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Friday, 28 June 2013

I am no Cricketer!

I would have been a Cricketer but………………………………………….! Many among us Indians would identify with this statement, the missing words in the ‘fill in the blank’ being different to individual cases. With the game being the most powerful among organized religions in the country and the players virtual demigods, there is an official God too, it doesn't take any research or survey to know that a huge majority of Indians dream of becoming a Cricketer. Given the opportunity to earn pots of gold, it is now a viable; nay lucrative career option too. Not to forget the endorsement opportunities, the glitz, the glamour and fawning attention of the members of the fairer sex. The only hitch in the above scenario is, a place in the Indian Cricket team is possibly the most competitive career option. Including the fringe, you have to be one among a group of 20-30 players, 15 in a squad and just 11 in a team. Despite  more tournaments joining the circuit, the gravy train still reaches only the top 100 odd players. This out of approximately half a billion aspirants. The mind boggles, the computer refuses to calculate the odds. No wonder then that almost all Indian men will have a story of regret to fill the above blank with.

As you have rightly guessed, this is my story. One of unfulfilled ambition, of dashed hopes, broken dreams. I know how it feels to be a Romeo, a Majnu, the Ek Duje Ke Liye Kamal Hassan, of unrequited love. Like most budding cricketers, I too started in the drawing room and moved out to gully cricket.  I started as an outstanding player (a euphemism for a ball boy) and gradually moved into the locality playing eleven. As you know everyone playing gully cricket is an all rounder and I claimed to be one too. After a few years of regular practice and playing I came up against The Wall (simile Mates, not a real wall or Rahul Dravid) and that was the end of my ambitions of playing the game professionally. I was found out, I was sorted out. I didn't have the skills necessary to excel in the modern game. I was simply not good enough.

Like most budding Cricketers I too was blessed with certain amount of talent and a fair degree of skills in batting, bowling and fielding. These I soon found out were not enough to break into headlines. I was found wanting in some key areas, unfortunately. The first among these was being genetically engineered with a structure which was all of two-packs which no amount of gymming could convert into anything more substantial. Not that it affected my primary cricketing skills but it affected my ‘X-Factor’. The matter was further compounded by the fact that I was and am a teetotaler, liquor a sacrilege for me. All this meant I could never compete with those star batsmen who at the drop of the hat could confidently invade a pub, drink like a fish and still swing their fists with unerring accuracy and belt the opposition batsman black, ‘beetRoot’ red and blue.

The next short coming of mine which was quite obvious pretty early in my career even to me was my inability to use ‘colourful’ language. An upbringing which insisted that womenfolk be treated like the Sacred Feminine, I could never summon the courage to question the parentage, the well being of the mothers and sisters of the players in the opposition and occasionally of their fans in the stands and the Umpires. Nor could I get myself to shout ‘that’ word, a popular everyday slang, synonym of copulation/intercourse after taking a catch or dropping one. In spite of provocation from the opposition and the large hearted assistance that my teammates offered, I just couldn't muster the necessary energy to indulge in any verbal diarrhea, my limited and supposedly infamous vocabulary ditching me every time. After some time I just gave up trying.

Among my other small failings were not being a compulsive party hopper, not enjoying dancing especially in Gangnam Style, a distinct hatred to declaring myself physically fit when I was not so and blessed with poor acting skills. The last mentioned was a serious problem while going for those vociferous appeals. Without that I was sure I couldn't even become a ‘Buttler’ in the English dressing room.

The last but possibly the most important weakness of mine was an allergy to towels. No, no, let me clarify, not to all towels. I mean no one hates towels per se; at least not the ones who believe taking a shower is an effective and hygienic way to remain healthy. And I indulge in this water treatment as many times as Lord Varuna or the Corporation of Coimbatore would permit me. Nor do I have any problem with the gamcha, popular in East India though considered very down market. I didn’t honestly have an objection to a hand kerchief either. My allergy was to the smaller towels which are supposedly convenient to carry around by tucking them onto our trousers and are gaining in popularity. That effectively ended my tryst with Cricket as a player. Suffices to say from ambitions of being a ring leader, I now don’t qualify to even being a cheerleader.  


This is fiction. Dedicated to the honest, hardworking and model Cricketers like the one mentioned by name and nickname in the note. And hope @arj_90 likes this.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Housewife!

 Every man is a closet misogynist. And I mean it. You know it too. Touch your heart and be honest, brutally honest to yourself and you will realize, you agree. And if you disagree, you are either being dishonest or an exception, a rarity. I can unmask the former, men who disagree with a single word. Housewife! How many of you have used this word, are still using it and seen people use it and have been sanguine about it? Everyone does it and everyone knows it. Ever since the evolutions of the homosapien men have been misogynists and continue to be one and any view even slightly divergent to this is considered blasphemy or is mere lip service.

If you are looking to put a face to such people and are too embarrassed to think of yourself or anyone among your family and friends, let me volunteer. The description fits me to the T. Without sugar coating it I am that pure, unadulterated Male Chauvinist Pig, of Grade A variety. From the moment I hand over the wads of notes to my wife for monthly rations etc., I constantly remind her of me the prima donna, strutting around like a well plumed peacock and my wish being her command. And why shouldn’t it be so? After all I am the provider. It is I who am often sacrificing my personal life and time to go on constant tours, eat unhealthy, unhygienic, tasteless food, sacrificing sleep most of the times, missing out on family pleasures and striving to achieve betterment in my career and a social standing for her to be proud of. I mean who doesn’t like to be called the wife of a Senior Manager or Sales Head of an A list company? And if in the bargain I demand to be treated like numero uno at home, why not? It was with such a mindset, I once granted her the permission for a porandha aathu visit during Navaratri. And babysit too as a bonus. While bestowing the boon I refrained from telling her that neither I nor the children were really keen to spend three nights in a godforsaken village in the remotest part of Palakkad which had a Bhagavathy temple as its only source of entertainment.

For the children of course the prospect of spending a couple of days with papa alone was like what students feel when the school teacher takes an unexpected leave. The first day went off like a breeze. The milk was lapped up in a jiffy, breakfast at Annapoorna, lunch at Pizza Hut, chaat for tiffin, interspersed with packets of Kurkure and Lays and the night rounded off with a visit to McDonald’s. The excitement during the day included a game of badminton with the daughter and cricket in the drawing room with the son. To be honest, I had never seen my children happier than this. As I said good night to the world, I was left wondering on the cushy life my wife enjoyed while I had to slog it out like an ant perennially in search of a living.

Day two was of course a different matter, a different world altogether. The milk that was lapped up in a jiffy on day one had to be heated up multiple times before the same was as much as sipped. The menu of another round of Pizza or Burger was stonewalled and demands for “amma pannara thakkali rasam” and Biryani were put forward. Suggestions to the contrary were shooed away with threats to go on a hunger strike. My daughter deluged me with multiple diagrams to be drawn for her Science class which needed to be submitted once the school reopened. Cajoling my son to visit the potty with multiple inducements thrown in took up the rest of the morning. What started as Biryani finally ended up being pongal/khichdi type concoction and the thakkali rasam had thakkali on one side and rasam on the other. Having pushed the experiments down their throats the children were forced to hit the bed for a much needed (for me) siesta. A few snores into the act, I was woken up by an earthquake hitting the drawing room where the 2/2 and the 4/4 who had left the bed were amidst a verbal duel over the right to the remote. On getting the coherence back, a few friendly words of wisdom delivered at a decibel level not permitted anywhere except at bomb testing facilities, temporary truce was achieved. Multiple suggestions for an evening outing were shot down by His Majesty and Her Highness as stupid and I was dragged down to a water theme park just around the closing time. Dinner comprised of rotis which were more or less the exact replicas of multiple maps. Amidst peals of laughter and ridicule the son consumed Australia and North America while my daughter ate South America and another South America. Eurasia was split into two and Europe went to the girl and Asia to the boy. By now of course I was on the verge of a collapse. The whole world was revolving around at speeds unimagined before. Suffices to say I needed a respite. Even the prospect of pataoing Mukesh Ambani to will his wealth away to me or facing a fully charged up Dale Steyn in the badlands of Durban seemed like taking candy from a child. I plodded through the day and finally tucked the brats in. As I said good night to the world, I thanked my stars that I didn’t have to prepare them to school the next day.   

The world moved back to its saner characteristics on day three when my wife made her earlier than expected return. To say I was relieved would be an understatement, I was overwhelmed. I was in a sort of a daze as my wife shared her stories from Palakkad over a cup of coffee. My mind only replaying the past 48 hours. I was woken up from the stupor when I heard my wife speaking something about  dharisanam of the Goddess. Goddess! The word hit me like a sledgehammer! Realisation stared at me. The MCP took a body blow. That moment onwards I stopped searching for Goddesses in Sanctum Sanctorums. The Goddess was with me, speaking to me, taking care of me, my family and my world. My Goddess is no housewife. My Goddess is my Homemaker.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

PAKed Off!

India overcame multiple rain delays to defeat Pakistan in their last league match in the Champion Trophy at Edgbaston. Billed as the marquee match of the tournament and tickets for which were sold out within hours of being put on sale, a full house saw India carve out a rain ravaged yet a memorable win over arch rivals in the inconsequential match. India has already qualified for the semi final and Pakistan already knocked out of the championship. The South Asian derby ended up a damp squib with the rain causing more trouble for the Indians than their rivals from across the border.

Chasing 168 in 40 overs as per Duckworth Lewis method, reduced to 110 in 27.5 over after another rain delay and finally to 102 in 22 overs after yet another shower, India clinically polished of the target in the 20th over for the loss of 2 wickets. The opening firm of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on 58 before Ajmal removed Rohit Sharma for a sedate 18. Dhawan fell two short of his 50 to Wahab Riaz caught in the deep. With the Kookaburra ball not swinging much and the spinners rendered ineffective by the openers, the Indians finished of the game in a hurry. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was named the Man of the Match for his economical and effective spell of 2 wickets for 19 runs of 8 overs.

Earlier, M S Dhoni on winning the toss put Pakistan into bat keeping in mind the possibility of the match being rain effected. Pakistan’s top order batting woes continued as the Indian bowlers lead by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar reduced Pakistan to 70 for 3 before the first rain break.On resumption Pakistan were  dealt a body blow when Ravindra Jadeja removed Misbah Ul Haq, by far their most accomplished and consistent batsman. From then on it was a case of regular fall of wickets and Pakistan finished all out for a very modest 165, later revised to 168 under D/L Method. Pakistan’s problems were compounded by electric fielding by the Indian unit, cutting off certain boundaries and building the pressure by some smart catches and creating run out opportunities. The bowlers came to the party by maintaining consistent line and length leading to the inevitable procession of Pakistani batsman to the pavilion.

India now plays the team placed 2nd  in Group B on 20th June for a place in the final.

Thursday, 13 June 2013


It has been eight weeks since I made my appearance here in Blogosphere. Yes, the stats are accurate. Not that this deserves a round of applause or raising the laptop as an acknowledgement of the same. What started on an impulse is now showing signs of turning into an exercise heading towards doom. If the sermon seems rather perplexing, I don’t blame you especially when I am in the same boat as you. Let me try and weave my way out of this mutual perplexity.

It all started a few weeks ago while browsing through the writings of a ‘confused’ person during one of my infrequent chats on the micro blogging site Twitter. During the course of the chat I was informed by the same ‘confused’ person that blogging is quite an easy way to share ones thoughts and explain the same in depth unlike the ration of 140 characters imposed by Twitter. And thus was born the blogspot under discussion. Thus having opened an account on an impulse, I readied up what I thought was a useful note which did not impose the restriction of 140 characters on me. And proceeded to invite every handle on my Twitter timeline to have a look at it. Either out of curiosity or out of courtesy, a few of my ‘followers’ and ‘follows’ did submit themselves graciously to the punishment and either because they liked what they read or out of sheer politeness responded to my scribbles. Responses ranging from “Nyc one, Hahaha, Good one Mate” etc buoyed me up and the next few weeks saw me churn out ‘stuff’ with a clock work regularity.

I have of course read about something called a writer’s block. Without claiming to be one I experienced the phenomenon for the first time in eight to ten weeks. The first few weeks passed off like a breeze because everybody and anybody can write on subjects related to their work, their hobbies or their pet peeves. It took me all of eight weeks to cover the entire ground mentioned above from Rapists to Cinema. And then I hit the dead end. What do I write next? Nothing seemed to strike me good enough to write about. In short as we salesman types often say, Stock out! Sarakku kaali! Maal khallas! The mood at first  was to just stop writing any further and leave it at that. But two things prompted me to continue my struggle. Firstly the blog promotion site said that you must blog regularly and only then you will continue to get eyeballs. However much one may write for one’s own satisfaction, what is the point if you don’t have anyone else reading it. Secondly polite or otherwise, the response that one periodically got through tweets was indeed quite satisfying. So to stop writing was out of question. And back I was to where I started…what to write next?

One thought was to possibly churn out another few hundred words on things related to one’s work, hobbies or pet peeves all over again. It then struck me I had already done that to Salesmen, Rapists and Movies. How much more can I arachufy the already aracha maavu? (Essentially keep serving the same stale stuff in new avtaars) . I am sure none of you want to see a ‘I,Rapist -3’,’ Boss can’t achieve targets’ or ‘MasalaBoy’ next, not for one more decade  at least. The other thing left to write about, Cricket was laced with risk. With the game being the universal religion in the country, I sincerely doubt my ability to write a couple of lines without being deluged with a “You are wrong!” kind of feedback. The via media was to take up a generic discussion on Cricket and dish out the same. The only problem with this is that there is no thought or opinion on Cricket which is not already burning the wires in the world, virtual and real. Neither have I the ability, gyaan or the exclusive byline to break the clutter. Another me too? I am sure you would agree I am being smart and prudent!

The other thought was to visit some obscure, unknown website and do a quick ctrl C, ctrl V and be done away with especially given the effectiveness of copyright laws in the country. The fear of course was what if some smart aleck on this platform did search out the source and………… Well there is no dearth of passionate trolls in the virtual world. The other fear was; good, bad or ugly whatever I dished out was at least original. Even this had elicited a few “where did you download this from?” kind of questions. I had with great difficulty managed a “Sumaara ezhudinalum pulvannu othukitirukanga” a La Poet Dharmi in Thiruvilayadal and I don’t dare risk this. (Suggestion to non Tamils here: Boss! Learn the language. It is beautiful and I find it impossible to translate the above sentence!)

After a long exercise of browsing through newspapers, television, internet for some inspiration and a few agonizing hours spent resulting in complete blankness, I decided  the best course of action left for me to pursue was to explain my difficulty to you and solicit your help………………….Give  me an Idea Mate!  Please!
Dedicated to the not at all ‘confused’ @jay_ambadi!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


                       Anand iTomato International


                      JOSEPH JANI JAYASHANKAR

 Story, Screenplay, Dialogue, Art Direction, Direction, Producer, Audience: @aThakkali

Opening Scene:
Nagpur Railway Station. Hail storm coupled with gale storm. Power failure at the station. Just below the foot overbridge on Platform No.2, a middle class type women, bellowing in pain, obviously pregnant. Three women Samaritans tie a saree around the grills and assist the delivery while chanting “Aal izz well”. And “whoaaaaa” first cry of the baby. In an instant later a cry from the pregnant women and “whoaaaa” another first cry of another baby. Just as the Samaritans think there is no more stock left, “whoaaaaaa” yet another first cry of yet another baby. Triplets as they are called or as we put it more poetically in India ‘If 2-in-1 is Twins, 3-in-1 is Thrins’. As the lightning flashes, we see the three babies Milky white, Wheatish and Pitch Black in complexion respectively. Dr.Chaddha’s over enthusiasm or oversight while drunk we don’t know but Vicky, Micky and Chikky Donor have had their desired impact. The three childless Samaritans decide to adopt a baby each as their biological mother had just done an expected Heavenwards Ho! Arguments break out among the Samaritans as to who will get which baby as everyone wants Vicky’s gora-gora fair n lovely milky white baby and there are no takers for Micky’s and Chikky’s progenies. A prolonged verbal jujitsu later a compromise is worked out. A session of Inki Pinki Ponky ensures just distribution of spoils. Mrs.Jessica D’Souza takes her baby, christened Joseph and boards the G T Express to New Delhi. Begum Juveria Ahmed collects her baby named Jani and boards the Rajdhani Express to Kolkata.        Tmt. Janaki Seetharaman picks up her bundle of joy branded Jayashankar and settles down in the First AC cabin of TamilNadu Express enroute to Chennai.

ACT I, Location-New Delhi:
Joseph D Souza is busy studying. Fawned over by his doting mother and deluged with multiple cups of ‘kadak chai’ all in preparation for the entrance exam for that magic medical seat in AIIMS. To cut the flash back short and come to the present immediately, indeed Joseph the well behaved, Mamma’s favourite, goody-goody boy did get that Medical seat and is now a very successful surgeon in Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Along the way, a love story developed and Joseph D’Souza was joined in Holy Matrimony by Jaspreet Dhillon, a feisty Sikhni from Saharanpur and blessed with John and Jack to carry forward Vicky Donor’s genes. John and Jack by the way have fallen in love with the same girl, a certain Jessia Khan.

                                           Dr.Joseph “Mammukka” D’Souza


ACT II, Location – Kolkata:
Jani Ahmed is busy studying. Fawned over by his doting mother and deluged with multiple cups of ‘Lebu cha’ all in preparation for the entrance exam for that magic Engineering seat in IIT,Kharagpur. To cut the flash back short and come to the present immediately, indeed Jani the well behaved, Ammi’s favourite, goody-goody boy did get that Engineering seat and is now very successful as Chief Engineer  in Kolaghat Thermal Power Ltd. Along the way, a love story developed and Jani Ahmed was joined in Holy Nikaah by Jabakusum Bagchi, a feisty Bangalan from Birbhum and blessed with Jehan Mubarak and Jamal Mubarak to carry forward Micky Donor’s genes. Jamal and Jehan by the way have fallen in love with the same girl, a certain Jayanthi Natarajan.

                                                Jani ‘Lalettan’ Ahmed, Engineer.

ACT III, Location – Chennai:

                                                Jayashankar “Bob” Seetharaman

Jayashankar Seetharaman is busy studying. Fussed over by his dominating mother and deluged with multiple tumblers of ‘filter kaapi’ all in preparation for the entrance exam for either that magic Engineering seat or that magic Medical seat in any College. To cut the flash back short and come to the present immediately, indeed Jayashankar the well behaved, Amma’s favourite, goody-goody boy did not get that Engineering or Medical seat and ended up becoming a ‘suit-Boot-Tie’ type MBA from Anna University (thru correspondence) and is now very successful as Sales Manager in TVS Motors Ltd . Along the way, a love story developed and Jayashankar Seetharaman was joined in Holy Kalyanam by Jahira Banu, a feisty Mopplah mol from Malappuram and blessed with Jambulingam and Janardhanan to carry forward Chikky Donor’s genes. Jambulingam and Janardhanan by the way have fallen in love with the same girl, a certain Jaspinder Narula.

-------------------------------------------THE END-------------------------------------------------------

What do you mean by that “Hain? The End-a?” Of course this is the end. What did you think? This is a Malayalam remake of Amar Akbar Anthony or Ram Robert Rahim? NO, it is not. And I am no Manmohan Desai!

Thank You my friends @Catch_Mazhar and @RainuBhuviHolic for all the help. Hope my friends @Cric_Talks and @Venkrek are happy!