C for Cricket

DSC_0120The most compelling of all sports, without any trace of doubt if you ask me. Is there any other sport apart from Test Cricket that presents as much of a test of character, resourcefulness, stamina, perseverance and skill all together in one game?! I would like to know if there is another sport like this or better than this with all the diversity this sport offers.

 

Give a few kids a bat and a ball and watch them go, its here, most naturally you will see how captivating and likable the game is. Belting the ball as hard as you can, foxing the guy trying to belt the ball whilst flicking the ball to him or running like made watching skywards trying to grab the ball with open palms, the fun is evident.

 

It is apt that I have to be writing this after yesterday’s test match at Lords, after a rather long season of limited overs cricket it was back to the game’s main version, the main course or the real deal, whatever you want to call it. Just fascinating was the game that just ended. A really dead, low kind of pitch and you might have thought, okay this might just be a drawn match, but, if cricket does not throw a surprise, who will?

 

A 42 year old veteran, who many thought should be retired came out and scored a century, after reaching his century did some 15 push ups, an underdog team that is always found to be unorganised actually managed to trip a far more pedigreed opposition. At all times you thought the comeback was inevitable, however, inspired by Misbah, his team mates won the match in 4 days and symbolically at the end of it indulged in a push up show to prove that they had a lot left in them even after 4 days of pressure cricket.

 

Test cricket has so much drama that it woos me, there are so many plots and subplots and so many characters who are involved at so many different times that it fascinates, a slip catch being bobbed up by one and being grabbed by another, a short leg fielder ducking and getting crouched every time a batsman goes for a powerful shot, the leaping wicket keeper that jumps to collect a ball above his head delivered by an angry fast bowler, a batsman lured out by a spinner and beaten in the air, the thumping straight drive from between a fast bowlers legs, oh there is just so much to love about this sport.

 

Like any good book, Test cricket needs to be entered with a bit of patience if you are not a lover already, read two three chapters of a book and you cant stop, similarly, stay for a couple of sessions, watching, analysing, absorbing and discussing Test cricket and you will be smitten I promise!

 

You might say Test cricket is an ancient form, stretched over 5 days in this fast moving life of the twenty first century, who has the time, but trust me for lovers of this form of sport there is nothing that even comes close. 🙂

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Road trips

Travel was a bug that had bit me probably whilst I was a very small kid, however, the effect of that bug started showing its true colours pretty late in life. Earlier the penchant to travel was to be fulfilled only with fantasies or books, finally last few years it is starting to become a bit of a reality. I learnt driving also pretty late, infact 3 years back when I bought a car I didn’t even know properly how to drive. Thankfully as my wife says to me I have taken to it like a fish takes to water!

 

It was always ingrained in my brains that I want to drive my car to all remote corners of this world, more so to the Himalayas, stopping where I liked, taking in all the sights, photographing any peak I found pretty or screeching my brakes at the sight of an unknown bird! I did want to do it and no other driver could tolerate the number of breaks I keep taking to click a pic or to buy some fruit being sold or take a piss or smoke when I found a pretty view which had to be soaked in.

 

The first trip to the Himalaya’s was quite tentative with every loved one giving me loads of advice to be careful as they all wanted me to go and come back safe to this year, my third road trip to the Himalaya’s all self driven I have come a long way.

 

The thing about road trips are, they are most comfortable, you can plan your schedules without any other criteria but your own comfort, you decide if you want to drive 400 kms a day or 900, if you want to drive in the night or day, if you want to suddenly change your destination you can, impromptu decisions infact make them even better I say.

 

Selecting a place to eat is a major event for me on Road Trips, tips from friends, internet or simply places that look attractive to me all kind of fill up the activity chart along with driving all day. In the Himalaya’s stopping at a random Dhaba for tea that has a splendid view is something I really heart. Talking to folks who are amazed that you have driven all the way from Gujarat kinda swells my small ego like anything. I feel proud almost! 🙂 Suddenly sighting someone selling some berries or someone pasting fruits with salt and masala and you can bet I will be stopping around to pick up something.

 

Watching how the topography changes as you keep changing states and regions is quite amazing, how when you are about to reach a Tiger reserve the forests start swelling and how the population starts to dwindle is quite dramatic. In the Himalayas when you are driving you many times wonder how some of the most steep and remote mountains have a house or two on them, wonder how do people select these places. Wonder how they manage their day to day resources living at such remote locations but then I guess many people prefer a good view, silence and peace to most other things in life! 🙂

 

As far as safety is concerned, what I have learned from my little experience of driving around Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, UP, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal, Goa& Karnataka is that most of the places are pretty much safe. We generally try not to drive a lot in the night, trying our best to reach our destinations before dark on most occasions. If you are just a tad careful and don’t be rash, frankly there are not so many terrors as people would have you believe on the road. Generally people drive safe and all want to live so don’t worry, be careful you don’t bump into anyone, most of the other drivers don’t want to bump into you as well. The fact that I am on a holiday kind of makes my driving a little more patient than say when I am driving for work!

 

As I make a road trip after another, I keep falling in love, not so much with driving but with the idea of moving about all the time, going to new places and navigating my own way.

 

Here is a picture of me whilst on my way to Jauljibi from Munsiyari where we crossed a bridge into Nepal. This place thrilled me, what a wonderful place to stop aint it?! You stop your car on a hot day, open the door and walk two days and you are into a chilling waterfall. How cool is that!? These places do exist in India and many a times there are so many pretty places you encounter on the road which are not mentioned on any travel site or included in any travel package.

 

So here’s to more road trips in future! 🙂

 

 

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Oh Parvati!

A love story yet again begins….

 

Finally, after hearing about you so many times, from so many people, watching your pictures on the internet, jealously liking friends pictures posted on FB in your lap, reading the many stories about you, wondering if all of those were real, you do have some fantastic stories told about you, I must tell you that, eventually we had to meet and what an embrace you had in store for me! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Many a tales I have heard about you have amazed me, mystified me, geeked me up, glorified you, made you into a maze that I was sure I could never find my way out of. As the first fling happened, I must confess you had me at the first sight, there could be doubts in your mind, but let me quell them, I have fallen for you, absolutely, deeply and forever. The early misty spring morning when I first laid my eyes on you, I was transfixed, all the tiredness of not sleeping properly for two nights disappeared in an instant. The pristine pine trees, the shining peaks, the verdant valleys, the grating blue magpie all seemed to be enticing me into this wonderful world of yours.

 

For long I had heard many tales of small dwellings on stiff slopes in remote areas, about the warmth of people in these villages, that people here didn’t travel to visit mall roads but to discover new, small villages and then living with the villagers. This appealed, appealed a lot really, I always wanted to be one of the many among your lap, wanting to see you from up close like the cherished few of your own do, wake up to the first light and keep gazing till the last star disappeared and yes, for a few days I managed to do so!

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I must confess, whilst all describe you to be a mystical, unbelievable tale, which invoke the words like, really?, couldn’t be!, seriously!!!!, I must confess I was taken it by the simple acceptance of truth that exists in your lap more than anything. No pretense, the simplicity of the locals, the laid back, happy air the whole place has got is surreal.

 

I want to walk on every single trail there is, lie down in every meadow you nurture, gaze whilst gaping at all of your valleys, soak up the sun whilst I eye the snow clad peaks, graze along the Gaddi’s, get lost in you forever if thats possible.

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Until we meet again, I am thankful I atleast have some pictures and memories of you to last till I can come again to see you!

 

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.

Beloved Blue Mountains!

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I guess we have all read the mountains being described as blue somewhere or the other and frankly till a long time in my life I used to think its only poetic and that no such thing ever existed, that it was just a figment of imagination of some writers and they probably felt mountains being described as brown or green or black wouldn’t make them that exotic and wouldn’t bring that many people to the mountains and hence they used the adage “Blue Mountains”

Over the last few years I have been fortunate enough to be able to make a regular trip to the Himalaya’s and have been lucky enough to witness some vast mountain ranges, I have actually seen and realised that Blue Mountains exist! 🙂

There is something about these slopes on the surface of the earth, these high rising mountains lining up one after the other that just amazes me. Especially when you can find a spot to sit and actually gaze at the sheer enormity of the place they call The Himalaya’s you should consider yourself truly blessed to be able to absorb all this by your eyes. The above picture was taken when we were actually leaving the Himalayas and returning to the plains, I have always been enchanted by the mountains and will probably never ever be able to see the Himalaya’s enough in this life time and hence am always kind of sombre when leaving the mountains.

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Looking at the rear view or the side view mirror and realising and almost bemoaning the fact that I have to leave the mountains almost makes me sad, I sometimes get lost in the gazing and that it is almost fatal on a road trip! Thankfully the mountains have always been kind to me and always ensured and sent me back safely. I long already having come back just 10 days before to go back. I surely must have been somewhere there in the mountains in my last life, if there was any such thing!

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 🙂 ❤

my favourites

 

Look I have no work and no one to chat to… so I just am posting a few random videos I love… !!

since morning I have been watching videos… !!

I am sure most of you would have seen this video… its one of the most beautiful true stories… and the way Celine sings in the back ground makes it so so so so much more emotional… !!!!

 

 

This is pure love and bliss !!

 

and people this is a 2.28 minute long video.. so dont fear the full length phrase written up there.. !

His & Hers…

Husband’s and wive’s share a strange relationship…

Here are a few simple 55’ers… to just throw some light on it… (all are fictional and any relation to any human being is only co-incidental )

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” Why dont you appreciate how I look ? ”

” But Sweetheart I just did !! “

” Only when I asked u “

” But that doesnt change anything does it ? “

” It means your appreciation is artificial only to make me happy ”

” But sweetheart even before I would appreciate you asked ”

” Go to hell, I am not talking to you ! “

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Amazingly wive’s have no patience… they ask too soon nevertheless you only appreciate and genuinely at that and still they can get angry on you… !!!! Obviously criticising is not an option !!

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” Mom called today.. “

” hmm..” (doesnt bother, watching IPL)

” She won full house in the kitty.. “

” hmm.. ”

” Listen, My mom called today.. “

” hmm.. ”

” She and my dad are coming to our house next week..”

” What ? Why ? “

” No they aren’t coming… just wanted to draw your attention from my SOUTEN… Cricket !! ”

She storms off…

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Pathan has just whacked 2 sixes of 2 balls… the match is turning on its head… suddenly hearing the in-laws coming turns the hubby’s head… !!!

Also blame this IPL…. how unfair it is to keep non stop matches for 45 days !!! gee… tough times at home…

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” Hey ”

” hmph ”

” Hey come here ”

” hmph ”

” come on… dont be so cruel… come here ”

” hmph ”

” uffo… Sorry ”

” hmph ”

” Holding my ears.. ”

” hmph ”

” Doing situps…  please forgive me… ”

” hmph ”

” Sorry ”

” hmph ”

” Hey did u check that novel I brought today for you ?? ”

” which one ? ”

” here – “ Indian Summers -John Wright

Fling….. miss…. crash… he he he….

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Some times guys stretch the lines…. but it can get deadly….  Not always do you escape…. But they dont learn things easily…

for those non cricketing types, Indian Summers is a book by former India coach.. John Wright about his experiences with Indian team in India… Btw its a really good book to read ! ( had to tell you this )

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Morning…

” hmph ”

” hmph ”

” Oh wow, you still made my coffee, I thought I would have to get it myself. See you love me too much, you can pretend but never hate me !! ”

” hmph ”

” geee….. ur so cruel… you put salt in the coffee !!!!! arghh…. ”

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Most wive’s love their husband’s too much, way too much then they deserve… most husbands know it… and try and utilise it to their advantage unfairly… from time to time they stretch their limits and the consequence can be severe, the salt could have been nething……. just think !

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Back from office with flowers in hand ..

” Here are your favourite rajnigandha’s !! ”

” Wow… ”  ( smells them and is pleased as punch )

” Whats for dinner ? ”

” Your favourite Chicken Biryani.. ”

” Wow… but HOW, your rule of no Chicken in house ?? ”

” Rules are meant to be broken, arent they ?? “

” Awww…. “

{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}

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and life  goes on…