The Conspiracy

And, when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.


“This is one of the greatest lies that have ever been told in the name of the universe and we are supposed to make a short film based on it. How on earth? It is just not possible to make a film unless you believe in the subject and have experienced it.”
“The greatest direction is the power of imagination and for that you just need to have an open mind,” Shekhar retorted.
It was post screenplay writing session that we had emerged out of feeling totally helpless. There had been so many occasions when we had made fun of the Vikram Bhatt genre of horror movies having an equal proportion of sex, sleaze and noise. But over the seemingly long and torturous two hours, suddenly the amount of respect we had for the Ramsay brand of movies had invariably increased with the realization as to how difficult it was to write a genuinely good horror script. At the end of the session, the class had been asked to make a short film on the above line and I was perplexed.
“We are supposed to be the next Salim-Javed. With this level of motivation, I might have to go solo. Making a short film requires imagination and motivation and your level of enthusiasm does not raise my spirits,” Shekhar said.
It had only been a week at the Pune Film Institute and I was already longing for the life I had left behind in Mumbai. Life besides Powai lake at the IIT campus was good and had seemed full of possibilities. Good friends, booze and free internet meant that I was having one of the best times of my life. But there had always been emptiness, the sort of it which seems to fill up the lives of content men. I was told that kings and ancient rulers who had won over many a conquest suffered from this rare sense of emptiness in life.
“Dude, I have been here one week and I have not been able to write down a single good idea. I am getting frustrated now”
“So what? Writing is a journey and not the destination. When you are enjoying the journey, why care as to where you are going,” Shekhar said, obviously flustered at my sense of urgency.
“But without an idea, how are we supposed to get a move on?” The competitive engineer in me still refused to give up the urgency even in the heart of one of the most languid and calm places in the country. I guess the Indian formal education system if followed religiously does give us this side-effect.

“I give up. I don’t think you even wanted to be a writer in the first place. It is high time IIT guys stopped getting inspired from Chetan Bhagat.”
Shekhar had touched a nerve. I dismissed him and walked towards the gate. I wanted to get away from this slow life where no one was proactive to get things done. Maybe that was the way of life here in the creative world. If so, I definitely did not belong here. Then, I felt I did not even belong in my previous world. IIT Bombay, my dream since childhood and yet that emptiness on having achieved the dream and still not finding the satisfaction.
I had always liked writing. But there was something I was missing. I knew remotely. Roma had gone away for higher studies today and I would never be able to meet her. Not unless she decided to come back to India after her studies and miraculously was still single. I had this burning desire to stop her but I knew I would not be able to do so. Maybe that was the reason of my restlessness and urgency today. If it would not have been her, who knows I might never have crossed the gate.
As I stepped outside the campus, my mind travelled back in thoughts over what had happened a few days back.

“……Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.”
I had just finished reciting Housman when the entire crowd broke into a loud applause. It was our annual poetry reciting event at the IIT campus and several students and professors from nearby colleges had come over. My wing mates did use to poke fun at my participating in these events but then I simply loved them. Hearing and reciting some great pieces of work did cleanse my soul for some brief moments. I was discussing about the great Raghupati Singh Sahay or popularly known as Firaaq with one of the Hindi professors who had come over to recite Dr. Harivanshrai Bachchan’s poems when suddenly I heard these lines.
“नर्म फ़िज़ा की करवात्ते दिल को दुखा के रह गयी
नर्म फ़िज़ा की करवात्ते दिल को दुखा के रह गयी
ठंडी हवाई भी तेरी याद दिला के रह गयी
शाम भी थी धुआ धुआ हुस्न भी था उदास उदास
दिल को कई कहाँिया याद सी आकर रह गयी”
“Hey that’s the line which Farhan Akhtar said in Zindagi Na…. ,” shouted a perky voice from the background and heads turned. The reciter glared at the interruption while other let out a huge roar of laughter.
She looked slightly embarrassed. A touch disappointed on realizing that the amazing fact that she knew held no significance in this group of elite thinkers. There was something in her voice, the simplicity in which she had exclaimed. I straightened my glasses and looked at her closely. She had a cute face with her hair tied behind. I thought she would look much better with her hair untied but with my own poor style and fashion credentials, I dare not point that out. But everything apart from that tiny mishap was perfect. Her red sleeveless salwar kameez with white dupatta, a small bindi on her forehead and her sharp and beautiful eyes.

I rarely had the courage to go over and talk to girls. All through school and college, I had spent time strategizing and rehearsing my move on seeing a girl whom I wished to talk to, only to waste crucial hours and end up just sighing away with another one of the countless fleeting regrets. This time, however I felt different. Something about her made me feel comfortable. I walked up to her, pulled a chair and quoted the lines of Lord Byran.
“One ray the more, one ray the less
Hath half impaired the nameless grace.”
She looked up, looking slightly puzzled and then got up and left towards another corner of the room.
This was cruel. Outright cruel. I had expected applause and certain acts of coyness. Even an innocent laugh or a know-it-all smirk would have done. But this act of disrespect was a tad too much. I decided to leave as soon as possible after that humiliation.
Just as I was about to leave the hall disappointed after a round of humiliation from the hands of a girl, a voice a sweet as ever, reached my ears.
“I really liked the rhyme but couldn’t get the meaning. Could you tell me the name of the poet?”
“George Gordon Noel or commonly known as Lord Byron,” I replied still gazing at her.
“So why did you walk away if you liked the lines,” I asked puzzled.
“I was feeling too embarrassed in front of this elite crowd. I could not understand half the lines in the poems recited and the ones which I understood, everybody started laughing. When you said those lines, I panicked and moved away.”
I must say this was one of the most honest confessions I had heard in a long time. More than half the people including me hardly understood the heavy lines of Whiteman, Frost and Wordsworth but no one hardly acknowledged it.
“Can you explain the meaning of your lines?”
“It means if you had been a shade different, your beauty would have been reduced to half,” I couldn’t help smiling slyly as I said those lines. Openly flirting with a girl was never my cup of tea even with Lord Byron covering it up for me.
“Shade different…. Ah… thanks for the compliment.” Now it was her turn to go red.
“I know quite a few more of those compliments. But they go well only with a cup of coffee.”
“I think two cups would be more apt in this context,” she straightened her hair as both of us started walking together towards the exit.

“So why are you doing this?”
“Roma, I think we have been over this a couple of times now. Don’t you get it? IIT has been my dream,” I replied.
It had been a couple of weeks since our first meeting and we had had numerous coffee dates since then.
“Dreams evolve. So what if IIT had been your dream, you can still have another,” she looked even more beautiful as she said those lines.
“I can’t afford so many dreams. People spend their entire lives trying to fulfil just one of their cherished ambitions and you are asking me to throw away something which I have desired for so long.”
“What are you afraid of? There is just one life, my friend.” Her gaze was firmly fixated on me. I could not look away.
“Probably that is what I am afraid of so much, that there is just one life. Also the fact that you are going away isn’t exactly giving increasing my confidence.” I said the last line in my head.
Over the past few weeks, I had recited over a 100 of my favourite poems to her, discussed the scripts of one of my favourite movies and talked about some of the best books that I had read. I had told her about the various ideas that I had in my mind and the stories that were spinning around those ideas. And it was during these exchanges that I had realized how much I loved reading and writing. But was it an illusion? Was it because I loved Roma which was making me love everything that was common between us, love for creativity certainly one of them.
She however continued to motivate me.
“My parent forced me into engineering when I always wanted to enter the world of fashion. Now that my engineering is over, I am going to do masters in fashion studies from Parsons. See, it is never too late to follow one’s dreams.”
“Don’t go, don’t go… if you are there, I can also chase my dream…..” This went on and on in my head as she tried teaching me about life, universe and the very reason for our existence.
“Go for it, even if you are not sure. What is life without a couple of failures to laugh over when you are old,” she got up as she spoke these lines with a tone of finality.

Why did we meet? Just so that my heart could get broken and I would end up pining for her for the next couple of days or was there a bigger reason?
“Shekhar,” I called out loudly as he had increased his pace and was a considerable distance ahead of me.
He turned around, clearly still angry over my lack of motivation.
“I think I might just have the script for our short film,” I said, smiling.
“What use is conspiracy if it cannot fool us into believing something?”


India United

Deep in the heart of India, beyond the reach of tarred roads and electricity, a dream flickered and took shape; a dream that was fuelled by the desire to succeed, to change one’s destiny and to bring back the promise of a better tomorrow to a place that had none. And it was this innocent dream that inspired 12 year old Bhargava to force himself from his sleep and wake up to study early in the morning. He could hear the gurgling snores of the village watchman Shambhu, who would be deep in his slumber after having had his evening dose on marijuana. Even Pakru, the village mongrel had not woken up. Bhargava went to the nearby hand pump and splashed his face with water. Summer nights in the eastern part of India can be very hot sometimes but this time of the day was pleasantly cool. Bhargava could feel the excitement writ large on his face as he sat down preparing for his school test. About an hour later, his sister Savita and his father Harilal had woken up. He could not help but beam with pride on seeing his son study early in the morning. This sight was motivating enough for him to work hard through rest of the day.
“What the fu…. This rickshaw has broken down,” Kamath cried in anger. They had dug up the area because the electric connections would be set up, or something like that as he had heard some people talking in the bus. He had to reach office quickly and had got down from the bus to take a rickshaw and cross this puddled area quickly. But the rickshaw wheels had got stuck in the mud and the puller was not being able to pull it out. Cursing him, Kamath got down and called for another rickshaw.
“Saab, 6 rupe….” The rickshaw puller could hardly complete his sentence when Kamath got up on another one without bothering to even look back. He tried to pull the wheel out of the mud. In the attempt, a few spokes broke away. Cursing the heavens, he dragged it along to the nearby repair shop. At the repair shop, he checked the time and looked around for a radio or a TV so that he knew who had won the toss. It was almost 9:45 am and if it did not get repaired on time, he knew he would be in trouble.
Murli was indeed furious. His region had been the poorest performing one in the entire country and the National head had mentioned this in an official mail. He had called up a meeting with his team and was waiting for the early morning data tracker sheet from the analyst, Kamath. Kamath’s delay irked him further and when he saw him entering, he could no longer hold himself back, shaking in fury. He also had to go pick his son from school in the evening when all he had wanted was to leave office after lunch to watch the match. He sat down to analyse the excel report while Kamath sat in the corner finishing his work and cursing the rickshaw puller because of whom he would also be missing the match.

Sachin Tendulkar had been batting like he was in a different zone today. He had been struggling to reach his century in the past one year but today he was determined to take India through to victory in the first CB series finals and also notch up his century after a long time. At the score of 99, he got a beamer from Lee, a full toss aimed straight at his body. He turned around as Lee walked up to him to apologize. Tendulkar returned back, looking even more determined than ever as Lee went back to his bowling mark.
“St. Xavier’s ..”Murli told the rickshaw puller at 3 pm in the afternoon. He was dying to know the score as he climbed up the rickshaw.
“It is just next to the City Park.”
“I know Saab. My son also studies in the same school. We will reach in 5 minutes”
Amidst all the confusion and tension, Murli was amazed for a moment when he heard this.
“Where do you stay?”
“In the nearby village Gumtidih.”
“So you bring your son to school from that far everyday?”
“No Saab. He walks.”
Murli was astounded to see the matter of fact tone and a face full of confidence about the future amidst today’s uncertainties. As he got down the rickshaw at the school gate and dialled Kamath’s number to find the latest sales figure who meanwhile had resigned to a lonely day at the office without any score updates, a young boy came running towards the rickshaw puller.
“Hello Kamath…”
“Baba, Sachin scored a hundred. India won,” Bhargava shouted.
Harilal burst into smiles as he lifted his son in his arms as both Murli and Kamath stopped speaking.
“It’s ok Kamath. We can talk later.”
In that one moment, nothing else mattered.


There are times when the going gets tough and the road that we are trudging seems all uphill. My grandfather or ‘dadubhai’ as I fondly called him, told me an interesting incident of his life when he was amidst the hard times and had nothing but faith and fate to look up to for support. This is the incident that he narrated to me.
“I was about the age of thirty and with my father dead , I had carried the burden of an entire family which included three younger brothers, an ailing mother , a wife and a little son (who was to be your father later on) for almost ten years then. Our source of income was this very shop in the village where I am sitting now. You might scoff at the thought that how could a small shop like this support an entire family? But this village did not have too many shops during those days and competition was negligible. Now my brothers had all grown up and were ready to support themselves and start their own families. I had worked hard towards providing them with good education and two of them, Kamalakant and Dulal ,had become qualified enough to appear for a job interview at the Steel Plant located in the nearby city. Only Shivprasad, the third brother was an illiterate who had given up studies and helped me in the shop.
This incident occurred during a hot summer May afternoon. I was taking my afternoon siesta, a light nap and Shiv was busy smoking a bidi. It was that time of the day when business was slow but I was slightly restless. For the past few days, my other two brothers’ attitude had changed and I had the feeling that they had got the job. Nevertheless the results had still not been declared and I was as anxious as them for their success. Suddenly I heard some noise from outside. Shiv opened the door to see both my other brothers talking animatedly, joy and happiness clearly etched on their faces.
“We got the job,” they shouted. My joys knew no bounds. At last there seemed a way out of poverty and darkness. Both of us would handle the shop and they would go to the plant.
“This is very good news. Now I can go back to my shop and work in peace as I am confident both of you can support yourselves now,”I said ,more relieved than them.
“But the huts should also be properly distributed,” Kamala said.
“What do you mean?” I was shocked.
“Why should you get the front hut and we the huts located inside the compound?” asked Dulal, the youngest of the four of us.
“That is because only the front hut can be used as a shop and I own the shop,” I said,my voice shaking slightly due to fury.
“You might own the shop but we have as much right over the hut as you have,”said Kamala.
Our entire household had been divided into four huts and each brother had one to his name. One of the hut’s entrance opened to the road outside so it was a natural choice for a shop. The other three were built inside the compound and customers would find it too difficult to reach if any one of these huts were selected as the shop. Since I handled the shop, I had thought the front hut to be mine and since both my brothers had a job now, they should have been more than happy to let me own the shop after all that I had done for them since father’s death. But of course, my brothers had other thoughts.
A lot of discussions were held with the other elders of the village and my brothers decided to use a lottery method to allot the various huts to each of us. Since father had not mentioned anything specific about any property, it was assumed that all four brothers had equal share. So they were not committing any illegal offence.
Meanwhile I was trembling from head to foot. My chance of getting the front house was one out of four. Chances were very slim. I thought of the consequences if I picked up the wrong chit. With no shop and no degree( I was forced to quit school just before my matriculation due to my father’s sudden death), how would I feed my wife and child. I was not worried about mother as she still had three other sons but what about us? I had lots of dreams regarding my son’s education, my ancestors’ lost properties and our faded fame. All of a sudden everything appeared dark and the ground felt like giving away. My wife and mother understood my plight but they too were helpless.
Just the night before the lottery my mother came up to me and said,”Babu, you appear so tensed.”
“Ma, what if I pick the other three chits. What will I do?”
“Which is the chit that you want to pick up?” my mother asked.
I thought my mother was joking. But the look on her face showed pain and concern for her eldest son. “Of course the one with the front hut,” I said.
“You will pick that very chit tomorrow. Maa Durga is watching you .” Saying this she went back to sleep.
My mother’s confidence lifted my spirits slightly. I decided to go to the temple. As I walked through the night breeze, my mind lightened considerably. The future was dark. Why was I extinguishing even the small flicker of hope that I had even before it would actually blow off. I knelt down in front of Maa Durga in the temple and said in low whispers several times,”I am going to pick only that chit tomorrow.”This thought comforted me and I soon fell off to sleep in the temple itself.
Next day, I picked up the chit that had the front hut.

The Wail

Grandfather was an unusual man for his times. He used to mingle with the village folk quite well, appearing as involved at their idiosyncrasies as anyone could, living their life. Yet there was something distinctive about him. While talking to educated men, his talks and ideas would get more profound and one could easily see him as a stark contrast to the village dwellers. Still, he remained in the village to the last of his days. I often used to ask him why he did not close his shop in the village and come live with us in the city. To this he would reply with a faint smile that he was too simplistic to live in the city and would bore down to death there. This incident that I am about to share gave me insights about his progressive thinking which was way ahead of his times.
Now, I am not ashamed to admit that as a child I was very scared of ghosts. This fear got magnified when I listened to my grandfather’s stories. He used to delight himself in scaring me. It was during my summer holidays when I was around ten. One morning I was woken up early by my sister who said we had to leave for village in a few hours. My joys knew no bounds but I was surprised to see everyone in my family looking very sad. There was an unusual crowd in the living room. A lot of my relatives had come. My sister whispered in my ear that one of my grandmothers, known to all as Morola Masi had expired. She was one of my grandfather’s younger brother’s wife (My grandfather had 3 younger brothers). Not that I had any fond recollections of her. In fact I used to be scared of her as she had while and coloured skin. Now that I recall, her loving gaze towards me would be returned by a scary look while she withered away in a corner.
“Don’t show excitement. This is not a fun trip,” warned my sister.
“As if you are not excited,” I retorted back.
“I’ll tell Ma.”
“As if she will hear you.”
It was true. My mother was busy packing. I could overhear my uncle talking loudly,” It’s good she’s gone. What a painful life she was leading.” The others in the room couldn’t agree more.
As I look back upon that incident, I cannot help but feel ashamed of the unabashed joy I was feeling as we left for the village in a trekker. I always enjoyed the trip to the village but hated the return. The very forest which appeared enchanting and full of animals used to haunt me while returning.
They were about to lift the body and take it to the pyres when we reached. I was made to fold my hands and kneel in front of her. I tried to touch her feet but my grandmother pulled my hands. Dadubhai saw this and smiled knowingly. After they took her, I made my way into the shop to take my favourite position, the cash box near my grandfather’s seat where I used to sit and think of myself doing a very important job of opening and closing the lid.
Later I asked Dadubhai why no one was touched her feet and why did grandmother stop me.
“She had leprosy, a chronic disease of the skin and nerves. Everybody used to think she was infectious and the disease would get transferred.”
“Is it painful?” I asked foolishly.
“Indeed… but the pain is not given by the disease.”
“But is it really contagious?” I asked, unable to resist my knowledge gained after a chapter on infectious diseases in school done recently.
“What… no.. not really…,” said Dadubhai, his eyes closed, a tear trickled down his cheek.
After dinner I went upstairs to my grandfather’s room. I could not help but feel sad for her. Now I think of it, years of neglect from her own family, discarded by all in the village…. And all because of no fault of hers. I listened to my favourite ghost story about a woman who returns to take revenge of her own death and I must agree it scared the wits out of me for the rest of the night.
It was about 2 am in the middle of the night when I felt the urgent need to pee. Having listened to the story, I had been reluctant to go out in the dark and hence decided not to pee before going to bed. In those days, there were no urinals in my village and we used to use the animal grazing barn nearby which was barren. But after a few hours when I could hold it no longer, I decided to wake Dadubhai up to accompany me. Though slightly grumbling, he smiled as he knew I had been scared by his story. Normally, in such cases he would have chided me gently but firmly and encouraged me to face the unknown.
“There is nothing to fear from darkness and death,” he used to say, similar to Dumbledore’s wise sayings.
Puzzling though, he got up to accompany me. I was wondering why when I realized we had to pass through Morola Masi’s hut on the way to the barn and goosebumps appeared on my skin instantly. As we approached her hut, I asked” Were you scared that something would happen if we …… ?”
I stopped talking as soon as the air was filled with a low wailing sound….. of a woman. It was the saddest wail one could ever hear. I gripped Dadubhai’s hand tightly and did not dare look towards the side of the hut……..
Many years later, when I sat by his deathbed, tears rolling down my cheek as he prepared to meet the maker, he asked me,” Why these tears ?”
I was scared he was going to leave soon and fear was clearly etched on my face.
“Remember what I told you…. Do not ever fear darkness and death but…………… fear that wail you heard as a child, for it will stop you from doing anything wrong and give you the strength to stand up against injustice. If you aren’t scared of that, I would be of you….. “

Through the window…

Even today, whenever I board a train, the first thing that comes to my mind even before the fact that a girl is sitting in the vicinity is whether I have a window seat or not. The window of a train will always hold a special place in my heart for all the wonderful memories that are associated with it. As I child I remember the long train journeys to Kolkata from my hometown Bokaro to spend the summer holidays at my Masi’s place. For me the holiday would begin as soon as I sat near the window seat. As the train would embark on its lonely journey through the fields, forests and mountains, I would try looking at the station from the window as it gathered momentum. The setting sun, the sound of the retreating birds would and the rapidly diminishing station lights would make me feel as if the city was bidding farewell to me. Through the dimly lit station, I would see hawkers trying to sell their stuff to random travellers, coolies walking fast with bundles of luggage as if to mock at the traveller who would be slower even without the luggage; but soon these would be lost in the vast formless darkness of the city as hills and trees towered around us.

The lights of the Bokaro Steel Plant spread across acres of land would make my father immensely proud. He would then start explaining to me about each department as the train crossed them. With my sister and mother showing absolutely no interest whatsoever in his talks, I had to listen intently as he went on and on. Steel Plant employees like my father rarely got any recognition for the hours they put in the job and it was through these windows that I could thank and appreciate him for the tireless work he had been doing to feed his family. My mother would not be so concerned about the window seat. Her main worry would be the dinner and the bunk on which she would be sleeping as it had to be a lower one.

The era of mobile phones had not yet begun and people had no option but to interact with their neighbours to while away the time. Father, being a talkative person would soon be seen discussing Bengal politics and communism with another stranger. But my heart lay in the window. As the train crossed open coal mines and green fields, my mind would spin tales about each place. The children walking through those open tracts of fields at dusk with their cricket bats spoke a universal language of sadness to me which was borne out of the fact that today’s play was over and it would be time to sit and study for tomorrow’s school. Soon the outside view would be completely engulfed in darkness and I would no longer be able to see anything but lights from a nearby town. The train used to halt at “Adra” junction for more than an hour and the arrival at that station meant dinner. My mother would be very particular with the fact that nothing in terms of taste and delicacies should be compromised even on a train journey and therefore, our luggage consisted of numerous tiffins and food boxes. Occasionally there would be hawkers trying to sell their home made dinner but it would be highly non recommended by my family.

As a child, I had to take the middle berth and I hated it. I loved waking up early to be able to look through the window and that would not be possible if my mother slept on the lower berth. Nevertheless, my mother also used to wake up quite early and I would again find myself feasting upon the outside view as the train crawled towards its destination. Whenever the train crossed tunnels, I would be reminded of the Ruskin Bond stories of tunnel keepers and their lamps. Although as a child I was afraid of dark, the moments of darkness when a train passed through a tunnel excited me as I knew this was temporary. If luck was good, it would start raining outside and that made the whole viewing greatly enjoyable.

Today, whenever I get a window seat, I try and see the outside view. Instead of the endearing fields and enchanting forests, all I see today are the endless tufts of clouds. My neighbours are completely engrossed in their laptops with music plugged into their ears. As the flight starts to land, the airhostess reminds me to pull up the window shutters. I can’t help but gaze longingly at the outside view through the dusty lanes of nostalgia……

Of early morning Test cricket, Raj Comics and Maths…..

The title may seem weird , even illogical…. but after two harrowing days of regression analysis, I have started finding a relationship between any two objects in the world .. even if they are , in Barney Stinson’s world as poles apart as having sex with a girl and loving another one…..

Here I am , 3 and a half months living my IIM A dream… and I did not even get a chance to reflect on my stay here…. Thats how challenging I have felt this dream to be…. Readers, do not be puzzled.. I am arriving there as fast as I can…..

It is about to be 4 in the morning and I am far from sleep…. As the clock ticks over, I am reminded of the early morning alarms that I used to put to watch the India Australia Test Matches……. back in school and college days…. the excitement used to stop me from sleeping the previous night.. and I wish I find something to do in my life which excites me so much that I cannot wait for the morning to start and work….. almost like how Sachin used to feel when he was out in the hotel room at night, his mind still wavering in the grounds…. ok I need to come back.. . Perth was a relief as it started at 8 which meant a few extra hours of sleep……

I will get back to this post… the damned case studies pull me away from my blog……

Very Wall Left Sir…

With a fleeting regret and a wistful longing at the past, I remember watching the legendary Kolkata Eden test of 2001. Another pang of the heart, I look back upon the unforgettable Adelaide Test of 2004. Headingly, Jamaica… all surge through the dusty lanes of nostalgia, rubbishing the old adage about nice guys finishing last. It has been a glorious journey of transformation from the bare beginnings to the rock solid “Wall”, but above all it has been fascinating to watch a boy turn into a man as I grew up witnessing this transformation.

When asked about the nickname “Wall”, Rahul , in the press conference joked that maybe people had named him so that they could use phrases like crumbling wall or hole in it whenever his form nosedived. But I do not see Dravid as the wall or whatever metaphor one confers on him. My lasting image of him is the intent and the discipline shown with the side reeling at 3 or 4 wickets gone, looking down the barrel ,his unsurpassable patience and intermittent heart-warming pulls and cover drives assuring the millions that even with the “God” gone, hope remained. Many cricketing pundits feel that his retirement was ill-timed and should have come after the England tour. The fact remains that Rahul hardly cared for personal glory or for a memorable farewell test . The cause of the team always headed the self . In Kipling’s words which he had quoted, he was “the wolf who lived for the pack”.

There are lot of things to write about Jammy. His cricketing style, volumes of records, his impeccable focus , perseverance, his on and off field conduct, his strong family values…….. But I believe these all have been dealt by writers far worthier and informed. For the starry eyed ten year old (and this was before India got Sehwag and Gambhir as reliable openers) who had started watching cricket, Rahul Dravid was the familiar sight walking down the stairs even before we could realize that India had lost Vikram Rathore , Nayan Mongia , Akash Chopra or Deep Dasgupta….. , a calming reassurance written all across his batting as he tried to consolidate the innings, stringing historical partnerships and often being labelled as the other supporting guy.

Life moves on… soon the cricket lover will get used to some new name at the Number 3 . We might have another legend .. who knows.. Kohli, Sharma ,Pujara… all have shown promise. But , in the words of Sachin Tendulkar, “there cannot be another cricketer like Rahul Dravid.

Well played Sir….. Thank you for all the memories.



Happy new year readers…..

Deep in the heart of India , beyond the reach of tarred roads or even electricity , a dream flickered and took shape. A dream that was fuelled by a driving desire to succeed , to change one’s destiny and  to bring back the promise of a better tomorrow to a place that had none. And it was this innocent dream that inspired my dad to rise up from the village of Kalapather amidst darkness , in search  of  some light for his family . He might not have able to fulfill all his personal dreams of education but he has seen to it that his children don’t face the same regret due to  lack of financial resources which he faced.

Here’s to you Dad. Keep motivating us.

P.S. Sachin Tendulkar once said that if  he became half as good as his father, he would consider himself a success.


Even I feel the same….

Growing up ….. Moony Wormtail Padfoot Prongs…

“The consequences of our actions are always so  complicated that predicting the future is a very difficult business ”

-Albus Dumbledore

Its been more than a decade since I started reading about Harry and his  magical world. Still it feels as if it was only yesterday that I was suffering from typhoid and missing my school exams of Grade 9 when I procured the “Philosopher’s Stone”. One book followed another and I was swept onto  the platform nine and and three-four quarters , on board the Hogwarts express en-route to the Wizarding school , accompaning Harry on  his adventures with Ron and Hermione, his visits to Hagrid,his learnings with Dumbledore, his escapades from forbidden forests, venomous tarantulas, evil Prof Snape(though I changed my opininion later),”hem hem” Doloris Umbridge and his fleeting infatuations and romances, be it Cho Chang or Ginny Weasley.

Yet , nothing strikes me more than the camaraderie shared by Harry’s dad James and his other three school friends ,Sirius ,Remus and Peter aka the Marauders.

The beauty of the “prisoner of azkaban” was in the fact that it did not glorify James and his friends. They were presented as they were, young ,carefree ,mischievous… So strong was the bonding that even I , for a moment waited alongside Harry for James to  appear along with his stag patronus.

The lives of these four friends are parodies of the various situations of the real world…. friendship, sacrifice, trust betrayal, forgivingness…..

Although each one of them died….. but then

“Do you think the dead whom we have loved ever truly leave us……. “

Sachin …. The immortal

I had always thought of writing about my cricket idol on my blog but whenever I tried , I ran out of thoughts. What to write of a man about whom so much has been written in such extensive volumes by renowned and eminent personalities. Just the sheer weight of his achievements would be enough to fill my hard disc, although I confess I have a 250 GB one. So any article that boasted of his statistics would be trite and meaningless. But today , when he just scored his 50th test century at Centurion against South Africa, I could no longer hold back myself. I decided to write something on him for which I knew I would not have to refer to the statistical records , because this one would just be straight from the heart.

I remember watching a video of Harsha Bhogle at IIM A speaking about him. That small eulogy by the greatest commentator was , I felt the closest any one had ever got to understanding the man , myth or a machine of our times, Sachin Tendulkar. He narrated an incident where the genius of SRT stood out. It was the world cup final 2003 , India vs Australia. Australia had posted a mammoth total of 359 and the match was being considered over by many cricketing pundits as well as players. The problem was complex…. And many had given up hope. But in cricket as well as in life , it’s how you approach a problem that determines whether you are going to find its solution or not. Sometimes these solutions work and sometimes they don’t. Perhaps this was one of those times. What we saw as a result probably gave a false impression of a player giving up but it was actually the genius of SRT finding his own way. Because sometimes genius thinks in a way other people can’t. In the team meetings, SRT decided that if they could get one boundary of each over, it meant 200 runs of 50 balls. They just had to get the remaining 160 in 250 balls. It was the reason why he hit Mcgrath for a boundary the very second ball. The reson why he went to hit Mcgrath again was that he had decided someone would have to knock Mcgrath off before he settled in and chipped in a few good overs. It , unfortunately didn’t work as we all remember. But what I wanted to point out was that genius must find his own way, because sometimes genius thinks in a way other people can’t.


Time is cruel and again and again it reminds us that Sachin is aging but the man himself has defied age. Post world Cup , he has had a new lease of life and I sincerely hope he ends his career with what he truly deserves….. a part of a World Cup winning team. I think that would perhaps be a fitting end to an insanely incredible career.