Phoney situation!

So, the other day I had called up my friend. It had been a while since I had spoken to him; a very nice, soft-spoken, well phonemannered guy. I’ve known him from school days. So, I call him. He answered the call & said ‘hello’… I said ‘what’s up dude? how’s it going?’. And that’s it!!! He did not reply & I kept saying ‘hello… hellooooo…’. Phone networks suck these days & it’s no secret… all you mobile company buggers note this! Back to the phone call… sorry, I have this habit of deviating from what I was talking about, you have to bear with me :) And just when I was about to hang up & call him back again, I heard my friend talking to someone! I could hear him asking a lady to lose her sweater. Well, I know eavesdropping is bad manners… but curiosity got the better of me & I stayed on the call. So, this friend of mine, after him asking the lady to knock off her sweater was asking her to lie down! Damn!!! Damn damn damn!!!! Was this the same soft-spoken, well mannered, gentleman of a friend I knew? My mind started spinning, I was thinking of what all would happen. And I could hear him on the call addressing that lady as ‘ajji’ (old lady)… I was even more shell-shocked! :-o He continued… if you don’t remove the sweater & lie down, how’ll I inspect your arm? *TINNNNNGGG* That’s when I remembered that my friend is an orthopedic & he was merely doing his job!!! So much for a phone call!! *sigh*

Shame on you Mr.Tendulkar!

Yes, I had heard people say this before when they used to blame you for the lack of a good second innings score in a test matches or the inability to finish off the match single handedly & other stuff like that. I initially thought they were people who lacked the basic knowledge of cricket. But alas! Today you have to prove them all right by scoring your 100th ton against a team like Bangladesh on a typical sub-continent pitch where a ball going above the waist can be termed a bouncer! & yeah, there can be no perfume balls on these pitches… instead, the bowler can have blue balls if the red cherry is there to be hit straight at him! I can rest assure you that the number of people who wanted you to retire would’ve multiplied by AT LEAST 10 times, if not 100 times. I figured 10 & 100 would make sense to all the readers here who know about the ‘little master’ & hence those benchmarks.

What joy does a century like this give to you I ask. Was this the ultimate milestone you wanted to achieve at the cost of a team’s fortunes? Is this the kind of legacy you want to leave behind to those looking for a berth in the national team? You were close to being listless on the tour to the land down under & then, you were completely listless on the England tour. Now, by scoring this ‘coveted’ 100th against Bangladesh, you have given more fodder to people to not only talk about you Mr. Tendulkar, but also about a nation which has the habit of going in for lesser glory than looking at the bigger picture. Maybe I can bring in a comparison between the 1st family of India (you can ignore the puppet granny who’ll be kicked out in July) the Gandhis & Tendulkar. No matter what you talk about this Gandhi family (let’s not debate on how a certain Ghandy turned into a Gandhi), they’ll always have chamchas eating out of their hands. Likewise, Tendulkar has had BCCI do the same (yeah, harsh comparison… sorry to his followers, but such is the rage at this moment). Imagine this scenario – Tendulkar on 99 in today’s match… bowler at the start of the run up… Tendulkar pulls out just before the bowler’s delivery stride… walk away from the field retired hurt. Filmy? yeah… sure is! But then again, imagine the kind of respect he would’ve garnered from one ‘n all, young ‘n old, Gavaskars ‘n Chappells, the whole world ‘n Pakistan (sorry, I’m pushing it now… no offense meant)… sending out a message to Pakistan for the next two matches – ‘here I come again, watch out!’ This is where we Indians fall behind the rest of the world I guess… catching the opponents by their balls, looking in their eyes & conveying the message ‘Don’t take me for granted’, without even having to say it! This is where I admire Rahul (no, not the Gandhi)… he had the courage to take on the best, look straight into their eyes, grind them out & win the battle. And then came a day where he thought he couldn’t carry on with the same vigour & decided to call it a day without people having to ask him about his retirement. Mark of a true sportsman… putting the team ahead of himself. If you analyze the tour of England & Australia, it seemed like the whole team was weighed down by the expectations of a certain individual’s milestone. They say, two things drive a man – inspiration & desperation. Today, I was inspired to write this looking at another man’s desperation to reach a landmark.

I’ve always been a team man & I do respect individual efforts. I don’t deny the fact that Tendulkar’s contribution to the game of cricket has been immense. But when you know you are not performing to the mark and it is affecting the team , a man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do… hang up your boots, call it quits! Co-existence or putting such things on the back burner are not at all options in this case. What counts is not how you get those 100×100, it’s how to get into that 6x3ft pit that really counts. I see people putting up status messages on their social networking sites that they will retire from watching cricket. Oh yeah? I’ll call you guys to check on the Indo-Pak score & lemme hear you guys say that you are away from your TV screens.

On a lighter note, heard that the men’s saloons have picked up business big time since Tendulkar’s 100th. Gone are those curls… now, let’s not go below the belt please!

And now, Mr. Tendulkar… what’s the next milestone? I heard Priyanka Chopra beat you on twitter… go get her tiger!!!

The Jack Fruit Tree

Don’t really know when I was born but I definitely know who planted me & gave me food ‘n water &… more importantly, a life. A life, protected from mostly the lost cattle or the wandering goats. Hi… I’m the jack fruit tree & my owner; let’s just call him, the sarpanch… the village head. It’s been more than 20 yrs since he passed away & here I am, still standing tall at roughly around 85 yrs assuming that my sarpanch planted me when he was around 25. Oh, the sarpanch was 92 when he breathed his last. I can still recollect his last few moments that he spent under my shade… on the same bench that he himself had laid there. Those countless days that he spent the hot afternoons under me, those countless panchayat judgements he passed sitting on the same bench… still feels like all these happened only a few years ago. *sigh*

I remember the sarpanch’s house… a full house… there was never a day when this house had not seen a guest. Almost everybody has tasted me, I mean… my fruits. Mind you, I’m still very capable of bearing the sweetest fruits. Kids used to pelt stones hoping they would get a prize catch, but believe me… never have I complained in these many years of existence. I’m not one of those too tall or too huge varieties. Maybe that’s why they often say… nice things come in small packages!

Of all who have spent some time with me or around me, it’s the sarpanch’s youngest grandson who loves me the most (at least, that is what I would like to believe). I’ve seen him play with the sarpanch sitting on the bench & at the end of it, he would make away with 4 annas from his granddad to buy colourful candies or small wooden toys. I’ve even seen him imitate his granddad lying on the bench, with his feet crossed & hands behind his head looking at me. Those were the good old days when there was just this one house he used to visit. Now, it’s a very different story. Families have split… people have moved on, some to the cities and others, to places from where they’ll never come back. Bah! I don’t believe in re-births… though, I’d like to believe that the sarpanch will come back again. I remember distinctly & begin to wither when I think of that dreadful day when the sarpanch’s lifeless body was kept under me. That has to be the saddest day of my life with scores of people pouring in to pay their last homage to this man who had fought relentlessly for one reason or the other… right from his younger days where he fought against the British rule to his last days where he had to fight to keep the family together.

I’ve seen so many new lives springing up in this household & thankfully, not that many people kicking the bucket (if I may say that… sorry, but all my emotions have dried up). But somewhere in the corner of my… well, I don’t have a mind, so, somewhere in the corner of my heart, I yearn for that broken stone bench to be fixed & I want the sarpanch’s last grandson to be the one to do it. I’ve heard him talk to his dad and uncles about this. I’m hoping that he really does something about it. No matter how much ever the landscape around me has changed with all those lush green paddy fields turned into residential plots, bullock carts making way for today’s motorized vehicles & all that crap, I’d still want that bench back & SOON!

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