Thursday, December 15, 2011

An awesome speech by Rahul Dravid

Thank you for inviting me to deliver the Bradman Oration; the respect and
the regard that came with the invitation to speak tonight, is deeply
appreciated.

I realise a very distinguished list of gentlemen have preceded me in the
ten years that the Bradman Oration has been held. I know that this Oration
is held every year to appreciate the life and career of Sir Don Bradman, a
great Australian and a great cricketer. I understand that I am supposed to
speak about cricket and issues in the game - and I will.

Yet, but first before all else, I must say that I find myself humbled by
the venue we find ourselves in. Even though there is neither a pitch in
sight, nor stumps or bat and balls, as a cricketer, I feel I stand on very
sacred ground tonight. When I was told that I would be speaking at the
National War Memorial, I thought of how often and how meaninglessly, the
words 'war', 'battle', 'fight' are used to describe cricket matches.

Yes, we cricketers devote the better part of our adult lives to being
prepared to perform for our countries, to persist and compete as intensely
as we can - and more. This building, however, recognises the men and women
who lived out the words - war, battle, fight - for real and then gave it
all up for their country, their lives left incomplete, futures
extinguished.

The people of both our countries are often told that cricket is the one
thing that brings Indians and Australians together. That cricket is our
single common denominator.

India's first Test series as a free country was played against Australia in
November 1947, three months after our independence. Yet the histories of
our countries are linked together far more deeply than we think and further
back in time than 1947.

We share something else other than cricket. Before they played the first
Test match against each other, Indians and Australians fought wars
together, on the same side. In Gallipoli, where, along with the thousands
of Australians, over 1300 Indians also lost their lives. In World War II,
there were Indian and Australian soldiers in El Alamein, North Africa, in
the Syria-Lebanon campaign, in Burma, in the battle for Singapore.

Before we were competitors, Indians and Australians were comrades. So it is
only appropriate that we are here this evening at the Australian War
Memorial, where along with celebrating cricket and cricketers, we remember
the unknown soldiers of both nations.

It is however, incongruous, that I, an Indian, happen to be the first
cricketer from outside Australia, invited to deliver the the Bradman
Oration. I don't say that only because Sir Don once scored a hundred before
lunch at Lord's and my 100 at Lord's this year took almost an entire day.

But more seriously, Sir Don played just five Tests against India; that was
in the first India-Australia series in 1947-48, which was to be his last
season at home. He didn't even play in India, and remains the most
venerated cricketer in India not to have played there.

We know that he set foot in India though, in May 1953, when on his way to
England to report on the Ashes for an English newspaper, his plane stopped
in Calcutta airport. There were said to be close to a 1000 people waiting
to greet him; as you know, he was a very private person and so got into an
army jeep and rushed into a barricaded building, annoyed with the airline
for having 'breached confidentiality.' That was all Indians of the time saw
of Bradman who remains a mythical figure.

For one generation of fans in my country, those who grew up in the 1930s,
when India was still under British rule, Bradman represented a cricketing
excellence that belonged to somewhere outside England. To a country taking
its first steps in Test cricket, that meant something. His success against
England at that time was thought of as our personal success. He was
striking one for all of us ruled by the common enemy. Or as your country
has so poetically called them, the Poms.

There are two stories that I thought I should bring to your notice. On June
28, 1930, the day Bradman scored 254 at Lord's against England, was also
the day Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested by the police. Nehru was, at the
time, one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement
and later, independent India's first Prime Minister. The coincidence of the
two events, was noted by a young boy KN Prabhu, who was both nationalist,
cricket fan and later became independent India's foremost cricket writer.
In the 30s, as Nehru went in and out of jail, Bradman went after the
England bowling and, for KN Prabhu, became a kind of avenging angel.

There's another story I've heard about the day in 1933, when the news
reached India that Bradman's record for the highest Test score of 334 had
been broken by Wally Hammond. As much as we love our records, they say some
Indian fans at the time were not exactly happy. Now, there's a tale that a
few even wanted to wear black bands to mourn the fact that this precious
record that belonged to Australia - and by extension, us - had gone back.
To an Englishman. We will never know if this is true, if black bands were
ever worn, but as journalists sometimes tell me, why let facts get in the
way of a good story.

My own link with Bradman was much like that of most other Indians - through
history books, some old video footage and his wise words. About leaving the
game better than you found it. About playing it positively, as Bradman,
then a selector, told Richie Benaud before the 1960-61 West Indies tour of
Australia. Of sending a right message out from cricket to its public. Of
players being temporary trustees of a great game.

While there may be very little similarity in our records or our
strike-rates or our fielding - and I can say this only today in front of
all of you - I am actually pleased that I share something very important
with Sir Don.

He was, primarily, like me, a No.3 batsman. It is a tough, tough job.

We're the ones who make life easier for the kings of batting, the middle
order that follows us. Bradman did that with a bit more success and style
than I did. He dominated bowling attacks and put bums on seats, if i bat
for any length of time I am more likely to bore people to sleep. Still, it
is nice to have batted for a long time in a position, whose benchmark is,
in fact, the benchmark for batsmanship itself.

Before he retired from public life in his 80s, I do know that Bradman
watched Sunil Gavaskar's generation play a series in Australia. I remember
the excitement that went through Indian cricket when we heard the news that
Bradman had seen Sachin Tendulkar bat on TV and thought he batted like him.
It was more than mere approval, it was as if the great Don had finally,
passed on his torch. Not to an Aussie or an Englishman or a West Indian.
But to one of our own.

One of the things, Bradman said has stayed in my mind. That the finest of
athletes had, along with skill, a few more essential qualities: to conduct
their life with dignity, with integrity, with courage and modesty. All this
he believed, were totally compatible with pride, ambition, determination
and competitiveness. Maybe those words should be put up in cricket dressing
rooms all over the world.

As all of you know, Don Bradman passed away on February 25, 2001, two days
before the India v Australia series was to begin in Mumbai.

Whenever an important figure in cricket leaves us, cricket's global
community pauses in the midst of contests and debates, to remember what he
represented of us, what he stood for, and Bradman was the pinnacle. The
standard against which all Test batsmen must take guard.

The series that followed two days after Bradman's death later went on to
become what many believe was one of the greatest in cricket. It is a
series, I'd like to believe, he would have enjoyed following.

A fierce contest between bat and ball went down to the final session of the
final day of the final Test. Between an Australian team who had risen to
their most imposing powers and a young Indian team determined to rewrite
some chapters of its own history.

The 2001 series contained high-quality cricket from both sides and had a
deep impact on the careers of those who played a part in it. The
Australians were near unbeatable in the first half of the new decade, both
home and away. As others floundered against them, India became the only
team that competed with them on even terms.

India kept answering questions put to them by the Australians and asking a
few themselves. The quality demanded of those contests, sometimes
acrimonious, sometimes uplifting, made us, the Indian team, grow and rise.
As individuals, we were asked to play to the absolute outer limits of our
capabilities and we often extended them.

Now, whenever India and Australia meet, there is expectation and
anticipation - and as we get into the next two months of the
Border-Gavaskar Trophy, players on both sides will want to deliver their
best.

When we toured in 2007-08, I thought it was going to be my last tour of
Australia. The Australians thought it was going to be the last time they
would be seeing Sachin Tendulkar on their shores. He received warm standing
ovations from wonderful crowds all around the country.

Well, like a few, creaking Terminators, we're back. Older, wiser and I hope
improved.

The Australian public will want to stand up to send Sachin off all over
again this time. But I must warn you, given how he's been playing these
days, there are no guarantees about final goodbyes.

In all seriousness, though, the cricket world is going to stop and watch
Australia and India. It is Australia's first chance to defend their
supremacy at home following defeat in the 2010 Ashes and a drawn series
against New Zealand. It is India's opportunity to prove that the defeat to
England in the summer was an aberration that we will bounce back from.

If both teams look back to their last 2007-08 series in Australia, they
will know that they should have done things a little differently in the
Sydney Test. But I think both sides have moved on from there; we've played
each other twice in India already and relations between the two teams are
much better than they have been as far as I can remember.

Thanks to the IPL, Indians and Australians have even shared dressing rooms.
Shane Watson's involvement in Rajasthan, Mike Hussey's role with Chennai to
mention a few, are greatly appreciated back home. And even Shane Warne
likes India now. I really enjoyed playing alongside him at Rajasthan last
season and can confidently report to you that he is not eating imported
baked beans any more.

In fact, looking at him, it seems, he is not eating anything.

It is often said that cricketers are ambassadors for their country; when
there's a match to be won, sometimes we think that is an unreasonable
demand. After all, what would career diplomats do if the result of a Test
series depended on them, say, walking? But, as ties between India and
Australia have strengthened and our contests have become more frequent, we
realise that as Indian players, we stand for a vast, varied, often
unfathomable and endlessly fascinating country.

At the moment, to much of the outside world, Indian cricket represents only
two things - money and power. Yes, that aspect of Indian cricket is a part
of the whole, but it is not the complete picture. As a player, as a proud
and privileged member of the Indian cricket team, I want to say that, this
one-dimensional, often cliched image relentlessly repeated is not what
Indian cricket is really all about.

I cannot take all of you into the towns and villages our players come from,
and introduce you to their families, teachers, coaches, mentors and
team-mates who made them international cricketers. I cannot take all of you
here to India to show you the belief, struggle, effort and sacrifice from
hundreds of people that runs through our game.

As I stand here today, it is important for me to bring Indian cricket and
its own remarkable story to you. I believe it is very necessary that
cricketing nations try to find out about each other, try to understand each
other and the different role cricket plays in different countries, because
ours is, eventually, a very small world.

In India, cricket is a buzzing, humming, living entity going through a most
remarkable time, like no other in our cricketing history. In this last
decade, the Indian team represents more than ever before, the country we
come from - of people from vastly different cultures, who speak different
languages, follow different religions, belong to all classes of society. I
went around our dressing room to work out how many languages could be
spoken in there and the number I have arrived at is: 15, including Shona
and Afrikaans.

Most foreign captains, I think, would baulk at the idea. But, when I led
India, I enjoyed it, I marvelled at the range of difference and the ability
of people from so many different backgrounds to share a dressing room, to
accept, accommodate and respect that difference. In a world growing more
insular, that is a precious quality to acquire, because it stays for life
and helps you understand people better, understand the significance of the
other.

Let me tell you one of my favourite stories from my Under-19 days, when the
India Under-19 team played a match against the New Zealand junior team. We
had two bowlers in the team, one from the north Indian state of Uttar
Pradesh - he spoke only Hindi, which is usually a link language for players
from all over India, ahead even of English. It should have been all right,
except the other bowler came from Kerala, in the deep south, and he spoke
only the state's regional language, Malayalam. Now even that should have
been okay as they were both bowlers and could bowl simultaneous spells.

Yet in one game, they happened to come together at the crease. In the
dressing room, we were in splits, wondering how they were going to manage
the business of a partnership, calling for runs or sharing the strike.
Neither man could understand a word of what the other was saying and they
were batting together. This could only happen in Indian cricket. Except
that these two guys came up with a 100-run partnership. Their common
language was cricket and that worked out just fine.

The everyday richness of Indian cricket lies right there, not in the news
you hear about million-dollar deals and television rights. When I look back
over the 25 years I've spent in cricket, I realise two things. First,
rather alarmingly, that I am the oldest man in the game, older to even
Sachin by three months. More importantly, I realise that Indian cricket
actually reflects our country's own growth story during this time. Cricket
is so much a part of our national fabric that as India - its economy,
society and popular culture - transformed itself, so did our most-loved
sport.

As players we are appreciative beneficiaries of the financial strength of
Indian cricket, but we are more than just mascots of that economic power.
The caricature often made of Indian cricket and its cricketers in the rest
of the world is that we are pampered superstars. Overpaid, underworked,
treated like a cross between royalty and rock stars.

Yes, the Indian team has an enormous, emotional following and we do need
security when we get around the country as a group. It is also why we make
it a point to always try and conduct ourselves with composure and dignity.
On tour, I must point out, we don't attack fans or do drugs or get into
drunken theatrics. And at home, despite what some of you may have heard, we
don't live in mansions with swimming pools.

The news about the money may well overpower all else, but along with it,
our cricket is full of stories the outside world does not see. Television
rights generated around Indian cricket, are much talked about. Let me tell
you what the television - around those much sought-after rights - has done
to our game.

A sport that was largely played and patronised by princes and businessmen
in traditional urban centres, cities like Bombay, Bangalore, Chennai,
Baroda, Hyderabad, Delhi - has begun to pull in cricketers from everywhere.

As the earnings from Indian cricket have grown in the past 2 decades,
mainly through television, the BCCI has spread revenues to various pockets
in the country and improved where we play. The field is now spread wider
than it ever has been, the ground covered by Indian cricket, has shifted.

Twenty seven teams compete in our national championship, the Ranji Trophy.
Last season Rajasthan, a state best known for its palaces, fortresses and
tourism won the Ranji Trophy title for the first time in its history. The
national one-day championship also had a first-time winner in the newly
formed state of Jharkand, where our captain MS Dhoni comes from.

The growth and scale of cricket on our television was the engine of this
population shift. Like Bradman was the boy from Bowral, a stream of Indian
cricketers now come from what you could call India's outback.

Zaheer Khan belongs to the Maharashtra heartland, from a town that didn't
have even one proper turf wicket. He could have been an instrumentation
engineer but was drawn to cricket through TV and modelled his bowling by
practising in front of the mirror on his cupboard at home, and first bowled
with a proper cricket ball at the age of 17.

One day out of nowhere, a boy from a village in Gujarat turned up as
India's fastest bowler. After Munaf Patel made his debut for India, the
road from the nearest railway station to his village had to be improved
because journalists and TV crews from the cities kept landing up there.

We are delighted that Umesh Yadav didn't become a policeman like he was
planning and turned to cricket instead. He is the first cricketer from the
central Indian first-class team of Vidarbha to play Test cricket.

Virender Sehwag, it shouldn't surprise you, belongs to the wild west just
outside Delhi. He had to be enrolled in a college which had a good cricket
programme and travelled 84kms every day by bus to get to practice and
matches.

Every player in this room wearing an India blazer has a story like this.
Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the heart and soul of Indian cricket.

Playing for India completely changes our lives. The game has given us a
chance to pay back our debt to all those who gave their time, energy and
resources for us to be better cricketers: we can build new homes for our
parents, get our siblings married off in style, give our families very
comfortable lives.

The Indian cricket team is in fact, India itself, in microcosm. A sport
that was played first by princes, then their subordinates, then the urban
elite, is now a sport played by all of India. Cricket, as my two under-19
team-mates proved, is India's most widely-spoken language. Even Indian
cinema has its regional favourites; a movie star in the south may not be
popular in the north. But a cricketer? Loved everywhere.

It is also a very tough environment to grow up in - criticism can be
severe, responses to victory and defeat extreme. There are invasions of
privacy and stones have been thrown at our homes after some defeats.

It takes time getting used to, extreme reactions can fill us with anger.
But every cricketer realises at some stage of his career, that the Indian
cricket fan is best understood by remembering the sentiment of the
majority, not the actions of a minority.

One of the things that has always lifted me as a player is looking out of
the team bus when we travelled somewhere in India. When people see the
Indian bus going by, see some of us sitting with our curtains drawn back,
it always amazes me how much they light up. There is an instantaneous
smile, directed not just at the player they see - but at the game we play
that, for whatever reason, means something to people's lives. Win or lose,
the man on the street will smile and give you a wave.

After India won the World Cup this year, our players were not congratulated
as much as they were thanked by people they ran into. "You have given us
everything," they were told, "all of us have won." Cricket in India now
stands not just for sport, but possibility, hope, opportunities.

On our way to the Indian team, we know of so many of our team-mates, some
of whom may have been equally or more talented than those sitting here, who
missed out. When I started out, for a young Indian, cricket was the
ultimate gamble - all or nothing, no safety nets. No second chances for
those without an education or a college degree or second careers. Indian
cricket's wealth now means a wider pool of well paid cricketers even at
first-class level.

For those of us who make it to the Indian team, cricket is not merely our
livelihood, it is a gift we have been given. Without the game, we would
just be average people leading average lives. As Indian cricketers, our
sport has given us the chance do something worthwhile with our lives. How
many people could say that?

This is the time Indian cricket should be flowering; we are the world
champions in the short game, and over the space of the next 12 months
should be involved in a tight contest with Australia, South Africa and
England to determine which one of us is the world's strongest Test team.

Yet I believe this is also a time for introspection within our game, not
only in india, but all over the world. We have been given some alerts and
responding to them quickly is the smart thing to do.

I was surprised a few months ago to see the lack of crowds in an ODI series
featuring India. By that I don't mean the lack of full houses, I think it
was the sight of empty stands I found somewhat alarming.

India played its first one-day international at home in November 1981, when
I was nine. Between then and now India have played 227 ODIs at home; the
October five-match series against England was the first time that the
grounds have not been full for an ODI featuring the Indian team.

In the summer of 1998, I played in a one-dayer against Kenya in Kolkata and
the Eden Gardens was full. Our next game was held in the 48-degree heat of
Gwalior and the stands were heaving.

The October series against England was the first one at home after India's
World Cup win. It was called the 'revenge' series meant to wipe away the
memory of a forgettable tour of England. India kept winning every game, and
yet the stands did not fill up. Five days after a 5-0 victory 95,000 turned
up to watch the India's first Formula One race.

A few weeks later I played in a Test match against West Indies in Calcutta,
in front of what was the lowest turn out in Eden Gardens' history. Yes we
still wanted to win and our intensity did not dip. But at the end of the
day, we are performers, entertainers and we love an audience. The audience
amplifies everything you are doing, the bigger the crowd the bigger the
occasion, its magnitude, its emotion. When I think about the Eden Gardens
crowds this year, I wonder what the famous Calcutta Test of 2001 would have
felt like with 50,000 people less watching us.

Australia and South Africa played an exciting and thrilling Test series
recently and two great Test matches produced some fantastic performances
from players of both teams, but were sadly played in front of sparse
crowds.

It is not the numbers that Test players need, it is the atmosphere of a
Test that every player wants to revel in and draw energy from. My first
reaction to the lack of crowds for cricket was that there had been a lot of
cricket and so perhaps, a certain amount of spectator-fatigue. That is too
simplistic a view; it's the easy thing to say but might not be the only
thing.

The India v England ODI series had no context, because the two countries
had played each other in four Tests and five ODIs just a few weeks before.
When India and West Indies played ODIs a month after that the grounds were
full, but this time the matches were played in smaller venues that didn't
host too much international cricket. Maybe our clues are all there and we
must remain vigilant.

Unlike Australia or England, Indian cricket has never had to compete with
other sports for a share of revenues, mind space or crowd attendance at
international matches. The lack of crowds may not directly impact on
revenues or how important the sport is to Indians, but we do need to accept
that there has definitely been a change in temperature over, I think, the
last two years.

Whatever the reasons are - maybe it is too much cricket or too little by
way of comfort for spectators - the fan has sent us a message and we must
listen. This is not mere sentimentality. Empty stands do not make for good
television. Bad television can lead to a fall in ratings, the fall in
ratings will be felt by media planners and advertisers looking elsewhere.

If that happens, it is hard to see television rights around cricket being
as sought after as they have always been in the last 15 years. And where
does that leave everyone? I'm not trying to be an economist or doomsday
prophet - this is just how I see it.

Let us not be so satisfied with the present, with deals and finances in
hand that we get blindsided. Everything that has given cricket its power
and influence in the world of sports has started from that fan in the
stadium. They deserve our respect and let us not take them for granted.
Disrespecting fans is disrespecting the game. The fans have stood by our
game through everything. When we play, we need to think of them. As
players, the balance between competitiveness and fairness can be tough but
it must be found.

If we stand up for the game's basic decencies, it will be far easier to
tackle its bigger dangers - whether it is finding short cuts to easy money
or being lured by the scourge of spot-fixing and contemplating any
involvement with the betting industry.

Cricket's financial success means it will face threats from outside the
game and keep facing them. The last two decades have proved this over and
over again. The internet and modern technology may just end up being a step
ahead of every anti-corruption regulation in place in the game. As players,
the one way we can stay ahead for the game, is if we are willing to be
monitored and regulated closely.

Even if it means giving up a little bit of freedom of movement and privacy.
If it means undergoing dope tests, let us never say no. If it means
undergoing lie-detector tests, let us understand the technology, what
purpose it serves and accept it. Now lie-detectors are by no means perfect
but they could actually help the innocent clear their names. Similarly, we
should not object to having our finances scrutinised if that is what is
required.

When the first anti-corruption measures were put into place, we did moan a
little bit about being accredited and depositing our cell phones with the
manager. But now we must treat it like we do airport security because we
know it is for our own good and our own security.

Players should be ready to give up a little personal space and personal
comfort for this game, which has given us so much. If you have nothing to
hide, you have nothing to fear.

Other sports have borrowed from cricket's anti-corruption measures to set
up their own ethical governance programmes and we must take pride in
belonging to a sport that is professional and progressive.

One of the biggest challenges that the game must respond to today, I
believe, is charting out a clear road map for the three formats. We now
realise that the sport's three formats cannot be played in equal numbers -
that will only throw scheduling and the true development of players
completely off gear.

There is a place for all three formats, though, we are the only sport I can
think of which has three versions. Cricket must treasure this originality.
These three versions require different skills, skills that have evolved,
grown, changed over the last four decades, one impacting on the other.

Test cricket is the gold standard, it is the form the players want to play.
The 50-over game is the one that has kept cricket's revenues alive for more
than three decades now. Twenty20 has come upon us and it is the format
people, the fans want to see.

Cricket must find a middle path, it must scale down this mad merry-go-round
that teams and players find themselves in: heading off for two-Test tours
and seven-match ODI series with a few Twenty20s thrown in.

Test cricket deserves to be protected, it is what the world's best know
they will be judged by. Where I come from, nation versus nation is what got
people interested in cricket in the first place. When I hear the news that
a country is playing without some of its best players, I always wonder,
what do their fans think?

People may not be able to turn up to watch Test cricket but everyone
follows the scores. We may not fill 65,000 capacity stadiums for Test
matches, but we must actively fight to get as many as we can in, to create
a Test match environment that the players and the fans feed off. Anything
but the sight of Tests played on empty grounds. For that, we have got to
play Test cricket that people can watch.

I don't think day-night Tests or a Test championship should be dismissed.

In March of last year I played a day-night first-class game in Abu Dhabi
for the MCC and my experience from that was that day-night Tests is an idea
seriously worth exploring. There may be some challenges in places where
there is dew but the visibility and durability of the pink cricket ball was
not an issue.

Similarly, a Test championship, with every team and player driving
themselves to be winners of a sought after title, seems like it would have
a context to every game.

Keeping Tests alive may mean different innovations in different countries -
maybe taking it to smaller cities, playing it in grounds with smaller
capacities like New Zealand has thought of doing, maybe reviving some old
venues in the West Indies, like the old Recreation Ground in Antigua.

When I was around seven years old, I remember my father taking a Friday off
so that we could watch three days of Test cricket together. On occasions he
couldn't, I would accompany one of his friends, just to soak in a day of
Test cricket and watch the drama slowly unfold.

What we have to do is find a way to ensure that Test matches fit into 21st
century life, through timing, environments and the venues they are held in.
I am still convinced it can be done, even in our fast-moving world with a
short attention span. We will often get told that Test matches don't make
financial sense, but no one ever fell in love with Test cricket because
they wanted to be a businessman. Not everything of value comes at a price.

There is a proposal doing the rounds about scrapping the 50-over game
completely. I am not sure I agree with that - I certainly know that the
50-over game helped us innovate strokes in our batting which we were then
able to take into Test matches. We all know that the 50-over game has been
responsible for improving fielding standards all over the world.

The future may well lie in playing one-day internationals centered around
ICC events, like the Champions Trophy and the World Cups. This would ensure
that all 50-over matches would build up for those tournaments.

That will cut back the number of one-day internationals played every year
but at least those matches will have context. Since about I think 1985,
people have been saying that there is too much meaningless one-day cricket.
Maybe it's finally time to do something about it.

The Twenty20 game as we know has as many critics as it has supporters in
the public. Given that an acceptable strike rate in T20 these days is about
120, I should probably complain about it the most. The crowd and revenue
numbers, though, tell us that if we don't handle Twenty20 correctly, we may
well have more and more private players stepping in to offer not just
slices of pie, but maybe even bigger pies themselves.

So I'll re-iterate what I've just said very quickly because balancing three
formats is important:

We have Test cricket like we have always had, nation versus nation, but
carefully scheduled to attract crowds and planned fairly so that every Test
playing country gets its fair share of Tests. And playing for a
championship or a cup, not just a ranking.

The 50-overs format focused around fewer, significant multi-nation ICC
events like the Champions Trophy and the World Cup. In the four-year cycle
between World Cups, plan the ODI calendar and devise rankings around these
few important events. Anything makes more sense than seven-match ODI
series.

The best role for Twenty20 is as a domestic competition through official
leagues, which will make it financially attractive for cricketers. That
could also keep cricket viable in countries where it fights for space and
attention.

Because the game is bigger than us all, we must think way ahead of how it
stands today. Where do we want it to be in the year 2020? Or say in 2027,
when it will be 150 years since the first Test match was played. If you
think about it, cricket has been with us longer than the modern motor car,
it existed before modern air travel took off.

As much as cricket's revenues are important to its growth, its traditions
and its vibrancy are a necessary part of its progress in the future. We
shouldn't let either go because we played too much of one format and too
little of the other.

Professionalism has given cricketers of my generation privileged lives and
we know it, even though you may often hear us whining about burn-out,
travel and the lack of recovery time.

Whenever we begin to get into that mindset, it's good to remember a piece
of Sachin's conversation with Bradman. Sachin told us that he had asked Sir
Don how he had mentally prepared for big games, what his routines were. Sir
Don said, that well, before a game he would go to work and after the game
go back to work. Whenever a cricketer feels a whinge coming on, that would
be good to remember.

Before I conclude, I also want to talk briefly about an experience I have
often had over the course of my career. It is not to do with individuals or
incidents, but one I believe is important to share. I have sometimes found
myself in the middle of a big game, standing at slip or even at the
non-strikers end and suddenly realised that everything else has vanished.
At that moment, all that exists is the contest and the very real sense of
the joy that comes from playing the game.

It is an almost meditative experience, where you reconnect with the game
just like you did years ago, when you first began, when you hit your first
boundary, took the first catch, scored your first century, or were involved
in a big victory. It lasts for a very fleeting passage of time, but it is a
very precious instant and every cricketer should hang on to it.

I know it is utterly fanciful to expect professional cricketers to play the
game like amateurs; but the trick, I believe, is taking the spirit of the
amateur - of discovery, of learning, of pure joy, of playing by the rules -
into our profession. Taking it to practice or play, even when there's an
epidemic of white-line fever breaking out all over the field.

In every cricketer there lies a competitor who hates losing, and yes,
winning matters. But it is not the only thing that matters when you play
cricket. How it is played is as important for every member of every team
because every game we play leaves a footprint in cricket's history. We must
never forget that.

What we do as professionals is easily carried over into the amateur game,
in every way - batting, bowling, fielding, appealing, celebration, dissent,
argument. In the players of 2027, we will see a reflection of this time and
of ourselves and it had better not annoy or anguish us 50-year-olds.

As the game's custodians, it is important we are not tempted by the
short-term gains of the backward step. We can be remembered for being the
generation that could take the giant stride.

Thank you for the invitation to address all of you tonight, and your
attention.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The world ought to know my opinion,no?

NDTV did a hit job on Anna Hazare with the 'flog the drunks' interview.

Sachin's next 100 will come. 100th or otherwise. Its meant to be.

FDI in retail is good. Farmers get a better,even if slightly, return. Small retailers lose slight margin. Large retailers work smarter due to competition. And we will always need salespersons even at malls. We are Indians. So jobs created.

You can call them whatever, but NDTV are a set of loyal and ehsaanmand people. Will fall over themselves to paint Congress as good guys even after they commit murder.

It seems Kingfisher Airlines earns Rs.15 cr /day (when they do fly). I am sure thier flagship business gets in more business on a dry day. Do they need bailout? Dont think so.

Whats the difference between consulting and (bull)shitting? Well, you need to cleanup after one of them.

Did people really miss the irony of spending days arranging and practising for a stupid 'flash mob'???

Just dont get the logic of aping somthing that is done somwhere else and not really applicable here? Thankgiving, for example.

Shahrukh Khan learnt the hard way that he is better of not producing movies with Ra.One. He will make money, but trying to please everyone sucks.

People say i got lucky with recent job switch activities, all i say is watch 'Luck By Chance'.

Anyone thinks holding up Parliament due to this FDI issue or black money issue is just a ploy to make sure Lokpal never reaches parliament, is never debated, passed or implemented. Sorry Anna, next time.

And Anna is going on fast again at the end of month. Warning : this time supporters may nit come, its gonna be very very cold in Ramlila Maidan....

Year end again. Car, foreign trip and new job ticked in the to do list. It wasnt too long anyway. Cure for insomnia still on it.

30 next year. None of the goals set 5 - 6 years back will happen. Goal setting is over rated. Life is all about karm(effort) and niyati(destiny). Samay se pehle and all that BS.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I liked this description....

(A conversation between me and a colleague)

"me tujhya baddal kahi tari aikla,khara aahe?"
"kai te?"
"ki tu parat maheri chaallaas"
"ho"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ab Kya Ghazal Sunaaon.......

Listen here

Kaise sukoon pau, tujhe dekhne ke baad,
Ab kya ghazal sunau, tujhe dekhne ke baad.

Aavaz de rahi hai meri zindgi mujhe
Jaau ya na jaau tujhe dekhne ke baad

Kaabe ka ehteram bhi meri nazar mein hai,
Sar kis taraf jhukau, tujhe dekhne ke baad.

Teri nigaah-e-mast ne makhmoor kar diya,
Kya maikade ko jao, tujhe dekhne ke baad.

Nazron mein taab-e-deed hi baki nahin rahi,
Kis se nazar milau, tujhe dekhne ke baad.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Never will we forget you...


Jagjit Singh (February 8, 1941 - October 10, 2011)

Apni marzi se kahan apne safar ke hum hain,
Ruq hawaon ka jidhar ka hai udhar ke hum hain.

Rest in peace Jagjit Singh, jaha bhi aap ho.

No more saving for a rainy day.....

The biggest fuckup with insomnia is that around 2 in the night, you feel hungry.

Now you are sufficiently lazy to not get up and go get a biscuit or 2. Even if you do go, its so bloody quite in the night(which i love, no doubt) that any sound is amplified and wakes up dad who will claim to have slept just a minute back. So first you have to explain why you are stil awake (as is the norm, all 17 year old gals or anyone deemed to be one by parents are expected to explain all actions to parents. This way they its ensured ki bacche bigad te nahi)

And also the small matter of encountering a lizard (something i hate to look at) who may or may not be around (why take the chance?).

So, with this in view, me and sis (a fellow insomniac) decided its prudent to keep a packet of biscuits in our room. Only for 'emergency situations'.

Well, emergency presented itself that very night, with mom taking ill in the middle of night with a throbbing headache (which wasn't due to her usual BP problem) and ended when i went and fetched a doctor and necessary medication was given. She finally dozed off and me and sis got the biscuit packet out, we were hungry.

And that explains why i hate to save for a rainy day, it bloody pours immediately!

This is not to say you shouldn't save, but, on the other hand, saving for a good thing is good. That planned good thing may not happen but some other good may. (Like how my London fund funded car and Thailand trip).

But do invest in insurance with guaranteed return plan, you never know when it will rain!

PS : i walked out and got biscuits and now i'll get back to trying to sleep.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My psychedelic mix....

The free online dictionary defines 'psychedelic' as : of, characterized by, or generating hallucinations, distortions of perception, altered states of awareness, and occasionally states resembling psychosis.

You can get more info in this link : http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic

I just define it as nice feeling of peace, coupled with the quiet of the night. With the following playing on my mp3 player :
Pink Floyd (comfortably numb, coming back to life)
Mehndi hasan (mujhe tum nazar se, ranjish hi sahi)
Jagjit Singh (aah, many)
Ghulam Ali (hungama, aawargi)
Talat Aziz (aaina mujhse)
Nirvana (about a girl)
Bon Jovi (always)
Bryan adams (heaven)
Eric clapton (tears in heaven)
Chitra Singh (raa bhi neend bhi, khuda humko)
Abida parveen (main naraya mastana) Indian Ocean (jogia)
Midival Punditz

Quite a mix. Covering over 50 years or music crossing across cultures and geographies. (Arent you glad you live in today's world rather than in 50s, when access to world music was limited to poor souls?)

Anyway, need to sleep. Wait.....Jimi Hendrix is here..... Smoke on the water, fire in sky!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One for the label 'Random'.....

So, i left for office today morning. And walked down to auto stand, with the auto standing right outside the Hanuman Temple. The auto guys know me, so i just get into the first ric.

This another guy came from the opposite direction. Like many Indians, he has this habit of spitting. And he did just that. Right in the space between the auto and the temple parapet. The auto guy was livid about the fact that how can one spit in front of a temple. (though i think he was more upset about the other guy spitting so close to the auto). Got out and started yelling

"arey tumko dikhta nahi kya, bhagwaan hai idhar..... Blah blah....."
"arey dada nighuya kai, ushir hotoy"
"arey saaheb asa kasa ha vaagtoy, thobadit dyachi hyaala"
The other auto guys converge.
"arey ka yevda arda orda. Dev kuthe nahi aahe saanga maala??"

Silence.

Then one of the older auto guys told this young man to get on with his job and the spitter walked away.

"Tumhi hota saaheb, mhanun to vachla. Shikshe cha parinaam aahe ha, mhanun mhantaat, shikshit lokkanchya ayushyat aaram asto, vichar karun vaaghtaat"

"Hmmmm. Jau dya aata, tension gheu naka, yeda hota to."

(This thing did not happen. As in, the spitting bit happened, It irritated me a bit and the auto just moved on. But i was just wondering, what would have happened if an alternate future existed from that point. Can i spin a yarn around a theme? What if the spitter was muslim? And so on. Not a successful attempt. Will make another one, like Run Lola Run. Needs imagination.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Its been 10 years......

Its 2 a.m, on 12/9/2011 in Mumbai (ok, Navi Mumbai, fine?) In some parts of the world, its still 9/11. Its been exactly 10 years since THAT 9/11 and people across the world are, in one way or the other, talking about it - tributes, felicitation, editorials, analysis, memories, photos, videos and how the world has changed since then.

Well, one thing hasnt changed, I was an insomniac then, I am one now. And then, as a curious 19 year old, i was introduced to the world of internet properly. And also my interest in international polictics, which till that point was limited to history chapters, the few Hollywood movies i may hav seen till that point and Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Before 2000,my only connection with computers or internet was a stray game here and there or a some story stuff people do oon internet. I had heard about Y2K bug, and worms and viruses, floppy disks and emails. It was only in sometime around Sept 2000 that we got a PC at home and i started using it and learning all i can. (The PC guy installed the thing at my place and left and i had no clue how to shut it down! Just put out the power once and windows helped me next time round. Still cant claim to be expert, Sankatmochan Doc Cardozo and Doc Ingle live in the perennial fear of when i would call them for some PC related problem!). Some days later net was activated and our was a tech savvy family!

Well, so I started and was primarily limited to email, learning MS Office and watching movies, listening to songs etc. Ofcourse, there was some 'unmentionables' checked out as well. But thats about it.

Then, 9/11 happenend. Was alone at home when I saw the news on TV, fairly detached with the whole thing. When mom came home, i very casually told her 2 planes have crashed into 2 buildings in New York, could be a terrorist strike. And then went on downstairs for a walk around the colony.

By the time I came back, it was clear what had happened. A co-ordianated terrorist attack.

DD news was still the most credible news agency then and i am not sure if Aaj Tak/NDTV etc. had all details. Morever, in the absence of information and knowledge, i was wondering whats the big deal, we have bomb blasts, they had a hijacked plane hitting them. So naturally, i turned to the Internet for info. I spent the night reading up news, updates and analysis. What happened, whats happening now, reactions, condemnations, suspects, what it means to India, and to Asian politics (funny no one thought of economic aspects then, read the STOI editorial by Mr.Aiyar or Swapan Dasgupta's blog).

More importantly, i learnt things about New York, about WTC (30K people worked there, had 2 zip codes, architectural marvel of its time and so on),about Pentagon (is it really 8 storeys underground?), about the shock in the US people, about Osama Bin Laden (was friend, now foe, till that point he would get just about a small space in the middle pages of TOI), about Taliban and so on.

And since that day i have relied on the internet for information so much, its practically a career for me!

Anyway, its 3.AM now, i am supposed to reach office by 9.30......

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sleepless in Pattaya.....

No no, sleepless here only. No more Thailand stories....

It seems i have bored most of the world in the last few weeks with my Thailand stories. Can't help. I have told everyone who cared to listen about my adventures in Hyderabad, so you can very well understand the excitement in telling and retelling the stories of Thailand trip...

But i guess now is the time to close that story (and hope a new one starts soon!)

Most of you must have seen the snaps. But they dont tell you the full story! And if you want to hear the full story, meet me over a drink! (hot or cold, take your pick)

In the meantime,i'll try and keep myself busy with job hunt (top priority), dental procedures (its reaching that stage where it HAS to be done), gymming and jogging ( guys, dont laff) and so on.

TA also just had a nice little vacation. Next such thing may possibly happen in December, because as usual with TA things did not go as per plan (the whole world conspires for that!). Actually, if you believe that " Is shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hain, ki poorani kaynat ne hame milane ki saazish ki hai" logic, then maybe TA is getting what they wanted? Hmmmm..... Concerned people may introspect and confirm....

My Punto has reached 3300 kms. In the 3 TA cars purchased in the last few months, i think i am second highest user, close to Silky and faar faar away from Clinton's 700 kms! But then he will make one road trip and......

Chamak Challo is good! Despite Kareena....

Why do i seem to be the only one who thinks 'Mausam' will be a good movie..... And thats a sad sign cos i had thought 'That girl in Yellow Boots' will also be good.... It isnt. But having made half hearted attempts and made lousy presentations myself, i understand. Better luck next time.

Bored of typing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I am not against Team Anna....

I am not saying the agitation is wrong, only the means are. Ppl are getting carried away by the romance of it all. And tell me are we not being corrupt if we ask yhe government to subvert a system just bcos A Raja did it? Worse are we not being terrorists here?

And, are Team Anna so naive? Even if their bill bypasses the standing comitee and goes straight to parliament, it will be shot down cos none of the parties agree to the utopian demands. Instead, a more reasonable bill with inputs from Team Anna, NAC, and Aruna Roy, anyone else, debated by law experts goes into the parliament, doesnt that have a better chance? Lets forget abt its implementation or the effect it will have.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shit happened.....

Some time back, i had told you I am testing my luck..... , today, this mail came....

Fwd: Email Confirmation : Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2012

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <scmm@procam.in>
Date: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 12:21 PM
Subject: Email Confirmation : Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2012
To: rachitst@gmail.com


Dear Rachit Tiwari,

We are delighted to confirm your registration for the 9th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon scheduled on Sunday, 15th January, 2012.

Details of your confirmation are as under:

  • Race Category: Half Marathon
  • Your Running Number: 21027
  • Your Application Id : 9953
  • Date of Birth: 1982-08-05
  • Gender: M

If any of the details mentioned above, including the spelling of your name as appearing in this letter, need to be corrected, please do write to us before November 30, 2011. You may write to us on P.O. Box No. 11017, Marine Drive Post Office, Mumbai 400 020, or email us on scmm@procam.in, enclosing/attaching documentation supporting the change required.

 You will be required to collect your running number bib and timing chip from the Mumbai Marathon Expo at the MMRDA Grounds, Opp. Citibank, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra (E), Mumbai 400 051 on the dates mentioned. Please note, these will NOT be posted to individual addresses nor distributed on race day, i.e. 15th January 2012.

Dates & timing for collection:

From Friday, 6th January to Sunday, 8th January 2012, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

 Please bring with you:- 

  • A printed copy of this email confirmation
  • Go Green Tip: If you're a smart phone user, please save this email confirmation and show this email to our representative at the Registration Area within the Expo. You need not carry a print of the same. Please note, this is applicable only if the registered runner is visiting the expo in person.
  • Your Original photographic proof of identity (eg. Driving license, employee/school/ college identity card, passport, PAN card, Election card, Ratio card). This should be same identity proof, a photocopy of which you have submitted to us along with your application. 

The identity proof will be verified before handing over your running number and timing chip.

 In case you are unable to come in person to the Expo due to any unavoidable circumstances, you may send your representative to collect your running number and timing chip. Please note in case of Marathon and Half Marathon race category, a representative can collect the bib and chip of ONLY one runner. Your representative will be required to produce the following documents to our registration team:- 

 

  • A printed copy of this email confirmation,
  • A photocopy of photographic identity proof of the registered participant's identity; eg: driving license, employee/school/college identity card, passport, PAN card election card, etc. This should be same identity proof, a photocopy of which you have submitted to us along with your application.
  • An authority letter signed by the registered participant allowing the representative to collect the running number bib, and
  • A photocopy of photographic proof of identity of the person visiting the Expo on behalf of the registered participant; eg: driving license, employee/school/college identity card, passport, PAN card, election card etc.

 

 Please note your entry to this Event is not transferable.

We wish you an enjoyable run and look forward to seeing you at the Mumbai Marathon Expo.

 

If you have participated in all our previous 8 editions of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, please click the appended link and provide information about your participation.

http://www.procamrunning.in/scmm/patron.php

 

Regards,

 

Registration Team 

Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, 2012

www.procamrunning.in

+91 22 42020200 (Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm)




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Minutes of the meeting......

Occasion : TA meet
Date : Sometime in 2003, 2004
Members : Any 2,3,4 or 5 of the TA members.
Topics discussed :
kahan baithe, paise hain na?
saali bhatta kutti ne sab barbaad kar diya, Thale mast tha....
dude, make sure you get all the writeups from Megha, we can copy then....
congratulations dude, placement ho gaya!
Kya sab ko bike pe aana hain kya, someone will have to take a ric!
Saala, hamara first class sunke uski shakal hi utar gayi.....
Yahan wahaan apply kia hai, dekho ab....
Ab bas MBA ki planning hain.....
Where will be in 5 years from now?
Dude, take up something, better than sitting at home, i hav started doing something with this company that sells sim cards.....


Occasion : TA meet
Date : Sometime in 2005, 2006
Members : Any 2,3,4 or 5 of the TA members.
Topics discussed :
aaj gaya tha interview ke liye, dekho lya hota hain.....
Arey silky jaa raha Doha, usko kuch gift dete hain, TA ka group photo.....
Arey public interview leti hain ki saale sadistic pleasure.....
How is your CAT training coming along....
Dude, i am off for MBA....
Bhaisaab, udhar apply to kar do....
They have sent an offer letter, accept kar lunga.....
Isko shayad ghar tak chod ke aana padega.....
Arey mera boss kya dimaag ko shot hain.....
Ghar pe baithoe to shot hain, TP ke liye bahar niklo to shot hain......
Its a small company, but still better than nothing yaar.....
Kal ek interview hain, lets hope it works out, its into market research and all.....



Occasion : TA meet
Date : Sometime in 2007, 2008, 2009
Members : Any 2,3,4 or 5 of the TA members.
Topics discussed :
Saala din raat kaam chalta hain,....... 11 baje ghar pahuch raha hu...... yeh koi life hain?
Kuch kuch naya seekhne ko mil raha hain...........
Bas bhai, ab MBA vagera ho gaya..... ab to tu shaadi market main hain,......
How is it working out with ...... ghar pe baat huyi?
Chal koi nahi, aur kahin ho jayega.....
I will also go abroad and do, arey agar utna investment main kar raha hu, to return bhi to hona chahiye na, aur fir yeh to ek saal main ho jayega, aur fir mere ek dost ne.........
Bhai, promotion huya to kaam bhi bad gaya ab bahut......
Chalo yaar, paav aaaya hain mil lete hain.....
Man, she talks, i listen..... same story everywhere mate....
Bhaisaab, hum bhi MBA ka dekhlete hain.....executive to kar hi lete hain.....
Saala yeh mast hain, bike meri aa rahi hain, test drive Akash kar raha hai.....
Chaila job vagera ka problem hi ho raha hai......
See you cannot always go against your family yaar, one has to be responsible.....i am sure its the same story at your place .. (yes)


Occasion : TA meet
Date : Sometime in 2010, 2011
Members : Any 2,3,4 or 5 of the TA members.
Topics discussed :
TA is a global entity now……
Kaunsi gaadi se chale……
Its not working out dude, tera kya chal raha hai........
Bas yaar meeting, talking with ppl....lets see,parents ke haath main hain ab to.....
I was telling someone the other day, TA has 4 cars, 5 bikes and most of them are hardly used nowadays…..
Yaar vo ab tak settle nahi hua hain....
Man, we are indulging ourselves……
Somehow, there is no fun, go to office come back, go to office......
Apna business start karna hain yaar...... I want to be my own boss!
Bhaisaab, ye log to ready ho gaye......
Man, one wicket down, Silky getting married in December......
Man, its ending. TA will not be the same again....
Chaila, kuch to problem ho gaya...... same story , ego....
Yeh megamaaz hain, 2 petrol cars from Airoli and Koparkhairane traveling till Belapur to meet up….!!
Think where we were 5 years back…


Snaps from the last full member TA meet…….







Times change, topics change……. People don’t!!! Still as much fun!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The end of the twenties....

Actually, depends on the way you look at it. Some people say the 30th year has started so you are 30 for all practical purposes and some say you are 29 till your next birthday. I, being a realist (tending to cynical) would say i am closer to 30. This is also comes from a habit i picked when working in Feedback - roundoff any number to the nearest whole number.

Anyway, what does that mean? Some people say this is a nice year to reassess what you wat from life. Some say this is the time you learn from the experiences of last few years, comparing what i got to what i wanted 5 or 10 years back. And have more realistic goals for the future.

I say, cant we just get up and go to office like the previous years. Thats a good enough goal, no? Thats gonna be my plan for the thirties.... Wake up and go to office. But for that I need to sleep......

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thailand checklist........

  • Time – set out
  • Money – set out (hopefully)
  • Partners – were set out. All were ready. Now Partner 1 is on the way but still tentative, Partner 2 is uncharacteristically tentative but characteristically silent. Partner 3 is more than ready but God, parents and wife haven't approved plan. Partner 4 doesn't know if he is ready; God, parents and wife are immaterial things.
  • Plan – more or less set out. we go, we see, we roam, we decide what to do next, repeat, we come back.
  • Travel tips – taken
  • Things to do – listed (Huge list, priority needs to be set out yet, but we are missing THE PARTY by a day. Typical, but then TA luck never was in line with the moon)
  • Things not to do – noted (Another huge list)
  • Places to go - Tiger temple, Pattaya, anythig else, Pattaya, some other place, Pattaya, and maybe Koh Samet. Lets see. We have kept this flexible.
  • Places not to go - some crocodile park
  • Shopping – done (if you can count one pair of shorts as shopping that is)
  • Shopping list – noted
  • Suggestions - welcome
  • Climate / weather related info - sought

Siddhesh says "(with this trip) i guess...you are not even losing your (travel) virginity, but you are straight away becoming a travel whore".

Guess, I don't mind. So planning a trip like one. Experienced people may help with their inputs.


Guess I am all set to go. All I have to do, is land there now.

Testing my luck....

Ok, we know about TA luck, my luck and so on. (No, this is not about the Thailand trip,that is happening, expect for number of participants, rest all is as per plan).

Do not laugh, because it is not funny. I am serious. Today, i did the unthinkable. I have registered myself for the 2012 Mumbai Marathon, to be held in January 2012. 21 kms. The idea is not so much to win the marathon as it is to participate and compete. (IOA and Dhoni's spirit of cricket zindabad!). The idea is also to make myself getup and go ahead and prepare for the marathon. By doing that, i might just to do my body and soul a favour in terms of fitness. As my 20 minute brisk evening walk ( ok, ok, stroll) showed, i am far from fit to walk the 21 km, let alone run. (I think, after Thailand, i'll join a gym in some distant place like mulund or koparkhairane. That way, i'll put my car and bike to better use as well.)

Now, you may wonder how does my luck get tested here. Its simple - i have registered, but it seems my participation will be confirmed by the organisers on the basis of a lottery system. Historically, i have never been a beneficiary of any lottery system. So I shouldnt expect to be selected here as well. But, we know, in my case, if anything that can cause some trouble is likely to happen, it will. And what would cause me greater trouble - being selected and working out OR being rejected and same lazy life?

Its funny, i would infer my luck has improved, if the lesser of 2 sad things happen!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Awesome lines, no?

Kaun samjhega seene mein kitna dard samaye baithe hai......
Jab ik bedard ko hi apna humdard banaye baithe hai.....

A complete post will follow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fwd: New comment on Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, big deal...!.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anonymous <noreply-comment@blogger.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 7:11 PM
Subject: [Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide....] New comment on Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, big deal...!.
To: rachitst@gmail.com


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, big deal...!":

really?



Posted by Anonymous to Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide.... at July 25, 2011 7:11 PM




Well Anon, WTF is this comment?? ( I am seriously considering blocking Anon commenter, for the simple reason that i am left guessing, yeh kaun tha????) 

And tell me, what was that "really?" in response too???? Some possibilities, and then appropriate responses.

(And since i am pissed off generally, what with a sad job, Thailand trip in khatai again and India lose first test.... i am going to reply to all)

So you think it isnt REALLY big deal??? That life will change forever? Well, it isn't. Life changes, each change brings its own joys and challenges and honestly, you cannot do shit about it.

Or do you find it difficult  to believe we are REALLY going to Thailand???? Well, let me reiterate, I am. Alone, if need be. 2 people are booked, but this being a TA trip and we all know about TA luck. So the trip is on.

Or do you REALLY .......oh, WTF. If you do read this again, just let us know what you meant !!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, big deal...!

If, and that's a big IF, TA makes the planned trip to Thailand, all will say it was inspired by the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. That may not be the case, but the movie does throw up interesting ideas about what all may happen at an all guys trip.

Among other things, you can run into Katrina Kaif, find a dad, get laid, indulge in adventure sports, fight a bit, make up and have a good time in general.

If, and again, that's a big IF, TA makes the planned trip to Thailand, we had similar plans (except for of course, the dad part and i will let you speculate about the getting laid part). Morever, it is hoped to be a break from everything else. And a chance, last (or maybe second last chance) to do something in our lives our way. Not that we did everything our way till now, but still as life goes on, there will be a lot of influencers on each and every decision of ours and not to mention limitations. For eg. - Silky (and you can whack me for this), when was the last time you saw a hindi movie? :P

Point being, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (at least, as we know it).

Well, that was the thinking as Thailand plans were being laid (eh, being laid? Hmmmm)


Well.....

The way I see it, the planned Thailand trip is most likely to be cancelled. Our lives are not 'Bollywood' Hindi movies, so planning a trip will be next to impossible. All conceivable troubles will show up and try their level best to trip the plan. ( and i am not even thinking about the chances of running into Katrina Kaif there).

At this point of time, 4 of the 5 people who could have gone to Thailand are tentative about their plans, in varying degrees, for various valid reasons. (I feel left out!!!)

Anyway, life would'nt stop i guess, if this trip doesn't happen. We may never get this chance again, so lets hope it happens.

I don't see how, maybe i'll go alone and take cutouts of everyone's photos and pose everywhere like in the movie Up In The Air.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Recco, refusal and rant....

Life at her terms :
The whole idea of putting up a blog, as i see it, is to put across your point of view - whatever someone else thinks. One is expected to be frank, fearless, the blog has to mirror you. Generally, personal blogs, you can have commercial ones as well.

This lady here is by far the perfect blog i have seen in those respects. Absolutely loved it. So does her dad, it seems. And at one level, i am jealous of her. Because its frank, she puts in stuff without caring who will read what and if that's appropriate or not.

A thing to do before i die :

Last Sunday, i was expected to be at my college as a guest lecturer telling students about the stupidity B2B research is. I had to refuse at the last minute because i wasn't keen on driving all the way with the hurting leg. Was looking forward to the experience, but....But that reminded me of a simple promise i had made to myself long time back, in 2006. That one day, i would be good enough to be invited as guest lecturer to IIM - A, and I'll refuse. Well, 5 years on, i have taken the first step towards it, at least the refusing part.

The thing about looking forward to things...
Is that the it will not happen, not for me at least. Was looking forward to a nice evening at MIG club for EKs engagement, but i am going to Delhi on that very day. Just another instance in my life, i guess.

UPDATE
The rant has to be cancelled. I am now going on friday morning, so may go to EKs engagement.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Missing the point.....

There is an old saying - that lock's are to prevent the honest from stealing. The thief, if smart and expert enough, will anyway break and lock and steal. The same logic can actually be extended to laws, judiciary, police and all that. The fact that killing someone leads to life imprisonment MIGHT deter an office going, middle class person, but not a professional killer. By punishing one, you tell other potential criminals, this is what will happen to you, are you willing to risk that??

Some Mallu, who is in the Navy, kills another guy, when he sees him at his girlfriend's house, and assumes/concludes they been sleeping together. Fine, as the judge said, a prudent cannot accept that and he killed him in a minutes insanity. Crime, but can be defended, punishment scaled down. Then the couple has sex (or, as the girl claims, she was raped) with the corpse still in the house. Fine, some emotional reunion maybe. Not a crime, just seems weird, but just might indicate a relaxed state of mind, after doing / witnessing a murder.

Then they think about what to do with the body. And then, very cruelly, in a gruesome manner, with a cool mind, they take steps to chop it into pieces and dispose it in jungle. Guy goes back home, girl goes and registers a police complaint about the guy being missing. And they have gone unpunished!

Ok, the guy has been convicted for murder and destroying evidence, while the girl has been convicted of just destroying evidence. 10 years and 3 years respectively, and the girl has walked out free today. She did not deserve to.

But the point is, the main crime was not the killing. A 1000 people are killed daily - by insurgents, by criminals, by armies, by police and so on. The main crime, was the thought in their mind, that the law will never catch up with them. That their gruesome crime will never be caught. That they can get away with it. That has not been punished.

So, is the court telling us, in effect, you can kill people, play victim and get away with it?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Raat baaaki......

And i have nothing to do, as my net connection stopped workin.... Thank god for my Vodafone and Nokia combo!!!

Anyone ever had an experience which would give you an idea how something else will feel?? As in, kind of a test drive? Not exactly that, more like ...... You know, how i got to get an SUV kind of experience with my Woodland shoes?? :) yeah, true. For the first time in a 1000 years i have shoes where my feet just go in, no struggle, no fight, ample space, like a SUV. Then they are all terrain. I have walked on gravel, mud, slush everything, gripping on to each of it perfectly. Some days back, i came home drenched after being out in the rain for an hour, take off my shoes, and the socks are dry. D-R-Y, dry. Ever seen a kid who got an unexpected gift??? SUV feeling, aint it, whatever happens out, you are safe inside. And like SUVs, they are heavy, expensive, difficult to move around with, especially in a crowd. But what the heck?!!

What came first?? Anna or Ramdev?? Most people say Ramdev hijacked Anna's agenda, i say Anna spoilt Ramdev's plans of announcing himself on the political stage. Our government first made him a hero by trying flattery, then whacked him and then ignored him. His brand of yoga took a beating and he may have shelved all political dreams. The Congress will get vindictive and go after his ashram, so he has ample on his hands.

Speaking of vindictivness, i liked it that in Chennai, one still sees posters of Karunanidhi and his son Stalin. In UP, Mayawati behenji has gone all out to erase opposition parties from political landscape.

UDRS : it helps, especially with the Hot Spot as a part of it, in checking for errors and rectification. Why would BCCI oppose it then? Maybe it will help if the onfield decision review process takes about a minute and some advert revenue can be earned then???

What description fits Chennai airport better : glorified bus stand or fish market?

My bike has gome on its yearly hibernation, nicely covered and all. In 2 minds to sell it off. Or maybe not..... Maybe when we are all 45 and free to make our own decisions, TA will go cross country on our bikes, like in the movie Wild Hogs.

I have become a family man. Not really choice, just that all my friends are away/busy due to work marriage or ego! So i spend weekends with my parents. Weekend before last we went on a drive to Lonavla ( which i may go again next week :) ) and last weekend we went for movie : Ready. And guess whom i saw post that - Katrina Kaif!!!!! Kaisa katila naach kiya hain dekho to hiya :
http://m.youtube.com/watch?desktop_uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DqyY9UcxzmZM&v=qyY9UcxzmZM&gl=US
you got to say one thing about Hrithik Roshan, he is a rock star. Born to perform kinda guy. And it was nice to see Abhay Deol getting some adulation. May not be a star, but a very good actor.

Horny Dog gave me a nice lecture on sleeping minimum 8 hours a day. Else you gain weight. He is maybe 2 inches shorter and just couple of kilos lighter than i am. But as consultants, giving advice come easy to us.

Which reminds me, i need to sleep! Or atleast try to.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lonavala trip....

If all these snaps are seen clearly means experiment successful......

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Never in the wrong.....

"Not take the correct step at the the correct time. Will not accept they made a mistake, will not apologise and instead blame the other party, nit pick anything, gade murde ukhadenge and create a diversion from the main issue. You end up in the wrong, they come out smelling of roses. They do this everytime. The Congress acted in the Ramdev issue in such a womanly manner, dont you agree?" said the fellow traveler, to his friend.

He nodded.

I also nodded, couldnt agree more. Know atleast 2 women like that, no, make that 3.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Same thought, different situations...

Tomorrow morning, me and my dad will wake with the same thought : what am i going to do about my life??

Ok, what all can you think happened between 1st June 1977 and 31st May 2011?

9 cricket world cups
amitabh bacchan - before and after
sunil gavaskar - cricketer, retired and commentator, active
tendulkar's 22 year and going career
cold war
berlin wall fell
kargil war happened
Osama created, Osama irritated, 9/11, Osama killed
babri masjid case, opening of locks, demolition, ensuing conflicts
lokpal bill drafts
womens reservation bill drafts
internet
small world
mobile phones
T20 cricket
Rekha aged (or, did she???)
Fashion
Liberalisation, Globalisation, Privatisation
retail
management
CPI ruled in west bengal
Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi ruled TN in turns
lalu prasad went but the aloo in samosa stayed
NRIs
Inclusive growth
connectivity
small town cricketers
regional parties
page 3
maruti car
IT fueled growth
and such many more things. These are top of the mind.

In the same period, through all the above things, dad worked in the same company, with same focus, same dedication, same sincerity. Felicitations galore, across all the departments he worked in all those years.

I am in the 6th year of my proffesional career and in my 4th company. Lets not talk about focus, dedication, sincerity.

I already wish to retire. Just that i dont know i'll do what after that?

(Well, i can try and sleep during day time)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, thankfully.....

The world did not end.... Neither in that Rapture thing, nor in the manner i knew it.
And my phone is safe (just in case anyone actually believed i'll smash it, Smiroff isn't Doc and Doc). Vodafone and Nokia went the extra mile and some to sort the problem for me, though it still took 4 days. I wonder if they are nice to me because I am loyal to them or I am loyal to them because they are nice to me. Most of the world has a register full of complaints against these companies, i have hardly any!! I guess it works both ways with a bit of good luck thrown in. Plus, for Vodafone, i am a revenue center by way of sms - 60% of my phone bill is sms. They will go out of the way to sort out the matter for me!!

Nomophobic, as the all knowing (well, almost) Mahesh tells me is the fear of being out of touch due to loss or misplacing phone. I guess i would also qualify for this, by means of my anxiety was not able to send out sms messages.
When some people did not care to check why i haven't replied to their messages for 24 hours, i felt life wasnt worth living. Koi kisi ka nahi yeh jhoote naate hain, naato ka kya......When 3 people called to ask where are you, no sms for 3 days, life was better. Yuhin kat jayega safar saath chalne se......and then all was well. Expect for the small matter of losing a lot of settings, applications and saved email addresses (in hindsight, thats not a bad thing).

One thing this problem made me do was to speak to people. I cannot reply to queries by sms, i cannot ask anything by sms. For far too long, i have managed to avoid the concept of making small talk around the real agenda of the call. But now i had to do that, and it isnt a bad thing to do. Just a bit counterproductive, thats all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

End of the world....

As i know it.

Since morning, i have not been able to send any SMS from my phone. Just stuck in the outbox, never moves to sent messages folder. Everything else working fine. Maybe the phone's fault, maybe Vodafone. Last few days, it sent out the same message repeatedly. Its like a colleague's illness last week - loose motions one day, constipation next day.

If this doesn't rectify by tomorrow, i am going to smash my phone. My friend Smirnoff agrees this is the right thing to do.

Rachit
Sent from Rachit's phone

Monday, May 16, 2011

No words to describe.....awesome ghazal!

Ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhaanay kay liyay aa
aa phir say mujhay chhorr kay jaanay kay liyay aa

(Let it be anguish, come still to torment my heart

Come, even if to leave me again)

pehlay say maraasim na sahi phir bhi kabhi to
rasm-o-rahay duniya hi nibhaanay kay liyay aa

(If not for our past association

Come to fulfill the rituals of the world)

kis kis ko bataayengay judaai kaa sabab ham
tu mujh se khafaa hai to zamaanay kay liyay aa

(Who else must I explain the reason of separation

Come, despite your displeasure, to continue the ceremony)

kuchh to meri pindaar-e-mohabbat ka bharam rakh
tu bhi to kabhi mujh ko manaanay kay liyay aa

(Respect a little the depth of my love for you

Come someday to placate me as well)

ek umr say hun lazzat-e-giryaa se bhi mehruum
aye raahat-e-jaan mujh ko rulaanay kay liyay aa

(Too long have I been deprived of the pathos of longing

Come my love, if only to make me weep again)

ab tak dil-e-khush_feham ko tujh say hain ummeedain
ye aakhari shammain bhi bujhaanay kay liyay aa

(Till now, my heart suffers from some expectation

Come to snuff even these last candles of hope)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Searching.....

Rachit : C.G.Road chalenge?
Auto driver : haan
R : kitna lenge?
A : meter se maalik.
R : acchi baat hain.

We set off.

R : accha bhaisaab, yahan ahmedabad main, aap kisi marathi auto driver ko jaante ho kya? Uske auto ke peeche 'jai shivaji' likha hai, uska naam bhi shivaji hain?? Maninagar main rehta tha.
A : bhai yahan pe das pandrah hazaar auto driver hain. Aise kaise kisi ko jaan sakte hain na?
R : haan vo to hain, main to bas chance le ragha tha.

I know this sounds stupid but this, or a similar conversation, is what i have had with 3 auto drivers on this trip to Ahmedabad. Similarly when i had come to Ahmedabad 2 years back. But still havent got anyone who would know him. Next time.

Shivaji was an auto driver in Ahmedabad i had met in 2007, when i had camped here for over 45 days. It was the 'Jai Shivaji' sticker at the back of his auto that had attracted our attention to him and then our marathi connection made him the designated driver for the rest of our trip. On subsequent trips to the city, i would call him and again he was the designated driver. It was nice talking to him, hearing his plans on how his kids would be educated, how he had got a new ric, some incidents with his in-laws and so on.

Sometime in early 2008, he called me saying his number is changing. I am sure i saved his new number. Sometime in mid 2008 there were bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, 2 of them in the Maninagar area. I tried calling him, but always got the message that this number doesnt exist. He has also never called since then. So i am asking auto drivers. I don't know why its important to search him. But it just is. Lets see.

Indulgence....

I have 4 hours to while away. There is a 5 pm show of 'Ragini MMS' in the lounge theater of Big Cinemas. 400 bucks.

But what comfort!!! Nice sofas, ample leg room, nice head rest..... Some of you would have loved this!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I think.....

People who come to theaters to watch a movie and talk, should not be allowed to enter, or thrown out. Especially women. More so in Delhi.

People who come late into the hall, then take take out the ticket to see whats the seat number and then create a ruckus reaching thier seat ought to be shot. And they bloody ask, what happened so far???

Couples need to be clearly asked are you going to get cosy with other during the movie, in that case please take the last row, not the centre seats in the middle rows.

Network jammers in theatres would be a good, if drastic idea. Even after years and years of the theaters requesting patrons to switch off /silent the phone, well, it rings and they talk.

Going alone to watch a movie is cool - only problem,there is no one to go out in the interval to get food!

The Osama killing sounds so much like a mafia hit. The Navy Seals is Omerta personified. The Godfather using all his powers and connections to make it look like something other than what it was. Murky, nothing adds up, too may loose ends. Unsubstantiated stories - which our news channels have not just lapped up, but added thier 'analysis' too.

No, we cannot take Abbotabad type action against to take out the people responsible for crimes in India. One, we havnot fed and fattened the Pak army or government with any aid (estimated USD 20 Bn since 2001). Second, our politicians just lack the will to do anything about it, honestly, lets get good bulletproff jacket first. (Though honestly, did anyone care for my opinion on this?)

I am guessing next week Indian news channels will be busy with election results. I expect DMK to stay in TN, Left to be out of Kerala and Bengal and maybe India. Assam, i dunno much.

Its time i document my life with my car. Just completed 2000 kms. So many things to say : the initial getting to know each other, the day of love, valentines day, the honeymoon, the small tiffs, the comments and compliments and so on. Lets see.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Of faith, love and engineering….

Faith

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This is Ganga kinara, the Banaras waala. On an official trip across Uttar Pradesh (again!!!), I got a chance to wash all my sins of my life. During my stay in Varanasi, i visited the Sankatmochan Hanuman Mandir (which is in a locality named Lanka!) and the Kashi Vishvanath Temple and also witness the Ganga Arti that has been a daily ritual on the banks of Ganga for centuries. This is where i washed of all my sins completely by dipping my hands in the water. No I did not take a dupki (implying a holy dip) in the water, simply because its too polluted.  A lot of people did, like members from the group of Sikhs from the pic below. The faith people have in the river, its Godliness has to be seen to be believed. The whole atmosphere is such that I am sure even an atheist will end up praying here.

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Diyas (clay lamps) being set adrift into the river as prayers for Ganga Maiyya (Mother). Apart from fulfilling any wish you may have, this practice helps the river look beautiful at and after sunset. You can see, lines and clusters of such diyas (mostly set adrift from the boats) and there is a general warm orange-ish glow on the surface of the water, none of which was unfortunately captured by my phone camera.

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Preparations underway for the Maha Arti. There are 6 small ‘pattas’ on which young pandits perform the actual arti. One large bed is set out behind them where all the singers and musicians are seated. The preparations take well over an hour as the 6 things are decorated with flowers, lamps and so on. All this while a dteady crowd keeps building up and they are kept engaged in the proceedings by the bhajan kirtan.

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The audience. Some people hire boats and get the best seats in the house – front view of the entire setup, while others take up the stairs, floor, ledge and other chairs provided for the devotees.

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The Ganga Arti. The feeling i had during this was of peace, inside me. Outside it was loud, noisy. Listen to the din in this video. I think this is why it is called as divine. This is why all those foreigners call Varanasi a holy city. Guess this is why religion exists, it manages to create this escape from life.

I was to experience similar peace 2 days later, at the Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti at Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra.

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Having done all the vidhivad poojas and offerings in temples across Varanasi, i reached this place which claims to fulfill any wish if you offer a chaadar for the mazhaar and tie a thread on the windows. Again once you are in the chamber, around the mazhaar, there is some sort of coolness, an eerie silence despite the noise around that just engulfs you and you forget what you had planned to wish for (believe me its difficult to decide that when your wishes are driven more by greed than wants). Legend has it that Emperor Akbar and wife Jodhabai was able to get a child only when they conceived in the saint’s house and hence in respect of that this dargah and the entire city of Fatehpur Sikri was built. The Chishti family till date stays nearby and are buried in the grounds next to this dargah.

Both the places, the most amazing (and common) thing was the belief amongst the devotees. And they believe everything thats said about the saint – like how his 6 months old child could speak and ask his father to give Akbar an audience. One may argue i believe Ramayan and Mahabharat too, but that's mythology, this is history and closer in time. But if we have people believing in Satya Sai Baba’s miracles in 2011, might as well believe a 400 year old act.The devotees are very sure their wishes will come true. So even i’ll believe that.

Now all i have to see is if my pilgrimage results in collaboration or conflict between all those i have prayed to. In the next leg of my pilgrimage, i hope to pray at a church and a gurudwara (hopefully at Amritsar)

Love and Engineering

I am hoping someday, someone will explain to me why the Taj Mahal is a romantic place, a monument of love and so on. To me, it was just a rich man’s indulgence, albeit a brilliant piece of engineering. Amazing symmetry. Most importantly,the platforms, the various ledges around the monument, distance from the main gates, there is something very “made for photography” about it. or maybe from painting point of view. Whatever it is, it must have taken some amazing level of imagination, visualization, design , planning, scheduling and implementation to build what is after all someone’s grave. You know, we always heard of songs and poetry praising the Taj Mahal as the monument of love and all that, but there are some poems that have also called the Taj Mahal an insult to the poor man’s love.

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If you ask me, the real monument of love is the fort at Fatehpur Sikri. From what i learnt, Akbar had 3 official wives and 365 unofficial wives (and he still needed help with getting a child !!!). In those days, wives were apparently very obedient, especially when the husband is an emperor. so when Akbar moved his home and office from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri to be closer to the Sheikh Salim Chisti’s house, they all went with him. Now if you see this house, you will see most of it is designed to ensure all wives (atleast all official ones) stay with the utmost care, in surroundings reflecting their own backgrounds (they were Hindu , Muslim and Christian. My guide was sure there would have been a Sikh one as well, had Sikhism existed at that time). I think that much effort for people who are alive is a greater indication of love than a beautiful grave!

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The Hawa Mahal , the tower of which was used by the Hindu wife to pray to the sun, by the Muslim wife to see the moon on Eid.The queens spent most of their days in this place because it is very well ventilated and and accessible to the courts and Akbar's rooms and all other entertainment avenues – like the game of Chopat played with young girls as the figurines that move from cell to cell.

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Akbar’s bedroom. This one had bed made of stone as, as per the guide, a wooden bed would broken more often, what with the 300 odd wives Akbar had. The platform in front of the bedroom was where Tansen would sit and sing for hours together. His competition with Baiju Bawra also took place here when it seems Tansen’s singing of some particular song led to lighting up of earthen lamps and Baiju Bawra’s rendition of Raga Malhar bought about rain. Some people believe this. There was a very interesting air cooling system in this room where water could be stored under the bed and flower petals were put into it spread the fragrance.

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Akbars offices – Diwaan – e – aam and Diwaan – e – khaas. The gardens you see earlier used to be the grounds where crowds used to stand and listen to Akbar speak from his throne in building in the centre. Guide says Akbar had a dabbang voice and one could hear it to the point from this snap has been taken. I think acoustics of the place were effectively used if that is true. 

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Buluand Darwaza and the Jama Masjid.

This monument was by far the best of the historical ones i have seen. Neat, clean well maintained. There are some 84 classrooms (see all those small arches?) where until recently children of poor people studied.

Akbar later again shifted to Agra and then to Delhi due to political reasons but often visited this place. The entire city around, the marble dargah were later built by his son.