Few years ago, some time ago, we lived in different world. Today, we have evolved and separated ourselves from the advent of community jargon and have become ‘Global’. But the statement still hovers around like a hawk in an air of turbulence. Did we really accomplish the need or merely created another need out of a cucumber?

The world believed we became stronger after 9/11, but we also became a tad poorer and weaker in terms of adaptability and susceptibility. We also entered in to a new era where started judging people and their acquaintances by their names.
What’s a name – it is our identity, not a reflection of our abilities to make or remake. Nor does a name indicate plagiarism. But it was deemed as ‘fatal’, a name convulsed in to a benchmark for a religion and we started to crucify the guilt within ourselves.

Yes, the world changed. But the attitude and our behavior towards the human kind turned ugly and degraded. Before, we had inhibitions but were conducive. After, our intolerance towards a specific community has taken an unsurmountable leap towards de-manifestation of the human clan.
Yet, we have evolved as human beings. Yes, derogatory but precariously acceptable.

Citizens became traitors, names were objects to decipher identity, our brothers and sisters became ‘Jihadis’, and suddenly, our world became a religious cocoon under the scanner for dastardly acts of few unscrupulous, spineless people who take shelter under violence and cowardice to prove a point that embellishes all logic and purpose.
Yet, we are evolving and surviving.

There is no end to this apocalypse though. Crucification has only led to more indispensable powers and evil vibes. 9/11 has given rise to a plethora of demons that have emerged, submerged and reemerged since last 15 years, and the disaster recovery continues to struggle against audacity and ruthlessness. Above all, some excruciating powers inflicting pain and misery upon the lives of innocents is our bane for sheer existence.

I am certain, we are evolving amidst chaos.

The name says it all.

I grew up epitomizing you, you were my Guru and inspiration outside family. You are not just a Cricket player, much more to the country as a sportsmen and so much more to millions like me as a Superstar, Master and God.

My childhood was a bouquet of your batting. Your fifties, hundreds and double hundreds used to be my bread and butter. As swashbuckling innings from you would keep the smile intact on my face for days to come and even your 20s and 30s would make me cheer like a kid with inexplicable toys in hand. My scrap books were all you, you were more important than my academics, you were my only reason to get up and watch a cricket match with Chicken pox. Eden, Lords or MCG – doesn’t matter, I will watch the game as long as I see you coming in to bat.

Your batting was my soul, you being in the 11 was good enough reason for me to watch the entire match including the commentary that talks about your replays. Your presence in the field meant adrenaline unlimited for me and the team. You are my ‘Bahubali’ plus ‘The Dark Knight’.
You were Sachin and for me, your name gave me goosebumps.

Your cover drives made me topple with joy, your flick was my life’s sweetest menace, your on drive was a delight to savor and your straight drive made me go crazy. It was not the strokes that made me fall in love with you, it was ‘You’ and the batting in ‘You’ that made all the difference in a world of meandering cricketers. ‘Sachin’ isn’t a name for me, you were my lifeline.

I remember most of your epics, your test centuries, your ODI gems, your World Cup exploits in 1996 and 2003. Your debut, your birthday, your first ODI century – some of the very few dates I remember in my life outside family. For me, they are not dates. They remind me of your legend, your batting, your iconic aura and the magic of God.
As Harsha aptly said – ‘Absolutely Divine’.

I yelled at my mother as I was extremely upset over your dismissal in the 2003 WC final and my mother has still not forgiven me for my innocent burst of anger. At that point, I and India were shut down. And that’s an usual behavior towards any of your dismissals because I never believed that you can fail. And, you taught me to succeed.

Your discipline is a subject of awe for me. Your humility stuns me, your simplicity is contagious and your aura inspires me.

Cricket is still being played, we still have superstars and the game is still very popular.

But, for me, there will never be another Sachin.
And, since, Cricket has never been the same for me.

As the planet says, Happy Birthday!

Pre iPhone era. When photos were shot with devices we don’t see around today. Yet, impressive images with limitations and strong hands to shoot them. Out from the archives but still looks gorgeous!

What’s your pick?

yes, waiting is an art. waiting in the wings, waiting for time to salute you. waiting for the tide to adopt a different gear. waiting means you are almost there, but yet not there. yes, waiting does matter. holding on and not let go when the last barricade gives you a tough time. yes, waiting is tough.

waiting is to play with time. time isn’t everyone’s toy. it’s a toy with its own game plan, without indicators and warning bells. it happens, it moves, it turns, it again happens.

wait is for the time to occur for you. for me, for us.

Sometimes, our love stories don’t need bad guys to create a rift and separate 2 made-for-each other souls. Our nubile minds are just enough and too good to create miseries for self inundated human beings.’KV’ is a bi-product of such individuals who live and smurf themselves with their ego to destroy superlatives.

Love, lust, sex or marriage – we all live in a volcano of emotions that’s ruled by ego – tiny, small, big. It’s available in all sizes and is devoid of caste and religion. It just resides, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. It depends on how we use our ego – to create or to destroy. Ourselves, sometimes everyone else who is around us. It is celebrated with a cacophony and mourned with anguish. Mani Ratnam’s film deals with such familiar yet anonymous components of human life. Not commercially, but in his own way. What better way to make 2 people fall in love amidst war? Classy patriotism.

‘KV’ begins with the carnage of Kargill and ends with a household whimper. No surprises here, and all ends well. But the journey of love, togetherness, ego, separation, pain and ecstasy are bundled up in a dramatic deluge of thrills and bore. It is inspired by true events – I don’t remember seeing this tag line in a Mani Ratnam film since’Bombay’ in 1995 but we were not that explicit way back then with such catch phrases. Times have changed, so has cinema. Mani Ratnam has forged in to a fascinating collaboration – romance amidst tumultuous waters. It works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The thrill moments – Mani and his cameramen are made for life. Ravi Verman’s exploits in ‘KV’ takes us to another planet. Right from the start – the credits that overlap the blood of Kargill war, the snow laden mountains that look like sleeping in your lap every now and then, the dust laden camps – all look like pieces of divine particles put together to etch an epic love story. Aditi Rao Hydari gives a refreshing performance as the leading lady, I hope the pretty face moves ahead after this memorable stint with Madras Talkies. Karthi as the flamboyant Air Force officer and an eccentric individual does justice, often handsome and often unpredictable. The last 20 minutes of the film is a stunner – the high voltage chase scene in a jigsaw puzzle-like roadway and a riveting background score by AR Rahman will just take your breath away. Absolute brilliance. Plus, ARR’s songs are already a chart buster. I am on a rewind for the past couple of days with ‘Nallai Allai’ and ‘Tango Kelaayo’. Just hooked!

The dull moments – ‘KV’ isn’t your commercial wannabe, and it had to be quite pacy to get attached with the audience. It does but not consistent enough. Mani Ratnam’s definition of romance in itself is a bit unconventional, but it isn’t as ravishing as we expect it to be in his kind of urban love. The could-have -been better editing is compounded by ordinary dialogues which makes few sections of the movie stoppable. The story isn’t iconic, and all his usual suspects appear inadvertently – Srinagar, snow, closed door dialogues, Red Cross to name a few.

Comparison trivia – I don’t want to but irresistible me! It has few similarities with his own films – ‘Roja’ and ‘Alaipayuthey’. Some uncanny resemblances with ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Pearl Harbor’ too.

Mani Ratnam isn’t the kind of filmmaker anymore whose films will set the cash registers ringing. But his films possess class, and technically way above the rest. There is something about his films that I rave about, I like his kind of cinema. Few notches high, the ground below still looks clean. That’s ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ in a nutshell.

Hazy, yet not saying it’s not clear. Confused, yet clarity hides behind the cushion covers of the holy mind.

Dazzling, yet not impressive enough to torment achievements and wake them from sleep to google inventions. Rusty, because too much is still not enough to consume riveting stories.

Perplexed with such goodness around you, the anti still lives to see some life and squeak through for blemish-less happiness. Yet, good times ahead.