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2017 Bangalore Test


BEML end, Chinnaswamy

BEML end, Chinnaswamy

I am tempted to say that Bangalore 2017 is the best test match of our lives. But the heroes of Calcutta 2001 won’t let me do that.

I am glad that the test match got over, though I would’ve secretly wanted it to carry on for ever. Let me rephrase it, when was the last time, we followed every ball of every session of every day of a test match, from the edge of our seats? I don’t remember. Or simply, there hasn’t been a test match, as good as this one at the Chinnaswamy, in the last 15 years. When I came out after having watched the Day 1 action from the N stand at the BEML end, I was tired and worn out, much like the players, and was cross because 8 of our batters had gifted their wickets to Nathan Lyon. I sought answers for so many questions. “How could you let a visiting spinner dominate you? How could you bring back the horrors of Panesar and Swann? We have attacked even Warne and Muralitharan in their prime and aren’t O’keefe and Lyon lesser mortals?” I thought the test was over and the Border Gavaskar trophy would simply stay in Australia. But, everyone including the Umpire’s call had other ideas.

I followed the Day 2 action on TV, Day 3 on Hotstar, Day 4, again on TV and not going to the stadium in these 3 days, will remain one of the massive regrets in my life. I should’ve been the 12th man from the stands. India’s resurgence and discipline in the first session of Day 2 took us back to Calcutta. But the turning point of the game has to be Ishant’s spell to Steve Smith and the funny faces that followed it. It was fodder for the meme makers, fans and Virat Kohli. Oh, and before this, Ashwin produced the mirror image of his ball to Amla in the T20 semifinal, to send back David Warner and made millions, like me, join the send off party.

None of the defensive strokes bored anyone. There was action in every ball, literally. Every leave drew comments from close-in fielders. Funny faces followed every time the ball beat the willow. Kohli loved the scenes. He would have paid millions, even his IPL contract, to be in this moment. The moment even got to Pujara, of all people. Yes, even to Cheteshwar Rahul Dravid Pujara. The cameras captured him involved in the chatter. Day 2 saw only 197 runs scored off the 90 overs. But that was already the best day of the Home Test season. Chinnaswamy showed the world that it loved its test matches like Lords and MCG, as the crowd swelled even on a weekday.

When the going gets tough, classical test batsmen know how to survive. They will negate the naughty bounce by shuffling. They will negotiate the flight, loop and classical off spinner’s wicket taking trajectory. They will not poke outside the off stump. They know exactly when to drive and when, not to. They play with the opposition’s patience. They prod. They defend. They leave. They grind it out. They survive. And slowly, they notch up the runs. That’s what Dravid and VVS did in Calcutta. That’s what Dravid did in Jamaica and Leeds. And that inspired two shy young men in Rajkot and Mumbai, who saw these knocks on TV. Fifteen years later, they pull off the unthinkable. They produce the partnership of the decade, which the knowledgeable fans rate, as the best since Calcutta. No wonder that Kohli rated Pujara and Rahane as the team’s best test batsmen. But it all started with KL Rahul, the prodigious dude from Bangalore, who can switch with ease, from batting like Dravid to batting like Sehwag. 90 and 51 when the bowlers were all over the batters, should inspire him to emulate the gentleman with whom he shares his name and city.

I couldn’t miss the Day 4 action. It would’ve been criminal. So, I decided to work from home. But I could barely work. I knew where my thoughts were. And just like that, the Aussie pacers orchestrated our batting collapse. It was breathtaking fast bowling. I had the best seat in the house on Day 1 in the N stand to see Starc ‘air’ swinging the red cherry. It was quite a sight. I could see how it curved, sitting 80m away. But it didn’t find the timber then. And when it did, on Day 4, it looked beautiful, like it had found its rightful hang out place. We were down from 4-down to all back in the hut.

188 to win. Plenty at stake. Kohli’s pride. Ashwin’s pride. Chinnaswamy’s pride. India’s pride. And yeah, the frigging Border Gavaskar trophy. Recent stats showed it was unconquerable. But Warner could conquer it in a session and a half. Smith could play on for ever and make runs. Renshaw could carry on despite, having to answer the nature’s call. Defending the score wasn’t going to be easy. And then it all began to happen. Renshaw fell. Warner looked to end Ashwin’s career. He tried to sweep, slog-sweep, paddle-sweep and even the reverse sweep, but couldn’t connect. And when he did, it sailed over long on. Ashwin, for the first time in the test, felt the pressure. Kohli would’ve been tempted to take him out of the attack. But he somehow, gave him another over. Warner’s eyes lit up. He could’ve sent the ball to Brigade Road or even the metro. But he loses his balance, almost falls over and importantly, fails to connect. Trapped. Leg Before Wicket. Umpire’s call seemed like a thing of beauty to billions. Two down. The bounce was uneven. Even Ishant Sharma was unplayable to Steve Smith. Everyone wanted the ball be given to Umesh Waqar Younis Yadav. Kohli acknowledged. Umesh came charging in, from his short run up. The ball skidded. It kissed the worm in the pitch, after pitching. It bounced that high. All this happened at pace, at 90 miles an hour. The shooters continued. One of them traps Shaun Marsh well outside the off stump. Trapped. Leg before wicket. Cacophony followed. A miscommunication during the DRS discussion saw him walking back. Umesh’s next shooter, rolls of the pitch and fetches him the wicket of his career. Steve Smith’s third brain fade moment in the match happens. He was not good at abbreviations, from school days. Dressing Room Review System is going to haunt him for the rest of his life. Pujara rushes in. Kohli is animated. He gives a mouthful to Smith. Umpire shows Smith the way. Kohli has a lot of things to say. Chinnaswamy is on its feet. The boos begin. Four down. It’s India’s game to lose now. I compose a couple of tweets to express my displeasure at Smith’s behaviour. Another wicket falls. And in a matter of another 15 minutes, Ashwin runs through the Aussie line up. Another game. Another fifer. Kohli starts sprinting. He gestures his celebratory pose towards Kumble and the entire Chinnaswamy. The series is squared. Michael Vaughan is elated. So, are the poms. Border Gavaskar trophy is alive. Ah, Bangalore 2017 is the best test match of our lives, along with Calcutta 2001. I am going to preserve the match ticket. It is Gold.

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Our Jallikattu. Your PETA. Our Culture. Your Nonsense.


Who is PETA? Like, who the hell are they? Who let them all in? Don’t blame Manmohan Singh just because he opened up the gates for foreign parties through the economic reforms of 1991.

The past few days have turned even the otherwise uninterested North Indian media restless. The reason I accuse them of being uninterested is the obvious truth that they don’t give a damn about the events happening in the south of Vindyas. While some struggle to pronounce Jallikattu correctly, the other half, I am sure would have merely passed off the topic thinking Jallikattu were some South Indian dish made of coconut.

Is Jallikattu really cruel on the bulls, as it is made of in the media? There have been incidents of brutal violence like biting the tails and feeding alcohol but that is not true for all places. I genuinely believe that there has to be a regulatory body, that ensures the fair treatment of bulls. But an outright ban? No. These are part of a rich tradition and the various inscriptions and cave paintings suggest that it was perceived as an act of bravery. Spain still has its love affair with bull fighting and haven’t let PETA or any of the jokers to have a say in that.

It’s not about Supreme court because there are eminent lawyers and the matter will be dealt with legally. The discussions and suggestions will go through a legal channel. But my problem is with organizations like PETA, their supporters and motives. People cheering for a ban on Jallikattu are the same ones who are going to have a chicken lollypop and beef fry the next minute. Yes, Kamal Hasan hit the nails hard when he asked for a ban on Biryani too, if you are banning Jallikattu. The animal welfare army do not have any problem with non-vegetarianism. Not that I am for vegetarianism, but going by their logic, they should have gone to the supreme court for a ban on non-vegetarianism too. They use products made from the skins of animals. This ‘selective’ campaigning is abhorrent. Pamela Anderson once voiced for curbing the practice of parading the elephants during the temple festivals in Kerala. Luckily the matter was trashed by the Govt. of Kerala. And she was trashed in facebook by the “Pongala” warriors. I wonder what the elected Govt. of Tamilnadu was doing since 2013 when Jallikattu was banned. Why didn’t it find suitable lawyers to defend the cause? The matter gained mileage only when Kamal Hasan said those strong words.

Meanwhile, it’s heartening to see all the peaceful protests that are going on in Tamilnadu. They have done their bit in letting everyone know about the power of masses, in the most civilized manner that this country has seen in sometime. It’s up to the nominated lawyers to present the case responsibly. Justice for Jallikattu. 

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Depressing


10m air rifle qualifying round.

Two Indian Olympic medalists are participating. First series of shots are fired. Gagan Narang, the bronze winner in London 2012, leads. Abhinav Bindra, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold medalist, doesn’t even come in top 10. There are Italians, Chinese, Americans and all those countries that tore the USSR into pieces, competing. Next rounds of shots begin. Gagan begins his parachute fall and ends up at No.23. Disappointment. It’s okay, he has 2 more events left. Bindra, on the other hand, goes up and down. Given the fickle nature of this sport, you can’t expect anything but topsy-turvy. With a string of 10.8s, he ends up in top 8. Boom. Bang. Qualifies for the finals.

I followed all these, during the journey back home in the Bangalore traffic. My Twitter TL was an explosion of sorts. I kept refreshing it every half a second. When was the last time that a grossly unpopular sport was making me nervously excited? Or for that matter, when was the last time, an entire nation followed shooting from the edge of their seats? This must be the waves of change. Or even Tsunamis of change. But do you know who is responsible for all this? It’s the same man Bindra, who out of no where, made sure that the Indian National anthem was played at an Olympic arena after 28 years. One gold in 2008 became a silver and bronze in London. Shooting became a household name. And that to me, will remain Abhinav Bindra’s biggest achievement.

Abhinav Bindra is more than all the role models put together. The stories about his preparations are unthinkable. You need a stronger word than perseverance to describe that. If you get time or are struggling in life, grab a copy of his autobiography. You’ll feel inspired to do something worthy in life.

10m air rifle final

Shooters take positions. Few rounds of shots before the elimination begins. First round ends. Bindra is at 7. On the verge of elimination. A whole nation is concerned. Everyone watching the India-Germany hockey match has changed TV channels. Ukrainian shooter is eliminated. Next set of shots follow. Live coverage shows only the Russian, Hungarian and Croatian shooters. We are livid. How is an Indian shooter less important , you rascist pigs? But we do hear a huge roar after every shot. The scorecard after every 2 rounds indicate that Bindra is making a dramatic progress. At one point, he climbs as high as No.2. Only 4 shooters are in the fray. 3 of them will win a medal, for sure. Prayers begin. Across regions. Across religions. A whole nation is united at last. Bindra shoots and so are the other three. The score card gets some major shuffling. Bindra 4th. Russian 3rd. Italian 2nd. Ukrainian 1st. One more shot and we will have the bronze medalist. Bindra spikes up 10.2. Russian manages only 10. It’s a tie. Like that India Pakistan T20. They go into the superover tie-breaker. One shot each. Bindra hits 10. He is expression less. But the shot is excruciatingly less. A billion heart beats stop. All eyes are on the 22 year old Russian. He pauses, sets himself and shoots 10.5. It’s all over. There is depression all around. Another Olympic event and another South-African-cricket-team-at-world-cups moment. Stories of PT Usha in 1984 Los Angeles go flashing by. Another “missed by a whisker” result. Seconds later, Germany score the winner against India with 3 seconds left. Brain freeze. Tears. And the pain. The entire system must be meant to jinx us, our Olympians.

The wait for the 27th medal continues…..

As heartbreak eases, it’s time to say “Thank you Abhinav Bindra for all the inspiration. Yours has been an inspirational journey. I’ll keep going back to your autobiography….. “.

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3 Years in Bangalore


House hunting in Bangalore is a painstaking affair. It’s a test of your temper. The sky rocketing prices will intimidate you, just like the way it did when we went looking for houses in Electronic City. There is absolutely no room for negotiation and you will have to shell out lakhs as security deposit. Yes, Lakhs. I might as well, invest that amount on a chunk of land in Kerala. Plus, if I were to rent a house in their apartment complex, I would have to pay 3000 for some maintenance shit on top of the inhuman monthly rent. This is when I realized, probably for the first time, that I really need to reconsider my earlier decision to settle down in the city permanently. I might earn more here than in my hometown but what’s the use of it, if a large portion of that ends up in some filthy rich multi crore apartment owner’s pockets. I went about thinking about all these for the next 2 days when I realized that it’s been 3 years, since I made this beautiful city of Bangalore, my home.

ISKCON temple, Rajajinagar

                                            ISKCON temple, Rajajinagar

 

May 1st 2013. Jet Airways flight touches down at the Bengaluru International Airport. 

Bangalore has always been the city of our dreams. When people chose hill stations for picnics and college tours, we chose Bangalore. Back in 2010. Colorful showrooms of the international brands, the tag as the country’s only naturally air-conditioned city, glitzy malls and multiple cafe outlets where people of our age hung out with their hoodies and shades, were all the images that made us fall in love with the city. Every street looked picturesque. The lakes looked beautiful. There was so much greenery. The parks looked like paradises. That’s why I was so thrilled when I landed in the city to pursue my professional career.  And I was also meeting the love of my life here.

Cubbon Park mornings!

                                                    Cubbon Park mornings!

The ride from the airport to my friend’s PG in the dust bowl of Bangalore, Marathahalli was not so impressive. There were multiple traffic jams at Manyata Tech Park, Tin Factory and Krishnarajapuram (KR Puram) and they were of the levels that I had never seen before. It wasn’t even slow-moving, it was simply still. I walked around Marathahalli, between the dusty and congested streets that housed hundreds of paying guest facilities, predominantly occupied by the IT fellows. The construction work and non-tarred roads let out dust particles in huge amounts that clouded the entire area. The roadside eateries and bakeries looked unhygienic but everyone of them were crowded. Surely, this was not what I had dreamt about the garden city.

The next day though, was blissfully different. I got into the 335-E Volvo from Marathahalli, got down at Mayo Hall and walked all the way through Brigade Road to the MG Road. The pictures around were so impressive. The swanky Metro entering the MG Road Metro Station from Trinity, was quite a sight. So were, the tree lined boulevards. So were, the green and yellow auto rickshaws that buzzed past. And she got down from one of those.

It’s been 3 years here. I’ve done a hell lot of things here. I’ve cycled around Ulsoor lake in the early hours of the day, when most of the city conveniently stays put on the bed. I’ve walked around the streets in Kalyan Nagar in the midnight with my drunk friends. I’ve partied. I’ve stood in awe staring at the symbol of luxury that UB City is. I turned a true Bangalorean when I polished off Karnataka-styled Masala Dosas from MTR. I tried my luck with all almost all the cuisines- French, English, Mexican, Arabian. I’ve boarded buses from Majestic and Shantinagar. I’ve laughed my ‘ass’ out with over “Doddanekundi“. I’ve travelled through the picturesque, serene and tree-filled streets of Malleshwaram and ended up envying the residents. The early mornings at Cubbon Park were always special. So, were the evenings in Domlur where we played cricket in the floodlights.

I’ve gatecrashed Chinnaswamy stadium to cheer the RCB, whose jersey is all what Bangalore stands for- colorful, grand, flamboyant and eye-catching.

I don’t know how long will I continue to stay in Bangalore. House rents are already digging holes in my pockets. Traffic has always been a nightmare. An efficient public transport system has only remained a dream. And with the kind of administrators, you wonder how long would it take for the Namma Metro works to get completed. Trees are cut and lakes are encroached to house IT parks and posh apartment societies. Pollution is on the rise. The summers have become terrible. Hours of unscheduled power cuts are a day-to-day affair. There are rumors about possible drinking water shortage. Indian Institute of Science (IISC) has just conducted a study which reveals that the city would become unlivable in 5 years. These are disturbing developments. These are not how you want your dream city to be. I’ll have to take a call sometime, may be within the next 2 years, but till then, I will go and explore the unexplored parts of the city.

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#DudeTravels


 

Jewellery ads and election posters dominate the 'Stick No Bills' part of our walls! ‪#‎Thrissur‬

Jewellery ads and election posters dominate the ‘Stick No Bills’ part of the walls! ‪#‎Thrissur‬

"You are not a Malayalee if you haven't travelled on these #KSRTC"- Jacobinde Swargarajyam

“You are not a Malayalee if you haven’t travelled on these #KSRTC”- Jacobinde Swargarajyam

Election campaigns are on full swing! #Aluva

                              Election campaigns are on full swing! #Aluva

I was sweating profusely throughout the day. The humidity levels were simply unbearable. Global warming is more than evident in these parts of the world. To tackle it, more air conditioners are added and it’s just a one-way route as far as Global warming is concerned. May God save our planet.

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Is Premam worth all the ‘hype’?


I was in Trichy last week. And to escape from the brutal Trichy summer (which makes the tar melt in double quick time on the roads and where people do not need a gas stove to make egg omelettes), we decided to hit the shopping mall for ‘AC’. I was just about casually humming the melodies that were being played inside, when my ears, arteries and veins lit up. It was ‘Malare‘. The same ‘Malare‘ which took Kerala by storm. The same lyrical brilliance which tests one’s pronunciation skills, something which a Non Malayalee might find hard as gargling a marble. So, how did ‘Malare’ make it to the playlists of non Malayalees, Tamilians in particular?

I have lived all my life in Trichy and it is very rare that a Malayalam film is talked about, forget even getting released. I wouldn’t blame the city and its people for it. There is a good number of Malayalam speaking people, who like the many I have seen, prefer Tamil over Malayalam. And so, even if, all the celestial bodies align and a Malayalam film gets released, it will definitely run to near-empty audience. But this is where Premam stood out. Defying all the laws, Premam was re-released in Tamilnadu and the film was a run away hit when it was screened at LA cinemas in Trichy. The film ran for over 250 days in Chennai’s Satyam cinemas. The funnier part is in Kerala, the film’s intended audience, the film didn’t cross 160 days.

Pic Courtesy: Muzik 24*7

Was it the merely the Nivin Pauly phenomenon? Or did the story bowl the Tamil audiences? I’d say its a mix of both, though the story, screenplay and the costumes were the clincher. Nivin Pauly is the most sought after hero in Malayalam, closing in on the levels of Mammootty and Mohanlal. His boy-next-door roles that became blockbusters in Malayalam were gleefully accepted in Tamilnadu. His bilingual ‘Neram‘ fared reasonably well at the box office and was critically acclaimed here. ‘1983‘ and ‘Bangalore Days‘ were much talked about in Chennai. And slowly, people started following his films. Chennaites fell in love with his ‘Oru Vadakkan Selfie‘. It is at this backdrop that ‘Premam’ hit the screens in Chennai and Coimbatore. From what was initially thought to be a Nivin Pauly entertainer, the film transcended boundaries and made its characters, household names.

When you talk about ‘mass’ scenes, our films have shown us the cliched image of a hero beating down a herd of villains, sometimes in gravity-defying stunt scenes, supported by some killer background music. Or as some of the Telugu and mindless Bollywood films showed us about bikes and cars toppling, with the hero coming out unhurt. Obviously, lakhs and crores were splashed to shoot these ‘mass’ scenes. What Premam did was quite simple, like how some Russian chap suggested the usage of a pencil over a fountain pen inside a spaceship. College students aged 21, sporting a beard and a rayban glass, dressed up in a Black shirt and a ‘mundu‘, would be walking while raising their legs to wind up the ‘mundu‘. Add to it, Rajesh Murugesan’s killer background music and the slow motion shots. Just that. That’s it. No guns. No knifes. No broken beer bottles. No sharp weapons. What we saw on screen gave us goosebumps. You felt like you could throw up twenty villains at a time. You felt energized. You felt you could yell ,”Screw you” to your boss. This was the real ‘mass’ scene. Of course, we have seen Mohanlal stylishly do that before. Mammootty adventurously did it in Rajamanikkam. But this was equally effective on screen and was of a different level. They are college going guys. The film was catered to the age group of 18-25. And they went amok. Every Tamil speaking person who saw it, could relate it. ‘Mundu‘ or ‘Veshti‘ is their traditional attire as well. They had seen such a scene at least once in their life as well. (Wonder why Narasimham and Rajamanikkam didn’t become a rage in Tamilnadu. The scenes were equally mass).

'Mass'

  ‘Mass’

After watching it umpteen number of times, I can easily say that without the ‘Malar‘ part, it would’ve remained a normal Malayalam film. It wouldn’t have taken Tamilnadu by storm. It wouldn’t have prompted some of my Tamil speaking friends to learn Malayalam. It wouldn’t have bridged the gap between the two industries and more importantly, the fans. The character was laced on reality. A Saree wearing teacher without make up is what you see in a normal college in Kerala and Tamilnadu. The concept of a student falling in love with a teacher is not new. You have seen a Malar and George. You have seen love stories in campuses. You have seen love failures and broken hearts. Alphonse Putharen simply showed us what we’ve already seen and heard. There was nothing new. But it was all about the way the scenes were conceived and shot. The depiction is completely non-filmy. The dialogues were raw, nothing of the cinematic stuff were included. And people liked it. In the end, people like to see on screen what they see in real life, unadulterated. Give them raw, they will definitely like it. Tamil audiences too, deserve films likes these often. Hopefully, the film makers note it.

So, is Premam worth all the hype? Not really. It’s a just a love story in different stages of a guy’s life. But extraordinary elements are the cinematography, direction, dialogues, background score, ‘mundu’, ‘mass’ scene and ‘Malare Ninne Kaanadhirunnal, Mizhivegiya niramellam maayunna pole

 

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The ‘Over’ of a lifetime: As it happened


Nehra Ji....... Pic Courtesy: Twitter

                                                               Nehra Ji

Jasprit Bumrah has just sent down his sixth yorker of the over. Chinnaswamy applauds. Couple of players rush to pat the bowler on his back. The bowler breathes a sigh of relief. He had a terrible time on the field early on. But those are past memories now.

All eyes turn to the big screen.

“11 Runs to Win from 6 Balls”.

All eyes, now turn to the center of the pitch. There is a mini round table conference there. Everyone knows who is going to bowl the last over. Hardik Pandya, the swagger from the Wild West (Baroda), the funky hairstyle owner, the brash young man, the obvious six hitter, the generous six donator, the displayer of youthful energy on the field and at times, a Sreesanth impersonator, is entrusted with that duty. This could change his life, both ways. He could be a hero who would be celebrated. He could also be a villain, who would be the butt of all jokes on social media. His newly constructed glass house, could be pelted by stones. The next 5 minutes is going to decide everything. He is seen smiling though, pretending as if he is cool. He cracks a joke with the umpire. And slowly, strolls his way to the bowling mark.

He starts his run up. There is tension written all over him. After all, this is Chinnaswamy. A bowler’s nightmare. The home of high scoring T20 thrillers. The six hitting paradise. The small boundaries. Plus, the opposition is not Australia, its Bangladesh. You can’t lose to Bangladesh and all. It’s a prestige issue. We helped them get Independence. And their fans and advertisements have been tastelessly taking a dig at us. They knocked off our captain’s head with the help of Photoshop. We simply cannot lose this game.

First ball. Hardik tries a yorker outside off. The ball deserved a boundary. It should’ve been drilled to the short cover boundary. Even a Pakistani batsman would’ve done it. But it is Bangladesh. They can’t do it. The ball is easily stopped by the boundary patroller Sir Jadeja. Single.

“10 Runs to Win from 5 Balls”

Another round table conference begins. This time it is chaired by His Highness Nehra Ji. Dhoni casually chips in. The three of them turn around 360 degrees and look at the field. Nehra Ji tells him what to do, where to bowl and at what length. The loyal disciple Pandya nods in agreement. Everyone walk back and take their positions. Pandya runs in. With his typical ‘medium pacer from the street cricket’ action, he sends a length ball. The sort of balls you need as a batsman, to boost your confidence. Venkatesh Prasad used to hit sixes of those dollies in the practice nets. But it is Mushfiqur Rahim. He fires it wide off extra-cover and manages to get a boundary. Only a boundary. But, it is 4 runs nevertheless. The tension slightly diffuses. You know the match is slipping away. This is after all Chinnaswamy. A bowler’s nightmare………….High scoring………..Six hitting…………small boundaries…….

“6 Runs to Win from 4 Balls”

Nehra ji is not amused. Even he would have tonked that for six. He starts a conversation with Dhoni and summons Pandya to the middle. The lecture begins. Some traffic patrolling follows. Fielders swap positions. Yuvraj is seen relaxing, fully aware that he will not be the punching bag this time. Chinnaswamy’s noise levels reduce by half. Kohli is sporting a gloomy look. Surely man, he can’t lose at Chinnaswamy. This is his home. Meanwhile, Nehra Ji has finished communicating his ideas to Pandya. Let us see what he does. He sends a short gentle medium paced delivery. Normal batsmen would’ve conveniently hooked that and deposited in to the crowds. But it is Mushfiqur Rahim. He has Misbah’s genes. He goes for THAT shot. Galaxy surprisingly, the ball manages to kiss some part of the willow and gravity defyingly, beats Dhoni’s hands. 4 more. Rahim lets out a celebratory cry. Boss, that should be after you win a world cup. Not now. Anyway, Bangladeshi dugout explodes. Chinnaswamy is stunned. The stadium has been muted. Kohli is about to cry.

“2 Runs to Win from 3 Balls”

Nehra Ji has given up. Still, Dhoni drags him to give Pandya some final advises. Rohit Sharma joins, probably to remind everyone that he too captains an IPL side. Everyone feels relaxed. There is no way that we can win the match. I manage to take a loo-break and come back. I am not going back to the bean bag. I decide to stand. Pandya bowls a gentle half tracker. I have seen Gayle dispatch every such delivery to Cubbon Park. But this is Mushfiqur Rahim. He is half the size of Gayle and has one-tenth of the power that Gayle possesses. He goes for the pull and sends the ball straight to the fielder in the deep. Chinnaswamy slowly makes noise. But they aren’t convinced fully. Its just two required and any sane mind would knock that off. Two singles would do.

“2 Runs to Win from 2 Balls”

Nehra Ji is expressionless. He hardly believes that we could win. Without much interest, he shows Pandya where to pitch it in. Pandya nods. And after all the advises, he forgets to even pitch the ball. Juicy full toss. Slow ball. Short boundaries. Mahmudullah’s eyes lit up. There is a chance he could do a Dhoni and set off on a victory run. He wanted to be a hero and gives in to the situation. He smashes the full toss. If it was Dhoni, the ball would have hit the roof of Chinnaswamy. He has patented this art of finishing games with a six. But this is Mahmudullah. He would not even clear the Chinnaswamy boundary. The ball neatly nestles in Sir Jadeja’s hands. Sir Jadeja dives. The players rush to him from everywhere. Nehra Ji gives out a cheeky smile. Pandya has gone bananas. The noise levels increase. We can now smell victory. But all three results are possible. The super over possibility is looming large.

Already a contender for Dronacharya Award

                              Already a contender for Dronacharya Award

“2 Runs to Win from 1 Ball”

2007 Johannesburg memories come flashing by. Within a couple of minutes, Joginder Sharma starts trending worldwide. Pandya is a Joginder Sharma kind of bowler. All the five balls have been worse than what Joginder bowled. Each one of them deserved to go for a boundary. What is with Dhoni and trying his luck with mediocre bowlers. Final round of talks begin. Nehra Ji is animated. He wants to win a Dronacharya award badly. He starts the tutorial. Dhoni remains ice cool. Nehra Ji is telling him all the possible deliveries. He tells him you can try a bouncer, or a slow bouncer, or a straight Yorker, or a wide Yorker from around the wicket, or an off cutter, or a back-of-the-hand slow ball. After discussing the possibilities, Nehra Ji has the final word. Bang the ball in, he gestures. Pandya okays. Dhoni nods. Chinnaswamy is on its feet. Kohli is about to explode. MC-BC is just about to come out. Ravi Shastri is being missed in the commentary box. Pakistani fans bite their nails in anticipation. Pandya runs in, for one final time in this never-ending over. As advised by Nehra Ji, he bangs the ball in. The batsman goes for an imaginary upper square cut. He misses the ball. Cacophony. Dhoni collects it. He starts sprinting. So does the non striker. Its a direct 100 m race between the two. In a flash, Dhoni knocks the bail down. Non striker reaches. It is difficult to judge on naked eye. The umpire asks for the third umpire to step in. Dhoni is not sure. The non striker is expressionless. The TV replays start. The front foot is all okay. And now, for the frame that would be the decider.

Wow, This Frame!! Frame it.

                                                  Wow, This Frame!! Frame it.

YES. THE NON STRIKER IS SHORT OF HIS CREASE. CHINNASWAMY ERUPTS. CRACKERS GO OFF IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. YO BANGLADESH, YOU NOW KNOW WHO THE BOSS IS.

OH, DHONI. YOU USAIN BOLT. YOU LIGHTNING. YOU CHEETAH. YOU RACING CAR. YOU THING OF BEAUTY. HOW DID YOU DO THAT? FUCK.

OH, MY DEAR NEHRA JI. YOU LION. YOU TIGER. YOU LEOPARD. YOU CHEETAH. YOU THING OF BEAUTY. HOW CAN YOU BE SO LEGENDARY????? YOUR NAME SHOULD BE RECOMMENDED FOR THE DRONACHARYA AWARD.