Sunday, September 16, 2012

Winds of Change

Radhika sat beside the edge of the roof-top food court in her office, gazing at the road five floors below her. This was her favorite place in her office, though the security had warned her not to sit there. Her colleagues also teased her quite often if she had any plans to commit suicide. She loved the place and more importantly, she loved the weather in Bangalore and this was the best place to feel magic of winds. This magic was something unknown to most people in Bangalore who spent most of their day in air conditioned offices and if at all they were out, all they saw was traffic and pollution. She considered herself very lucky to have discovered that place.
Sipping on a cup of hot latte, she saw people roaming around, enjoying the rain. She cursed her luck for being in office and thought she’ll leave after fixing the only defect remaining. More over the next day was her birthday. She wanted to groom herself for the day. Life had been revolving around defects since she’d chosen the profession. Being a software engineer was not as easy as it seemed, especially when you work for a Chinese organization. She thought, her birthday might be a tiny slit of relief for her.
With a hope to enjoy the rain, she rushed back to her seat. She wanted to complete the work as soon as possible. Suddenly, her hands seemed to be dancing vigorously on the keyboard. Her fingers were ecstatic and were hitting the keyboard hard. She was rushing through the code. Just when she was about to resolve the defect, she got one more and then there was a flurry of defects. She just cursed herself for choosing a Chinese company but then this was what she wanted. The whole day passed in bug fixing, mails and check-ins. It was already ten when she boarded the cab.
                Once again, she reached home a few minutes past eleven in the night. It was almost her routine since she had joined the organization. After Nishi got transferred to Noida, she was alone in that 1BHK apartment. Nishi was her best friend and in fact the only good friend she made in Bangalore. Earlier she thought that staying alone was going to be tough and looked for some appropriate roommate but never got one. Now she was quite accustomed to the loneliness and it was also never easy for girls to share a room with someone.
She took out a slice of bread from the fridge and gave it an obnoxious look. The piece was rock hard, more like a cookie. Firstly she thought of heating it but then she didn't have enough patience and energy to switch on the microwave and wait. She directly applied some cheese spread on it and went to bed. She remembered her previous birthday when Nishi was with her. She had called all their friends for a surprise party. As soon as she cut the cake, snow was sprayed wildly on her from all directions. The quantity of snow was so much that even the cake was not spared and was made inedible. It looked as if another layer of cream was accumulated over the cake. But then who wanted to eat the cake? So, it was applied all over her body. They had celebrated for the whole night.
Today, it was totally different. A cold and dry piece of bread was all that she ate. Friends might beat the hell out of you and do all kinds of stupid stuff on your birthday, but it’s much more painful when there are no friends with you. She lied down on her bed and looked at her cell phone which showed “23:43.”
“Another 17 minutes to go,” she told herself. More than Nishi, she missed Gaurav who dumped her nearly 3 years ago after an affair which lasted for all four years of their engineering. She pretended to hate him from the bottom of her heart but only she knew how much she still loved him. He always used to call her at 11:30 and used to keep talking till 12, in order to be the first one to wish her. In fact, that was the only time when he himself called her otherwise it was always Radhika who called him. Managing finances is always a tough task for college students especially the phone recharge. Radhika’s father was a Class-1 government officer and was earning a lot, black as well as white. She knew that Gaurav’s father was going through rough patch in his business, so she always acted as an understanding girl friend but even then, he left her.
Nishi always told her that he was cheat and used her for money, status and even for her body but she would never listen. Radhika, being the best looking girl in their class was one of the most sought after girls in the whole college where as Gaurav was just an ordinary guy who became popular after he was seen roaming around with Radhika. She had thought about it a several times but still, it was too hard to believe. For her, Gaurav was never a guy who could use someone, and especially her. It was just that he was over-ambitious and was ready to sacrifice anyone and anything for it. Radhika was just one sacrifice he made for his career and went to US for some research telling her that she didn't fit in his life. That was a simple end of the relation for him and Radhika’s thoughts and wishes didn't mean anything to him.
His last words still echoed in her mind and still filled her eyes like a pool of tears. They never talked to each other after that day. She looked at the watch which read 00:05. It was her birthday and surprisingly there was no call. Even Nishi didn't call her this time. She kept sobbing and there was no one who really cared. She was all alone in the apartment, and had wept her pillow wet. It was the worst birthday of her life, she thought.

To Be Continued...


Last evening, I was walking through the Marathahalli market in Bangalore and suddenly a very old lady(seemed to be in her 60s) came to me. She spoke something in Kannada and handed a slip to me which was a prescription given by some doctor. She again spoke something but I couldn't understand what she was trying to say. Then, some passer by(who himself was an old man) came for rescue and explained me that she wanted these medicines but had no money. I was disturbed but at the same time cautious because I'd already encountered a lot of frauds who would just make any sort of excuses to get some money from you. I'm basically among those who would never shell out even a single penny to beggars but here, she didn't look like one. The way she spoke to me, she looked quite humble and genuine.

I wanted to help her but I didn't want to give her money just because it promotes beggary. So, I took her to a chemist shop and ordered the medicines written on that slip. I bought them and handed over to her. I felt happy and satisfied but that old lady didn't seem thankful. Anyway, it didn't matter to me. I think if you help someone, you do it to please yourself not for the person being helped and believe me, I was pleased. I get a strange sense of achievement when I help someone, especially old people. I think we should be thankful to God that he made us good enough to help someone.

We again got busy in shopping and after around half an hour, I was on the same road and saw that lady again. I was shocked. She was talking to some girl. Then the same old man, who told me what she wanted, went to her and explained something. I couldn't hear because they were at a distance. That girl took out a 100 Rs note and handed over to that lady. She blessed her and passed away.

I was too shocked to say something. I just didn't care and moved on. I again thought, if you help someone, you do it to please yourself not for the person being helped. I don't know what circumstances would have forced her to cheat someone at such an age. It was the first time in my life that I was cheated and I didn't mind. May God bless that old lady.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sachin Tendulkar, you lost my respect today...

It was way back in 1989, when I saw a cricketer being hit by a ball on his face and was bleeding. I had no idea what cricket was, or who was hit or by whom, in fact I didn’t even know how to spell the word “cricket.” I heard my elder cousins and uncles discussing that this guy would be taken to hospital but just after sometime all of them were shocked when they heard that this kid will continue batting. They were amazed, though I didn’t have much idea about the event. I was just six years old then, but I still remember my uncle’s words:
“waah bai waah... munda te sher aa... eh ni jaanda kite...”

That was my first encounter with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Generally we forget such incidents easily, but when I look back, I still have the dim memories of that scene. I just couldn’t forget it and I think that’s why I’ve been a huge fan of this man since last 22 years.
After that incident, I grew up and this legend grew up too. We saw him scoring his first hundred in England and we saw him scoring that great century in WACA when all the greats of our team failed against the might of bowlers like McDermott and Reiffel. Players came and went, but he stood there, and we watched him. I really don’t know when he created a special place in our hearts.
Then the time came when it was certain that if he fails, the whole team will fail. We became so used to his success that every time he didn’t score a hundred, we assumed it to be his failure. The whole nation had one slogan: “Cricket is Religion and Sachin is God.” He became undoubtedly the most respected cricketer of the world. He kept on breaking records, scoring centuries, double centuries and most importantly, playing well and wining matches for us. Finally, the day come when our team was holding the world cup and he was still there, one among them. We loved him for that and the whole country dedicated it to him.
But today, I wonder if that love and respect that we all have for this great man, has to do anything with his records? Wouldn’t have we loved him the same way even if he would've ended up with 99 international hundreds? would his service to the nation have affected if he didn't score his hundred today? Are these records above the game? Is a hundred more important the victory? Do we watch cricket for figures?
I don’t know about others but I don’t. I’ve always wanted him to play well, whether he ends up getting a hundred or not. Sir Don Bradman is still considered as the greatest batsman ever even though he ended up with a career average of 99.94. Did that average took anything away from Sir Don? No way! I think apart from Indian media, there was no one who was so eager about his so called “Maha-shatak.”
But Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, I must tell you that after being your fan for 22 years, I don’t respect you anymore. I was very happy to see you playing well today and the six you hit was amazing. But I still cannot digest that you took 40 balls to complete the last 22 runs of your century which you otherwise would have done in 15 balls. I had always been fighting against your critics and thankfully, I always had a lot of points in your favour. But today, I really don’t know what to say. It was not a knock for the country but just for reaching a landmark. It is a blunder which would have got unnoticed if India would have won but unluckily for you, we lost. Thanks to the great bowling performances in the depth overs.
Anyway, congrats to you for your great record because it is records what matter, much more than winning the matches. But I won't remember this as one of the greatest days in the history of Indian cricket, which it would have been otherwise.