Lovey Dovey Me :D

They say one moment can change your life. Well, one such moment actually did change mine. And how…

That one moment, I looked in her eyes and my life changed forever. Yes, you got it right. I fell in love. And life hasn’t been the same. Life hasn’t been better. Smiles couldn’t have been broader, nor laughter any louder. I couldn’t have been any happier.

Love is wonderful, beautiful. Every moment seems magical. All I remember is the fond memories of us, every moment I feel love around, and I cannot help but dream of the future. Be it silly little things to the most intricate details of our life ahead. The first time we held hands flashes by and I cannot stop smiling. The first kiss seems so grand I know I will not have a better moment in life. Remembering the times spent laughing like mad I cannot stop wishing I could tickle her once and hear her ringing laughter once again.

But it’s not just the dreams or the laughter. There is this sense of companionship, togetherness, of belonging together. She completes me in every sense. With her, it feels as if this is where I belong. And I keep hoping time would stop and I would be with her forever. Such is the beauty of every moment with her. And I cannot stop thanking God enough for her.

The surprising part is how I surprise myself in love. Loner to the core, I never imagined myself blabbering the whole night and yet not wanting to stop. I never foresaw myself caring so much for someone. For someone who kept just to himself no matter what the circumstances, now I cannot do a moment without her. Sounds too mushy, I know, but hey what’s wrong in being romantic. I never knew I could be romantic. She says she always knew I had the romantic streak in me. Seems she knows me better than I know myself.

Talking of knowing yourself, I have found myself in her. Not just the romance, but life in general. I have begun to understand myself better. You experience emotions which you never knew existed. Like wanting someone so bad, missing someone so much. Like wanting to win the world over just for her. Like wanting to make her mine. Forever…

And there is this new found love for life, the desire to dream again. Wake up every morning with a smile. The days are brighter and the night more peaceful. Don’t know much, but if there is such a thing as love, it has to be this…

I Quit…

Not the best of words to say. But talk about cigarettes, and they probably are the sweetest words to hear. Yes, once I was a chain smoker. Nothing less than ten would do. A pack was nothing outrageous. Yet I quit. And I tell you, it isn’t an easy thing to do. Well, of all those who try, roughly 3% are able to. Or so say the statistics. C’mon a pat on my back won’t do you much harm. C’mon…

Anyways, I never liked myself smoking. Rather hated myself for it. I knew very well about all the ills of smoking. Don’t know why I still smoked. Maybe it had to do with my negative state then, maybe the addictive powers of nicotine (it is the most addictive substance known to man). I must have tried to quit smoking at least once every month of the one year I smoked. But I always succumbed to my urge and need for that one puff. Mind always cheated me saying “just one puff, your body just can’t take it anymore without it. Promise this will be just one.” That would be the beginning of the defeat. Tried many things to help me quit. Read extensively over the net to find out ways. Looked all over my city for nicotine gums or patches and found none.

Every time I tried to quit smoking, I now realize, I did not have sufficient will to do it. Or maybe I was too sad and depressed about life to bother if I lived or not. But I got lucky. Found someone who loved me despite my obvious flaws. And thank god for that… One lucky chap I am… She didn’t say much, just that “Your quitting smoking would be the best gift you could ever give me.” Love her too much to not do it for her.

Despite that, it wasn’t easy to quit smoking. It never is, not even for the occasional smoker. Bloody thing, enslaves you to its high. The worst part is that it after a time, it doesn’t even give you a high. You need a puff to even feel normal. Hence the “that bad” an urge to smoke. Over the one year period that I did smoke, I had mastered ‘trying to quit smoking’. Read and found out everything that you can about cigarette and nicotine. There are some pretty scary facts about them. But they command a separate post and also I don’t want to scare people. But all of it means just one thing – if you smoke, try and quit now. Some say gradually reducing the number of cigarettes per day works, some say stopping altogether works better. You got to try which one works best for you. Reducing did not work for me. One fine day I got up and decided that no matter what, I won’t have a puff again in life. I have kept that promise to myself till now. And I know I will – always.

I had loads of problems. After a couple of hours of getting up, my head started hurting like hell, felt like it would burst open. But I knew things would get only worse from here on for a couple of days. Okay, nicotine and carbon monoxide become a part of the system of a smoker. The body needs it. But the best thing is that the body eliminates them in 48 hours after the last smoke. I knew I had to resist the first two days, it was the body against the mind and I could not let the mind lose. I tried many tricks – coffee, chocolates etc... Even called her up on stupid pretexts and just kept talking. Somehow I did manage to scrape through the two days. The battle now on would be psychological - resisting the urge to smoke. It was a test of my will now on. I could not afford to go weak and lose out to the deceiving mind even for a second. I don’t know what saw me through, but this one time I can happily claim “I won. I quit…”


“WATCHOUT…” And the scream trailed off…

Rishab stopped and turned back. A Honda City was hit by a truck and the car had turned over and landed on the footpath barely a foot away from him. The glasses were shattered and splattered with blood. He could sense that someone might be dying inside. He could see people shouting for help and running towards the battered car. Everything seemed in slow motion to him.

His mind could not process anything. It did not even occur to him that fate had spared him a certain casualty. He just turned and walked away. He could not sense that he might be of some help and that he should rescue those trapped in the ill fated car. Nothing… absolute blankness was all he could feel. Once he walked away, he did not even turn back to see what had happened of those inside.

Back home, he put his bag down and lied on the couch. No matter how hard he tried he could not figure out what had just happened. How had he escaped? Most importantly why had he been spared by destiny? One thing that kept bothering him was “Why did he not feel anything? How could he just walk away as if nothing had happened? He was not insensitive last time he had checked. What had been going on in his life?”

Try as he may, he could not find any answers to these questions. Numbness was all he could feel. Almost serene. The look on his face suggested that he might be sedated. He kept fiddling with his phone trying to put his mind away from what had just happened. All of a sudden he could hear soft Hellos. He looked at the screen and to his amaze he had unknowingly called up Di. He had to talk.

“Hello Di… How are you?”

“Hey Rishab. Kaisa hai tu? I am good.”

“Oh, I am great.”

His voice suggesting otherwise.

“What happened Bhai? You seem really disturbed… Kuch gadbad hai kya?”

“Oh nothing Di. Just a little tired. Just back from college. Lying down actually. Aap batao… How are things going on your side??”

“I am doing great. The new job is almost perfect. Just the job I had always wanted. Amit says we should get married though I am in no hurry. Waise, tu topic mat badal. You are sounding disturbed. Jaldi bata what happened? Spent all your money? Studies mein problem hai? Ya tera purana Girl problem?”

“What Di. Aap bhi naa. There are no girls in my life. And as far as I know, I don’t want one. ”

“Haha… okay okay. Don’t worry Bhai, we will find you a cute girl. I am there, naa...”


His voice almost trailed off.

“Di, I saw a car crash just in front of me. I was barely a foot away.”

“Oh my God! Rishab, beta, tu theek to hai naa… Did anything happen to you? ”

“Naa.. I am fine. Not even a scratch.”

“Thank God...”

He could hear Di’s breath cooling off, in huge relief.

“Rishab, was anyone hurt?”

“I don’t know Di.”

“What? You were a foot away and you don’t know. Didn’t you call the ambulance or the police?”

“I don’t know what had happened then. I just turned and left. Could not even turn and look back. Not that I was scared. I don’t know what happened then. I just left. Could not hear any voices, could not interpret anything. Kuch samajh hi nahi aaya… Abhi bhi nahi aa raha hai… I don’t know what’s happening to me. I didn’t even call you. I heard your voice on the phone to realize I had called you up. ”

“Mom would have thought you are doing drugs. I know that you aren’t, Rishab. Waise, are you? Okay, okay, tell me how are you feeling right now?”

“What Di? Mom dad to yeh sab bolte hi hain. Ab aap bhi…”

“Naa bhai, I know you don’t. I was joking just to cheer you up…”

“Di… Main aisa nahi tha… You know I haven’t even felt that I was lucky to escape unhurt. I could have very well just died on the spot. Yet I feel no sense of gratitude. Di, I really cared for people. I wasn’t insensitive, I never was. I could not see even a drop of blood and today I saw blood splashed all around. Didn’t even flinch. Didn’t shiver. Just walked away. What has gotten into me? What has happened to me? I just can’t understand…”

“Nothing’s happened to you Bhai. Come on. I knew you as this super cool guy. You are just a little disturbed. Tell me what all has been going on in your life.”

“Just the regular. And yeah I am still cool…”

His voice clearly suggested disquiet though he tried hard to conceal it with a pretentious tranquility. He knew Di had understood. He just wished she would not push him to say any more. He wanted to talk and share but he just didn’t know what to say. He himself could not understand what was going on.

“Rishab, you look disturbed. I am not feeling good about this. Listen, go take a shower. It will help you cool off and put you at ease. And for God’s sake don’t try gulping down Dad’s scotch. Go, go, I will call you up in exactly fifteen minutes. ”

Rishab was too preoccupied to resist.

“Theek hai. Call me up…””

He knew he needed her. He knew he needed a shower. He just stood in there and hoped the flowing water could carry off his worries. It did not…

“Did you take the shower? Feeling Better?”


“Good… Chal bata, what all has been going on in your mind off late…”

“I don’t know. Nothing in particular.”

“Di… sometimes I feel I could have been so much different. Life could have been so much better…”

“Why what has gone wrong?”

“Nothing. Just that nothing has gone as I had wished. And now I don’t even know what I had wished for…”

“College is almost over. And I have no idea what I want out of life. You always were so sure about what you wanted in life. Me, I wanted to explore everything, hoping to find what my true passion was. Something that could inspire me. Something which would make me feel restless. Something which would light a fire inside and make me feel alive… Something which I could call my ‘life’s calling’. Haven’t found anything like that. I have landed a stupid job, which I don’t know if I will enjoy. Years have passed by and I still don’t have a single answer to any of the questions I had set out to decipher. Tum hi batao main kya karoon…”

“Hmmm… is there anything else?”

“You know, whenever I think about all this, which is almost always, I feel that I am worthless. I have achieved nothing in my life. Sometimes I feel that I have been drifting along with time. That I have just existed. I don’t know what have I existed for. What am I? What is my purpose on earth? What should I live my life for? Whom should I live my life for? I have absolutely no idea and more I think, more lost I get in my own agony.”

“Kitna soochta hai tu. Itna bhi koi pareshan hua hai bhala… Relax. Go out for the evening. Go get yourself a good book and a nice CD. Right now put your mind off all this. Your life is just fine dear. And you will do great in whatever you decide to do.”


“Bhai, you are just lonely. Get in touch with your old friends… Call up Anjali. You might just be missing her. Or why don’t you take a weekend off and come here. We will catch up and a new city will do you a world of good. There are quite a few cute girls here. ”

“Mujhe pata tha tum nahi samjhoge… Rehne do. I will be fine… and don’t bring up Anjali ever again. It’s over and I don’t want that ever brought up again. Galti ki maine tumhe kuch bhi bata ke.”

“Don’t get angry, Rishab. I was only trying to help. And what makes you think I don’t understand, dear. It’s just that the state that you are in right now, nothing I say would appeal to you. You DO need to get your mind off all this before you will be able to accept anything new. There is no point in living in your agony.”

“Yeah, fine. I’ll go get some music. And I can’t afford the tickets. You know I can’t save money. Never have, maybe never will… ”

“Uff… there is just too much negativity in you right now. There is no way this will help you.”

“Yeah, fine. I’ll call you some time later.”

Silence before the good-byes were uttered.

“Okay… Do what you want but don’t get disturbed.”

“Hmm… Bye Di… Miss you at times, you know.”

“Rishab… You know I love you… ”

“Ahh… you were the one I was closest to. Why did you have to move to Delhi? You know, whenever I feel lonely, I miss you. Just you… ”

“Arre to call kar liya kar naa… Ab work takes you different places. Koi baat nahi bhai, I’ll plan a trip soon. Can you manage a short holiday? I’ll send over the tickets… ”

“It’s okay Di. I will be fine…”

“Yes, you will be. Arre, what fine… my little bro has to be great.”

“Haha… yes, yes… I will be great. Sometimes it feels so nice just talking to you…”

“Life is big, Rishab. You need to know that you are just beginning your life. Abhi kitni zindagi dekhi hi hai tune, yaar…”

“Oh stop treating me like a kid…”

“Haha… Always have. Always will…”


“Anyways… you have just begun a beautiful journey. And most importantly you need to know that you have to enjoy this journey. Unless you remain happy you won’t be able to live life to the fullest… Isn’t that what you have always wanted to do? Live life to the fullest? Extract the most out of every moment here? ”

“Yes Ma’am…”

“You want answers to life, your motive, your passion. You need to know that most people don’t even bother to look for any answers. They just drift along with life where ever it takes them. When you are looking for the answer to the Meaning of Life, you need to keep your faith. You need to believe that someday you will find them. If you lose hope, you will become sad. Aur sad hoke kuch bhi nahi milta budhdhu… And don’t you know girls drool over your smile…”

“Stop teasing me…”

“Okay, okay.Rishab, you have miles to go. There lies a beautiful, extra-ordinary life ahead of you. You are sad only because certain things might have gone against your wishes. Happens in life. You are strong. You will take them in your stride and keep moving… And keep smiling, bhai…”

“And about looking for answers, most of the questions are related to just the path that you have to take in life. So find out the ones that you can take right now, but keep looking. Keep your faith… And what looking, go ahead and create your own path. You know you can do it. And I am sure you will do it.”

“Thanks Di… I am so lucky to have you…”


“Am feeling so much better now… Thanks for listening me out… ”

“Oh my God! In all my stupidities I totally forgot about the accident. I will go and find out what happened of those inside the car. I just hope that they are fine.”

“Yes, I hope they are fine. Go find them out and help them as much as you can. And don’t feel guilty about it. You just were disturbed.”

“Yup, yup, yup… Miss you Di…”

“Chal, will call you at night. And hey, I love you…”

Life after Zidane...

Euro 2008 has begun and I, for the sake of loyalty, was still supporting France. How could I forget the beauty that Zidane and Co. brought to football? Zidane has retired but the memories are still fresh – of that clever pass, that deft control, that gorgeous step over, that out-of-this world turns around… Everything would be etched in a football lover’s memory forever. So France it was for me in the latest edition of the Euro.

But one game is all that has taken for me to totally give up on France. They started as tournaments second favorites but now I would not give them even an outside chance. I haven’t seen such a lack luster performance from a reputed national team in a while. They looked out of sorts while attacking. Defense has been solid for long. Gallas and Thuram are legendary central defenders. Sagnol and Abidal mark the wings and well. But they alone cannot take all the credit for their fabulous defensive record. France must be the only team in the world to play with two holding mid-fielders. And both Makelele and Viera are the top two holding mids in the world. It is but obvious they don’t concede goals easily.

But it’s the scored goals that win matches and France have looked completely incapable of scoring. Yes, they do have big names even upfront – Theiry Henry, Ribery, Malouda and the budding stars – Benzema and Nasri. Both the youngsters have been likened to the great Zidane but they will take time if and when they get there. Anyways, the French could attack only from the wings – Ribery on the right and Malouda on the left, with Anelka and Benzema in the center. But to no effect – either the attack was cut down or the crosses comfortably parried away. Surprisingly though, I did not witness a single good move down the center. There was no one to distribute the ball around the park – a playmaker who could create and impose their game; something Zidane had been doing for more than a decade now. It was as if a void has been left by Zidane which French have not been able to fill. French football looks empty and inelegant without him. It might very well take ages to fill up his illustrious shoes.

Thiery Henry had once remarked when asked about Zidane – “There is a God and he plays for France.” Alas! No more…

Four Years Later...

The UPA government just completed Four years in office. And apparently they are celebrating. For what - managing to stick to the elusive chair for this long without any major hiccups? As in they managed without any major threats of the government dismantling. Well, if that is what they are celebrating then they must applaud themselves.

Four years is a long time to be in government and do nothing at all. Yes, there will be reviews and opinions. Each review and opinion will be different. And I, in my own right, have an opinion for this government doesn’t urge me into a detailed review. I guess the last statement already set the tone of this post.

Once I was excited about this government. That was when it hadn’t yet been formed. I still remember the elections of 2004. The elections results were just out and the BJP, despite their India Shining campaign, a farce, were comprehensibly beaten with no chance of returning to power. The mandate was not clear though. I had hated the Religious politics played by the BJP and was well and truly sick of it. Talk in the air was that the Congress might be able to form the government with help of others. And hard core Indians detested the idea of an Italian widow being the premier of our nation. Sitting in Gaurav’s home, I remember him getting pretty angry at such a prospect. So was I, for it hurt the Indian pride in me and Gaurav and every one like us. But out of the blue, for no reason at all, maybe another of my intuitions, I blurted out “Wait and watch, Manmohan Singh will be the next PM”.

And the lady from Italy, after her sanctification, duly obliged. A complete outsider with no experience of popular politics, though a masterful economist, Dr. Manmohan Singh was bestowed with the responsibility of leading the country into the future. For me it was kind of a personal victory. For no reason at all, I had thrust my dreams and hopes of a better India in the able hands of Dr. Singh. I felt, India, after nearly 60 years of Independence had finally landed a worthy and capable leader. No one can doubt the brilliance of Dr. Singh. He single handedly brought back the country from the brinks of an almost-certain economic collapse and his policies helped propel us into a bright future. For that the nation owes him a great deal. An intellectual, a liberalist, a reformist and a visionary is what India needed in her leader.

But India needed a Leader. And there is more to a leader than just intellect. The prerequisite will always be that he be a visionary and dreamer, someone who can see the future. But one needs to be bold and courageous to chase his dreams, make his visions a reality and shape a better future. He needs to put his fears to rest and act, in the direction he sees as the most viable. Pick up a team which shares his ideas, can bring new ideas to the table and finally implement them. He needs to shrug off the trivialities and petty oppositions and move on beyond those. Most importantly he needs to “do things” and the hallmark of a truly great leader is that he does things right. In India, even “doing” would be extra-ordinary.

Dr. Singh started with showing us huge dreams. He promised a lot, even inspired confidence. The least that was expected of the PM was economic reforms, keeping in mind his glorious record as the Finance minister during the Rao term. India might be growing, but a considerable portion of the Indian Population still lives under the poverty line. And the guidelines for the poverty line would take you by surprise – if you can buy yourself food worth some 2200 calories per day, you are above the dubious line. Economy might be growing but many sectors needed great care. Manufacturing isn’t growing at the same rate as the economy; one of the indicators of sustainable growth. Infrastructure, power and education need huge reforms. Roads and power draw more investment and propel growth. These have to precede economic growth, not the contrary. The state of public education and healthcare systems is in total disorderliness. And much more. We can go on and on about these but one needs to stop and give the man a chance.

A chance he was given and what a chance. To be the Prime Minister of the largest democracy of the world at a time when it was one of the fastest growing economies of the world. An economist could not have dreamt of a better opportunity. But the opportunity did come with too many clauses, which ended up tying him up and constraining him. He was the PM but every decision had to be approved by the party high command. He was leading a coalition government with more than a dozen regional parties, each one with their own agenda. But the pain in the butt proved to be the Leftist parties. Left has never been in a government (they still aren’t yet posses the power to govern the government) and all they know is to oppose any and every thing. And 60 years is a long time to perfect the art.

Somehow the whole event gave me hope, hope of a better future. Even though my intuition came true, I had missed the finer details. I have no idea what freedom he had in choosing his team. Was he the one who made the choice or was the bunch of crap thrust upon him? Whatever it was, he blundered with his team.

Arjun Singh as the HRD minister; who has spent all his time chasing the Reservations for OBC’s in centrally funded institutes. Even if the Bill gets implemented it will affect not more than a thousand people in a nation of over a billion. The only other notable contribution from the honourable minister has been statements in the media about the fees hike of the IIM’s and surprise, surprise how Rahul Gandhi should be our next PM. These endeavors when the most basic needs of the country are primary education. Ramados as the Health Minister; who implement a bill in the Parliament to get of the AIIMS director because of a personal feud. Such is the team chosen by the great man. The list can go on. Who knows, one might even write a book about the misdemeanors of the bunch of talented old men. But I am not totally jobless.

I know that even if the PM tried things on his part, many of his ideas and schemes have been shot down either by the Party High Command or any of the coalition partners or most famously by the Left. The most recent example is that of the 1-2-3 Nuclear Deal. It was one golden chance to be recognized as a Nuclear Power. It would enable India to import Nuclear Technology as well as fuel for the existing Nuclear Power Plants, which by the way are running short of fuel. This being the election year, the Finance Minister has passed pardoned loans to small and medium farmers, which makes no economic sense in the near or distant future.

All of this gives me the impression that the government has been pretending to DO than the actual DOING. Farmers need electricity and fertilizers and most importantly economic viability. They need a stable market where they can sell their produce. They need safeguards against natural calamities which will ensure that they aren’t wiped out by one act of nature. Though the later is tough, the rest are pretty much doable. Reservations seem the most ludicrous of the lot – holding the nation at ransom for a few petty election points where there are villages with no schools or those lucky ones to have a school building but with no teachers. The Health Minister, it seems, did not even try to pretend.

Kinder critics might pardon Dr. Singh for here was a tied up man with the responsibility to run the government for its term. Too many constraints, too many people to keep happy. Somewhere in the way he might have lost his script. I ain’t that nice. For he erred and erred big time. He tried to comply with every ones wishes and keep everyone happy. He seemed to have forgotten that he was the PM and let himself be governed by petty people. He failed to provide India a suitable leadership. He failed the post that he held. Sadly though, he failed himself

Thank You, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Today, 22nd of May, happens to be 149th Birth Anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - the master creator of the most famous fictional character - Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes has had the single greatest influence on me - got me inspired me into reading, thinking on obscure lines, connecting the dots. Most importantly, he taught me the art/science of deduction. Each one of the stories got my mind racing, wanting to read as fast as possible, try and put the pieces together and decipher the story before the ending has been described. Me being me, could not always decipher the end - sometimes getting it wrong, sometimes inconclusive and sometimes even the right answers. Or maybe just plain lucky. The man after all, through a series of 4 novels and 56 short stories, had never been beaten. Not for nothing is he the most famous fictional character of all times and 221 Baker Street once was the most famous address in the world (it is a fictional address). I was so fascinated by the man once that I got myself a violin, just to impersonate him.

The creator of such a wonderful series and an impossible character has to be great man himself. No amount of praises can be suffice for the pleasure and the rush of pulse that we experienced through each and every of your works.

Thank You. Thank You so very much. Thank You Sir, for changing my life...

The Beautiful Game : Barca... :)

FC Barcelona or, Barca as they are known, have always been associated with the beautiful game. Win or lose, they stick to their game. And when the whole game falls into place, they are a delight to watch. And watching them win the beautiful way is joy. Such is the magic in their play. Hold the ball, create space, pin point defense splitting pass, beautiful football. Add to that the galaxy of stars – Messi, Ronaldinho, Henry, Eto’o, Deco, Iniesta, Xavi, Toure and many more. Awe Inspiring...

Barcelona can claim to have the best possible attacking players in the world right now. Their front six can walk into any team in the world right now. Messi, Henry, Eto’o, Ronnie are the front four. They actually have to compete for their positions. Any other team and each one would be the leading striker. Of the four, only Messi has his position secured – he is fit, he starts. The rest have to actually battle it out. No other team in the world can afford to bench any one of them. Not even Real Madrid in their prime with Zidane et al. . Midfield is again filled with amazing players – Deco, Iniesta, Xavi and Toure. Only three have to be picked and again only Toure is safe – only because he is the only holding mid of them. Imagine Deco being benched. Such is the talent and brilliance in the team.

Nonetheless, anyone would agree that Barca have a poor defense. Abidal is brilliant as left back and so is Milito as the centre back. Even Milito can split the defense with his long through balls or crosses. Puyol and Marquez are okay. And right back is a serious trouble for them – Zambrotta despite being Italian isn’t great. Not bad a line-up but they somehow they aren’t the best defensive team in the world. But their weakest link would be the goalkeeper – the Dude in the team, as we call him. Valdez as he is known is one stupid fellow with panache for making glorious mistakes at the wrong times. Spill the ball into his own net, clearing the ball to the opposition, giving away cheap corners but mostly he lets in goals which ordinary keepers would save any given day. Yet he stands tall in the goal every match.

Barca actually play with the philosophy that “score as many goals against us as you can, we will score more.” And sometimes it backfires. The glamorous front six do everything right but put the ball into the net. But the defense still leaks goals at the same rate. Not the smartest way to play football. No need to be Italian to win games but at least WIN the matches damnit. We invest our hopes and emotions in you guys. Come on guys; give us the beautiful game and the victories. If anyone, you can do it. Be it any team of any style. Not for nothing does the world consider you the best.

It’s been two years now that you have not won any silverware. For a team like yours, it IS a matter of shame. Last season, Barca lost out to Liverpool on away goals in the Champions League. Losing 2-1 at home to a team which did not even bother to attack or pursue victory was stupid and inexcusable. A 1-0 victory at Anfield was not enough. In UCL it happens, but the blunders that they committed in La Liga were amazing. That and any more adjectives wouldn’t be sarcastic enough. They had an almost unassailable lead in the Liga almost till the mid and then they totally lost the plot. Finished on equal points with Real and lost the title on one-on-one results despite having a better goal difference (stupid way to decide the league but anyways the mistake was all Barca’s). It was heart breaking in the end but deserving nonetheless.

This year the fortunes have been reversed in the Liga and UCL. They have been disgusting at the least this year, losing many easy games. But the biggest mistake they made was that they drew too many games at home; games you would expect Barca to ace. They seem to have lost the magic up front. Clear cut chances have been put wide by a team which once could score almost impossible goals. Messi apart, every one up front has been hopeless. Eto’o was out at the beginning of the season, but his comeback hasn’t been exactly great. Henry, since his move from Arsenal hasn’t been the same force he was. Majority of his season has been on the bench, coming on only as a substitute late in the game. By the end of the season, he had to fight even for that against teen sensation Bojan Kirkic. Bojan being a Catalonian has an edge. Yet the biggest let down has been Ronnie. Two years since, he was the World Player of the year, two years running. To see his dismay, all you need to watch is the El Classico at Camp Nou. He went down far too easily and never looked like the man who held the promise of being the “greatest ever”. His antics cost Barca the game.

The mid has been okay. Iniesta has finally bloomed into a fine player. With deft control and incisive passing, he has proved to be a great asset but the best thing about him is that he plays at any position his team demands and yet remains one of the best players on the pitch. Xavi is good, but can do better at times. Being one of the senior most players, one would expect him to be a better leader. His game is good but given his role, better leadership would be great for Barca. Deco is mercurial but is one of the most creative players around. He along with Ronnie, Messi and Eto’o ruled the world for a couple of years. His best is not yet over. Though the same could not be said of Ronaldinho. Toure is good. Great rather. Keep him the way he is.
The defense looks suspect most of the times. But Milito and Abidal are class and lets keep them. Puyol needs to improve, so does Marquez. Barca, honestly need a better central defender. They should keep looking. Also for a right back – Zambrotta has no Italian defending qualities though he is good going up or on the overlap with Messi.

Anyways, all said and done Barca IS the best team in the world on, paper at least. One of the most formidable line-ups in recent times. Only comparisons would be Real in the Zidane - Figo era, and Puscas - Stefano era. Yet something has been holding them back. They haven’t been able to play to full potential. One of the reasons could be the presence of too many stars in the team. Each of the names is huge in the world of football. And we know many stars thrive on Glory. Other probable reason would be lack of leadership on the field. All they miss is one inspiring player who has the potential to lift the team by the collars when it is in dumps. Each one of the Blaugranes has enough potential to change the game in one moment of brilliance. Yet what they lack is the leadership in any of the players. They look defeated as soon as things start going against them. Not the way to play any sport.

All said and done, they still are my favourite team and nothing can change that – unless they migrate from the beautiful game. I just hope that they realize the greatness within them and start winning again – the beautiful way.

(The failures of the last two years has led to their coach being fired a year short of his term. Frank Rijkaard. He was an exceptional player and a brilliant coach and easily the COOLEST guy in any stadium he walked into. He instilled the values of good football in the team. The first three years of his reign were full of glory but the last two have been poor. I just hope that Barca stick to his style but play with a little more energy and belief.)

Good Luck Barca...

Conform to nothing but your Wish.

Oh, how I love these hard hitting, into your face statements. And I love it more when I come up with those. I hope I did with this one at least. Anyways…

Conformity is the greatest crime you can do to yourself.

Haha… another one of those… Okay I promise. No more.

This isn’t some random, characteristically me, arrogant statement. It does mean a lot. Accepting things, people, or ideas without questioning them is restricting yourself - limiting your brain and imagination. “Accept people the way they are” is something which I have been told by many and many a times. We will talk about it later.

Conforming is basically accepting things and ideas as they are – no questions asked, no doubts entertained. Why follow the religious customs? Why believe in God? Why live with the norms that the society sets? Why study? Why do your assignments? Okay, the last one is simple – to pass the course. Hehe… Pardon the lame humour. Back to the serious stuff.

I believe that until you doubt and question any and every thing and find a convincing answer, an answer that convinces you completely, the idea that you accept or imbibe isn’t yours. It still is someone else’s idea. How can you be satisfied with something which isn’t yours? What have you added or taken away from an idea? Unless you doubt and question, you restrict yourself to all the knowledge and truth that there is in the world. What is your contribution to the world? To the spectrum of truth and ideas?

You may or may not believe in religion. Mostly it boils down to choice – either to follow it or not follow it. If you follow a certain religion, you dare not question its authority and authenticity. If you don’t follow any, it’s mostly because you hate them all equally. Why? You could say the customs and the rituals numb the mind. But have you bothered to ask “is religion in itself a bad concept?” “Do I need religion?”

People begin to doubt and question only when the statement hits them in the eye. Like if I say “Religion is one of the best tools to pass on the wisdom learnt over the years by generations. And yet I do not believe in it.” I could very well be bombarded with random questions, mostly hostile. I can well and truly defend myself in any argument over this, maybe even make a point. But let’s leave it at that. If you disagree you are welcome to put in your views. But make sure they are yours.

All I am saying is do not just accept something just because it is widely accepted as the norm. Think about it, and arrive at a conclusion based on your values and conscience. They are your best friends. Doubt is a great tool of evolution and use it for your personal growth as well.

Okay I do agree this post is sounding too much like J. Krishnamurti’s speeches and way too preachy. I do not want to tell anyone anything. Just that it beats me how can people be so conforming.

About “accepting people the way they are”. This is a debatable topic. The best I can say is that do accept them, love them, but if you see a flaw do make them known. Whether they acknowledge it or not is their choice but a man of wisdom will not mind you telling it. Rather they would appreciate it.

Conform to nothing but your wish. Till now whatever I have said hardly sounds anything like it. Rather it turned out mostly on conformity itself.

The original statement seemed more arrogant and stubborn than of any practical use. I have always lived by the law “Do what your heart tells you to.” Though it has not led me to any magical success, it somehow still appeals to me more than the conventional routes. At least this ways, you know why you do anything. You know the responsibility is just yours. And this knowledge is mostly motivation enough to see you through.

There is a flipside to this seemingly rebellious romantic mode. A rebel without cause or a rebel just for the sake of being one hardly serves any purpose. And this is where conformity and doubt play an important role. It is not that everything that is the norm is wrong. It’s not that the wisdom accumulated over the years is of no use. The idea then is to analyze every idea and notion, question the reason behind it, ask the “why” “how” and “when” before finally accepting it. Even if you come up with a different totally new or a modified version of the idea it is necessary to analyze it with the same above questions. And then the idea will be yours. Any idea without a reason will not hold for a long time and fizzle away anyways.

Basically what I am suggesting is a strong foundation for your thoughts – whatever they may be. If you choose to accept the existing ones or come up with totally new ideas, it should have a reason. At some point, you might have to accept things just as they are – like faith or belief. People say faith and belief do not have a reason. Somehow I have not been able to accept that. I mean I feel there is a reason behind everything. Just that we might not be able to find a reason for it, or just maybe that we are afraid of searching lest we lose faith once we have analyzed that. I mean, it happens that once you have analyzed everything you finally realize that it wasn’t as great as you believed and hence lose confidence in it. But it’s alright. You don’t need to overwork your brain over everything. Blind faith might help at times. Like “love” they say… Haha…

Imbibe ideas, come up with new ones but in the end Conform to nothing but your Wish…

Blogs No More....

I haven’t blogged in a long long time and in the meanwhile have been coaxed, cajoled and persuaded to write. Well, my standard argument has been that I have run out of ideas and I ain’t that self obsessed to write about myself.

Trust me fellas (my readership is confined to at best couple of good friends, nothing more) I actually have run out of ideas. It’s not that I have nothing to say, but I somehow feel a futility in my writing blogs. I don’t see any purpose in it.

Okay, if I were analyzing myself, I could access that blogging was just another of my phases – fall in love with a thing for a while and when something new comes along, lose the steam for the old one. I hope my girlfriend (if and when) does not read this or she definitely wouldn’t like the pattern.

No no, it’s not that something new has come along – no new love. Writing is one of those things I know will stay with me for life. I love to write, tell the world how I think (more so if I think differently). I believe that I do have at least some things to say to this world, the people and make my own little contribution. Just that blogging has in course failed to give me the impetus to keep writing. “Have something to say, I will say even if you listen or not” is not exactly my philosophy.

Anyways I guess my posts were either too personal (a few) or philosophical or something random. Hardly the Masala for a successful blog. I guess I will have to re-invent myself to get the blog going.

So fellas (yeah the same good old coupla good friends) you will have to wait for me find some sense of humor or just live with occasional, maybe preachy posts.

I could have called you guys up and told you these non consequential words. But hey, this ways at least you get what you wanted.

Taare Zamin Par...

So finally it happens. Not one but two things at once. I finally watched the movie after hoping and planning to see it for weeks. And yeah I did one thing I thought I would never do - Watching a movie all alone. Both were a pleasant surprise. The second mainly because the movie was such a delight and on a subject so close to my heart – children, the most fascinating thing (or should I say beings) on earth. Undoubtedly so. And I am glad I watched it alone, I watched it without any inhibitions of shedding a drop of tear or two…

I am not going to praise the movie here – lots been said and loads of accolades already showered on it. It deserves more. But I’ll let others do it.

Every child is special. Rightly so, simply for the unbundled, unlimited joy that he brings to the world. Everything else is just trivial.

The movie is about a dyslexic child. And how a teacher brings out the painting genius in him. The message is simple – with extra care and affection a child can do wonders. But there are greater underlying issues which we will tend to miss.

Any and every child needs someone who can understand him just the way he is. No questions asked, no judgment delivered. The comfort of knowing that you have someone to bank upon no matter what goes wrong in the world gives the child the freedom to just float in the world of his imagination. Then the child can be himself – that is a child. Full of energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and yes Joy. And spreading these unabashedly around. But this needs special care – being there whenever he needs it, whenever he is scared, whenever he has a weird question to ask, whenever he feels alone. Many a time he will not come up and share his feelings and fears. These are the times when he needs someone around the most. Just a little sensitivity will do the trick. It is not rocket science, just good old “unconditional love”. There is no better feeling in this world than “knowing that you are loved”.

It is easy blame the parents for being too harsh on children, for being worried when they don’t perform well enough and getting angry. I don’t think I can put the blame entirely on them. It is just that they are bothered and worried about the future of the child. Having gone through the grinds of life and this mad world, they do have every reason to be bothered. Only the best stand out. Mediocrity has no place in this world, at least not an enviable one. Almost every parent has already gone through tough times, seen some of their dreams shattered. Life isn’t what we would like it to be. It’s not a perfect world and unfortunately for the child, the parents learn it the hard way. Everybody learns it the hard way.

When parents get mad at their children, it is their own fears coming to the fore. Having been through all the hardships, they do not want the same happening to their children. They want to secure a bright and successful career for their children. Hence they tend to push their children towards studies and sports – the surest way of a good life.

What they miss out is that in doing so they kind of ruin the childhood of the kid. Childhood is not price enough even for a lifetime of success. Childhood is innocence, beauty and joy. No one has the right to take that away. No one. Not even the parents.

In all fairness the intent is good. It’s just that the intent is manifested through anger and frustration but the fall out on the kid isn’t good. It can push him into a corner, make him rebellious and alone. And in the process take his imagination, freedom and creativity away. All the anger and pushing may (or might not) achieve what the parents intended, but what is lost is much more.

The idea then should not be to push them into it. Instead a better plan would be gradually prepare them for this world. Getting mad at not being the first in the class is hardly the way. Even the toppers have their share of failures. No one can escape failure. At best, we can be prepared to face it and most importantly stand up again.

Life is all about finding your passion and doing great at it. Once you have found your passion, the only thing that can stop you from being the best at it is your own attitude and laziness. Parents instead of pushing the children towards something (a career) should try and give the child all the creative freedom in the world and rather focus on imbibing the virtues and the attitudes which will see him excel in any which field he chooses. With the freedom that he is allowed, the child will someday soon realize what his true passion is. Then on, it’s all about how well you can go about pursuing your dreams. But you need to dream for yourself and then work to see them come true. The thing which makes sure you achieve what you dream is positive attitude, hard work and a happy mind. And we should not undermine the importance of a happy mind. Mind is much more receptive and creative when it’s happy.

Don’t really know. People somehow lose the child that is inside them in the wilderness of this world. If only they kept the child in them alive they might just be able to understand children better. And be happier…