Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Sunday, November 24, 2013

BharatRatna is a what?!!?

"Sachin Tendulkar is the first sportsperson to be awarded the Bharatratna(Gem of India)." What a lame statement? It is only recently that sports were included in the required fields for eligibility for the Bharatratna. How right is it to call him the first sportsperson to be given the Bharatratna?! Does that mean that if sports were included long ago,  there is no one eligible enough to bag the award? While this is one point, the other is that is he the correct sportsperson to be awarded the highest civilian award in the country.

It is a very common argument that happens when only one person in a respective field is awarded with a great honour. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in the field of Sports and Dr.Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao in the field of Science were nominated for the award. Sachin is the first sportsperson after a change in the eligibility conditions to be given this award and C.N.R.Rao is only the third scientist to win the award (they were eligible for a long time!!) Speculations occur in such awarding. There might be other people who might have done better in than the above two. But no one brought name to their field than them. That makes them eligible, doesn't it?

The eligibility criteria for awarding Bharatratna are "for the highest degree of national service." This service until recently included artistic, literary, scientific achievements and public service. Even in arts, only seven people were awarded the Bharatratna again neglecting many other eminent persons. But there is no 'Sangeetaratna' or something like that as the highest award for an artist. But for sports, there is "Khelratna." So why award the Bharatratna to a sportsperson?

Now, India is moving from the generation after Independence. Out of the 43 people given the award, around 20 people were independence activists. So, no one had an objection to that. From Jawaharlal Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi, all the Gandhi-Nehru family members who became the Prime Ministers got the award. No one objects for that. Tomorrow their successor might be awarded. No on will object!! Weird reasons were quoted for not conferring the award to Subhas Chandra Bose posthumously. No one cared! Give it to one sportsperson who has excelled, we complain. He might not have participated in the freedom movement (C.N.R.Rao did, by the way!!) But where do independence activists come from now? It has to be given to people who bring a lot of name and fame to the country as that is the present need of the hour.

Whether the chosen people are real eligible ones or not, I say that they are merely representing their community. The sporting community. The scientific community. The arts community. So on. Of course, to maintain the dignity of the award, it cannot be given to everybody. But then, it can be awarded to the "face" of the respective fields. The person is just a mask. It is to the community that the award is being given thus reminding ourselves of our vast potential in various boundaries thus encouraging more people to go and get the name for the country!!!     

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Be humble towards a gentle creature

Millions of people across the globe travel places, spend a lot of money and time only to just see Elephants. But at the rate of accidents(murders, cold blooded murders I would call them) on the elephants in our country, I think the above millions will be just disappointed in their search for the "mightiest" creature. Just this year, more than ten elephants were killed in train accidents.
Elephants mostly move in groups and the sad and shocking part is that how the drivers of these trains are unable to spot such huge herds! 

I need not tell about the greatness or the great role an Elephant plays in the ecosystem and how useful they are for the human race too. There are a lot of things we humans can learn from the Elephant. In India, Elephants were given special treatment. We were smart enough to realise that Elephants are creatures with intelligence, strength and faithful creatures. That is why we made "friends" with the Elephants and used them for various purposes including 'deforestation', warfare(Ask Alexander-the Great if you want!!) and processions! We have also given a special status for these wonderful creatures and we also worship the 'Elephant God' with fervour. And even all this, why is that every year, we are claiming many lives of an already dwindling Elephant population.

Poaching is banned because they kill the animal for personal benefits. Right! But what are we going to do for the increasing number of train accidents in the Bengal forests on Elephants? Who are we going to blame now? The Government? The Railways? The Gangmen? The Driver? The Elephants!!?? Poaching now seems better as atleast few people are satisfied by it. Who is happy due to these accidents.
Strongest yet the gentlest!!

What could a possible solution be? The speed limit is already there. But no one cares(including the Elephants, say!!) The forest department asked for a reduction of speed limit from 40 kmph to 25 kmph. Then, who is going to deliver the goods on time. The train started late. The driver has to make it up by overruling the over-speed rule right! Maybe the Railways should employ only non-alcoholic, God-fearing Hindus who have a pretty good eyesight! The drivers need not be educated about the importance of biodiversity. Or else, the Elephants should be taught traffic rules! Maybe a bridge should be constructed for the trains to travel through these forests. Surely, the government and ofcourse we Indians can spend some time and money on saving the 'Great Indian Elephant' about which we boast of.

I know none of us wants to hear such a news anytime in the future. After all it is time the Railways guarded their own guard and mascot of the Indian Railways, "Bholu-the Guard"  

Friday, November 15, 2013

To Sachin, with love

Dear Sachin,

I remember that evening in 2010 when I was nervously strolling around, listening to the commentary on the radio about probably my favourite innings of yours in Hyderabad against Australia. I clearly remember that the highest score by teammates after your mammoth 175 was just 63. Similarly, I remember a match against Pakistan in 2004 in which the second highest scorer after your 141 was a mere 36!! This is the problem with you Sachin. When you play well, when you are on song, everybody including the non-striker just wants to watch you do that. To see you hit those unbelievably mesmerising cover drives, leg glances and pull shots.

My parents tell me that when I was a kid, I used to ask if I ate, walked, talked or even dressed up like you!! We grew up like that. Playing only one sport and praying to only one person, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. If our previous generations had the pleasure of watching your Old Trafford, Sydney, Perth and Sharjah performances, we had the privilege of enjoying your 'Nataraja Dance' against Pakistan in the 2003 world cup, your century vs England in Chennai and your extraordinary innings to help India win the Commonwealth Bank series in 2008.

Thank You for being there Sachin. Every good innings of yours must have inspired lakhs of people. There is a M.S.Dhoni, a Virat Kohli and a Bhuvanesh Kumar in them. Why, your presence in the dressing room is enough for young team mates to enter the ground confidently. Your presence in the team is enough for 120 crore people to watch the match. Your presence in 'Cricket Cards' game is enough for a confirmed win!!

I need not talk about the records you set in Cricket. I am sure they will not be broken any time soon. But yes. They maybe broken in the coming years. For you have shown how to bat well. All the way from a bowler dominated era few years back to a batsmen dominated time now-a-days. But, I daresay that one can only try to break your records but cannot even think of setting new ones. They have to remain envious of you!!

Finally, I want to say that you have not just entertained us with your bat but you have taught us a lot. To be humble, to be ethical and successful(I remember you rejecting a huge campaign offer only because it was a liquor ad) You have taught us to bounce back. To reply, not in words but in actions. Your recovery from the tennis elbow injury is a motivating story. Even now, when you are bidding good bye, you are teaching us to end things in elegance.

Wankhede will be worried. Sydney will be sad. Sharjah will shun away all matches. Lord's will be lost for words for not being able to witness your run flow. Thank you by the way for making your retirement step wise. We can now be in a feel that you got injured and are not playing for sometime. Otherwise, we would be shocked, for who will show us those beautiful cover drives, upper cuts, googlies, flippers and that glowing face. "Whadddaplayer you are!!"

One of your devotees in the religion of cricket.

P.S: Please do not come back as a commentator. We cannot bear to see you as anybody except SACHIN-The CRICKETER!!

This letter is published in The Hindu on 15 November 2013(http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/the-little-master/article5351948.ece). Since this is my first letter that made to the papers and since it is about Sachin, now awarded BHARATRATNA, I am advertising a lot about it!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

We are Like This Only!!!

A boy teases a girl. The girl's brother hits that guy. The guy hits him back. The brother kills the boy. This time the boy's father kills the girl's brother. Oh! wait the police, the government and opposition and 'secular' parties are silent. They don't bother about what's happening. But now enters a man some 500 Kms away from this place who shows a hatred video to his friends(wrong of course, he being a politician). But he has no relation to that incident at all!! And here we are. From Kanyakumari to Kaziranga, fighting over this. So much that we even ignored the wonderful launch of "MOM" by ISRO.
How many of us know who Patanjali really is?

Not only this, it has been customary for us, Indians to fight over stupid things. We fight over Foreign Bill in education but we do not focus on the real thing: "Recognising real talent." We are like this only!! We fight over water share between two states when we should be worrying about quenching the thirst of people in both the states!! We are like this only!! We fight about why a poor country like India must spend 450 crore rupees on a space expedition instead of demanding the corrupt government about proper utilisation of funds. We are like this only!! We fight over the number of Indians winning the Nobel prize without concentrating on improving the quality of research in the country!! We are like this only!!

And then there is England, Germany, Australia, United States and many other countries who have adopted the Indian way. Our Yoga. Our Meditation. Our Medication. Our way of teaching. Especially, the entire world is looking at Sanskrit, the Vedas, the Upanishads and other ancient Indian wonders including our way of conducting Marriage Ceremonies and maintaining family relations. Not to forget the Music of India. Oh my God! The list is going on and on. But why are we failing in doing the same thing. In realising out greatness.

Even the website, http://www.ancientindia.co.uk/ is maintained by British Museum!!

It is really good. We started following the Western style. In costume. In life style. In language. In music too. But again why are we not following the West and coming back to our own style of living?! All we do is forget that the "Madi Acharam" was meant for cleanliness at a time when there were no hospitals and we say it is finicky whereas America has taken a patent for this!! Looks like we are real followers of Hanuman. We don't realise our potential. Again, we take the only bad quality He had when he had hundreds of nice qualities. Wake up dudes!! We should not be like this only. Let us take India forward. Together!!

Footnote: "Madi Acharam" means clothes are dipped in Turmeric water and dried. After bathing, these clothes are worn and only then people used to enter the kitchen!!  Such was the care for cleanliness. This is obvious because people have figured out back then only that the majority of diseases are food and water borne!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Diwali Bonanza...Curiosity comes cheaper!!

A very Happy Diwali to all!!
The cracker bursting started with Rohit Sharma's innings against Australia in Bengaluru. The entire country was busy in firing rockets yesterday for Diwali. But the real bonanza came from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) starting the count down for the firing of a real rocket, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying "Mangalyaan," the Mars Orbiter for the first time from India. If successful, India will be on par with the U.S, Russia, Japan and Europe.
Scientists at work for Mangalyaan

The Mars Orbiter Mission is all set to carry the 1337 KG satellite to 'Angarak'(Mars). Mars is also called "ArunaGraha" or the 'Red Planet.' Different payloads are being carried about which I will soon come up with an article once the PSLV C-25 successfully ejects the satellite into its orbit. This shall be a historic moment in the history of India. Considering the excellent record of PSLVs, I am extremely positive about the success of Mangalyaan. The countdown for 56 hours has started at 6:08 AM on Sunday and the pre-tests have given pretty satisfactory results. Tuesday will witness a miracle in the clear skies of Sriharikota, an island launch center for ISRO about 100 KMs away from Chennai.

This "Mangalyaan" has become very popular not only among India but also in countries like the U.S. The United States also sent lucky peanuts or something like that to India for good luck. There is also a collaboration between National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and ISRO in this Mars Orbiter Mission. Not only the U.S but other space giants like Russia, Japan, Europe, China and Israel are awaiting this wonderful mission.

The great thing about this Mission is the cost of it. It costed rupees 450 crores which is about just 73 Million U S dollars. This really is "peanuts" compared to the cost of 'Curiosity' rover sent by NASA-JPL which costed about 2.5 billion U S dollars. Mangalyaan has almost the same features as that of Curiosity. Maybe this is the reason why everybody is looking into India's mission right now. But the saddest part is that when everybody including few strongest and developed nations are looking at this wonderful mission in awe, we Indians are busy in criticising that a lot of money is wasted!! Pathetic!!
The reason why it is so less in cost is that we Indians do not work for money. All the scientist at ISRO work only for national pride. To take India higher. To make Indians stronger. To make the future generations prouder.