Saturday, March 26, 2005

Discovering Delhi II

India and Pakistan are still slugging it out on the cricket field, but I'm back in Delhi. Took three days off before getting back onto the desk, but there was no R & R for me. Rest Day 1 saw me and flatmate bike down to Gurgaon amidst chaotic Delhi traffic on some of the best roads I've been on. On Rest Day 2 I trekked all across Connaught Place till heavy breathing interfered with my general feeling of well-being. And yesterday, me and another flatmate went off on another of those Discover Delhi jaunts. We loped along to the Safdarjung Tomb, and spent a couple of hours walking in Lodhi Gardens. It was pleasant enough although we did stumble over the odd couple making out here and there.

The more I think of leaving Delhi, the more reasons I find to stick around!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Simple, sublime.

Indian philosophy decrees that one can achieve Moksha, or salvation through 4 ways: Bhakti Yoga (through devotion), Raja Yoga (through control of the body), Gnana Yoga (through knowledge) and Karma Yoga (through perfection in the workplace). Watching Sachin Tendulkar bat, you can't help the feeling that he's already qualified for a business class ticket to heaven in the Karma Yoga quota. If he so desires, that is.

Yes, he missed out on a world-record 35th test century, and fell 27 runs short of reaching the 10,000 run mark in the first Indo-Pak test in Mohali. But his 94 was as impressive a knock I've seen from his blade.

It's been well established by now that though Sachin doesn't carve up bowling sides like he used to, he still accumulates runs as effectively as ever before. The last year-and-a-half may have seen the unveiling of the New Sachin, but it's something that hasn't yet been absorbed by the public. Sachin in Mohali started off pugnaciously, but his run collecting soon dwindled into just poaching the occassional ones and twos. And it was while he was dot-balling deliveries after deliveries that I thought about the salvation bit. His run making isn't austere, but he looks every bit a saint these days, calmly piling up runs after assessing the situation.

It's deeply satisfying to watch him in this phase, just as it was thrilling to see him lay into the bowling during the bulk of his career.

Sachin Tendulkar

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Dharamshala cricket

Exactly a year after I came to Dharamshala for the very first time to cover cricket, I've been sent back - for the same reason.
Only this time, the general hysteria has gotten even louder - Pakistan begin their tour of India in this little known hill station/HQ of the Dalai Lama. And though the rain gods haven't been kind so far, the people here will get to see their sometimes hated (and sometimes loved) neighbours from beyond the mountatins in action for some time atleast.

As for me, I'm not exactly the most gruntled person around for two reasons:

1. Covering cricket for a tv channel has got to be the only job in the world that looks as cool as it is bad. You work all day and pester the cricketers for that all important soundbite. And at the end of the day, you feel lousy about the whole deal.

2. What am I doing covering cricket in Dharamshala when I can go to the Tibetean temple, trek through the Dauladhar mountains and generally have a good time?

I'm going to close my eyes and do this on autopilot. The job doesn't need brains anyway!