monday, August 30, 2010

What IF???

Thinking out of the box. Well, that is something that you cannot force on someone. You either can or you can't.
What about channeling your thoughts within a confined enclosure? That is supposed to be comparatively easy by some stretch of imagination.
What about focusing on something that you are forced never to ponder about?
Is that not the easier, lucrative and sometimes even compelling choice to make?
Is that not why Eve took a bite of that enticing apple?

What if, what you sometimes think about is considered taboo?

Thinking that someone looks hideous is wrong?
What if it is your own daughter?

Thinking someone is a loser is immoral?
What if it is your best friend?

Thinking of someone as a bad-luck charm is baseless?
What if it is your grandfather?

Thinking someone is naive to know what is good for him is despicable?
What if it is you?

Worse, what if these we ALL true?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chennai and Hyderabad - Similar

I had written an entry about Sachin's 175 in Hyderabad and how it reminded me of his century in Chennai here.
Found an article in India Today substantiating my claims :)

But of course, statistics are a total BULL and the inferences are all totally in the eyes of the analyzer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am raining words

I have heard of people who have a deficiency with their words. May be I am on the pole opposite to theirs. I always find it very hard to say things with fewer words.

Sometimes, I think of short stories to write. But when I actually do start to write, the words consume pages and I end up using at least three times the space I had planned to. The next time I start to write something, I will think of a word limit and then start to write it up.

Yes. This does remind me of my English Board Exams :)

What this means is that, I find it so very hard to tweet. What is it with the 140 characters limit?
OK. Time to practice and wrap this entry up.