26 March, 2007

It is all in the game

I was travelling to Vellore by bus to accompany my sister who was about to move to Gujarat. Due to the World Cup fever, I took my Dad’s National Panasonic transistor. I tried to listen to the commentary but with lots of disturbances what all I could hear was India struggling with few top wickets fallen for mere 30 and odd runs against a country like Zimbabwe who were minnows then. Irritated of the disturbance in the transmission and the score, I switched off the transistor. After reaching my sister’s house, totally forgot about the game. Only after a wonderful dinner, realised about the game, and switched on the transistor to know the score had gone above 250. I could not believe myself. I probably thought my understanding of English was wrong. So I waited for the commentator to tell the score in detail. My heart was pounding with joy, though I could not believe it. After hearing the score in detail, and knowing that Kapil Dev had scored 165, I started jumping out of joy. I did not have anyone with Cricket knowledge to share my joy. The next morning rushed to the local newspaper shop to get the papers. I bought both of the leading English dailies. Read each and every line on the Cricket articles. It was a great game. Kapil was my hero, and still there were many players whom I liked.
Again I started travelling with my sister’s family to Ahmadabad, by Navajeevan express. My transistor was in hand with me. During our journey there was another match against England. Whenever the train stopped for some signal, I switched on to the transistor and there was a huge crowd next to me. Every boundary by Sandeep Patil were cheered by my fellow travellers. Mohinder Amarnath and Roger Binny excelled too. If I remember Madan Lal was also performing well. The game ended with a victory for India.
After few days, I was surprised, overwhelmed when I heard that India were to play against my favourite team West Indies. I decided to view the match. I went into IIM Student’s hostel where they had a medium black and white Television. I just went around the place the previous day. I felt as if I was having a pre-inspection of the pitch. The tempo was so high. I was happy with the viewing environment. I viewed the previous match along with some students by sitting on the floor. I liked the electric atmosphere.
The final day arrived. I was there and it was a great atmosphere. Each and every shot by Krishnamachari Srikanth was applauded. His cover drive off the knees is still remembered. When I met Srikanth in person in Edgbaston couple of years before, one of my friend Varadan mentioned it to Srikanth. My friend said that the shot is still in front of our eyes for which Srikanth gave his usual smile. After India ended up with a score of 175 or so, we were a bit tensed. Then when West Indies started playing it was ‘Jimmy’ who did the trick. Oh... What a bowler he was! We started getting hopes, after Viv Richards wicket fell. I was sad and happy. I was sad for Viv because he was my favourite batsman but felt happy that Indians were on to the road to victory. The rest is history. Oh...those moments!. Who could forget the spectator who was in conversation with Andy Roberts when he was returning back to pavilion. I was almost ecstatic, when my hero Kapil Dev lifted the world cup. Oh....what a wonderful time it was! In those days the teams had a great spirit. The players were not paid as much as they are today, but were of a class. I am proud that I have had wonderful days in the past when I was very young.
I know some of you wondering what this post is all about! What to do! How long are we going to keep talking about the past? Should we have to talk only about the past? Is there no hope in the future?
Let us turn the pages of history and try to learn from the past. We still have those heroes living amongst us. Why not BCCI take the experiences of stalwarts like Kapil, Sunil, Mohinder, Sandeep, Mohinder, Srikanth, Kirmani, Binny, Bedi, Shastri and many more whom I have missed? Dravid I pity you!

11 March, 2007

New life again

Days are rolling and things are changing. New Year has brought in a new job for me, but far from home. So, now I have become a weekend dad. My new job is at Manchester and I need to travel from home which is London. Since I love travelling by train, I am enjoying my journeys every week.

It is nice experience to travel. The so called Pendolina trains are great. They travel at a maximum speed of 140 mph. You would have heard about a train accident in UK recently. The train involved was Pendolina. In the train accident, only one elderly lady who was above 80 and was in the next compartment to the Engine died. There were few who were injured. None of the windows of the train broke. It was so robustly built. The accident was due to some fault on the track.

I had to travel the very next day after the accident. There were no worries in my mind since I love travelling. I meet lot of people, but hardly few who smile at you. Every week I wanted to write about my experiences. Since I do not carry laptop to my hotels, could not browse from the hotel. The hotel accommodation is good except for the receptionists.

By the way, I had a strange experience when I checked out after my first week. I check out every Friday and get back to the same hotel on Sunday night. During my first weekend, I was shocked to see that I was charged for 14 days ( ie. for 2 weeks instead of 1 week). Luckily I checked my bill, and expressed it to the receptionist. I had to fight hard to explain it to the receptionist. The second bill was produced and again it had errors in it. I checked it and found that I was charged for 7 days where as I had stayed only 5 days. Again, I pointed out to the receptionist, and this time her expressions are left to your imagination. The third bill was there and I paid it, and confirmed twice whether she had booked me for the next week.

Few weeks before I had purchased few DVD’s at discounted price in one of the chain stores in London. I did not check the receipt since it was for fewer pounds and went home. When I was about to destroy the receipt, I just had a look and was shocked to see that the DVD’s were not of the price it was quoted on the shelf and as well as on top of the DVD’s. I retained the bill and went a week later and got the claim back.

Couple of years before, in one of the photo shop, where I normally process my films, I paid for the bill and went back to work. While at work I was shocked to see that I was charged twice the amount for developing a film when I looked at the receipt. The normal procedure here is, when we are told the amount, we place our credit card on the machine, and key in our pin number. Then they give the receipt and we return home. But I realised that we need to check since the error has occurred. What has happened is, somehow the salesman had keyed in a wrong amount, while he said the right amount. Probably it was the amount of the previous receipt which he had in mind or so. Luckily since it was a shop where I go frequently and the salesman remembered my transaction, he refunded the excess amount back to me.

So, however though I learnt that we should check the amount twice, at times it is not practically possible to do so, when the queue is long, or when we need to rush out due to other commitments.

In this electronic world, we cannot take anything for granted and we need to check however twice. Especially the shopping receipts and big bills should be checked spontaneously.

In the same chain stores when I bought a new travel bag I checked twice at the shelf that the suitcase was marked as 7 pounds. When it was brought for billing, the till clerk said it does not have a tag and requested help from his senior. His manager came and went to the shelf and came back with a tag and handed it over to the till. The clerk scanned it, and said that it costs 35 pounds. I was not prepared to pay and objected that it was wrong. He argued that it was brought in by his manager, and she is very experienced, and cannot make mistake. I looked at the tag brought in by his manager, and mentioned that it had a different description about the product than the one I had picked. So, he requested another senior staff to check it again. I requested my son to accompany the staff and show the shelf and the product. This time the staff returned back and said that I was right. There was a huge crowd in the queue waiting with patience.

The clerk was embarrassed, and gave me the correct bill.

I whispered “The boss is not always right” in his ears, while thanking my son for his compliments about me.