56 inch ki chhaati.

The ruling party leaders - with all good intentions have a motor-mouth disease which has no lesser than the prime minister worried.

Whether it's Sakshi Maharaj on the religious topics or more recently Rajyavardhan Rathore on the Myanmar operation.

 
 
First up, I wish India the sincerest, heart-felt congratulations on choosing a new government to lead the country for the next five years.

It was a sweeping mandate across geographies, across religions & castes which have for long been India's bane.

 
 

Well, I have been thinking of writing for a very long time now, but the pressures of my workplace have been far too troublesome off late.
Sundays generally are my recharge days & today was one such day. Thanks to AAP.
How? Read on...


 
 
So I just waited for the entire hullabaloo to end – the Independence Day frenzy.
It is good to be patriotic, but not selectively patriotic on one out of 365 days.

Plus who says we are independent?
Are we really?

 
 
"Dear NRN,

I have seen you many times, but never talked to you, yet from what I know of you, I am a fan. 
A fan of you & of your value system which you have permeated through the company you built.
Happy birthday, may this year bring out the best in you & in Infosys.

Regards,
Akshay"

This mail was written 7 years back by me to the father, the patriarch of the Indian IT industry.

 
 
They say, you start liking a place because you live there.
10% yes, but 90% because of the people around you.
I have been in and out of Moscow for the last 6 and a half years, but this is the longest I have been here on the trot.
5.5 months.
This time, I lived like a bachelor & died like one.
This was my 5.5 months of bachelorhood, the second innings.


 
 
Apple, the pioneer, for long the leader, always dismissed competition with disdain.
There were ruffles when an Asian company came up with a Galaxy brand 3 years back.
They were dismissed as copycats then & ignored.
The competition grew more stronger, Apple no longer wanted to ignore them.

-->S was a dipstick test for Samsung.
-->S2 was when they believed they had arrived.. just a year and a half back, it was the biggest badass of it's time. Sold 40 million units.
-->S3 sold another 40 million units & by now you could see that Samsung had that swagger, that confidence of a lion when it walked out.

Apple was clearly rattled by now, filing a slew of lawsuits against the copycats.
A court ordered Samsung to pay $1 billion in damages. 
Samsung appealed & it won to quite an extent. The liability came down to $490 MUSD.
A good chance that it may be down to 0 by the time the case is settled.
But what Apple lost in return was much more than $490 MUSD.
Samsung cut off the screen panel supply & a slew of other parts Apple ordered from them.
And so the murky rivalry continued.

It's common knowledge now, that Samsung is out in the market with the next of it's super series 'Galaxy S'.
-->S4 launch - no hint of hesitancy, no browbeating only on hardware specs, nice and balanced.. they are now in the frame that a winner is in & their latest offering shows why.

 
 
A reserved kid barely 7 years old, I struggled to make a place for myself in my peer group.
I did not have the courage to go out there and announce to the 'cool confident' people, that this is me.. I also want to play with you.
I was too reserved and gawky to do that.

Each day, I would think I'll join my neighbours the next day and each day would pass.
Looking outside the window every night, a jambul tree swayed and the air made shrill noises. 
I looked outside each night and prayed for a day when I play the game that I loved the most, with 'them'.
But it just did not seem to happen.

 
 
WARNING : The pictures are copyrighted and are Akshay Kakkar's property.
You will be prosecuted for copying the images.


It was the beginning of May, 2012.
It had been really long since I went out for a vacation.
The weather wasn't encouraging in the least.
An idea popped in my mind which I made public.
Ranthambhore National Park.

My wifey's reaction : Are you crazy? Rajasthan in May?
My dad/mom said : Rajasthan in May would be 45 degrees.

I scratched my head in desperation. I knew tigers would be easy to spot in summer.
But an Indian summer came with its own maladies.
 
 
The day has come. History has once again been made.
He is the superman from India. The man of the century.

The date : 16th March, 2012.
The name : Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
The record : A 100 international 100s.

Till yesterday, there were illiterates having an opinion on Sachin Tendulkar.
People were advising him on how his future should be handled.
Spare a thought gentlemen, he has spent 23 years in this profession and is by far the most unparalleled icon the world has ever produced.
Today, the ever so incorrigible Nasser Hussain, said he should be placed above Sir Don Bradman for there is no doubt that when it comes to longevity, consistency & brilliance, even the Don could not come close.
The country has been in a delirium since 5 pm today.
Festivals being celebrated, sweets distributed across the nation.
The same media houses , the same cricket illiterates who asked for his head till yesterday come up with nothing else on them but Sachin.
There are aartis being performed  on the news channels. Bloody hypocrites.
Kapil Dev(please refer to my previous blog post), pops up on the TV today, sticks out his head & says, "Sachin is a legend, looking at him, I want him to play, to continue & maybe score 15 more."
What an irony!

But what I witnessed today, isn't something I would like to dampen with the pedestrian opinions of media houses.
I do not have a memory of Sachin Tendulkar when he played first  in 1989.
I was too young to assimilate the genius of the man then.
The first I saw of him was 1993 world cup, where he made a couple of 50s.
I liked his name then. The sound of Ten-dul-kar felt nice.
Through the next 6 years, he became not just mine, but the country's obsession.
The 'desert storm' innings is a part of the folklore now.

15 years down the line, I am going to, like millions of others, tell my kid : "Hey look, you wanna know what dedication, hardwork & patriotism is? Watch this.. the desert storm...on youtube(provided google doesn't go bust by then)"

His ferocity for runs at 39 is something which people have at 23.
His popularity is such that Shah Rukh Khan would be embarrassed if he and Sachin ever shared the stage.
Despite all this, he chooses to be mum, polite & humble all the time.
Through the 23 years, people have taunted him, ridiculed and slighted him with terms like
'Endulkar', he has remained the same humble, mellow person.
Everytime he replied, but only with his bat.
Not once in his 23 years did I ever hear him using expletives or retorting angrily to the raucous media.
The endulkar was predicted by the media and cricket pundits in 1996.
Some of those people must be in their graves by now.
Sachin has continued 16 years after that and mind you, like a star.

Myth
People come up with all kinds of false statistics saying that whenever he scores a ton, India loses.
Reality
Out of his 49 ODI 100s till date, India has won 33, lost 14, drawn 1, no result 1.

The true measure of his following is illustrated by the below video.
This was shot at my workplace today.
Despite hectic work, people chose to stop, pause & come to watch their hero.
They came to a place where they would otherwise not go to.
We went to the drivers' retiring room in the multi-level-parking-lot. That's the only place a television is available.
The small room was filled to capacity.
People trickled in when Sachin reached 50 and stayed on exactly till he got out.
Even the 'helicopter baba' in the slog overs couldn't keep the crowd on. People left as soon as Sachin got out.

Check out the feverish adulation that this man got. Scroll to 2 mins & 59 seconds directly because this video isn't particularly a short one.

Please excuse the poor quality of the video and the bad angles. Shooting through the crowd was a challenge.

A 100 100s and look at his reaction in HD now.
Muted, satisfied and content. His trademark 'look-to-the-sky' also a part of it.
Don't miss the uncharacteristic tap on his helmet, showing something to the dressing room.
Check the video at 0:23 seconds for this.
He is almost saying, this milestone is for an Indian to achieve (tapping the helmet pointing to the Indian flag).
His interview after reaching the milesone.
It's true when they say that you don't realize a person's worth till he is long gone.
But this man isn't yet gone. He is amidst us.
We live the spectacle every time he comes on field.
We watch him in awe, we adore him, we can't get enough of him.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, you have achieved the unthinkable.
Live on. Rock on.