Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yet another round of disappointment!

So, the Men in Blue are out of the WorldCup. As a die-hard fan of Indian cricket, am terribly disappointed not because we lost but the manner in which we lost - without any fight. The immediate fallback - we have started pointing fingers at people who were responsible for this massive "disaster", with calls already to axe some senior players, the coach,the captain with a few even suggesting that there should be a complete revamp of the cricketing system in India.

This Indian team definitely are capable of beating the best on their day, but that day seems to appear only once in a blue moon. It is consistency that this team lacks, especially the instinct to deliver the knock out punch, something which the Australians have shown time and again. In this context, Sunil Gavaskar's outbursts against Ponting's team just before the World Cup began make interesting reading. Apparently, Sunny wasnt happy with the "attitude" of the Australians on the field. But only if our team had displayed one-fourth of what the Aussies display on field, we could have advanced atleast to the second stage of the most coveted cricket tournament. Inspite of their "sledging", the Aussies display the sort of aggression that can intimidate any opposition and raise their game to great heights - evident form the string of consecutive 300 plus scores that they have made in their last few matches after the drubbing that they received from England and Newzealand. Alas! the much famed Indian line up couldnt even muster a paltry 200 againt a second string side like Bangladesh.

Cricket in India is so much hyped up for all the wrong reasons and the cricketers are seen as iconic heroes. Commercialisation has taken over the game in a big way.The media for their part play into the poeples' minds by blowing up each and every activity of the cricketers. And even before the world cup started, the team was expected to come back with nothing less than the CUP itself. Not to sideline the clever tactics used by the various brands using cricketers to promote their own interests. People at the end of it all come to embrace their cricketing heroes as demi-gods and expect them to win hands down.

I was aghast seeing the BCCI's response to the team's failure that "We dint have luck ". Do we really need luck to beat Bangladesh? Other arguments like "too much pressure" didnt seem valid either. Again, pressure to beat Bangladesh? The point is the team didnt quite have the mental strength when it ought to nor the drive to play. How could they when their kitties are already full?

So where does this head now?
Firstly, we should stop this business of expecting our team to win each and every match. Lets face it. Though our cricketers are talented, there is something extra that's required when you perform overseas to win matches and sadly only rarely have our men displayed it.Our heroes come a cropper in foreign lands. They seem more contented to do fancy advertisements and filling up their pockets than willing to play for their country. Though harsh to say, thats the grim reality!

Hope this World cup taught some valuble lessons to the administrators of the sport. Let performing players be on team and non performers be asked to prove themselves. Its high time the senior players make way for youngsters in one-dayers and confine themselves to test cricket. Players who give away runs due to sloppy fielding should be penalised.

All said, the fan of cricket that I am, I wouldnt expect anything less than a victory in India's next outing in the one dayers. All this talk of the world cup debacle would soon get lost in the minds of the fans and they would start to look out for the next tournament with the expectations of an Indian victory. Well, we cant blame them.After all, thats what every fan expects!

An Alumnus (effectively) speaks!

“Forty minutes of non-stop music, your favourite hits”, the FM station beamed. A typical morning, as I trudged away to my office with earphones fixated, my lone companion through the one hour routine journey.
“It’s new. It’s different”.

The last words touched upon me again. “It’s different”. Of course, it’s new and different as I walk towards a whole new way of life in stark contrast to the one I spent the last 1278 days. The thoughts took me back down the memory lane, the road that I had tread upon and marched along throughout the last three and a half years. My alma mater, BITS, Pilani, has been an astonishing place not alone in terms of its location, in the remote interiors of the Thar, radiating greenery all around, or the academia that it offered, but more so for the way it moulded talented youngsters through an array of co-curricular activities which I doubt if it exists in any other institution of its class. The work that the BITSians put through to make their own student cultural and academic activities a great success draws no parallel.
And I have been having one such passionate affair, an association with ‘Ragamalika’, Raag, as we call it and it still continues. Interest in fine arts has eluded me right from my childhood, though I can boast of some carnatic tutelage during my early school days. It never interested me the way it should have. The tables turned around once I joined this wonderful club in my very first semester in BITS. A plethora of events, solely organized by a group of enthusiastic, dedicated, generously talented people took me by surprise. From the traditional solo concerts in ET/2219 to huge dance concerts tuned to live orchestra in the audi, the whole-hearted effort of the students was spell bounding. The amount of practice that was put into each and every concert and the outcome of the events makes the club one of the most respected in BITS and the various faculty people who attend our concerts stand testimony to the fact. Sangamam, its organization, stands out as an exemplary student’s initiative to promote classical music and dance, again, a unique feature of Raag’s activities.

Ohh..ya! You must have browsed through all these activities of Raag in the foreword. So, what’s so special about this club, you may ask. Every person in a club/department in BITS claims his’ to be the best. Well, I am no different. Raag has been more than a mere club to me. For one thing, it changed me from a ‘what’s so great about carnatic music’ attitude to ‘there can be nothing better than this!’, a change which has made me realize the value of the art which for so long I had failed to even appreciate and that made me even more remorseful for wasting the chances to learn that I had during my initial years.
The people with whom I was lucky enough to interact, the knowledge and the talent that they exuded cannot be compared to any kind of academic encounters with the intellectuals that I have had. The club was much more than merely a group of individuals working together. Inside the club, you could experience the warmth and love
in abundance. A perfect set of companions to share the moments of the day, to hang out, to learn and to befriend with. We have had much fun and it would make a long list if I were to spell them out here.
There are a few things in life which one feels deeply grateful to and would want to hold close to the heart. Raag stands at the pinnacle of all those in my list. It’s been a revelation to me. T
And as I realize I miss those now and probably wont get a chance again, it makes me look back and cherish all the days I spent there in the little Raag room – probably the smallest room allotted for any club by the institute, to contain a group of the most large hearted people. But we didn’t mind. We could all fit in there no matter what!

It’s not even been more than two months since I passed out, tagged now as an
“Off campus guy”, but the difference is lucid. “I miss being there” would be connotation. But I do keep myself abreast of what is going on in campus through blogs, mails and phone calls whatever the mode of communication might be. I don’t want to miss out on all the enthu just because I am some 1500 miles away. It still rules the heart…

“All India Radio. 7.15 PM. Vocal recital by Priya sisters. Ragam – Shanmugapriya. Composer – Thyagaraja…..” the station aired. I smile to myself. Atleast I have got myself this…