Green Grass is Back

There is no joy in lawn tennis if we take Wimbledon out from the equation. Ever since my growing years, my dearness for ‘The All England Club’ has only intensified – even though am not the same avid youngster who used to wait for 3rd of June to come soon. Especially, after witnessing all the faltering in the land of clay. There is a sublime reason to it as well, since players and spectators have unanimously shown their fondness for the green.

I am more of a classic guy and love history, more significantly since the game, players and their aura keep changing. I developed a keen sense of interest in the adulation this venue garnered for the sport in itself. The open era remained, quite oblivious, to our generation but the achievements and the glory was read, grasped, admired. Rod Laver, for example. Players, great players, finesse players, star players. They will come and go but we will always remember the ones who were lucky enough to lift the gorgeous trophy in Centre Court, kiss them, kiss them again, keep kissing them, stand for the media and press, then take a lap of victory before the sun goes down.

A major throwback – Boris Becker’s first in 1985 as ‘Boom Boom’ Becker and his shock upset in 1987 by Peter Doohan. The cool, suave Stefan Edberg and the art of ‘Serve & Volley’, Agassi – the fighter and the best return of serves in the game. Sampras’s straight second title beating Goran Ivanisevic – scoreboard read 7-6,7-6,6-0. Ivanisevic’s first and only Grand Slam victory as a wild card entrant, the iconic rivalry between Sampras and Agassi. The charm of Gabriela Sabatini, class of Steffi Graf and resilience of Monica Seles.

This is the Wimbledon story I was possessed and grew up with. The game evolved since then, is less of grace and more of power. But with modern greats like Federer, Rafa and Djokovic, the art of tennis is always blooming with enormous talent and the promise of keeping the art alive.

Who will conquer 2016? Let’s wait, watch and enjoy the moments that encapsulate on the green grass.

The ‘Messi’ Situation

Yes, I truly consider Messi to be one of the finest this generation has embraced. Argentina is my favorite team and I love when Messi messes around with the opponents and makes them look dumb as he whisks past as if the ball is stuck to his toes. But, there is this crucial question that I always ask myself – does he deserve the ‘Greatest’ tag?

Champions lead from the front, they can decimate attacks single-handedly and inspire their teams to achieve the pinnacle of glory. Unfortunately for us, I have never seen Messi doing it for Argentina. Yes, you can argue based on his number of goals and his undisputed reputation as the ‘Playmaker’ for Barcelona. But, catapulting your national team to glory is the benchmark for being remembered as a legend. Remember – greats don’t just accumulate individual brilliance, they influence contemporaries and generations. They inspire you to get inspired.

Does Messi qualify in this pedestal of glory? I would like to believe he did but numbers and statistics don’t do justice.

His best chance was in 2014 World Cup finals, but Germany’s tactical brilliance and Messi’s failure to produce his best in the big games meant Argentina have squandered an opportunity to bag the coveted trophy. In fact, his failure to raise his game in crunch situations is tantamount at the helm of his performances with the National team. I agree, he didn’t have the best of teams at his disposal but then, that is the enviable expectation from a player who is widely regarded as the numero uno of his generation, not just for his team. Noticeably, I do see him not qualified enough for the ‘Big Match Player’ tag, especially when his faltering performances with the National team is an excruciating embarrassment.

 I did love watching Messi play football, but I don’t see myself associating him with the ‘Greatest’ tag. If he goes, I won’t miss him.

Fondly, Pancham Da.

In the 90s, listening to RD’s brand of music was an iconic feeling. Because, way back then, I felt his music was ahead of his times. In terms of music arrangement, orchestra, background score or titillating vocals, RD was a master. Run down 25 years later, I still think RD’s music was much ahead of times. That, for me, is legendary. And, no wonder Pancham Da’s (as he is fondly remembered) compositions takes us on a frivolous ride of nostalgia and class. 

I will not take the writing route to shower tributes on a composer who is known to us through his irreversible music. I will list down my Pancham favorites, and you tell me if we still don’t go gaga over their perennial presence in our compressed lives.

Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera – Teesri Manzil (1966)
Yes, years back before I was even born. But grew up crooning over this song as it was courageous combo of rock and melody. With Rafi’s histrionics as the vocalist and Shammi Kapoor’s ethereal movements, this remains an all time dance masti till date.

Musafir Hoon Yaaron – Musafir (1971)
This song is an embodiment of life’s melancholy, and so aptly condensed in to a soundtrack that could deliver the right moods. Kishore Kumar’s vocals and Gulzar’s words – just couldn’t get any better.

Kya Hua Tera Vaada – Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (1977)
Though this was nowhere near Rafi Saab’s finest, RD’s tunes bought back memories of his glorious rein in the playback industry. This was one amongst those numerous films that banked heavily on RD’s soundtrack and the juggernaut continued.

Mehbooba – Sholay (1975)
I love RD the composer. With Mehbooba, I fell in love with his voice. Husky, heavily smoked, thick vocal layers. But with this genre of his voice, he created magic and Sholay was never the same again. In fact, Sholay has some breathtaking background score – especially at the time when it was made. It’s shocking to know that RD never bagged an award for Sholay. The pity is entirely ours.

Dum Maro Dum – Hare Krishna Hare Ram (1971)
With the number remakes this song has gone through, I have reasons to believe that the original was truly a breakthrough number. The culmination of rock and Asha’s diaspora was Midas touch to RD’s ever kindling notes. Dum Maro Dum enjoys cult status today, and am not a bit surprised.

Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si – Anamika (1973)
Hugely underrated, this song is a devilish combination of Kishore’s genius and RD’s art. A dark number (unusual in those days), it had Kishore Kumar in full flow and RD’s score just takes my breath away. It still does.

Chingari Koi Bhadke – Amar Prem (1972)
If monologues had language, this would rate amongst the most eternal and undiminished. This song was quintessential RD and Kishore at their mellifluous best, and is a constant topper in my playlist. Not to forget Anand Bakshi, whose words remain immortalized till date.

Ye Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kati Patang (1970)
Another musical chartbuster from the RD camp. Beautifully rendered by Kishore Kumar, Kati Patang was the roller coaster ride RD never wanted to step down from.

Tere Bina Zindagi Mein Koi/Tum Aa Gaye Ho – Aandhi (1975)
One of the most accomplished soundtrack from RD’s successful stable. This Gulzar drama drew masses and critics alike as it released during turbulent times for the country. But amidst ruins, RD stood tall.

Kuch Na Kaho – 1942 A Love Story (1994)
My personal pick. Sung with aplomb by Kumar Sanu, this witnessed a fading RD at his usual best. He didn’t live enough to see the soaring business of this soundtrack and it became the final landmark in an otherwise glorious escapade.

the day of resurgence

Not married, but I got hooked this day, 4 years ago. Completely, totally, exclusively. No looking back, just love and lots of love, and lots of it. Life started a journey of fulfillment with our union, and ever since, I just keep falling in love with you. Everyday, every time. We are growing together, understanding each other, the bond just gets better. Yes, we are ready to share the best and worst of each other. We realize, we are key to each other’s success. But, I emphatically disagree. You are my lucky charm. Period.

Love you. Do I need to say more?

goodness lives..

On a typical sticky, sweaty afternoon, I started walking from home to work. I did not have my bike at my disposal today and public transport isn’t a viable option during this time of the hour. Thankfully, my workplace isn’t very far, hence decision to walk looked sensible. Just as I was almost half way through, a taxi stopped me.Sir, are you walking this way (the driver pointed towards the turn that takes me to my workplace)?

Yes – I exclaimed.

Please hop on, I will drop you – the driver responded.

Thanks, but am half way through. Thanks any ways – I clipped back.

Never mind Sir, you are walking in this heat and am going that way, you don’t have to pay for the ride – the driver answered.

I finally gave up, and hopped in and he dropped me in front of my workplace.

I did pay him, nevertheless and though initially reluctant, he accepted it.

People like you are seldom found, it was nice to meet you – I signed off with this statement, and we bid adieu with a smile on his face.

I would love to tag this person in this write up, but no. Sometimes, I beg to think that tagging isn’t that important. Feeling the goodness around us was the required flavor. I felt it in abundance today.

my best man

You are the first man in my life. My first Hero, and perhaps the finest. You raised us with all the limitations around, and stood tall to give us the life we live today. You were the reason why I love bikes today, I remember the first time I kick started your bike and how awfully scared I was. You taught us the value of money, and how difficult it was to earn it. But you made it look easy, and I never realised it. Your life is the foundation of ours, it still is. You are my inspiration, our superstar. I am a father today and your benchmark is my aura. We don’t love you, we celebrate you.17748864716_7c5fc680ff_o