Saturday, November 09, 2013

That first sight of Sachin Tendulkar

I don't exactly remember the year but it is possible that I was in standard 7 or 8. The Indian team was playing an exhibition match perhaps for the benefit of Sunil Valson, ex-Cricket player and a part of the triumph India World Cup Cricket team of 1983.

The Indian team stayed then at Hotel Sudakshina, a small-3 star hotel which did not have anything to offer now but was a great hit then. The match before day, I had visited there and had glimpses of South African players Fannie De Villers and Allan Donald. I was super excited and was longing to visit the ground to watch a player called Sachin Tendulkar.

It rained that morning and the match supposed to start at 9am started close to 10:30am. It was a 30-overs match. I had gone to the ground with my cousin who took every care that I was not lost amongst the crowd. It included that famous dialogue to the security guy, "I am over 18". Ridiculous, a blatant lie but it drew a few giggles.

After the initial few wickets had fell, in entered Sachin Tendulkar. I was sitting at the stands, concrete slabs with no roof above. It was hot and humid as you can understand after a shower. And I saw Sachin, a short, lean person with enough curly hairs that one could think of. I distinctly remember few of his shots and couple of sixes hit of Kapil Dev. What struck me was his batting. He played straight as straight you can hit.

The straight drive drove from his bat and dashed off to the boundary with the momentum of a young girl running towards her lover. It was a glimpse of poetry. I fell in love with the game right away. Sachin captured the imagination but the hallmark of his batting was that he took bowlers apart.

After the game got over, I have seen his matches on television. Then saw him playing at Eden Gardens, Kolkata and Chinnaswamy Bangalore. He has scored so much and driven the Indian team for ages. But it is time that he takes a well-deserving rest since he earned it. Sachin deserves it. I'll miss his game but most of all miss his straight drive.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


The things one could relate to Durga Pujo are manifolds but as a kid and teenager growing up in a remote town I had far too many. One of this has been the 'PUJO BARSHIK' (yearly Bengali magazines) that has stayed with many years now. I walked into Abahan store last month and purchased copies of Desh, Shuktara, Prasad and all. Over the years, the price of these magazines has not increased by much and I wonder why.

During my last trip to the city of joy, Kolkata I visited College Street. It is a popular street in Kolkata near Esplanade which has vendors of publishing and printed industries. Here ages ago, the great doyen of Bengali and Indian Cinema Satyajit Ray sat and enjoyed browsing through books of multiple orders while puffing a smoke now and then.

I went and inquired in one of the publication houses as to why the rates of these magazines have never gone up. The answer was that over the decades these magazines have an ardent followers with an age range from kids to elderly groups and they fear that a sudden spurge of rise in prices would decrement their fan following. That too but with the rise of printed papers they have made an increase in price from Rs.20 to 50.

I then asked that what do they think of fans from various parts of world an cities who cannot get a glimpse of the magazines unless they subscribe to it. In this day and age of internet an online publication would make a lot of sense. But they fear that this would mean additional cost to their publication houses and somehow they don't think they are ready to manage the entire vendor management online.  I then realized that it makes sense economically as well from a client side.

Towards the amount shared with the authors I got to know that it is highly minimal than what one would receive from writing in English publications. Readers read it out of sheer enjoyment and authors write it for sheer love. A lot of them have been readers once and now they are repaying it by being authors.

It will be interesting to see how it fares in the longer run with the growth in technology but there has never been a substitute for quality and I think PUJO BARSHIK will sustain the fan following base in the years to come.