Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bhajji Slaps Sreesanth

What is spewed always comes back!! Sreesanth prides himself on playing his cricket with gives him a high as he says...Now all of us know that this guy from TN is NOT a match winner but creates a controversy as easy as one breathes!!! Ditto with our Sardarji...
Last night in a fit of unbridled anger when Bhajji hit Sreesanth, it was nothing new for us....this man had put us in a spot in Australia and matters threatened to go out of hand having acquired political overtones...The truly great do not have to garner ill founded publicity ... the press writes about their work and not about their nuisance value!!
Whenever discipline is sacrificed at the altar of short cut route to success, you can be sure of a brewing storm!! The BCCI should have severely reprimanded both the players or should have suspended them from active cricket immediately...All of us have seen Mr Lalit Modi flashing his smile at the cameras while swaggering on the cricket ground...where was he last night and why did not the cricket board take an immediate and firm decision saying that enough was enough...
The PCB at least had the guts to call a spade a spade and ban the fastest bowler that country has ever produced! On the other hand we always have our eyes on the greenbacks and look the other way when trespasses occur!! Well, Mr Pawar, the shit has hit the fan...its for your people to mop it up now...your players have brought disgrace to our tricolor...hope you sit up and take notice!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It was the sandstorm that wrecked it- the cable operator’s dish, that is. A whole uncharted weekend lay ahead sans cable TV. How could I combat eighteen hours of wakefulness each day for two days on the trot?

Being an early bird has its distinct disadvantages on holidays. While the whole family rested in the arms of Morpheus, my body clock woke me up at five thirty and made it impossible to toss and turn past five forty five. The TV set sat there mocking me as a silent observer revelling in its power to upset the rhythm of my holidays.

The morning cuppa and newspaper were history by six thirty. Getting hold of a Sidney Sheldon, I dragged a chair by the front window and flopped in it trying to overcome the ennui by flipping open the thriller.

Soon the wide road running in front of my house captured my attention. Groups and lone figures of morning walkers were sweating their way back to their homes with the morning sun already prodding them on with glimpses of what it would do to them by noontime. Soon a steady stream of school children started pouring in the street, some of them bending under the load of their satchels, other getting a little respite by placing the load of their education on their laps while their rickshaw puller half rose into the air pushing a pedal down, his rickshaw carrying about ten of the tiny-tots, throwing all government directives to the wind.

Soon the raucous burst of a school bus horn scattered the pedestrians and other road users, spilling them towards the sidewalks but alas! Most of the residents of the `posh’ colonies of Lucknow specialise in illegally barricading the sidewalks into `personal’ lawns. The children scurried towards these barriers in a bid to get away from the path of the bus hurtling down the road, but fortunately the road is quite wide and the bus passes with an arrogant hoot of horn and normalcy is restored.

That the assembly time of the neighbourhood school was drawing close became apparent as a steady procession of four and two wheelers rushed past. Today on Saturday, the children are wearing white uniform instead of the regular greys. Saturdays are ostensibly marked out for extra-curricular activities and sports, but their bulging bags full of dreary text-books and home-work note-books spill the beans.

It is almost dusk now. The remnant of the day is folding up as the stars come out for their daily darshan. The whole day has passed off without the benumbing effects of the tube. The make-believe world of the screen has made me a bit more circumspect. I have not been a witness to scenes of dismembered limbs in the attacks of retribution in the Gaza strip or Sri Lanka, nor have I been disturbed by the upward movement of the spiraling inflation curve. The jingle lines of the ads did not pressurize me into buying unrequired debris…I was at peace with myself…

Monday, April 21, 2008


“I’m not being immodest, but batsmen used to find it extremely difficult to score off my bowling the same way as Sachin’s”, confided my neighbour the day Tendulkar had routed the opposition with a career best tally of five wickets.

Most of my friends do not want to be immodest but still lavish praise on themselves. My mind boggles at the thought of having so many close acquaintances who could in their days, emulate if not better the feats of leading cricketers, hockey stars, brilliant managers and many other greats in diverse fields. Dumb as I am, I often wonder why they could not make it to the Hall of Fame or even TV prime time.[A1]

When Bart Conner, the famous American gymnast, was having his moment in the sun at the Los Angeles Olympics, the father of a friend of mine, who was a regular visitor to our place exclaimed with disdain, “Twenty years ago, I would’ve beaten Conner hands down on the Roman Rings.” Having seen the plight of our gymnasts years back in the New Delhi Asian Games, I marvelled at the physical prowess of Kaku in the spring of his youth. But his next indiscretion made me a bit uncomfortable, “Those days I could eat fifty six chapattis in one go and that too with desi ghee.” I could not decide whether we had lost a Suleymanoglu or the male equivalent of Nadia Comaneci.

The ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh was weaving pure magic with his mellifluous voice at the Lucknow Mahotsav when a voice rasped at me, transporting me back from cloud nine, “I have stopped my riyaz otherwise I could better him anyday,” exclaimed my influential friend, with whose contacts I had managed to grab a frontline seat for the concert.

While returning home he further elaborated, “Nowadays there is less of lyrics and more of music even in ghazals. In my days, and I am not joking, when I used to sing on the College stage, people used to leave their important classes just to hear me.”

It meant that I had wasted all the evening going to the Begum Hazrat Mahal Park to hear the ghazal recital when all I had to do was to hear my friend croon, I thought glumly. Still I fought a rear guard action, “But a maestro is a maestro. You can’t get any better.”

“My dear, how much do you know about ghazals?” he chided me and started humming the first few bars of a much known composition. If you can visualise the sound effect you are subjected to the moment an old automobile starts revving up one cold morning, you will move nearer to understanding my predicament that warm August night. But again I thought, this might be the actual way to sing this variety.

Syed Modi was smashing the cork all over the court and I was watching the box in awe. Agility, anticipation and placing were the very nature of this great component of the game. Suddenly someone slammed his foot in disgust and sneered, “ I wish I were across the net. I would have shown Mr. Modi a trick or two. Would you believe,” said another one of my badminton-great friends, “ there was not a single player in the whole University whom I had not bested. And talk of smashing! Huh!! I used to return them in such style that even Syed Modi would get a run for his money!!!”

I looked at my pot-bellied companion with a receding hairline and wondered how this corpulent figure would look sweating it out in mean competition. May be a protruding tummy and a prosperous backside did not impede fleet-footedness.

All my life I have not met a celebrity in flesh and blood. Should I ever get the chance, I might be tempted to ask whether he knew how many guys out there know better how to do the thing he does better than most.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008


The growing number of tragic suicides of school students in our city within the last few days should send the alarm bells ringing in the corridors of powers that formulate the education pattern of our students. Such young lives snuffed out due to unreasonable reasons makes us wonder where are we heading and what are our priorities in life.

I have been teaching the students from the age group of 15-18 years almost for the last two decades and have realized that the dual pressure of doing well in the board examination as well as simultaneously gaining entry into a technical course tears apart the student. The basic reason for this adverse state of mind is that the syllabus of the technical courses’ entrance examinations do not have much in common with the content or the level of the courses being pursued at the plus two level. Add to this the enormous fee structure of the additional coaching that has become the staple diet of all the students making them vulnerable to domestic financial crunches. The attitude of the teachers and instructors at this level also leaves much to be desired. Either an average or below average student is insulted in ways more than one or is pressurized into attending a coaching run by the teacher. Sometimes parents too, become unreasonable and demand a level of efficiency from the student which he is not capable of delivering. On being reminded the parents usually remark wryly that they do not want their wards to remain as “average” students.

So where do we go from here? I have repeatedly sent missives to the concerned ministry of Govt of India to change the way the examinations are held in our country. If the patterns suggested therein were adhered too, we would not have the blood of so many of our students on our hands. Since the government is least concerned about the state of this country let us ourselves try to do what we can.

Firstly, the parents should understand that marks are not the be all and end all of anybody’s life. I can give any number of examples from my own students who did just alright at the board examinations but have later made it up in their lives and are pursuing fulfilling careers.

Secondly we should get rid of the national hobby for becoming engineers / doctors. Whenever a child is born in India, the parents dream of putting him in the portals of IITs or AIIMS. In most cases this is a desirable but unrealistic way of looking at your child. These institutes of national and international repute require a very high level of awareness and an uncanny ability to sift through mountains of information, which every student is not capable of. This most definitely does not mean that the student is useless and will be a dismal failure in life. There are so many avenues worth exploring nowadays that engineering and medicine are passé.

Thirdly, the student should conscientiously go about his current syllabus of the school and later think about clearing the competitive exams. Riding on two tigers makes life unbearable for both the student and the parents. He should make knowledge a priority rather than marks. I have seen umpteen cases of very high scoring students not knowing a fig outside their books. This most definitely adversely affects his later career life.

Finally life is a journey of discovering oneself. We are a society too caught up in books and curriculum and forgot in the process that it takes a correct attitude to live life to its full. If only getting high marks were an indication of being hugely successful, look up the lives of Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani and Mr Sunil Mittal. Mr Ambani of course will not be able to answer your queries right now, but Mr. Mittal would be very frank about his academic achievements. The watchword in life is ATTITUDE. It will take good care of your life if it is correct.