Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Sachin Tendulkar - The cricket legend of century

I received a forwarded email from a friend last week when India lost the World Cup Cricket League match from South Africa. A true Sachin fan wrote his heart so superbly that I could not stop myself sharing this over here. Here you go.

"Dear Sachin,

I feel sad. Even after 22 years of playing for the country, you are still expected to win matches on your own. We forget that apart from you there are 10 more players in the team. You have been the run machine in World Cups with an average of 60. Even today while you yet again proved your class with a 111 the others around took it easy. You chased the ball in the outfield and ensured that your throws landed on top of the bails. Others preferred to drop catches or go back to the dressing room for a 'rest' while a substitute fielder came in.
Sachin, the current Indian cricket team doesn't deserve you. They don't know what it is like to give one's blood and sweat for this nation of a billion people. For them fame and money has come to easy and undeserving - not commensurate to the 'supposed talent' that they posses. Do you remember what you had said to Tom Alter in that interview in 1989? "I just want to play cricket".
Sachin, let me also not hide the truth - you are not my favorite cricketer - but one plays favorites only with humans - not with Gods for they are revered, emulated and looked at in awe...
[We expect Sachin to win this cup for us. But what about the other players? Are they supposed to be playing ludo in the dressing room? I hope that the rest of the team wake up and realize that they are not there to 'play' in the tournament, they are supposed to 'win' it - not for themselves, not for India but for the greatest Indian to have lived - Sachin Tendulkar.
P.S: In the 1992, Hero Cup semi-final in Eden Gardens Kolkata (India Vs. SA), SA needed 6 runs to win off the last over. Tendulkar snatched the ball from Azhar and bowled a magnificent over to win that match for us. (He gave away only 3 runs). Maybe our team needs to watch that over to know what guts and glory are all about.]
Sachin, I hope we win the final in Wankhede. If we don't a billion people can only hang their heads in shame and ask for your forgiveness.
One of your undying fans who:
1. Still goes crazy when you hit that straight drive and show us the manufacturer's name on the bat.
2. Stayed awake late into the night before my end terms to watch that 100 in Sharjah in the midst of that sandstorm.
3. Relished every shot that you played to decimate Warne in 1998 and then Shoaib Akhtar in that 2003 World Cup against Pakistan.
4. Will stop watching cricket after you retire."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bush attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama attacked Libya - Its USA way !!

Bush attacked Afghanistan and Iraq for restoring democracy and peace. After some time of one sided War, Bush was criticized internally in USA as well. Billions of dollars have been spent on this war till date and number of US troops got killed because of one decision of Mr Bush. Lately people criticized him openly for this action.

When Mr Obama became the President of USA, one of the key focus which came out from his initial actions and speeches was that he was not in favor of what Mr Bush did with Afghanistan and Iraq. Even he mentioned that gradually US will pull out the troops from Afghanistan. Everyone thought that Mr Obama is different with his slogan for "Change" from Bush.

Now, Mr Obama is walking on the footprints of Mr Bush by attacking Libya in the name of restoring peace and democracy in the country. So called action to protect Civilian is affecting Civilian of Libya badly with enormous missile attacks from few days.

The fact of the matter is that USA has only one agenda and that is to control "Oil" producing countries so as to become self dependent. No matter who is President, USA seems to be desperate to control Oil. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are the victim of this only. I do agree that Libya's dictatorship is a big problem but USA would never interfere without hefty gains in mind.

If the reason for USA to interfere in these countries was restoring democracy and peace, then why it do not interfere in China and Pakistan where in case of China there is no democracy and freedom of speech on the other side Pakistan is struggling with terrorism and political instability from decades ? The simple answer is they will not get Oil in China and Pakistan. USA might be bit scared of touching China because of some other reasons also.

Countless innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have been killed with single point agenda of oil control. Victims have done only one wrong thing and that is that they are the citizens of Oil producing countries. This is so inhuman that for self interest USA hardly care about innocent citizens of these countries.

The irony is that no one stands up against it and innocent suffers the most for it. When Obama should focus on reviving his country from financial crisis and reducing the Financial deficit they have created due to inefficient banking norms in last five years, he seems to have embarked on the journey in which he has nothing other than sheer criticism from everyone and huge Financial deficit. Where will this lead to USA is a matter of time to watch for.

Lets pray for those innocent citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya who lost their lives in hope of peace and freedom.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

That Silver Light of Extreme Super Moon....

Extreme Supermoon behind tall buildings
The calm silver light of moon in dark night fascinates me to hold the entire universe in my eyes. Extreme Super Moon day was very very special for me because moon was much brighter and bigger than normal full moon day. I waited for the evening to come down excitingly like married woman waits for Moon to come up on Karva Chauth day in India.

As the Moon rose behind tall buildings of Connaught Place struggling with thin layer of clouds looked as if a kid is shying away from guests at home and playing hide and seek at his own. For a while moon came out of the layer of clouds and its brightness started spreading slowly on the city. Then the moon started hide and seek by taking shelter of clouds here and there for long. Small disappointment but I was hoping that moon will come up very bright and beautiful in sometime.

An hours travel in Delhi Metro Train and I landed at Gurgaon around 9:00 PM, After coming out from Station, the first thing I looked up was the moon, and I was stun to see its brightness and it looked so close.

To enjoy that Silver light I chose a play ground where there was no light. I stood there for sometime and felt like heaven. The moon exactly on top of me, looked so close that I could see the lines drawn on it.

Extreme Super Moon - 19th March 2011
Moon reminded me of those Astrologer and Scientists who claimed that Extreme Super Moon will cause lot of damage to planet earth. I looked at him and said "You are such a beautiful planet that I can not even imagine in my dreams that you can cause any damage to anyone. For me you are the symbol of beauty, calmness, life and forgiveness." I realized that he nodded and said, "I am here to spread Love through the silver light which in no way can hurt anyone on your planet"

I make a point to watch moon, especially on full moon day and I had never loved moon so much as I loved him on Extreme Super moon day.

I missed my hometown Chamba (Himachal) at that time and imagined how Extreme Super moon would look when it would rise behind Himalayas covered with Snow in front of our house. I could imagine how big and bright it was looking there, and its Silver light must be creating shine on Snow away from City lights like Delhi. There we never use lights once Moon spreads its love through Silver Light.

Few days later Astrologers and Scientists would start linking Japan tragedy with Extreme Super moon as nothing happened on Extreme Super moon day. But for me My Chanda Maama would remain as symbol of Love and Life forever.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Extreme Super Moon Day - 19th March 2011

Source : Google Images
When I first learnt about Extreme super moon day coming on 19th March 2011, it just clicked in my mind how beautiful it would look when it would be closest to the earth. As per records it will be closest in last 18 years. I straight away decided to capture those delicate images on 19th evening.

However the joy did not last long when I switched on TV and realized that it will bring lot of adverse effect on earth. Its strong gravitational pull can create high tides on the coasts, Earthquakes, hurricanes and extreme weather conditions. The first thing came into my mind was Japan. Poor guys have still not recovered from tragedy of Earthquake followed by Tsunami and are undergoing nuclear threat or disasters, above all if in case Extreme Super moon creates any havoc how will they live with it?

Then a kid inside me woke up and said, "How your favorite Chanda Maama can do any disaster? You have grown up watching him everyday admiring his beauty especially on Blue moon. When you click his images you always complain him that he is too far from you . When he is coming closure to you now, you are scared of him. He is not going to do any harm to anyone on this universe. So spend as much time as possible when he is nearer to you." 

Believe me, after this my whole perspective towards this special day changed and started imagining how will this evening be? People (Astrologers and Scientist) who are talking negative about Extreme Super Moon looked fool to me.

I may not be the expert of astrology and science but a kid inside me is excited to witness this special occurance and capture this as a special moment for lifetime when my Chanda Maama was closest to me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aspiring India - A chat which removed dust from old memories

Three days hectic official travel and I was heading back to Delhi via Shtabadi from Chandigarh. Road travel of four hours in Himachal and Punjab has made me so tired that I had decided to sleep once I reach at my seat in train. 

As TT came to our seat to check the tickets, I realized that my ticket is in bag which is in overhead cabin. So I requested the teenager boy, who was sitting next to me, to give me space to go out. He stood up humbly. I showed the ticket and Driving Licence to TT and came back to my seat.

The teenager boy sitting next to me asked some questions curiously that it touched my heart. Here is how he started the conversation ( and he was stammering) :-

Teenager :- Yeh jo aapne ticket ki jagah safed kaagaj dikhaaya tha, wo kya tha ? Kya yeh VIP pass tha ?

I found this question very stupid and replied casually
Me :- Nahin, yeh ticket tha, jo online book kiya tha ?

Teenager :- Online kya hota hai ?

Me :- Internet par jaa kar booking kar sakte hain. Tab yeh printout se kaam chal jaata hai.

He told his friend about the same and started the conversation again with me.
Teenager :- Agar online booking karein to kya tation (s silent) nahin jaana padega booking karne ke liye ?

Me :- Nahin tab printout se kaam chal jaata hai.
He was so excited as if he lived his half of the life in four walls without realizing the fact that there is outside world.

He did not ask any more questions, I dont know the reasons but I could read his body language that he had endless questions to ask me.

This short conversation took me into thoughts of how our young India aspires to excel. It reminded me of my old days when I was 14 year old and came out of home with small world around me to fulfill endless dreams which at that time were fantasies to me.

A young boy with no idea of which journey he has embarked on and incapability to see things with complex mind, was exposed to entire world in one go.

Eyes were full of dreams and fantasies, Heart was excited to see the changes life is going to bring and mind was afraid of all uncertainties around me. It was like the young teenager I met in train that everyday I got to know something new to learn and everything was "Eye Opener" for me.

Apart from Freedom, fear, emotions, affection, anger, dreams, fairy tales and fantasies, what I had was the selfless efforts of my parents who wanted to see me growing day by day.

God's grace and my parent's blessings not only made my dreams come true but also lot of fantasies became reality of my life.

Even today, Life for me remains as simple as it was a decade back as teenager. Probably the only thing which has changed in me is that now I believe 100% in my capabilities and believe that I deserve the best. 

Also I realized that the happiness for everyone lies in pursuing one's likes and hobbies. If you live life while pursuing all your hobbies and likes, the happiness and success is going to fall your way, and thats called Destiny as per me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Safe driving in Delhi means not only drive safely but also save your self from others

Its an incidence or you may call it accident which reminded me of a casual chat I had with one of my friend three and half years back when I first came to Delhi, he said "Here you are not only suppose to take care of people on road but also need to save yourself from others".

I was on the way back after meeting a friend over coffee at Cafe Coffee Day in Gurgaon. In lazy evening I was in no hurry on my two month old Royal Enfield Classic 500. Moreover Auto drivers taking unexpected turns and stops had put marginal control over my speed.

As I was enjoying the thump of my Enfield on relatively empty road, a horn altered my mind and sensed that someone is really riding rash so better take a corner. However it was matter of seconds when Pulsar bike crossed me from right and unfortunately a Rickshaw with two fat ladies on it appeared suddenly in front of the rash rider and a pillion, needless to say that these teenagers were without Helmets.

The speed at which the guy was riding it was clear to me since beginning that he will not be able to control the bike. He applied the breaks but unfortunate that he hit the Rickshaw badly, lady luck prevailed and nothing happened to rickshaw as well as people on it.

The bikers fell to the left side, it was so fortunate that my bike's front tyre and the bike on road had few inches gap and thankfully I was safe. It happened so fast that I could not realize what has gone wrong at that point in time.

Later I realized that if I was at little higher speed the result would have seriously gone wrong. On the other hand if the rash rider had little lower speed, this would never have happened.

The irony is that when these guys got up from the road, they were laughing as if riding rash was a great thing. They picked up the bike, checked it thoroughly (more than they concentrated on themselves) and rode almost at the same speed.

Not learning from other's mistake is foolish but not learning from own mistake is injustice with life. And thats what they seemed to be doing.

Even I love the speed but not at the cost of life. I burn the desire of speed by burning rubber on highway with full safety. If you are really thrilled with speed, dont enjoy it at the cost of someone else on city roads, hit the highway for long rides and you will have fun.

Ride Safely and Live happily.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ranthambore Fort - Spectacular experience enriched with Royal History

3 Idiots - Me, Angsuman & Anurag
Three trips to National Park in last two days in search of Tiger and we were now tired and wanted to explore something different. The identical and invariable suggestion came from everyone was Ranthambore Fort. Since the trip was completely unplanned we had no idea of what to do and honestly all of us did not know anything about the fort.

Our Gypsy arrived at Hotel at 3:00 PM, as our train was late in night at 11:30 PM we were not at all in hurry to leave. Still we reached the base of the fort at 3:30 PM.

Ranthambore fort is situated in middle of Arawali hills, the landscapes makes a natural wall from all the sides and protect the fort. From outside it looked like just a wall.

As we started climbing the the stairs, guides started chasing but we were in no mood to higher a guide and wanted to explore the places at our own. However one guide chased us for long as Angsuman had given some hint to him that he is keen to higher. But Anurag and me were clear about not hiring. Finally Angsuman hired him at Rs 100/-. He started irritating us with his extremely loud voice.

We learnt that there are four gates for the fort and all of them were designed keeping in mind the War and protection from attack. Also he counted us n number of temples inside it, the main temples were dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. Apart from temples it has a mosque, Jain temple and a church. Since different kings ruled the state so they made temples as per their religions.

I could not explain the beauty of this scene in words -
Anurag, Me and Angsuman
As we reached on top, the spectacular architecture,green grass in huge lawn and open area everywhere took my breadth away. Although I am not a big fan of history but I fell in love with this place. From no where it looked like a fort, it was like a University campus covering entire landscape under it.

So many places to cover in short span and we were going from one place to another in hurry but then we decided to send back the Guide and spend some leisure time there. Yes a big thanks to guide who clicked lot of pictures for us.

Sunset at Fort looked like a heaven view with a lake and tree in front of it. Moreover by that time people had almost left the fort so the calmness around us added spice to it.

A view of lake from top of the fort gives an immense feeling of flying in the air and Cold breeze took me to the childhood days wherein we use to experience the same from the balcony of the our house on top of the hill.

6:00 PM we left the fort but no idea where? We asked our driver to drop us at Railway Station. It took half an hour to reach there. We entered the Station but soon we decided to explore local market if any. A road surrounded by couple of shops from both sides and we were done in 15 minutes.

Since we were tired we opted for Head Massage in Rs 20 each at local barber. This way we left the entire tiredness of Ranthambore National Park and Fort at Ranthambore market. Nothing to do by 7:30 PM so we went for dinner, where we spent two hours and then we headed towards Railway Station.

A lazy time of two hours and our train arrived at Platform. We met the same bull who had welcomed us by hitting me and trying me to push towards moving train.

A Visit to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan

It started over post lunch casual chat and in few minutes we concluded to travel to Ranthambore National Park, five hours journey from Delhi via Train. It was Wednesday 23rd Feb and we decided to travel on 25th Friday evening. Unlike other trips this was completely unplanned.

Three of us Anurag, Angsuman and me, divided different works like Train tickets were to be booked by me, Hotel was to done by Angsuman and other part was on Anurag's account. 

The Gang :- Anurag, me and Angsuman
 No plans no search on google and things started going their own way since beginning. We wanted tickets of 10 PM in Friday night but our smart agent booked us at 7:00 PM. Return journey was planned on Sunday 27th evening around 7:00 PM but agent showed again the smartness and booked us at 11:30 PM on Sunday night that too in Sleeper class rather than 3AC.

Accidentally all of us were super occupied with work on Friday and plan of leaving office at 4:00 PM did not work out. We could catch metro from Gurgaon at 5:40 PM and arrived Nizamuddin Railway Station just 10 minutes before the departure.

Train journey from Nizamuddin to Ranthambore did not bring any surprise and we spent entire journey gossiping on regular topics.

We arrived at Ranthambore Station at 1:00 PM. A white small bull welcomed us when he hit me and tried to push towards moving train.Anyways my affection towards animals always will remain same.

As Angsuman had booked the hotel far from town we decided to spent few hours in some lodge and go for early morning Jungle Safari from there only. Auto driver took us to the hotel which was near to Safari booking office. Auto driver rang the bell for almost 10 minutes but no one came out, he made some calls but no result.

Then he took us to the next hotel. By that time power has gone off and there was deep dark everywhere. We could just see the light of mobile phone lighting up the face of Auto Driver when he was continuously talking to someone.

Auto driver parked his Auto exactly in front of hotel gate. The entire hotel covered under thick dark looked like a horror movie house. A man (guard of the hotel) appeared slowly out of the dark and walked towards the gate. His get up, face, walking style and finally voice scared us badly. You guys can imagine a horror movie here. He opened the gate and when he spoke to Auto driver I was under delima whether we should go inside or not. As he took us inside the hotel and moved towards reception there was complete dark. Looking at the situation we decided to not to stay there.

Finally we got another hotel to sleep for few hours. We slept at 2:00 AM and got up at 4:00 AM to book Safari tickets and booking office was near to the hotel.

The first thing I fell in love with was Gypsy. They are made so beautiful with open top and small modifications here and there that it gives full satisfaction. We started the Safari at 6:30 AM, perhaps we were the first one to enter Zone 6 that day. So the feeling came that we will be able to see the Tiger.

We spotted deer, jackal, peacock,monkey and other birds but Tiger. All of us loved this safari because of the fresh air and lovely topography of Zone 6. We felt fresh once we came back to the base at 10:30 AM.

Another break of an hour and sleep at hotel and we were back to booking office at 12:00 PM. To the contrary to how easily we got tickets in morning we found it difficult to get tickets this time. Also by now we have learnt that Zone 6 is not the core area and people prefer to got to Zone 1 to 5. So this time we were looking for one of these options.

We found one British and two German girls to accompany us in the Gyspsy but they did not join us due to some confusion about the ticket charges. Because of which we could not get the tickets for Gypsy. We stood there for an hour hoping that something will go right. We asked many agents to help but of no use. Lastly we decided to cancel the plan for safari and go to the hotel which Angsuman had booked. Suddenly we could find a young agent who was looking for three people who could buy his left over three tickets. This was for bigger vehicle and not for gypsy. We did not take a while to opt for this. And we were set to go to Zone 3 this time.

Zone 3 Safari started at 2:30 PM. Surrounded by lot of people we were optimistic to spot the Tiger this time as we were on serious search for Tiger. To our surprise, the topography of Zone 3 was completely different from Zone 6 which we had covered in morning safari. Zone 3 has more water and more trees around it. It looked like typical forest. The number of deers we spotted here was extremely higher than Zone 6. Infact the kind of birds we saw in Zone 3 was spectacular and some of them were very human friendly. But again no Tiger.

Since our pre-booked hotel was on the way back from Safari, we got down at the nearest distance to the hotel. It was 6:30 PM and darkness had started spreading around. The hotel was 1.5 KM far (which goes through the Forest) and at the starting point there was small forest department office. We looked for some vehicle but nothing available. So we decided to walk towards the hotel but Forest department guy did not allow us to do so.

Then came our Hero on CD 100 small bike. He was so kind that he agreed to make two rounds to drop us at hotel. First I opted to go with him, few 100 meters ride and I realized that he is new to bike riding. The road has few easy terrains, I involved him in talk and we reached safely. Then he went back to bring Anurag and Angsuman, they also had small funny incidences but thank god we arrived safely. On the way we learnt that he has a small shop inside the hotel wherein he sells T shirts and other monuments of Ranthambore. We promised him to buy something there and we did so next day.

The hotel was on hill top and the view of Ranthambore town in night looked beautiful and soothing to eyes. The food was horrible for dinner. We were so tired that we slept soon after the dinner. But before sleeping we had made another plan for Safari in morning. But this time we decided to pay few 100 rupee more and asked hotel to book safari for us.

The best part of the trip was that all three of us stuck to the plan and no one was late on Sunday morning safari also. We all were almost ready when we received wake up call from hotel. This time were given Zone 2 and we were told by Hotel that its one of best Zones.

Zone 2 also brought the same surprise that it has totally different topography and landscapes. Since we had seen Zone 3 last day we did not find it much interesting however looking at the surrounding one could feel that the chances of spotting the Tiger are higher here but to our bad luck we did not see anything like that and we had to manage with deer and peacock.

We were back at hotel by 10:00 AM and now we did not want any other safari at least during this trip.

If you plan to make a visit to Ranthambore here are few things which need to be kept in mind :-
  1. Go there during April mid to June end, that is the season when you will see Tigers easily.
  2. Book safari tickets online and choose Zone 1 to 5 only, Zone 6-8 are outer areas of Forest
  3. If you wish to save money, book hotel there and then but family travelers do your bookings in advance
  4. Dont expect anything from the town, there is nothing other than National Park. This town does not have even 1% tourism flavor
  5. Dont expect food to be great.


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