Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Queen and the King

Well, here I am again. See, I've been thro' times when I absolutely have any idea of what to write about. But not this time. I've a bunch of stuff to share with you and you know what? they all happened in a single weekend. The problem is am so overwhelmed and those 'stuffs' have kinda engulfed me or, maybe, devoured me. There's this like five things that I wanna write about in this post but am little afraid that it'll make the post longer and hard for you to read. Above all that, I must write about something..

Have you ever been so involved in a movie that you cant think anything apart from that? You know, the kind of 'last thing you think about before you go to sleep and the first thing that comes to you mind when you wake up'. I've been a huge fan of cinemas ever since my college days and I usually watch atleast four or five movies a week, mostly english and tamil. Every now and then, when I watch a good movie, and I mean a really good movie, I get under this kinda condition. A condition where I cant take the movie outta my mind. I mean it'll mess up all my thinking, not letting me to concentrate or do anything . The movie may not be all great for others but I personally feel opinions are a matter of personal perception. And that too, when it comes to a movie, you loving a movie or not depends on how close the movie comes to reflect your thoughts.

I watched a movie this weekend. 'Raja Rani' (translated as 'King Queen'). And before you could even guess, lemme open it for ya. I'm kinda stuck. I feel like I've been doped or something like that. It seems like the whole world's stopped spinning. Time refuses to move on. But you get this strange feeling when everything looks beautiful. Every piece of music you hear sweeps you off. Something that gives you this illusion of floating high up amidst the clouds (Oh.. I'm getting overly dramatic but... ). It has happened to me earlier, you know, when I watched movies like 'Vinnai thaandi Varuvaayaa?', 'Letters to Juliet', '(500) Days of Summer', and a few more. But you gotta know 'Raja Rani' is Nothing special, it's a love story and if you from this part of the world you can watch scores and scores of Romantic movies every year. And they dont differ from each other much.

This particular movie is no different. It starts with a couple who marry with no liking for each other and ends with how they get to know each other and move on to a happy life. If you're from Tamil Nadu maybe you're gonna say "C'mon, tell me how many tamil movies dont have that as a story line?". True. But again as I said, movies are a matter of personal preference. And when you gotta watch it with a stunning talented crew of members giving it life, you do nothing but stand in total awe.

Lemme make it more clear. See, you could've watched hundreds of movies. Some may have wonderful actors, some with highly talented technicians, some with a great storyline or making. When all these happen at different movies, you don't give a damn. I mean the movies not worth it, and you just delete it from your system or trash it. But.. If... you watch a movie that has a mind blowingly remarkable composition of all those aforementioned pieces, that's when I get into this so called 'condition'. This storyline takes a piece of cake here. I mean you would forgive everything if you feel like the movie has portrayed you kinda person or a situation you've been (or being) thro, you just like it, love it and probably live it.

'Raja Rani' is something like that for me. I mean the cast starting from Arya, Nayanthara, Jai and Nazriya, form a wow.. The story depends upon Nayan and Arya, but for me Nayan ('Regina' in the film) has done complete justice to it (Arya too but.. with Nayan's blistering performance he just fails a little). Her performance in the climax is a classic.. I've watched it like a three hundred times and by the way the film stays in me, I think I'll probably watch it a few hundred more times. Without her, I don't know where this movie could've ended up. That being said, it doesn't in no way belittle the part played by the other three. Apart form a close-to-your-life storyline for you to like a movie, you need people who can bring it to you in the best form. They've done just that. I dont want to go much into the details of individual performances but a Special thanks to Nayan.

And maybe the next most important is Music. I know whether the music is original or not, but when I was thinking about why this movie made such an impression on me, I crossed the BGM part. It kinda contrasts the emotions of the characters. I just cant move from one to the next track. Keeps pulling me. The songs were too good especially when you watch it the movie. I've heard it before the movie but I never thought I would fall like I did now after watching it in the big screen. Awesome..

Even after all these, I know I'll get over this movie some day. Eventually, it happens. You kinda forget it after the ideas fade within you with time. I know coz it happened for me during the other movies that disturbed me like this. But nothing changes the fact that I was so involved, felt so close and the movie perforated deep into my heart. And that is something that I'll never forget.

Yours Aye

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A tribute to the Little Master

What does it feel to be a great man? How does it feel it to carry the burden of an entire nation's expectations? What it means to play like an extraordinary sportsman and live to be an exceptional Human being? What does it take to define longevity, expand the realm of Humbleness and be the definition of 'down-to-earth'? Is it an ordinary feat to manage the fans who are ready to kneel before you in a sense of admiration and awe? And, above all, how does it feel to be worshipped to as a God?

You must have correctly guessed that am writing about 'Bharat Ratna' Sachin Tendulkar, a man who is an epitome of Greatness in every sense of the word. I've been a fan of him for as long as I know. For an atheist like me, He is a God. Coz my sense of Godness does not simply come from divine entity that created the world kinda stuff. Nor does it mean to be Omnipotent or Everlasting. Its in doing what you do with utmost perfection. I could write a lot about my passion for the Little Master.

He is the one reason I started watching Cricket. For me, he gave Cricket an art form. He taught me what does the word 'timing' means. He taught me what 'elegance' means. He taught me what 'Humility' means. Most of all, he taught me redefine the notion of 'God'. Just watching him at the crease gives me a great sense of pleasure and satisfaction. That little statured man with his willow has won millions of hearts by doing what he does best. And that, for me, is Godness.

For someone like me, who started watching cricket, the game is no more. There are no more on-the-field-aggresion. There are no more nail bitting moments. As much as I love to watch him play, I pray to keep him off the batting end. I just want him on the field. Nothing more. The mere presence of him would take me off and that is something I'm gonna miss for the rest of my life. Maybe that is why I was in tears when he gave his last speech at his home ground. I just could'nt control myself. With every word he said, it was just..

For the fellow worshippers, I give here his speech that would linger in our ears, beat in rhythm with our hearts in the days to come. The least I could do for the man who has been a truly Spectacular Sportsperson the world has ever witnessed.

"All my friends.. Settle down.. Let me talk.. I'll get more and more emotional.. My life between twenty two yards for twenty four years, it's hard to believe that wonderful journey is coming to an end. But, I would like to take this oppotunity to thank all who've played an important role in my life. Also, for the first time in my life I'm carrying this list to remember all the names in case I forget someone. I hope you understand... It's getting a little difficult to talk but I'll manange..

The most important person in my life and the I missed him since 1999 passed-away my father. Without his guidance I don't think I would be standing here in front of you. He gave me freedom at the age of eleven and told me that "Chase your dreams, but make sure you don't find shortcuts. Path might me difficult but don't give up" and I've simply followed his instructions. Above all, he told me to be a nice human being which I've continued to so. I've tried my best. Everytime I've done something special, whenever I've showed my bat, it was my father. So I miss him today.

My mother.. I don't know how she managed such a naughty child like me... I was not easy to manage.. She must be extremely patient.. Uh.. For a mother, the most important thing that her child remains safe and healthy and fit.. And thats what she was most bothered about.. and worried about... She took care of me for the last twenty four years that I've played for India but even before that she started praying for me... The day I started playing cricket, she just prayed and prayed and prayed... And I think her prayers and blessing have given me the strength to go and then perform.. So big thank you to my mother for all the sacrifices..

In my school days for four years I stayed with my Uncle and my aunt because my schools was quiet far from my home.. and they treated me like their son.. My aunt after having had a hard day's play, I would be half-asleep... and she would be feeding me food so that I could go and play again tomorrow... I cant forget those moments.. I'm like their son and I'm glad that continue to be the same way..

My eldest brother Nithin and his family has always encouraged me.. My eldest brother doesnt like to talk much.. But the one thing he always told me was "Whatever you do, I know you would give your hundred percent.. and I've full confidence and faith in you"..His encouragement meant a lot to me..  My sister Savitha and her family was no different.. The first cricket bat of my life was presented to me by my sister. It was a Kashmir Willow bat... But that is where the journey began... She is one of those many who continue to fast when I bat.. So thank you very much..

Ajith,my brother, and what do I talk about him? I don't know really.. uh.. We've lived this dream together.. He was the one who sacrificed his career for my cricket. He spotted the spark in me and it all started from the age of eleven when he took me Acheraker sir, my coach, and from there on my life changed. You would find it hard to believe that even last night he called me and discussing my dismissal... Knowing that there was remote chance of batting again.. But just that the..habit which we've developed, that the rapport that we've developed for.. since my birth. It has continued and it'll continue.. Maybe even when I'm not playing cricket, we'll still be discussing technique...Various thing we agreed upon, my technique and so many technical things which I didn't agree with him.. We've had arguments and disagreements.. But in the end, when I look back at all those things, If that had'nt happend in my life, I would've been a lesser cricketer..

The most beautiful thing happened to me in 1990 when I met my wife Anjali.. Those were special years and it has continued and it'll always continue that way.. I know Anjali, being a doctor,.. there was a wonderful career in front of her..uh.. when we decided to have a family.. Anjali took the initiative to step back and say "You continue with your cricket and I'll take the responsibility of the family".. uh... Without that I dont think I would have been able to play cricket free and without any stress.. Thanks for bearing with all my faults, all my frustrations.. and all sorts of rubbish that I've spoken.. I normally do.. Thanks for bearing with me.. and always staying by my side through the ups and downs.. You're the best partnership I've had in my life..

Then the two precious diamonds of my life.. Sarah and Arjun.. They've already grown up.. My daughter is sixteen, my son is fourteen.. Time has flown by... I wanted to spend so much time with them..on special occasions like their Birthdays, their Annual days, their Sports day, goin on holidays.. Whatever... I missed out on all those things.. Thanks for your understanding.. Both of you have been so, so special to me.. You cannot imagine..  I promise you for fourteen years and sixteen years I've not spent enough time for both of you.. But the next sixteen years or even beyond that everything's for you...

My in laws Anand Mehta and Anubam.. both have been so, so supportive, loving, caring.. uh..  I've discussed on various things in life generally with them.. and taken their advice.. you know its so important to have a strong family to be always with you, guiding you.. Before you start clapping, the most important thing they did was allowing me to marry Anjali.. So, thank you very much...

In the last twenty four years, I've played for India, I've made new friends but before that I've had friends from my childhood.. They all have had terrific contribution right from.. as and when I call them to come and bowl to me in the nets, they've left all their work aside and come and helped me.. Be it joining me on holidays or having discussion about cricket, when I was little stressed and wanting to find a solution so that I could perform better.. All those moments, my friends were with me.. Even whenever I was injured, I would wake up in the morning because I could not sleep I thought my career was over because of injuries.. that's when my friends have woken up at three'o clock in the morning to drive with me, and just make me believe that your career is not over.. Life would be incomplete without all those friends.. Thanks for being there for me...

My cricket career started when I was eleven.. The turning point of my career was when my brother took me Acheraker Sir, my Coach.. I was extremely delighted to see him up in the stands.. Normally he sits infront of the television and he watches all the games that I play.. when I was eleven, twelve.. those were the day when I used to hop back on his scooter and play a lot of practice matches in a day.. First half of the innings I would be batting on Shivaji Park.. the Second Park, some other match at Haazad Mehta.. Sir would taking me all over Mumbai to make sure that I got match practice.. On a lighter note, in the last twenty nine years, Sir has never said well played to me because he thought I would get complacent and I would stop working hard... Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now.. I'm done on my career and because there are no more matches Sir in my life.. I would still be seeing cricket and Cricket would always stay in my heart.. But you've had immense contribution in my life and so Thank you very much..

My cricket for Mumbai started right here on this ground.. Mumbai Cricket Associsation.. which is so dear to me.. I remember landing from New Zealand at four'o clock in the morning and turning up for a game at eight'o clock here.. Just because I want to be part of Mumbai cricket.. Not that anyone forced me or Mumbai Cricket Association pressurised me to be here.. but that was for the love of Mumbai Cricket.. Thank you Very much... The president is here.. Thank you very much along with your team for taking care of me and looking after my cricket..

The dream was obviously to play for India.. and that's where my association with BCCI started.. BCCI was fantastic right from my debut.. Believing in my ability, selecting me in my squad at the age of sixteen was a big step.. So thanks to all the selectors for having faith in me..and BCCI for giving me the freedom to express myself out in the middle.. Things would've been different if you've not been behind me and I really appreciate your support.. specially when I was injured.. you were right with me and making sure that all the treatments were taken care of and I got fit and fine and played for India...

The journey has been special.. For the last twenty four years, I've played with many senior cricketers.. and even before that there were many senior cricketers whom I watched on television.. they inspired me.. to play cricket and play the right way... Thanks so much to all those senior cricketers.. Unfortuantely, I've not been able to play with them.. But I'm highly (something) for all their achievements, all their contributions.. You see on the mega-screen Rahul, Laxman, and.. Sourav.. Anil is not here... and my team-mates right here in front of me... You're like my family away from home.. I've had some wonderful times with you.. uh.. It's gonna be difficult not to be part of the dressing room.. Sharing those special moments.. All the coaches for their guidance..It's been special for me.. I know when M S Dhoni presented me with the two hundredth test match cap on Day one morning.. I had a.. brief message for the team.. I would like to repeat that... I just feel that all of us are so, so fortunate and proud to be part of Indian cricket team... serving the nation.. Knowing all of you guys I know you'll continue to serve the nation in the right spirit, in the right values.. I believe we've been the lucky ones to be chosen by the almighty to serve this wonderful sport... Each generation gets this opportunity to really take care of this sport and serving to the best of our ability.. I've full faith in you that you'll continue to serve this nation in the right spirit to the best of your ability and bring all the laurels to our country... All the very best...

I would be failing in my duty, If I didn't thank all the doctors, the physios, the trainers who put this difficult body together to back on the field and be able to play... The amount of injury that I've had in my career, I don't know how you managed to keep me fit but without your special efforts.. it would never have happened... The doctors have met me at weird hours... I mean I've called them... From Mumbai to Chennai... From Mumbai to Delhi.. wherever.. they've just taken the next flight.. they have left their work, they've come and treated me which has allowed me to play... So a big thank you to all three of you... for keeping me in good shape...

My dear friend Late Mark Mascarenhas.. My first manager.. We unforunately lost him in a car accident in 2001.. But he was such a well wisher of Cricket, my cricket, specially Indian Cricket... He was so passionate... He understood what it takes to represent a nation.. and gave me all the space to go our and express myself and never pressurised me to do this ad or promotion.. whatever my sponsors demanded.. He has taken care of all that and today I miss him.. Thank you Mark for all your contributions.. My current management team for repeating what Mark has done... when we signed the contract... exactly told them what I want from them and what I was to be representing India... They've understood that and respected that.. So thank you very much (current management team)...

Someone who has worked closely with me for fourteen years my Manager Vinod Naidu... He is more like my family... and all sacrifices, spending time away from his family for my work has been special.. So big thank you to your family as well.. for giving so much time... for my work to go on..

In my School days when I performed well.. the media backed me a lot... They continue to do that till this morning... Thank you so much to all the media... for supporting me and appreciating my performances.. It surely had a positive effect on me... Thank you so much for all the Photographers as well.. Those wonderfully captured moments will stay with me the for the rest of my life.... So to all the Photographers, a big Thank you...

I know my speech is getting a bit too long but this is the last thing I want to say... I want to thank all the people here who've flown in from various parts of the world.. and supported me endlessly.. whether I scored a zero or I scored hundred plus.. whatever... your support was so dear to me and it meant a lot to me... Whatever you've done for me, I know so many guys who've fasted for me, prayed for me, done all sorts of things for me.. You know, without all that, life wouldn't have been like this for me... I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and also say that time has flown by rather quickly.. But the memories that you've left with me, be always be with me for ever and ever... Especially "Sachin!! Sachin!!"... that'll reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing... Thank you very much... Good Bye..."