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Chapter 2: The Ride begins!

October 8, 2014 at 5:21 am

I am not sure when we woke up. But we were all pretty clear that we had to wake up early and go down to Manali (15kms) to collect our bikes. We had sent our bikes by courier through Gati KWE from our respective home cities. And they had been delivered to a person by name – Vivek Katoch – the proprietor of Ashtvinayak Tours and Travels. The same man who had arranged for our pickup from Chandigarh airport. The bikes were in perfect condition due to the good packing by Gati people.

But only three of us – Sam, Kp and me – had our own bikes. The other two – Ani and Ashwin – had to rent bikes. So, we asked Katoch ji to show us the bikes he had. He got a Royal Enfield Classic 350 and Bajaj Avenger 220 for test rides for them to make a decision. The guys chose the Avenger for its comfort factor. And they were proven right on the performance as well by the end of it all.

We had our lunch at a small eatery above Katoch’s office and proceeded back to our hotel. On the way, we got our tanks full of petrol. We even carried petrol in 3 jerry cans each having 5L. We got the air pressure in our tyres checked. And off we went. On the way, we just stopped for a brief while at a bridge. Where even a sardarji army man had stopped. We took some photos with him.
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The Sardarji was coming straight from Leh in less than a day. I don’t remember what he said about the weather and the road conditions. I guess I was just stunned to hear that someone covered that distance in less than a day. And if you watch closely, you will find that he was dressed in nothing more than his military uniform. Not even gloves to cover his hands!

We went back to our hotel. And we were all slightly nervous but completely excited about the ride we were to embark on from the next day. But our nervousness was given a certain tinge of confidence when we met with this group of people.

Over tea and snacks, we met with a trekking group who did one trek each year in the Himalayas. This year they were going to do the trek to Baralacha La via Suraj Tal and Deepak Taal. They had hired a tempo traveller to take them till a particular point (i forget which point) from where they would begin the trek. All of them were doctors from Delhi and one (leader of the group) was a businessman. Just looking at them and speaking to them gave us the confidence that we can also survive whatever we had planned for ourselves. And they had also planned to leave at around the same time next day as we had planned.

Before we had our dinner, we did a sensible thing. We rehearsed packing our bikes with our luggage. Each one was carrying a minimum of 12Kgs of luggage split over two pieces – one large backpack and one tank bag. Mine was a total of 15kgs put together. And we had to tie the backpack to our bike using bungee cords. And the tank bag came with its own straps using which it could fastened over the petrol tank. It would all look finally like this in the pic below:
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Day 1: Manali to Jispa
By around 6.30AM or so, all of us were ready. The idea was to have our breakfast at Rohtang La (4000m) – 42 kms away from our hotel. And then one thing lead to the other, settling the hotel bill, some of the parts of the knee guards started to give way (please don’t buy the alpine star full plastic knee guards. Though they are priced cheaply [+ or – Rs. 1,000/-], unfortunately the quality is not even worth a Rupee!) and some of the bags needed extra focus and as it all happened, we finally left at around 9AM or 9.30AM. Kp was the one who always got up first but was the last to get off the block. And Ashwin was probably the quickest of us all in terms of time taken from getting up to starting his bike.

We started off slowly. The drive from Solang Valley to Rohtang La is probably among the most picturesque we had done so far. The green cover of Manali providing an excellent backdrop as we gathered height. The roads were fully laid in tarmac with a few roughs and potholes here and there, but largely in good condition.

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In fact, en route to Rohtang La, the government collects congestion charges! Rs. 50/- per bike. I was particularly amused by those charges. Why don’t they refund it when I return then?! Apparently, we are causing congestion at Rohtang by going there. So, when I am returning I am decongesting no? no? Okay. Whatever. Rs. 50/- only. So, let it be. For the beauty on offer there, I was willing to pay them a little more for being the black spot in the beautiful terrain though.

And we reached Rohtang La at around 11.30AM or 12Noon types. Was misty or cloudy or whatever you call it. We couldn’t see the monstrous peak right behind Rohtang. But the vehicular traffic was insane, I must say. In the midst of all this was unarguably the world’s most picturesque urinal captured in the pic below.

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We parked our bikes at a chai shop. Ordered and ate maggi with piping hot tea. Paid tribute to the urinal. And proceeded. We had no idea what was awaiting us. As we got down towards Khoksar – the descent from Rohtang to Khoksar was a 26km stretch. We had assumed we would take an hour to do that when we were planning our itinerary. And how much time did we take? 3hrs to 3.5hrs! Why, you ask? Yes. Let me explain.

There had been an accident and a landslide at a particular place right below Rohtang. A bulldozer was trying to clear the road for us. A tempo was sleeping on the road facing us in perpendicular direction to what it should really be. It resembled a dead cow. So, we went there and waited for them to clear up. As we parked our bikes and walked up to the point of the accident, we saw the tempo traveller with the Baralacha trekkers right there. On speaking with them, we realised that they had been waiting there for over 1.5 hrs to 2hrs!

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Just then a group of foreigners came. All of them on JK-registered Royal Enfield Classic 350s and Bullet 350s. Must have been around twenty of them. Inclusive of solo women riders. They also waited along with us. But then they did a very intelligent thing. They walked up to the point where the bulldozer was working and requested him to allow them through. And the guy agreed. As soon as we saw them get on their bikes, we also got on our bikes and decided to simply follow them through there. As a result we waited there for only around 15-20mins. Didn’t waste too much time. Thanks to the foreigners. But they were driving like there was no tomorrow. I think their minimum speed was 40kmph. Whereas our group’s maximum speed was 40kmph!

Now actually begins the story of the descent. I have never been to the moon, nor am I confident of going there in my lifetime. But this was the closest I came to experiencing how it would be ride a bike on the moon. The roads on the way down from Rohtang towards Khoksar are widely regarded as the training space for moon-set astronauts to walk on! There is virtually no road there. It’s only sand, rocks and some streams of water flowing across because of the snow melting down from the peaks. Added to that, it seemed to have rained the previous days. So, the sand had turned into slush. The rocks were not helping the bike grip. And the streams of water did not provide any stable ground for our feet to rest on.

This was the big test for us as bike riders. So, we were riding as slowly and carefully as we could. But the conditions were hostile. The weather was so cold that fingers were going numb. Lips were drying up and breaking. And it would drizzle every now and then, just like that, to provide us with a taste of how nature could play with us if it wanted to. Just one heavy downpour or intense snowfall would have frozen all of us instantly in our footsteps because the roads weren’t easy to drive through.

As we were descending, we slowed down. For some reason, I kept pushing ahead and was a little ahead of my group. The rest of them were all bunched up and coming together. After crossing one particular long naala (stream of water), I turned around to see that one biker was down on the road. I wasn’t sure if it was one of ours or someone else. After a while, I saw Ani and Ashwin also stop and signal to me saying someone was down. I could see Kp also from a distance right behind the fallen biker. And I knew it was Sam. My heart skipped a beat. I was hoping it was nothing serious. And switched off my engine, got off and turned around and began to walk towards the accident spot. Just then another group of bikers who was passing by told me, “kuch nahi hua. dheere se gira bas woh pulsar waala. kuch nahi hua” (Nothing happened. The Pulsar biker fell slowly. Nothing has happened). I thanked them for their assurance. By which time Ani and Ashwin were also showing thumbs up and asked me to stay back where I was. Sam got up, lifted his bike and started again. I heaved a sigh of relief.

As Sam came closer, he said, “Enu illvo. Front brake hakide. Wheel tirugibidtu. Bidde. Aste” (Nothing to worry about. I applied the front brake. The front wheel turned and I fell. That’s all).
“Ninge enu aytu?” (What happened to you?)
“Enilla. Light aagi scratch aste knee hathira. Rain trouser haredu hoytu” (Nothing much. Some light scratches near my knee. The rain trouser is torn)
“Bike ge?” (How’s the bike?)
“Enu aagilla. Bike is fine. Swalpa gear lever tirugibittide. Rear brake hidita illa. And front tyre grip ee sigta illa” (Nothing serious. The gear lever has turned a bit. The rear brake is not applying properly. And front tyre doesn’t seem to be gripping properly).
“Sari. Nodkondu odisu” (Okay. Be careful going forward)

That was the first accident of our ride. And thankfully, the last too. And by God’s grace, nothing serious had happened. It was like a small slip. The road conditions only enhanced our focus. The oncoming lorry drivers or truck drivers had no mercy on us. In fact, some of them would even come right onto us and utter profanities in case we didn’t move away.

From there till Khoksar, all of us drove with increased concentration. And we reached Keylong at around 5PM. Jispa was another 20kms-25kms away which was our target for the day. But all of us were damn exhausted. So, we decided to stay at Keylong itself. We were looking for hotels to stay in Keylong. So, we went straight into Keylong town and were trying to find something. But there weren’t many. We enquired in one hotel called “Hotel Chandra Bagha” (HPTDC operated), but he quoted Rs. 3,750/- for a room for 5 of us (incl dinner and breakfast). It was a bit on the higher side of our budget, so we went looking for something that was more affordable.

We finally settled into a random hotel called “Hotel Yakrid”. How did we decide on the hotel? Well, he said, he had food available to feed us immediately. Decision made. Matter closed! Don’t say it’s ridiculous way of deciding where to stay and all. All of us were damn hungry. No lunch. Only some maggi at Rohtang at 12Noon. And nothing else on the way. Whoever offered food, it would be that hotel! Easy.

We ate like pigs that day. We were just sitting at the table for over an hour and eating continuously. “Jo bhi hai, leke aao” (Bring whatever you have) was the instruction to the chef. And from there, we moved into our rooms. Sam just leapt into his bed and slept even before some of us could bring our luggage in. We had occupied three of his rooms. 2 (Sam, me), 2 (Ani, Ashwin), 1 (Kp) in each room.

Ashwin and I did some photoshoot during the night of the best models in the world. With 15-20 sec exposures. Will upload those photos shortly here.

And folks, ALL the pics that I am uploading in this series of articles on the roadtrip are either taken by Ashwin or directed by Ashwin or processed by Ashwin. I am just using his creativity to enhance the beauty of the article. All credit must duly be given to Ashwin.

Chapter 1: Love at first sight

October 6, 2014 at 4:56 am

We took the flight from Chennai to Chandigarh. Two of us from Chennai (me and Ani – my brother), two from Bangalore (Sam and Kp) and one from Mumbai (Ashwin) – All of us congregated at the compact Chandigarh airport at 2.30PM. Not one flight was delayed. It must have been an indication of things to come.

Our plan was to take a taxi till Manali straight from the Chandigarh airport. And as per plan, the taxi was there on time. An Innova with probably the most interesting driver – Surinder ji – I have ever come across. The guy began talking when we started from the airport and hasn’t ended till now. His words still ring in my ears.First groupie of the trip. With Surinder ji. At Chandigarh Airport.

When we started our journey, within the Chandigarh city limits, I remember us discussing, “Dude, does this guy know where the accelerator is?”. He never crossed 40kmph. Our estimation was that Chandigarh to Manali was around 320 kms which should take 8 hours including a lunch break. We thought we could have our dinner at our hotel in Manali or atleast somewhere nearby. But the way this guy was driving, we thought we would reach only by next day morning.

As he drove, we began talking. What would a gang of 5 boys want first on the afternoon of a sunny day? Lunch. Yeah. So, we told Surinder ji to stop at a ‘good’ place for lunch. He took us to a place called “Haveli”. And it was heavenly. After good quality Punjabi thalis (with lassi et al), we were all set to doze off in the car.
Haveli, Chandigarh-Manali highway [Photo Courtesy: TripAdvisor]

That’s when we were actually just crossing over from Chandigarh into Himachal Pradesh. And the Punjab police stopped our vehicle. And Surinder ji got off the vehicle muttering something we couldn’t hear. We knew he was displeased. He walked towards the police with some documents in his hand. Then after some (what appeared to be) banter with the police, our man comes back to the car. Now he is searching for something frantically behind his seat. And picks up an utterly sad looking white zip purse with “First Aid Kit” written on it. Walks back to the police with that in hand. Muttering is louder but still Incomprehensible.

After what seemed like an eternity and a lot more banter, he finally returns with clearer speech but poorer by Rs. 500/- (he claimed) but with a receipt for only Rs. 300/- (proof) for not carrying appropriate medicines! Whoa! Never heard of that in our part of the country. And now Surinder ji was clear in his speech, “Be*ch*d, mera paanch sau ka laga lekin teen sau ka receipt kaata. Mera malik sochega ki main jhooth bol raha hun to mera do sau ka ghaata hua”. And he went on.

We aren’t sure till date whether it was the effect of the fine or the fact that we had crossed Chandigarh city limits, but after that the Innova was driven like the bus in the movie “speed”. It was as if the car would blow up if he reduced the speed to below 60kmph. And we felt like the second level dream in Chris Nolan’s Inception during the climax. So, everyone searched for the seatbelts in their respective seats and strapped themselves. And most of us closed our eyes out of not-being-able-to-see-outisde and gradually drifted into sleep due to the early morning flight schedule.

I had, very brightly, chosen to sit in the front seat along with Surinder ji. He was a skilled driver – no doubt. But the speed was a bit unnerving. He knew the roads as well like the back of his hand. We were in safe hands. And it was proven right because we did reach our hotel at Manali by 12.30AM.

Hotel Iceland at Solang Valley was our chosen place. There was a rationale to choosing that hotel. It’s altitude [2750m] would help us get acclimatized for the ride. When we reached the hotel, we were all fast asleep. The gate to the hotel was locked. We needed someone to get off the car and go find the keys. I was among the laziest people to be doing that. So, someone tried to go fetch the keys while I was trying to steal a few winks in that time. I just wanted to go and crash in the room.

Just then Ashwin said, “Anna, just look to your left side once”. It was chilling cold. And the winds had a sound to it. We could also hear the roar of river Beas a few metres from us. And ever so casually I turned to be stunned into silence. The casualness of the turn was only enhanced by the sheer beauty of what I saw. Moonlit snow-clad Himalayas. There stood the Himalayas at a majestic height of 4500m – 5000m. It was almost as if an old friend was waiting for me over the years. The top of the range was snow-clad and was lit up by moonlight. The clouds not wanting to miss out being a part of it were also there paying their tribute to the mountains.

The clouds were just below the peak. I was transfixed. I kept staring at it. The mountains were at a height of 5000m (roughly 16000ft).I never believed in love at first sight. And there I was, head over heels, hopelessly in love with the first sight of her. Willing to just walk straight into her arms and get dissolved. All my own barriers, rationale, thoughts, etc disappeared. I was being ripped apart by the Himalayas. By just standing and watching. I had surrendered.

An early morning view of the same peak that had me

Before this ride, the background in which my mind operated probably emanated from my childhood. Right now, the background if the Himalayas. The thoughts seem insignificant. The Himalayas it is. And will be. Forever.

Ship of Theseus

August 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

Yes. I am back. And what better than a movie review to start things off with. And what better movie than “Ship of Theseus” for this occasion.

For those of you, like me, who did not know about the Ship of Theseus or the Theseus Paradox before this movie, here it is:

…is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.

Source: Wikipedia

And as a logical extension to this question, within the purview of the paradox is this: “…if the original components of the object are taken and used to form a new object, is the new one same as the earlier object?”

I don’t think there is an answer to this yet. The movie also raises this question and leaves you with a further quadrillion thoughts.

Live life, not opinions!

September 13, 2011 at 4:31 am

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.

Bertrand Russell

Sometimes we believe that our opinion defines us. Other times, we believe our stature depends on how steadfastly we stand by our opinion. Our opinion we believe is a strong indicator of our self-worth. And this is the most recognized form of advertisement in the society. When you look through the ‘opinion’ lens, the most successful person is one whose opinion is no longer an opinion but is considered as a ‘fact’ by the society.

My first fifty

March 17, 2010 at 7:26 am

The build up
It was Saturday night at around 10:30PM when my mobile beeped. I instantly looked at it to check if the sms had anything interesting for me. It was my captain Anba announcing the playing XI – Tashi, Anba, Adi, Kothand, KK, Bharath, Pradeep, Guna, DD, Karthi and Morarji. Seeing my name at #3, I had a lump in my throat. Was he expecting me to go in at that position? Even before the thought had completed, my mobile beeped again. Anba’s message “Adi, can you play one drop?”

I replied, “Sure Anba, I can. Would love to in fact. Thanks for the opportunity”
Anba replied, “Fantastic Adi. You deserve and created your opportunity ;)”
Then came my arrogance, “I have a feeling I will succeed tmrw and will be the key in our win! :) Fingers crossed! :)”
Anba assured me, “I am confident too ;)”

I went to sleep after that conversation. Was making me feel good. I announced to my wife just before hitting the bed, “We will definitely win tomorrow”.
Her immediate question, “Why? Is your opposition made up of people collected randomly from the streets?”.
“No, we are playing Frost. Our traditional rivals. We have lost to them 4 times out of the last 5 matches”
She had her usual smirk on her face about my overconfidence. It was an expression that conveyed that it was my usual arrogance before doom! :)

Got up as usual at 5:30AM. Got ready and was about to leave home by 6.10AM when my wife got up and discovered that the milkman (milkwoman actually) had forgotten that we existed today. So I had to get milk and that delayed me by about 10 minutes. I left home by 6.20AM. I was scheduled to pick Kothand and Tashi up from the Guindy bus stop at 6.40AM. It wasn’t that far away (20 mins was ample time to get there), so I drove happily listening to “Aaromaley” in a loop! :)

Kothand was on time as usual. Tashi had missed one train and would come in a little later. So Kothand and I had some intense discussions on IPL, CSK, and a whole host of things including his immediate shift to Delhi on work which would ensure that he wouldn’t be with RnW for the next 3 to 4 months. RnW without Kothand is like a mathematical equation without its cross-checking methodology. Tashi joined us at 7.00AM. And we left for DB Jain Grounds.

The warm-up
Must have reached at around 7.20AM or so. Don’t remember checking the time. Was quite disturbed that I couldn’t make it at 7.00AM as my captain expects us to though I was fully geared up for it. But decided it was not something to gloss over right now and focussed on warming myself up. Went for a round of joggging around the ground – “quite a big one”, I thought while tracing the boundary.

I guessed that others were done with the usual football warm-up routine (I am not a big fan of playing football to warm up before a match as it might result in an injury) as Anba had started catching practice. Its a form of craziness where people assemble in a semi-circle around one guy as the center, and that guy hits the cricket ball towards any of us and we are expected to catch it. It is called catch practice – apparently catches come to fielders in matches in the same way. Pardon my arrogance, I rarely drop a catch in practice and rarely caught one in the matches! But I do practice catching religiously! :) Once this was done, we shifted to ground fielding. One guy hits the ball along the ground and we (the ones who are practicing) stop the ball and throw it back. We are practicing on how to stop the ball from going between our legs. I am sure you can understand the embarrassment I face whenever I let a ball thats travelling at the pace of a cycle rickshaw through my legs and to make matters worse it goes for a boundary. So, you just do this practice and tell yourself that you did your bit before the match – what can be done if your brain didn’t work when the ball came to you during the match?! :)

Vignesh Raja accepted very obediently when I asked him, “Can you just throw a few balls at me? I want to get a feel for the ball hitting the bat”. And his feedback during the session was very useful. He said,”Adi, you are not moving in the direction of the ball which is why you are missing the deliveries that are full in length and outside the off stump”. We were so engrossed in the session that when we thought of approaching the ground we saw RnW assembled in the usual huddle format (without any physical contact, mind you! We are all straight!) ready to take the ground to field! We had missed the toss itself! :) Anyway, how does it matter? I was feeling good that the ball was hitting the middle of my bat. Before I end this part, I want to mention something about Vignesh Raja. He wasn’t in the playing XI. Yet he made it to the ground. And without even the slightest display of reluctance agreed to give me ‘batting practice’. This kind of humility and team spirit is something that I am yet to see even in established teams! Karthi and Pradeep showed the same spirit in our previous match. It is amazing to see such camaraderie. Let us keep this on forever. Thanks everyone.

The Bowling & Fielding
We bowled like a dream. KK and Tashi – the opening bowlers – bowled so damn well that standing at short midwicket position I was able to overhear the batsmen discuss during over changes, “The ball is bouncing. Wait for the bad ball and be careful. Get a helmet if you want”. The batsmen were clearly psyched up. KK’s scalp of BK, Frost’s most consistently successful batsman, through a brilliant catch running backwards by Bharath was truly motivational. I haven’t shouted so loudly in quite a while! :) It was what changed the complexion of the match at a mindgame level. FCC always had BK anchoring one end and the others going after the bowling. This time their anchor was off. And they truly lost direction. BK had to come back on to the pitch in the guise of a substitute runner to pump the guys up to make them stay at the crease and gather runs. Anba’s wicketkeeping stood out from our fielding effort. I must also add that his field placements looked good. They were in tandem with the bowler’s strategies as they should be. Really loved fielding this innings out. Our bowlers bowled very few wides, so we might not have fielded for too many deliveries over 150 (as we did in our previous matches). That definitely left us a lot more refreshed to come out and bat.

The batting
When we stepped out to chase 142 down, I had no doubts that we would (not could, would) do it. The only point was whether we could do it within 20 overs to get the bonus point. (If you chase down the opposition total within 80% of the stipulated overs i.e. 20 overs, you get a bonus point). Tashi and Anba started in their usual solid style. I was all padded up and ready to get out in the middle. I requested Morarji to throw a few balls at me to get a feel of the ball hitting the bat. Yeah the same torture I inflicted on Vignesh Raja a few hours ago, I decided Morarji was too happy and needed some balance of work. Morarji did it very diligently and sincerely. I totally appreciate his willingness to come out in that hot sun and throw a few balls at a player who hasn’t gone beyond a 20 before. Now, that’s team spirit again for you! :) I love this team I tell you!

Coming back to the match, we were at 37 off 7 overs when Tashi got out to a ball that kept low but he was going very well at the current rate. It was the ideal start you reqired for a chase of this sort. A steady one with the new ball that has become neither too hard nor too soft. And the main bowlers – atleast their opening ones – have exhausted some part of their quota of five overs without a wicket. The fielders’ noise would be a little low because they have been under the 11 o clock sun for half an hour now. Ideal time to enter the wicket for batting.

The innings
As I crossed Tashi, I could see him feeling a little sad that he couldn’t make as many runs as he could have. I asked him, “Did the ball keep low?”. He replied, “yeah”. That alerted me to face the bowlers with a slight bend in my knees to take care of the ball that occassionaly likes to rub itself against the mat throughout its journey from the bowler’s hand to the stumps. As I took guard Anba whispered something which I couldn’t hear. Anba clarified in a louder whisper, “They are making an issue of the time we are taking to take guard and all that. Let’s not get into that”. I immediately understood that this was Frost’s level of mind games and nodded my head in agreement to Anba.

The first delivery I faced I defended it off the front foot on the offside. The second delivery was a short-of-length one slightly outside the offstump asking to be cut. I forgot Gavaskar’s principle of no cut shots during the first session of a test match and went fully for it. Only thing was I was a micro-second late in my shot. The ball took the edge and traveled straight to the keeper’s gloves. The keeper was from an outsourced agency. He dropped it. Actually I think if he was in the habit of collecting deliveries that came straight to his gloves, he would have held on to that one. But I guess being outsourced, he had a different problem! :) Whatever it was I was thankful for Frost’s outsourcing policy had saved me the embarrasment of getting out on zero on my debut at #3 position for RnW!

Then came on a bowler who looked like was on drugs or something. He started bowling beamers at me. Just that these were beamers for those batsmen who stood three steps outside the crease. I am of the Rahul Dravid mould – I stand with the crease parting my legs. So these were juicy full tosses dipping into my thighs waiting to be creamed through midwicket where there were no fielders. He bowled two of those and both disappeared off the middle of my bat to the mid-wicket boundary. He then tried to compensate by bowling one outside the off-stump – good line – but length was the problem. It was pitching at his own feet. I cut it behind point for another boundary. I felt like Virender Sehwag. 13 runs off 5 deliveries :D

Then came Bk. Before the match started I didn’t know he bowled also. Someone told me he was an intelligent stump-to-stump bowler. His first ball to me was an uncharacteristic short one on the leg stump which I promptly deposited for 4 runs at the fine leg boundary. But I wasn’t sure I had timed it well so I was running very fast (ok, as fast as I can!) between the wickets. I was telling Anba, “Anba, run. I don’t think the timing was good”. Anba was tired after keeping for 25 overs and then opening the batting is not an easy task at all. He just said, “Adi it might not have been good. But it was good enough!”. Then came the best shot of my innings (my pick): a flick off a ball on the offstump towards the fine leg boundary. I had timed it so well, I knew the minute it touched my bat that it was a boundary. For this Anba said, “Ok, so did you time this one well?”. I was grinning.

My innings proceeded in this way. I kept dealing in boundaries. Our aim was the bonus point. After Anba got out after a glorious knock, KK walked in. I remember one conversation that I had with KK when we had around 23 runs to go for victory and about 9 overs left. To get the bonus point we had to make those runs in 4 overs. KK said, “Adi, we have 4 overs left and 23 to make for the bonus point. Let us make it in 3 overs”. I replied, “KK, never employ me with your company mate”. Was referring to his innate ability to compress targets and expect delivery. But if he does what did in the match at his company also, then I am game. He took strike the next over and blasted 4 4 1Wd 4 2 1 . off that over. We only had to make some 4 runs to win next and we comfortably made it home.

The feeling
To have beaten a team to whom we lost repeatedly in the past with so many overs to spare was a feeling that was undescribable. To have made the first fifty of my cricketing career at the age of 30 is something I am going to value for the rest of my life. A small snippet before I end this long monologue: The bat with which I batted was a Kookaburra bat. It was my birthday present last October (Oct 2009) from my sister-in-law. Her condition while buying the bat was this, “You should make one fifty in the first three matches that you play with this bat”. This was the second match I was playing with that bat. Most of RnW thinks that it was the bat that made the 50 while I was just holding it showing it off. I somehow agree to it. The bat is who I dedicate this knock to! :)

Cross posted from the runsnwickets blog.

Perennial dilemma of a seeker…

March 2, 2010 at 2:25 am

Sometimes when I give too much importance to my emotions then I see the quality of my life deteriorating. Activity of the mind becomes uncontrollable. Closing eyes seems to take you to the heart of the matter but only to increase the activity further. How do we break free from our tendency to identify ourselves with thing that we clearly know we aren’t?

The 200

February 26, 2010 at 12:47 am

I was at office when Sam called me and said, “Do you know what the score is?”. My reply would have impressed my boss, “No”. Sam told me the score and Sachin’s distance from the landmark. A voice rose from inside, “WTF are you doing here? Yeah right, that email is going to get you into the Guiness book of world records for the most number of cumulative ‘regards’ anyone has sent to anyone’. So I packed (yes I scatter myself all over at office!) and left to a cousin’s home at a stone’s throw from office. Went there and asked her to switch on the TV. Sachin was on 190. And that’s where I was when It happened. And that needs to be recorded. Like where I was during that WC’96 quarterfinal with Pakistan at Bangalore. Like where I was when ARR won the Oscars. Like where I was when Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the first individual Gold Silver (Thanks Yesh!) for India. Like where I was when the tsunami, 26/11, 9/11 happened (I don’t mean to be insensitive here, just a reference to the past, that’s all). For me that’s a record! ;)

How to write a business plan

September 1, 2009 at 4:56 am

One of the occupational hazards of working for a VC firm is that you need to go through business plans of every kind. This is especially true of the space in which my fund operates. Early/seed stage deals. This (irrelevant business plans) could arise due to various reasons and we shall not get into that now. This post refers only to those who are making business plans for the purpose of fund-raising. Let me get straight to the point.

What is a business plan? I think most people refuse to ask this question when they start building out one. It is a set of well-accepted business jargon that people continue to use and reuse. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. A business plan, in my opinion, is a document created for a certain purpose detailing the core aspects of the business addressing the basic questions of what, how, why, who, when and a few other purpose-relevant questions.

Transform The World, Start From Within

August 23, 2009 at 3:51 am

In every human being, there is an aspiration to become better, more loving and more concerned about one another and the planet. But people are trying to work towards it from the wrong end. People are trying to be loving, they are trying to be good. When you look at yourself, if you are happy and joyful, naturally you are a very loving, generous, wonderful human being. This is true for everybody. On the other hand, when you are in a state of unhappiness, frustration or any other sense of unpleasantness within yourself, you may be nasty. There is no point trying to be loving, trying to be pleasant to somebody else.

Federer 1, 2, 3,…,15

July 6, 2009 at 3:28 am

Found this wonderful article summarizing the 15 Federer wins in numbers. I think they should replace the number Fifteen with Fedteen! Awesomeness personified, humility magnified and perfection achieved. The greatest. Period.