Friday, December 31, 2010

Poisonous Snakes of India

Snakes are one of the most dreaded and feared creatures in the entire Animal Kingdom. Though many religions have depicted snakes to be holy and to be worshipped, but still, most of the human race is obsessed with attaching the tag of fear with anything that is related to snakes.

India, with its vast variety of climates and natural vegetation, is home to more than 200 species of land snakes. It is therefore, obvious that encounters with snakes is very common all around the country. And so, it is all the more essential to know important facts about snakes, contrary to myths that go around demonizing all snakes.

Despite the large no. of snake species, there are only 5 species of venomous (poisonous) snakes in India. They are :

1. The King Cobra
2. The common Cobra
3. The common Krait
4. Russel’s Viper
5. Saw-scaled Viper

The most important thing when finding a snake unexpectedly is to find out whether it is a venomous or non-venomous snake. The following chart makes it easy to ascertain this very fact.

The important points to know about each of these poisonous snakes are as follows:

1. The King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)

One is not expected to encounter a King Cobra usually, unless one ventures deep into the dense rain forests, which are the homes to this highly poisonous snake. The King Cobra can be identified by its large size (upto 12-13 feet) and a “^” sign on its neck. It does not bear the usual ‘spectacle’ mark like the common Cobra. It’s venom is neurotoxic (affects the nervous system) as well as slightly cardiotoxic (affects the heart).

2. The Common Cobra (Naja)

One of the most commonly recognized of Indian snakes, the Cobra is easily identified by its hood and a single or double spectacle mark on the hood. Though the hood cannot be seen in a dead Cobra, the snake retracts its hood usually while in motion. It can grow to a length of 2 metres. The common Cobra is a somewhat aggressive snake, having a neurotoxic and slightly hemotoxic (affects the blood) venom.

3. The common Krait (Bungarus caeruleus)

The Krait is probably the most common poisonous snake found across India. Though it is smaller than a cobra in length, it’s body is darker in color ranging from a blue-black to a bluish grey. The most striking mark of identification is the presence of white cross bands throughout its body. It is essentially a nocturnal hunter and is seldom encountered during the day. It has an extremely neurotoxic venom which leads to rapid muscle paralysis. It’s venom is much more toxic than that of a cobra.

4. Russel’s Viper (Daboia russelii)

The Russel’s Viper is another common Indian poisonous snake which is less closely associated with human settlements than cobras or Kraits. It is also a nocturnal hunter ,but ,becomes diurnal during cool days. When threatened, they curve their body in the form of ‘S’ shaped loops and produce a hissing sound louder than any other snake. They can be easily identified by the presence of 3 series of dark brown spots on the back of a yellow, tan, or brown body. The important point in the identification is the presence of a black ring around each of these spots and further intensified by a rim of yellow or white. There are other harmless snakes with similar dark spots on their backs, but they are not circumscribed by a black ring. The Russel’s Viper has a highly hemotoxic venom.

5. Saw-scaled Viper (Echis carinatus)

It is a small snake which may grow up to two and a half feet. It has small, white, diamond-shaped and somewhat square patches along the middle of the back. The head has a distinct white mark, which may sometimes resemble a trident. When disturbed, it coils itself up in the shape of the figure ‘8’. It rubs its body producing a sound like that of sandpaper. Each of its scales is ridged in the middle like a saw, hence its name, the saw-scaled viper. Its venom is highly hemotoxic.

Though the above five are the only poisonous snakes one can find in India, the various sea-snakes are an addition to these poisonous snakes, as all sea snakes are deadly poisonous. But it is rare to encounter a sea snake commonly.

Apart from these, the only other snake which can cause some harm to humans is the Python. But pythons are usually very lazy creatures and not usually big enough to trouble adult humans.

In spite of the presence of such common poisonous snakes around human habitat, still the most commonly found snake in everyday-life is the harmless ‘Rat-snake’. It is a dull colored average sized snake which feeds on rodents as its name suggests. It is commonly mistaken to be poisonous, and hence is killed.

One can find the various remedies for a snake-bite all around. But what is important is to keep a few important tips in mind when encountering a snake.

  • Do not panic and run around on seeing a snake. There may be other snakes around too which you might step upon.
  • Stay dead still if you are within striking distance of the snake.
  • Hold your nerves. Do not disturb or provoke the snake. It will more often than not move away from you itself.
  • Do not approach a snake when it is cornered. (For that matter, any animal that is cornered is expected to attack when approached !)
  • Using the above features, try to identify whether the snake is poisonous or not. But do not try to handle it by yourself or by any stick or any other object.
  • The snake is bound to move to a hiding place. Keep a lookout for his movements if it is entering a house or a room while keeping a safe distance. (So that it can be easily found if and when some wildlife support staff arrives for help.)
  • Never try your agility even if the snake looks tired and still. It can attack with the quickest of reactions if you get too close.
  • Most importantly, do not kill the snake just because it is a snake. Snakes are living beings too and will not harm you unless you disturb them.

Picture Credits: Google Images

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bride & The Prejudiced...

A very familiar scene:

Boy and girl, a very committed couple since long, having a candle-light dinner, with some soft mushy music playing in the background…(obviously!) are lost deep in each other’s eyes, when…

Boy: My princess…
Girl: My angel…
Boy: I love you…
Girl: I love you too…
Boy: Will you marry me?
Girl: Ohhh… YES!!
Boy: Great. Then let’s get you converted…
Girl: …… ??!??!!??!!

Well, maybe it’s not usually as bluntly put as that. Or maybe it is. I don’t really know. But it certainly is put sooner or later before a person decides to marry someone he (or sometimes… she) loves, who belongs to a different religion/caste/community.

And all this while people tell me that the new, young and developing India has moved into the twenty-first century!! (Really?)

Which makes me wonder that why would someone want to change a person he loves! People have simply no issues when they ‘supposedly’ decide to fall in love. No issues still while going around the town dating that someone special. And no issues still more while flaunting their ‘committed’ status on Facebook, Orkut and what not.

But when it comes to actually marrying a person from a different background, issues start appearing from absolutely nowhere. Then is the time when age-old and absolutely pathetic reasons fly out from left, right and center.

We have such different customs and traditions…
My family won’t accept her without getting converted…
We have to answer the society…

Do we ever realize the heights of ridiculous prejudices regarding different communities in our own country, though we see it all around us, everyday of our lives?

My granny’s cousin was so prejudiced against certain communities that she wouldn’t even let such a person anywhere near her kitchen, let alone eat the food prepared by him/her. Unfortunately, she passed away before I could put some of my questions for her to answer.

For any such person prejudiced against other communities, who happily eats food cooked by someone he or she approves, I’d just like to take things back to their origin. Does such a prejudiced person actually know…
  • the caste/community/religion of the person who sowed seeds in the farms?
  • the caste/community/religion of the person who carried the grain to the crusher?
  • the caste/community/religion of the person who crushed the grain into flour?
  • the caste/community/religion of the person who packed the flour?
  • the caste/community/religion of the person who distributed it to the market?
The answer is a big NO!

We all travel in buses, trains and planes. Do we ever bother to ascertain the caste, community or religion of the driver or pilot? Someone in whose hands we literally put our lives…!!!

Does a person stop sending his/her child to the school because one of the teachers is from a different community? Does a person refuse to do business with someone of the other religion? Does a critically ill patient first ascertain the caste of the doctor on duty?

NO! Because those are our needs! In times of need, we let all our prejudices go into hibernation. Only to appear with renewed vigor when it’s the time for marriage!

And most often, it is the girl who is expected to ‘convert’ if she decides to marry into a different community (though there are many examples otherwise too… as per my own experiences!).

And then I again wonder why such ‘wisdom’ dawns on the individual not once before the talk of marriage. It baffles my mind no end. Are people in a state of illusion or delusion while they are falling in love? Do they imagine their love-interest to be of their own communities? Do they forget all such reasons of ‘wisdom’ while they date?

Why would a sane person try to change anything about someone he or she so dearly loves?

I have actually known people who broke-off their ‘relationship’ (that’s such a big misnomer!) just because the other didn’t agree to convert into their community. I seriously ought to be informed if there’s anything more ridiculous than that.

I would simply ask such people, that “while falling in love with that special person, did you ask your family’s, community’s or the society’s permission? (And did they allow you?) And even if your partner accepts your preposterous demands, wouldn’t you be changing the very identity of the person?

What would be better?

1. A bride who doesn’t convert, but cares for everyone and follows all the customs of her new family as they should be followed.
2. A bride who converts (or is from the same community) but cares for nothing.

We, in India, are brought up on a daily dose of some outrageous prejudices regarding different communities. Though in unspoken terms, we are also taught to forget all such prejudices in times of materialistic needs. But as it is said, ‘Love is blind’, one becomes blind while falling in love.

I so dearly wish that love was deaf as well, so that all such ridiculous talks from our society wouldn’t affect lovers' ears…

Picture Credits: Google Images

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Glorious India at CWG 2010...

The nineteenth edition of the “Common Wealth Games” has concluded successfully at Delhi. Contrary to some impulsive negative publicity amongst the so-called educated Indians all around the globe, the ‘Games’ were hosted superbly.

Personally, I couldn’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness a sporting event of such magnitude. And hence, I booked my tickets for the games well in advance so that I could be a part of the extravaganza.

Though I missed the grand ‘Opening Ceremony’ (as I couldn’t get past the ‘sold-out’ status on the tickets website) there was still lots to experience and enjoy during the events. And Delhi was wonderfully decorated, ready to play host to 70 countries from around the world.

As expected, the ‘Games-venues’ & stadiums were simply magnificent leading to a more than pleasant viewing experience. I had no problem in traveling between different venues, thanks to the efficient ‘Delhi Metro’ which had provided free conveyance to ticket holders during the games.

The many layered security was right on the mark but posed no problems to the viewers. The security personnel all around were vigilant, quick and polite which was sort of a pleasant surprise as compared to that at any cricket ground around India. The young and enthusiastic ‘CWG-volunteers’ were more than helpful and made sure that the spectators faced no problems during the games.

The combination of all these things made for an unforgettable sporting experience where people could admire the talent and hard work of the sportspersons. That was and should have been the centre of attraction of ‘Delhi 2010’.

Before the games had even begun, some people had started a sort of campaign to boycott the games. Just because some corrupt officials of the CWG Organizing Committee had bungled up crores of Government money, people were ready to punish the athletes who had worked hard for years to perform at such an event. The same people would be more than delirious in support when India hosts the Cricket World Cup in early 2011. And then they cry out that sports other than cricket are not supported in India. Simply ridiculous !

But the games went on and were a resounding success which is aptly exemplified by the performance of the Indian athletes who returned with more than hundred medals. And there were even more of them who missed a medal by a whisker. And also those who participated and performed their best. Wouldn’t it have been a great dis-service to all those players and athletes by crying for a boycott of the games itself ?

People shout if some corrupt government officials run away with the tax-payers money. But they are happy to go crazy after an IPL where a certain Lalit Modi scams into thousands of crores just by himself.

It is time people shunned these double standards and catch hold of the corrupt officials instead of trying to demoralize the athletes for no fault of theirs. People find it very comfortable to voice their opinion from the comforts of their homes or offices. But never do they consider the amount of hard work the players put in their training.

Just for an example, Ashwini Akkunji (one of the winners of the women’s 4 X 400m relay gold) hadn’t been to her home for the past one year just in order to train for the games.

It was a moving experience to be in the various stadiums watching the players perform their best to bring glory to their respective countries. It is a heavenly experience when thousands of people stand in respect to one’s national anthem as a result of one’s excellence in his or her sport. And every winner in the CWG 2010 has been lucky to experience just that.

The games were not about money or economy or officials or politicians or anything of the sort. They were about sports and the sportspersons. The sportspersons were and are the real heroes of the games and we should acknowledge their efforts and the glory they have brought to their nation.

The following is a small clip I have created which I dedicate to all Indian sportspersons who have brought glory to India and will continue to do so for times to come.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shaadi ke Side Effects....

It was just the other day, while reading Pooja’s ‘Reflections on Indian Marriage’ (the featured post on the latest issue of ‘Kadzilla’s Lounge’), that I had to log off and rush in search for some fresh air. Those who know me very closely would vouch for the fact that I don’t just grab at my throat, cry out for help and make a dash for the open spaces unless I’m seriously stirred.

And that was what the problem was with the piece of text I had just read. It was superbly written on a topic that touches a rather sensitive spot in my mind. The feeling of Déjà vu quickly took me to the very first day (rather night) of 2010 AD.

We had just finished partying for the Birthday of our close friend. (I had always found it interesting how he chose ‘New Year’s Day’ to sneak into the world to torment us all for the rest of our lives with his dumb questions, until I was enlightened by the fact that since he had been born and brought up in some remote village, no one actually remembered his real birth date. So they decided what better a day to choose for the same than 1st of January !)

So I was just dropping him home that foggy night when he asked me to pop in for a few minutes as usual. We were greeted by his elder brother at the door and were lead in through the side door into the house that looked asleep already. But to my surprise, we were led to his brother’s bedroom, the contents of which looked as follows…

1. His dad sitting right in the middle of the large bed, with an assortment of packets and papers around him, deep in some pensive thought.
2. His mom on a chair by the bed, with her face supported by a hand, looking at his dad who was deep in some pensive thought.
3. His ‘bhabhi’ (elder brother’s wife) sitting at the edge of the bed, fidgeting with what looked like the remote of the television.
4. His four year old nephew, who was sitting beside his dad (my friend’s dad, not his own dad as his dad, (the nephew’s dad, not my friend’s dad who was sitting on the bed in a pensive mood) was standing with us), and was trying to load his toy gun.

At the site of us entering the room, the various reactions I got were as follows…

1. His dad looked up, nodded at me, and again looked down going back to his deep thoughts.
2. His mom, straightened up, smiled, and then again went back to supporting her face on her hand and looking at his dad.
3. His ‘bhabhi’ turned towards us, smiled too, and went back to the fidgeting.
4. The little kid didn’t even bother to look up. For him the loading of the gun was of utmost importance lest he would be left wanting if he decided to shoot me.

All in all, something serious. I was provided with a chair and I tentatively sat down on it after touching the parents’ feet as my friend’s brother took his place on the bed as well. It was then, when suddenly, his dad became lively and stated that it was much better now as I was there too. What for, I didn’t know yet. He then asked the lady with the remote to switch the television on. So I guessed we were going to have a show of some new movie.

But to my surprise, as the screen came to life, there were no colorful or animated scenes to be seen. Instead, I saw a list of folders just as one sees on a computer screen. And then a girl’s photograph beamed on the screen… And then, I had to actually pinch myself to believe, what my friend’s dad said to me, if he actually said that…

“We are rating the proposals of girls for Sanju (my friend). We should have a variety in opinion. So you also rate the girls as you think. Then we’ll match everyone’s list. That’ll make it easier to decide on the prospective brides.”

All I remember that I mumbled then was… ^&%%#%& ………….. !?!?!?? while my face turned a few shades of pink.

I looked at my friend who was now imitating his mom and was sitting on a chair besides me holding his face in his hand. “You should ask Sanju. No ?? He’s the one who’ll decide the girl. No ??” was all I could say as my senses started returning to me.

“Ohh… No no. Let’s have everyone’s opinion. Not his alone.” His dad replied handing me a paper and pencil. “Just rate them in decreasing order of preference.”

I turned to look at my friend. The bloke wasn’t even given a paper or pencil. And there he was… smiling behind his palm which hid his mouth. Without letting me think of anything else to say, the slideshow on the screen started. With the picture of each girl that appeared, the lighter shades of pink disappeared from my face which turned to newer shades of red.

With each new picture, everyone commented upon their likes and dislikes about the girl on screen. Except of course, my friend’s mom, who as always the simple and quiet lady, just smiled and looked, and my friend, who kept smiling behind his hand, and the little kid, who by now had started on deciding who the targets for his shooting practice would be.

“I really like this girl !” His brother would say suddenly in between. Which would invariably evoke an “Ehhh… ????” from his wife as she would look back and give him a really good stare. Which would lead him to try to explain the merits of the prospective bride, while sweating from the sides of his head even on that freezing night.

I’d better skip the details of more conversation to save myself from some really embarrassing memories. But in the end, the results were far from a consensus. The dad didn’t like the nose of the girl topping the ‘bhabhi’s’ list, while ‘Girl no. 1’ of the brother’s list didn’t even find a place in his wife’s list. In a nutshell, quite a useless exercise as now, the differences in opinion made everyone even more confused.

Though I could hardly concentrate on the pictures on the screen, as I was more concerned about the new shade of color which my face would be displaying, I just peeked into ‘bhaiya’s’ list and copied names. Only that I listed them in an altogether different random order. My racing mind, after quickly assessing the situation, was swift to thus make a list of my own which matched nobody else’s, thereby adding to the confusion there already was.

I handed in my list to my friend’s dad, threw in the proverbial towel and got up to leave without waiting to hear the declaration of the results. I once again touched the parents’ feet and made a dash out into the foggy night. And as my friend came to see me off he commented how I would have to pass through a similar procedure when I get married too. It was partly because of the big grin he now had and more so because I didn’t think it would be the best idea to punch a guy on his nose on his Birthday (even if it is a symbolic one), that I just bid him a good night and slammed myself inside my car.

Coming back to Pooja’s article about arranged marriages in India, it’s not only a harrowing experience for the bride or groom in search but sometimes also for even those not remotely related to the event.

It is not just the choice of the person planning to get married but also every near and dear and not so near and not so dear ones as well. It is as if, a person’s life partner should be acceptable not only to him or her, but also to their families, relatives, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, neighbors’ relatives, neighbors’ friends and almost everyone they know or even do not know.

The bride, or the groom (like my friend in the case mentioned above) are happy to accept what is acceptable and finalized by everyone else. And so has been happening for generations in our country and our society. And surprisingly, everyone seems to be happy with the procedures followed.

But, as for me, it is not only the bride or the groom, but sometimes even people who aren't even involved in it all are the ones who bear the side effects of an Indian wedding.

In the second part of this post that’s coming up, I’ll relate to my very own experiences about attempts of me being forcefully made a prospective groom…. Huh…

And, by the way, finally the prospective bride for my friend has been selected. And she is the same girl whom I had put at no. 1 in my list…………

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ties that Bind...

It is that special time of the year once again when people all around are busy diving in a sea of emotions for their brothers or sisters... Boys flaunting their 'Rakhi' covered wrists and girls beaming around with all those special gifts... :)

Here is a small collection of videos to further add to the emotions of Raksha-bandhan...







This post is dedicated to my sisters who have always been a special motivating force behind me...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The 10 Question Tag....

One week ago, I had been tagged by Garima with a set of 10 interesting but tough questions to answer. So here I am trying to answer those 10 questions while providing 10 of my own for others to answer.

1) What would you eat – a donut or golgappe?

Ans. Golgappe anyday. :D

2) What would you do to get the remote from your irritating sibling who is watching an action flick and in turn forcing you to watch it, when you want to watch Ducktales?

Ans. I’d tell him that his phone’s ringing and take control of the remote as he rushes to answer it. (I have actually tried that one when I wanted to watch ‘Tom & Jerry’ instead of WWE ! :P )

3) You would want your spouse to be stupid and rich or poor and smart/intelligent?

Ans. I’d go with smart/intelligent and poor.

4) Low neckline or low waist?

Ans. Huh…. ???!!!

5) You know that a member of opposite sex is attracted towards you. You don’t consider that person to be your ‘someone special’. Would you still go ahead and let him/her fall for you to enjoy all the attention?

Ans. Knowing the fact that no one can ever prevent someone from falling for them, - they would fall anyways – I’d let her fall for me while preparing a nice cushion to prevent her from getting hurt by the fall. :) Not for the sake of enjoying all the attention but for acknowledging my gratefulness to her for considering me deserving enough to fall for. I believe that those who rebuke or distance themselves from a person falling for them don’t deserve to be the ones to fall for.

6) What would you do to seek attention of your ignorant spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend?

Ans. Yet to face such a situation. (More so because of me being single rather than being deprived of the attention ! ;) )

7) You have a fetish for ….

Ans. Brand new sports goods. (Specially cricket gear and those brand new cricket balls !)

8.) If given a chance whom would you replace your life with and why?

Ans. Any and all of my friends who have had or are probable to give up their love because of un-accepting parents or family. My parents are sensible enough not to conjure up something as stupid as religion, caste, class or nationality to be the basis of eligibility for the person I choose.

9) What would you do if you get to know that you would die today in next 5 hours?

Ans. I would make sure that I let all those people for whom I have something to convey to, be conveyed that very something, before I’m no more there to let them know what I thought about them.

10) One song that you never get bored of…just ONE??

Ans. Just ONE ?? Well, it’s that ‘Aao na’ one from ‘Kyun Ho Gaya Na’. (I had to search up the movie name to mention it here ! :P Thanks Youtube !)
But I’ll name one more. Please…. Just ONE MORE…. :P
That ‘Naam ada likhna’ one from the movie ‘Yahaan’ !

Well now that I’ve finished answering to Garima’s 10 questions, I’d like to put up a set of my own.

1. Which would you choose for a pet ? Fish or a Dog ?

2. You are stranded drenched in the rain at the roadside, with no possible mode of transport available in the heavy rain. Who would you call for help without a second thought ?

3. If you are given a chance to be a non-living object, what would you be ?

4. What would be the three things you would be worried the most about if you suddenly had to shift to a new residence ?

5. On a rainy Sunday afternoon, would you
(a) Enjoy the yummiest of snacks with hot coffe/tea on the terrace ? or
(b) Go for a walk in the rain with that ‘someone special’ ?

6. What is the first thing that you observe about a stranger ?

7. Which one subject at school would you have skipped if given the choice ?

8. En route to your best friend’s B’Day party, you are buying a gift for him/her when you suddenly see the last piece of something which you wanted for dear life. You have money to buy just one thing. What would you buy ?

9. If you were allowed to go back in time and un-do one thing, what would it be ?

10. One movie that you can watch again any day and any hour. Just ONE ??

I tag back Garima with these 10 questions from me…. ;) :P apart from also tagging Kaddu and Avada Kedavra…. :D

And every one of you reading this post, consider yourself tagged ! ;)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An open letter to the 'honor-killer(s)'...

Congratulations !

You must be highly delighted at your success of late. Especially around North India, where you have managed to accomplish no less than nineteen incidents between April 9 and June 30 of 2010. Which translates to about one every four days. And it clearly appears that there is a lot more to come.

It really intrigues me as to how and from where do you manage to gather such courage and inspiration to shed the blood of your own. Is it the commendation from your community that drives you to act ? Or is it something bigger ??

Oh… I’m sorry ! I completely forgot that it is the threat to your family’s and your community’s honor that drives you to take the path to glory. Certainly, you will go down in history as champions for the cause of honor.

But my idle mind fails to understand what exactly is the honor that you fight for. Maybe it is something you get in exchange of the highly expensive weddings that you plan for your children ? Or something that you receive in exchange of the big fat dowry that you give and take in such arranged marriages ? Or, to sum it up, it is what you get in return for selling off your very own children ??

Ok. I get it. Your honor is centered on your children’s marriage.

It doesn’t matter then, if you are a cheat in your profession. Or even if you are a traitor to your nation. But your honor rests solely on how and where your child marries. Wonderful that you have managed to keep it as simple as that.

Please pardon me for my stupidity as I used to link your honor to your beating up your wives in the confines of your houses. Or for that matter, to any such instances where I found you turning a blind eye to any misbehavior towards a female either in public or in your own home.

Maybe that’s why you don’t care to loose your honor while openly mouthing foul words in public. Or staring at more than suggestive huge-sized posters of ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘X’ grade movies that decorate your cities and towns. How foolish of me to link your honor to such ‘normal’ things.

Obviously, it is absolutely normal to chase girls around on your bikes or cars. And it is also absolutely normal for you to stare at girls your daughter’s age. And maybe even go a few steps further. You don’t need to care about losing your honor there. But of course your honor is at stake when your daughter/son/sister/niece/nephew dares to choose their life-partners. Bravo !

Ohh… But I see where this is leading to. You actually have no real problems with your family member marrying someone from a different community. The religion, caste, gotra, village and all that rot is just a big cover-up. It is actually love that you cannot tolerate.

Ok, I know that you searched for love too when you were young. And I also understand that you never had the courage to stand for your likings. It had to be sacrificed for the sake of honor too, back in those days. So obviously, how can you let the next generation have their say even if they manage to gather courage to stand for their love ??? It is so very unfair to you.

Kudos to you that you will not hesitate to even kill your own loved ones to get justice !

But I must applaud you to turn all your vengeance towards the females who commit the ‘crime’ of love. I must say you have used your brains to the fullest and have exhibited extreme bravery in silencing the female ‘criminals’. That is why, most, if not all cases of you killing for honor are from the girl’s family.

I can only admire your valor in brutally and mercilessly killing your daughters/sisters/nieces/granddaughters and keeping your honor intact. It really glorifies you as champions of honor.

Obviously, it isn’t clever to kill your own son/brother/nephew/grandson. A female is a safe target and a better route to glory. I can only laugh at all those poor souls who relate the lack of education as the reason for you being a champion 'honor-killer'. If only they knew that many of you are highly educated people too.

So, in the end, I apologize for having so many meaningless myths about you in my mind. I will always remember that basically, you are dead against love. And that being a male-dominated society, you obviously cannot tolerate a girl standing up for her love which then leaves you no control over her life. And if she tries to do anything of the sort, it is a direct threat to your honor.

I specially commend all you elderly female 'honor-killers' who are providing the much needed support to their male counterparts in maintaining the society’s honor.

People say that our country is hundreds of years behind many other countries in terms of development. But I can surely say that with honor-killers like you, who amazingly carry on to protect our ‘culture’ and ‘traditions’, we can certainly give the Taliban a run for their money.

Once again my greetings to you for being real 'honor-killers' and efficiently killing our country’s honor for the world to see… !!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Debt to Debt....

Case Study #1 :

A small and happy Indian family. A husband, his wife and their son. The parents ensure the best possible upbringing of their son. The son completes his studies, doing exceedingly well all through. He gets a job overseas and hence migrates abroad. He works hard and well enough to get much more than a decent salary. He uses his finances to get his parents a beautiful villa back in India with all the luxuries possible, including servants, drivers, etc. He sends them a big cheque every month and calls them once a week.

A few years later when his father suggests him to return, he explains that his job abroad is a must for them to have a good life. And also that he wouldn’t be able to adjust in India again. But he ensures that his parents are well cared for.

Case Study #2 :
A similar small and happy Indian family. A husband, his wife and their son. The parents ensure the best possible upbringing of their son. The son completes his studies, doing exceedingly well all through. He gets a decent job in their town itself and so the family lives happily together.

A few months into the job, the son falls in love with a girl colleague. But their families have completely different backgrounds. The girl’s family is strictly against their marriage. The guy, hence, gives up his love and decides to marry a girl of his family’s choice for the sake of his parents’ wish to have a daughter-in-law.

The above two scenarios, though completely different, are a common occurrence in the Indian society. Most often than not, you will find young boys and girls taking steps to ensure proper care and well being of their parents, while also ensuring priority to their parents’ wishes. Something which is really heart-warming to find all around us.

But a deeper understanding of such actions provides evidence to a much heavier basis to the above attitudes.

In the first scenario above, the son was more concerned about his parents being well cared for, while in the second scenario, the son put his parents’ wishes on priority. And if you ask anyone, neither of them would be doing any wrong on their parts. In fact, both are being the good sons anyone could ask for.

But in most cases, (surely not all) the reason behind such a caring attitude of children towards their parents is because they seem to realize the great debt they owe to their parents. As per my experiences, people tend to care for their parents in order to repay that debt. You will most often hear someone say. “My parents have done so much for me. So I can’t be selfish. I have to care for them too.”

What I don’t understand here is that do parents care for their little kids so that they can pile on that debt on them which could be retrieved later in life ???

Obviously NO ! Parents do whatever they do for their kids because they love their kids more than anything. So where does this debt thing comes in between… ???

Suppose a guy has to borrow some money from a money-lender in some unfavorable times. He can always repay that debt once he has enough money of his own. But how can one even expect to repay the debt of one’s parents by any of his or her actions ??? In fact, considering the unconditional love of one’s parents to be as a debt is, in a way, reducing it to something cheap and materialistic.

And if one is adamant enough to consider it all as a debt, then, it is absolutely certain that such a debt can never be repaid by any action. Even if one lives for a million years earning a zillion bucks per hour !!!

And if one is adamant enough to consider it all as a debt, then, he will surely take this forward in the next generation onto his kids. Which usually happens later in life. People who believe in this ‘debt’ business towards their parents are the ones who deal for their children’s happiness later in return.

Why can’t people love their parents instead of trying to repay some debt all their lives. Our parents will never ask us for sacrifices in return for any ‘debt’. In fact, they won’t even ask for care or affection. It is actually onto the children to have real feelings for their parents which comes from within. Not due to any obligations.

If a person marries someone of her or his choice, that does not automatically mean that the person will stop loving, caring and respecting one's parents.

On the other hand, there are parents who demand a sacrifice from their child in the form of breaking off with the love-interest and marrying someone of their choice. Such parents are those who have carried the 'debt psychology' towards their own parents and hence expect the same from their own children.

The real happiness our parents have is through seeing us happily leading a good life and by us being with them. No amount of money or sacrifices would give any happiness to our parents if they see us unhappy or don’t see us at all.

I hope people would understand that they should care for their parents out of their love for them. Not because of trying to repay any debt.

We care for our parents because we love them. Not because we have to...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seven Random Facts about Myself...

This is the first ‘Tagged’ post on my blog, thanks to Garima. The following are just seven random facts about me.

1) I hate tea !

Though I never ever tasted it, I still hate the sight of tea. And being around people who literally survive on tea isn’t much fun either. Here’s an interesting incident that happened a few years back.

We were appearing for our University examination practicals in Anatomy at the Medical college. While in the midst of it all, I saw the attendant distributing small biscuit packets to the students. And much to my dislike it was followed by tea in small disposable cups. Before I could be handed one too, I saw my roomie Tarun being provided with one. As he didn’t usually like tea himself, he just refused taking it. Which was heard by our HOD (Head of the Department) who happened to be passing by.

As he was informed about Tarun’s dislike for tea, he softly said the following sentence in utmost seriousness. “Abhi pi le nahi to 6 maheene baad piyega !” (Better have one now or you’ll have it after six months). Which would surely happen if he failed him in the exam.

To which I saw Tarun gulping down the whole cup in one single go. Thanks to the Almighty, I finished up my work before my turn of being served. Otherwise I don’t know how many years I would have had to spend studying Anatomy… :P

2) I check the time often !

In fact, too often. Every few minutes I find myself looking at either the wall clock, the time on the table-piece or on my laptop. In fact, I’ve sort of unconsciously put a big clock on my desktop’s sidebar. Come to think of it, I must be checking the time at least 10-15 times every hour !

And another thing regarding time is that I keep my watch behind the actual time. You must have heard people keeping their watches ahead of time so that they don’t get late. But ever heard of anyone keeping it behind time ??? :D

3) I have this thing with animals !

I don’t know how, but I can communicate with most animals. Not verbally though… (If you are trying to imagine me making all sorts of animal sounds :P) But I can read their minds and nature. Something that really helps me to be friends with most animals quite easily.

4) I am bad at making choices !

Not just bad, I’m really lousy at choosing gifts or greeting cards for anyone. I’ve often entered stores to get one of those and took hours in choosing a suitable gift. It even happens if I’m trying to select an e-card online. :P

5) I survive on short-term memory !

I know people won’t believe it, but I’ve seen the biggest of examinations through by studying only the night before. Even those thick and heavy Medicine books have been read (and forgotten… :P) in just a day’s span. Maybe the reason that people at college had this thing going that I use the books as a pillow… :D

That doesn’t mean I’m good at cramming up things. In fact, I’m even worse at mugging up stuff. (A big reason why I shouldn’t be in the Med field as it is like in India… ) But once I remembered the value of ‘pie’ (22/7) to a hundred digits after the decimal both forwards and backwards in no more than fifteen minutes. Though I had already forgotten it by the next morning… :P

Maybe that’s why I can never remember phone numbers or Birthdays. :(

6) Currently my Blood Group is ‘A negative’. It was ‘B positive’ before !!!

Maybe you’ll have a hard time believing this just as I had when I saw my blood group change. But really, before I entered Medical college, my blood group was mentioned as ‘B positive’ wherever required. Surely it must have been investigated before being confirmed.

But when I tested my blood group myself during our Physiology practicals at college, it came out to be ‘A negative’ ! Well, yes, there may have been a mistake. So I got others to check mine too. But in the end it was confirmed to be ‘A’ instead of ‘B’. Strange ??? :D

7) I’m just not into religious rituals, ceremonies or functions !

I’d rather use my time doing something constructive that the Almighty would be happy about than having it one-on-one with him, trying to convince him to get pleased and bless me with what I don’t deserve. For me, belief is more important than praying.

So those were some strange random facts about me. I invite anyone who reads this post to tag herself/himself and let us all know some interesting facts about themselves. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Before it gets too late...

The other day, I saw the movie '2012'. Though its review requires a separate post in itself, I would like to share one scene from the movie which conveys more than just one message.

Here's an old man working in a music troupe on a cruise ship. He hasn't talked to his son ever since the son married a Japanese girl. But now he calls his son after knowing that the world is about to end....

A few messages that this short scene conveys beautifully are....

* Parents always love their children. No matter if they disapprove of certain decisions and pretend to break away, there is always the love....

* Love knows no boundaries. Be it either caste, religion, race or nationality. We ultimately love irrespective of any differences....

* One should not wait to accept and express love. One never knows when it gets a bit too late to do so....

I hope you like the scene. Specially the cute little girl... !

Saturday, March 20, 2010

True Lies...

We all seem to have our moments of madness. And it was in one such moment when I had decided to jump on-board a social networking website. Just as per my personal preference, I don’t really subscribe to the fact that my life is one useless bit if I don’t dedicate a few good hours every day socializing on one or maybe more such networking websites. To cut it short, I have much better ways to get busy rather than ‘scrapping’ people just for nothing.

Does that signify that I’m not social ?

Maybe. I don’t really know. But I’d rather not be social instead of troubling the mind no end by surfing those socializing platforms.

The other day, I was just checking out if I had been ‘scrapped’ too when I committed the big mistake of drifting into the profiles of ‘Friends’, ‘Friends of Friends’, ‘Friends of Friends of Friends’, and so on….

One strange thing that caught my eye was a typical similarity of a part of personal preferences of an average profile. I say average because there is a significant majority of people who are simply nowhere near the likes of a normal person if you are to go by the look of their profiles.

The thing that I picked out was that almost every other female (and even males) had mentioned in their ‘Personal’ section that they hate lies and liars. Some had mentioned liars as one of the turn-offs while others had commented things like “I cannot tolerate lies…”, “I hate liars…”, “I never forgive liars…” and the sorts. Some even added an ‘of course’ to lies and liars while categorizing them in the list of negatives to add a matter-of-factness to the statement.

It really amazes me no end when I realize the number of honest and truthful people we have between us. Of course only honest and truthful people can be turned off by lies and liars…. NO ?

Or does it concern just the lies coming from the other end ? Ohhh… so you mean one can lie himself/herself, but is entitled to hate the other liars out rightly ?? Because if it’s not the case, then what do we really do if not tell a lie when we…

* Tell our brother/sister to tell our friends on phone that we are sick and will not be able to make it…. Just because we don’t feel like going ??? *
* Use the worst possible expletives while on the roads or with friends…. But behave as the most sober persons at formal gatherings ??? *
* Are going out with that ‘someone’ while having a serious ‘affair’…. But telling our parents that we will be busy in classes at the college ??? *

And many more such everyday instances.

So why are people averse to lies and liars ? There are actually some people, who, while being oblivious to their own lies, look at someone else’s lie as an unpardonable offence. Some even decide their preferences in relationships on such ‘offences’. These are the people who cannot take lies….

So do we really need to be so judgmental about lies and liars ? If not, then is hating lies and liars the evergreen ‘fashion statement’ for personal profiles on and offline ?? Something that certifies instant nobleness to one’s personal profile, indirectly suggesting that he or she is not and can never be a liar.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Those agonising 20 minutes...

It’s been more than six hours, but I still haven’t really got over it…

In fact, just six hours ago, I went through the most agonizing twenty minutes of my life till date.

But it had to happen sooner than later. And ‘he’ finally broke the 200 run barrier !

I was busy diving deep into my books (have an exam coming up on the 28th) when I just checked on the on-field proceedings online. And the next moment I found myself down to the living room, my eyes fixed to the telly.

He was on 190, just four short of the highest ever. And ten short of the unbelievable. And with plenty of overs to spare. This appeared to be a piece of cake.

But MSD has sort of learnt to do things at times when they are least required. And today was no different. When all MSD was being able to manage in many recent outings was nothing more than single digit or barely double digit scores, before lobbing the ball safely to a half-sleeping fielder, today he had decided against the usual form.

He was just hitting balls out of the park and on top of it, making sure that he takes a single on the last delivery each over…

So, during the span of those twenty odd minutes, and about 40 available deliveries, MSD hogged the strike. Until finally, it was left to the last over with still one run to complete the amazing 200 feat. And MSD on strike again to begin with…

But thanks to a desperate and well-timed dive by Hashim Amla on the square leg boundary, they were restricted to a single. The next ball ending the most agonizing twenty minutes or so that my mind can recall.

We read and watch super-humans in comics and movies, but there’s one in real life too.

Sachin reaching 200


Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Name Is KHAN...

It is now a well known fact that we in India like to mesmerize ourselves with utter non-issues and spend days and weeks at a stretch in awe of them.

The release of ‘MNIK(even I’m getting the hang of calling movies by their abbreviations now) in a state of absolute chaos precisely certifies the above statement. The way we let our lives and property be at the mercy of a bunch of goons somewhat indicates our progress as a democratic nation.

Not once did those buffoons think of the nuisance they are creating by protesting against the release of the movie. Though, the only way of protest they ever knew was to break and destruct their own property in their own city. But excuse me. How can they think ?? How can one expect a bunch of empty-headed hooligans to even try to think about anything ??

The truth of the matter is that such goons (or the so-called party workers of any political party or outfit in India) are no more than a group of unemployed, uneducated and probably illiterate people with an added quality of destructive tendency in them, who run amok at the slightest provocation by their moronic leaders trying their best to gain publicity.

I’m extremely extremely glad that a person has shown courage to stand for what is absolutely fair against such creeps. It doesn’t matter if that person happens to be a Shah Rukh Khan. At least he has shown the goons their proper place. SRK has won a lot of admiration in the past few days from me and probably from countless other Indians by the way he has tried to put forward his point.

People question his controversial statement regarding the participation of Pakistan’s cricketers in IPL by saying he himself didn’t opt for any of them for his team KKR. But obviously, while making his bids, SRK, (whose KKR have done terribly in the last two seasons) needed players who not only would perform well but more so would be able to be allowed to perform in the first place.

What if, suppose, he had opted for Abdul Razzaq, only to find out later that Razzaq would not be available because of denial of a visa or an NOC from his cricket board. The decision not to opt for a Pakistani player was obviously made keeping in thought about their chances of availability rather than anything else.

Those moronic right winged fundamentalist political outfits not just in Mumbai, but all over India find it an issue not to have any sporting relations with an enemy country. They are least bothered about the real issues that India faces in everyday life. All that they are concerned about is what actions or words by anyone hurts their (or the nation’s) sentiments or has brought disrespect to all.

I wonder who has given them the abilities to judge what or what not hurts the public sentiments. It is always just a handful of evil political leaders who make statements and provoke the good-for-nothing party workers to let all hell loose on property and life.

I wonder what wrong did SRK do in stating about Pakistan’s cricketers playing in India. He merely said it on their merit as cricketers and not on their nationality. Something which these morons are hell bent to try to prove. And no one has the business to ask him for an apology which he wouldn’t agree to tender too to any hooligans or goon.

And when those head-strong and spineless spokespersons of such political outfits shout on camera with their paid/unpaid hooligans supporting them in the background, we should better show them their real place in the trash cans. Just as SRK did !

And as he says in his one of his recent interviews, let us show them that we are good-thinking bloody Indians. These scoundrels just cannot take us for granted.


You can watch the interview here :

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Friday, January 29, 2010

Nuisance Value...

It was one not so fine a day last week, when I woke up rather early in the morning. Not that I’m any enthusiastic about shunning the warm quilt and rising in the small hours, running joyously around to welcome a fresh day. And that wasn’t any different a day too. But the thing that jolted me out of my deep slumber was some strange noise. For a moment I felt as if I was having a dream (read : nightmare) of being held captive in a cinema hall and being made to watch a song sequence.

But as I rubbed my eyes and got the ragged old wheels of my mind to turn, I realized that it wasn’t a nightmare. It was something real, and much worse.

Once again, after a few weeks, some bright-minded people had put up big loud-speakers about the place which were blowing to the best of their capabilities. Presently playing ‘bhajans’ to some God on the tunes of a cheap item song. I couldn’t remember what the song was like, but recognized the familiar tune.

Having been woken up, after repeated attempts to bury my head deep beneath heaps of pillows, I finally gave up and readied myself for a day full of high decibels of spirituality.

By about 3 pm in the afternoon, the stuff really started to get to my head when some guy (supposedly the one in charge of the sound system) decided that this was his chance to hog all the attention and started shouting on the microphone.

Well, all that he seemed to shout was either a ‘halii’ or a ‘heliou’ instead of a ‘hello’, which made it all the more irritating. So, I set out towards the source of the sound, to give whoever it was, a good piece of my mind.

Here I would like to mention that our house is situated at just a street’s distance from the banks of where the Ganges once used to flow. As the water has moved quite a distance away, the land adjoining the bank has been occupied by numerous temples and ‘ashrams’ which organize some sort of religious functions or the other every few days, and let the neighborhood have a good deal of it.

The present event being no different was a ‘maha-yagya’ of sorts as I could see on big banners as I moved towards the particular ‘ashram’. No sooner had I reached the place when I saw a big crowd entering the premises in the form of a procession with a couple of big luxury cars in the front. No wonder carrying the chief guest who claimed to be some ‘shankaracharya’ from somewhere.

Assessing the lack of any options to get myself to the source of the sound, I was forced to retreat and wait for it all to get over.

After two unbearable noisy days, I finally heard someone announcing the arrival of the Divisional Commissioner himself to grace the occasion. I felt a big relief on the prospects of it all coming to a much needed end.

The commissioner came, gave a speech and left, not once giving a look to the numerous big-sized loud-speakers hooked on to every nook and corner which were performing at their best. I am quite sure he didn’t because the noise continued with some increased whim after he left. A particular person was sporty enough to request the organizers to plant a couple of big-sized loud-speakers right on the roof of his house…

And that was when I lost it. It was already dark when I reached the spot. The ‘pandal’ was absolutely empty, with an assortment of pictures of gods and goddesses exhibited on a podium, and with the sound system blaring at full volume with no one at the controls. I saw a guy approaching who pretty much looked like one of the organizers what with a bearded face, a ‘tilak’ on the forehead, dressed in a pair of jeans and pullover and with a small bag in his hand.

He mistook me as one who had got late in ‘paying’ (no pun intended) my dues to the gods and hurried towards me to get the work done. And that was when I let it all loose on him. The blaring loud-speakers which made me shout at the loudest made me all the more heated up to let him have it in no uncertain terms.

He : Yes ??

Me : I want to get this shut. RIGHT NOW !!!

He : Why ? (he actually had the nerve to ask me…)

I don’t quite remember what I replied to that, but I shouted without a stop for the next five minutes.

I then gave him an option to either go and get the sound-man immediately and stop the nonsense or otherwise, he’ll be a sound-system short.

I don’t really know what made him decide to go and fetch the guy, whom I saw coming ever so nonchalantly, until he saw the look on my face and hurried a bit. But to my relief, he quickly stopped the system. That was peace for the rest of the night.

Though they were at it again the next foggy morning. But by now they had cleverly turned the loud-speakers to a different direction (towards the city zoo which is in our area too. I really pity the poor animals) so that I wouldn’t bother them again. This nuisance continued for the major part of eight days, making life hell for whoever came in line of the high volume of the loud-speakers.

It just goes to show how people misuse religion in our country and can get away with murder in the name of religion. (they actually do…) I had a good mind to report them to the police station. But seeing that they had the patronage of the commissioner himself, I felt it would all be of no use.

I would like to inform everyone reading this that there is a particular ‘Public Nuisance Act’ through which you can complain about any such nonsense that troubles you and others, specially in the name of religion. (IPC Public Nuisance sections 268-295)

In these months when kids and students are ever so busy preparing for their examinations, it is all the more important that we put our foot down on such stupidity. There are old and ill people in neighborhoods, schools and offices that need a certain degree of quietness to function. We, as responsible citizens need to raise a voice against such acts of public nuisance that affects the lives of one and all, and not sit back and tolerate it all in the name of religion.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Visit to a Test Match...

I did it again !!!

For the second time in my life, I went to see a cricket match. It’s not that I haven’t been to any more cricket matches before. In fact, I have rarely missed any being played in my city. But here I’m talking about going to watch a cricket match all alone. And that too, a ‘Test Match’.

Yes. In these times of T-20s and T-10s, when some people are even bored enough of spending a full day watching a ‘One-day Match’, it is highly unlikely that any normal person would so much as even think of going to watch a Test Match. And if there is lack of company, it would be all the more un-imaginable for a normal person.

But here I’m not referring to any normal persons. I’m talking about myself…

The opponents being Sri Lanka didn’t help any bit to make the prospects much exciting. But for me, there is something more, much beyond mere excitement about watching a cricket match live.

I had already made up my mind to watch the match as this would probably be the last opportunity in my life to watch two of my favorite cricketers in action in my city. And that was reason enough for me to ignore anyone who’d suggest that such a plan wasn’t worth it.

I still hadn’t bought the ticket till the eve of the match due to two of my friends who still weren’t sure if they would be able to make it. As it was mid-exam-time for bro, he had already been excluded from the scheme of things. Somehow, I managed to agree to one of my friend at his suggestion to wait for the first day to see how the match progresses. According to my friend, it wouldn’t be too clever to go and watch the Sri Lankans bat all through the first day if they decided to do so, considering Team India’s bowling form. This seemed a bit sensible and so I decided to wait, hoping that India doesn’t bat first.

But keeping up with my luck as ever, I was greeted with the news of Team India winning the toss and electing to bat, first thing in the morning.

I spent the rest of the day praying for Sehwag’s form so that he continues to bat and India doesn’t loose any wickets. I just couldn’t afford them losing any more than one wicket for the day. But by the evening when I was returning home after getting the ticket, I got the news that India were two down. That sent my heart sinking. What if ‘HE’ gets out before day two even starts….

But thankfully, for once, just once, my luck stood its ground. SACHIN TENDULKAR and RAHUL DRAVID were still not out overnight. At last, I would have my wish.

I reached the venue well before time and was pleasantly surprised when I could actually get so close to the ground while still driving and not being stopped some ten kilometers or so as usually happened in the past. I parked the car and moved on as more and more people poured in from all directions. But today, something was strange. And it took me a short while to understand what it was. The ever so aggressive police men who were all around the ground like ants around a box of sweets, didn’t actually look their usual aggressive self. There was a strange laid-back attitude I could observe in them.

And then I remembered the news in the morning’s newspapers about how an IG of police had thrashed a cricket fan who managed to get close enough to Sachin to shake his hands while on practice the earlier day. It would have been a trivial and very normal incident had it not got some media attention. But it did. More so, because the fan at the receiving end was none other than one Sudhir Kumar who has now become a sort of mascot for the Indian cricket team. The guy who, you can easily spot during India's matches with his face painted in Indian tricolor and Tendulkar painted on his back, with the map of India on his head.

And this piece of news getting to Sachin’s ears didn’t help much for the police. Much to their embarrassment, the top officers of the police force were confronted by Sachin accompanied by Sehwag who wanted strict action to be taken against the guilty official. The officers tried to make excuses but were left ashen-faced when Sachin demanded for an identification parade to be held if they couldn’t find the culprit. This resulted in not only Sudhir getting free VIP access to all parts of the ground but also a lot of respite for other cricket fans who otherwise had to face the wrath of the police just for nothing.

This was just a part of what makes Sachin so different from any other celebrity.

I had taken my seat in the new stand which was still only about twenty percent occupied. The two teams were already on the ground practicing various skills with their respective coaches. I could make out that the members of Team India appeared more relaxed as they jogged around while throwing a ball or two. On the other hand, the Sri Lankans were busy in a tough practice routine. Though I could make out most of the Indian cricketers, I still couldn’t find the two I was looking for.

And just then I looked to my left near the pavilion end where two batsmen were busy hitting balls in the nets. Usually, when the batsmen practice their batting in the nets, there are numerous kids who are from the various training sports hostels who run around picking up the balls and throw them back to the bowler. But here were two cricketers who, in spite of being the biggest of icons, were humble enough to pick up the balls near them and hand them over to the little kids without a hint of arrogance. Something that is usually found lacking in the new and young players.

Watching them go about their business with sheer dedication was really inspiring !

During the next half hour, I realized once again as I have often realized in the past, that what a difficult task is it to play for one’s country in front of thousands of shouting people. Specially when few of those people are as uncivilized as one can be. I could see a group of men shouting profanities at not only the opponent team, but also members of their own team who passed by after completing their practice session. It surely must feel like a performing cage for the players with such people getting on their nerves. It is more than enough if they can so much as ignore such a crowd and still get on with their game.

At last, it was time for the day’s play to begin. Something I was really waiting for. And the reception to which Sachin stepped on to the field was to be seen to be believed. By now most of the stand was occupied. Mostly by highly placed Government officials and their families for whom it is a status symbol to go and watch a cricket match without having to buy their tickets. In fact, these days people seem to have an attitude for getting free ‘passes’ to watch the match which signifies their so called high contacts. As if they are doing a favor to the players by coming and watching the game.

The match had started and the crowd in our stand got a bit animated when the Team India fan Sudhir was joined by a certain ‘Chacha Hindustani’ who is gaining fame as well during India’s matches. Amidst all the action, there were the odd derogatory shouts for the Sri Lankan players who would be fielding near the stand. This, in spite of repeated announcements and even numerous written warnings that no sort of racial comments would be tolerated towards any person during the match.

And we cry foul at the racial abuse Indians face in places like Australia…

Meanwhile Rahul Dravid completed another century in his already long list of centuries, much to my own pleasure. I really can’t understand what our problem is. Here is one player who has been performing consistently all through his cricketing career but people just don’t seem to let him be in peace. The stupid selectors finished off his One-Day career sighting his age being the factor. But why can’t they replace him in the Test team ?? Because they know they cannot.

Hats off to one of the most dedicated, disciplined and talented cricketers we have seen in our lives.

Before things got much settled, Sachin lofted one and was walking back to the pavilion much to everyone’s shock and disappointment. But here is one person who gets an equal applause when he departs as when he enters.

By lunch time, the Indian dressing room had more batsmen who had been dismissed than those who weren’t just as our stand had more of those pot-bellied and balding police men seated comfortably munching away at their free lunch packs than the real, cricket-loving crowd.

The rest of the day was mostly uneventful, what with the Indian batting line-up being cleaned up pretty quick and the Lankans getting a solid start after a first-ball hiccup. Well, a large group of young boys did make things somewhat ugly for the people in our stand during the second half. But I guess we in India have become used to tolerating all sorts of nuisance makers in our daily lives.

I returned to the parking area only to find a flat tyre on my car. But I was pretty content with the achievement of watching two of my most favorite icons in action which has always been a great inspiration for me. I, for one, do not go to watch a match just to shout and have a blast. It’s just my way of getting some good inspiration for myself.

******* I had written this post more than a month ago but couldn't manage to get enough time to post it here. *******


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