Sunday, November 25, 2012

The tale of the two

It is 2.30 AM here and I am glued to this random website streaming the game. I can actually see how individual pixels are drawn on this site. Sachin just came in after Pujara was caught. Wankhede was all loud and cheery, they were happy to see off Pujara. They showed the replays of Sachin's dismissal in the first innings and I saw them for the first time. He was squared up by the fast turner from Panesar that bowled him. Sachin did the fumble and fall thing. And now Panesar is producing lots of bounce and spin. Sachin looks tentative and is not really comfortable. He didn't last long. Panesar got the better of him again with an arm ball.  After everything he did to Warne and others, it is odd to see him struggle against Panesar. It was painful to see him leave the way he did.

I was never someone who sided with the favorites. Anywhere. Any time. It was always the underdogs.

Karthik liked Sampras. He was winning three grandslams year after year consistently. At some point they should have decided to have him play just the finals to save everyone's time and money. I was a fan of Agassi, Ivanisevic, Rafter, Becker and even Kafelnikov - who won just one Grandslam in his entire career, a French open of course. Federer was different - realized that someone was here to defeat Sampras finally when I saw him the first time with that weird hairstyle. 

Karthik will stick with Brazil, I will switch between France, Germany, Portugal and Greece as the Football World Cups progress. And he will go with Arsenal but the reds were my favorites - I knew well that they were in such a mess - forget winning even being in the top half of the table was  a struggle. 

When we started watching F1 in the early 2000s, Hakkinen was an obvious choice for me. He had won a few in the past and was struggling against the raise of the Ferrari. It was an easy choice for Karthik as well. Schumacher was just phenomenal. I hated rains during F1 as much as I hated them during cricket - for a different reason though. Schumacher would come from nowhere to win the races. I hated every other weekend for 5 long years. He ruled the circuits. 

With cricket, I spent hours practicing Rahul Dravid's cover drive in local kothu matches and talked in length about his only six off Donald over mid on when everyone wanted him off the one day team. 
Ashish Nehra's six wicket spell against England turned me on and I still believe it was not fair to shut down his recent comeback for no reason.
Waved my t-shirt and ran around when we ruled the Lords in 2003, and cried foul when Ganguly was kicked out of the team. Was I happy when he made that extraordinary comeback?
And long arguments with Sachin fanatics like Jaichu, Gireesh and Ganesen was an every day deal.

It is 2012 - And my facebook newsfeed is filled with marriages and kids photos. Jammy has left cricket! Ganguly retired and retired for good from IPL finally. Kumble, Srinath and Robin Singh are fading away thick and fast from memory. I see myself googling up Debasish Mohanty to find him coaching Orissa. I am eating  bunch of leaves and uncooked vegetables for my lunch. Google ads offer me free consultation with Jenna, the fortune teller. Things have changed indeed! May be, I am growing old for real.

The underdog syndrome remains though - and so have Sachin and Schumacher.

From :

In 2010, Schumacher made the much anticipated comeback. He didn't start well and he never did well. Every race I expected something extraordinary to come from Schumacher but nothing happened. It was terrible to see his team mate Rosberg score more than him at the end of the year.

And then we have Sachin who is letting the Manjrekars and Chopras blog on how to bat and what his retirement and post-retirement policies should be.

I get a kind of mixed feeling when I look at them. We had this really long conversation on what the purpose of life is on our way back from the trip today. Piyu and Sudharsan had the answer apparently - "Happiness at a given moment". I wasn't sure. I wasn't convinced. I think of The Wrestler and he gives me jitters. I vaguely subscribe to the cliched idea of finding that single thing that defines your life as the real purpose. I am still looking for that single thing that makes my wheel spin everyday. If I don't find that, I am as good as a vegetable. And to realize that it comes with a whole lot of pains is not really comforting. 

Very few people dedicate their entire life for what they like. And not all are lucky to do that forever. Steve Jobs did what he liked till his last breath. And he was really lucky. It is unfortunate that the likes of Sachin and Schumacher cannot. The whole age thing having a say on what you can do for a good chunk of your life is aweful. Whoever planned it that way, he is a real jerk! 

I may not have been their ardent fan when Sachin and Schumi were at their best. And I will never be. But then it was never hard to see why they were the best. Whatever they are going through doesn't change who they were. And they deserve to choose when they should leave.

And Schumacher has chosen already. Now I wish it rains in Brazil tomorrow. For one last time, let the rain master rule!

PS : If you have windows phone, do try my app. It will get much better for next season.

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