Whistling at Edgbaston…Napping at Wimbledon…Clapping at Lords

Three venues.. Three dreams…Three stories

Whistling at Edgbaston

Whistling at Edbaston1

‘Yes, I got it, I got it’ – I shouted at one of my Scottish colleagues … This was one of those days when I wished I was in India. Oh I would have been the envy of the entire office… I was the proud owner of 4 tickets to India Vs Pakistan ICC Champions trophy match at Edgbaston and my empathetic Scottish friend had no idea why I was over the moon..

This was ‘the dream’.. If there was one place to watch Ind Vs Pak match outside these 2 countries then it was Edgbaston !! Sold out crowd.. (partially) sunny day.. Great atmosphere .. Crowd from both sides trying to get better of each other ..

The day of that match is still fresh in my memory; not because I was living one of dreams but seeing my wife go practically nuts during the match !! She will be the first one to tell you that she hates cricket but that day she must be the one who has most fun in the entire stadium. I don’t know if it was the Edgbaston atmosphere or India playing well but she had the time of her life… I am not sure if I did …

May be I was trying to come to terms with a dream coming true or I was overwhelmed by the situation.. There are times when you just want to forget about your dream or how the occasion is special and just enjoy .. She was doing exactly that… Wish I could have done the same 🙂

Napping at Wimbledon

Center Court

Ok.. I confess.. I fell asleep during a Nadal match in center court at Wimbledon !! There .. I said it..

This was another dream of mine. Throughout my childhood I watched Graph, Seles, Agassi, Sampras grace those greens. I read about the strawberry and cream and the famous hill. I tried my luck 2 years in a row but the closest I got to center court was to see Andy Murray wave goodbye to the crowd at the end of the day. For the record, in my first try I waited in the famous queue for 9 hours and I had practically lost my mind when I finally entered the Wimbledon gates. My wife can testify to that !!

Call it third time lucky or benefit of having friends like Danielle Hrin Quek – my Glasgow BFF. I owe it to her for being finally able to spend a day at Wimbledon center court.. I actually took half a day off from work ( not for the first time to watch sports !!). The line up for the day was great – Nadal, Serena Williams .. I could not have asked for more – apart from staying awake!!..

The Nadal match was going great.. Nadal came back into the match after being a set down with a series of long rallies and I went out of the match exactly during one of those rallies!! I know I know .. How could I ??? but I did..

Watching tennis wasn’t anything that I thought it would be .. No shouting.. No real cheering.. No banter.. Pin drop silence during points … It was just too much for a cricket fan within me.. To add to that the Center Court crowd !!.. I practically had to open my pack of crisps with atmost care and I still got few looks… This was not the dream.. In a sense it was but not how I imagined it. I dare say that I had more fun watching the matches on the outside courts during my earlier visits to Wimbledon

At the end of the day, I reached a conclusion that I almost do not want to do this again except for if it is the semi’s or the finals. Ironic but true.. Afterall, who wants to nap when Nadal is in full flow !!

Clapping at Lords


Consider this – You are a life long cricket fan.. You have got 5th row Grand Stand tickets at Lords on day 4.. Lords is celebrating its 200 years… Indian team plays out of their skin .. A british fan sitting in the next row tells you before leaving – ‘You guys are going to win this one’

Can it get better? Nope.. Specially after the scars that you suffered watching India get hammered by England at Edgbaston 4 years ago and a drunk British fan hugged you saying – ‘Don’t worry, better luck next time’.. Hell the next time was here

Good things happen to you if you have good friends and this happened courtesy another close friend of Mine – Rahul Datar..

Lords was a strange place.. It was almost anti-Edgbaston.. Very few slogans.. Very few people shouting.. Hardly anyone getting drunk and shouting at opposition fans.. Even the Mexican Wave took a while to get going..  There were times when I wished this was Edgbaston and there was at least one guy completely drunk and contiuously shouting – ‘Jitaga Bhai Jitega, India Jitega’ ..

Not to say that there was complete lack of characters.. There were few ‘ Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy , aaja aaja aaja aaja !!’ chants which were really funny but that was about it.. Cricket wise the day was great with Jadeja literally wielding his bat and then Inshat Sharma running through the english batting lineup ( Yes .. I said Ishant Sharma .. Miracles do happen)

Another dream which was little bit underwhelming .. It you give me a choice between Edgbaston and Lords , I might choose Edgbaston next time!! Lords might be the home of cricket but by the spirit sure lives in Edgbaston (specially if India is playing pakistan)



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

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.’

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





अभी !!

अभी !!


थोडा जुका हु , अभी मैं हारा नहीं
थोडासा रुका हूँ , पर अभी मैं थमा नहीं

थोडा ओज़ल हु , पर अभी मैं मिटा नहीं
थोडासा दूर ही सही, पर अभी मैं तुमसे जुदा नहीं

आखोमें थोड़े आसू है, पर अभी मैं रोया नहीं
नींद शायद खुली है , पर सपना अभी मैंने खोया नहीं

दिल मैं थोडा दर्द है पर अभी दिल टुटा नहीं
मौत का वक़्त शायद नजदीक है , पर जिंदगी को मैंने अभी ठीक से समेटा नहीं

Feb 2012

कविता मैं छंद और एरिया मैं ठण्ड !!

पिछले कुछ दिनों के भारत के ठन्डे मौसम मैं एक आशिक दिल क्या कहता होगा ये हास्यकविता के माध्यम से कहेने की चेष्टा !!

बोहोत दिनों से हमारी कविता मैं छंद है,
पर क्या करे तुम्हारे दिल का दरवाजा बंद जो है !

आखिर काम आएगी हमारे दिल की गर्मी ,
आजकल तुम्हारे एरिया मैं ठण्ड जो है !

जनवरी २०१३

सारी गलती राम की है !!

A different and poetic take on Ramayan on the background of recent events in Delhi. A hindi poem which tries to analyse the social causes behind the Delhi Rape Incidence. The poem uses ‘Ramayan’ as a context to draw parallels with today’s societal scenario.

Title – सारी गलती राम की है !!

सारी गलती राम की है, जिसने सीता आग पे चलवाई
आगे पीछे कुछ सोचा नहीं और गलत रित करवा दी

थोड़ी गलती सीता की भी है, जिसने राम की सब सुन ली
आदर्श नारी की एक अजीब परिभाषा उसने तब से ही बना दी

गलती उस धोबी की भी है, जिसने एक स्त्री की मर्यादा पर सवाल उठाया
और थोड़ी गलती उस राजा की भी है, जो राजा हो कर भी कुछ बोल नहीं पाया

रामायण हम सब ने पढ़ा , पर शायदही हम ने ये कभी सोचा
के राम अगर सीता को आग्निपरिक्षा न करवाता तो क्या होता …

Jan 2013

पाउस आणि बर्फ

Snow fallपाउस पडल्याचा आवाज येतो, बर्फ पडल्याचा येत नाही!!
भावना एकदा गोठून गेल्या कि संवाद तिथे होत नाही!!

जानेवारी २०१२