The World May Want You to Fail

For an Indian cricket fan, the 2018 Nidahas Trophy is a sweet memory.

The tournament was not exceptional. India sent a team without a couple of stars and gave Rohit Sharma the leadership role. He took India to the final where his team was on the verge of losing. But then, Dinesh Kartik happened.

When he came on to bat, India needed 34 off 12 deliveries. Kartik scored 29 of them, including a last-ball 6 to win the final against Bangladesh. One of India’s best victories.

But this is not about him or the final. This is about a young talent who wasn’t having a great time. This is about Rishabh Pant.

Rishabh Pant was 18 years old when he represented India in U-19 WC 2016 held in Bangladesh. While others were just trying to score runs, this kid was scoring them fast. He struck 24-ball-78 against Nepal and 96-ball-111 against Namibia. Long story short- India had found a successor to Mahender Singh Dhoni.

With a country so passionate about the game, it is easy to falter against expectations. Every time Rishabh played, people expected fast runs. A 19-year-old boy understood nothing but to oblige his new fans. He tried and kept failing, spectacularly.

By the time Nidahas Trophy happened, Pant was 20 and on the fringes of the Indian cricket team. He was the next big thing and it was supposed to be a matter of time when the innings will come when he will announce himself. Nidahas trophy looked like a perfect tournament.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Rishabh played the first 2 matches, did nothing of note, and was not selected for the rest of the tournament. In the second match, he scored 7 off 8. The criticism earlier in hush-hush and murmurs was getting louder. The kid was heartbroken and I think it was Akash Chopra on air when he said- “Imagine, being a 19-year-old and the world wants you to fail.”

This has stuck with me since then. Rishabh Pant was 20. He was a part of the Indian national cricket team and the world has already written him off. Do they know what they were doing when they were 19 or 20? Did they stop expecting from their kid who had failed in his teens? I sure was not doing anything important at that time. I was slogging my ass off for marks in my engineering. And that is what the majority of the world does.

Recently, another Indian cricket prodigy, Prithvi Shaw that he cried after he was dropped after a poor show in the first test when India recently toured Australia in late 2020. Again, Prithvi Shaw is just 21.

It is a common opinion these days that having IPL riches so early in their life; the young kids aren’t serious about their national careers. Moreover, test cricket is lost because of the fast, swagger-filled T20. Although there is truth in that but labeling these players of next-generation greedy and not dedicated enough is an insult.

Thanks to the covid induced lifestyle, few people have a lot of time with them. The easiest thing to do when you have lots of time is to become an armchair expert. And when it comes to cricket; this country has one on every corner.

People wanted Rishabh to fail, to make mistakes. It would not have done Indian cricket any good but it would have given them a lot of satisfaction and a common statement- “See, I told you so.” They wanted Prithvi to fail to give them false conviction about their theories.

The lesson from all this- people know nothing. And when it comes to you, let those decide who actually care for you. Some random uncle in the nearby grocery shop should not make you change your plans.

“Son, there is nothing in a startup. Find a job and get settled.”

“Son, why are you study mass communication? You should have done engineering.”

“Son, why are not you doing MBA? Graduation means nothing these days.”

I am sure you got the gist. This is not a very fair world. More often than not, you will meet people who care nothing about you. They will walk with you but given the first opportunity; they will run over you.

And I don’t want to make this sound pessimistic. But as somebody has said- “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

Hope to meet the best guy always but be ready if you get the worst guy always. It will go a long way for you.

Zen Mode

I am sure my blog is wondering today- how come the man who didn’t blog for a year is writing twice in 2 days? The answer is the Zen Mode.

This Zen Mode is in my OnePlus 5T. When you switch on this mode, basically you cannot use your mobile for anything but receiving calls or making emergency calls. No Facebook, Twitter nothing at all.

Right now, my Zen Mode has just started and I have set it for maximum time i.e., 60 minutes. And it pains slightly that I will not be able to use my mobile for anything for next 1 hour. But at the same time, it is kind of liberating.

I talked about the feeling of urgency these days. The impatient desire to know everything immediately. That creates lot of restlessness. Now, with my mobile on this mode; I know there is no point looking at it. I can do anything but browse or scroll.

Our lives have become very fast these days. I remember being in my hometown Dehradun a decade back. I was filling forms for various exams and usually, my choice for place of posting would be Delhi/Mumbai/Bangalore. My reasoning to my parents was- Dehradun is too slow dad. I need to live a fast life.

11 years later, having lived in Delhi/Gurgaon for 5 years and Mumbai for 5 years; I think I am ready to go back to Dehradun. Of course, my being ready doesn’t matter as there are many other factors that need to be taken into account for before I decide something. But I think my Zen Mode for life will come when I move back to Dehradun, ever.

I have seen fast life. I have seen people running; myself running to catch train/metro/bus. I think I am done with it.

If your phone has this Zen Mode, do give it a try once.

Back to Writing?

I have missed writing. There was a time when I used to write a lot. Weekends were exciting as I always had something building up inside my head. Nowadays, they have become busy and tight.

If I say that I don’t know what changed; I will be lying. What happened is a classic case of reading too much. Thanks to social media, the news consumption became easy and a very addictive habit. In my case, it has become such a pain that I need to know everything, every time. Information overload- I think this is it.

Being aware of what’s happening around is not bad. What is bad is the urgency to know everything. In the old days, it was newspaper that brought the news. There was not cable TV and there was no Breaking News.

Today, we have everything. Talking about me; I started consuming too much. And I did realize the harm few years back and quit Facebook. It is Twitter that is getting tougher to quit.

So, as I consumed information, I got addicted to getting more of it every freaking minute of the day. And that left very little time with me to write. Time- a commodity one should never waste.

I have promised many a times to myself that now I will write regularly. I think there will be no promises this time. Let us wait and watch.

Valentine’s Day Throwback

Valentine’s Day, huh?

As I have grown, I have lost sense of this day. And not just Valentine’s day but any day. Women’s day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and of course, the Birthday. In fact, birthdays are something I never understood. What is so awesome about it? Why does people need to make me feel special? But that is just me. You can be different.

Although my rational mind believes it is right that people celebrate birthdays. It is the day one gets a kind of obituary while he is still alive. People writing good things about him. Celebrities are being tagged as #Legend on twitter. Sportsperson are #RoleModels. I am sure it will help anyone when he reads good things about himself. Maybe I will wait for the time when I am a legend and then I will understand the big deal about birthdays.

But this is not about all days. This is about a Valentine’s Day in a millennial’s life.

1998, 6th class. A 11 year old boy who has started noticing girls also. I mean, it happens, naturally without making extra any effort. And then out of the lot, you are looking at one of them too much. So much that your friends have started noticing, even the girl herself. 

Everything has changed. You are awesome and yourself in front of everyone but your heart skips a beat when she appears. The school becomes boring when she is on leave. And your heart known no bounds when the teacher decides to make you sit with her as punishment. 

(True Story- there was a girl in my class who was a punjabi and pretty good in English. Yours truly was a champion in Sanskrit. One day, sanskrit teacher jumbled up the students and that girl had to sit with me. And there was a mock test. I knew all the answers but I intentionally let her answer the questions before me. Her joy was boundless and I don’t think she ever doubted what I did. A punjabi kudi with excellent command in English in that age, thanks to her father being a senior army officer, had just outsmarted a kid who has topped Sanskrit exam every time.)

You see what I did there, right? Anyways, that was class 6th and Valentine’s Day was approaching. We learnt from the peers that it was the only day where one can approach a girl, get rejected and could still save his honour and walk with his head high. And the expenses was 5rs chocolate and a 10rs card.

So I spent 15 rs and went to this girl. She thankfully had a better understanding of these things and said no. And we all moved on- me, she and the life.

Then class 7th happened, then 8th, 9th and 10th. Same stories happened again- sometimes I was the guy; sometimes my friends. I don’t think I saw anyone actually, for the lack of right word, hooking up. Those were harmless attractions.

But there was an excitement. You give the girl card after school and you have to wait for an entire day for her answer. 

Worse case- it is a holiday next day or she does not turn up. 

Worst case- she turns up but reserves her judgement over your card like the famous Supreme Court judges. 

I mean, come on lady. It is already February. Exams are due in a month. You better reply to the card so that we can finish these damn exams and start planning for the life in April and beyond. Only 1990s kids can understand this dilemma.

It is 2nd March. Exams start in a week. The girl has still not replied. You have no option but to start studying. And then the landline rings. Mother says it is for you. And a slight voice at the other end says Yes.


Yes to what? You forgot the question you asked her. 

“Will you marry me?”- You must be kidding.

“Will you be my valentine?”- But it has passed.

“Do you love me?”- maine us tarah se tumko kabhi dekha nahi

“Do you like me?”- Of course, this was the question.

Now the phone is cut and you are still wondering what the hell just happened. Then you recollect everything. The chocolate and the card. And the question. And the answer you just heard. 

You are already in dreamland. Sanskrit exam is the first exam, a week away. Because you are already awesome in this subject; you think you can afford to waste 4 days off 7 daydreaming. You can’t mess up Sanskrit. That is your baby.

Then it is the 5th day and the panic about the exam sets in. But you are not able to ring that “yes” out of your ears. It is there with you. Somehow, you finish the syllabus and go for exam.

And when the results come, you realise that the punjabi kudi with good command on English has outscored you in Sanskrit. You never doubted what she was doing. It all felt so real. But she knew all the time. And today, she has a smile on her face that does not look that cute like the one 3 weeks earlier. Although, the “yes” still has a nice feel to it. 

Many years later, when you understand these things, you silently applaud and say to yourself

“What a master stroke. Well played, Madam. Very well played.”

Inspired by true events.

The World Needs a ‘Gooder’ You

Since we were kids we were told and taught that being good is, err, good. Be a good boy whom everybody likes, a good student who get good grades. Then, as we move on with our life, it is about being a good employee, a good husband and a good father. And then we hope to die as a good man.

When I was a kid, good had a smaller and simpler definition- respect elders, do not lie, do not make fun of others and eat and sleep on time. Then in my teens, as I moved out from my hometown to do engineering, good became entirely different. It was more about not manipulating others, not cheating in exams, honouring, rather sticking to your words and accepting that you borrowed money from a friend and returning that on time.

(Actually now that I think of it, once you leave the comfort and security of your home, then only you realise who you are and how do you need to conduct yourself if you need to be known as good. There are so many people around and it is easy to choose the wrong path. That is where the vales kicks in.)

And now in job where you meet so many people- juniors, seniors, achievers, duds. All with different values and all with different perception of good and bad. Like us, they also have grown up with certain theories with them. What is good for one may be indifferent to the other; what is unacceptable for one may be normal routine for the other. Among all this, you try to figure and forge your identity. You see people on the top who are not ‘good’ as per your standards and the genuine, honest guys slogging under them. And you start doubting whether what you have been taught was actually right or it was just a myth that sounded good in books but hold no value in real world.

You know what- you need to keep your goodness with you. The world needs a lot of goodness and whatever you do may not be enough. And I am not talking about charity here. That is a different kind of good deed. I am talking about the goodness that cost you nothing- in terms of money and time.

What is this goodness? Well, nothing much. Helping your colleagues without them asking you. A smile here and a thank you there. Both with juniors and seniors and with people who cannot shout back at you like guards, cleaning staff, lift men etc. If you thank your boss for allowing you to be on leave inspite of some tight schedule; you should also thank the lift man who stopped the lift for you. It is a very small gesture but can do wonders to his morale and he will treat the next guy with more pleasantness in his attitude.

You may think here how does it matter if you would not be nice to people. Anyways, it is just a one guy. As they say, even for that one guy that is more than enough. You may make his entire day by a very small act of yours. It is important that we keep doing what we can do instead of worrying about why others are not doing what they should do. You never know that you may inspire couple of people around you to do the same.

The people around you need a ‘Gooder’ you. You may not feel it but world can do with lot of niceness. Keep doing your deed. And as a famous liquor brand say, you may “Be remembered for Good”.

Why Sports is Important for You and Your Kids?

US Open 2018 Quarter Final
Rafael Nadal, 32 years old, world’s best player (right up there with Roger Federar and Novak Djokovic), clay court King and almost a legend.
Dominic Thiem, 25 years old Austrian who had troubled Nadal more than anyone in recent memory.
The first set ended 6-0. And not in Nadal’s favour.
Nadal was outsmarted by Thiem in the first set. Everything coming out of his racquet was laced with venom, zipping past the champion Spaniard. But those who watch tennis know that Nadal is not a 6-0 type of guy. He is human, yes, but he never gives up. His energy levels are unmatchable. May be 7-5, 7-6 defeat sounds more like it. But you do not do 6-0 to Nadal. Thiem did it and he was naturally pumped up. Screaming, grunting and letting his relief out in a filled Arthur Ashe stadium in NY, letting the crowd know that he is up to it. And crowd did acknowledge it.
Four hours later, the final score line of this game read 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6. And Nadal owned it. Like so many times in past, he did not give up, fought harder and completed the comeback. And this was a quarter-final. But the two men gave everything in 23,000 capacity stadium on a humid night. 4 hours, 49 minutes was the match duration. The neutrals loved it. For the people camping on their either side of the court, it was joy and disaster depending on which side they were.
For the battle that goes on for so long, it is natural that will be small skirmishes alongside. This match had lots of them. After first set, Thiem was screaming and excited. He just did 6-0 to Nadal. He must have felt like the greatest player in the history. Obviously, he had not won the match yet. But he was not thinking about it. At that moment, he wanted to let the world know and Nadal believe that this is not going to be easy. He won the first hand and he will go all out again for his opponent’s blood.
If his opponent would have been some other guy than Nadal, he might have conceded defeat. May be the other two sets would have been a formality. But he is made of steel. He came back, won his small little duels (in the context of the game) and won 2nd set, letting out a roar of his own, telling people that he is not finished yet.
The see-saw continued, Nadal taking the 3rd set, Thiem 4th and ultimately a tie breaker for Nadal to win and move on to the semis. And the latest news is that he has retired from the Semis because of a knee injury.
Why these highlights? Read on.
I have been a sports enthusiast from my very young days. I played lot of sports (cricket mainly) and did OK. Now that I have entered my 30s and playing time and opportunities both are ceasing to exist, I try to encourage young kids to come out and actually play. Get dirty, get hurt, tear some clothes but do play.
We have read and have been told that we should try to inculcate hobbies. I agree as much as everybody. Singing, painting, gardening, book reading- I appreciate everybody who is making an effort to do what he likes. But with sports, it is rarely taken as a hobby. It is either professional or a pass-time. You play sports and you are expected to make a career in it. If you don’t or can’t, then it is considered that you should move on other things.
“What do you do on weekends?”
1. “I read/ take care of my plants.” “Wow that sounds so cool.”
2. “I play cricket.” “uh, ok. Bye”
This is a typical mindset. Although things are changing now as people are becoming more aware of the physical fitness and health, sometimes, you do get remarks as above. But practicing one sport is something everyone should have in their life.
There is no other activity that generates competitive spirit like sports.
When you are on the field, you might not have an audience always but there will always be an opponent. It does not matter whether it is an individual sport of a team event. You will have somebody across you; somebody who is as eager as you to fight and win. He might not have made the same preparations as you have done but he is sure as hell he belongs there. And he will make sure you don’t win easily.
And the beauty of sports is that this spirit is not limited to any particular game or genre. This runs right across all games. Even a game like chess which is played in utmost silent and amongst focus and concentration, one wrong move and your opponent has a wry smile on his face that says ‘I got your number buddy.’
The best part about sports is those “little skirmishes and duals”. Obviously, you do not know the result of the match before you play and when you are playing but there are phases in the game which sometimes becomes bigger than the results. The effort put to win a single point is sometimes huge and then you roar like a lion; with a pride in your voice and fire in your eyes. And the guy on the other side is not whining. He has vowed to come back with more vengeance. He wants to win every small fight like you. The very next point could be won by him and trust me when I say- his roar will be louder than you and the intensity will only increase as the game moves on. How amazing that is.
In “other” hobbies, you miss these duels. You are painting on a weekend and have just created the masterpiece of your life. You take 10 steps backward, admire your art for a minute and move on. How many times someone let out a scream after they have finished their artwork, planted a tree or finished a book? Did they feel their adrenaline pumping up to their cheeks and brain? Did they feel the thrill?
Before you start judging, I am not undermining efforts of anyone. In one way, painting is a more difficult hobby because you are your opponent and motivator. Every time, you have to better yourself than the last painting. Every day, you have to tell yourself you can do better. That is more difficult than it sounds. But yes, sports do work better for me.
People always talk about having the last laugh. Well, the last laugh is always reserved for the winners. In sports, there are sometimes winners who win without actually having the last laugh. They create moments that last forever, they leave stories for the generations and this I believe is solely possible for one absolute reason-
Because you can see the opponent and feel him, you want to get the better of him. And that fire becomes the fuel for the moments to come and remember.

Where is My Music?

Everybody has a taste in music. Some like English pop, some are Bollywood fans and some worship everything what Honey Singh and Baadshah serves them. Nothing personal here fellas, but yes, rap sucks.

Although I try to keep hearing latest Bollywood songs; I don’t like them much. I am not a music buff as such and do not use headphones as often as it is a norm these days. But when in mood (which is primarily when I am little high); I like to hum/listen to old songs; preferably from the days of Kumar Sanu. The 80s and 90s have given us kind of music that we do not hear these days. And once again, it was a privilege of being a kid who grew up in 1990s.

I remember those days. The TV we had at home had 20 channels and somehow, the cable service provider had designed an algorithm which repeated 3 channels in 20. How did he do that, I do not know till date. Luckily, he showed Channel [V]. And that introduced me to the music I moved on to like and adore.

Apart from the Sunday morning Rangoli and Chitrahaar which played old Hindi songs in the major part of the show; Channel V played new Bollywood songs and the independent pop music- both original and remixes. And this pop music of 1990s was amazing.

The one song that reminds me of the beauty of the remixes of those times is Dil Kya Kare by Instant Karma. Remixed by Instant Karma band and beautifully sung by Shaan, a singer ignored these days, the song transports you to some kind of heaven altogether. And it is not just the music I am talking about. If you care to watch the video of this song, that is one beautiful storyline. Maybe it is my romance with the music of that era or this particularly song is really awesome; I hear this song on loop whenever I get time. You can watch the video here. Whatever time I get, I try to hear those classics. There are not many for the simple reason- creating classics isn’t easy.

And it is not just one song, The Punjabi bhangra songs by Baba Sehgal, Mika, Daler Mehndi, Jassi and others had pleasant tunes. Those were the songs that actually soothed the body or forces to stand and shake legs. The mandatory Hinglish rap these days by hip hoppers just take the fun out of the songs.

And then today, I switch on TV to see old songs being massacred by the ‘young fresh composers’. The process is simple- pick an old hit hindi song, add modern beats, throw a meaningless, out of tune rap in between and viola- you have a 5 minute track that hurts both eyes and ears. The murder of the original Punjabi pop Kala Chashma, done by the music composers of the movie Baar Baar Dekho stings me. Youtube says it has 300 million+ views. I really wonder how many were like me who saw the video only once how the fabulous original has been re-created. Sadly, it has been ruined. The numbers will add up on Youtube website but that won’t tell you the pathetic quality of it.

Amit Trivedi, one of the few composers in today’s time whom I like to hear, recently said that music composers these days are afraid of experimenting. And that is why they use tried, tested and approved songs for their movies with today’s flavour. I think he hit the nail in the head. There have been so many disasters- Humma Humma(OK Jaanu), Laila(Raees), Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho(Wajah Tum Ho), Tamma Tamma Loge(Badrinath ki Dulhaniya). Judwaa 2 has two of them. Pick a movie and there is a good chance that you will find one. These guys have even made a mess of Jaanu Meri Jaan song of old Shaan. Terrible.

Every trend loses its charm and changes and I often wish for these remixes to die. And we can have Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, KK again to sing for us more often. And Bollywood can again create timeless classics.

Let Us Get Our Act together

I am a 1990s kid. And 1990s was a good time for the adults of my age.

We were between 12-15 years of age, in school. The days used to start with getting up early, running to school, homework and cricket in evening and back to bed. Occasional scolding by mothers and regular discipline by fathers- life was good. There was a routine. There was a plan. And hence there were lesser troubles and lesser hectic schedules.
And there were lesser rumours.
You get the idea, don’t you? Don’t you think there is lot of negativity around these days? Rumours, false gossips are spreading way too fast. News is written and told without even checking the facts, fed to the gullible who does not think for a second before forwarding to ten other people. And if there is something which is being shared by masses, there is an agenda behind it. The reason can be communal, patriotic or political. But you can be assured; there is a reason behind the good message. “PM Modi declared best Prime Minister by UNESCO.” Seriously guys? Before Modi, did you ever hear of this kind of award? Use your head at least. Don’t sacrifice it in the name of patriotism.
So, who should we blame for the mess that we are witnessing? Certainly, the facilitator is the culprit (that is what we have been reading). Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter should be banned. We were normal people. Things were going fine before social media and instant messaging came into our lives and, I dare say, made an instant fool of us. Government should close them down so that we can carry on with pre social media era. We don’t want changes. We cannot accept changes.
This argument has its own pros and cons. As much as Facebook and Twitter has helped people in connecting with each other and bridged down distances and made information sharing easier; they have not done their bit when it comes to stopping hoax news and fake facts (cool. I invented a new oxymoron). The reactions and assurances from them have been slow and without criticising them too much about this, I can safely sum it up that they could have done better.
But this is not about what the technology should have done. This is about what we humans could do and should have done.
If I dare use the word ‘mess’ for what is happening around, I believe the users of the social media, we, need to take more responsibility. Why do we need to share every now and then the viral speeches of the ‘dharm gurus? Or the conflict between two communities on where they should have a temple and a mosque? Or the picture of a bald baby and her mother asking for donation from the world community?  
I can only see one reason for this- you believe what you share and want your friends and followers to start believing the same. Now, the first part is Ok. Your personal beliefs are your own and you have full right to exercise them. The second thing- making people see things which are, mildly put, provocating is not right. You have beliefs, religious views, opinions- good. But others are not wrong. I am a Hindu and I am proud of it. That does not mean that I hate Muslims, despise Christians or pity Jainis (although I do pity Jainis. Nobody should be barred from eating chicken and having booze).
Or you are trying to tell people that you are a good human being. That is fantastic. May the goodness lives in you for eternity. But then, why does one need Facebook or Whatsapp for that? It will be very nice of you if you can share your goodness with the people whom you interact with. They will feel gratitude towards you and thank you 10 times. The guy on Facebook will not care about you. He does not even know when was the last time he met you.
Unfortunately, the social media has given lot of unwanted authority to average Raju who is normally busy in office and personal life. And the more unfortunate thing is that from the darkest corner of his room, Raju share/forwards news/rumours without giving second thought. He does not even second check them. One like and his face lit up. 2 friends shared- Raju thinks he is right. It is a different thing that in the office or public meeting; Raju refrains from airing the same thoughts. Why? Because then he will be judged. People will talk about him and Raju cannot let them know that he thinks this way. Hell, he cannot even make arguments to support his views. But in the evening, he will let people know through his social media account. There will be no counter argument there. He will not reply to messages for which he does not have answer. He can remain anonymous in his own way (ironic for social media users).
I am not running away from the reality. And I acknowledge that the mutual harmony is not in the best of state at the moment. But I am sure I can very well do with less negative news or apparently, no news. This is one reason why I have stopped my subscription to a normal Indian daily and moved on to business newspapers. And I admire people who have the guts to buy Mid Day and find news in that bunch between the advertisements. If Olympics ever planned to have treasure hunt in the games; they should go and represent India.
Let us not forget that the underlying characteristics for a harmonious and peaceful society is only one thing- the human beings. We may go and establish colonies on Mars; what matters is how we behave. If everyone starts making himself accountable to his actions, there won’t be much conflict to happen.
Let’s make that happen. Let us get our act together.

The Subtle and Cruel Reminders

Nothing to do with the post but it is funny. 

Around three years ago, I wrote about how proud I was being a sportsperson. Keeping in touch with regular games- cricket, football or badminton; it used to be a good feeling. I was playing, running around, and having moments of ecstasy and joy with myself whenever I performed well. This small happiness used to keep me going. I was happy.
I was.
Probably those were the last days of my being on the field regularly. Too many things happened too quickly and caused things to change. Transfer, marriage, daily chores- life became busy. 24 hours seems less; I wanted 30. There were so many things I need to do and was procrastinating. And playing was not even in that list. I thought I am done being a sportsperson.But still, I tried to convince myself that this is not the case. I will be strong and will come out of this eventually. Just a slump, being out of form. I will improve. This cannot go lower.
I was wrong. I could not bluff myself. I had not hit the bottom yet. And did that soon.
During my organization’s annual cricket tournament, while batting, I got cramps. So bad that I could not feel my feet. So bad, I needed people to make me stand. Honestly, it is not a big deal. It happens with professional sportspersons every time. They get it even after continuous exercises; I am just an average guy. So, I should just chill.
For me, it was the lowest point about me a self-proclaimed sportsperson.
I used to despise (silently) my fellow mates whenever they used to get cramps or get unfit during a match. How old they were-22? A 22 year old guy lying flat in middle of the field, waiting for help, looking at people looking at him sympathetically – unacceptable. And if that is the case, please stay at home and play book cricket. The field will not take anyone for granted. Everything evens out. I know it sounds cocky and arrogant but that was the way it was. I could not care less.
That day everything leveled. My pride, arrogance, cockiness- everything. I felt helpless when I could not even stand. I said sorry to all those present 10 times- both for wasting their time and for not being good enough to play. I thought I was fit. Running behind trains, buses and taxis- I always had my daily dose of fitness. I will stand the demands of the game. I did not realize that body is not responding as positively as my brain is. I should have been playing book cricket within the four walls with the kids of the society.
What is the point of all this? You get the idea I believe. EXERCISE!!!!
In my 28 years of existence, I have not done enough exercise. I mean I did not have any separate time for fitness in my day. I did not do enough warm-ups before games. In fact, I used to hate them. Being gifted a lean (slim, rather) body by the almighty; I never had bulging tummy problems or cramp issues. So, I have managed to pull it off for better part of my life. Also, being in touch with sports till the end of college helped me retain the body and fitness- whatever of it I had.
I should have realized that this will end someday. As I got into job five years back, regular sports became a rarity. It was all about playing at weekends if the place is right. Otherwise, you can say bye-bye to them. I bid farewell and the good work in early days helped me hold on to the spirit and shape. And now as I am moving away from field, the reality is becoming glaring. Today, it stares right into my face and often ask- do you have in you?
As of now, NO! The saddest part of this is that I know but I am not doing much about it. I know I need to hit the gym, sweat out and maintain regular fitness regime. And this needs to be a long term process. I will be hitting 30 soon and things will go bad from here if I keep ignoring. Add to that mid life blues/crisis/whatever you call them and one hell of a routine to keep up with.
Around a year back, my body send me a subtle reminder of how things are not improving. Heard of runners’ itch? Well, you used to run regularly. Good. Then you stop it because you need that extra hour sleep. Nothing bad in there. Six months later, your wife tells you that she feels embarrassed taking you out on weekends because you look like her elder brother. It hurts. So you wipe off the dust of your shoes, tie up the laces and swoooooosh from home. Couple of minutes later, you take a breather and scratches your thighs ferociously. That is because as you started running again, your veins expanded and sends the message to brain which it reads as itch. Normally goes away in a day or two but still a strong signal. I got this signal, ignored and paid a good price for it.
Today, I can procrastinate again. And I could have stopped writing about this. My goals, my health should be my problem. Why to make people read about it? But frankly, I want friends and colleagues around me and whatever number of readers I have to remind me of this important task. Exercise, spend some time sweating and get body used to moving. Get the machinery started. Keep it oiled.

Sooner than later, you body will ask for it.

No Vote for Arvind Kejriwal

In my previous office, I had a boss who was a strong Congress supporter since last 35 years. More than that, he was a bigger BJP hater. I remember hearing him and see him arguing with my other bosses in the run up to Lok Sabha elections 2014 where Congress was expected to get a drubbing. Not many were supporting the ruling party in those days but he kept his stand. And he did try to justify Congress among all the graft and inefficiency accusations. But he never supported BJP. Never did any phrase in praise of BJP come out from him.

My personal opinion that time was that he was being too emotional. And too arrogant. It is OK to have choices and dislikes but hating a political party to this extent that you support other one in spite of evident corruption and shortcomings was too much. But then I saw Aam Aadmi Party and its founder/ leader or whatever, Shri Arvind Kejriwal was doing. And my thinking changed.

If you are in a habit of reading newspaper every day (or headlines), you know that what circumstances led to the formation of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It is no less than a fairy tale. Kejriwal formed AAP in 2012 and contested in 2013 Delhi Legislative elections and surprisingly, formed government with BJP. He did resign 49 days later, on 14 February 2014, stating he did so because of his minority government‘s inability to pass his proposed anti-corruption legislation due to a lack of support from other political parties. Exactly one year later, he formed the government again in Delhi with winning 67 out of 70 seats. And this is not a reality show but an example of democracy.

I must say, I was very much inspired and fantasized by AAP’s overwhelming victory at that time. Quitting and then winning with more than 95%- a fantastic democratic coup. I read almost every article in newspapers, editorials, opinions and views trying to understand how AAP managed to outsmart more seasoned parties. The volunteers, the IT cell, the man himself- everybody did the right things. And it was indeed very intriguing. It looked like he had actually learnt politics with keeping his core principals intact. And there was a hope that, as his twitter profile says, Bharat Jaldi Badlega (soon, there will be a change).

A little more than one year to the date and I see in Kejriwal a man who is less CM and more of a whiner. A man whose job is to worry about everything other than his state. A man, who comments on every issue, insults PM on open platforms, defends his mistakes through Facebook and Twitter and thinks that the entire system wants to see him out of Delhi. And a man who is obsessed with the thought that PM Modi is obsessed with him and his government.

For leaders today, being on Twitter and having direct conversations with public is a normal thing. Many ministers, notably Mr Suresh Prabhu and Mrs. Sushma Swaraj are doing it very effectively. But what is not normal is to promote/ endorse fictional items that are provocative and may lead to serious consequences. Kejriwal has made one agenda- post anything that goes against the centre so that his more than 7 million could see it and preach it to create a ripple effect.

Take example and see this one- Arvind Kejriwal, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi posted this picture on Twitter on Feb 15, 2016 when a certain wave of anti-nationalismwas strong in the country. This picture has no credible source, no known publisher. It does not take a mastermind to take a shot at what may happen if people actually start taking things seriously. In that time, that should have been the last thing to do. But the CM of Delhi is not that bright and he went ahead- political and social naivety at its best. Come on Kejri Sir, even I do not forward chain Whatsapp messages that are meant for creating only one thing- unrest. You, the CM of India’s capital must be having a sounder head.

And one thing that put the final nail in the coffin was the below post made by Kejriwal Ji on Feb 29, 2016 after a day he was booked in sedition case.

मेरे ख़िलाफ़ देशद्रोह का मुक़द्दमा किया है।
इनकी नज़रों में दलितों, ग़रीबों और पिछड़ों के लिए आवाज़ उठाने वाला व्यक्ति देशद्रोही है। मैं ग़रीबों और दलितों के लिए संघर्ष करता रहूँगा।
एक बात बोल दूँमोदी जी से बड़ा देशभक्त हूँ मैं।
मैं पूछता हूँदेश के टुकड़े और देश की बर्बादी के नारे लगाने वालों को अभी तक मोदी जी ने गिरफ़्तार क्यों नहीं किया? क्योंकि नारे लगाने वाले कश्मीर से हैं और उन्हें गिरफ़्तार करने से कश्मीर में महबूबा मुफ़्ती नाराज़ हो जाएंगी।
हमारे सैनिकों का बॉर्डर पर रोज़ क़त्ल हो रहा है। और मोदी जी जम्मू में अपनी सरकार बनाने के लिए ऐसे देशद्रोही तत्वों को बचा रहे हैं जो देश के टुकड़े करने की बात कर रहे हैं?
Now, this is not about the case. Only Kejriwal ji knows what he did and said in his visits to JNU and related events. I hope media and police and the people involved know better. It is the tone of the message that disturbs me. There is desperation in his message- a desperation of getting noticed and gaining sympathy. Desperation of people should come with him and shed a tear.

Sometimes I really want to be in Delhi and see if Kejriwal has really made some progress in his governance. He is surely making a big progress in his way to become a stupid politician. Taking social media seriously and posting messages which portray a picture that he is being victimised and targeted is just not right. Even Congress, who lost both General Elections and Delhi Elections in humiliating way, has at least maintained this dignity. But Kejri could not. Calling Prime Minister a ‘coward and psychopath’ was the nadir in his hatred driven ‘trying-to-be secular and honest’ attempts. I can talk about him visiting Hyderabad and Dadri and skipping Malda but let us ignore it for time being. 

I don’t have sides in politics. Yes, I do have to believe whatever different news channels are telecasting and then decide which one is the true picture. But certainly, I am not a pro-BJP or an anti-Congress. But today I know I am not going to vote for Arvind Kejriwal or Aam Aadmi Party for a very long, long time. May be there will be some day when he will redeem himself but I sincerely doubt it and I know there is one party I am not going to vote for. I will be like my boss