This is the Indian cricket team I can relate too!!

I have a confession to make. Few months ago I said that this generation would not understand the plight of an Indian cricket fan in the 90s and late 2000s . I am here to wholeheartedly apologize and accept that I was wrong. I am convinced that after seeing the recent NZ tour and the Asia cup, this generation exactly knows how I felt back in the 90s (I can’t wipe the ironical smile off my face while typing this)

India Vs Nz 2014

I guess it was all getting bit boring.. Dhoni taking India safely to victory.. No more heartaches.. no more losing close matches…no more cursing hopeless players. I am not sure about you but I had stopped worrying about the Indian team ( read as stopped being a fan anymore). I was just not able to relate to the Indian team for past few years. But I must admit –  it feels good to experience the pain, agony, frustration all over again. I think I can be an Indian cricket fan again as this is the India cricket team I always knew !!

Lets do a quick test and you tell me if you agree

Did this team raise expectations and then disappointed? 

Yes !! The 2nd test in NZ .. guess I need not say anything more

Does this team have characters which can frustrate any fan (or captain) ?

Yes !! Case in point Ishant Sharma .. enough said

Has this team perfected the art of losing close matches?

Yes !! Asia cup.. If the Sri Lanka loss did not convince you then the Pakistan one will..

Is this team over dependent on 1 single player?

May be .. Virat Kohli seems to be the new Tendulkar (oh sorry I guess it is Dhoni..but whatever)

Does this team lose to lower rank test teams abroad (read as NZ)

Yes .. oh yes !!

Does this team lose close matches to Pakistan (apart from world cup)


Does this team have a lot of overrated players?

Yes.. Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Jadeja… Take your pick !!

As a fan, do you still feel that this team can win something some day ?

Yes .. They almost made me stay awake at night for the NZ 2nd test

May be this is the lull before the storm. May be this is just a phase ( in the 90s it wasn’t) and just may be I would not have to write a post like this again. Till then, I might just become a fan of India cricket again cause this is the team I always knew !!

Surendra Phatak

An Indian cricket fan from the 90s

Tale of 2 mavericks – Pietersen and Sehwag

Wikipedia defines the word as – ‘an unorthodox or independent-minded person’. Assuming that this is correct, I am sure these two characters are the very definition of the word ‘maverick’.

I am sure there is enough written about Pietersen in past few days but if you need any proof that Sehwag is in the same category then just read this gem of a post by sidvee

Tale of 2 mavericks – Pietersen and Sehwag

Image courtesy – Hindustan Times


Here are few other things which are common about these 2 individuals

  • Both have given cricket fans memories which sometimes defy logic
  • Fans will always pay to watch these 2 gentlemen play
  • Both are match winners on their day
  • Both are capable of the audacious
  • Both ironically would be retired from the game they love prematurely

For all that is similar between these 2, there is 1 big difference that will dictate how history will remember them and the difference is ironically that they are both mavericks..

Let me explain. I believe that each one of us is a maverick in their own way. Some of us eat crazy, some work out crazy , some read crazy and I have seen enough drive crazy.. So being maverick is nothing special or even unique. It’s how and where of it that makes it special. This is exactly where our two leading characters of this post differ..

The funny thing about Sehwag is that he is maverick only on cricket field. As an Indian cricket fan, Sehwag has not caused me any heartache with his off field antiques. He has not texted anything to the opposing team. Has never given any statements against any of his team mates. Has never walked out on his team. Now remove the ‘never’ part and you get Pietersen !!The problem with Pietersen is that he is compulsive about being maverick !! In personal life or professional , he just cannot help it and thank god for Indian cricket team that Sehwag can..

Pietersen’s retirement might be one of the greatest tragedies of modern sport but the real tragedy is that no one is crying !! The real tragedy is that history will remember Pietersen with too many buts and ifs . His genius will always be cursed and his performances will always be scarred. Worse is that history will read as  – ‘English cricket is better without Pietersen’. Whatever your views about Pietersen are, that is just not true !!

It isn’t that Sehwag is the player that he once was or he is not on the brink of retirement; but as and when he retires, it will be for cricketing reasons and not because he cannot be integrated in the team or any other stupidity like that. For the sake of all Indian cricket fans, Sehwag will be remembered without all the ifs/ buts or regrets !!

To think of it, that is the problem with a lot of us … We are compulsive and most of the times we just cannot help it !! Those unlucky among us end up being  Pietersen and for the rest , we can hope of being the maverick that Sehwag was !!

The Branded God !!

English: Lalbaugcha Raja on 7th Day in 2011

English: Lalbaugcha Raja on 7th Day in 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For past few days I have been seeing a new trend – ‘The branded god’. It seems that visiting or praying a normal ganpati is not enough these days. People are more happy / satisfied when they are visiting branded ganpatis. If you are looking for an example then you need not look any further than ‘ Lalbaugcha Raja‘. People seem to be happy/ elated/ feeling blessed cause they waited few hours in queue and got to see the ‘Lalbagcha Raja’. That for me is the concept of ‘ Branded God’.

Let me explain. Like a phone , ganpati seems to be a generic product and nobody seems to be excited for just any ‘ganpati’; whereas ‘Lalbagucha Raja’ seems to be a premium brand like ‘Iphone’ – The only other thing that people are happy to queue !! Fair enough I guess. Branding does that to people. A brand is designed to give people a perception that one product is better than other product. Having said that, When it comes to God I find the concept fundamentally flawed. Let me explain why.

A brand is a name, sign, image or anything else that allows you to differentiate from competitor products. ‘Iphone’  as a brand differentiates the image/ perception of a phone from other phones; so are we saying that we have created these God brands to differentiate from other Gods? seriously? That just doesn’t feel right, atleast not to me !! Are we saying that there is competition between gods? Are we saying we are customers in the ‘God Market’ who are going to be brand conscious

ganpati or god in general is the last place where we should be branding. I am sure that any ganpati however small or big is the same God. I am sure all of us agree but then why are we placing a premium on one particular ganpati? Are we really going there for the right purposes or are we just getting on the brand wagon? It seems just like ‘Iphone 5C’, ‘Lalbagcha Raja’ is the next must have!! The similarities are very very obvious. Everyone wants it, everyone is happy queuing for it, everyone is celebrating because they got it !! You can almost compare the photographs of people with brand new iphones with people who have just visited ‘Lalbagcha Raja’!!

I leave it to all of you to decide but for me this is just not right. Not for the us and definitely not for ‘Ganpati’ !!


Sept 2013


Paintball, जलियावाला बाग़ and me !!

Warrior Adventure Quest

There was a blast and I am sure there was tear gas. There was crossfire and we were trapped inside a single structure on the field. We tried to surrender but they just kept shooting at us. They just did not stop. It seemed as if they were intent on finishing us at that very moment. Many loved ones were hurt. My wife was shot and so were my friends. I was shot too. Looked like this all will only end with our lives but then came a voice – ‘Game Over’ and it all stopped but my mind didn’t. There are times when history, present and future dawns upon us at the same time. That time for me came last Sunday during a paintball outing.

‘Now I know what people in जलियावाला बाग़ must have felt’ – said my wife. For those who are not familiar with the Indian freedom struggle, this was an incident where 100s of innocent people were trapped and shot mercilessly by Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer in Amritsar, Punjab on 13th April 1919. The funny thing about history is that we need the present to learn from it . Guess this was our present. We needed to feel helpless, trapped and almost dead to appreciate plight of people who went through hell to get us the freedom that we value little.

‘This was traumatic. I am never doing this again’ – said another friend. I agreed but at the same time my thoughts went to all the soldiers who must be going through the same experience to preserve the freedom that we value little. I was not keen on doing this again but I had to spare a thought for the armed forces who willingly walk into these scenarios everyday for people like me.

‘Hey you are not supposed to shoot from close range’ – said a friend whom I shot. She was right, I was not supposed to. It was the war that made me. I lost of bit of me in that battlefield and was ready to break the rules to win. I lost my conscience and was reacting with my animal instincts. The only thing that mattered was winning and survival. This was the point when future dawned upon me. We cannot have a future that is only about winning and survival. We will not have a future if it’s based on just these 2 things !!


Margaret Thatcher, Democracy and India

English: Margaret Thatcher, former UK PM. Fran...

I admit that I do not know as much as I should about Lady Thatcher. I would also admit that 3 years in UK do not qualify me to have an informed opinion about the politics here. That being said, I have witnessed something remarkable in past few days which has given me a great appreciation of the great democracy that UK is.

After Lady Thatcher passed away, there were 2 diametrically opposite reactions which were expressed publicly with equal intensity. Let me rephrase – both the sets of reactions were allowed to be expressed publicly. There was no censorship of any sorts which was great to see. There were no stones thrown at people who were organizing parties to celebrate Lady Thatcher’s death and people who praised her were subjected to no ridicule. For me this was a great advert for sanctity of freedom of speech and a great example for how democracy should be practiced.

Imagine the same situation happening in India. Would we spare anyone who is having a party to celebrate the death of one of our idols? I bet the answer is no. I am sure that person will be beaten or the least his property would be vandalized. There would be political parties ransacking his/ her house or painting the ‘culprits’ faces in black.

When I compare the Indian scenario with the event in UK for past few days, I almost feel embarrassed. Right from criticizing religion to criticizing politicians, everything is censored – some legally and some not so legally. You are likely to face public wrath (physically), if you so much whisper an idea which is against the majority. This censorship is not just limited to speech but has also affected other areas of our lives. We are now arresting people for expressing opinions on social media!! As a society we have become so intolerant that we cannot exist in a world which is not conforming to our view of it.

We take pride in running the largest democracy in the word but we have almost given up on freedom of expression in almost all it’s forms. What matters is just the majority opinion as that is what wins elections and that for me defeats the very purpose of being a democratic country. To sum it all up, I am going to leave you with few lines from one of my favorite movies – ‘The American President’. As someone who has left the country for more than 3 years, my opinion might not count for much but hope that it is allowed to exist.

‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.’ You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, and celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.’

You, me and the classmate!

Another attempt at a short story

Title – You, me and the classmate!

‘Who the hell is he and what the hell is he talking about? ’ asked a fellow student sitting next to her
‘No clue!’ She answered… She actually did not have any clue!!
How the hell she was supposed to know? This was just the first day both of them were in that classroom. So she just said ‘No Clue!’

‘How the hell do you tolerate him?’ asked one of her classmates.
‘No Clue!’ she answered. She actually did not have a clue. It was just few days since she started knowing him as a fellow student. He kept reminding her of someone from her past. May be that kept her from giving up on him. But for all said and done, she really did not have any clue. So again she just said – ‘No Clue’

‘Hey, he is actually a nice person once you get to know him…’ someone said after one semester of college.
‘May be…’ She said. That’s all she could say. She herself was not sure if she still knew him well. Everyday there were surprises; some pleasant and some not so pleasant!! So she just said ‘May be…’

‘He is a great friend to have… Guess you were the only one who knew the real him’ said one of their common friends. ‘Initially we were really convinced that you were out of your mind to be friends him’ – That friend continued

She smiled….. She could not say what she really wanted to say but if she had this is what it would be

‘That’s true! Who in their right mind decides to attend college with their husband as their classmate. That too after just 1 and half year of marriage!! I always knew that great friend you talked about and I am just getting to know that classmate of yours!!’

Feb 2013

The Apology

An attempt at short story writing..Title – The Apology

He offered her husband his own milk sachet… He was just trying to make amends for his earlier behaviour… But she was not impressed.

Her husband was smiling… He was surprised at this whole thing. He was not sure if the person offering him the sachet was the same one who accused him of being a thief just few minutes back…

Guess somewhere inside, he was also smiling. He was not able reconcile with his conscience. He had just accused a man of stealing his passport and now he was trying to apologize by offering the man his milk sachet…

She was just furious… Not just with him but also with her husband… For her, he was rude and her husband was just too nice… Life as such had not been fair to her… She had stopped believing in the goodness that life had to offer. She just wanted to set the records straight but somehow the sachet had stopped her from doing that.

Her husband was still smiling. He was somehow able to see the irony of it all. Life has not been very easy on him too. Not just today, when someone accused him of a thief but throughout past few months. Life gave him nothing much to work with and now life was offering him a milk sachet. Somehow the milk sachet meant a lot to him.

‘This milk sachet seems to be life’s way of apologizing to both of us’ he said to his wife. ‘We have to accept the apology and move on’…

Just as they were about to get off the plane, he said to both of them – ‘ I am sorry … really sorry … Life lately has just been crazy for me… Sorry for taking it out on you two’

Both of them just smiled and just said – ‘ Trust us, we understand. Apology accepted!!’

Feb 2013

Shivaji – The Entrepreneur, Dreamer and Visionary !!

Shivaji – The Entrepreneur, Dreamer and Visionary !!

If Shivaji ever wanted to have a social media profile, this is how I will describe him. That is what Shivaji always meant to me – Entrepreneur, Dreamer and Visionary !! For me, no one else embodied the spirit of entrepreneurship as Shivaji did. No one ever had a vision like Shivaji did and No one else dreamed the way Shivaji did. 

You must be reading this and thinking that this is just the marathi manoos (a person from the lands that Shivaji rules) speaking. Trust me, that is not the case. As a marathi manoos , I might have heard more stories of Shivaji but that has no or little impact on how I feel about the Man.

For all those who do not know much about Shivaji , just reading this wikipedia entry would be sufficient to put this post in context. I am actually going to start by borrowing few sentences from the link

” founder of the Maratha Empire, which lasted until 1818, and at its peak covered much of the Indian subcontinent.”

” Created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital, and was crowned chhatrapati (“paramount sovereign”) of the Marathas in 1674.”

”  From a small contingent of 2,000 soldiers inherited from his father, Shivaji created a force of 100,000 soldiers; he built and restored strategically located forts both inland and coastal to safeguard his territory.”

I guess some more context and you will start appreciating the sentences above.

” Shivaji’s father Shahaji Bhosale was the leader of a band of mercenaries that serviced the Deccan Sultanates

” Around 1645-6, the teenage Shivaji first expressed his concept for Hindavi swarajya “

Imagine a boy, who’s family served the rulers of the land for several decades. This boy had the vision, entrepreneurship to dream about a sovereign state for his fellow countrymen at the a very young age. What he dreamed of, was not easy. It was definitely not straightforward and it was all but simple. Today we worship entrepreneurs who think of starting companies which go on to make millions of dollars. Here was a man who’s idea of entrepreneurship was a sovereign state for his fellow countrymen. In this day and age , we adore innovation. For me Shivaji’s idea of a sovereign state was as innovative in those times as it could have been. He  was ahead of times and his execution was beyond belief.

We pitch ideas to venture capitalists and hope that we get their money to play with. Shivaji pitched his idea of a sovereign state in front of his mother, teachers and friends. The only thing he was asking for in return was trust and commitment. He was the ultimate dreamer. He dreamed of a country for his people when there was nothing to support his dreams.

He was also a great visionary and a leader by example. At that very young age, he pitched his idea not just to his mother, teachers and friends but also to people at large. He was able to get them to buyin to his vision of a sovereign state and that is where he was so successful.

He must have been great at execution and making maximum use of the resources at his disposal. Imagine having just 2000 numbers in his army and taking on the might of the Mughal empire. He ended up with 100000 and his own empire which covered most of the Indian subcontinent at it’s peak. If ever there was a story to be compared with ‘David and Goliath’ this was it. Do not even get me started about his strategic acumen. He literally established the concept of guerrilla warfare in his battles and used every trick in the today’s strategy books whether it’ was market entry or alliances.

It’s just sad that he died young and was born in a different era. If Shivaji was present in this day and age, he would be giving Steve Jobs, Bill Gates a run for their money!! 🙂


जिंदगी खुली आखों का एक सपना
और मौत एक अनकही सच्चाई

जिंदगी कभी न ख़त्म होनेवाला एक मुकदमा
और मौत उसकी आखरी सुनवाई
जिंदगी और मौत
Sometime between 1997-99





पाउस पडून गेल्यावर

पाउस पडून गेल्यावर

पाउस पडून गेल्यावर

पाउस पडून गेल्यावर कधीकधी पाणी उगाचच साचून जातं
अश्रू वाहून गेले तरी बर्याचदा दुख: मनात तसच साठून रहात !!

Feb 2013