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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.

 

 

 

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Thank You, 2015


When I wrote the blog post summing up 2014, there was this feeling of dissatisfaction about how, I ended up literally doing nothing in that year. It was getting way too monotonous for my liking and the regular confusions of ‘what to do and achieve in life’ prevailed. I kept asking myself,”when would the finances settle down, when would I reach a point of satisfaction in life and when would I start doing things that I like”. So, I hoped the New Year 2015 would answer those questions and I looked forward to it with a lot of hope and excitement.

First things first, did 2015 answer my three questions? “Yes, it did”. Am I satisfied with the answers? “Hmmmm probably. May be. I don’t know”. Were there life lessons? “Yes, definitely”.

2015 taught me a thing or two about finances. We will never feel settled with the finances. There are always insecurities. Even Sundar Pichai would feel it. The human tendency is to be greedy. Yes, even a handful of people do philanthropy work for tax exemptions. There are people in this world, who earn a tenth of what I earn in a month and have no complaints. I look up to these people. Rather than this Manager in the corporate company, who lives a glitzy life in Mumbai or Bangalore and who has nothing to think than procuring a H1B visa and settling down in US of America. At least, the recent floods in Chennai taught us how little the cash, fancy 3BHK apartments and luxury cars mean in life.

Now coming to the next question about feeling satisfied in life, I learned that satisfaction is how you see it. If it’s relative, that is, when you are comparing with your colleague or friend or cousin or Pakistani or anyone, you are forcing yourself inside a pressure cooker. Satisfaction is in, what you do and achieve, and is never worth equating it with what others do. I am very much satisfied with my life. I married the love of my life this year, a girl whom I met, talked, proposed, dated, loved and discussed about being life partners. Of course, having really supportive families, helped both of us in realizing our dreams. We believe in this simple philosophy of cherishing little joys of life.

2015 helped a huge deal in letting me know what I really wanted in life and what I had to achieve. It has given a much needed inspiration that would hopefully drive me towards it. I feel I have a clear vision on what to do now, than say, a year back. Professionally, I am yet to completely switch over to what I like doing, though I am on the way of accomplishing that. Writing and travel, quality time with the family and hang outs with friends were all that I wanted in 2015 and God has been kind enough to grant those.

2015 has been an action packed year. It introduced me to the exciting married life. And it also showed me what wedding preparations were like and how much of an effort goes in to it. From booking venues, inviting dearest and nearest, to shopping to bankruptcy, everything has been worth cherishing. Hopefully, a book on the Iyer wedding someday.

Google happened. Hyderabad and Jaipur were seen. Stayed at a luxury resort. Watched Premam. Fell in love with Malare. Also with Ok Kanmani. And also, with the feel and visuals in ‘Unakenna Venam Sollu’ from Thala Ajith’s ‘Yennai Arindhaal’. Read books. Hiked and said Hi to Ayyappa Swami at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam. Gatecrashed Chinnaswamy and said Hi to Swami AB De Villiers. Also met the West Indies dude Darren S(w)aami, serving drinks as a 12th man.

Positives apart, there were a few despairing events too. APJ Abdul Kalam’s demise, Sehwag’s retirement, South Africa’s loss at the Semi finals against New Zealand, Chennai floods, the image of a drowned Syrian boy in the shores of Turkey, unrest in West Asia and the sky-rocketing rent amount that the greedy and filthy rich, house owner in Bangalore charges me.

As 2015 closes in, it is time to remember all the good souls that made me smile and made my days special. And God Bless you, dear haters. May the force be upon you. You keep me going. Thanks for all the beautiful memories, 2015. You were kind. And to 2016, a big Hello. I am not preparing bucket lists. I am not into any high level planning that businessmen do. I’d just want to live in the moment. Shower me with a handful of travel opportunities, so that I see new lands, do new check-ins, click new snaps, make new friends and write about interesting stuffs. Some of my favorite people are tying the knots this year. May God bless them. Cheers!

P.S. ”I’ and Me’ refer to ”We’ and Us’, Bhaskar and Priyanka! Cheers again.