Kohli always pays his debts !

Virat Kohli thrives on challenges and responsibilities. Unlike a normal human, it’s the adverse situations which bring out the beast in him. Kohli’s ability to lift the bar in the time of need sets him apart from his contemporaries. He’s not one of those who would let things go that easily. If he is being mocked or taken on mentally, he’ll make sure he gives it back. So Tyrion Lannister like, he prefers to pay his debts.  And, this time Englishmen were on the receiving end.

On the last English tour, Anderson and company flirted with Kohli’s reputation as a batsman. They made sure he had a miserable tour and dented his prestige by labeling him a mediocre player who’s just been hyped by the Indian media. But, there were some scores to be settled as Kohli never forgets.

Interestingly in the current series, when Anderson, the so non-sportsman took on Kohli with his maladroit comment stating that the home tracks are hiding his flaws, Kohli didn’t stoop low on his standards, didn’t utter a single word and let the scoreboard do the talking as Anderson stood humiliated & helpless when Ashwin ripped apart the English egos today morning to clinch the series 3-0.

Citing another instance, the last time India was at Wankhede, Kohli promised Sachin that it’s time for the young guns to carry the legacy forward as he had already done enough. Kohli stood by his words and instilled a sense of freedom and faith in his team. It not only made everyone up their game but as a collective unit rose India to the numero uno ranking. And, when today India took the victory walk across the Mecca of Indian Cricket, a sense of pride was evident on his face; which said it all.

2016 has been phenomenal for the Indian skipper. Kohli has 5 consecutive Test series win on his name in this calendar year, which is the record for any Indian captain. Also, Virat is just win away from breaking Sunil Gavaskar’s continuous unbeaten streak of 18 games. Most likely, if Cyclone doesn’t interrupt, this feat would be achieved in the Chennai, Ashwin’s home turf. The kind of form Ashwin is in, it’d be fascinating to see how easily he penetrates the British defence.

Virat is someone who knows how to manoeuvre his instincts, depending on the format. Kohli has grown in stature big time. Previously, he had a total of zero double centuries in Tests and no IPL T20 century. By the year end, he has 3 double test tons and 4 daddy centuries in the IPL. He is not someone who is known for his big hitting. He worked on that part and you would be astonished to know that those 4 IPL tons consisted of 24 mammoth sixes whereas these 3 double centuries had just 1 six. This is the level of adaptability he brings into the game.

Kohli is someone who plays from the heart. Just like a well-cooked Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Kohli takes some time to settle, lives beneath the sheath of aggression and temperament, takes the heat from the charcoal, absorbs the conditions and then shows his aromatic classKohli is well aware of his strengths and limitations and plays accordingly His flicks and cover drives are his rice and tender meat pieces and the elaichis – reverse sweeps are kept out of the vessel.

As an ardent Virat fan, I can eat this Biryani every day!

The best part – he keeps his integrity on his sleeves and gives ample importance to his fitness. He’s been the path bearer for everyone. He is an infection to the squad and is solely responsible for bringing out the aggression in everyone. Looking at the current fielding standards you cannot even say that it’s the same team, who were once the sloppiest of all.

Coming back to paying the debts part; needless to say the way Ben Stokes was sent off in the third Test of the series, I bet anyone would think twice before messing with Kohli and his team. The mum face was a slap on the English autocracy.

Initially, Virat lacked consistency in the longer format and was considered as the weakest among the Fab-4. Kohli, the gladiator took the daunting ask on his head. Slogged hard and at the moment, Kohli averages 50+ in all formats and is being lauded as one of the all-time greats to have ever graced the game.

I’d say, Kohli is beyond records. He is a pinnacle of assurance and self-belief. We need to find new critics for him as the ones who used to find flaws in the loud mouth have started to idolize the champ, including the likes of Chappell brothers and the entire Aussie cricketing fraternity.

Kohli’s unparalleled swag is bringing back the crowd to the stadiums, He is the perfect ambassador of the game one could ever ask for. I just pray he keeps playing with this level of consistency and achieves everything an Indian Cricket fan could ask for.

Bytes to Biryanis: Fateh Hyderabad

The mid of the week is usually the most ambiguous time in the life cycle of a software engineer. Monday blues are over, tasks are stacked up and Friday looks like a mirage. On a Wednesday afternoon, tired of the same old canteen food and life we decided for a getaway during the weekend .A much awaited change- way back to our sanity! A unanimous call on Hyderabad was taken and a joy wave traversed across the lunch table.

Charminar -The first thing that comes to mind when you listen the word Hyderabad.

Charminar -The moment you hear Hyderabad.

Before I imbibe the readers with my story, let me put some light on my allies- Avinash Hegdal and Mayank Dua.

Avinash: The not so foodie, happy go lucky, damn enough of Karnataka now let’s go out of it guy! Avi is also known as the loud speaker of the team. Office turns out to be a deserted island the day he isn’t there. You can pull his leg all day long, you’ll get tired but he’ll stay at peace like a monk.

Mayank: The not so golibaaz guy anymore. He is someone who values the relationships more than anything in this world be it family ,friends or his girl( extra affection included here ).Khulla saand ,ready to take on the world right now (Just imagine Sunny Deol from the movie Gadar).

More than colleagues or friends I see them as brothers for lifetime.

Coming back! So, Avinash decided to book the tickets from Bangalore to Hyderabad, Dua sahab did it for the return and I decided to take on the planning department. There we were – Looking for a transition from bytes of code to kilos of biryanis.

On Friday July 25(which was our scheduled date to travel), the first thing I listen to in the morning is “Bro we guys are saved! By mistake I had booked the 9 am bus instead of the 9 pm one. Hahaha! What a way to sally. I had an evil laugh in my mind and I started to ponder about the bloopers to come.

We boarded our KSRTC airavat bus from the Shanti Nagar bus stop. As soon as we occupied our seats, clouds of sadness started hovering over Mayank’s head as there wasn’t any charging facility in the bus. Just imagine a guy obsessed with whatsapp (24×7) had to go through when he saw that. To add fuel to the fire was the battery symbol in his cell phone that was proudly displaying 40% charge. Woahhh! Now this was something to cheer me and Avinash, considering the fact that it could’ve helped him follow the brocode. Well, the brocode said “No whatsapp, no reading, no girls and follow the divided by N principle.” which implies that we’ll live together, sleep together, drink together, eat together and divide the expenses by N (3 in our case).

The journey to Hyderabad was a bumpy one. We reached a couple of hour’s late courtesy the flat tyre but it was a memorable one. Avinash also was the victim of brocode. His exacts words were “Yaar jab bhi main travel karta hu tab hi sab ladkiyaan kyun ping karti hain, baaki din kyun yaad nahi aata unhe yeh Avinash and Dua gave him that look – Bitch please. Put the mouse back in the house and don’t give us all that! Hahaha.

The fun part begins now –

Saturday 6:00 a.m. MG Bus Stop Hyderabad- Day 1
The so called “Planner” just woke up from his slumber with absolutely no clue what to say when bade Nawab and chhote Nawab asked him “Planner Bro! Where do we have to get down?” The thing that made them doubt my planning abilities was the reply “Saalo mujhe kya pata.Jo last stop hai utar jao. Yahi hoga! Dekho  sablog to utar rahe hain.

Waah as if it wasn’t enough .Another event triggered at the wrong time and gave me the official tag of “A Useless Planner”. As soon as we got down the bus, we were bombarded with hotel brokers from all possible directions. Panic button was pressed and it was I ,The Planner who took the charge and told one of the broker/auto  guy to take us to Taj Mahal Hotel(as per my itinerary).The move backfired as he enlightened us about the existence of 6 different Taj Mahal hotels situated at different corners of the city. I recollected from my little memory that it was Secunderabad and ordered him to take us there. He replied “Bhaiya 15 km hai! Chaloge kya?” Nawabs were left dumbstruck.

Considering the fact that we had to board the bus from the exact same point the next day and logically the hotel should be in some proximity. Then the so called “Wise Men” took control of the situation and we settled at Hotel Sandarshini Inn. When you can’t decide between your heart and brain, go for the dick. Well the same logic was applied in the hotel selection process. Not that the hotel was great or the tariff was low, the fact that we got a magnificent view near the reception counter did the trick.

the three musketeers

the three musketeers

After some spicy roadside dosas, we decided to get into an auto rickshaw for our first destination- Golconda Fort. The auto guy told us about the various places on the way ,their history and seemed to be a genuine guy till he stopped his auto in the middle of nowhere and told us “Bhaiya aapke 7 Tombs aa gaye” and we were like WTF we didn’t even ask you to get us here !We were still OK with it .The moment he asked for 300 INR for a 200 INR meter reading, saying “Bhaiya yeh to purana meter hai new rates ke mutabik 300 hoga ” and when he replied that the updated price sheet is at his home when questioned Dua sahab lost it completely. He was belted left and right with all possible mother sister words. I was the peacemaker and Avinash bhai a mere spectator (standing 3 feet away).

Once the brawl was over and the auto guy was about to leave the Saint (Avinash) popped out and told him some words of wisdom – “Bhaiya aapne galat kiya yeh!”God knows why he took it to his heart so much that he started emphasizing on the fact that he would drop us to Golconda Fort now, no matter what happens !Our Punjabi brother (Mr Dua) advised him to leave ASAP unless he wanted bruises all over his face. After a mild tussle with the security guard over the camera, we were lost in the picturesque view of the 7 tombs of Qutb Shah Dynasty. There were three kinds of people over there. First – The photographers, Second- The coochy coo types love birds and Third- US. The sight was reasonably unpleasant for our Dua sahab considering the fact that he was on a sabbatical from his love life .We have termed it as “Off season“- the time when bros before hoes saying holds good in a true spirit.

Nawabs -Standing tall at Qutb Shahi Tombs

Nawabs -Standing tall at Qutb Shahi Tombs

Finally,after admiring the beauty of the tombs and decided to save some precious calories took an auto for the Golconda Fort .We BTW, refers to the two Nawabs who did not show  any spirit in walking at any point of the trip. For the first time the auto fare was actually fair. Then arrived the biggest dilemma whether to take the guide or not. The planner acted like a small kid and after a series of yes-no-yes-no finally it was decided to include Afroz (the guide) with us .Trust me the decision was worth every penny we gave him. Afroz is a pioneer when it comes to history, facts and engaging people. He made us climb 360 steps within no time, told us about the tharkiness of the king (how he had created a secret tunnel for one of his mistress that connects Golconda to Charminar, later married her and named the city Hyderabad on her name “Hyder Begum“).He demonstrated the architecture like a true craftsman.

Golconda Fort (shepherd's hill)

Golconda Fort (shepherd’s hill).View from the entrance

Golconda Fort (View from the top)

Golconda Fort (View from the top)

After the tour we were dead tired. I, on the other hand was equally scared at the same time. Considering my lack of geographic knowledge about the city what if they ask me “What next Mr Planner”. Playing safe I told them I don’t know which location would be geographically feasible from here, it’s better if we ask some locals. Based on majority of the recommendations, we decided to head towards the legendary Paradise Biryani at Secunderabad. The auto guy had an amazing Hyderabadi accent and was really a gem of a person.

On the way he helped us in restructuring our itinerary and emphasized on going to Salar Jung museum the next day especially because of the dwarf that rings the European clock. The Biryani was good (though I expected it to be fiery spicy).After the sumptuous meal,Birla temple was right there on the cards.

Paradise Biryani,Secunderabad

Paradise Biryani,Secunderabad

The planner was at his best once again, when he suggested walking down those 3 miles. How long it’ll take, just check your GPS?, asked Mr. Avinash. 20 minutes bro! Those two got furious at the reply. Seriously Bhai it’s by car not if we walk! Considering the criticality of the situation I didn’t retaliate and calmly slid my bums in the nearest parked auto because I knew even if I don’t take the rickshaw those Nawabs would’ve charged me anyway (remember the mighty By N rule).

Afterwards we saw the display of some quality marketing skills. The auto guy agreed to take us to the hill (where Birla temple is situated) in just 10 bucks, provided we visit a Pearls shop and spend at least 5 minutes over there. Even after the extensive peer pressure Dua sahab (the only eligible contender to buy something from there) didn’t buy anything and flabbergasted us with this filmy reply “Bhai baat 250 ki nahi hai, khareed to main 25,000 ka bhi lu, saali koi value to kare iski “. We both laughed till our stomachs ached. That by far was our cheapest auto ride in Hyderabad.

Later, my darshan got jeopardized and I was barred from entering the temple because I wasn’t wearing full length pants. All thanks to my brilliant convincing skills I was allowed to go inside. We offered our prayers and headed for Niloufer Bakery to have the best Irani chai and Osmania biscuits in the town. The bakery was named after Niloufer, one of the Nizam’s daughter  who was also considered the most beautiful lady of her era. The tea was simply breathtaking. No water, loaded with milk and sugar with a slight aroma of chaipatty.After a soothing stroll at the nearby Necklace Street we decided it call it off for the day and went straight back to our Hotel. The day ended with some peaceful pegs and “Yeh Veeraniyaan”(Dua’s favourite) in the hotel room.

Birla Mandir

Birla Mandir

Day 2 kicked off with another major goof up. Finding Govind was the sole aim of our souls. We reached Ghansi bazaar early in the morning looking for the best street food Bandi (lorry) in the town. Our confusion level reached the peak when we couldn’t figure out which was Govind as we saw two lorries parked back to back at the Ghansi Rd junction with equal number of people circumcising them in terms of popularity. Then the wise men suggested the usage of GPS, which clearly indicated that it’s 500m from there.

So I switched off my data packets and we proceeded. Merely after walking some 200 m God knows what struck us; we saw a fancy lorry and assumed it to be Govind’s. We stopped there, ordered 3 plates of Idli vada and even clicked a couple of pictures. Later the planner’s photographic memory came to the rescue and the planner suggested that it can’t be Govind as I can’t see any cheese and tomatoes here, which according to the internet is his speciality. After Dua sahab’s intervention we decided to move on and the moment we saw the GOVIND DOSA board, we were ecstatic. After eating at that Lorry, I could proudly admit that it was the best street food I’ve had in ages. Govind, the guy who runs on a Red Bull, should be treated with uttermost respect for his offerings to the food lovers.

Govind ,Ghansi Bazar

Govind ,Ghansi Bazar

After a brisk affair with Charminar and the Persian tea at Nimrah we decided to check major tourist destinations off our list. I don’t know whether the autowallahs in Hyderabad don’t interpret what we say or they are over smart to take us wherever they feel like taking. Again we got fooled and were transported to Chowmahalla Palace instead of Salar Jung. Due to that over hyped dwarf story, we wanted to be at Salar to witness the bell ringing ceremony.(12 times for 12:00 hours) and asked him to take a U turn and drop us at Salar on account of some extra money. Our sheer curiosity went in vain as no dwarf turned up (kat gaya bhai bade wala feeling aa gayi), still we had a great time exploring the museum.

The sword collection was imperial. It made me get lost in my wander land of Game of Thrones. We even checked our BMI and horoscopes. Mayank’s slip read “You exaggerate too much at times. Behave yourself” and mine said ” You are bound to get ditched by a colleague of yours .Sadness is expected (which did happen in terms of travelling plans)”.After a tiresome time we revisited Chowmahalla. Vintage cars and the royal photo shoot finally reflected the planner’s hard work and resilience.

Salar Jung Museum

Salar Jung Museum

Then came the major twist in the plot.Samridhi (one of my friend from Hyderabad) called me and said she wanted to meet and keeping in account the fact that you cannot expect her to come that far because of the iron nail incident, we had to go to Madhapur (that’s where she stays).Also Shadab Hotel’s haleem was still on the list to be checked, which was in the opposite direction to way we were planning to go then. I went into a numb state for a fraction of seconds due to the fact that I had to choose any one keeping the time constraints in mind. Then the Sr. Nawab’s decisive skills, Junior Nawab’s bargaining skills and their leniency in modifying the brocode came to my rescue. We decided to meet her at Basheer Bagh (half way at Madhapur).The Nawabs could see a big smile on the planner’s face. We escaped the narrow lanes of Charminar and Mecca Masjid and with every lane crossed Avi bro was chanting “aaj to bhai ko Samridhi se milwa ke hi rahenge in an over filmy way”. Finally we met her at Cafe Bahar and had Haleem as well. My joy had crossed all boundaries.

The famous Hyderabadi Haleem

The famous Hyderabadi Haleem

At last we bought some souvenirs from the Karachi Bakery and boarded our multi axle Volvo(the one  booked by Dua sahab). We had a hearty laugh looking at the charging sockets.

Cheers and I’ll come back soon Hyderabad.