Monday, November 21, 2011

Ravi Shastri to retire from commentary after Sachin’s 100th ton

Yes folks you read it right. Ravi Shastri has announced his retirement. The voice you first heard 88 (some records place it at 126) years back, even before you heard your mother call out your name will now be just a memory.  The cricketing fraternity has been shell shocked by this announcement. We managed to speak to a few distinguished individuals. Here are some of the reactions we collated-

Sunil Gavaskar, ‘ What?? He announced retirement?? But he never consulted me? (Shocked look). Even last night when we were together, I mean last morning, he could have mentioned. What will I do during breaks, whom will I (regains composure after reporters raise eyebrows..)…share tea with during the break’. (Sobs inconsolably..and retreats….)
Nasser Hussain, ’ Well they were a few donkeys in the box, Ravi wasn’t one of them, he will be missed’.Harsha Bhogle immediately tries to rake up a controversy in twitter…’who are these donkeys Nasser mentioned? Well if he had mentioned asses, then some of us would surely qualify, but donkeys…I wonder…let’s discuss this on my blog,my new book, my xyz article, my videoblog,my new show, my toilet paper’(our article can only have 500 words…)
BCCI president N Srinivasan, ‘There has been no greater servant of BCCI…I mean Indian cricket, than Ravi Shastri. His self-endorsed, honest and unbiased opinions will be missed. We have decided to start the BCCI-Ravi Shastri School of Commentary for promoting unadulterated Indian cricketing thought.’
Arun Lal, ‘Sehwag is just magic…what hand-eye coordination..the Nawab of Najafgarh has done it again…he does take the attack to the opposition like no one does…( the reporters remind him that they want bytes on Shastri’s announcement)…oh yes, Ravi will be badly missed…like Sehwag’s tossed up off-spinners..he hardly bowls them these days..(Reporters get up and leave…)…
 Robin Uthappa ’What..??????he announced retirement..???Oh no, Ravi was the one who made me a household name. His Uthappa/Uthappam comment is still my ringtone. I have all the Ravi memorabilia, the t-shirts, mics, moustache, wig, even a signed Uthappam parcel bag. I even went to inaugurate a quite a few Uthappam joints in London with him. He was a genius, who loved his vada sambars and Uthappams of course….

 (For those who havent heard the legendary Uthappa comment!!!)
Murali Kartik , ‘Man finally, it was about time he did that. Even we need opportunities. I have already taken 178364891 Ranji wickets, can’t go on playing cricket forever right. High time these oldies retire from commentary so that we youngsters (?!?!?!) get a chance….’

Lot of mixed reactions there, but there was still an element of surprise in Ravi’s announcement. Why wait for Sachin’s 100th ton. Practically it had nothing to do with him. We caught up with the man himself for his view…’ Well I wanted to leave on a high. I have forever corrupt..I mean complemented the viewing experience of Indian cricket fans with my delightful comments…Dhoni’s  World cup six, Yuvi’s 6 sixes, Sreeshanth’s catch in the T20 final, Sachin’s ODI double century. I can’t leave just like that, I have to announce the great man’s 100th ton. I have already selected the line I am going to say, from my book of ‘ Shastri’s four quotable quotes’ . It will be legendary.’

And so the Indian cricket fan waits with bated breath for the inevitable..the last Shastri line. And as the voice fades, so will countless cricketing memories since 1929..or 1885…or is it 1797….we still don’t know.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Trunx had been a wicket-keeper for quite some time now. He liked it because it gave him the best view of everything that happened in the game. He felt that from here he was always part of the action. That action, involved a lot of things amongst which were the special deliveries his bowlers bowled. Some of them were good and some were special, the ones which the batsman needed all their skills to face. Ketsu hadn’t produced one so far in this match. He had heard of Ketsu’s special delivery from opposing batsman before, that it could never be played. He himself had never seen it, but he did not approve of what they called it, naming it like that was just heights of exaggeration. Whatever it was, Trunx knew that Ketsu had to do something special now; this batsman is just running away with the game.

He looked at Ketsu getting ready for his run-up. The air around the ground had gone still, and the clouds parted as if the ones above also wanted to witness what was about to happen. Ketsu’s head dint move and his stare was frozen like that off an animal of prey. He began his run-up. It was smooth, in fact it was like a trance, every step measured. On nearing the crease, he saw Ketsu leap to deliver the ball, the action was majestic and suddenly there was a flash, a blinding one, and Trunx immediately knew…it was what they called…. The Hand of God…the next thing he saw was the middle-stump cartwheeling towards him at blinding speed. He ducked just in time. The flying stump nearly killed him; he wondered what had happened of the batsman. He dint care much though, for he wanted to run towards Ketsu to hug him for that magical delivery. But what he saw re-defined the word special. Ketsu was standing at the middle of the pitch, head bowed down in reverence. Trunx knew then that this was beyond special, it was purely divine. The Hand of God had delivered.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Education....are we going in the right direction...

Yesterday, I overheard my Mom say that one of my cousins joined the BBA course in some college in Chennai. The moment I heard it I knew he had made a mistake, he should have at least given me a call considering I did the same mistake 6 years back. But isn't that like a fashionable degree nowadays that can guarantee you an awesome placement, you may ask? Well it was fashionable 6 years back when i took it, would have been so maybe 10 years back when they first started it and will be, quite frankly, in the coming years as well. The course is meant for this world, it creates the most perfect specimens of the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none' model.

The first thing I noticed when i received my final mark sheet, was the number of subjects that we had to go through,I actually counted 37 subjects...yes 37 subjects were taught to us in a span of 3 years. Man, I cant even recollect the names of these subjects now, so forget what was taught in them. And in the 2 years I worked, I can safely guarantee that I must have hardly put in practice 2-3 ideas mentioned in the textbooks of those 37 subjects. And this being a so-called 'Management' / 'Understanding how an Organisation functions' course. No wonder most of my friends from college have quit their initial corporate jobs and have ventured into fields like yoga training, photography, tour coordinator, wildlife enthusiast, or civil services in my case.

 But that's the case with every course you can argue. There are people who have done their engineering and are into film-making,(lots..mind you), Commerce graduates who are radio jockeys, Bio-Tech grads who are project leads in a finance firm. People do their degrees and later find the jobs of their liking and move on, that's life right?? No! If that was the case, why waste those precious 3-4 years of your youth studying something that you will never utilise in you professional career?

Most of us make a choice of entering into the commerce/arts/science streams just after we finish our 10th boards. This compartmentalisation is supposed to decide what we do with the rest of our lives. (Few of them do change their streams in college, but it just gets more tougher for them)We take this decision based on some fantasy job that each of us must have been dreaming from our childhood...maybe to be a doctor, lawyer, actor..whatever, some of us even get into any class just because our friends are there...but can you imagine a 16-year old to plan for and take decisions on the career path he wants to follow for the next 40 years! Most of our counterparts in other countries would have just started out on algebra then or maybe working out simple equations.

But then how else can this be worked out? We will have to take that decision at some point. I am one who thinks education has to be slow and at a pace a student is comfortable with not what the system demands off the student. In the west, there is a practice of high-school students to take off for a year to explore the world they live in and based on their experiences they decide what they want to do in college. Now it's two things here, firstly they are to make a career decision only after they pass out on high school( the avg age then would be 18-19) and some of them take a year off after that to decide. And as far as I know, there is no bogey-travel education there, students can choose any subject from the arts, science or commerce streams. So in a sense, they have 2-3 more years of life experience and varied knowledge than us before taking crucial career decisions. And 2-3 years at that critical juncture is valuable deciding time.

Again, coming to Undergraduate education, the average period for completing a degree in our country is 3 years. That is 37 subjects in 3 years (at least in my case). In the west its usually 4 years, there was a study that said 57% of four year degrees are actually completed only in six years time,but that's a different issue altogether. So that's one more year of preparation before you enter the 'cut-throat' job market. Will that help?Maybe it will, if lesser subjects are taught in a more meaningful ways then it definitely would. And Post-graduation, phew, how can a 23 year old fresh MBA grad be given a management level post at any organisation without ever stepping into one before in his life. It happens only in our country. Work experience, a minimum of 4 years, has to be made compulsory for such courses. Just imagine the discussions in a work-ex completed Organisational behavior class with the same in a fresher MBA class.

So if all we were to do was to take our education at a slower pace and give the kids more time to decide what they want to do, why hasn't it been done yet? In our country where each of us compete against 1.2 billion people,we just don't have the time. My dad cannot wait to retire and end his corporate struggle, so he wants me to finish studies soon and start working. My dad is freaked out by the fact that if I don't give my entrance exam this year the competition will increase exponentially the next year. My dad cant afford to let his son/daughter take a year off from their studies because kids of his colleagues have already purchased textbooks for the next course. To put it in plain and simple words, we just don't have time. Every year I wait, it just gets tougher for me.

But we can change this. Small steps at a time. For starters, we have to end this ‘bogey-travel’ education system. A student should be allowed to take the subjects he wants in his 11th and 12th standard. I liked Indian Polity, but since I chose the Commerce stream I could never explore the option of studying Political Science in school and now it’s too late. This should never happen. A student can always take a Bio, Maths or Accountancy that would fetch him a sure shot job, but he should be given the option to explore other options as well! And as a parent if you can afford to let your child take a year off from studies after high school, let him do it. Let him explore the world he lives in and then decide on his career path based on his experiences. Let him pursue his passion and I’m sure he will do it passionately (that does sound like a cheesy T-shirt line). It’s better that the kid is confused at this stage rather than after 3-4 years when he realizes that he has gone down the wrong path.

So all those who have gone through the grind, and feel that it shouldn't have been this way, please do let me know. Any feedback on our education system has to be brought up and discussed so that the coming generations don't go through the same grind. Change is always slow and rewarding, wish our education was as well.