Dreams do come true!

As a kid who grew up and just came to understanding things around him in the mid 80’s in India could not have been more influenced by anything as much as the the cricket explosion in the country. I was no different.

The ’83 world cup, the World Series in 85/86, the 2-0 test series victory in England in 1986 and the so near yet so far Reliance World Cup in 1987 were enough to want me to do nothing but be out there on the field and keep aspiring to become a cricketer. I have lived my life along these cricketers, in my head they were always there, we had conversations. I Read all sports section in the Gujarati and English newspapers, subscribed to the Sportstar occasionally even read the hindi magazine Cricket Samrat. From collecting crowns of Thums Up for getting flip books of a Sunil Gavaskar straight drive or a Vivian Richards pull shot or collecting wrappers of Big Fun the 25 paise chewing gum for Shrikant’s posters for me while growing up the staple diet was cricket and nothing else.

A first love as I always like to call it, I don’t claim to be a historian or a statistician or an expert but I claim to be a lover of the sport. Its a never ending love affair, with the Indian team’s performance becoming my mood driver.

In my boards in 10th India were touring New Zealand and my Mom was surprised when on the first day she heard me putting an alarm for 3.30, she couldn’t believe I was gonna study, but well I did study during the ad. breaks of that tour, only reason I got first class in 10th.

If the mid 80’s were inspiring for an Indian cricket fan, the 90’s were damning, the team that was set to take on the the cricketing world slackened, became tigers at home, lambs abroad, slowly a lot of people in this country started depending on just one guy to lift the mood of the country. The reason why Sachin became what he was is somewhere in this I would like to believe. India looked like they would become now a pretty combative a team in world cricket during the mid 80’s but like the nation itself its cricketers perhaps did not believe in it and so when kids like us were growing with high aspirations, loving only cricket and nothing else during the 90’s there was only one refuge the Sachin batting display among a lot of losses abroad, we would lose a test horribly and yet we would seek our happiness in that back foot punch off a 7 feet tall fast bowler through cover that our short master blaster would deliver time and again. Whilst some other batters and our spinners would put their hand up when we played in our own country abroad it was a decade of some pretty ordinary results.

It was here that the obsession in my head started to take shape more, increasingly I started to judge our batsmen on how they performed in countries like Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand at one point even performances in Zimbabwe mattered more than in India.

I can for one never get over the loss in Bridgetown in 1997 when India needed 120 to win in the 4th innings and fell short by 38, Sachin was skipper then and it seemed like it broke him by the year 2000 we lost at home to SA and Sachin resigned and it looked like it was all over, there was a point in life when you thought this love and mad obsession about the sport was all misplaced and you would better get on with life and the many other facets to it, cricket after all was just another stupid game and I should be doing more with my life than let the mood be influenced by what was happening on a field of play. In some ways my life reflected the state of Indian cricket in 1999 I passed out of college in third class, I could not pursue an MBA as I did not have any good grades to make me eligible for an entrance and my parents couldn’t afford a payment seat. I was to take up a job of a marketing executive selling computer courses with a salary that was lesser than the office boy who served tea to us and most of the income depended on how I performed abroad, I mean outside office and how many enrollments I brought in.

Things were bleak, college over, time to stand on your feet, you are in love, her dad discovers, you earn really less, India lose in India to SA and then even more painfully in Chennai to your arch rival Pakistan, your God had cried in the dressing room after that match, your idol was involved in match fixing and there was never a sadder moment in life as then. A dark abyss it seemed awaited.

But not for nothing I guess they have this old adage of it being darkest before dawn eh?

The new millennium brought new hope, a feisty Bengali came to lead the Indian team, a core group of some excellent batsmen gathered, Sachin discovered he was not alone, a wall from Bangalore was there to shield him, an artist from Hyderabad joined it, a dasher from Delhi reinforced that the Bengali had vision, hopes soared, a legendary spinner to back the batsmen, always one good quick around to keep us in the game and even without enough bowling things started to happen. A miracle was performed in Eden Gardens in 2001 when one of the greatest team ever to play test cricket was on a rampage and their fast steamrolling bulldozer was brought to a grinding halt by two men possessed, batting like a dream, a Sardar spinning the ball viciously earning himself the name of the “Turbanator”!

A landmark victory that brought new hope, belief and inspired you to dream again! It was followed by Headingley in 2002, Adelaide in 2003, Wanderers in 2006, Trent Bridge in 2007 and the heady feeling of revenge and righteousness after the 2008 Perth Test win, surely it was a memorable decade. Life at personal front also started to slowly improve, good breaks, good jobs, marriage, kid and eventually a business that started to find its feet. Somehow series victories in South Africa and Australia still eluded us but then you cannot have everything in life in just one decade can you?

When a railway employee donned the skippers hat, it was like now the time for world domination has come. It looked like he had all the resources and that a golden era was to begin, whilst we won a lot in limited overs cricket under him. Test success abroad eluded him, I for one cannot fathom how he managed to earn such a horrible record in Tests abroad, we surely were not that bad or were we? He eventually threw in the towel on another frustrating trip down under and that is when this Feistier than anyone in life I have ever seen Delhi boy came up to take up the reins of Indian cricket.

Since last year I had been waiting for this year, tours of SA, Eng and Aus beckoned, hope was in the air, perhaps a chance to settle matters once and for all, it was during this whole year I was slowly wondering in my head if I could feel like the West Indian fans felt during their two decade domination or like the Australian fans who didn’t know what it was to lose from the mid 90’s to a few years ago.

I am a hopeless optimist, I never quit hoping as far as the Indian cricket teams chances are concerned. SA happened, we played not too badly, but we somehow managed to mess up things and lost the series owing more to our own inability or inexperience in winning in alien conditions, we managed to screw something or the other, a strategy here a selection there. Come England and it looks like there never was an opportunity better than this to beat them in their own conditions and suddenly in a blink of an eye England lead the series 2-0. Like I said, hopeless optimist, when India turned the tables at 2-1 I was getting this silly feeling that we could come back. We couldn’t, it was not as bad as the 4-1 scoreline suggest but it was a loss.

In my hopeless optimist manners even before the England tour I had thought in my head that we will beat England in England and our crowning of the undisputed best team in the world home and abroad would happen in Australia and so I booked my tickets to Australia smartly planning to fly off the day after I hear the winning speech of Kohli at Sydney. This was a long leap of faith, forget travelling to Australia but India beating them there and me being there to see it. Life had changed from earning less than our office boy to dreaming of an Indian win in Australia. By the time England beat us 3-1 it started feeling like a bad idea, whilst the experience of watching matches and travelling around Australia would be fun, I feared I would be all grumpy if India lost the series.

I was praying India would not blow the series in the first two matches as I was to reach for the last two test matches.

As luck would have it, it read 1-1 when I reached there, Boxing day test match was not the exciting, racy, thrill a moment cricket match, but a match where I felt like the team was determined to not let itself down. Not trying to make a statement any more, they just seemed like they didn’t care about anything other than winning and were ready to get dirty in the mud if the need be. They grinded to a painful 200 odd runs on the first day, they tired out the bowlers, it was searingly hot, it took its toll, India won the Test, I was there.

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This kid has been a discovery like no one before him in our history, if he stay’s fit and healthy, Indian cricket will conquer many a land which they never could earlier!

In many ways this victory was poetic, after years and years of attempts at winning down under, some magnificent Test battles were won with magical performances at times, the only time we won the War here it was down to sheer determination and grit.

I don’t know if this will mark the era of dominance for our team from here on, but this little piece of history I witnessed will always stay with me. I will always brag and boast and say, when India beat Australia in Australia in a Test series for the first time, I was there to witness history.

Yes dreams do come true, they take their time but don’t stop dreaming for when they do come true, the happiness you will feel will be unlike anything else you can ever feel.

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This historic stand was there to record another piece of history, India’s first series win down under! 🙂

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The journey must go on…

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“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ― St. Augustine.

This has always been one of my most favourite quotes that I have ever read more so I just keep telling everyone about this, that has to be the essence of my life. I want to continue reading this never ending book. If I can keep moving about and keep discovering new places, stories, people, cuisines all the time I will be most satisfied. The restlessness that dawns upon me when I am not moving about for a long stretch of time has begun to wear me down at times. I have reached a space where I just cannot stay put and I must keep moving.

Yes, in this real world, you have to explain everyone why do you need to keep doing this? Wasn’t one vacation in 6 months enough? or a holiday once in 2 years pretty okay?? You are taking a trip every month now!! Hell, how does it matter? Whom am I bothering? Yet everyone around me, day and night, friend and relative, intentionally or unintentionally wants a justification. What I have learnt over a period of time is to not let it bother and keep justifying, keep going, keep moving and not let up!

So let another day come and let another trip be planned, let the gypsy in me be alive, let it keep wishing for more and more travel.

Pankhon ko hawa zara si lagne do…

It was on 1st May last year when after a meeting in office where I felt unreasonable firing was given to our Sales team by our as impractical boss as there can be, I went home and told my wife, I have had enough, I want to chuck this job, and today !! I was pissed off and although you should never take decisions when you are emotional and I wanted to do exactly that.

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She was probably stunned but didn’t show, she knew I didn’t like the job much, it was a stop gap job to move to Bharuch first and find another in a Bank perhaps, but things were not working out there. She listened and told me think it over and decide. I told her, getting a job in an Insurance company if things didnt work out independently was 1o mins job. I must take this chance. I will also do some content writing and somehow make it up. She told me if you really feel confident and are sure go ahead. She just had got permanent in her school job and promised full support if a crisis arose. Those were just the words I wanted to hear at that point. At most times in my life for all decisions and changes I made I have had a lovely companion who has always supported and stood by my decisions even the wrong ones 🙂 God bless her 🙂

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Since ours is a joint family next to be informed in line were my Mom and brothers and they all also thought it was upto me to decide and hence the resignation was written the same day and the notice period began !

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Luckily I was a Mutual Fund Advisor and my previous boss in Max New York Life had encouraged me to do the side business even though I was doing this job. I had got good business during the year. Even the impractical boss was an investor with me. Every colleague of mine was worried how can I survive on Mutual Fund selling. In 2011 there were 85000 Mutual Fund distributors in India of which only 14000 odd were active. Meaning only they did new business every month. The commissions in the mutual fund industry had dwindled and lots of distributors who now do business actually charge the customer for the service they provide.

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Unlike my job here I was not bound to sell just one product but had to actually use my brains to find out the best product. I was not tied to one company no longer did I have to squash my guilt of selling an inferior product well knowing that there were a lot of better options available in the market. When someone asks you what do you think is the best alternative I would blurt the truth and sales would not be concluded as my product had many superior products in the market. Insurance as an industry in India works on basis of getting investments, where as reality is one should never invest in Insurance. With that naked truth in my mind it was terribly difficult to sell insurance. I didn’t actually have to sell, get it sold by others but most of the times the others would put me in front of the client and when the client would look at me and ask is this the best I couldn’t help it. It was killing me.

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Eventually thanks to my wife I managed to chuck the job off and started my own firm. A few things I had decided to do not to sell products that give high commission as they are invariably not good for the investor. Hoping and praying that the low commission product selling would eventually do the customers good and they would refer me. Another very important and to many, including my wife, a strange decision was to not do any direct marketing. I decided I will not ask people to buy from me unless they seek my advice. In this market everyone is out to sell financial products and so much mis-selling has happened that a lot of consumers have completely lost faith and when anyone comes to sell anything to them direct they are most apprehensive. I used to work as a free lancer before I shifted to Indore so I had a client base earlier. The only bit of marketing I did was to sms people about the products available in the market from time to time and if anyone got interested and called that is when I was to get cracking.

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The most anxious moment of my life has perhaps now passed. Today one year down the line I am a lot more relaxed and assured of myself. Thankfully the investors have opened their wallets and so far so good. I now have enough time to look after the extension work going on at my house or be with my son to play cricket when he wants, or cook a new recipe I see on a cooking blog. I can now help at home whenever I want to and can take a break when I want to 🙂

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Most importantly I like my work now, for the first time in my life I don’t loathe at work. I go out to meet people drink tea with them, have lunch with them, talk about my travel or my blog and show some of them how to work on facebook and they invest with me. Many times I have no work and I just go out to the city to show my faces to all sorts of people and they suddenly remember they have so and so money lying which they would like to invest 🙂 Like Rocket Singh says always give your customers more than they expect. In a time when people are charging a fee and giving no service I don’t charge any fee and try my best to keep my investors happy 🙂 Their satisfaction has ensured the volume of business has gone up and the miniscule commission that the MF’s pay is sufficing. 🙂

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So far I have been working from home but I hope to rope in another guy as a partner and look forward to opening an office next year. Touchwood but this is slowly but surely starting to work out. Travel is now so much easier, trips are now happening at the frequency I love and looks like more and more trips beckon 😀 😀 😀 😀 I can take breaks impromptu and being a reasonably greedy guy is helping settle things in life for the first time. I know I shouldn’t be counting my chickens yet, this is only the beginning.

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This song has been an inspiration and I want to dedicate it to my wife who is vacationing in Pune. 🙂

Lets now sms her to read this post. I am sure a smile and a lot more beckons when I reach Pune to meet her tomorrow 🙂 It would not have happened without you sweetheart 🙂 ❤

snippets to continue.. ! I kinda like it that way !

Its quite intriguing how kids change their playing habits, for a while its something that they are obsessed with and then suddenly its something new that captures their fancy.

The latest obsession my son has with the toy doctor set is unbelievable… half of the day he has the stethoscope in his ears and is listening to all sorts of things investigating the refrigerator, the floor, the door the phone, his toy animals gee… !

If you give the slightest indication that you have some problem the doctor in the house will be breathing down your neck with solutions !!!!! 🙂 😀

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As I read more and more people suggesting Dhoni to play 5 bowlers or stick to 7 batsmen… I sort of smirk… they all dont get it do they… even Gavaskar’s, Shashtri’s and Bhogle’s too… the fact that differentiates Dhoni from the rest is the fact that he is his OWN man !

The media, former cricketers, crowd et all can go jump in the lake but Dhoni will stick with what he feels in his mind is best for his team.

A captain must not get swayed by emotions and judgements made by others and only follow things that he himself believes in as if something goes wrong he then has back up plans.

I still remember one of the best pieces of advice that Naseer Hussain considers he got was from Richie Benaud, a very astute skipper and thinker of the game. Benaud told him when he was appointed captain,

“Either do things your own way or dont do them at all !”

India must be glad even without that advice Dhoni comes straight from that school.

If you would like to read a bit more about captains Please visit the following link : https://hitchwriter.wordpress.com/2009/01/24/ace-skippers/

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These days the one song that is always on my lips is Daaaaaarling…. aankhon se aankhen chaar karne do…. !!!! I just love the frenzy the song kicks up… ! Lovely twisty song I say… ! 😀

I infact even liked the movie…. Apart from the darkness in the movie… I envied Priyanka’s life as Madamji … wouldnt it be great to have such estates and such wealth which leaves you with nothing to do and all you have to do is to think of JUST living life… Seeking pleasures and satisfaction… instead of thinking all the time about how to earn a living to live a life… 😛 😛 😛 😛

mE nO dAnCeR …

In walks the lil champ…

Mom : Hi !

Kid : Hey !!

Mom : how was you day ?

Kid : Good !

Mom : Good or very good ?

Kid : Very Good !!!

Mom : Why ? What happened ??

Kid : I was left out of the annual day dance Yay… !!

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The guy has totally taken mine & my biwi’s genes… he was thrilled that he had been removed from his school annual day dance… he finds it utterly silly to turn around and have hands on hips… he along with 5 other girls and boys were removed yesterday from the dance and the kid was just relieved !!!!

On inquiring today his teacher said… aiyoo… he just doesnt have a dancing bone in his body !!!!! :mrgreen:

I couldnt help chuckling when my wife narrated this incident to me !!!! 😆

Quanderies..

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 GUEST POST

 hema

Life at 31

 Age 4 -20: School, Graduation
Age 20-30: Working with dad (just 5 hrs a day) in our retail store
Age 30 – to now: Working as Design and Content Manager

 
What do I have today?

1. Zero bank balance
2. No work experience (actual, real kind of work)
3. No professional degree

 

I wonder who I am and what I stand for today. Was never very enthusiastic about going to school, college …actually did not like the education system, just did not fit in it. (nobody at home had a clue of it). And fully well know it is no reason for me to have not got a professional degree as many of my batch mates have done wonderfully well with loads of hard work and perseverance. I just was not motivated enough and unfortunately was not in that kind of an environment. The others who too did not get into profession and work around me were getting married and starting their new lives. I also went thru that stage of meeting families and eligible men with whom one would want to settle down but just did not connect with any. 

 
So today, I am neither out there capturing the world nor a wife/mother combo. It is so easy to blame parents, hurt people but I can’t do it, for its not me, me being the one who strongly believes that, only one person is responsible for ones life- the person himself.

 
Guys, all though the tone may sound all negative, like a weakling’s, a failed person, it isn’t. I am just taking the balance sheet of life  (at age 30!! funny, isn’t it??) to analyze and do what needs to be done next. Life, like always and as its nature is, did bring in a lot of other things. I got exposed to a very different way of existence or living one’s life, of which I remember contemplating even as a teenager. 

 
I accidentally bumped into a friend who took me over to a Yoga Center and from where there has been no turning back. I met people from different cultures, who were in different areas in their lives, people with their own stories and most of all this MAN who had chosen to drop off everything he had, to find out who he really IS. And who, in his journey did touch millions of lives.

 

Today if I have to jot down all that  I really truly know; not what I have read or heard from other people.
1. One can only do things; the results are not for us to decide.
2. The best things in life are the ones which did not work out, no matter how badly one wanted them when swallowed fully in them.
3. Life is simply generous, easy and mind blowing!
4. Being one with oneself is the highest respect a man can show towards life.
5. The present moment is the most powerful, potent thing.

 
Other timeless truths which I’ve heard from enlightened  gurus, read in scriptures of which I have no real experience, but have had a taste are:
1. Nothing from ‘outside’ can make one happy.
2. The world is merely one’s own projection.
3. ‘i’ is only an illusion. ‘I’ is the reality, the truth.
4.  A human birth’s only purpose is realizing one’s true nature.

 
 
Now today at 31, am at crossroads as to what I should do?
a. Go back to school, get a professional degree (earn moolah to fulfill ones material goals, Also is one way of giving back to society)
b. As truth and happiness cannot be found outside, stay put.
c. Surrender, give into life, and take each day as it comes (as the result is not in our hands).
d. Pursue the truth as that’s the purpose of life.

 


As I am writing the above four lines I realize that none of the above are or need to be exclusive. Having done this exercise, I now know I need to go to school, get a professional degree, get into something intensive and experience that life for a while…
 
Will come up with another one like this in a year!
Adios

 

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A friend who follows my blog very closely once after seeing me write wrote the above piece and sent it to me on email… I have been trying to get her to start a blog but she wont… this was written last year in September…

so I guess its time for another… what do you say guys… lets have ur reactions… 🙂 🙂