ESPNCricinfo, The Voice of Cricket is Trembling!

Being an ardent Cricfan, ESPNCricinfo is like the Bible to me. Like the pug from those Vodafone advertisements, I have been religiously following ESPNCricinfo ever since I had an internet connection. ESPNCricinfo happened to be my drug which did justice to my life’s ideology, “Cricket is life, rest is mere noise”.

But, it longer seems to bring in that positivity and adrenaline rush. With a heavy heart, I am admitting the fact that it has lost its mojo. There are vultures flying around to grab the piece of meat and the threats are serious. If not taken care now, people will drift away to other players like Cricbuzz & Sportskeeda and within no time relevant website traffic is surely going for a toss leaving to substandard viewership, thereby killing the voice of Cricket eventually.

I’ll be very honest and unbiased. Here are the things which are completely lagging in ESPNCricinfo currently

Not at all youth centric.
Cricinfo needs to break the barrier of monotonous technical reporting.  Even if they have to write technical blogs, they should make it interesting by relating it to something a youngster likes. For example the latest TV shows like Game of Thrones, True Detective, Breaking Bad and Suits. Hire young blood. Don’t be the Nokia of smartphone. Please evolve!

No focus on girls.
Females constitute 48% of India’s population. In an era of feminism, Cricinfo offers nothing to that segment. They must create some content keeping their interests like Travel etc. in mind.

Bad mobile app.
Considering the fact a lot of population travels in cabs and mobile is the way, this is a must. They are missing out on user engagement. I do not use Cricinfo’s app. It has TOO MUCH of content. They need to declutter it and make the app swift.

Very British.
Your average word length per blog is above 1000. They need to reduce it to maximum 700. And a slightly casual approach should be taken. It is high time Cricinfo invests in a bit of trolls and memes on social media with a bit of bantering on Twitter. Also, the Blogs are plain vanilla. No doodles/ caricatures are used to generate curiosity.

Presence on social media is less.
Cricinfo’s presence on Twitter, Instagram and Quora (the most user loving site after Facebook) is very minimal. Quora consists of variety of users with experts on History, NASA, Dating, Football, Books, and Photography etc. Moreover, there is no thought process to encourage user-generated content. Till day, I have not come across any promotion where guest writers are being encouraged.

The write-ups have become too insipid and the editor needs to revamp his strategy before it’s too late.

Bad Promotional Ads.
Also, their sponsored ads on Facebook aren’t well targeted. People do not have time to read so much. In case of Canvas ads, keep the best four with the catchiest titles for promotions. Half the people do not click because of the dull title. Ad copies need to break the shackle of mediocrity.

If I were to manage the editorial team for a day, here’s what I would put things to their table.  

Play the man, not the oddsThe fact that I have seen a lot of movies and sitcoms, I can easily play with the psychology of the reader as I understand what he/she wants. For example I wrote a blog why is Virat Kohli the Jesse Pinkman of Cricket, involving two of the most talked about personalities in Cricket and TV industry. It was not only admired but shared like anything.
I’d encourage more such write-ups.

Explain things to a layman – For instance if you would ask me to describe the difference between Lara, Tendulkar and Dravid. I would not even go into their records. I’d say –
Let’s say Cricket is a pizza.
Sachin is the cheese – Delicious. Loved by masses. Essence of it.
Lara is the topping – Veggies/Bacon/Jalapenos etc. Flamboyant to see.
Dravid is the crust – The foundation. Gets overshadowed with other lucrative layers but if not baked well, the rest won’t taste good.

I would suggest not to go by the copybook style of writing and try out such things.
This is surely going to be a big plus.

Woo women – Again, people who love to read are mostly females. They need to design content which the women would like by read by drawing parallels with the books they love or anyhow.  And don’t forget women gossip and they have a huge following. Once a female likes a Blog, she will tell 5 of her friends in person and just imagine a girl with thousands of followers sharing a Cricket Blog on her social media profile and the kind of men it would bring on the link. Pure organic bliss!

Quirky Merchandising – Cricket is no less than a Superhero. I designed this quirky piece of clothing sometime back. When Batman can sell, why cannot Cricket. Moreover with these new-gen kids going gaga over Football and their merchandise, it’s time to act cool and get push such products.

cricket-beer-gf


“In short, Cricinfo currently publishes what they think is right, ideally it should be the other way round.”

Their numbers have dipped from 150m to 100m in the past six months and more damage is expected to occur.

That’s it for the time being. I’ll update more loopholes. I care and cannot let the Voice of Cricket tremble!  I hope it reaches to some sensible person in the management and some adequate action takes place.

-Lalit Vijay

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi – The colonial hangover remedy!

Hailed as one of India’s greatest ever skipper, Pataudi defied reality. He lead India in all but six of the forty-six Tests he played and notched up nine Test victories, a winning ratio of meagre 22.5% against nineteen losses and twelve draws. These numbers reflect the unstable state of Indian Cricket at a point when India was struggling to catch-up with cricket-playing nations of the front rank.

He wasn’t a great captain statistically, no doubt.

But what he did, laid the foundations of an enduring team devoid of any barriers. His prime game- changing contribution to Indian Cricket was integrating and contemporizing it at the highest level. He didn’t make the players feel if they belonged to Mumbai, Bangalore or Delhi. Rather, together as a unit, marshalled them to be the best in their domains and gave them the confidence to beat any team not only in the subcontinent but overseas too.

Tiger led the self-respect movement, inspiring them and gave them the ability to see them at par with their colonial counterparts. He thrashed that colonial hangover and gave the balls to the timid Indian squad to look right into the eyes of the world and allowed their game to do the talking.

Throughout the 60s, Tiger led India under serious constraint, given the limited resources at his command. The outstanding feature of his team-building was forging, sharpening and getting the best out of the world’s best spin attack. Without Tiger’s intelligence, there would have never been a combination of Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Venkatraghavan and Prasanna.

India and pace never go hand and hand and Pataudi was very well aware of this. Instead, he decided to carve his own niche and focused on working towards the Indian strength.

There was not a single instance where in a team was being built around a left-arm orthodox spinner, a maverick right arm leg-spinner and two world-class off-spinners. The greatest trick he played was to rotate them in tandem, bought fielders closer, gave a bowler all the liberty in the world and triggered panic in the mind of the batsmen. Not only did the bowlers rose to the occasion but the close-in fielders ignited spark through their fielding at a time, when India was considered to be one of the worst fielding units.

They didn’t win enough but told the world on the face that boss, team India has arrived to the party. Do not take us lightly anymore. He instilled the attitude of mutual respect and added a refreshing vibe to the Indian Cricket.

He believed in Cricket as a game of fierce opposition, fair play and sportsmanship. In a way, he was the Shammi Kapoor of Indian Cricket. If Shammi redefined Bollywood in 60s by wooing his heroines with passionate ardour, Pataudi changed the face of Indian Cricket by becoming the first cricketing superstar in India whose appeal involved a mix of brilliance, charm and charisma.

Apart from being an exceptional leader, he was a maestro in hitting cover drives and even defended runs at the same position while fielding. His reflexes were lightening quick!

Right through his school career at Winchester, England he had a reputation of a class Cricketer which paved way eventually when he went on to become the only Indian till day to captain either Oxford or Cambridge. That year he stared in a blaze of glory and would have broken all records for University Cricket, but for the most unfortunate injury which he suffered in a serious car crash and lost his right eye. Later, in spite of the injury, Mansur Ali Khan started his career in India in the year 1961 where he represented Delhi against North Punjab and never looked back.

His great performances post the accident is a testimony to his sheer fighting abilities, self –belief and passion for the game. Any other Cricketer would have given up when he stood up for his nation and delivered with pride. He just believed in playing fearless Cricket. Discipline was one thing that kept him going. The trait was evident at the parties and that too in Delhi, where procrastination is treated to be some sort of divine light.

Other players and captains have done better than him no doubt. For instance, Dhoni has more trophies than him, Kohli strikes better and Ganguly fared more aggressively but Pataudi belongs to an altogether different league, beyond numbers and comparisons.  Numbers do not provide justice to the royalty of the prince. In his case, it was all about triumphing odds and becoming an icon by inspiring the helpless Indian squad to become invincible in their game.  He evolved Indian Cricket.

Thank you Tiger Pataudi.

References – Pataudi, Nawab of Cricket.

How does it feel to not have a job!

Ever wondered how does it feel to not have a job? I mean when you had a job once but you are no longer employed, neither are you working for yourself. It happens when either you’ve been sacked, you’ve quit or you do not know what to do with your life anymore.

It’s scary! Been there, done that. I belong to the league where I had quit my white-collared 9-5 IT job which paid enough to have arranged a good Punjabi bride at the age of 25. Instead, I ran behind my dreams, invested my time and money into my passion, found my true love in the process and started my own company which failed miserably after a year or so. But it did teach me the most valuable lessons of my life.

The failure made sure that I realize the value of money. Who your real friends are? How badly your relatives want you to fail and more importantly what I wanted to do in my life. So, coming back to the phase where my parents wanted me to go back sit in the same air-conditioned office which suffocated me every time I wrote a line of code. I was sure that I wanted to be into associated with writing, something which I really liked or the only thing you could say I was good at.

I was at the crossroads, torn apart between a failed son and a rising self. That was the phase of a few days, I mean very few wherein I was at home, doing nothing and everything pointed to just one thing – you are a loser man!

Here are the things which make you feel worse! –

a) Your parents think you have lost it. You are a just an immature kid who doesn’t have any sense of direction in life.

b) Actually they don’t think that. The relatives make them feel so. I honestly, despise majority of them for the very same reason. They make you feel like a piece of shit. Everything boils down to just two things -CTC & BHKs. It depresses you to the very core.

c) Your confidence is crushed every time when you open Facebook.

d) You overthink and every statement made by others either looks like a taunt, sarcasm or an insult.

e) You start doubting yourself whether are you the good for nothing guy, really?

f) The above point becomes too overpowering when the maid asks the question everyday– “Bhaiya aaj bhi office nahi gaye?”

g) You cut down on your hobbies, your lifestyle and and basically self-pity takes over.

h) You become desperate to not talk to anyone, you keep sinking in a cocoon.

Okay, enough of sad stuff, now the positives. –

a) Since, you do not have money at all, you learn how to survive with the bare minimum necessities. Eggs and Maggi become your best friends. Also, your liver thanks you every day for giving it a break.

b) You start valuing your skill.

c) You figure out people you can bank upon. Ultimately it boils down to your parents and 1-2 very close friends at max. I was lucky, I had another very special person backing me all the way. My Love!

d) Auto- decluttering: Time has its own means to filter out people from your life. I wouldn’t say that crap – We are all busy. We need not stay in touch but at the end, I’ll be there. Bullshit! If you haven’t heard from me in 6 months, I’ve cut you off!

e) You start appreciating small things.

f) You realize that it’s a fake world.

Ultimately, time and your passion heals everything. I too moved on gracefully in a span of a few days.

I’m not the advice person usually but this phase can fuck you big time, so, one advice I would like to give is to be on top of your game – you should be good at what you are doing/ intend to do and never listen to anyone. Go blindly with your heart. You have nothing to lose as you’ve already hit the rock-bottom and you’ll eventually earn your money and self-respect back.

The phenomenon called KL Rahul!

He’s not as consistent as Virat! Neither as powerful as MSD! Nor as flamboyant as Rohit! He’s different! Whatever the young lad from Mangalore has achieved in such short span of time, speaks volumes on his temperament and position him far above his contemporaries.

Well, the ‘Rahul’ factor does drive me crazy. Coincidently, both KL Rahul and Rahul Dravid (my role model and his’ too) are from Karnataka, both are part time keepers, both didn’t do well initially in their limited overs games but then they adapted. He’s the same Rahul who struggled big time in the T20s, was responsible for a lot of middle over collapses for the Sunrisers and now went onto score a 46 ball maiden T20 ton, which almost fetched us the victory.

Little did the world know of him! And then the USA happened.
After Narendra Modi, if there’s anyone who has cashed big time from this country, is this man, KL Rahul!

India was playing the first of the two-match series against West Indies at Lauderhill, Florida. A merciless track was offered and the Caribbean men went on to score a mammoth 244 on the board. Honestly, it appeared to be a baseball match where every second ball went out of the park and the crowd enjoyed the frenzy to the very core.

I mean, the Indian bowlers did bowl equally hopelessly and the fact that till the 20th over they didn’t realize that those butchers can’t play the ball on the off side, paved the way for Rahul’s astonishing innings in the later half.

Let me throw some light on his innings and what made it so special.

Even though the expected run-rate was above 13 right from the start, yet he didn’t even play a single slog on a slug turf! He held his head high throughout the game, kept on hitting proper cricketing shots and those sixes over covers off the bowling of Narine, did give me a divine sense of satisfaction. Later he pounded Russell, one of the best death bowler for the opposition, gave nightmares to nervous nineties and reached his maiden ton with a six in an emphatic manner.

With that feat, he become the second player to reach his 100 with a six across Tests, ODIs and T20s.
He can bat exceptionally well across all the three formats. In Tests and ODIs, he had already proved himself in Australia and Zimbabwe with the little opportunities that he had got. And now, with this exceptional knock he became the youngest player to have hit centuries across all international formats. It just took him 20 innings to go into the history books.

Rahul doesn’t try to hit the ball too hard yet averages 90+ in the shorter versions of the game.

Without an iota of doubt, he is the successor of Dhawan and must be replace him in all formats with immediate effect. I re-iterate, he is one of the very few people who accepted their flaws, worked on the technique, adapted and thrived for excellence. His ability to adjust in all the conditions, to play with a simplistic approach and to take the attack back to the oppositions makes him one of the modern day greats.

Hail Rahul! Keep roaring.

My love for the extremes

Every person you come across comes with certain traits and behavioral patterns. I think it’s the randomness which strikes the chord. There’s nothing wrong or right. In fact, it’s all relative. Overthinking is a sin. See, it has led me to retrospect myself. (LOL retrospect! You hypocrite, write the damn word ‘judge’. I know you won’t because you portray yourself as someone who doesn’t judge as deep inside you fear that intellectuals will judge you if you judge. What the judge dude! Judgebaati ho gaye be tum).

Anyhow so, what I figured about myself is that I love the extremes. For people it’s either Jon Snow or Ramsay Bolton. For me it’s ‘AND’. For some strange reasons I admire both equally.  There’s no midway.

Well the entire write-up is strictly personal about me. Why are you even reading? Weird right? I guess you’ll continue if your weirdness resonates around mine or to judge how this guy can be so weird. Vicious circle babies. It’s all a trap.

Dravid – calm & gentle and Kohli the emotionally loud. I guess my equal love for them says it all. I don’t know if there’s any connection between the extremes. In this case, even though their personalities, their game, their behavior, their leadership traits, their followers and basically everything is poles apart but deep inside their love for the game and hard work makes them very similar. It’s just the difference in the chosen paths. Both are exceptional in reality.

No sure if Honey Singh fits into the above mentioned criteria for you! But, I admit it openly – I’m a die-hard Honey Singh Fan. I love to feel Arif Lohar’s magical ‘Jugni’ with equal enthusiasm as Honey Singh’s ‘Angrejji Beat’. I re-iterate, I like Honey Singh’s music. And it is music. I dance the most on his songs and it fetches me joy. Simple! The same pattern is reflected in my food choices too. I can eat Pizzas and Biryani every day. I don’t get bored. In fact there are days, I eat one of them the entire day. This hasn’t happened off-late. I was too broke in the recent times.

Honestly, I’m not trying to act cool. That toofani karo, duniya notice karegi but I find the Airtel short haired girl really cute and NOT annoying. In fact, she’s at par with Julia Roberts, the vintage beauty. Don’t worry Messi aur Ronaldo dono equally pasand hain yeh nahi kahunga! Chill Bro! Football nahi follow karta zyada.

I like drama. When I say drama. It’s of all sorts. My life is the biggest example. Har din nautanki BC! Technically I was referring to TV shows. This might spin your head right round when I say that I’d rate Zindaggi Gulzar Hai, the Pakistani soap on a same scale with True Detective. Both are drama, catering to different segments, yet applaudable at the same time.

Too much ho gaya na ! Lekin main dheedht hu, rukunga nahin. I’ll continue to bombard you with facts about me so that if I don’t hear back from you, I get the point else we’d be sitting together tomorrow at Church Street cracking PJs and shayaris over a bowl of masala peanuts. Bhai main koi rebel vebel nahi hu in case I’m sounding like balki duniya ka sabse bada phattu. Haan, I appeared once and  a lot of eye brows were raised when I decided to travel Solo to Kerala when I heroically discarded to take along anyone who gave even the slightest of an excuse to not travel. It was fun!

Also the fact that I’m not a party person at all and I’ll be found hanging around a limited set of real friends, once hosted an epic New Year’s Party of 40 people. The best part, I didn’t know more than half of them.

Friends se yaad aya – the closest of my yaars are doing epic shit in their lives too. One is minting money at Wall Street while the other is busy being the chocolate boy of Sandalwood. The third hipster, my jaaneman, the brother from another mother is busy shooting his film at a brothel while the fourth is coding shit at an air conditioned office.

You would’ve judged me a globetrotter by now due to the way I’ve described things above. I’m not. In fact, I have not even gone beyond India once. But I’ve done a fair share of fun within the country. From a hydrophobic dumbass to a badass – someone who’s done a Grade-3 white water rafting in the Indus River counts significant.

One thing that constant keeps me alive amidst the hoopla of misadventures is my sheer ability to crack horrible jokes and write things I want to.

So, my friend, whatever you feel like is the weirdest thing about you, wear it around as an armor and never lose it. It is your biggest strength. Never did I think that I’d be writing a piece like this. #GoExtreme

Yo Bitches! Aaj ke liye itna hai. #LitluDaSwag
Isi baat pe ho jaye Makki di roti te sarso da saag. #OkBye

Zayka Chennai ka – with Mayank Dua !

Chennai? Are you going to Chennai?
For FUN! LOL. What’s wrong with you man?

Yes, these were the exact responses I was bombarded with after I told my bitches about my weekend plan. I repeat, I went to Chennai over the weekend to “ENJOY “in Chennai. It was a perfect getaway from the bustling Bangaloren lifestyle. I literally had a foodgasm! We had a great time. We as in Dua Saab (yaaron ka yaar Mayank Dua) and Batman.

Chennai always had this special place inside my heart ever since I dated a Tamilian. Oh! And how can I forget Chetan Bhagat? Neither am I a huge fan of his writing now, nor would I recommend his books except 2-States. Well, to be honest it had a role to play. After a set of serious debates, negative inputs from Pinky and Ajay Bhai, ignoring Pune and other cooler options and sticking to “How-can-I-dislike-a-place-I-have-never-been-to” Chennai was finally locked. Glad, I took that call. I volunteered myself for planning the whole thing as always and Dua Saab handled the online ticketing front.

D-Day arrived. Well, it wasn’t a usual Friday. The adventure began early morning itself. When the planner goes to salon and comes out as a retard. All, he had said was “Bhaiya I want a summer-cut”.Before he could foresee the outcome, it was too late. Trust me, my mom’s reply was

Son, firstly you quit your well-paying white collared job and now this. No, girl will even look at you. Please use the tiny little brain of yours at times. Dumbasss! (She didn’t say the last word though).

I wrapped the day early, went back home, picked my backpack and left for Dua’s mansion. We hogged some yummy Aaloo Paranthas before boarding our bus from Madiwala.

Day-1: Saturday May 23, 2015

00:00 hours – We started the journey with some catching up, which precisely included – catching up with some Tesco stuff, Dua Saab’s love life, the tales of my struggling startup phase and humming of our anthem – Yeh Veeraniyaan. We reached Chennai around 6 am, got down at Central and took an auto in search of an economy stay. “Brace Yourself Amma is coming “was the theme of the day. Jayalalitha was supposed to take the oath as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. People had flown down to Madras to attend the event from all the corners of the state. All thanks to the lovely lady, all the rooms were booked and we managed to get a room finally in our sixth attempt. Hotel White Park it was. On the way, we came across Chepauk Stadium as well. That was the first genuine smile on our faces in that scorching heat.

As soon as we checked into the hotel, immediately I told Dua Saab to kick-off as we had a lot to tick-off the list. Dua Saab gave me a subtle look and politely asked me to calm the fuck down and sleep off for a while. Eventually, we both ended up sleeping for three hours which was just supposed to be a 15 minute power nap.

10:30 hours – We were ready in our white tees (The Cricket Gully) and cargos with shades and backpacks clung to our bodies. It was time to convert the potential energy to kinetic.

With a lot of skepticism, we got into a Black-Yellow auto rickshaw to head towards our first eatery joint – Ratna Café, Triplicane. To our sheer surprise, this guy didn’t overcharge us but the worst part, no one travels on a meter in Chennai even during the daytime. Well, you need to deal with it in case you do not believe in the technological advancements like OlaCabs.

The ambience of the restaurant was not at all good. It looked like a college mess but trust the once you taste their sambhar, you will go bonkers. It’s the kind North Indians usually eat, the one on a spicier note. We had idly-vada with multiple refilling of the lip smacking sambhar. The best part, their waiters carry jugs filled with sambhar all the time, you need not have to ask for the replenishment.

We burped and moved on to our next hop in the list. Yes, the same list which I tricked Dua Saab into. Well, I did my part. I had all the to-visit locations ready for him on the paper, all he had to do was to connect the dots through his GPS and boom he did it in style. Cheers to our old man’s awesomeness. As opposed to his theory of saving energy for future, we decided to walk into those dingy lanes and finally reached Bombay Lassi, a small place behind Devi Theater. We tried their Chilled Lassi topped with Basundi and seriously it was worth the traveling in those extreme conditions.

From there we decided to take a walk down the memory lane. We visited the Government Museum.Right from the art to bronze to Science gallery everything was fascinating about that red colored institution and the best part is we bought some postcards from the Connemara Library. You lucky fellas, they are on your way.

Madhu, my colleague and a very good friend joined us from there and the trio set off for Sarvana Bhavan, Mylapore- The land of Temples. We ordered a ghee roast masala dosa, chili parotta and some masala fried idlies. My eyes were lit up seeing the size of the dosa. It was meant to give me family packs and the crumbled chili parantha was cooked to perfection as well. The amazing part about the idly was, it seemed to look like a Gobi-Manchurian. You cannot even call it a piece of rice. Meanwhile, Dua saab got high over the food and started cracking his deadly PJs. We a lot can happen over a Dosa.Highly recommended place. It has a lot of Chains globally but this junction amidst the temples is divine.

Later, we decided to go for a quick evening digestive stroll in the area and whoa we barged into a legendary place – Rayar’s Mess. You won’t even know if it’s a restaurant even if you are standing right in front of it. These guys serve the best coffee in the town, undoubtedly. There was no place to sit inside, so made use of the porch outside and had the coffee of our lives.

Madhu left and within no time using the highly optimized route we managed to reach the Kapaleshwar temple on time. After nurturing the religious side of the place it was time to go beachside – Elliot’s in Beasant Nagar. The beach is nicely maintained and is surrounded with too many eating options. We tried some corn and gave our moving bums some thoroughly deserved rest on the shore. Dua Saab was engrossed with admiring those waves meanwhile I was having my kind of fun – Reading. My second favorite activity after eating.

I read about a boardroom brawl and how Clem Hill beat the hell out of McAlister. After a relaxing evening we thought of giving the Broken Bridge a shot. The same bridge shown in the movie 2-States. Again, we took another auto to go to a place just 1 km from our location, thanks to our lazy ass Dua.Till now, everything was going as per the plan, which was highly unusual.

On the way, I was singing out loud – Mann Mast Magan, Bas Tera Naam Dohraye but our joy was short lived. Boom!Dua Saab got a notification from Book MY Show – “Time to Leave – Tanu Weds Manu Returns starts in one hour.” Holy Shit! Wasn’t that supposed to be tomorrow? How can I be so careless while booking, Dua sighed! Aaila, but anyhow we showed some agility and within a minute we thought of skipping the romantic Alia moment (FYI: we both love her, however dumb she might be) and decided to take the same auto to AGS Cinemas, Villivakkam.

But everything comes with an auto-charge in Chennai. We knew we were doomed and purposefully didn’t bargain. We immediately saw a 500 rupee drifting down the lane but we didn’t have a choice. I told the auto guy in a childish –tone “Anna show us the Narayan Karthikeyan in you. Bhagao“. He literally took it to his heart and took a U-turn in a flash on the sandy road. The auto lost its balance and we almost had a nearly-death encounter as we started to slide downwards towards the water belt. We had our balls inside our mouths and I was like “Bhagwan Jee aakhri ichcha to pooch lete”. Thanks to those sturdy bushes for saving our asses. We owe them one.

Later, I jumped out of the auto, followed by Dua Saab and the auto guy. Dua Saab was the bravest amongst the lot.Without giving a damn about his brand new UCB’s 800 bucks Chappal which was lost and the accidentally damaged phone cover, he started pushing the auto upwards on his own. I also added my force vector in the same direction and the auto guy started pulling the auto upwards from the front. Finally we did it. We were back on the surface. Meanwhile I was thanking GOD, our Dua Saab came up with another masterpiece – “Bhai Dua ka saath ho jiske, uska ghanta koi kuch ukhaad sakta hai.”. I took a deep breath looked up and sang – “Dua tera swagger laage sexy” and we started marching towards our Tanu jee.

Thanks to the fiasco, we reached 15 minutes late for the movie. Something that’s very rare in my life. I have a knack of reaching early to the theaters. I do not like to stamp on someone’s foot, who had the courtesy to reach early .My conscience doesn’t allow to block the view of a settled person. At the same time I believe in (Khandani Filmy Hoon. Aaya Hu To Saare Trailers Dekh Kar Jaunga) making full use of the paid resources. But this was an exception. Anyhow, the guy next to us was kind enough to share the plot we had missed. Kangana and Pappi Bhaiya stole the show. Never in my life had I imagined that I would watch a movie loaded with Haryanvi punches amidst a 99% Tamilian crowd and I would shout my lungs out on every dialogue.

WHISTLEPODU!

The most we were cursing ourselves to spend a lot on the auto rides we came across an auto guy, who not only gave us an honest advice to travel via a local rail to reach back to Central at the earliest but also charged us a minimal 50 rupee fare to drop us till the Villivakkam Railway Station. Well, let’s not stereotype the crowd as the people usually do, there are great people out there as well.

At night,Dua Saab got a news which made him emotional and the day gradually ended with some philosophical talk with soulful music from Arijit Singh being played in the backdrop.

Day2: Sunday May 24, 2015

01:00 Hours – No one of us actually slept and were talking the whole while. In between Dua Saab comes with this – “I’ve reached to such a state in life,that only a few close buddies and family matter to me. Thak gaya hu doosro ke liye kar karke. Jab doosre value nahi karta toh bura lagta hai. Bas ab aur nahi!” I replied,”Dua Ho Ja Zara Matlabi” in a filmy style. I think both the fools deserve some slow claps here. Finally we crashed down.

Google Fit was clearly indicating that our Dua Saab had travelled 20 times his average steps in a day. Now, that was something fascinating to start the day. We checked out at sharp 10 and headed straight to the nearest Murugan Idly Shop. I could die for those Idlies, podi idly to be precise. Served on a Banana leaf with 4 kinds of chutneys on the side its steamed rice topped with a red-colored powder soaked in Ghee. It is something I can never forget and definitely intend to have it in the menu at my wedding (in whatever way it happens – Northie or a Southie). I would rate that dish at par with a cheese burst pizza on my food-scale. We hogged enough of those tiny little things to run on it for a day. At last we had a refreshing drink called as JIGARTHANDA to end the breakfast on a cooler note.

We went straight to Broadway Bus Terminal and boarded a 277B AC Volvo for Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram. We explored every corner of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trust me, there is more than just stone carvings to the place. It’s beautiful. Both of us went into a teenager’s shoes and clicked pictures like crazy.

On the way back we got down near Nungambakkam and tried scavenging the area. Sadly, Royal Sandwich Shop was closed on a Sunday but The Fruits Shop on Greams Road made it up for that.The smoothies were amazing. Finally it was time to cross off the best and the most awaited place from my list – The Marina. It’s a paradise for seafood lovers. It has a fish-market theme. You can pick up the kind of seafood you like, weigh it and get it cooked as per your taste. I had my eyes on a sexy looking Black Pomfret the moment I had entered and decided to take it with me. Alongside that I had ordered some Prawns as well. Both were grilled to perfection and presented nicely with some fresh onions and juicy citrus lemons. I still wish to eat it as I pen this down.The staff was courteous and service was impeccable. Dua Saab in a parallel universe was busy eating some boring ghaas-phoos.

I didn’t even care to properly make a note of it and consider it worth mentioning here. I usually tend to become overly emotional and honest in case I’m high on good food and the same scenario happened. I went on gyaan-giving spree. I started sharing my other travel tales and how travel has made me a better person, a better friend.Hopefully, this turns out to be true in this case as well.

At last we reached our final destination, Shama Sardar Travels. We came across another good soul, who didn’t loot us. Charged the bare minimum from The Marina to Periamet. We were two hours early to our schedule, so a unanimous call on finding a place to watch the IPL final was taken. We are initially kicked out of one place but we couldn’t afford to not watch the game. We tried our luck again and this time we honestly told “Anna we are only here to see the match. Neither are we going to book a room here, nor are we eating anything. In case you don’t mind, we can sit and I am writer and I promise to spread a good word about you and the place on the internet”. And it worked. As promised thank you Mr. Badshah and SR Guest House, Periamet for a truly humble and modest behavior. Next time I am using your lodging. We moved out during the innings break out of courtesy and didn’t want to occupy his couch meant for his guests. But truly you were a King, Mr. Badshah.

Guys, let me tell you one thing very clearly. It’s all bullshit that people from Chennai are mean and they hate North Indians. It’s not the case my friend. It’s all about your perspective and they do speak Hindi and English as well. And learning a couple of Tamil words won’t affect your ego. I leant a couple of words, tried respecting their culture and met some nice people out there.

At last, just before our departure point we made ourselves comfortable outside Hotel Bell Central and wrapped the second innings there. We boarded our bus around 11. On the way back we spoke about Dua Saab’s circle of friends. Now, I literally know everything about everyone. It’s just that I haven’t met anyone in person except Kushagra – The Tau. We had those conversations where you laugh more than you talk. Dua Saab thanks for being there and making this trip so memorable.

I am always there and I’ll be the bro every bro wants! Cheers

In conversation with Brett Lee’s Ball

I think it’s been a while I have moved my arse off Bangalore. I have been acting too lazy to plan a trip.What’s wrong with you boy? Life’s too short to not travel, meet your favorite people, eat the food you like, love what you do and get lost in your wanderlust. Better do something about your life bitch ! These were the exact thoughts hovering in my mind just before I dozed off last night.

Helloes ! Anyone here? Binga ! Binga !
He is not at home. He is busy with the Irishmen, preaching the art of pace bowling in the World Cup.Either you can go to the ground now or you can drop a note and I shall pass it on to my master.Oh ! Okay. I am a huge fan of Brett Lee since my childhood. Do you mind if I sit here for a while and absorb the moment. Surely, and by the way same here. I’m so glad to have been in his hands for the last one and a half decades. Though, my shine and seam has gone for a toss but still the amount of respect this Kookaburra gets till day is impeccable.

Binga !

Ahaan. Can I please jot down this conversation, so I can go back and share it with my cricket frenzied nation? Definitely. Just make sure it’s brutally honest; the way my master is, said the leather cherry smilingly. Bowl !

Lalit : Pardon me. I didn’t get your name?
Ball : Haha. That’s fine. I am The Blonde’s Bombshell. I got the name when I sent 5 batsmen back to the pavilion with pride and pace equaling Lillee’s record of a five-for on the debut. Lee running with his blonde hair, caressing me on the way to do the trick and boom I did full justice to my master’s expectations.It was the perfect welcome anyone could get into the cricketing arena.

Lalit : How do you compare that day with today?
Ball : As mentioned earlier, when though I have become old and torn but till day we both share a mutual admiration towards each other. We are still the best of friends. He plays with me every morning and makes sure I am being valued .I am sexy and I know it.

Lalit : When did you actually realize that you were in great hands?
Ball :  It was in 2005, The Boxing Day. Kallis, one of the most difficult guys to penetrate through was on the strike. Lee kissed me and told me look friend gear up! Trust me you are gonna love this ride. He ran fiercely and held me tightly from head to toe and with that trajectory I went bouncing right into his helmet bamboozling him completely. Kallis was left dumbstruck. Minutes later, I knocked his timbers out of the groove. Then I realized, if I can get into this hole, I am not but my master is awesome.

Lalit : Is there any incident, which was too funny and still cracks you up?
Ball :  Yeah sometime back Piers Morgan challenged Lee that he would belt me all round the park.I looked at Brett and said game on. Forget about hitting me, he couldn’t even feel me till I hit him right on his shoulder, head, hand and booty respectively. You can call that stint as #TearsForPiers. Still cracks me up the way he ran for his life after that over.

Lalit : Is there any achievement you would like to share in particular?
Ball :  I don’t wish to act like a humble brag. But since you have asked me, let me share it. Not one, rather two actually.Firstly,I was the first one to take a T-20 hat trick .Secondly,I have the highest blood count of 380 scalps on my seam in ODIs as an Australian.

Lalit : What is that one day you wish to delete from your life?
Ball: Damn! You reminded me again.
Lalit : I am sorry. You can skip it.
Ball : It’s fine. Even though it was unintentional but I still feel bad. I ended Alex Tudor’s career in 2002 as I hit him right on the face.

Lalit : Which batsmen do you dislike the most?
Ball : Brian Lara and VVS Laxman. Former was a slaughter and the latter a surgeon. These two gave me sleepless nights and I hate them.

Lalit : Who is your best friend apart from Lee?
Ball : Adam Gilchrist. He takes care of me and I feel safe in his gloves. It’s a delight to watch Lee celebrate from that view as well.

Lalit: How has your journey been so far?
Ball :  Adventurous. I was always on the run. Lee never slowed down, however the conditions were. I was criticized in the early 2000s for not being a quality test material and as in and out of the side due to poor form and a couple of injuries. That was a sad time sitting back at home. Then I recovered back and answered the critics. In the 2005 I hit the 99.99 miles/hour barrier in NZ. That was insane and moreover when you have an outrageous fan following through thick and thin you feel loved and pampered (by the female ones). Overall a great stint with international career.

Lalit : Lastly tell us about the farewell day at Big Bash.
Ball : I was a no less than a romantic thriller. Initially I was seeing the proceedings with a heavy heart, was recollecting all the good memories that I had cherished on the field but then in the last over I became a thriller as I picked up 3 wickets nearly giving the title to the Sydney Sixers.

Well, it was great talking to you and before I could thank him for the wonderful insights I woke up from my slumber and was transported back to Namma Bengaluru from New South Wales where Lee lives. Hail Binga and his Bombshell !

PS: I won’t procrastinate, going to Amritsar finally and yeah Good morning.