Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Happy Holi folks. Let the spirit of Holi colour your lives.

Fall Forever

Before I came to Chennai in the summer of '93, we lived for three years in Uttar Pradesh. It was in a medium sized town called Mawana, 90 minutes from Meerut (remember History lessons on 1857) and not too far from Dehradun either. The point is this place actually had the 4 seasons that I've read about in so many poems and stories and was free of the tiresome 'Hot, Hotter, Hottest' cycle found south of the Tropic of Cancer. And hence this post.

Autumn is my favourite season. I love the freshness of spring, the dew on new grown buds and the feeling of renewal and hope that cloaks everything during this time. I also enjoy the crisp and biting cold of winter mornings and the matchless joy of basking in a patch of pale sunlight afterwards. And the smell of the the first rain on parched earth sends me into raptures.

But I like autumn better than all of this, especially a cloudy autumn day. There's something about the falling leaves, the golden carpet on the ground and the dappled sunlight shining weakly through the trees. It brings to the heart a song that is both happy and sad. A song that speaks of great joy and great sorrow all blended together into one. It sets the spirit aflame and makes the heart leap. When I read 'The Solitary Reaper' for the first time, I imagined her song to be something like this. (Do they harvest in autumn?) Whenever I read 'Lord of the Rings' I imagine the Namárië (Galadriel's Lament) to be such a song.

There are four trees overhanging our hostel terrace that always have a lot of yellow and falling leaves. All the year round. Have seen and heard (and studied in Botany) of evergreen trees, but golden trees I thought only existed in books. Not being able to satiate my desire to stare at the sea here in Madurai, I make do with these trees and another place I shall talk about some other day.

PS: I swear I was not drunk or stoned when I wrote this post. Honestly don't know why I got so romantic all of a sudden.

PPS: 10 points to anyone who guesses the other place. (The Swashbucklers living in the hostel are not eligible for this coz you guys already know.)

The Answer

So, was this the greatest cricket match i'd ever seen? Naa. Won't give it first place in my list because of two reasons.
One, in the days when I played galli cricket regularly (11th std and earlier), always liked bowling better than batting. (Read I never got far with the bat. Plz no wisecracks like 'how far were u hit when bowling') This match made a mockery of them.
Two, this cannot displace from my heart the Sharjah match in which Sachin got 143 or the Test innings where Kumble despatched the entire Pakistan side.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Greatest Cricket Match I've Ever Seen?

Random snatches of conversation heard just before the South African innings:

"Machan enda time waste pannaranga. Nera presentation ceremony vekka vendi thane."

"L: Dei, South Africa win panna nan thalaya vettikaren da.
G: Nee enda vettikanam. Inume thotha Ponting than da vettikanam."

Perhaps too many people tempted fate this way. But no, to ascribe this victory to anything but the heroics of the South Africans would be doing them a gross injustice.

Cut to Madurai, Sunday evening:
There are only two channels that run in our hostel television: Any channel with good cricket/Sun Music. (Yeah now you begin to see why am 'Marooned in Madurai'). So it was that sunday evening found 3 of us (The Devil, Kumar and yours truly) sitting in coffee day watching the Bahrain GP, waiting to see Schumi cross the chequered flag. :-( Sad. This is when we heard or rather saw the news of the 434. First thought: Typo, Second thought: SMS Hoax. After confirmation by a switch of channels, I prayed for the bowlers' tormented souls. Seeing SA 3/1, we switched back to the race. After the race and a heavenly chocolate delight to help me tide over the disappointment, the score was 130/1 off 16 overs.

Cut to the hostel:
Knew something was afoot when I saw the steady stream of people flitting between the rec room and our mess. 300 off 32 overs. That's when I knew I had two options: Go study for the internal next day and ace it. Or watch history being made. I chose (like almost everyone else at the hostel) the latter.

As the wickets tumbled and newer heroes arose, the clapping turned to wild cheering and 'the heroes' became 'our heroes'. In neutral matches, I normally support any team that plays against Australia. (A remnant of the TAG/IG days that my friends from school might still remember?) But in this match, the reasons were different. We all backed SA the way we back India against Pakistan. Why? Thought no more of it then. Went back to the room for a while after van der wath got out but came back in 5 minutes, this time without my specs. Not one guy was sitting down and I followed the progress of the match as much by the crowd's reactions as the blurred images on screen.

When Boucher hit the boundary that finished it, we were like India had just won the world cup. There were Hi-Fis and Id style hugs everywhere. That's when I knew what it was all about. We didn't care two hoots for either Aus or SA. Everyone has a deep rooted desire for heroics, for beating long odds and proving that impossible is nothing. So when we do see someone on the way to being a hero, we want him to win because that means we can too. And here sport scores over movies or books, for it is real and much closer to life.

From the cradle to the pram

Its been a year since i registered with blogspot. Yet for some inexplicable reason, i've only got up the ?!*#(insert whatever you think it takes to blog) to post for the first time today. Hope its easy from now.