Tennis & Cricket!

For the body of art that is tennis, Wimbledon is its soul. And for 2 weeks in the middle of the calendar year, it defines why even amidst ruthless power hitters & commercial sharks, tennis still continues to be such a beautiful game. For a tournament that probably has half the world glued into their TV sets and buried into the morning newspapers, its lawns are bereft of even a single ad hoarding. For a tournament that has seen men’s tennis being dominated like none other (Borg in the 70’s, Sampras in the 90’s, and Federer’s reign in the new millenium till Nadal upstaged him last year), even a first round match between unseeded greenhorns on the lush greens of court 18 is a delight to watch.

Compare that with Cricket which inspite of its evenness and unpredictability since Australia’s cricket went downhill, a shorter and more exciting format, and the rise of minnows – is paradoxically getting quite boring . The sheer volume of it these days is taking out the prestige that tournaments used to have. We now have a world cup like event almost every year – there was the 50 over one, there is now the T20, and a mini World cup that is the Champions Trophy. And a new circus called IPL filled a few pockets but in the process undid a lot more for cricket. We are tired of seeing Dhoni selling us mobiles, colas, chips, biscuits, shoes and even fans!

One of my dreams is to watch a hopefully classic Wimbledon final in Center Court (i have won Wimbledon many times in my dreams but lets not go there!)


Putting up a post after a really looong time….the break was more to do with my laziness !!

So I was thinking the other day of the people that I have encountered in my life so far….and what were their qualities that I admired the most  – and to see what were the commonalities. I was also trying to see if I could categorize such people based on their abilities!

One or many of the following 4 abilities are prominent in the people that i admire….

1. The ability of a person to Read well (or rather be well read). These people would fall under the  ‘Adventure’ type

2. The ability of a person to Write well.  These people would fall under the  ‘Intellect’ type

3. The ability of a person to Speak well. These people would fall under the  ‘Leadership’ type

4. The ability of a person to Listen well. These people would fall under the ‘Humility’ type

Each of these four abilities have their own place under the ‘hot’ (read:competitive) sun! And if someone has all four of these abilities, then he or she is a rock star! 

What’s more – i also feel that cultivating any of these abilities brings one to closer to its associated type. For example, typically someone with leadership skills will more often than not speak well. What I am saying that the corollary also applies – if someone learns to speak up and well, then he or she starts developing leadership skills. If someone (who is usually not perceived to be intelletual) starts writing on a regular basis – then his or her thoughts develop and crystallize and allows the intellect to sharpen and shine through. 

Padho / Likho / Kaho / Sunoh….its really that simple!!

Arts Become Therapy

I came to know about this from a close friend of mine runs an NGO. One of his activities is teaching children from the neighbourhood chawls, and he was facilitating sessions for some of these kids on Arts Become Therapy(ABT). So what is ABT? Here is the definition from the website of the WCCL Foundation which trains ABT practitioners in India

“ABT is defined as the clinical and evidence-based use of art-forms (music, drama and visual arts) to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. ABT is primarily an art form, practised scientifically, and based on the subtle energy theory. The subtle energy theory states that ‘reality is a perception, based on sensory input and cognition. Change in any of these will lead to a different reality.'”

The session which I attended was a drama cum story telling session conducted for 7 kids who had been observed having difficulties in concentration / focusing in class. The story was about how a rainbow got formed, and each of the 7 kids was playing one of the colours of the rainbow. The story tried to reinforce virtues of friendship, peace, harmony etc through the creation of the rainbow. There was a lot of colour, music, acting and fun in the whole process. This was a part of 8 such sessions being conducted over a period a couple of months (the earlier sessions focused on different creative aspects like painting & music). At the end of each session, observations are made about each kid, and the subtle changes are tracked across the sessions to understand the impact.

I understood from the practitioner about the interesting insights that you get into the psyche of a kid when he is exposed to such art forms. For example, in an earlier painting session – one of the kids actually drew a sword between 2 flowers. The kid is usually a quiet by nature, and the fact that he drew a sword surprised everyone. But then the practioner highlighted a point about the position of the sword. The sword was NOT in an upright position (which is more like ready for battle), but facing downwards (which is akin to surrender)! Experts in child psychology would be able to interpret more out of this, especially once they know the child’s background and other contextual details, but it was a powerful example of how expression in an art form can bring out a lot in a kid who has difficulty in expressing himself or herself!

More details about ‘Arts become Therapy’ in India can be found at the site http://www.wcclf.org

Today is Valentine’s day.  My Valentine for the day was Pandey ji. Now I am as straight as straight could be, but when it comes to internet connectivity, exceptions can be made! I was expecting to put this post up yesterday night, but my broadband which was playing truant for the past few days finally went completely down with the phone going dead. And Pandey ji from my telephone company is our answer to anything being wrong with the phone/broadband. The better part of  the day was spent with Pandey ji and me trying to find the source

of the problem (in the exchange, on the way, outside my house, inside my house, between outside my house and inside my house!)…finally we were tired and Pandeyji decided to change the wiring itself completely leading into my house. Pandey ji managed to complete the circus and the sound of the telephone dial-tone was music to the ears. You see…this ‘internetwa’ has become a necessity of life!


Anyway, coming back to Valentine’s day.  At least i had Pandey ji (and i was more happy to see him turn up today at my house than any ‘cute’ babe). Junta who have their valentines fall into 2 buckets. Either they go all out to celebrate the day (and its mostly the guys making the plans! talk abt gender equality?) or they say boss i dont believe in Valentine’s day (which is basically aur kitna kharcha karoage!!)


Readers of this blog who are quite familiar with my non existent love life over the years would know that there is not a chance in hell that I would know the price of a rose. No longer my friends. The price of a rose (taking into account delivery costs) on Feb 14 is anywhere between 25 to 40 bucks! Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain…


You see, a good friend of mine is out of country for some time. And he requested me to see to it that his wife gets flowers from him on V day. He specified the type, colour & contour which I guess have been his signature gift to her over the years! Knowing fully well that he can trust me with doing the assignment, but that I would not know how to go about doing it, he kept another common friend in the loop to assist me with the proceedings. The incentive for me would be that the key learnings from this assignment could be leveraged in future endeavours


Anyway, first figured out the place where these kind of flowers would be available, and then went across yesterday evening to the place to select the stuff, place the order and give the address where it needed to be delivered on V day. Now after I did that and came back, I get a mail from our man asking me to put a poem that he had written for her, along with the flowers. Called up the florist and tried dictating him the poem, but the guy seemed kinda struggling to note it down with all the business that he was doing around. Then tried smsing it to him, but the poem was longish and after all, a poem has to be written in a certain way!


So what to do now? I thought i would go and deliver it to the florist myself and sat down to write it. But my handwriting is not that great and after writing it, I myself realized of course you certainly cannot give a loved one a poem in someone else’s handwriting! So I pasted the poem in Word, did a little formating with the cutest font available to rub out the ‘formalness’ of the printed word. Now of the printers that were available, one was jammed and the other had a faulty toner where the ink came smeared across half the page. So back to the drawing board to manage the typed poem in exactly the space where the ink held good on the paper! Then with crazy traffic on the way and requesting a fellow colleague to take a slight detour on our way back home, managed to deliver the note and instructed the florist how it needed to be placed with the flowers and the accompanying card!


The mushiness quotient in the shop was extremely high…guys and gals looking/feeling/starring/smelling flowers like what never before..having achieved my objective, i made a quick retreat! 


Now my friend – i know as per Mastercard, there are some things in life that are priceless…but hope that was more Bang than the Buck for you….and a little Karma in the Kitty for me! J


P.S. : My dear readers – As per traditional ‘folklore’, do you know what does taking the last sip from a shared glass of say a soft drink entitle you to?  I bet a soft drink on it!

Kaas ki aaas (The Hope of Kaas!)

The long weekend towards the end of Jan saw me head out with friends to Satara. Now to a Mumbaikar, Satara doesnt exactly sound half as exciting like say a Lonavala or Alibag…its much farther out in the hinterland, conjures images of a sleepy rural town, is never a part of the ‘WTF..you havent been there?!’ types casual conversation…bottomline – perception is much stronger than reality and almost everyone we asked whether you would like to join politely declined and basically conveyed that they had better things to do with 3 full days of their lives. The effect of this was so strong, that I myself who had floated the idea of going there, started getting a bad feeling about the whole thing. I love travelling and there is nothing more exciting than exploring a new place…but even one day prior to our departure there was no such feeling…it was almost like lets go there and get done with it types attitude. Even on the morning that we left, I was hoping that it would be good…not so much for me as for my dear friends who had agreed to go there on my recommendation…

As it turns out Ladies & Gentlemen, when you really want something from the heart, the Universe has its own way to make you feel special…the two evenings that we spent around that place were absolutely divine..reaching at the Kaas lake in perfect time to see the colour of the sky changing magically in the serenity of the lake…and then at the breezy Panchgani tabletop to see a star studded crystal clear sky and shooting stars…i have a strange feeling that those were sights that the Universe had specially orchestrated for us..the sunset could have been ordinary, the skies could have been cloudy, the lake might have been crowded…but no, nothing of that sort happened…it was ONLY US at the lake and at the tabletop when we experienced divinity….and it was perfect!

And of course, the days werent any less super…we got a taste of rural India like never before…sitting on tractors and bullock carts…plucking tomatoes and uprooting turmeric…venturing into 10 feet high sugarcane fields…have authentic maharashtrian food and ‘gavran’ chicken…it was an experience like nowhere in the world!

Those were 3 superbly beautiful & unforgettable days…Long Live the Universe! 🙂


Today I realized that I had lost an entire folder containing my writings. What happened was that my laptop had crashed and the IT folks at my workplace had taken my data backup. And when they fixed the thingie, they put the data back in. Now this was a couple of days ago, and today as I was going through my stuff, i realized this folder was not there at all. I called up the IT folks…they were surprised at how could like happen blah blah…and they had deleted the copy on their server machine just this morning… bottomline was that that folder that contained a lot of what I had written over the last several months was gone, never to come back!


It made me remember that age old cliche of how we dont appreciate stuff when its around, and realize its worth only when its gone forever. This folder was even more precious to me as it contained stuff which I had written to express my thoughts over so many things that matter. I literally used to view it or save something in it everyday. And as fate would have it, this was the only folder that didnt get backed up for some reason! I had begun to take that folder for granted, thinking it would be there always..


At least folders, unlike people, can be backed up & stored on multiple media to last forever. Maybe sometimes you need to sit back and think about the importance of people in your life, and not get too entangled with work pressures and other unimportant stuff at the expense of what really matters…and as per that Chinese saying, today is the second best time to plant that tree…basically doing whatever that adds a moment of joy that we will live to cherish in that unerasable memory bank on our top floor! 


Over the past few days, this is something that has come up in most of my conversations of the third kind…hence the blog post

You see, there comes a time in every person’s life when he or she must make some key calls. You can clearly see the fork in the road ahead, and you have to decide which way to go. You have tried to avoid it / ignore it / postpone it / kid yourself but its staring at you in your face, just like Raju’s ‘CON’science(but not as sinister!). What’s more, they are one ways, and there is no reverse gear in your car. All you got is that rear view mirror to reflect as the days & months & years go by..Sometimes its not as simplistic as that…The fork may be an intersection of 3 or more roads…or it may be a deadend…or the highway in the distance might just be a mirage of the desert. The bottomline is that its not easy

So anyway, what do you do? You may ask! You take every Tom, Dick & Harry in your contact book who has taken one of those roads – and ask them…boss, hello, how r u…and btw, how has life been since you took that left or right? Or you may tell yourself that you are NOT Tom, Dick & Harry and hence NA (Not Applicable)..chart your own damn road!

Someone put it across in a very matter of fact manner…that most decisions in life are like buying a car…you are considering colour/design aesthetics ( a comparative could be the glamour associated with the profession or external beauty), engine / fuel efficiency (akin to job content or substance in a person), TCO (thats Total Cost of Ownership – which is again like long term repurcussions)….so when you are taking a decision, you decide wats imp to you….but remember that fundamentally, a decision, like a car, is a depreciating asset…when you r taking it, it seems like something major…but as time goes by, it gets depreciated and soon its lying on your books with no intrinsic value…you will look back and say, hell why was i thinking about it so damn hard…it was such an obvious thing to be done! The car might be have become a khatara…but you sat in it all this while and saw a whole new world! So its not the decision that is important, as much as what you do after you take that decision!

The thing is that God doesnt need hindsight…people dont have foresight…and we are after 20/20..be it vision or cricket! So just chill chill…just chill