The Sports Person in Me…or You

sports

 

Though not in literal sense  but I very firmly believe that I am a sportsperson. No, I don’t play in IPL, I was never named in my college team in any sports and I have no certificates and trophies in my showcase to display and gain appreciation; that does not deter me from my belief about who I consider myself to be.

I have played many sports in my life till date and I can claim that I am definitely an above average player of cricket, volleyball and badminton and an average player of football and table tennis. That makes it 5 sports.

I have many a times paid decent money out of my pocket to play two matches of badminton on Sundays or a weekend tourney of football.

And last few Saturdays, I  woke up at 4.30 AM to reach Noida (30 kms away from my house), play cricket from 6.00 to 9 AM and then reach office at 10.30 AM, all dirty and sweaty, without taking a shower (#truestory).

 

muhammad ali

My few friends have asked me many a times- why, what is the need? Why would you wake up at 4.30 in morning for some stupid cricket match. Initially, I tried explaining them but now I just smile. How would I explain them that a sportsperson just is just not the one whom  we watch on TV, who represents  your country in Olympics or world cups? He could be anyone; all it is about playing with the fire in the belly.

Playing sports has always been a passion inside me. Like a normal Indian kid, I grew up playing cricket mostly. But for other kids, it was about batting and bowling. They never dived, they never fielded. Some feared the clothes would get all muddy or torn or they will get wounds and scratches; others were just too lazy. But for me, fielding was an art. How can I let the bloody ball pass by me? I will dive and stop it. It won’t go past me without me giving my 100%. I applied the same in every sport I played- football, volleyball- giving my 100% every time. I got numerous scars in my childhood and every time I managed that , I  received a good haring from my father. I just could not stop myself.

They say sports instil qualities in you that you exhibit on the field. It can bring out the leader in you; it can inculcate the team spirit and hard work. With me this never happened. In the serious part of my life, I am not a hard worker and I certainly can’t lead. While playing, I am a quick learner and can read my opposition. When I work, I run away from learning and communicating was never my strength. What is wrong with me- I could never make out? One thing that has always nagged me is that I believed that I would have made a better sportsman only if I would have pushed my parents about it.

The people working with me- all have played some sports earlier in their life. Now when I ask them to come with me, they give me absurd excuses. Some say  they don’t feel paying the money to play; some are too lazy to move their bum on a holiday.

You know what- I am proud of myself that I never allowed myself to become like them. I could have also easily let my love for sports depart and decay citing the ‘professional’ reasons. For cricket, there was never an excuse and I am also lucky to have old friends (the college mates) who have the same keeda in them to play. It might be searing hot or freezing cold- we played in the college days, day in day out, 3 matches in a single day and now that everyone has settled in their lives,  we gather again to have a match on weekends. Going all the way 30 kms, playing the match, changing the clothes in an open ground  and then reaching office with sleep hovering- I could never mind it.

I have lied to and manipulated many people related to me when it comes to me playing sports. My parents, brother and girlfriend- all have been given silliest of excuses for not meeting them or not doing some work. In reality, I was playing. I do not feel guilty about it and I have no plans to discontinue my ‘cheating’ behaviour for this passion. I will keep playing- if I will have to lie, I will. I can postpone movies, I can quit meals and I can skip hangouts. My fellow batch mates used to go for movies the day exam ended; my group used to pick up bat and ball, find some open field and play. It never mattered whether the playing space had grass or not or for that matter, some cemented surface. I have played on roads with the same enthusiasm and fun and passion.

Enough of bragging, huh? Before I end this, I advise you that if you ever had a sportsperson in you which is dying due to lack of effort from your part, awake him. Take him to the field, let him grab his favorite ball and kick that favorite shot and he will be alive. Lie, cheat, postpone- do whatever to be among the lush green grasses or yellow soil- forget the rains, forget the sun, forget the stains on the clothes. Be prepared to see your mumma scolding and girlfriend sulking over this. That won’t end even if you sit at home and watch daily serials or become a shopaholic. 

Get that scar, take your team to the winning line, revel in the moment of ecstasy and celebrate the occasion over beers. But do find an excuse to play and bloody do it.

My Dream Road Trip

I licked my lips. I had a glint in my eyes. This is going to be awesome- this was my first reaction to the mail. The prizes are of course important but this contest will be more about writing. Writing what I have been dreaming of for a decade and planning for a year or so. And thanks to Indiblogger, here is the chance for to write my dream with every little detail in any way I want- My Dream Road Trip.

road-trip

The Indian Road Trip

So, we are talking about a road trip here, huh? What kind of road trip, you ask? Any, I say. One of the best parts about these road trips is that it is the journey that fascinates the travelers. Destination can be any place- any city, town, village where humans exist or sometimes, they don’t. But it’s the drive that keeps you more interested.

For some, like me, road trips are getting behind the wheel and zip away, leaving trails of trees and fields behind. You drive but not fast, watching the people and cars go by on those endless roads and then stopping whenever the night falls. For the rest, the road trip is sitting on a back seat and relax, munch chips, fiddle with smart phones and doesn’t miss a single thing. No-one is wrong here; each with its own.

My dream road trip idea developed when I first read about Golden Quadrilateral- a super cool highway that connects the 4 most important metros of this huge nation. I was 14 or 15 then but I knew that this will be one of those things that I will want to do one day.

10 years fast forward and this idea, dream rather has infested itself badly in my head. I had made various sheets and tore them, only to make a few more and tore them again. These sheets had rough travel plans with destinations and expenses but they never looked feasible. But after numerous sacrificed pieces of paper; I found out the plan and I am very sure that when I complete this trip; I won’t be doing many things in my life that will be above this on my yet-to-be-made bucket list.

Let me tell you about this one by one.

THE ROAD

As I said above, my first idea was to cover the exact Golden Quadrilateral. Starting from Delhi to Mumbai, from there to Chennai, moving in to Kolkata and culminating in Delhi. This would have been longer and tedious but I was ready for it. Anything for the drive. But due to disturbances in the Bihar and Jharkhand region, I decided to skip them and tweaked the itinerary. Here is what it looks like-

Day 1 – Delhi to Bhilwara- 506 kms

Day 2 – Bhilwara to Ahmedabad- 418 kms

Day 3 – Ahmedabad to Mumbai—524 kms

Day 4 – Mumbai to Goa – 604 kms

Day 5 & 6 – Stay in Goa

Day 7 – Goa to Bangalore – 558 kms

Day 8 – Bangalore to Hyderbad – 569 kms

Day 9 – Hyderabad to Nagpur – 501 kms

Day 10 – Nagpur to Jhansi – 617 kms

Day 11 – Jhansi to Delhi – 440 kms

Total- 4737 kms

Taking into account few detours and stuff, the distance will be about some 5000 kms.

the common indian sight

A very common sight on India roads

As clear from the above chart, I won’t be pushing the limits. The average distance everyday comes out to be 500 kms per day which I believe is doable. So that means no more than 10 hour drive at normal speed in normal conditions. At the end of the day, I will have enough time to relax and congratulate myself for the day that happened and plan for the day to come.

THE CAR

The majority of the people with whom I have discussed the plan; there first advice for me was to go with an SUV. You need a powerful performer, they said. I don’t say I disagree with them but taking an SUV defeats the entire purpose of my road trip.

I don’t want to sit at the back and crack jokes. I don’t want to fall asleep after doing nothing. I want to take a nap after driving 200 kms on a stretch. I want to get hold of the steering; I want to press the accelerator and I want that cup of tea to be soothing when I get out of the car to stretch my body.

With SUV, I will be doing nothing as I am not very confident of driving it. And certainly, I don’t want to hire a cab and then go. This will have a very downward effect on my budget and fun. So, NO SUVs.

On the other side, it is a little ironic that I have almost planned a trip but have not bought a car yet. I will be getting it in a month or two but it is still not there. Right now in my budget and perceived usage, Hyundai i20 fits the bill. 95% chances are that the car will be an i20 until some other car manufacturer decide to launch a new hatchback in next 2 months that takes the market by storm.

THE COMPANION

Trust me or not, finding right partners for this trip was not the easiest task. It is not that I am short of friends and don’t know people who like to travel. There are many who can go but then, this trip won’t just be about holidays. It had intense travelling; being in the car for 10 hours for 10 days. There will be pits on the roads and we might not get a place to relieve ourselves at our convenience. I hope there won’t be many deviations as per the plan but then no one can guarantee nothing about Indian roads. We might get stuck in a jam and have to sleep in a car near a petrol pump. So, I did not want people who keep whining and complaining about the proceedings even when warned beforehand that this might happen and did not enjoy the next two days because the one hour last day was ruined.

As per the criteria, the first thing I did was to decide that this will be an all-boys trip. No offense to the girls but I just can’t imagine them not complaining for 11 straight days. This will be more talked about my trip and then I can’t allow that.

I could not make the trip alone and I did not want more than 5 travellers (including me). I talked to many friends. They were interested initially but then due to the longevity of the plan, backed out. And after when I thought that this will always be a dream, my college friends came to the rescue. I casually mentioned this idea over a beer and they immediately agreed. I won’t lie but my first reaction was that when the effect of drinks will be over; they will not even remember what I was talking about last night. I was wrong and they were ready. We, 5 friends, same batch of college, in touch since last 8 years, similar interests and similar hobbies- certainly awesome.

THE JOURNEY

1. The first thing I will be doing before we start is to get few stickers that depict the map of our journey and stick it on to all four sides of the car.

2. No staying at leisurely places. An average budget hotel will do. At few places, we all have a few friends working and I am sure they won’t mind giving their room for 5 of us for a night.

3. No booze during driving. Drinking and driving will be strictly prohibited, both for the driver and all passengers.

4. Breakfasts and lunch at dhabas. Dinner can be little luxury in a proper restaurant.

5. Timely sleeping and waking up to complete the day’s journey in the estimated time, taking the margin of flat wheels and road games.

6. No late night journeys; if the need arises, the car would need to be stopped at a Dhaba or petrol pump for the night.

These are just a broad guidelines and as the D-day nears (which is 28th Jan 2014), things will be fine tuned. We all have 6 months to save, plan and decide what each one is going to do. After all, we have a full two days in Goa on this list. We might just lay on the sand, stare, peek and sigh. We might be a part of the action. The possibilities there are endless.

this might happen

This might happen too

I am really hoping to pull this off next January. I will take leaves, I will fight my parents, I will disappoint my girlfriend and I might get few angry messages from some who will ask why I did not take them along. On my part, I will be less interested in those grumpy ones. I will be going with the best company ever; guys who have taught me how to joke; how to have a good sense of humor and share my interests. I will be in my car and it will be my journey, my trip, my dream- that dream that I just did not think of but lived.

 

This post is a part of Indiblogger The Perfect Road Trip contest powered by AmbiPur.

Best Ten Budget Holiday Destinations in India

This is a guest post by Manya Singh. Manya Singh is photographer & solo traveller by hobby, travel blogger by passion and lifestyle writer by profession. At present she is responsible for planning holidays at WeAreHolidays.

 

India is a diversified country renowned for its myriad hues of caste and culture. The coldest to hottest, wettest to driest places and mountain ranges with the highest peak are nestled in India. This budget-friendly country houses different variety of people having different culture and tradition. The top ten reasonably priced and charming cities for holidaying in India are:

 

kanyakumari

Kanyakumari: The essence of visiting Kanyakumari lies in the fact that is offers a spectacular view of sunrise and reddish- orange sunset at the convergence point of the three amazing sea – Indian Sea, Arabian Sea, and Bay of Bengal. Also, if you are lucky then you might see the tremendous moon-rise and sunset simultaneously on either side of the horizon.

varanasi 

Varanasi: The ‘city of temples’ have a lot of surprises folded carefully up in its sleeves. Everything from food, hotel, and tourist spots can easily fit into a tourist’s budget. The Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is the greatest attraction of the holy city.

delhi

Delhi: Step into the streets of Delhi to explore splendid monuments, mosques, the Qutumb Minar, Red fort, and the sacred Humayun’s Grave. The street food is served at cheap prices and tastes delicious. You can also view many Government structures and embassies including the India Gate.

jaipur

Jaipur: Popularly known as ‘Lilac City’, Jaipur is the city of Rajas and Maharajas. The food, monuments, palaces, and handicrafts are the essence of Jaipur. It has been a home of tourists for decades now, and offers great hospitality and pleasure.

ooty

Ooty: The ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ is located in the southern region of India. The snow-capped mountains, the cool and pleasant weather, and the tranquil locales can be explored at just the right price. Varied tour and travel packages to Ooty are available for a hassle-free stay.

mysore

Mysore: This budgetary destination should be visited during the Dussera festival when the whole city unites together as one for the ten-day celebration. The Mysore Palace is the greatest attraction of Mysore.

agra

Agra: One of the wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal is an ideal excuse for tourists to visit Agra. It is budget-friendly and offers great tourists’ spots.

darjeeling

Darjeeling: Known for its natural brilliance, Darjeeling offers great sunrise and sunset view. The snow-laden mountains are the prized possessions of this hill station.

munnar

Munnar: This tea town is celebrated for its panoramic tranquil beauty and green hills. The Mattupetti Dam, Kundala Lake, and Atukkad Falls are some of the attractions of this town.

kashmir

Jammu & Kashmir: This northern state is renowned for its majestic snowfall. The freezing waters, Dal Lake, and quaint holidaying spots makes it a must visit place.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly tour try out India. Maximum fun at minimum expense is the motto of this diversified country. So, book cheap travel packages to India today and enjoy the country with an altogether different perspective.

4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Crush in Your School Days

not this crush

*not this crush, dumbass*

I have had kind of a fickle past (childhood to be exact) if I talk about girls in my class. From class 6 th to 10th i.e. in 5 years, I had crush on 5 different girls. After one year ended, either the girl’s section changed or I realized that this is not working, so I moved on to another girl (#truestory). Except one of them, I think all of them knew that I had a crush on them. But just because everybody called it crush and not ‘love’, the girls never took it seriously and opted to crush my crush. And I don’t blame them. Instead I am grateful to them. Love in that age, are you kidding me? If that would have been the ishq wala love, I would have screwed my life a decade earlier (#fact). And my “How I Met Your Mother” story would have started with me as a 12 year old (#ridiculous). And I would not have met the amazing girl I am with right now.

But say whatever, those crushes are something that I remember more than vaguely from those days of my life. Even in these times of Facebook, I am in touch with just 1 one of them. But I still can recall those classes when this so called attraction happened year after year, with a new girl in focus every time. No gifts, no cards, no chocolates, no mobiles- that was a good time.

I believe if you are reading this post, you are adult enough and have grown up under normal circumstances and have gone through this phase of crushes and all. But if the young ones around you are not falling into crush and wasting their time on Xbox and PlayStation, tell them to have one now for following reasons-

1. You get to stare at the girl, legitimately – Good looking girls get stared a lot and it’s obvious for them to get disturbed. That makes them perfectly eligible to call their father/ brother and get you thrashed up/ report to parents/ morality lectures. But if you bring the crush part in between, things become smoother and kind of make sense. Until the girl is completely kickass cool and just don’t give a damn for a guy’s affection, chances are she won’t report the matter to anyone and WILL let you stare. Who does not like to be appreciated? Here are some tips to get you started-

· —Spread the news of your liking for her. Tell the common friends, bring her in every conversation among your group and make friends wait because you want to get a last glimpse of her before she leaves for home and won’t be back for another day.

· —Sooner than later, she will confront you about all this. The reason she will give- What is hell is happening? These crushes are a waste of time and you should study and blah, blah, blah. The reason why she is there- tell on her face how beautiful, how good looking she is, how adorable she is and how she changes your world when she is around.

· —Ensure you have innocence on your face while talking. Majority of the opposite sex creatures have in them to find out the major part of the truth through the expressions. Keep a simple face that reveals nothing.

teenage problem

2. You don’t want to be Saurabh In Farhan Akhtar starrer Rock On, there is a scene came when Farhan meets his ex-girlfriend in a party. They look at each other, smile, have a small chat about what happened and what should and should not have happened and say bye. Typical Hindi movie scene, is not it? I quoted Rock On because I watched it last night with Saurabh. As far as I know, Saurabh has never had crushes and that particular scene won’t happen to him, ever. It is not something that you will die for but it is always good to meet someone whom you liked a century ago unexpectedly, even if you are married and got kids. Even few years down the line, you hit the chord immediately and there is no hesitation, no feeling of not being comfortable.

true story

3. Future insurance – It is very much possible that from the earlier years of adolescence to the time of starting looking girl’s photos for marriage, you have had no good female friends. What do you do then? Yeah right, you ping that crush on Facebook. Until then, she was just another friend, lost among many. But now, she is not just another friend. She is thegirl whom you had a crush on in school and you have some kind of history with her. She knows you and that give you a great heads up against many others and this heads up can be a big, big plus. So, you ping her, you take her back to school days when she had at least one fan (it was you, moron) and then you tell her how alone are you. Attributing to the alarmingly decreasing sex ratio, chances are she will be dating someone but there is no harm in trying. It is like a game of probability. If she break up with her guy someday; you know whom she will be telling all the stories to (again, it will be you, moron). Mission accomplished.

4. Chances of getting along with her friends – If your crush has a friend who clings on to her like ant to sugar and Manmohan ji to Sonia ji; there are two probabilities

· —She might start hating you to the core and will collect all the bad (but true) things being sad about you, make a power point slide and tell your crush how pathetic you are, in bullet points.

· —She might herself develop a crush on you (this is a little filmy but we grow up watching Indian films where you can expect the unexpected).

high-school-crush

In both cases, you have a good chance that if your girl did not approve of your affection for her; the ‘friend’ might be the one you get along with. At least, she will know how and who you are and things may start. The whole process I-have-a-crush-on-you does not need to be repeated.

I know this has been a long read and it’s been tough on you, but then, girls were never easy. They had always been complicated humans beings and they don’t like things being told, said or asked in a simple way. And to get them, you have to make efforts. And yeah, crushes are awesome. You should have one in your life.

P.S.- As far as I believe, I have not tried to make any cheap jokes or derogatory remarks here. This is written in pure humor and I feel I have not offended anyone in the 1100 words you read above (yes that is the count. You may pat your back now). If in any case, you have felt insulted or hurt, I apologize for the same.

And if you liked the continuous blabbering above and smiled, share it on Facebook to spread few more smiles.

(Image courtesy- Google Images)

26 Hours of Anonymity, Thrill and Scare

It was not meant to be a road trip in the initial sense but the way it happened, I ended up being on the road for 26 hours out of the 36 hours. And thrill was never far away in those 26 hours.

This happened in April 2012. I was on training to Indore with Vineet and Saurabh and had a weekend for ourselves. And after some research over the internet about the getaways near Indore, we decided it was Chikhaldara where we will be heading to.

It was meant to be a small trip. Leave on Saturday afternoon and back by Sunday morning and all we knew was the distance between the places. Google Maps said 302 kms. We assumed 8 hour drive will be enough.

But the signs were ominous. It started with the cab being late by 3 hours. And when we asked him how much time will it take to get there, his answer shocked us. “ Bhaiya, I have not even heard of the place.” For a moment, we thought should we really go but the idea of getting bored on Sunday was too boring. So, we went ahead.

This place is not just another hill station. It is comparatively calm and secluded, thanks to the connectivity status. There are few hotels and it might get tough to get a room in season time if you do not come pre-booked. Luckily, we came with a booking and crashed at the hotel.

This place was not very cool and I remember having an AC in my hotel room. A rare case- Mussoorie and Shimla does not have provisions to install ceilings fans. There was red soil around and wind mills; some barren places and fewer tourists. We had some 6 hours to cover the places and I think we made the most of our time. Here are few clicks.

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This is all Chikhaldara in various shades

 

The Start for Chikhaldara

DSC00228

DSC00229

We started late and reached Burhanpur at 12 am- just 190 kms in 5 hours when we also stopped for dinner. It was bad. Saurabh wanted to continue but the locals there warned us against the night travelling as the route was very, very remote type and dacoits have their way in the night time. And when we started next day, I thanked those people who advised us against travelling. At that time, the drive would have been dangerous.

We started at 5am next day to make up for the loss of the last day and the road to Dharni (in Maharashtra) never made us loose our attention. It was a village road with partial patches of concrete and tar. The most common conveyance sighted was ox-cart and the pot-holes covered the roads.

But, as they say, rising early is a good thing and I sure realize that on that particular morning. We witnessed a sunrise in the fields, the kind of sunrise which I have read of so many times. You see the sun coming up, first a small dot, then the semi circle and you have not stopped admiring it and voila, it is out completely. Unless, you have a DSLR, it is tough to capture it the way it is described. But my digicam attempted to do the impossible.

DSC00239DSC00240DSC00241DSC00243DSC00244DSC00246DSC00247DSC00249DSC00253DSC00254DSC00256DSC00258DSC00259DSC00261DSC00262DSC00263DSC00266DSC00268DSC00275IMG_2109IMG_2110IMG_2112IMG_2113IMG_2114IMG_2115IMG_2116

Then, again we had a reason to pay attention to the road as we crossed Melghat Tiger Reserve to reach Chikhaldara. We were hoping to get glimpse of a tiger but we were not that lucky.

Coming back, we reached Dharni at 9 pm. Starting from there, we did not take the route by which we came as driver suggested he knew a shortcut. We did not argue and let him take it. It was definitely shorter than the previous distance but those 102 kms were no less than a horror film.

This was the scariest of the travels I have ever done. I have been travelling since I was 7 and I had traversed the roads of Nepal in pitch dark night without fear. But on this route, every turn was suspense. Will I get to see light after this? Any vehicles, any population, any kind of habitation. It was not to be.

It was completely dark. To say that we saw light anywhere around apart from 6 passing cars in these 100 kms would be generous. The road was in a pathetic condition and it was difficult to make out whether potholes invaded the roads or vice versa. The driver was going slowly because of his car and the regret of choosing a wrong route at that time of the night. I am very sure if the car would have broken down somewhere there; we would not have got any kind of assistance. To see the passer-by became a luxury.

Anyhow, we reached Khandwa ‘safely’. It was a big relief. Now last leg of the journey remained i.e. from Khandwa to Indore. I expected it to be safe and quick but it was not just happening. We had to halt few kilometres before Indore, once again, because some bandits were pelting stones at the vehicles. It was strange, keeping in mind we were so close to a big city like Indore. We finally made it to the hostel at 3 am. Tired, we were but sleep was miles away. After what we had experienced in last 36 hours, on this trip to a relatively unknown hill station; there were just too many things to remember.

What made this trip memorable?

1. The ‘Unknown’ factor – As all of us, including the driver, had no clue of the roads and the place; the trip instantly became exciting. Every turn was an answer we had when we started; every destination became a milestone and every person was a potential friend. So, being entirely unaware of the place helped us in being extra curious and we ended up learning and experiencing a lot.

2. The Journey – I have covered a lot of distance through car in going various places but the roads here were totally different. They were scary that gave the feeling of kind of adventure but at the same time, sometimes, the remoteness was just too much to bear.

3. The Place – Chikhaldara was quiet and did not have hustle and bustle of other hill stations. That made it different. It was kind of humid but the landscapes there were entirely different. Even if spent there quarter of a day, the memories it gave us are long lasting.

4. The Anonymity – Just like the place, we were anonymous too. Nobody except three of us knew where we were going. Our parents and colleagues knew that we have gone somewhere but where, they had no idea. No phone calls, no disturbances- just the place and we.

Why I love road trips?

I always prefer to travel by car. Trains and buses don’t excite me that much. There is nothing better than driving your car to all the places. Particularly, in hilly areas, it is an added advantage. You never know where you might have to stop to click that breath-taking view. Buses won’t stop. You and your car can. And travelling in car allows me to be me. I don’t have to care about any fellow passenger. I can sit in my pyjamas, sleep as I want and sing and shout.

I am hoping to travel a lot more in coming years. One of the trips on my immediate agenda is covering the country in an all India road trip. I have made the rough itinerary that is 15 days long and as soon as I decide the dates, I will be making refinements in that. I will be updating this blog about the same but for now, I’ll sign off with a quote I believe is bang on for any road trip addict- “To travel is better than to arrive”.

See ya.

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5 Things I Want to Do Before I………

I wish

Here it goes.

1. Quit your job

2. Buy a ticket

3. Get a tan

4. Fall in love

5. Never return

That was it. Thanks for reading.

.

.

.

.

Ok, ok. Wait. Just joking. Obviously, what is said above is not easy. Can you just your quit your job and buy a ticket? Even if you do that, you might not get a tan and love. And accept it, you will have to return. The charms of the world are too appealing.

Does that mean you should not dream? Of course, you should. My dad used to say when I was a small kid and never been out of my hometown- if you dream to buy a 3 BHK flat in metros, you will always live as a tenant. Aspire to own a bungalow and you might end up with a 2 BHK flat. 10 years ago, I agreed with him readily. Now that I know the apartment prices in NCR, I am sometimes forced to ponder over the relevancy of his statement. But that is another issue. For the moment, I hope, you get the drift in that quote.

And was I again drifting away from the main issue of the post? I really need to draaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggg myself. *robotic voice* PULLING BACK.

(Trust me that was my last attempt at humor today. These jokes have really come out bad. Accept my apologies. I sincerely blame this on the malfunctioning of the central air conditioning of my office on the 6th floor (i.e. the top floor) of a blazing Delhi. Or, what else do you expect from a half burned brain with 40 others estrogen starved people in which 30 of them are your seniors, shooting orders to derive pleasure that brings a ‘yeah-you have-to-do-because-you-are-a-junior’ smile on their sweat laden face? Damn you, no apologies.)

I will start again, without any prologue now. Here is the list.

 

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1. An All India Road Trip – I might want to travel the world but I want to cover my magnificent country first. In literal sense, it is quiet impossible. But to a certain extent, I can traverse the length and breadth. This is what I aim for in my road trip throughout India. I have plans to drive on Golden Quadrilateral with few detours. I hope I do this soon.

 

2012-09-11 23.04.59

2. Get Inked Again – I got my first and only tattoo last year in September. It is the logo of Arsenal Football Club, the most awesome football team in the world. I got tattooed on my right forearm and this certainly one of the best things I have ever done in life for myself. Now, I want to get it done again. I know what I will have to get done this time. Just waiting for the right moment and among all those things in the list, this will be the one to happen first.

 

40055-wallpaper-of-rocket-singh-salesman-of-the-year-movie-with-ranbir

3. Meet Ranbir KapoorI am not a gay and do not fantasize for this guy. But meeting him will bring me no less than a dream. A complete actor who can act, talk, dance, fight, make us laugh and cry and mesmerize and he does all this without aiming for ‘perfectionism’. For me, he is almost perfect and the best part, I don’t have to wait for one complete year to watch him again. And his work in “Rocket Singh- Salesman of the Year” is what you call stunning performance. I can bet, at that stage of career, not many would have had guts to do a movie where the star was the ‘script’ without any actress. He played that role so marvellously. Media call him the next superstar; for me, he already is one. If I happen to meet him someday, I will consider myself lucky.

 

That is not me..obviously

4. Sit on a hill, all alone- I belong to Dehradun, the temporary capital of Uttarakhand since 12 years. The city is famous for its weather and it can be attributed to the hills it is surrounded with. Living among those lush mountains has made me habitual and always love being near them. And this is one thing is on my bucket list. On a hill with I, me and myself; I don’t know why I am so sure that when I do this; I will get an idea what I have to do with my life. Strange belief, I know but can’t help.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5. Watch Arsenal play, LIVE- If you have read the #2 above, this won’t be difficult to understand. I fell in love with Arsenal a decade back (read it here in My Arsenal Story). Since then, it has stayed with me. I dream of going to London once to watch my club play- something which my meagre salary doesn’t allow me to do right now. But, sooner or later, I am going to make it happen. It is tough to feel that moment right now. Certainly, hair will stand up, goose bumps are sure and I might even shed some tears of joy and ecstasy. But let’s not discuss it until it happens. I will leave that for another day.

So, you see, dreaming is not bad. It gives you a reason to look ahead to the next day, to finish unfinished work (certainly, I am not talking about office). Dream and always keep reminding yourself of those things. It might not be “Quit the Job” exactly but the fun should always be there.

Football & India- Will They Meet?

the beautiful game

across the bounds

Loving football in India is no more a crime today but it certainly was when I started following Arsenal. That was way back in 2002. I was 15 years old and that was the prime age to learn, play, love and follow cricket in India. I did it religiously but Arsenal kept creeping inside my heart. And 10 years hence, I fell so much in love with this football club that I got the club name tattooed on my right forearm and started a blog that is a running tribute of mine to this awesome football team. You can check the blog here.

But this post is not about Arsenal and my love for it. This is about football. Very clearly, the most followed game on this planet has not been very generously received by Indian people. If we go back in the past, we have had some golden moments in this awesome game. And do you know we were Asian Champions once? At that moment, the nation would have expected India to get better and become more competitive. That is what normally happens. You get better with time and 40 years is enough time for the same. Sadly, for Indian football, things never improved.

Why is this so- I never got an answer that I can say is, probably justified. What was wrong with us? Why did the game lose its way among billions of Indians? What made probably the cheapest sport on earth so inaccessible in India- a country they say is very poor and economically still not developed? This, instead, should have been the focal point. It is not to be.

Since my understanding of the game, I have regarded as the most beautiful game ever played. (You can read more on this in my post in sports portal SportsKeeda). Not the easiest but a treat to watch. For some, football has always been about kicking balls (no pun intended) but this is not the way it was meant to be played. It has a charm, an attraction to it. Every time you see the curl of the ball, you feel mesmerized. Every goal your team scores, you are ecstatic. To write about this game, your vocabulary levels have to be the best, your writing prowess should be somewhere near the peak of Burj Khalifa and………ok, I have ran out of words.

It is unfortunate that under the shadows of cricket, this game has not thrived to an extent it should have. You might find football in parts of regions of Bengal, Goa and Kerala but the bigger picture is not very encouraging.

Yes, the satellite channel has made it easy to watch games from the popular leagues of the Europe. The jerseys of the biggest stars are now just few clicks away, courtesy e-commerce sites like Myntra and Jabong. The sports bars have opened the screenings of big matches. But at the grass root level, we are still at square one.

It is tough to see India progressing at suddenly a better pace in this sport. It will take time but once it gets itself free from the clutches of cricket, it will be certainly break the extremes; that is what I believe.

In love with the beautiful game ever.

The Liebster Awards

liebster awards

Sometimes, things happen that make you happy. It is not just literal happiness but the joy that can be more effective than thought initially. And one of these kinds of happiness has been bestowed upon by me by Supreet Kini of BlazingCannons, one of those Arsenal blogs which I read very regularly (although Supreet is updating his blog rarely these days).

He has nominated me for Leibster awards. These awards are given to bloggers with less than 200 followers and I am a perfect candidate for this as instead of 200 followers, I have managed to garner 200 views the last week. I thank Supreet for finding me good enough to be an eligible applicant of this award. So, I will now move ahead with the rules of the award.

1. Thank the blogger who has nominated you (thanks a ton, Supreet).

2. List 11 random facts about yourself.

3. Answer the questions the blogger has asked you in the post you have been nominated.

4. Nominate 11 new bloggers.

5. Ask the 11 nominees 11 random questions.

6. Let them know you have nominated them.

So, before I move forward. I like to say that I was nominated for my Arsenal blog which you can read here. But as I know very few people in this niche to nominate, I chose this blog to publish this post. Here I go.

11 Random facts

1. Apart from following Arsenal, I am a banker after graduating as a computer science engineer.

2. I belong to Dehradun, a beautiful city in north India and presently living in Indian capital New Delhi.

3. I am not a big foodie but is in love with almost every kind of non vegetarian food- chicken, mutton, fish, crab, prawn, beef.

4. I have written a lot over last few years on various blogs. I am also running Arsenal blog at Gunners Godown. Feel free to drop by.

5. I started following Arsenal in 2004 but due to college, could not watch matches. But since 2009, I have been religiously watching Arsenal, feeling Arsenal and living Arsenal.

6. I have an Arsenal tattoo on my right forearm that shows the Arsenal logo with the cannon and “Gooner” written beneath it.

7. I like to travel and have covered most of North India. Would love to go to Switzerland and Australia in my life time.

8. I bought my first Arsenal jersey in July 2012. The emotions after wearing that got over me and I ended up writing this post at SportsKeeda.

9. Two things that I would definitely like to do at any cost- drive around whole of India in a car myself and visit the Emirates to see the heaven where my heroes play.

10. I hate Manchester United more than the Spurs and will love to see the dickheads lose every damn match.

11. I want to get fame. Dying without making a name of myself will be an injustice to the life sweet Lord has given to me. I won’t lie- all my blogs have been a step towards this endeavour of being famous, being known.

Answer to the questions.

Q1. Arsene Wenger or Alex Ferguson? And why?

1. Arsene Wenger. I just can’t stand Ferguson or Manchester United.

 

Q2. Which player would you take back at Arsenal? Fabregas, Adebayor, Nasri, Clichy, van Persie, Toure?

2. Tough one but I’ll go for Toure. We need solidity at the back. The Ivorian would have provided that.

 

Q3. A multi million pound job or being paid peanuts to be the boot cleaner at Arsenal (which means access to watch all games)? Which job would you take?

3. Obviously, fucking boot cleaner. Watching Arsenal play every time at Emirates, none betters that.

 

Q4. If you had all the weapons of the world at your disposal, how exactly would you utilize your new ammunition?

4. I will get rid of all the Manchester United fans that don’t understand a bit about football but are celebrating trophies.

 

Q5. The hottest female who walked the earth, from your point of view?

5. Salma Hayek and Monica Bellucci- I just can’t differentiate between the two. For the Indian females, it is Lara Dutta. I like dusky beauties- do I need to say more?

 

Q6. One thing that you regret not having done?

6. Too personal. Sad smile

 

Q7. You are Jens Lehmann. Champions League Final 2006. Samuel Etoó breaks free and is approaching. Would you a) Stick to your lines, stay safe and hope he miskicks or you pull of a wondrous save. b) Do what he did, foul him and get a red card. c) Do what he did, foul him, get a red card and punch the referee right in the middle of his face.

7. I will stay back and will wait for him to take a shot. He is under that much pressure like I am having. You never know, a lot could have happened.

 

Q8. Your favorite Arsenal moment/game? And your worst one as well?

8. Favorite Arsenal match- 2-1 victory against Barcelona in 2011. I almost cried. The worst has been the worst- the defeat by Bradford in this year’s Capital One Cup.

 

Q9. If you were to be assigned with random superpowers, what three would you ask for?

9. a) To be anywhere I want to be.

b) My imaginative stories come true.

c) Constant supply of funds so that I can travel the world.

 

Q10. If you weren’t an Arsenal supporter, which club would you choose?

10. At that moment, I do not know. Today, ironically, it is Tottenham Hostpur (you read that right, people).

 

Q11. Are you a pro-Wenger or anti-Wenger? If anti, why?

11. I was an anti- Wenger and you can read it here. But now I believe in his philosophies as I have learn to understand his ways and have belief what the Professor’s ultimate dream is- telling the world that Money does not buy trophies.

My Nominations

1. Novel Ideas!

2. From the Poet’s Heart

3. Direct Dil Se

4. Reviews & Musings

5. My Spell

6. The Incredibility is Back

7. Nibedita’s Blog

8. The Humorous Angle

9. Mashed Musings

10. Who Cares What I Think?

11. BNOMADIC

 

My questions to the nominated bloggers

1. Why did you start blogging?

2. You are getting an all expenses paid trip for two to a place of your choice? Where will it be and with whom?

3. Dog or cat? And why?

4. Half a million dollars for slogging for 6 months year or a week’s peace on the beaches of Bahamas?

5. What is your deepest fear?

6. How did you propose your girl/guy? Or how you plan to do so?

7. One ‘Ctrl + Z’ moment of your life? Something you want to undo if you had a choice?

8. Who is the most ‘marriage-able’ celebrity?

9. One thing that can take you to the ultimate heights of fame?

10. Do you follow any sports, team, club or a person? Why this love started?

11. Did you like coming to this blog? And will you visit again?

 

Enjoy the awards. And yes keep blogging.

Head? Heart? Help Me God

head vs heart
Setting- a boring classroom
Characters- a guy (me), a wandering heart, a confused head
Supporting cast- the teacher, 100 other geeks, one beautiful girl
I am sure that sounds familiar. And I am also sure that this does not happen in engineering classes only. Classes in various courses all around the world are so boring that you have to find ways to keep you busy. For some testosterone charged, the entertainment comes from the ‘stories’ accessed through mobile phones. The traditional ones prefer ‘tic-tac-toe’ and ‘connect four dots in a row’. The trendy people play Angry Birds and Temple Run. And one category believes in doing for what they have been sent here- take notes, answer in a robotic manner and impress the person on the other side of the classroom. He is one who is of no importance for first 4 months. In the last month of the semester, he becomes a mini deity.
Among all these, there are few who prefer fantasizing. Wait; don’t get ‘The Dirty Picture’. I am explaining.
Semester 1
There are some students who, from Day 1, develop affection for the opposite sex in their batch. Not a crime certainly. For those who have stepped out of the comfort of their home first time in life, the world is theirs. And so are the people of the world. So, what is the harm in selecting one from those people if it makes you happy?
The harm shows its effect when this love (this is what we call it, right?) is carried to the classroom. Let me tell you, for the people in this kind of ‘love’; there is no better place than classroom. In my case, I had no idea what the man in suit is blabbering and scribing on the board. I was not interested which latest video is being shared by my fellow seat partners. And I didn’t find the comments on the teacher’s words by new-bully-of-the-batch funny.
Where was I then? I was looking at that girl with whom I was in ‘love’. Cute, innocent, looked good in college provided suit. My heart was with her. My head had other ideas.
‘what is the problem?’ my head asked. ‘the last comment was really funny. The brain processed it. So, why are not you laughing? 
‘he won’t’ the heart replied instantly ‘he is busy in that girl, over that right side second bench.’
Things could have been very simple if anything of the following had happened
1. I propose the girl, she says YES; I live happily ever after (happily ever after? you are kidding me)
2. I somehow kill the infatuation and just move on.
Some people are stuck in worst case scenario
Semester 4
It’s been 2 years but things were same. You might ask where the change is. Even the files in government department are processed in this long time. But I was still stuck watching the girl.
College has become serious; studies have picked pace but I am still with the day 1 memories. The girl has not changed a bit. Same hair, same eyes and same innocence (and very importantly, the same relationship status- SINGLE). That kept my hope going that one day, may be I will……..
Head- I don’t think there is no use making him understand now. I am seeing the same since last 480 days and 15 hours.
Heart- there is more to life than these stupid numbers. Can’t you see his how happy he is? Try being at my place for a day and you will yourself know how much blood I am pumping in and out.
Head- Numbers are what matters here most. Here and in that world where his numbers will get a salary with many zeroes in it. Numbers will make him a successful man. Numbers will shape him
Heart- but the numbers won’t necessarily fetch him respect. His feelings are true. I hope he gets what he deserves at the end of it.
Semester 8
I have reached the last days of my college. Grades were consistently average and my parents were more concerned about them than me. I made the decision. 7 semesters were more than enough. It is now or never.
Head- dude, this guy has gone mad. This brain is sending me signals. Something big is going to happen.
Heart- it was long due. I am happy he has made the decision. By the way, what do you think will be the reaction? I claim to know a lot about him but this time, I just can decide.
Head- I can only answer in a logical way. And going by what I have gathered in last 20 years through books and internet, logic has no place in this aspect of life. So, no comments.
Heart- come on, be a sport. Answer something.
Head- I will answer logically. At this stage, numbers matter. Emotions can wait. So, he should concentrate on his studies.
Heart- you are disgusting.
I went up to the girl. For the first time in 4 years, we had proper eye contact. In the 4 years of studying, mugging and building a so-called-future, she has managed to retain her charm. It was tough not to look at her now that I had a chance. All those years, it was normally a 45 degree posture- me at second bench from the last, she at second from start. At 180 degree i.e. face to face, things were far better. 5 seconds of awkward silence and I blurted out the three words I thought I never will.
All these years, my head always said NO and heart said YES. Worse, I allowed myself to get cluttered in between two most contradicting organs of my body. If head and heart would have said in unison, YES or NO or whatever, I believe I would have been a calmer being.
5 years after, everyone is happy. She has just got engaged and happy. And I am trying to postpone my marriage as long as I can. Different people, different choices. Had she been with me, she would have been arguing about getting married as early as possible.
The only three words that I said that day were- All the best. What did you think?
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

I Said I Love You

i love you

‘Puja is over, Roy.’ My dad announced. ‘I hope your mother’s effort bears fruit.’ He was a bit sad and he had every reason for being so. When one’s son ends up in the hospital every two months; he will feel low.

I managed a wry smile. I was feeling bad too. Since last one year, the frequency at which I was visiting Nehru hospital, my parents became worried. Sometimes, it would be fever, many days it was my bad stomach. To tell the truth, I never tried to avoid any thing. Yes, every time the guilt flooded me, cursed me but the prospect of seeing Radhika again was far too exciting.

It all started a year back when I broke my leg accidentally and was brought to this hospital. They called it ‘private’ hospital but they had everything here to make you feel that you are going to spend your entire life inside the weirdly painted blue walls. The ward-boys were strange; fat nurses were robotic and doctors were least assuring. But my chaddi-buddy Karan’s guarantee (who has just joined this hospital) that they will take care of me convinced my parents to bring me here. It was 2 days me cursing him when I saw Radhika first time.

Radhika Gulati, as small badge on her shirt said, was probably the only good looking female there. A doctor-in-making, she was tall, not too fair but good enough to attract attention (managing a patient’s attention is never tough when he is around medicines). Even in that environment, she dressed impeccably. Hair tied in a bun, the sky blue skirt with top that ran all the way to the knees and a dark blue cardigan- her features were like the yesteryear’s actress Mandakini, just a tad darker. And her fragrance was majestic.

I could never make it out what attracted me towards her. She was a decent girl with decent looks and it was not the case that I did not have female friends. I was quiet popular among girls in college and was still in contact. I used to hang-out and party on weekends; few trips on some weekends and had enough female colleagues in my office. And loads of them were better than Radhika. But the feeling that was making its way to the heart; it never happened before.

It was three days since I was admitted and now was good enough to walk with plaster. But in these three days, I could not strike a conversation with her. And this was the strangest thing. I tried to ask few things, really stupid ones like-

‘Is this the same plaster of paris that my room is done with?’

‘Do you think I will still be able to kick balls from this leg?’

‘When was the last time you waxed your legs? They freak me out.’

I had no idea how she perceived me- funny, moron, libido, jerk. But she never talked. The only words we exchanged were through my mother.

‘Aunty, please tell the patient not to move this leg till I come for the evening shift.’ My mother would forward it to me and I would just nod. Girl, if you have asked me not to bat my eyelid, I would have asked god to turn me into a zombie until your next visit.

‘Aunty, can you please tell the patient not to put too much pressure on this leg?’ somebody please tell this lady, it’s my blood pressure which is the culprit. It is damn happy and pumping insane amount of blood to my heart.

Sometimes, I hated her for being so robotic. And what’s the obsession with the word ‘patient’? It sounded so professional and formal.

The day I was discharged, I was visibly more sad than happy. My very religious mother understood that my stars and grahas have misaligned and have gone on a cold war and the family pandit-ji was ordered to pay a visit in the evening. I did not protest. I did not have the guts to tell them that the kundli is doing absolutely fine. It is the Radhika-effect. Gloomier I was because I could not talk to her. But nothing could be done now.

The first thing I did when I reached home was to call my Karan to ask about Radhika. And then I hunted her down on Facebook. There were the findings- two years older than me, alumni of Shivalik School and College of Medical Research and Innovation; she joined Nehru Hospital 15 months back. Lived around 5 kms from my locality and has one younger sister. Father was a government employee and mother was faculty in the same Medical College. Her DP had her in a bright red top and jeans which any normal guy would rate 8 out of 10; but I was so habitual of seeing her in that blue dress; the change took some time to register. And yes, she was single.

After I came back, I tried shrugging off her from my mind. I went for more trips, tried to be among friends, partied more, boozed but she remained there. I had nothing much to remember- a simple Radhika in a blue dress with a constant little smile but even these small memory was troubling me. I knew I had to go again. I knew what I have to do. And three days later, I was back in Nehru hospital.

I was unfair to my parents. My mother wanted to go and curse the owner of nukkad waali golgappa shop for serving stale gol-gappas to her son. I would never tell them that I myself ate roadside chole-kulche and chicken biryani. Sure enough, it was risky but it worked. And Roy Sinha was again in Nehru hospital, on bed no 7 under the heavenly care of Ms Radhika (that was not co-incidence; Karan helped me in getting that bed).

This time I was sure I would talk to her. And I hoped she would also like to talk to one of her ex-patients. I had ensured she do not find out my connection with Karan and will take it as a fluke.

I was so wrong. And this doctor was so professional. She came at the right time, prescribed medicines and left. There was never an iota of delay in her schedule. I was aghast, hurt and stunned by this lady’s ignorance. I tried to find out whether she was doing it on purpose but she never gave me enough time. My second chance also wasted. All I returned was with a hefty bill and 7 days of bad food and medicines.

After that, it became a routine for me to go there. My medical history also helped as I was very prone to fever. In winters, I slept without blanket, took a cold-water shower, drank coke and chilled beer liberally. Every time, I landed at the same bed. Then on, I did not make any attempt to hide the fact that I was coming here to see her, meet her. But she was the same. Smile, medicines and then, leave. It was getting troublesome for me and I was running out of ideas to get admitted there without making my parents doubtful. So, I decided to go for the final kill.

As dad left the room, I waited for Radhika to come. She came at her punctual best and hesitated. For the first time ever, there was no one beside my bed. Mom was, as I told earlier, in temple and dad was not there. As she came near, I blurted out- I love you Radhika.

She stopped midway. The smile was still there. I could not make out whether it’s the usual one or emerged because of my abrupt proposal. I waited for her answer. It never came. I said again- I love you Radhika.

‘do you think I did not know that?’ finally, I heard something from her directed towards to me.

‘you do?.’ I assumed Karan let it go and cursed him endlessly.

‘I am smart enough to understand that, Roy. This is your 8th visit and 55th day in this hospital in last 9 months.’ She was emotionless as she went on. By emotionless, I mean she did not make it clear what was her feeling. What was going inside this female’s mind? Why was she such a secret?

‘well, now that you know it..’ I finally asked her- ‘may I know your answer?’

‘what answer?’

‘what answer? The answer to what I asked.’

‘you asked nothing Roy. You just told me about what you feel.’

Smart girl, I wanted to appreciate her in Ajit sir (Lion fame) tone but guessed that was not the moment.

‘Ok then, Ms radhika, I love you. Do you love me?’

‘no.’ She was still plain. I was impressed by her ability of keeping a poker face.

‘why?’ I almost pleaded.

‘I know nothing about you and you know nothing about me.’

‘that’s wrong. I have gone through your FB profile comprehensively and found out few things. You are a Gemini, loves red colour, hate daily soaps and dreams of Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper. A die hard romantic, in love with books and is learning cooking.’

She smiled, a bit wider.

‘about me, there is nothing much. An engineering graduate, I accidentally landed in banking. I talk straight, loves football and trying to get hold of some photography tips. And yes, 300 friends on FB. What else would you like to know?’

‘well….’ she started. I waited, held my breath for those nice words.

‘now that you have checked my FaceBook link, I think I should forward you my Shaadi.com profile link too.”

Ahhh..that hurt. I quickly re-composed myself and tried again,

‘so, as you have met me; I think you can delete it.’

‘no chance. I never take decisions these impulsively. And this one greatly influences my life.’

‘take your time. I am in no hurry.’

‘what make you so sure that I will say ‘Yes’ some day?’ she was feeling a bit excited. I was sensing it. I know all I need to do is play along.

‘to be honest, you are not the first girl I met. But then, nobody has been over me like this. You are a doctor and I am sure you know none of my ailments was serious. I took some unfair advantage of my mother’s too much affection. My 8 visits and 55 days, add to it around Rs. 50,000 of this hospital’s bill; I knew who I was coming for.”

I paused. She was waiting, too.

‘I spent numerous hours on that bed. Apart from the first time, every other visit has been on purpose. The reason was you. To get a glimpse of Radhika Gulati, I came here again and again. You never talked to me; I don’t know whether that was intentional or not but that got me more towards you. To be with you with our hands together on a nice evening looked and felt so romantic. And…….’

I stopped frantically. Mom and Dad entered the room. I looked at her for that last hope. And finally, amidst that smile, I think I saw one.

It’s been 6 months now since that day. Till date, I have not visited Nehru Hospital again. Mom has thanked Pandit-ji a ton. I wish I could tell her the truth. I will tell her when Radhika will say YES.

Yes, she has not said it. We have gone out few times; have been on phone but she is still reluctant to put a stamp. I am still waiting for her words and she is leaving no stone unturned to completely verify that I am a husband material that can take care of her post-marital needs and wishes.

Love does go through bizarre of tests.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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