A beautiful night

A cold and rainy day in a hill town is scary and at the same time it is lovely. A December night, rainy and chilly, the unseasonal rain had worsen the weather. I was waiting for my college bus during a weekend, which usually departs at 8 PM from the city center to my college campus, situated in jungles outside the outskirts of the city. There were hardly six or seven of us waiting for the bus. All of them were unknown faces and mostly were workers from the neighboring village of our college campus. It was a cold day, even the known faces would have been difficult to recognize, given everyone was under the cover, masked by mufflers or monkey caps or both.  The era of smart phone zombies was yet to arrive. Forget about smart phones, even normal mobile phones were rare those days, and hence time pass at the bus stop was a little harder. So chit chat was the best time pass. While looking for the know faces, I recognized one familiar face. It took a while to realize, that a shy & cute g

The tale of two rainy nights

Deja vu My life took me to a city called Noida, which is rain deprived. Howbeit, today the nature was generous on the desert city, it was raining like there is no tomorrow. It was Friday and I had some weekend commitments in New Delhi, so I decided to leave early. It was raining since morning, the otherwise bright and hot Noida was looking gloomy, wet and cooler. At 4:30 evening, it was as dark or as bright as 4:30 AM. The issue with almost all the metro cities or for that matter all the cities in India is, that they are not able to or prepared to handle rains. It happens in the city of Mumbai, where rainfall is generous and a day or two dry days during the monsoon months are Golden or in NCR, where a day or two of rain in the monsoon season are little two much. Traffics have another connection to rains. Come the rains, you will have immediate traffic jams. God knows why. I kept on moving towards Delhi, avoiding all the big jams until I reached just near the coveted DND flyover. The tr

Leadership Lessons from Cricket Field - Part 4: The Fractured Finger

The episode of Dropped catch was overpowered by the strong teamship by the team, which stood in solidarity behind me. The negative soul was shown the door for his arrogance. The individuals can win you few matches, but team support, when the need rises, saves from embarrassments.  This was my final year in competitive cricket. Thou, I can say it now. At that point of time, I didn't knew it was my last year. We succeeded in several matches, tournaments and uplifted our games to a very high level. The cricket season ended. The summers started. The eastern part of North India get summers early. The district boards get the district league tournaments before the heavens start pouring. This is a tough period to be on the ground throughout the day. The sun literally suck your fluids, without using a straw. It is a time, when people get sick due to heat. April 2003, the district league has started. Luckily, it was held in the stadium we used to practice, on the pitches made for Ranji Troph

Leadership Lessons from Cricket Field - Epilogue

This is the story of early 2000s.  I was selected as a field captain for my team. To all who are not aware of the role of field captain, the person has literally no power, except managing the practice sessions, calls out bowlers to bowl, batsmen to pad up, shout out last round or plead people to take a round of the ground and stretch. It's a pathetic job. I have played for larger and bigger clubs earlier. But due to time constraints and cut short the travel time, I was looking for a club nearby. There were three clubs, the MP YCC, promoted and sponsored by then Member of Parliament of my region. And one was a low profile looking Azad Club, bunch of spirited but not so promising. Third one was youngest and naive. Since, I had to cut short my number of outside matches, so that I can have spare time for my college cricket practice, studies and college classes, I chose the third one. It was once a most prominent clubs, but after retirements of its stalwart, the club was under inexperie

Leadership Lessons from Cricket Field - Part 2: The Formation Years

A team sport teaches you a lot. It doesn't matter, in which part of the world you play it, doesn't matter,  which background you come from, the sport is generous enough to offer everyone. The reason, two of the shrewdest & successful captains of the history of India's most popular sport, cricket, comes from contrast backgrounds. Sourav Ganguly has rich and classy background, comes from a metropolitan city, but the game equally celebrated MS Dhoni, who had a humble background and comes from a much smaller town. I come from even smaller town. I have observed the game very closely and when Iook back, I am overwhelmed by the fact that how enriched I am due to  this game. I have never formed a team or have been a founder member of any team. I rather chose to sneak in and be part of a team, which was formed before my arrival.  It has its own challenges but many advantages too. Since I was never a founder member, I never had the authority to play at my will in any of the teams

Leadership Lessons from Cricket Field - Part 3: Dropped Catch

Winters of 2002 was not different than any other year. The chilling winter has thou, started to recede. But, it was still harsh enough on hands on the cricket grounds. 13th February, a day just after my birthday, we had to play semifinals of a tournament in Hayaghat, against a known team (team supported by member of parliament, mentiond in previous episodes) from the same ground we practice. The opponents were superior and tough. We got to bat first. The conditions were chilling and ball was swinging a lot. Our gritty openers took a lot on their ribcage and we succeeded to put up a fighting total on the board. I scored very few runs, just reached a double digit. While fielding in slips, I injured my index finger badly. I asked for my replacement on field, to which my captain responded, "you are twice as better fielder with one hand than those on bench, so continue". As a favour, he released me from the slips and positioned me at point, thinking most of the balls will pass by

पाठक चाचा

मुस्कुराते हुए चेहरे के साथ जन्मे पाठक चाचा दुनिया के भले लोगों में से एक थे। प्रकृति ने उनके मुख पर ये मुस्कान सदैव के लिए रख छोड़ा था। कटा हुआ ऊपरी होंठ (cleft lip), उनकी पहचान भी थी और समस्या भी। आजकल तो इसका इलाज आसान है, उन दिनों भी रहा होगा, किंतु बहुत ही सामान्य परिवार से आने वाले पाठक चाचा का इलाज नहीं हुआ और वो ऐसे ही रहे। पाठक चाचा से जो भी मिलता था, उनके कटे होंठ सहसा ही ध्यान अपनी ओर खींच लेता। मैंने भी जब उनको पहली बार देखा तो वोही देखा। हालांकि समय के साथ जब उनको जाना, तब उनकी यह तथाकथिक विकृति हमें विकृति नजर आना बंद हो गई। अक्सर ही सुबह की चाय के वक्त वह हमारे यहां आया करते थे। चाय बस बहाना था, वो सुबह की सैर लेते और अपने मित्र, यानी मेरे पिताजी से मिलने आ जाते। हमारे कई पड़ोसियों को उनका सुबह सुबह आना अच्छा नहीं लगता था। उनका मानना था, की सुबह सुबह विकृत चेहरा देखना अशुभ होता है। मुझे उन लोगों की सोच पर आज भी दया आती है। उनके उसी भगवान ने उन्हें भी बनाया। भगवान की कृति अशुभ कैसे? जो नास्तिक हैं, उनके लिए, प्रकृति की कृति अशुभ कैसे? बहरहाल, हम बच्चे पाठक चाच