My (mis)adventure with sports

I have written enough lecture about road discipline, humanity, cleanliness etc., etc., so let me not bore you with the preaching. I will write now of sports, particularly my misadventure with sports.

Cricket. – FORTE FOR MOST OF YOU

First a confession: I have no interest in cricket what so ever. I can’t even list the 11 players of Indian team and this has always been a constant source of embarrassment, more so when girls discuss about certain match and I am dumb. Hence, I have been accused at time of not being a true Indian.

When I was in class 3 or 4, my parents bought me new bat from. Next morning I went to some park with kids from our neighborhood to play cricket. Not just I was denied any chance of batting, I forgot to collect my bat while coming back only to come home to hear, “you are not going to play with those kids again”

As I grew up, I would try to go to park with another set of kids, as our home was shifted. While fielding I always used to pray that ball should not come to me, because when I would try catch ball, I would get to hear this from you, “you think ball is gonna lovingly come to your arms, why don’t you move.” I think I was little like Rohan Awasthi of Taare Zamin pe! By the time I was in class 8, I was too conscious of that disapprobation administered to me! So I stopped playing cricket. Forever. But later when I was in college, I had really awesome friends (read ramjane , kumar!) who would invite me to play and give me batting. I would be invariably bowled out in a maximum of 3-4 balls.

I had much fervor for batting until recently; I would trade with kids near my home the kites that land on my roof, for chance of batting.

Oh my god! I just revealed to you guys that I don’t know flying kites either..

Okhay enough of dhoni and ganguly..

Basket Ball

In school, I attended coaching for sometime, and most of the times, coach would exhaust me in the warm up itself. But things changed dramatically when I went into college, I thought that now I m in the best college in the country, what more do I want. Now I will do everything and anything I like, one of them being basket ball. So I was there on court on 3rd day in college, without fear of ragging! I was sincere at practice, would come to court at correct time. One day we were playing zone defence. I was playing centre, when suddenly the coach came on me and said, “what the hell are you doing, you don’t have brains ? You think by jumping like monkey, you can bloc the offence” and little more he said. You guys might be thinking I was this close to tears, but I actually was very close to bursting into pearls of laughter, but that wasn’t visible on my face which was inexplicably grim at that time. So seniors told after the coach left, ‘kid is finally ragged’.
Of all the sports I liked basket ball most, but somehow couldn’t be regular , may be because wasn’t doing good at it. Once in several matches I would get to shoot, mostly I would pass the ball, but sometimes I would become selfish and attempt, and very rarely those will convert into basket, and those ephemeral moments would drive me for the next few days. In my 7th semester, I made it to waiting list of team! I was very happy as that mail containing the list for Inter IIT basket ball team players was sent to all. But the wait turned out to be eternal as none of the permanent players fall ill before tournament.

Athletics and others.

I took up athletics in college only. In fact I was never more serious about sports than in college. I worked for long jump, and 100 metres, again for the annual Inter IIT sports Meet. As far as physical efforts were considered, the task was quite demanding, and I was putting my best foot in. finally I the day of selections came, I borrowed my friend’s boots. I missed tutorial class to attend the selections. But could not measure up to the coach’s expectations, so was told, “try next time… goodluck” and walked back from that vast athletic field.

Before attainting myself anymore, I will conclude, I have had been an outstanding sports man, I mostly stand outside the team .

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The regular embarassment

There are few situations of awkwardness which I face every now and then. Problem is one can’t get rid of them, you run into them almost everyday.

Firstly, if someone sings just casually and makes facial expression and looks or comes towards you or looks at you as if singing to you, although he might be in the mind emphasizing the meaning/feeling of song and least aware of me or the embarrassment within storming my mind. What the hell he/she is doing? Why can’t he sing alone? I never do that torture to anyone. I sing only in elevator when there is no one else. I wonder if in those times, I should sing with them, or sing along them – both these actions will make me feel even more embarrassed. Or should I ignore them, like they don’t exist. That might make them feel I am not attending them, or more busy in my work! What to do man.

Secondly, people cracking awfully pathetic jokes. How can someone do this to me? It’s tough to laugh. I just smile to give them some respect lest they should feel ignored and consider me rude. But it becomes a torture, when I am the butt of joke. I don’t mind laughing at myself, but the joke has to be funny by my humor. So now when I smile, people feel I am shying. Wht mother crap is that. I guess in future, I should smile or laugh only when I feel like doing the same, without giving shit to any social obligations. Like Sachin does. Yet everyone loves him.

Thirdly (and certainly not the last), grown ups asking me how much money I make. Do they not have least social manners? It’s so embarrassing.

“Problems are meant to be solved …. not grumbled about"

This is one of the many good lessons I have learned from my friend Sachin. The deplorable state of various amenities in our hostels is something we constantly whine about. I had an interesting experience recently in this regard. There is a cistern above the urinals in our washrooms. I am not sure if people are aware of that because I have never seen them working here in any hostel in over three years. Perhaps no one complained to the concerned person for this, though lots of people come out of and go into washrooms with their hands on their noses. Cisterns are supposed to constantly let some drops of water fall on the urinal so that urine is flushed out regularly which otherwise smells like shit. Naphthalene balls are a cheaper solution but I was impressed to see cisterns in their place. So, I thought that when we are given this costly facility, why not it be put to use. I used the electronic complaint system launched last semester. Its response was far more than I expected. The plumber knocked at my door the very next day! I was truly taken by surprise. I showed him the situation, he did something. The cistern worked for a day. After that, rather than sprinkling water, it was like a running tap! It was closed in few days. This semester, I complained again. Again they came to me on the first working day itself. I was this time not too impressed because I expected that like last time, he will do some quick service to show officially that he has fixed the problem and gain money- typical ‘sarkari’ method. So I talked to him this time in a very firm manner. He explored the cistern very patiently and told that some thing was blocked for not having been used for ages. I was appalled to see that such costly things are kept idle to become useless in long time (by the way, the expensive Sony music system in the gym is another such example). It was truly useless now, as he had to change it. Two days later, I got a new cistern in out washroom. It is not the branded Parryware or Hindware like the previous one, but it does work! And ours is perhaps the only washroom at least in Manas that has a cistern up and running. By the way, I also noticed in admin building recently, a urinal with automatic cistern, it had a sensor! I really felt that I was Indian Institute of TECHNOLOGY.

Moral of the story? Rather than bitching about “JUST TEN SPOONS IN MESS” or “FED UP WITH ONLY ‘Panther’ PRESCRIBED IN DISPENSARY?” or “WHY ARE HOSTEL TOILETS STINKING”, get up and talk politely but firmly to the person responsible for the situation. Remove this misconception from the minds of admin that ours is just another ‘sarkari’ office. This is IIT, where they have got to deal with educated and young dynamos called IITians who know well how to fight for their right.

About me : Part I : The person

I have been writing about others, about society, about happenings in the world, about movies, about culture about music… but this thought of writing myself descended upon me pretty late. Of course, this is not my age to write an autobiography, ‘coz I am just 22. Nor have I achieved any significant thing in life and I don’t have much experience of life either. But sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and think of one self. I want to think of what I want from life. What are my aspirations? And to add more to this philosophical air, I was recently asked by a friend of mine, what the purpose of life was.

It is always nice to think about oneself. Though for me thinking has always been something I spend my most time into. But the urge of seriously thinking about myself comes on me when I face interviews. The first thing they ask is to tell about myself. We all know that we are the best judge of ourselves. That we know ourselves the best. But we know a lot about us. At least I can speak about myself at length. But knowledge about oneself is so huge that I don’t understand where to begin from. What are most important things to say? The whole story boils down to thinking in an organized manner. After cogitatinf on self , I have kinda divided my description in three broad heads — Rajeev the person, then his two major loves of life : Music and nature.

Let me begin with food, I love home made food, because I never had much food outside. At home, I am not typical mumma’s boy who would eat ‘anything prepared by mom. I love chhole, rajma, chane, and any daal and aloo sabzi that is sour with heavy doses of tomatoes and spicy enough. I devour aloo pranthas, but I can’t have them much because of a growing tummy!! Then I love rice, dosas. I have a small hate list also. I don’t like tinde, tori, gheeya, idli . I guess that’s it. Otherwise I am quite comfortable with most food stuffs. I forgot to mention sweets. I love gulabjumans, rajbhog, gajar halwa, daal halwa, sohn papdi and I am sure many more that I can’t remember now. And yes, I relish the fancy stuffs too like chaat papdi, golgappe, raj kachori. The fried ones are kind of no for me these days for the fear of becoming a fatso.

Ok next comes clothes and grooming. Well this is one area where I can show huge innovation. I know how to wear even unusable clothes with grace. I don’t do expensive shopping much, but I do smart shopping. I purchase things that look like an original brand but actually it might not be, ‘coz it comes at a cheap price. Of course, when one has to purchase things which are to last long, for instance jeans, shoes and watch, then s/he should not mind investing in good brands and quality. In fact it’s not the brand, but the look of that stuff that appeases me. And as for quality, I don’t think I am qualified enough to distinguish between things on the basis o f quality. I love to design clothes myself also, because it makes them distinct. I have this natural urge to be different. I don’t feel satisfied when I look too much similar to rest all. My favorite color has always been blue, might be for my love for water. I like sober and elegant clothes and am quite comfortable with cool dude kinda stuff also. For ties, I feel the simpler the better. There are some issues that I disapprove in dressing up. Not tucking the shirt in when worn over a trouser is a big NO for me. Similarly wearing sport shoes over pants is something I find odd. I am quite uncomfortable in seeing nails grown even a bit, be it with me or anyone else. I don’t like very shiny belts. I am not much into using hair gels for the fear of losing my hair which have already started showing the signs falling.

Next entertainment. I like sensible cinema. I like movies whether Hindi or English that show some logical story close to reality and not sticking themselves to fantasy. Of course I love films that also treat me with wonderful music. My kind of movies would also include those that show plenty of nature, visual effects, real lives and places and dialogues that I can connect with. So I liked the movies Kya kehna, A Beautiful Mind , Life is beautiful , Umrao Jaan, DDLJ, Sholey, Lakshya, Pardes, Mixed Doubles infact all Konkana Sen stuffs (No, I am not art film type guy), Dil To pagal hai, , Matrix I (hate to admit that I haven’t seen the rest two), LOTR. Sound of Music, October Sky , most of Yash Raj films, and many more. And ofcourse all the comedy stuff .. not to forget the Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s storehouse. As for TV shows , I am crazy about FRIENDS. I was passionate about Hip Hip Hurray when it used to be aired on Zee. I also loved Hum Paanch, Khichdi , Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, Tu Tu Main Main, Shriman Shrimati.

Books and reading: I haven’t read much though I always wanted to read more and more. So I don’t have as such any particular taste. But I like comic stuffs. I love to read real stories and news analysis. I particularly loved Bapsi Sidhwa’s ‘An American Brat’, RK Narayan’s Swami and his friends. Sunday Magazine of The Hindu has been my favourite because of the gamut of knowledge and information it gives on variety of issues – dance , music, wildlife, health, personalities , events, history and a plethora of other topics.

Sports : I like basketball from my school days or may be from the time when Kuch Kuch Hota hai was released. But I remember I attended the coaching even before that!! I have been trying hard to learn the game for a very long now, but could not learn it properly, sometimes I feel that I should give up, dunno till when I can continue with something I constantly fail to achieve. I find athletics also very enjoyable. I have been involved in high jumps, long jumps, but one thing that really gets my adrenaline pumping is footrace. There’s nothing more exciting than the challenge of race.

Next people. This is a serious area. I like people who love laughing and smiling and who can bring good cheer on the faces of others. Because I am myself that kinda guy. I enjoy chatting with my lovely friends and making them laugh and smile. I strongly believe that smile makes even the ugliest face beautiful. I hate when I find people serious and unable to share the reason for the same with me. Similarly I am quite uncomfortable with people who stay silent. Seeing smiles on the faces of the people who I care for gives me immense pleasure. As usual, I love innocent people. I can tolerate some attitude, but arrogance is just not compatible with me. If some one tries to show attitude to me, then s/he should be ready to know the height of my nose. I love simple, down to earth and hardworking people. I respect successful persons. Intellect is the first thing I notice in any person I get in touch with. Of course, from a distance, it’s the looks and cleanliness that attracts me. People talented in anything attract me like magnet. I am a bit crazy in the sense that if I find someone not compatible with me, I snap the ties off permanently. OK this could be a weakness of mine. Finally, I like the company of people who share the interests I have, who can appreciate and understand things I like.

I am myself …. . ok I will have to be a bit narcissist here, slightly complicated person in the sense that it’s not easy to understand me. Of course I am not proud of this fact and in fact I am my self trying hard to understand what I want in life, where to draw a line between my desires and my aims. Ok now to make things simple, I am, I feel, emotional (but I won’t be any more very soon, I am gonna be very strong), shy (ironically, I have never been scared of stage, I enjoy performing more than applauding in the audience) , caring… that’s it.. I can’t write more than this. This it self took my nerves to admit in public!!! And apart from this I am a hardworking guy, who is not scared of labor. I always believe in being straightforward without formalities, in having courage to call a spade a spade and in appreciating people for their good deeds. Thouhg I am quite with individuals, but like Tughlaq, my weaknesses include difficulty to deal with a group.

About me : part II : the mother nature

My love for nature has been here since very long. The morning and evening sun fills my heart with divine thoughts. Morning sun brings with it the hopes. That nothing hasn’t changed in the big scheme of things. Nothing is lost. And bathing in the orange of dawn has its own pleasure. Also, after days of rains or after lots of dark winter days, a bright sunny day is a blessing. It brings shine on my face and positive energy in my soul.

Another thing that I love about nature is water. Mere sight of water brings to my senses, the sounds of santoor and sitar. In fact for me, music and water ( you can read rains ) have always been inseparable. Sight of one brings the thoughts of other. The music of santoor feels like tinkling with water. Be it waterfalls or rains causing ripples on water or a silent river or mighty water of a furious river gushing out ferociously, they all bring plenty of joys for me. My heart swells with joy on seeing rains. The fragrance of excited soil of earth just before the rains pleases my senses. The sounds of thunder and lightning send sweet bells ringing in my ears. In fact water of all sorts particularly, the large water bodies are very mysterious and thought provoking figures. I have spent 4 yrs of my life near the mighty Brahmputra, though it is silent here near IIT.

Now when I am counting the elements of nature, I must not miss sky. I like mainly dark sky full with black and scary clouds. That could be attributed to my love for rains. A cloud less sky looks like barren that has nothing to offer. Sky also looks majestic and classy when it takes pride in showing off its star studded clothes in the night. On a summer night, it’s a great thing to just lie down under a starry sky and observe it or talk to friends or siblings.

I feel completely spellbound to see snow covered alps that I saw in reality in Austria. I get the same feeling to see hills capped with clouds which are a regular phenomena here in Assam during rains.

Next, I love flowers and greeneries. Flowers I feel are next the best creation of god after kids. Flowers carry with them so much of feel good factor. And best thing about them is that they all have their unique place in our senses. Though I haven’t known and seen many varieties of flowers myself, but I feel delighted to see even a wild but beautiful flower. Because it’s not the name of flower that matters, but the beauty it reflects that pleases. Sunflowers are one of my favorites. They look so beautiful and hopeful when they look at sun.

I also feel very relieved and happy to see greenery. Dense green forests and trees, lush green foothills and countryside – they all look beautiful. I love to see them early in the morning, particularly in the winters when fog is in the backdrop and their leaves are having small water droplets. A carpet like green grass is also soothing to my eyes.

One would notice one common feature in most of my interests above. They all have elements of innocence in suitable proportion. I like anything that is innocent. For this reason, I like goats and cows. I haven’t seen much rabbits though. Goats are so cute; they just don’t raise their eyes. Even if they do it, they do it so coyly with sheepish smiles in their eyes. Sometimes some dogs also do it. I don’t like many animals. Partly because of the fear of being hurt. And also, some of them are very untidy. But for me innocence is the top priority. At times my heart goes out for even an unclean kid if s/he is innocent enough.

Finally to complete the list, against all norms of being a man, I do love kids. I feel they are the most beautiful things in this world. They are so innocent, like clay. They don’t have any country, language, caste or religion, or any such bias. These things might sound cliché but these are the things that make them so unique and so lovable. They don’t give a damn to any one in the world. They won’t be frightened even if Hitler stands before them. Sometimes I fell so small and insignificant when I am ignored by kids!!

About me : part III : music meri jaan

There are quite a few things that I derive pleasure from, but in those things I find immense joy. So may be total measure of pleasure remains a constant!! My heart really swells with joy when I listen to very good piece of music, particularly Indian Classical music. Even closest people in my life don’t believe in my penchant for music, my brother himself teases me by telling that he can give me competition in singing!! My love for classical music goes back my childhood. I don’t now why but even as a child, I would be attracted to classical dance and music. I remember one incident when I was probably in class 8, and a show of Indian classical dance was aired on Zee TV for the new year bash, and my sister switched the channel to Star plus because that was showing performances by film stars. And I got upset and left the room. In the morning, I told my sister,”apni sanskriti bhi nahin samajhte”!! Today, when I think of this incident , I can only laugh and smile. This think was indeed unfathomable with regard to a 12 year old boy. I hardly knew the difference between Bharatnatyam and Kuchhi pudi or for that matter between sitar and sarod!!

But things have changed today, over the years I have been listening to variety of music. Now I can identify people like Pt. Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismilah khan by names and by faces too. Even though I have never touched a sitar, veena or santoor, but still I can distinguish between them when I listen to them. I can almost always identify the singer if it is Lata Mangeshkar or Asha Bhonsle or any known voice or the one that I have been listening to and I like. I love singing as well. I may resemble Sweety of Hum Paanch serial in the sense, that the way she would open the door of her home always with a song, I also take bath with variety of songs, which invariably include Vandematram and Mile sur mera tumhara. So people staying around my room get this feeling that they are having a distorted version of DoorDarshan around them!!!!

If all this is not my love for music, what else is it then? I also like non classical stuff, including Bryan Adams, pop music, and film music as well. In fact, most of the times, I like to listen to sitar that plays the tune of some good song that I have heard , may be in some film or elsewhere.

I like dancing as well as is reflected from above, but I have seen very less of classical dance or any dance for that matter because such things are not kept much on our LAN of our IITG, as these things aren’t quite cred. But still when I listen to good dance music , again particularly classical, then I feel the vibration of my feet, I start dancing with steps that I feel are good. I at times feel that I am more of a performer than an audience. Whenever I see a good performance, then this thought in my mind of appreciating the performer is as intense as the feeling of going to the stage and doing the same performance myself.

Quote Unquote

Refelections of my thought process.

“har kisi ko chahiye hamari zindagi ke hisse, per hum banna chahe junke woh na samajh paye ye kisse”

“Kisi ko itna bhi naa apnaayiye ki fir tanhai bhi apni na rahe”

“Sensing a sense of satisfcation after a war is senseless”

“‘And they lived happily ever after’ is a fact of fiction only”

“If an for an eye will leave everyone blind, then two eyes for an eye will save your other eye”

“Humanity is religion”

—- Rajeev D Gupta