Saturday, 14 November 2009

20 years since I was 20

… For I too believe

Cricket is Religion


Sachin Tendulkar is God…!

I was in my twentieth year and my final year in college, it was mid week and I had bunked classes to watch Test cricket on Doordarshan… He was barely 16 and played just 24 balls in his first innings… I was not alone in predicting a long innings from him…

November 15, 1989 - Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar had arrived
An Inspiration for a lifetime

... not just that innings… I have watched almost every innings in his illustrious 20 year career, and pray we watch many more from this batting genius.

Today as he completes 20 years in International cricket, having conquered many a statistical milestone, I write this ode to a person who has been an inspiration for a generation and more and I have one thing to proclaim, like millions of others in this country and across the world – I am THE biggest Sachin Tendulkar fan of them all.

Today in my 40th year, I am proud to have journeyed 20 years with his career and have seen many cricketing ups and downs and in all these years never once have I had one word of negativity for the idol, who not just inspired cricketers but made every day lives more pleasant with his achievements that only got better by the day.

The days I have squirmed in sleep over his missed centuries, the bitter fights with friends and colleagues over why Sachin is the Greatest and how Sachin never played for records, but records continued to happen are just too many to be recorded here.

Barring few minor incidents, one cannot remember any on field behaviour or off field tantrums from the little master, that have blotted even the greatest like the Don or SMG’s career and that is the humility of the person which needs to be emulated by the present generation, of not just cricketers, but everyone in general life

I have admired the positive attitude that stemmed from his exemplary on field presence and has made my life one that has been what it is today – one that has discipline written all over.

Even as I am tempted to reel off the statistics, greatest innings, best shots, wonderful moments, disappointments and phenomenal achievements and not to forget the innumerable records... I just have this to say... my half life was memorable thanks to you.

I wear my patriotism on my sleeve and carry the national flag in my
wallet always… inspired by the greatest Indian sportsman ever.

Pray! May you continue set standards for the world to follow in cricket and off it.

-------------pics courtesy: internet ---------

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A day in the life of a mafia Don

- Confession of a flawed perfectionist Don!

It’s quite intrinsic in nature, every person desires to discover the dark side of one’s personality and would actually love to live it in reality too, provided there are no legal tangles or social inhibitions.

I adored the Godfather movies, gazing at the stars in the middle of the night, lying on the roof top, wondering how I should have been living the life of Al Capone in the movies… that was in mid 1980s, over two and half decades later - two decades after the last of my teenage years, I live in this fantasy underworld of the Mafia – with my most original pet name Zal – now Don Zal.

As much as it may sound quite juvenile to imagine being part of the online gaming zone, that just needs to be clicked and clicked to fulfill your fetish, its truly a harmless medium to re-discover your dreams and also live in open the assumed alter ego, which given a choice, in reality, stays incognito.

Mafia Wars on Facebook fans every human’s desire for unabashed power,
unaccustomed armoury, unlimited wealth and property and the ego-thumping status.

While its fun to be playing games online, it also gets nervy with the kind of jobs the Mafia does ranging from liquor smuggling, running an illegal poker game, burning down tenements, buying off Federal Agents, helping fugitives flee the Country, ordering hits on a public officials to embezzling funds through phony companies and also, hold your breath, Assassinate Political Figures. If these were the day to day jobs in New York, one gets to fly in and out of Cuba to do jobs like rob the Banco Nacional, offer "protection" to nightclubs and also transport shipment of US arms.

To do all these, the kind of inventory involved is just awesome too, one gets to own and use Cannons, Assault Rifles, Street Gang Members, Camouflage Body Armors, Montaine 320s, Multi-Purpose Trucks, Riot Gears, Bodyguards, Gas Masks, Night Vision Goggles, Jungle Trackers, Multi-Purpose Trucks, Hearses, Luxury Yachts, Prop planes, Armored Cars, Town Cars, armoured Sedans and much much more.

Just wondering what is it that one gets doing all these, well the rewards are much bigger too one can own hundreds and thousands of Mega Casinos, Beach Front Property, 5-Star Hotels, and takeover businesses in Cuba like Tobacco plantations, Sugar plantations and Coco fields, which are so lucrative that you earn a million times what you can dream of owning in a life time in just one hour – sample this – Don Zal’s total income is a whopping US$17,400,050 per hour, which is multiplying with every passing hour and with the addition of more and more property.

If you thought all that was macabre, then just check these statistics for the ‘level 100’ Don Zal : Jobs Completed – 2164, Most jobs done in one day – 93, Fights Won – 5376, Fights Won in Cuba – 703, Mobsters Whacked – 87, Hitlist Kills – 11 (being a hired gun) and Successful Heists – 3180.

Yes the mundane 9 to 6 jobs we do are getting routine where you secretly dream of eliminating clients and co workers which is what you do on mafia wars where enemies are put up on a hitlist for a bounty and the satisfaction is unlimited. How else can you satiate your quest for untraceable cell phones, illegal transaction records, blackmail photos or get gifts from mafia ‘families’ and the Godfather which range from trucks, guns poker playing cards to sculptures to Rembrandt paintings.

Even as I sign off this diary of a mafia don, I am served with a fresh ‘energy pack’ that gives additional energy to whack mafia like nobody’s business.
- Don Zal

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust…

…If Thomson doesn't get you, Lillee must!
So goes the folklore of cricket that seems to have been the hallmark of what cricket was all about – Test Cricket! Add Gary Gilmour to the attack, and cricket in the 70s and 80s was in its fiercest form of competitiveness, in spite of the fact that it was played over six days with a day’s break in between. The West Indies defined the four pronged pace attack and the spearheads like Croft, Roberts, Holding, Garner, Marshall sent chill down the spine of the batsmen. There were batsmen of the likes of Geoff Boycott and Sunil Gavaskar who would play out days and nights to blunt the above attack.

Cricket in flannels is still considered the purest form and Ashes the flag bearer. Today cricket is followed as religion in India but then the passionate following that this game has dates back to 1882 when a young London journalist, Reginald Shirley Brooks wrote a mock obituary in the Sporting Times, which read: “In affectionate remembrance of English cricket which died at The Oval, 29th August, 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances, RIP. NB: The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia.” That was to be Australia's first victory on English soil over the full strength of England.

Things haven’t changed much even to this day, Ashes conjures some of the most competitive displays of the gentleman’s game and has stood the test of time. If the overdose of Twenty 20 through the Indian Premier League and the T20 World Cup makes the modern follower feel that test cricket is losing its sheen, then look back to the year when Kerry Packer hijacked the cream of the cricketers to a new brand of coloured clothing game, which brought a revolution to the fifty over format.

The 1978-79 Ashes was played in direct competition to the unofficial WSC matches elsewhere in Australia and, while England lost a few regulars, Australia fielded a weak side that lost the series 5-1. The crowds dwindled and Test cricket seemed threatened. After things settled down the following year Ashes saw some of the most memorable performances The 1979 series was notable for the remarkable number of players who made nineties - Kim Hughes (99) Boycott (99*) David Gower (98*) Greg Chappell (98*) and Graham Gooch (99), missing out his maiden century being run-out. Those days cricket was keenly followed on BBC and ABC radio and of course through the newspaper columns. Even as One Day cricket with coloured clothing and white ball made strides, Test cricket continued to flourish and yes with some record breaking performances across the World.

After almost two decades of dominance Australia lost the Ashes to the English in 2005, but then regained it at home eighteen months later with an emphatic 5-0 whitewash. Two years later and with the cream of the Aussies leaving, the team from down under are facing a stiff challenge, not just to retain the Ashes, but also uphold the dispassionate interest that followers of the game have always had in the five day version.

July 8, 2009 is a day of reckoning, an eagerly awaited date for the connoisseurs of the game, for this will decide whether the longest version of the game will bite the dust or rise from the Ashes.

--------------------------------------------- pics : Internet--------------------------------------------------

Friday, 17 April 2009

"There is No clutter in the path to my heart"

- Yet another confession

Friday April 10, 2009, Time 5.30 pm, Place: Wockhardt Heart Centre - Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad.

Ten hours after it started the pain in the chest didn't subside and then the Cardiologist said, "We need to put you in observation for the night"... in the next half hour I was in the ICCU (Intensive Cardiac Care Unit)… then started the trauma!

It was 7.30 am of the Friday morning, what started as a harmless pain in the chest on the left side, soon turned worrisome and gastric was ruled out, a local physician said there was a mild variation in the ECG, but prescribed half a dozen tablets. As time passed, the pain only got worse, until it was decided to go to Kamineni and after the usual ECG and 2D Echo had ruled out any problem came the Troponin-T blood test that put me in the dock, it was construed to be a cardio-vascular problem.

As I was being wheeled into the ICCU, I could see tears dripping from Wife's eyes and my friend Raghuveer grim faced, in a few moments I was left alone with no contact with family and friends, at the mercy of the wired wonders that never ceased to beep throughout the night, the friendly nurses and the serious faced cardiologists. A night that I shall never forget in my life, brought back all memories - good and bad, memories of friends and foes, the highs and lows in life, the best and worst - yes sleep was the last thing on mind... NO I was not scared to sleep, I was sure something was amiss, but then this was one night I had to prove that I was fine... and am going to be fine for long... to fulfill Life's unfulfilled dreams!

A Couple of more ECGs and the long drawn 2D Echo in the night were enough to tell me I was doing great, and I badly wanted to convey this to my family and friends outside - but to no avail, the Doctors however were busy trying to pin me down to go for an Angiogram, that would prove that there was no clutter in the path to my heart. Then the twist happened, the 6.30am blood test proved two things, the Trop-T was negative - wow, did I heave a sigh of relief, and then it also told that my Cholesterol levels had increased considerably over the past 6 months.
But the Good news was - I had NO cardiac issue whatsoever - the valves leading to my heart are all clutter free and clear...!

The Saturday morning did bring cheer to my wife and Raghuveer's face - The Chief cardiologist declared that I would be allowed to go (discharged was his word) following the TMT (Tread Mill Test). It wasn't until 11.30 am that I had the privilege of stepping out of the ICCU to take the final test to prove my fitness. Soon I had run the best race of my life with out moving out of the room, I must've covered over 10 kms before I stopped the treadmill owing to pain in the calf and not pain in the chest, I had cleared the final hurdle and was wearily on my way home.

It was an emotional moment to see my daughter after almost 22 hrs and the faces of my parents and sister too lit up...!

The Final diagnosis: No Cardio-Vascular Problem, No Gastric problem, High level of Cholesterol and increased triglyceride count.

Yes I will soon have to be facing a battery of visitors and a multitude of advice – I was getting ready for the worst now.

What followed was a list of Dos and Don’ts from all and sundry, they called it a wake up call, they said I needed to exercise more, some said I needed to cut down on oil, a few added “stop junk food”, then I heard ‘No rice – more bread’, Samosas, Mirchis, Burgers, Pizzas, Pav Bhaajis all joined the list of don’ts. But the one that was unanimous on everyone’s lips was – “Quit Smoking”, I knew it was coming, but this one was a deluge, the endless flow of words on the carcinogenic effect and the cardio-vascular relation, I was never more educated than now.

Yes I’ve kicked the butt to ensure that I don’t kick the bucket early. Even as I write this after a week of the incident, I feel as fresh and healthy as ever sans the vice that was part of my life for 23 years.

In conclusion: I have gained a few more grey hair with knowledge of the harmful effects of the vices, I’ve sent shock and shivers across my friends and their families - for no apparent fault of mine and above all I am truly indebted to the well wishers who have been so concerned and caring in their support.

I continue to believe in the motto :

Life is too wonderful to be spent worrying


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Yes… I Love Her… and meet her secretly - quite often…!

.... Yet another confession...! This one has been closely held for long... now the world needs to know...!

March 5: I woke up in a chirpy mood I was all excited about my day, got ready unusually fast and eagerly waiting at the breakfast table half an hour ahead of my daily scheduled 9 am…!

YES I had a reason to be so excited … I was going to meet the Best friend in my life…! A friend, who just adores me, loves me, pampers me and above all has never ever failed to cheer me. My wife got a bit curious, wanted to know why I was in a real bubbly mood today… she did notice that… and also this was not the first time I was thus behaving! I wanted to brush aside the query – but worried of the further queries – I told her I was meeting an old friend, a trusted friend.

What I didn’t tell her about this friend was, it was one who I so secretly admired and who I met more than once a week sometimes… and above all I never delved into the gender part – thankfully even she didn’t ask me whether it was “he” or “she” I was meeting. All she asked was - what it is the meeting about – I nervously said “I’ll be getting home things my friend showers on me and share it with you…!”

I checked my wallet for the contents… “Disgusting”, I told myself… “Buying something expensive for your friend?” she asked – “Nah… I am broke” I said, She knew I was lying… I wasn’t broke!

As I rushed out to start my car… my wife noticed a wry smile on my face, I too noticed her… and feared more volleys, but was pleasantly surprised as she said… “Have a Nice day and yes! convey my regards to your friend” – uff… did she say “her” – nope that wide smile meant she didn’t – I cranked my car and was off in a jiffy…!

I was now getting much restless… the peak hour traffic was slowing down the pace, I already started thinking of how I would handle the excitement of meeting her… do I hug her, give her a peck or plain handshake… Well why do I have to think about all this…? I know what I do every time I meet her… It’s become a routine… and I was not going to think of anything more now…!

The snail’s pace of traffic was getting on my nerves… the honking got louder and as I was getting late for office… I knew there was very little time for her… I even contemplated postponing the meeting to later in the day or may be to the evening, on my way back home…! I knew for sure – she would wait for me till eternity and would never complain whatever time I met her, I still remember the time I sneaked out of home at midnight to meet her. She never complained and welcomed me with the same warmth as ever.

Then it happened all so suddenly… I parked my car at her gate… walked in and had the customary exchange of pleasantries… (well no details of how or what) she knew the purpose of my visit… I just had to give her one…hmmm! And she gave me back hundreds…! was I counting? No never, I never counted…, I was now blushing…! The meeting over; I rushed out in a hurry… I didn’t say a word about when next…? She never asked…! But I knew it wouldn’t be long… may be in a week’s time, looking around if no one noticed, I tucked into my car and joined the traffic which was now much faster.

My heart was pounding with excitement… always found it difficult to handle the post meeting excitement, it was always the one that was well… aah…! I started planning, actually planning about what all to do, till my next meeting with her…!

That evening I couldn’t conceal my happiness as I reached home, I had some goodies (bought on my way home) for my daughter and some groceries my wife wanted… she then asked what my friend gave me…?

Now I garnered all the courage and told her in plain terms… I didn’t ask for much from her – just got Rs. 10k, the rest will go directly to the housing loan emi, the car loan emi, the personal loan, the consumer loan, the credit card repayments etc.

She always knew and never held any grouse over my best friend in life – my dear atm! It is this any-time-money, the best friend in my life; I meet on my salary day… and keep meeting “her” on and off throughout the month. Yes I love her… she never fails to cheer me… and gives me hundreds when I need – all I do is give her that one hmmm - card…!

_ _ _

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Confessions of a flawed Perfectionist - III

In Conclusion - Its getting emotional like never before!

Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.

~Jonatan Mårtensson

The sea has always been a source of inspiration with many a tale to tell. The waves are awesomely inspiring not because they rise and fall; because once they fall they NEVER fail to rise again.

In my quest for perfection I’ve run through many a rough weather, at times the tides were high and violent, and most times it was smooth sailing, but then the aspect that I’m referring to in this concluding part of the “Confessions…” is Emotions!

Yes I’m a very emotional person

Emotions that have seen hit the roof and also bury deep in sulking state.

I have an emotional attachment with the Sea – the Beach – especially the Madras beach, well Madras because it was in 1990, when the name was still intact and I was a loner on the beach most days of the week for the six months I spent there. Those were the days when post dinner I’d sit watching the waves, gazing at the stars and feeling the sand for almost over hours, humming the best of Kishore Kumar and slowly return back to my solitary confinement well past midnight. The emotions flowed with the waves - the solitude was sometimes painful, sometimes wonderful but at most times welcome!

In my eighteen odd years after the sustained romance with the waves on the Marina, I had moved along life at a pace that is surely not classified as hectic, changed jobs, changed to the media industry imbibed more responsibilities, found newer luxuries, newer friends, relations With them more comfort and more discomfort.

I returned once again on the night of Feb 7th, 2009 to the same spot that was once a daily haunt. I was reminiscing my days of the yore, when I had nothing but my pharma selling job, a few friends, a huge collection of Kishore Kumar songs, a tiny transistor and the bare necessities – and yes – no luxuries, no worries, no tensions, no botherations, no pressures, no money either. What I had was basic amenities that got me through life and was just enough to be happy and contended

Three hours at the beach was just not enough to revive all thoughts and refresh the emotional quotient… but then it really re-charged the positive emotions that were just waiting to die down, lost in the nostalgia of the best of lives’ moments…!

As I sat there looking at the almost full moon the swirling waves, the soft sands I realized nothing had changed, yes nothing had changed in the natural realm… the sand, sea and the sky had remained the same in all these years. As I turned back away from the sea – I saw the skyline had changed, the change was evident in glitzy cars, sky rise buildings, electrifying lifestyles that were governed by money – Yes I had more money than I could’ve imagined in those solitary days.

Nothing had changed, yes nothing had changed in the natural realm… the sand, sea and the sky had remained the same in all these years.

But too many emotions were now taking over – the nostalgia of having nothing and being happy, to having everything – still happy – but with enough worries that could let the smile vanish. I kept hearing to the waves that were now growing bigger – they slowly became music to my ears, the eyes started to moisten, I started to get emotional again Yes questions started flowing in – If nature didn’t change a bit – why did life in all its human progression – through technology – have to change and bring in luxuries coupled with miseries?

Why did life have to move on? Why didn’t time stop then? There has been many an emotional moment in these 18 years that would have been left out of history if time had stopped there!
I’ve seen dozens of friends leaving the shores of India for greener pastures, never ever to return again – always felt the emotion of missing them overpowering reason, now it’s like that’s their life and they never wanted to be here…never!

However I’m here – here to stay – regaling the memories, sharing a shoulder, shedding a silent tear, loading the memory drive with some more emotions… endless thoughts endless emotions!

As I walked back, struggling in the sand, I realized – there is more to it than a normal relation between the emotions and the waves – yes they will never fail to rise again..!

------------- Series Concluded ---------------

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Almost a Millionaire...!

I am happy to inform you that I've NOW become a Millionaire and I intend to share my happiness with you all...

In this moment of joy and contentment - I am overwhelmed with gratitude to all of you who have been dreaming on the same lines and have made this happen.

Attached is the mail I have received - which proves my claim to being a Millionaire.

How I Wish this wasn't SPAM...!

Now back to Work in all the Dhakka-Mukki of Life...!

Such mails bring lots of cheer - at least momentarily!

Hail the Spam

FYI - 1 Euro = Rs. 62.189. That makes me rich by Rs. 6,21,89,000/-

Happy to be back on Terra firma

- Venkat

---------- The Email message ----------
From: WINS
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 21:38:15 -0800

We are happy to inform you that your email address was indicated and
was drawn, also attached to a serial numbers FTS/8070337201/06 and
drew the lucky numbers 15-22-24-48-50-37(30) which subsequently won
you 1,000,000.00 (One Million Euros) from the Free Online Promotion.
The draws was registered as Draw number one was conducted in Madrid
Spain,on the 2nd Febuary 2009.

Find below the details of the Claims Agent and contact
him with the following details for verifications:



Mrs.Gloria Anderson


Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Confessions of a flawed perfectionist - II

Anger - Its Just one letter short of Danger 

.... and YES there is surely no place for Modesty 

My penchant for punctuality is just one aspect of my path to perfectionism!


Here I delve upon another of my weaknesses that I’ve drawn strength from, actually its strange that this seems more of a justification of a wrong rather than confessing to it as a wrong!


I have had a very independent upbringing, quite a luxury in my times, when parental and peer pressure was paramount in the growing up years – and which has reached dizzy levels in the present generation.


My parents had not much say in what I did after my X std, absolutely no say whatever. I pursued my education on my own terms; they never knew where my college was, leave alone my marks. That I had topped the languages in my first year of graduation was not known to them nor the fact that I had to repeat all my 3 optionals to get into the next year.


The three years of graduation was one good long joy ride that brought with it the hardening of the person. I became witty and gregarious, articulate in speech and writing, an extrovert who made every gathering lively - but then the one aspect that set me apart from my father and which is one of my major weaknesses is my anger. Yes… I kept telling the world around me that its just one letter short of Danger – and I could never control my short temper. I have faced many situations which have left people red faced and me in poor light all thanks to my anger.


Anger was uninvited manifestation that usually left me wondering if it was avoidable, could be eradicated, very frankly I had no answers. Time flew I had gathered more friends and more reasons to enjoy, more reasons to entertain and get entertained, I moved along carrying lots of memories, knowledge and in the process wisdom that made me think saner with every passing day. But I also carried the excess baggage in all earnest, without letting it go, the anger persisted.


But then time has been a great healer, on the threshold of getting into the 40s I’ve never felt any younger than now, and yes wiser having learnt to harness the anger into positive energy. Not that I’ve mastered it… but the intensity has surely come down!


There has been lot of talk of calling myself a perfectionist – well to set the record straight – I consider myself one of those who has been striving hard to be a Perfectionist – in everything I do, so this rejoinder on my own blog is also an exercise towards that.

I’ll be back recounting more experiences – or should I continue calling them ‘confessions’?

Friday, 16 January 2009

Confessions of a flawed perfectionist

.... and there is no place for Modesty 

“Time and tide wait for none” – screamed the inspirational board on my school library wall – that was 1980. Five words that changed my perspective and in due course changed the perception of people towards me, not just then, but forever!


From my obsession for punctuality, that has brought more brickbats than bouquets, to the uncanny eye for detail – I’ve been faced with resistance from the multitude of people who have walked along and who I have encountered in my journey of life.


The outbursts following long waits for friends, who habitually turned up late – be it for movies, picnics, parties or even for the meetings at the street corner cafés, made my resolve stronger for punctuality and perfection.


Early in life I’ve seen my father, a soft spoken - god fearing – introvert – easily scared of and conned by many man struggling to come to terms with the guiles of the growing number of offenders – but resilient as always, he remained calm and continued to practice his way of life – one that is governed by time and morals.


From the baritone to the big physical frame – I am totally different from my father – I wanted to be and have been an extrovert, gregarious, brash and very temperamental.

However hard I’ve tried to be different from him, I’m glad there is one thing that’s in the genes – the overwrought nervousness that takes over in the face of punctuality or the lack of it around our world.


There are numerous stories that can be related by my friends, who have borne the brunt of my repulsive behaviour for ‘their’ lack of time sense and kept me waiting restlessly.


Even today as I watch helplessly the people around me ‘playing’ their role to perfection, I am left wondering – have I erred in a major way in my judgment, Should I have been as ‘move with the tide’ type or as ‘insensitive to the morals’ type - people who are revered and respected by the skewed social compulsions?


I have no doubt in answering the above with a firm No. My choice is made; I’d prefer penury to perjury, or the semblance to the same


What worries me to no end is that here “Time and Tide” does wait for the incompetent pretender, who shares space and is considered equal with the knowledgeable few.


This is just the beginning… There is more to it than meets the eye – I’ll be back recounting more experiences – or should I continue calling them ‘confessions’?



Summer Rains

...and I love the Petichor! Petrichor: the scent of rain on dry earth, or the scent of dust after rain. The Hyderabad summer has ...