Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not Just Another Cricket Match

Picture Courtesy: Google Images
I was looking forward to this day since the past three years. Of all the match-ups in the whole season, this was the only match I really wanted to see. In 2011, this particular match was a complete wash out because of the rain. Last year, I was not even in a position to walk when the match took place but I was happy, we demolished them that day. This year, there were no obstacles, or so I thought when I booked the tickets to watch the IPL match between Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore on the 20th of April. One team in which my idol, Rahul Dravid plays at present and the other which betrayed him. Nothing would make me happier than seeing my idol in person and him being the victorious captain of a team against his former team on his ‘home’ ground.

This day was special to me in more ways than one. Not only was I ecstatic to watch my idol live, it was also going to be my first ever “Live” match. Yes, I know it sounds very shameful that I had never watched a Cricket match in a stadium before, but there’s always a first for everything. My passion for my beloved Cricket is unparalleled, but I always preferred watching the game from the comforts of my home rather than watching it live in the stadium. 

I never saw Dravid bat live in a Test Match in a stadium; that is probably my only regret as far as my beloved game is concerned. So, this particular match became all the more special as it might possibly be Dravid’s last competitive match on his home ground. He may not come back to play another season, although I said the same thing last year as well. So there is a glimmer of hope of Dravid coming back next year, it all depends on how he feels, he would be 41 by then. Anyways, if this was going to be his swan song then I had to be there at any cost.

There was a little drama even before the start of the match, nothing related to the Cricket of course. Because of the blasts that happened in Bangalore just three days prior to the match, the security was beefed up in the city and especially for this match, the security was heightened. The stadium had turned into a fortress, almost.

The day finally arrived and I, along with my buddy Suraj made our way to the stadium. My first experience inside a stadium was absolutely amazing. My excitement reached its peak when I saw my idol for the very first time. Dravid walked into the stadium in his training gear, started analyzing the pitch as he always does before the start of a match. There was a huge roar when he entered the stadium by a sparsely filled crowd.

My eyes were firmly set on him, watching his every move. I was absolutely dumbstruck, I couldn’t believe I was watching him live for the first time. The actual start of the match was still two hours away, Dravid and his teammates started practicing. After analyzing the pitch, Dravid got his pads on and started hitting a few balls in the nets, although he was practicing at the far end of the stadium as compared to where I was seated, I could still feel his absolutely commendable work ethic. This wasn’t new to me; he has been doing that since the past 17 years. 

Even after retiring from International Cricket a year ago, he still looked great physically. Dravid taking a break from his commentating duties during the recently concluded India-Australia Test series to prepare for this year’s IPL shows his commitment and determination. I was privileged to witness all that live for the very first time.

Virat Kohli won the toss and RCB chose to field first. Any team chasing always has a distinct advantage on this ground, hence I was expecting RR to bat last but it wasn’t to be. We needed a good start from Watson and Rahane but they fell very early in the innings. The run rate didn’t even touch six until the 8th over. Dravid was struggling but was fighting it out. I finally got to witness my idol bat live but at that moment I was so involved in the match, I didn’t even realize it. 

The run rate was slowly starting to pick up, and Dravid also started to find his shots, which gave me immense joy and happiness; that feeling just can’t be described in words. His flicks, his straight drives, his cover drives, his backfoot punches down the ground; although many found the fielders but for me just watching him hit those shots was pure heavenly. I was absolutely gutted when Dravid holed out for a fighting 35. It was an absolute privilege to witness my idol bat, I was content with the fact that he fought it out in the middle when the going was tough and again came up with a rock-solid innings. When Dravid fell, the score was 97 for 4, the rest of the team just dramatically collapsed. We eventually holed out for an inadequate score of 117. I wanted to leave the field at that instant, but there was still some optimism left inside me which said, there is still a chance. But honestly, I knew our fate was sealed.

In the second half, even though I knew what the result would be eventually, I still kept rooting for my team till the very end. I observed Dravid field all the way through, he would mostly field in the first slip or the mid off. I was keenly observing his mannerisms as I didn’t know if or when I would get that chance again. I learnt a lot of new things about my idol, that day. Something that would stay with me for a long long time.

For many, it was just another Cricket match. For me, it was something way beyond. Thank you, Rahul Dravid for all the memories.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Eternal Fighter turns 2 - Blogoversary

To wish the love
of his life
on her birthday,
A naïve,
and shy bloke,
decided to
create a blog.
He never hoped
she would ever read it,
but still managed
to pour his
heart out.

He never imagined
 he was even capable
of writing more
than four lines, 
Yet, gave blogging a shot.
He came up with a
ridiculous name, 
The Eternal Fighter,
The Ultimate Comeback Kid. 
A name which he is
now proud of,
A name which has
come to define him.

Initially, his friends
 encouraged him
to carry on.
A few ordinary posts,
odd comments,
few months later,
He seriously
considered himself
a “blogger”.
He also naively
considered himself
a “writer” at one point.

He got an opportunity 
to interact with
some of the
best bloggers
in the blogosphere,
through IndiBlogger.
Reading their
work regularly,
made him realize,
what “writing” 
actually is. 
Embarrassed with
the mediocrity he
has been
churning out,
He vowed to improve.

Inspiration mostly
 came from within.
Devastated with
health issues,
He chose to blog
about them.
 Slowly, he realized,
blogging about 
what he
made him
very happy.
Writing was one of the
few things which gave him
immense happiness,
during the most toughest
phase of his life.

He continued to do
 what made him happy,
despite his mediocre
writing skills.
He either
about himself,
or his idol,
Rahul Dravid.
Oh, he also
about cats.
To conceal his
limited writing skills,
He often resorted to
long bouts of absence.

Along the way, 
he made 
a few friends for life,
who stuck with him
since the very
They read and
on all his posts,
irrespective of
how sub-standard
they were.

He wishes to thank 
them from the bottom
of his heart,
for their continued support
and encouragement.
He has survived in the
blogosphere for two years,
only because of his
loyal readers
and friends.

I know, everyone will agree when I say this, one’s blog is not just a blog; it’s an extension of themselves, an important part of their life. I am no different; my dearest blog is a very important part of my life and will always continue to be. I will keep on blogging as long as I can, for it has given me so much, which I can never repay. 

Here’s wishing a very happy 2nd birthday to my dear blog. Thank you for everything you have done to me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The IndiBlogger Meet with HP - Original vs. Counterfeit

I was looking forward to this day, to attend my second IndiBlogger meet. The first blogger meet I attended, sponsored by Nokia was more or less a disappointment as there was very less Blogger interaction; it was more of a Nokia show, many who attended the meet back in November will surely agree. This meet wasn’t as hyped as the previous one; there were no celebrity hosts this time around, so I went in with little expectations, although I was very excited to meet a few known faces, also make new friends in the process. I am glad this meet managed to do just that. There was a lot of blogger interaction, fun games, photo shoots, mimes, debates and whole lot of prizes to be won (If you were lucky, you would even go home with a couple of leftover pen drives as well). All in all, it was a highly fun filled afternoon.

The ever so punctual me, reached the venue with my buddy Harkirat at least 5 minutes before the scheduled start which was 1:30PM, but it began only around 2:20PM or so. But it was worth the wait. The theme of the meet was “Originality”. In terms of the sponsors, HP, it meant buying their original products, especially their ink cartridges. To make everyone aware about not buying counterfeited products, and why original products fare better as compared to counterfeited ones, in all aspects.

The meet started with randomly picked bloggers introducing themselves and mimicking any one character of their choice, be it a cartoon character or any real-life character. Listening to some of the bloggers was real fun as well as cringe-worthy at the same time. And for the second time, I didn’t get to speak.

In one of the fun events we participated, we were given a blank sheet of paper which contained a QR (Quick Response) Code in it. Using a QR app, we needed to take a picture of the QR code which would generate a part of a quote to each individual; our job was to find the people who possess the remaining part of the quote. It was a really fun activity which had everyone involved; I was one of the few people, who were able to make a connection with the quote (eventually, I might add) as I was just roaming around aimlessly screaming my quote for the most part. There were no prizes given out for this activity though.

Then we had a chance to get our pictures taken in a unique way, so along with my partners in crime, my dear friend and mentor Sujatha Sathya, Harkirat and Sabitha came up with a novel idea to spread a message against Rape. So we got inspired by Gandhiji’s idea of three monkeys and added a fourth monkey to showcase our message. Although we didn’t win the award for the ‘Best Picture’ (our picture was slightly overlooked, I might add) but we were satisfied with its outcome.

Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil. The fourth monkey symbolizes - DO NOT RAPE.
The mime task was fun too, our team which was initially named ‘Photocopy’ but I suggested to add the word Original (in keeping with the theme of the day, also to intend pun). So our team was called “Original Photocopy” consisting of 15 members. We were given the topic “Jungle Book” to enact which we performed very well. Again, we didn’t win anything, well not even the worst performing team award.

A representative from HP spoke about how to protect originality and avoid counterfeiting. He made some really valid points about how and why purchasing an original product is better as compared to buying counterfeited ones. Normally, the main reason why people opt to buy duplicated products instead of the original is because of its cost, it is cheaper as compared to an original one. There is a common misconception that originals are expensive and copies are cheap which is not true.

When you buy an original ink cartridge, it will invariably give you true value for money; they will last much longer and perform much better. Normally a standard HP ink cartridge would cost around Rs. 1900 which is considered slightly expensive, so HP has tried to address this problem. Now the cost of a cartridge starts from Rs. 449 onwards. The number of pages you can print using this cartridge would be 600 and print quality of the pages would be excellent throughout. And it is very convenient too. As HP has come up with a service called “Dial-a-Cartridge” where in you can dial the number 1800 425 4999 and order an ink cartridge and the product will be delivered right at your door step in 6 to 8 hours. You can also order the cartridge online to avail the same service.

It has been noted that, 1 in 2 non-HP cartridges poses problem, as well as 70% of refilled cartridges poses problems. Compared to the original cartridge, the print quality of the counterfeited ones isn’t consistent, they won’t last long. Also you can’t get a quality color photo printout.

And finally, to identify a fake product from an original one, we need to check for the holographic security seal on the product. Also, there is an app called “e-supplies” using which you can scan the bar code, if you get a positive message then the product is genuine else it is a counterfeited product. You can also validate the product on the HP website.

It was indeed a day of original awesomeness as promised by IndiBlogger and HP.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Achilles - A Year in Pictures

I had written about an “incident” which happened exactly a year ago today, that is the day I lost (and found) the most lovable, cutest little guy ever. I christened him “Achilles” as he was so brave and courageous. He has been a member of our family for a year now and it has been one fantastic, roller-coaster ride. He is most delightful little kitty who has brightened up our lives. I can’t think of a day without him, he’s always up to his antics doing something or the other and I just love him to death. To celebrate the one year anniversary of his homecoming, I present you some his most precious moments captured in pictures. 

My Little Tiger

Ready to Strike
Achilles used to play a little hide and seek game with me when he was younger. After turning a year older he feels he is too old to play such “childish” games. But when he gives you this look, you know what to expect, don't ever go near him even by mistake, else be ready for some scratches on your arms. I have experienced it quite a few times already.

Bird Watching
Achilles in a very contemplative mood or is he staking out for his next kill? We can never tell what he is up to.

Achilles and Me
With Maa
Achilles watching his younger self
This was a unique moment I was able to capture when I was playing a video of his on my old desktop computer, he came running after he heard his own meows and started staring at the monitor.

Various moods of Achilles

Achilles' sister Enyo with her triplets
Achilles' sister Enyo was being taken care of by my friend since the past one year and she gave birth to 3 beautiful kittens in September of last year.

The triplets when they were a month old