November 2009

This year on November 15, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar completes his 20th year in international cricket. What an incredible achievement that is. Tendulkar has always been the lone cricketer whom I loved so much as any other Indian does and he was one of the main reasons I started loving cricket more everyday. The man is such a complete human on and off the field that he seems to have a divine aura surrounding him. Of course comparisons with Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting and of course the Don himself will always be there, but none of them have even come close to experiencing the pressure and the weight of expectations that Tendulkar has had to face and succeed all these 20+ years. To have come through all such things and still have all the great cricketing records in his name, man he is the modern-day cricketing God! I am 21 years old now and this guy has been playing cricket successfully for 20 years! What a man!

Sachin Tendulkar

There is not a single eyesore when watching Tendulkar play – the divine straight drive, mesmerizing dance down the track to the spinners to hit a six, the delicate sweep and a unique paddle sweep, the brutally punishing upper-cut, inimitably perfect backfoot cover and square drive, natural flick shot, damaging hook and pull shot, the brand new reverse-sweep and scoop shots – you name any shot, this man plays it perfectly. All these years, he has grown and matured with the game, adapting himself to a variety of roles and challenges and performed outstandingly at each of them.

Enough of praising this man for whom any quantity of praise will always be insufficient. Let me quote my favorite innings that this man has played – a few of which I couldn’t watch.
1. Chennai test century against Pakistan braving a career-threatening back spasms taking India to the threshold of victory before others blew it.
2. 1998 Australian tour to India where he single-handedly took on and demolished the Aussie bowlers, particularly Shane Warne, pulling him for 4s and 6s from the rough – a territory where no one had ever dared to be in and the memorable twin “Desert Storm” innings which ensured that India made it to the finals of the tri-nation Sharjah cup and won it. After this tour, Shane Warne was no longer invincible and he started having nightmares of Tendulkar.
3. Century against Kenya in the 99 World cup a day after losing his father. He didn’t quit the tournament when he could have easily done so. He came back a day after the bereavement and hit a century and dedicated it to his father! That was very emotional and touching.
4. Brutal innings against Pakistan in the all-important 2003 World Cup encounter and I can still remember Tendulkar upper-cutting the then fastest bowler Shoaib Akthar for a six over backward point. That was quite an emphatic innings and statement made to the opposition after living in anticipation and pressure regarding that match for over a year.
5. Tendulkar has always been blamed for not winning enough matches for India, but he did single-handedly take India to an emphatic victory in the finals of the 2007-08 VB series with match-winning knocks. That was wonderful achievement for the man who has always reserved his best for the best team in the world.
6. A patient and composed century against England at Chennai took India to a victory that seemed impossible when 3 innings of the test were over with 4 sessions to play and 280 runs to win. Sehwag blasted the hapless English attack on the final session of the penultimate day to allow India a really good chance at chasing down. Still on the fifth day even though there was continuous progress in the score, wickets too were falling. At the fall of the fourth wicket, Yuvraj Singh, still sadly not a settled Test batsman came to the crease. Tendulkar shepherded him in the initial stages that Yuvraj, once settled, tore apart the attack and paved way for the improbable Indian victory with Sachin who scored the winning runs and reached his century at the same time with a boundary. Tendulkar was emotional about the victory and dedicated his match-winning knock to the victims and survivors of the gory 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, his home.
7. For a man who possesses such a silken cover drive, not to play that shot throughout a marathon innings of 241 not out is a great achievement. Tendulkar realized that he was getting dismissed playing the cover drive too often and totally cut out that shot, not even playing that shot once during a wonderful innings.
8. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Tendulkar’s recent sublime 175 against the Australians chasing an impossible 350 which almost won the match for India reminded me a lot of the Tendulkar of old. It was such an enlightening experience watching that knock but as always Indian team failed miserably to cross the last hurdle, losing the match and breaking Tendulkar’s heart yet again.
9. Tendulkar has always played very well against the Kiwis – his first-ever double ton was against them. His highest score – highest by an Indian, 186 not out and the 160 odd not out he scored during India’s recent tour to New Zealand are fresh in memory for their exuberance and flair.

The list is endless and could go on and on, but I have to stop. Some unforgettable memories etched in mind are – the picture of Tendulkar pulling Shane Warne from the rough for a 6, uppercutting Shoaib Akthar for a six, the divine straight drive that shows up when in full flow, the hook against Andy Caddick in 2003 WC for a six, the cheeky uppercut over the slip cordon against the Aussie quicks. I have grown up with cricket and Tendulkar all my life and I can’t imagine cricket without this great man who still is as enthusiastic, passionate and energetic as he was at 16 and definitely he has a lot more years of cricket left and I am awaiting all wonderful innings eagerly. Hats off!

It’s been 6 months since I got recruited for a job, but a dear friend was so low on confidence and struggling with herself mentally, trying to get recruited. Since the initial companies visiting her college were high-profile and were interested in recruiting the creamiest of the creamy, she didn’t make it in any recruitment. She started losing hope and confidence and it was having a strong negative impact on her and her performance as the number of companies she attended kept on increasing. Adding to her misery was the fact that she didn’t clear the initial written round in any of the recruitment drives she attended. I know about her inside out and did keep insisting that it was only a matter of time till she will break through the barriers and get recruited, considering the talent she has, though she has done far too little justice to it.

At last the first breakthrough came when a IT giant came to her college for recruiting students for internships, she cleared 2 rounds of written tests – one on quantitative aptitude and another on technical areas, though she did with some malpractices she managed to get away with. That gave her a lot of confidence and made her feel a bit better though she was still scared and sulking about her job prospects.

During the time of my birthday a leading IT services company visited her college for mass recruitment and she easily made it. It was a cakewalk for her and we both were really really relieved!

So much the pressure of getting a job in the time of recession and post-recession that even skilled and talented students are pushed to the limits and how many still make it from the brink depends on a lot of other uncontrollable factors. All the best to all my peer students to complete their course and get a good job.

I had attended the campus recruitment of a very famous, popular and powerful company – the dream company of many and got selected for a job with an equal combination of luck and skill. About 10 days back, the recruitment was confirmed and all the students who were selected for recruitment were given their offer letters. That really was a moment of intense elation and pride. I was already very proud of the fact that I was the first person in the college to be selected for recruitment – my name was read first while reading the list of selected candidates! and seeing the offer letter was really a dream come true for me. I am really really hoping that my near and dear friends too get recruited asap so that we can share our happiness and live the rest of our college life in a memorable way. All the best to all my peers!

Since this is vacation time and with me staying back at the hostel, naturally I started watching a lot of movies, so much that at one point of time I was starting to get fed up. A couple of days back, there was a pleasant change to that monotony. I ended up watching 3 movies without any overambitious, over fictitious, super heroism or violence or erotica or scandals. They were just simple normal pleasant and enjoyable movies. In fact there was a lot of good humour in those movies than I imagined. Maybe some time later, I will try to put up the list of movies that I watched during this vacation 🙂

Today the results of my 7th semester exams were out. I hadn’t done a single exam well and obviously it showed in my results. My score ended up 8.29, pushing my CGPA from 9.10 to a tantalizing 8.99. Abhilaash as usual the topper by far at 9.71. I know I am deteriorating with my academic performances, but results such as these show that I can’t mug up and write pages and pages of bull-shit just to score marks. Most of the subjects seem to have such content since 5th semester and hence I’m consistently scoring below 9. I sincerely hope to change this trend and if possible score a perfect 10 in the final semester and give a chance for my CGPA to go beyond 9 again and gain a semblance of respectability