Sunday, October 28, 2007


One Lifetime...

One Opportunity...


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The day we became World Champions

Much water has flowed under the Howrah Bridge since the events that I’m about to narrate. Yet, it is a story which must be told. It is the story of how India overcame Pakistan in the finals of the ICC Twenty20 cup to become World Champions.

Let that sink in… India - World Champions. I had to keep pinching myself when India recently played a Twenty20 international against Australia at Mumbai and the commentator very proudly announced, “Australia are playing against the world champions!” Now that is something you don’t hear very often and I felt particularly proud to be an Indian at that point in time.

But let me get back to where I originally started this post. Let me recount the events as they happened on that fateful day.


24th September 2007

It is a dark and wet Monday evening in Calcutta as India takes on Pakistan in the finals of the Twenty20 World Cup at the Bull Ring at Johannesburg. Ravi, Harsh and I make our way to The Ordnance Club to enjoy the game on their flat screen TV. We are in a noisy dining room at the club and the table in front of us is filled with all the food that we have ordered: two pots of tea, cheese grilled sandwiches, a plate of paneer tikka, masala chips and Coke.

Harsh and I keep munching at a regular pace even though we are hypnotized by the match. Ravi, being his usual self, sips his tea in a manner which would’ve fooled you into believing that he was a MCC member having his cuppa on a bright Sunday morning at Lord’s where Somerset was playing Kent.

By the time the 19th over of the Pakistan innings gets over, Harsh and I can barely keep sitting. We are at the end of this long dining hall and thankfully so, because we both just keep pacing in tension. If there had been guests seated behind us they would certainly have been up in arms.

Last over and 13 runs required. Dhoni hands over the ball to Joginder Sharma who, let’s accept it, at his pace doesn’t really put the fear of the Lord into you. I look up at Harsh and he has this very nervous smile on his face, as if telling me, ‘Oh Dear!’ With a deep breath, I turn to look at the TV.


Darn!! What the hell was Joginder doing??!! You already have a Misbah-ul-Haq at the crease who in the previous India-Pakistan encounter had almost pulled off an incredible win for his team. In any case, he’s also one of the biggest six hitters of the tournament with that massive 111m hit (only to be outdone by Yuvraj Singh’s monstrous 119m six). And then you bowl a wide to make it only 12 runs required to win the match and the trophy?!!

Dhoni runs up to Joginder and it seems whatever he’s told him has worked since the next ball is a dot ball, although it was outside the off stump and very lucky not to be called a wide.

I breathe easy for a moment…only just.

Joginder bowls the next ball and Misbah shuffles across his stumps and hits the ball high in the air. For a moment I’m hopeful that some Indian fielder at long on will get under it and take the catch. But all my prayers seem to have come undone when Ravi Shastri screams, “This is six! It’s a magnificent strike!”

Gosh! How could this have happened? We had almost won it…how could Misbah do this to us…again? Will he make amends for his mistake at Durban? Will he really pull it off this time? My mind is buzzing with possible scenarios, not all of them positive for India.

The dining hall has gone very silent…the only sound that can be heard is of the cutlery striking against each other. Even the waiters and stewards have been struck by horror as they stare at the TV screen and forget to take orders. What orders? Even the diners are staring dumb-struck.

Disappointed, I look at Harsh. The story is written all over his face: only one big hit and Pakistan could win this. Harsh shakes his head as he looks at me, his nonchalant smile vanished. I don’t know what to do and look at the floor. I turn to Ravi, but the idiot is happily sipping his tea and looking as if somebody has just paused reading ‘Alice In Wonderland’ to him. Nut!! How can someone NOT be affected by a tension situation like this? How can someone be so cool-headed? I shake my head in wonder.

Pakistan need 6 runs to win and have 4 balls of the last over to do it in. The only worrying factor, if there is any in the Pakistani camp at the moment, is that this is their last pair at the wicket.

Joginder runs up to deliver his next ball. Misbah tries to get cheeky by walking across the stumps and loops the ball up in the air behind the wicket.

OH MY GOD!! Is this the moment which will haunt our nightmares forever? Has Misbah just become the Javed Miandad for this new generation of Indian cricketers and Indian cricket lovers?

But wait a minute! There’s a man underneath it…and it is Sreesanth. Sreesanth, the man who can reduce to mockery his tremendous talent by letting his emotions take control of him. ‘Oh God, please, please let Sreesanth take the catch!’

Sreesanth fumbles slightly…but finally manages to hold on to the ball!!

THAT’S IT!! India has won!!!!! INDIA HAS WON THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!! We are the CHAMPIONS… We have been crowned kings!!

The hall at Ordnance Club erupts with middle-aged pot bellied uncles jumping in joy and banging their beer glasses. High-society aunties scream and clap their hands in glee, all the while making sure their silk sarees are not out of place.

I jump and shout with joy!! I look at Harsh, whose reaction has been much the same as mine. I rush up to him and we hug each other and continue jumping while screaming ‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!’ My heart hasn’t beaten this hard in quite a while. We just can’t stop the momentum and keep jumping and shouting.

We pause to look at Ravi. He is still sitting in his stupid chair, grinning at us and clapping. ‘This is not the moment to sit and applaud like a Lord, you idiot. Be an Indian….SCREAM!!!’ Both Harsh and I run up to him, pull him up, and embrace him as well and then start jumping around in a huddle, much like the huddle that the Indian team is now getting into.


I write this down because this is one moment of unimaginable joy for me as an Indian cricket fan. This moment will be one which we will remember the rest of our lives, much like our fathers remember the exact moment when Kapil Dev lifted the Prudential Cup at Lords.

---------------- Now playing: Amit Kumar & Chorus - Dekha Jo Tujhe Yaar via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Durga Puja

This is how we celebrated Durga Puja in Kolkata over the last weekend.

Ray Street pandal

The Ray Street Puja Pandal.

Chakraberia Pandal

The Chakraberia (Trikoniya Park) Puja Pandal.

Nicknames - II

So when I said 'I hope I haven't overlooked any nicknames'...see what I missed out !!!!

i) Pran-nath: Motee !!! I’ll never forgive you for this one.

ii) Shark: Tushar (my room-mate during my 2nd year of college), myself and Mini are great friends. And one of the many things that binds us together are the nick-names that we gifted each other…Mini gifted me the title of ‘Shark’, I gifted her the title of ‘Dolphin’ and we both together gifted Tushar the title of ‘Whale’. A few more friends like us, and the world would resemble an aquarium.

iii) Philip Pirrip / Pip : Those of you who have experienced the beautiful agony of studying Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’ during your school-life would know what this is all about. But for the benefit of those who haven’t suffered the slings and arrows of time when you had to memorise the description of Miss Havisham’s unkempt room, I shall explain.

Philip Pirrip (better known as Pip) is the central character of Charles’ Dickens fabulous piece of literature titled ‘Great Expectations’. He has a great friend named Herbert Pocket, who, like Pip, has the habit of falling into debts with alarming regularity. What is most lovable about both of them is that well knowing that they shall repeat their mistakes the next time they have cleared off their previous dues, they keep looking at their accounts at the end of each month and consoling each other with the words, “We must do something about this.” Obviously, come the next month and they’re again knee-deep in debt.

Prashant Chaturvedi and I have had a similar brush of experiences when it came to preparing for our college examinations. Both of us knew that the other fellow was moderately intelligent and is deserving of much better marks than the report card ever cared to show. However, before each exam, Prashant and I used to wonder how we, as a rule, always managed to postpone our studies for the last minute before examinations only to realise too late that it was hopeless to even try to begin studying barely 48 hours before an examination. And, oh yes, we also told each other the famous words… “We must do something about this.” That fateful day onwards, I’ve referred to him as Herbert and he has called me Pip.

P.S. Recently, I had to make a call to Prashant. I was desperately searching my mobile phone address book for his name but couldn’t find it. Only after about ten minutes did it strike me that I was looking for the wrong name; I had saved his number under the name Herbert.

Now playing: Ganpat
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The other day, I was wondering by how many different names people have called me in the two and a half decades of my existence on this planet.

The Usual

1. Shekhar-aa - Considering that this is perhaps the simplest 'Indian' way to contort my name, I'm surprised (and relieved) that very few people have used this one. The only person that comes to mind is one school buddy called Thyagarajan Krishnamurthy (called TK throughout his school-life, more for simplicity's sake than anything else).

2. Shekhar-va - Again, not many takers for what one would have thought to be a popular take on my name. The most recent culprit? A female named Avanti.

3. Shekhu - Used by numerous people over the years. Most recently, and frequently, used by Shubhra.

The Not-So-Usual

1. Smarty - Perhaps the first nick-name that I ever got!! ~grins~ I was in class 1, and by far the most outspoken character in a class full of 30 yelling children. The Hindi teacher realised that someone who, at such a young age, had the ability to be heard in the midst of a din like that deserved to be called no less than 'Smarty'.

2. Jai - During my first year of MBA, as I sincerely (ahem) strained to listen to every word spoken by the prof.,
the non-stop chatter originating from the lady on my right convinced me that I should call her 'Basanti'. Amitabh Bachchan (may his tribe increase) must've hiccuped a million-times the day our lady retorted by calling my 'Jai'.

3. Mr. 3 pointer - What can I say?? I'm just brilliant when it comes to bungling up studies...and then recovering brilliantly (I remember failing a history test in the first term of class 4... determined to show my worth, I remember topping the history exams for the rest of the year). MBA was a bit like taking an old Padmini Fiat out of the garage and going cross-country driving... till such time I decided that I wanted to be on the F1 circuit racing alongside Schumacher in a McLaren. Come the last term of MBA and I decided to put the cynics to rest. I studied like crazy and ended up becoming what every geek in b-school dreams of becoming: a 3-pointer! Mini couldn't believe I'd pulled off such a miraculous feat...she's called me Mr. 3 Pointer since...

4. Hindustan Ki Awaaz - The juniors at my b-school were doing a parody of 'Mughal-e-Azam'. Somebody was needed for the voice-over of 'Hindustan Ki Awaaz'; the fella who in the original talks about how Akbar was one of the best kings that India ever had. The juniors asked me if I would do the honours in the parody, and I willingly agreed. When my name came up at the end, most people in the audience (faculty included) were surprised to know that 'Hindustan Ki Awaaz' was courtesy Second Year, Section B, Roll No. 50.

5. Rambo - For further details, please contact Arpz, the conferrer of the honour.

6. Mommy - ~sighs~ Motee insists I always had a motherly aura around me.

7. Goo-Gaa Smile - Not exactly a nick-name, as much as a caption for a pic of me as a baby. I'll never be able to thank Rose enough for this. :D

I hope I haven't overlooked any... Let's see what other nick-names are bestowed upon me in the future.

Now playing: R.D.Burman - Sholay Intro Theme
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 12, 2007

Reverse Motivation

Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to you is getting pi**ed off.


You've been trying hard to get something done for a while now. And it has been irritating you no end that you haven't been able to achieve your goal. You know that all you need to do is step up your game one last bit... Push yourself to the limit... Stretch your hands that one inch further.

But you just can't do it. No matter what you try, no matter how much you try to psych yourself up... YOU JUST CAN'T DO IT.

In such circumstances, perhaps the best thing that could happen to you is getting pi**ed off. And when I say pi**ed off.. I mean REALLY, REALLY PI**ED OFF !!

Let that nagging feeling get under your skin and take your sleep away from you. Let your sleep be filled up with nightmares of failures...

and see what happens the next day!!

Sometimes, it is best to shed the "good boy" image...

Sometimes, it is best to get pi**ed off!

Now playing: Fatboy Slim - Because We Can
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 04, 2007


“I need more money,” he said. “I need to work harder and make more money. There are lots of things I need to buy, that I need to enjoy; and in order to fulfil my dreams,” he paused, and looked up at her, “I need money,” he ended, exhaling deeply.

She quietly looked at him for a few seconds before asking, “Will you ever be satisfied? Will you ever have enough?” The tinge of irritation was all too apparent.

“NEVER!!” he barked back. “I shall never have enough. The sole reason why humans were placed on earth was so that they are never satisfied. It is foolish to think of being satisfied. Look around you. The world today is what it is because man over centuries has remained unsatisfied. The moment we become satisfied with our surroundings, with whatever we have achieved, all progress will come to a screeching halt. Don’t be greedy, but stay unsatisfied.”

She was overcome by the force of his argument, and his fiery gaze. She lowered her eyes and quietly walked away.

Now playing: Pink Floyd - Money
via FoxyTunes