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.


You were special, Virender Sehwag!

He last played for India in Hyderabad in 2013 and since then, you’re used to seeing an Indian team set out in the field, without him. You knew his chances of a comeback were slim. You knew his best days were in the past. You knew he was 37. You doubted if he could again produce those masterpieces. But there was some part in you, which wanted to see him with the willow again for India. You can understand that as Indians have always been emotional. But with Virender Sehwag, the reactions that poured in from fans and writers in England, Australia and even Pakistan, were remarkably similar. Jeez, he was loved all over the cricketing world. Wasn’t he!

He was special. In fact, very special. He defied all the cricketing laws, even made a mockery of the conventional approach to batsmanship and yet, the purists adored him. They clapped in elation, every time he slashed it through the gully. They were in the edge of their seats when he hit those naughty, tempting sixes through the third man on the opening day of a Test match. They stood in awe every time he played those insane knocks. They were his fans, among many others, cut across the borders and generations. 

Rahul Dravid, the bible for batting in test matches, was his fan. So was Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag’s idol. So was the reckless T20 generation slogger, Glenn Maxwell. So were VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Adam Gilchrist, Kevin Pieterson, Mahela Jayawardene, David Warner and the list goes on. Everyone prayed for a Sehwag special when they sat in front of the TV. He was a swashbuckler. An entertainer. A swagger. A pied piper. A Rajinikanth block bluster. 

I have often wondered how he managed to garner these many fans. His numbers spoke for themselves, like with any great player. But it was all about the manner in which he scored his runs. He had a song on his lips as he pounded the cricket balls. He whistled. He smiled while destroying the bowling attacks and records were broken as an after-thought. After Alastair Cook’s laborious knock of 263 off 528 balls recently, I imagined what all could Sehwag have done in that time- completed two triple centuries while humming 528 lines of Kishore Kumar’s songs and pulling up 263 conversations with the umpires. That defined him. Those chatters with the umpires from the non-striker’s end, no matter if he struggled with the swing or was hitting the sweet spots. Nothing bogged him down. Not even Shane Warne’s zooters when he scored a top class 155 in Chennai. Not even the bouncers that hit his helmet in MCG when he powered his way to 195. Not even the raw pace of Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee. Not even the then scary Mendis Mystery. That he was a genius, made him overcome all these. But that isn’t the complete picture. His carefree approach made us pause and think if we could all be like Sehwag, and make our lives insanely simpler.

Eventually, the numbers too happened. 8000+ runs in both the formats at a jaw-dropping strike rate of 82 in tests and 104 in ODIs. Those big daddy triples came the way. Staggering doubles made its way, including the Indore Incendiary (219). Records tumbled. Bloemfontein happened. Nottingham and Melbourne followed. Lahore was conquered. So too was Galle. So too were Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. And in between he tore apart Pakistan, made billions of Indians watch the 2003 World cup final despite losing Sachin early, took a fifer at Delhi, trolled Michael Clarke, registered a king pair, inspired David Warner to become a Test opener and made press conferences worth listening to.

So, which is my favorite Sehwag innings? There are three of them in no particular order. The 195 at MCG and 201 at Galle were impressions that there was a method to his madness. It wasn’t just about taking the leather of the ball. He took his time, survived the snorters early on and then dominated the Aussies in Melbourne. At Galle, it was a similar approach where he planned his innings beautifully before conquering all sorts of spin at the minefield of a wicket. The third is probably, the most audacious knock ever played- his 83 off 68 in Chennai while chasing 387 on the 4th innings. He expanded our imaginations. The world gasped in awe. So were England.  It was freakish. It was unheard of before, in 150 years of Test cricket. India eventually chased the target down in two days but the match was won in an hour and a half of sheer madness. 

I choke, as I write this post. It’s not easy to see one of your favorites bidding adieu. Words are difficult to come by. There are emotions all over. There is sadness everywhere. It’s a lump in the throat moment. His cricketing journey has been a personal favorite along with Rahul Dravid’s and AB De Villiers’. I don’t think any other cricketer brought me so much joy. I don’t think any other cricketer forced me to the edge of my seats every frigging time. I don’t think any other cricketer played cricket, the Sehwag way. He is special. He is a legend. He is God. Thank you for enriching our lives, Virender Sehwag!!