December 03, 2011

Catch ups and meet ups

Ah, we are in that cycle again. Every once in a while, during the festive/wedding season or when the migratory birds (read: Desis settled abroad) come visiting or when technology or social networking enables us to connect to people settled all over the world, there is always the inevitable talk of a getting together of old mates.

Having lived in the same locality all the bloody time, and owing to my good habit of walking to most places, I do keep bumping into old friends and acquaintances many a time. Rather depressingly, I am starting to feel these meetings end up on a rather disappointing note.

Perhaps some explanation is needed. You see, we tend to have these wonderful memories of everyone we knew as a kid, and every time we refer to the person, the memories and stories we evoke conform to that image. Of course, no one is going to stay the same all the time. Hell, I can hardly recognize myself sometimes. If I were to hear myself blabbering on 'official' calls I would probably ask myself to get a life, but that is besides the point.

It is akin to the generally accepted principle of never personally meeting your hero - the moment you find out he is just another human being as you are, the bubble bursts.

Now when we meet up with childhood friends after they would have been through 'the grind', they would have assumed a 'mask', just as you have - the mask which one acquires as one enters into adult/professional life, which enables us to maintain a stoic exterior calm when dealing with the outside world and prevents us from betraying our emotions, in other words, helps us be 'professional' at all times, or they just might have been bogged down by their responsibilities, and you begin to wonder what happened to the dork you knew back then.

Of course, as you begin to peel away, you find some of their habits you remember are still there, they remember all the stories you remember, and the person you adored as a kid is lurking somewhere behind all the facade.

Whether they succeed in peeling your layers off is another matter, but then again, that is how you know who your friends are I guess...

April 02, 2011

I am Happy....

I am happy.

I am happy for the school kid who cannot resist a peek at the TV to check the score as he prepares for his exams, cursing the ICC for the inconvenient scheduling.

I am happy for the proud Bengali who first instilled confidence and taught the team what it was to stand tall in the face of calamity, and who must be proudly looking at the team today as it carries his legacy forward.

I am happy for the street kid who spends his hard earned money to buy a ticket costing way more than his income every time there is a match in the town, with the
sole intention of seeing his heroes in action, and forgoes a few meals along the way.

I am happy for the lion hearted fast bowler who came back into the team the long hard way and for half a decade since has carried the Indian attack on his shoulders despite having a different new ball partner almost every second match; who must have been haunted by the memories of how he, then a young tearaway fast bowler, had gifted the momentum to Australia the last time India came this far, but came back and redeemed himself on the biggest stage eight years down the line.

I am happy for the Indian away from India who on most occasions can only follow the match on cricinfo, but still stays up all night and cheers for every run scored and wicket taken as if his life depended on it.

I am happy for the lion hearted batsman who repaid the captain's faith with a string of match winning performances on the biggest stage, when just an year before, not many would have given him the chance of even making the world cup squad.

I am happy for the millions of people who had watched in horror as Sachin got stumped and the team collapsed in a heap at the Eden Gardens, resulting in the most shameful exit from the biggest tournament in the sport, and who now rejoice as their dream comes true.

I am happy for the man with the midas touch, who took a team which was capable of being a world beater and made them realise their potential, who has always done things his way, and who had the courage to stand up on the big day, and show the rest how it is done.

I am happy for the kids watching the game right now, some of whom might get a chance of their own to create history in the years down the line, and who would proudly exclaim that the moment which inspired them was one when MSD sent the ball flying into the Mumbai night sky.

But most of all, and all Indians would agree, I am happy for one person, whom I am not even going to try to list the achievements of, for the boy who never grew up, the peter pan of Cricket, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar..