200! My Double Century and Cricket!

These Australian Cricketers have just broken a law! They are not murderers! At least now treat me softly!

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ChampagneGlass

Champagne time! Let’s click the glasses and share the bubbly on the occasion of my 200th blog! Let me bow to you my friends. It is your continuous support and encouragement that has allowed me to share the bubbly with you folks. Thank you very much for  reading my blogs. Some of you have even suggested the subjects. Some have commented but I am happy that I was never been ignored. Since this blog is about cricket I will share with you some mundane statistics to follow cricket tradition. BTW I am an avid cricket lover and saw my first test match, against West Indies,  at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 1958! My last live match was in 2015 at MCG in Melbourne!

Initially when I started blogging, I had a captive audience of three. Jaya, Sachin and Priya! With your love and encouragement this number has reached 10703 clicks in 2017. There were 3786 clicks in the first three months 2018- extrapolated to 15144 for the whole year of 2018. Those who want to ensure that they get my blog link, may kindly share with me their e mail id; I will put you on the mailing list!

Now to cricket! Reaching double century is a big deal in cricket, in test match it feels even better; reaching that hall mark in one day cricket is THE real big deal! Who reached that landmark first ? Of course, Sachin Tendulkar, that too against South Africa when Dale Steyn was at his best!

I am writing about the ball tampering affair that is currently going on. Australians were literally found with their pants down. In every sport, there are some people who cheat. There will be some who will do it at the borderline cheating level. But idea is not to get caught. There have been some great athletes who have been found cheating, in the game or with the family. Tiger Wood, Lance Armstrong, Ben Johnson are some of the names that come to mind. Wood cheated his family in a big way, Armstrong for a long time was a hero who overcame cancer! But in the end was caught for doping. Same was the case with Ben Johnson. But the cricket fiasco comes to the fore because they were caught red handed on camera! Cheating is a reasonably normal trait in humans. The child starts cheating or lying maybe at the age of 4 to 4 ½. So, continuing the same behaviour is not abnormal. Again the idea is not to get caught.

It appears that the main person behind the episode of ball tampering is David Warner, the vice-captain. He had a bright idea to remove the shine of the ball from one side, so that the ball may start swinging. This could help Australia take some wickets, quickly! This was approved by his captain, Steve Smith and they put a 21-year-old kid Bancroft to act. Bancroft was caught on the camera during the act and his picture was displayed on large screen in the stadium. He too saw it, got scared, and tried to do something even crazier. Rest as they say is history! They were caught, they are officially punished by the ICC, world cricket body with some fine and suspension. But there was such a large hue and cry in the Australian media, that Australian prime minister too intervened. Australian board sent them from South Africa back home and further punished them by captaincy stripping, 9 months to one-year suspension. Matter over! Field day for TRP guys to give stories about these three guys!

Later I saw the interview of Steve Smith after he reached Australia. His father was standing behind him. I felt pity for him. The guy made a very big blunder, accepted it, is punished for the same. What more do we want? I hope nobody says, that he was not really remorseful, he just made it dramatic by crying. Which 30-year person would publicly cry? He has made wrong judgment, he has done something because he is naïve. Who would do such a blunder when you know that there are 30 video cameras capturing every possible thing that is happening on the ground. I am sure at least one camera will be always focused on the ball; because in cricket everything happens with reference to the ball! How can an Australian be so naïve? They are supposed to be rough and tough and have always been pushing the rules to the limits. Once in a while they get a Kohli, who gives it back to them.

This guy has a family, wife, children, parents, siblings. All three are normal human beings like you and me.  Bancroft is a 21-year-old kid; he has not even had a glimpse of the bad bad world. Should he be pushed further? He suddenly found himself at the pinnacle of things for all wrong reasons. What everybody should do is to give these blokes some time. Let them overcome their demons, let them overcome their sorrows. Let them spend some time with their family and friends. One more thing we seem to have forgotten. Besides the punishment, humiliation, and bad name they  lost commercially, in a big way. All have also lost their IPL contracts. Australian Cricket board has lost their main sponsor. The shame that this episode has brought to their country, is too much for the shoulders of 21-year old guy! With all that is known today, I think they have done it without realizing the consequences, if caught. At least for the commercial part, they would have been a bit careful; but at that moment something went seriously wrong with the brains of Smith & Warner! Please remember these are not murderers or robbers. They were trying to change the condition of the ball with the hope of defeating South Africa! Ended up making a major blunder of their life; I am sure they will never be able to forget it and history will remember them as “Those cheats who tried to roughen up the ball”. This is the biggest punishment that is like life term in jail! Just be a little soft with them now. Don’t forget that there is that 21-year-old kid involved!

Now the million-dollar question, why do I write? Honestly, I don’t know. But writing bug has caught up with me during last few years. Another thing is that the thoughts have been always coming to mind and writing needed some impetus to do it! Availability of good blogging sites was the major impetus. Like great R K Laxman had once said when he was asked why doesn’t he create his own cartoon character? Keeping poker face, he said, ” When there are so many politicians giving me infinite subjects what is the need to have a separate Cartoon character?”  Similarly, with progresses in technology so many new subjects available on the net, for me, I keep on writing the thoughts that ooze out from my mind. I am also using my life’s experiences, my interactions with friends, family, business associates and many people I meet in life. On top of that you folks read what I write! You send your likes, you send your comments; you folks always interact! That keeps me going!

Cheers folks! Wave, criticize, shout, laugh, cry but react. It is the reactions that I like the best! A big Namaste to all!

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Abode- Musings about first phase of my life!

This my life’s journey and role played by different homes in my life. I am sharing my treasure trove with you in this series!

Dictionary meaning of Abode is a place of residence; a house or home. The meaning is given in a few words but how much hidden meaning is there in this word. The life that we live is fully covered by this word. Attached to this word there are many hidden gems linked from everyones life. The abode can be a very small tenement to a big palace. One may be a pauper or a king in his life but in ones own abode you are always the king. There are joys and sorrows, love and hate, births, deaths, birthdays, weddings, preparations studying for exams and what have you. I could probably write about my each abode, one big episode but I thought writing about distinct memories and events from each phase would be more appropriate.

My first abode that I remember was in Andheri, a western suburb in Mumbai in early 50’s. It was a set of buildings and I don’t know what these clusters of buildings was called in those days. It was my first abode. That is where I made my first friend, Pradeep Gavankar. Pradeep and I are in touch with each other even today though infrequently. Pradeep has settled down at Houston in USA. Thirty years later I visited Sharad in Andheri; I went to see these buildings which naturally had become dilapidated structure but I could see myself playing cricket (by playing I mean hanging out as I was too small to play) or playing hide and seek. I also remember going to school walking in the direction of the railway station.

As I am writing about my different abodes  many thoughts simply rumble through my mind, so many memories, new experiences and new people. We humans are hoarders of experience, friends and memories. They are all hidden in our gray cells somewhere; you only need a little input or a tinkle in some format to get it to display in your kaleidoscope.

My father was a Police Officer with transferable job. From Andheri, we went to  then small town called Ahmednagar about 250 kms from Mumbai. We had a small bungalow quarters. A couple of things I remember distinctly are that I had won some kind of running race in my age group and people were clapping when I received the medal, I was probably the youngest in the group! Then surprise of surprise! Some dacoits decided to make a house break and steal things from our home; diwali had just ended so dacoits must have thought there will be some stuff worth stealing at our home. When dacoits came in at night, I was in bed with my mother and I still distinctly remember hearing a hissing sound as if something was being pulled out. I told my mother that I heard something but luckily she thought I was dreaming and put me back to sleep. The dacoits, when they were caught, were obviously shocked to know that they had broken open a Police Officers home; they said that they had planned to kill any person who woke up during the event. Luckily my grandfather also did not wake up though he was a very light sleeper.

Then we moved to Pune for a couple of years. Pune is half way between Ahmednagar and Mumbai both distance wise and culture wise. We stayed in a rented home this time; I was in 3rd/4th grade and made some good friends whom I remembered later in life when I shifted back to Pune again 10 years later. I used to go to school walking through small lanes with friends. You will be surprised to know that almost all the lanes have hardly changed except some homes which have been rebuilt. Once we heard that some army tanks were going on the main road (those were really different days!) . ¾ of us were running along with tanks on the footpath. After sometimes, we were so engrossed, we did not know that we had crossed our school. We had never done that before! In those days it was almost end of town. For benefit of those from Pune/Mumbai we were running on Jangli Maharaj road and had crossed Modern High School. Today this road is one of the busiest road and right in the center of the city and not end of city! Then there was one big fire about ten Km from where we stayed. We could see plumes of smoke from fire in the timber market. Those days buildings were so small we could easily see the smoke at that distance! Later I came to know my father as a Police Officer had to get involved in handling many things with that fire. Two more incidents I distinctly remember from this abode. We had a remote room to ourselves on the first floor. While playing there with a friend, I had inserted a screw driver in an electrical socket and boom….. I don’t know what I did but our fuse had blown off, luckily no injuries for both me and my friend. In another incident, near our home there was a motorcycle accident. Motorcycles were not so common in those days. There was a small crowd to see this and luckily the injured person was moved to the hospital but I can still visualize the mangled vehicle, my first!

We changed a few homes during my life time and but I always moved on when the change happened. I know of people who keep on having a great affinity to their native place and the home there, even after 30/40 years. I think people are made differently. When I lived in a particular home, I of course had a great affinity for the place but I could handle the change effortlessly and always moved on.

From Pune again we moved to Mumbai again and for about ten years lived in Dhobi Talao area just behind Metro Cinema. What days we had in that abode! In this abode I completed my school education and joined college too! Those were my formative year in my life and what fantastic facilities and set up we were lucky to have. It started with my re meeting my friend Pradeep as we went to same school (we did not know that) and met in the bus as he had moved from Andheri to Colaba. I went through my adolescence pangs in this abode. The typical awkwardness in dealing with female species, rebellion for and against everything parents would say, craze to do everything possible and playing sports all the time, exams were just a nuisance. Near our home there were three sports grounds, Cross, Azad and Oval but for some reason our favorite was Cross Maidan. We had Brabourne stadium, where I watched a few cricket test matches, close to our home and Marine Drive promenade was also close by. We had facility to play Badminton and Table Tennis in Police Sports club. This facility allowed me to be a part of my school team which won the tournament when we were in 11th grade! During holidays we were in the Police club all day. All these Maidans were used by us to play cricket and during monsoons we used play football. Monsoon was also a golden opportunity to hang around the Marine Drive with huge waves breaking on the retaining walls. ( We used walk on retaining walls!) On the Maidans there used to be Ramlila program during Dassara festival, we were allowed to go and see those religious dramas. But our main aim used to discretely watch the couples, who used the Maidan to meet for a bit of privacy! Our building was bang opposite Metro cinema on back side. We used to get excited if we were allowed a movie there. What style it had! The ushers used to wear Gray Jacket, Light brown trousers and bow tie as uniform! We used to be suitably impressed. The theatre was air conditioned and used carpets all through! Later on we became friendly with an usher Sawant. He was multitasking at Metro. Ushers had to work for a short duration during the show. In remaining time he was an artist, he used to paint the posters that were displayed at the theater. Our friendship helped us once in a while, as Sawant would allow us to watch movies on the sly via back door if there were empty seats! Eating out was considered sin in those days especially with road side vendors. Near our building, there used to be a Ragda Pattice walla but we were never allowed to eat with him. Even today I love to eat Ragda Pattice!

I know I can keep going on and on! There are so many things I can share with you but I may end up writing a book! I realized that our life is a combination of experiences that we gain. Our abode is the base that nurtures all our thoughts, helps inculcating different values, nurtures bonding which sometimes last all through our lives. You meet so many different people when you change abodes, this helps you to take the best from different people. I have become Cosmopolitan as I lived in Mumbai during the formative years. This has helped me largely in my future life. I think that will have to wait till next one!  Cheers till I talk of Elphinstone College, COEP and so on…