Monday, June 15, 2015


It's a dismal rant. And there can be good ones. Like when praising Dravid's batting. But this is different.

This is a grim no-good-mind-fucking rant that's staging an uprising from within. This is a rant about being so useless. So pathetic, predictable and cyclical.

It's that voice from inside that most of us hide on a daily basis. We hide it when we have to go to a friend's wedding or worse, when someone has given birth to a child and you have to go to be nice to them. To congratulate them on their uselessness. To congratulate them for their pathetic victory of having found a partner or a baby or a job for that matter. On days like these, this rant shies away. Because it's trying to fit in and see if it needs to rise its ugly head at all. It does that because you have been engineered to be happy on those days. Someone else has already decided to be happy on these days and they've called you to be a part of their happiness. How can you possibly go to their occasion of happiness and say, "You stupid oaf, do you know this moment is not going to last forever ? What the hell are you getting happy about, this idiotically fleeting moment ?"

And since you can't say it, you shut it out. You really want to tell it to that friend of yours but you don't and the rant stays quiet.  Some do it really well, all their lives, every single moment of their existence, they are able to let the rant stay quiet and it dies quietly. Such people are really lucky because they just are so consigned to being so ordinary. And consequently so happy.

Then there are others. Those who give way to the rant and become rank outsiders. The pariahs. They are the ones who listened to that voice and tried to do something about it. They wanted to lead their own lives. They wanted to create something, with their own hands and with their own minds. Not so much with their semen. Those who listened to that rant and did something about it, are even more restless. Or perhaps more useless. They feel they have silenced that rant. But it becomes worse. The rant overpowers them and sooner than you know you are a slave of that rant. Catering to it's whims and obeying those whispers. These people are consigned to be so pathetic, they become the rant.

So you can either quieten the rant and become a slave of the highest order without knowing it or you can become a slave to the rant knowing that it will then own you.

That's all that there's to life really - the rant. And how you've made your peace around it. If at all. See there's that rant again.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Starting again ! A blog a day...


Ran with a bunch of spirited runners from Bandra. Including 20 odd heart patients who have taken to running because it has helped them cope with life post heart incidents much better.

#IgniteMumbai reflected once again what the city really is like. Always there for each other.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Why Virat Kohli needs to change for the good of Indian cricket

Virat Kohli is in the form of his life. After laying to rest doubts about whether he would be able to standup to the Aussie attack, his elevation to test captaincy is being heralded as the best thing to happen to Indian cricket. Perhaps rightfully so. He has played the series so far with a typical firebrand dash of aggression both on and off the field and he has every right to think that he has conquered the opposition. 

Except that our team is down 0-2 in the series. Except that this was the weakest Australian team to have faced India and yet we've surrendered the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a test to go. 

At this stage, Virat as the grand beacon of hope for Indian cricket can go into the Sydney test thinking he has done no wrong so far and go all out both on and off the field in sledging the Aussie team, targeting specific players and making them feel how he conquered the kangaroos in their own backyard. 

Or he can reflect on what his real contribution to this series has been so far. On one side he will see the mountain of runs he has scored but if he cares for Indian cricket, he will also see a pull shot that he hit in the air in Adelaide with India 60 runs away from victory with only the tail for company. He would see himself chasing a delivery wide outside off-stump in the last over of the day in Melbourne. From a position that could've put India in the lead, he should see that the team crumbled to hand the Aussies a reasonably significant lead. He should also see a very grumpy version of himself who came out to bat in place of Shikhar Dhawan in Brisbane and didn't quite look like he was in the mood to fight. There will be large quarters among fans who will see these instances as nitpickings but Test Cricket is harsh and a 40 minute passage of play can make the difference between surrendering a trophy and retaining one. 

Now, the Indian team with a new Team Director in Shastri look set to be in a mood to pay back Aussies in the same coin. Shastri on national television spoke about how he 'cares two hoots' about the scoreline. The team thought they've done a marvelous job in drawing at Melbourne. When Manjrekar quizzed Shastri about the areas to improve, he belligerently evaded the specifics and mentioned in 12 months this team will be a "bullet team". The team missed an all-rounder he said. Everything else he was happy with. 

The foundation of successful teams lies in an honest assessment of their current state of affairs. I doubt if John Buchanan were asked what the team needs to improve at the start of  Australia's staggering run of 17 test wins, he would've responded with such perfect acceptance of how good the team already was. Closer home, we have never heard Gary Kirsten talk about not caring about score lines. People like Steve Waugh and Brian Lara whether in moments of weakness or strength were always the first to point out what they could've done better. Like Gavaskar rightly pointed out in the post match analysis, "Test match is not a finishing school." and if Shastri is not the person to lead the team into thinking that they screwed up a golden chance in Australia, Virat has to be.

And if Virat does go down that path of reflection, he will find numerous examples of people like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman batting with utmost responsibility to see the team through. He will remember Laxman coming out to bat at #3, against his normal position of #6, on a follow-on in Kolkata and deliver a 281. He will see Dravid opening in a test match in Perth against a much touted Shaun Tait and laying a solid foundation for the team to eventually register a win in an ill-fated series. He will see VVS batting with the tail in Mohali, Durban, Colombo, in fact all over the world and seeing the team through to strong positions. In none of these situations, did these players consider battling with the opposition verbally as their prime objective. 

One sees Virat Kohli now on-field and knows that there are two battles he is currently fighting, one is for the team and the other, much needless one against the likes of Haddin Warner and Mitchell Johnson. He can very well do with just the former. Irrespective of the tough facade that he wants to portray, make no mistake, Kohli was indeed rattled and edged Johnson and then mistimed a pull that could've ended his innings, right after that little ball-hurling incident at Melbourne. Mitch apologized and Virat should've just let it be. He was lucky he survived as did India.  Lets also not forget it wasn't the Aussies this time around that started the verbal duels. They were in a tough spot coming into the series after Phil Hughes and were surprisingly well behaved until our very own Rohit Sharma took that step when Mitch Johnson came out to bat in Brisbane. 

If Kohli is the best captain for Indian test cricket now, he needs to take a leaf out of these great batsmen of the past and do some soul-searching about what he could've done better in the larger interest of the team. He needs to understand that a certain Sachin Tendulkar eschewed the cover drive completely over the course of two days in Sydney to guard his wicket coming in at 128-2 and compile a monumental (and unbeaten) 241. If Virat speaks to the great man, Sachin will also perhaps tell him that the Chennai test was the most painful of this test career because in spite of his much vaunted hundred, the team didn't win. Whenever quizzed about the Chennai ton, Sachin downplays it because if the team doesn't win, there's no point in amassing those runs. And irrespective of whatever happened on the field, one never heard any of these great batsmen crib about what they were sledged about on-field in post match press conferences. 

Before donning test captaincy, Kohli could've still walked that thin line but as an ambassador for Indian cricket, as an example to millions of young kids who want to emulate him, he needs to change his ways of dealing with the opposition. That's why we need our captain to go to a Rohit Sharma and ask him to get some runs on-field rather than get under someone's skin. Because that's not the job description of a middle-order bat. Mathew Hayden commented during the series about the fact that its not all body language and swearing that conveys aggression. "If you want to see aggression, look at Dravid's eyes", he said. Virat needs to be the one to lead the Indian team into thinking on those lines.  

Brian Lara went to Sri Lanka in 2001 - just at the time Murali was peaking and stamping his class across batsmen the world over. He scored 688 runs in that series. Yet amongst all of Lara's achievements, this number is a footnote. His 153 not out at Barbados counts for more. Much more. 

For the sake of Indian cricket, let's hope Virat Kohli isn't trying to sell us a dummy story about how because the Aussies called him a 'spoilt brat' and because he could still score 500 runs against them, he really came out a winner. He would do well to remember that the larger battle at the end of the day is the scoreline at the end of the series. Nothing else really matters. Let's hope Virat is the man who isn't going to fool us into thinking, that it isn't.