I witnessed history…

My earliest memories of cricket include a curly haired lad who dad repeatedly called a genius “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” at his masterful play and discussing his game for hours later. He is a genius, an icon for Indian cricket. Nothing unites a country more than cricket and no-one does it better than Sachin Tendulkar. For twenty long years, he has played despite his injuries, his barren-patches, his unsuccesful stint at captaincy and yet we love no one better than him. I used to turn off the TV once he was dismissed and despite having a rather poor memory for cricket statistics, his runs,knocks and images from his matches remain ingrained in my head. He is my first sporting icon, a man who continues to enthrall me and his love for the game is truly inspiring. Over the years, as I grew to understand the world and the game, I realize how truly great and humble a man he is. Roger Federer is at his own place, but Sachin will always remain notches higher. He is the benchmark for how great a cricketer can be and how one man can unite a nation sans differences.

His statistics and figures are mindboggling and his arsenal of shots decimates the bowling when he uses it.He might have the highest figures in everything, but scoring a 200 run knock in a one-day international which is the favourite format of the average Indian (no, I still dont agree that 20-20 has had that effect yet) is something very very special. Everyone, people who never watched cricket, avid cricket lovers and perhaps just everybody watched him today. He is truly special, an icon whose achievements will never be surpassed for a long long time to come.

I’m just lucky I was born in the era when he played cricket.

Sachin Tendulkar, you are God. We salute you. You introduced me to cricket all those years ago, and today, you brought it back into my life.

Desi-pan for the desis

I think I have blogged about this quite a while ago, but I am forced to revisit this territory, owing to a lot of personal experiences now. Why is it that the Indians show their Indian-ness only to fellow Indians and in a snap can convert from the local-tamil speaking-Mylaporian (no offence to the residents of this locality) to the sophisticated, rich, cultured New Yorker? I was recently discussing this with a friend and he forwarded me a mail from Dr.Abdul Kalam which addressed this very issue. This is what got me thinking.

I fail to understand how the very habits they incorporate by living and learning with the natives of other countries somehow vanish in the presence of fellow Indians. The “chalta-hai” attitude just springs back to life and lo and behold, what you see is not any different than you would find on the streets of Chennai or Pune. It is okay to spill things in an Indian store, it is perfectly okay for Indian waiters to snap at Indian customers and grin and put their best foot forward in front of the americans. How salwar kameez wearing, extremely conservative Indians just shed clothes in order to look westernized or pick up accents in a flash after living here for just a few odd months. It is okay to flaunt new accents, show that bellybutton, show-off even more in front of the other Indians and post multiple photos on facebook in front of arbitrary buildings and streets on facebook.

I think there are a lot of other things that you can learn from this place apart from blatant swearing and using f*ck, Sh*t and other expletives sprayed all over that highly accented english accent or maybe that it is absolutely okay to roam around almost naked. I think people should take away the sense of cleanliness that resides here. Or how you would never throw a wrapper outside a bin here taking extra care that it lands inside it. Or how you should never meddle in others’ business. That sense of total and complete non-intrusion is simply blissful. You never even bother asking the other non-Indian students their grades or marks but among all Indians, it is compulsory to know every excruciating detail about their exams or grades. Take a cue from the academic independence that resides here, the research oriented, true learning that one can experience. Contrast that to the job driven, almost nil education that one receives in grad-school in India.

Anyway, it is very clear that the Indian-ness is exclusively for the Indians, because somewhere down there we are embarrassed about what we do or say and know that the only people who will listen to it are other Indians, or because change or adopting clean habits is never really permanent.

I’m not saying the Americans are picture-perfect or anything. But they do have some good habits which we learn, but never bring back home or even show the other Indians around. Its not a surprise that the only image of USA existing back home is of a nudist,culture-less country. It is because we never appreciate it or recognize it. For us, our Indian culture reigns supreme, complete with all its fallacies. When opportunities to rectify present themselves, we are suddenly filled with ego and stick to our guns. No one wants to see the american in you. No, they just want to see the real you. We do show it to them, abruptly morphing into our old selves whenever anything remotely Indian crops up. No wonder, Patel Brothers (the desi grocery store) is the dirtiest you can find in North America. Or the fact that in my apartment complex occupied fully by Indians, all the garbage bags surround the main dustbin and have not been cleaned for months. (Why did we not throw them IN the dustbin again? The answer is obvious).

I want to meet some truly westernized Indians. I refuse to respect these clothes-dropping, expletives-hurling, heavily accented, dirty morons. Why again do the Indian parties in the college leave behind the dirtiest carpets? Think again.

Room-mate woes

Disclaimer 1: All of this may seem to be greek and latin to most boys.

Disclaimer 2: This is not for those who have found their perfect, dream room-mate and can’t imagine living without them.

Perhaps one of the most common topics of discussion between any two graduate students over a cup of coffee or lunch is the always-hated, never-forgiven, repeatedly-cursed entity – the room-mate. I am one of the unfortunate ones who didnt quite hit it off with her, right from the word go. The issues seem endless and the irritability is always on the rise. For someone who claimed to have no issues living in with anybody, this experience definitely changed all that.

Maybe it is because I was spoilt rotten with a single room all through college life or maybe now that I’m a little more grown up and responsible, the idea of finding half of your room in a complete mess doesnt go down well at all. Right from finding half cut lemons in your coffee mug when you have less than 3 minutes to leave or finding all your spoons stuck up vertically down the sink drain when you want to eat something, irritating room-mates can give you an experience of a lifetime and test your patience no end and I’ve had my share of trouble for a lifetime. Seriously.

I can say with confidence that I had the ill-luck of living with the dirtiest possible girl you could find on planet earth. This statement again might contradict the assumption that all girls are clean. Though my hostel experience did teach me that, the fact that this dirt now existed in my room became unbearable. Clothes strewn all over, earrings lying all over the carpet, hair covering the sink, all dirty pots and pans lying on the kitchen table, masala stains everywhere! EWW!! Everyday after happily tripping over her collection of shoes all over the living room floor, I was always welcomed by this beautiful sight. More I told her to clean up, the more mom-like I began to feel. Maybe she even thinks that I’m a nag of the highest order but that’s besides the point. We barely tolerate each other’s presence, forget cooking or eating together. So you might ask, why am I still with her? The answer my friend, lies in one single document – the lease.

So as my parallel hunt for subleasing continues and I battle with the woes of living in inhospitable conditions, I secretly long for my CH-3 369 which was my second home away from home for 3 best years of my life. Though I’m confident that I will find my dream apartment in the coming months and settle down to blissful and clean evenings, this one experience is enough to tarnish my confidence about sharing my living space with anybody.

All those who’ve found happiness and a great friend in your room-mate, consider yourself to be in the league of the extraordinarily lucky and I’m very envious of all of you.

PS: I did finally pass those exams I wrote about earlier. Praise God!