The Epic called Test Cricket…!!!

Finding the right motivation to write is definitely difficult than writing in itself. But I finally found my impetus through one phenomenal player’s 23rd Test Century. I knew this series is going to give me moments that I would want to document, I expected to resurface my blog after the Lord’s match but fate had other plans.

Test Cricket, considered the pinnacle of all formats, a test to every person involved in it including the audience is a man-made mystery. The first hour of the match is something I would compare to a new relationship; the building blocks of what determines subsequent success or failure. It is fragile, yet beautiful, requires patience and prudence but over caution is frowned upon, you should cash in on the chances but never forget to treat the opposition with respect. It is hard, it is a test after all.

The beauty of this format is such that no single player is above the game. There can be moments of inspiration that could sway the session in a particular team’s favor but the match is the result of the perseverance of XI players giving nothing but their absolute best. Following test matches requires greater emotional investment than following Limited Over Internationals but the emotions derived at the end of 5 days (assuming the match goes for 5 days) is unparalleled by any other.

Interest in test cricket has withered mostly due to the home teams whitewashing travelling teams. It has become more of a routine and a display of dominance rather than an enticing contest. Indians fans were hoping that the current Indian team would be an exception and bring back what is considered the right advertisement for the sport. The first match had glimpses of what this team was capable of but the second match was heart breaking and gut wrenching. I was hoping to write laurels of how our players managed to get on the Honour Board of Lord’s but instead I was drowned in misery.

5 days later there has been such a massive turnaround that this match has been nothing short of surreal for Indian fans. A wicketless session on Day 1 to go with bowling out the opposition within a session followed by 150 run partnerships in the top order, India has ticked right all boxes of playing the format the way it is supposed to be played. Yes, this does not mean that the Indian team is bereft of any issues, we are no way close to being invincible but this is the closest we can get.

Playing against a team that has two bowlers who have close to 1000 test wickets between them, giving their absolute best ball after ball, spell after spell, this match has all been about a show of better mental endurance. England may stonewall and draw the match or may play to the conditions and win, or for India it is just a matter of 10 good balls. The result of this match has become immaterial to me. This is a match that has transcended the levels of normal expectations from the Indian team. In short, this has been dreamy.

This is what puts the test in test matches-dreams and reality alternating in the blink of an eye, emotions you would have never expected yourself to experience, life philosophies you never knew you were capable of analysing.

To the queen of all formats,

I bow down to you!

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Agam-The Dreamy Night That Was!

There is an inexplicable amount of joy when your favorite band visits your city and I was no different when I got to know that Agam would be performing in my Singara Chennai. Tickets had been booked with an almost feverish excitement and the day awaited eagerly. Slowly there came the 25th of March to bring upon joy and happiness to countless of fans.

We, over enthused fans got to the venue an hour prior to the start of the concert. As characteristic of Chennai, there was hardly any similarity in the crowd that turned up. Youngsters and elder people alike, college students and professionals, Carnatic music and other western genre fans were all united by one factor, we were all fans of the band that turned Carnatic music to a whole new dimension.

As the auditorium was filling in, the artists rushed backstage to get ready for what seemed like an unforgettable night for all of us. And with abated breath, we waited…

The concert began with an AV of Saagara Shayana and the artists arriving on stage at the end to a thunderous applause. With not much ado, they began the night with a wonderful rendition of Brahma’s Dance which had the audience realize they were watching the best of the most talented musicians of India perform live. Just as we were all beginning to warm up to the booming, charming voice of Harish, he began another song immortalized in Carnatic Music, rediscovered by Agam- Dhanashree Thillana. This was still just a primer of what was yet to come.

The next was a crowd favourite, the melodious Rangapura Vihaara. This made us sway to their music like rats to Pied Piper’s music. We already didn’t want the night to end. We didn’t want the music to end. We wanted more and more we got. Then we got the numbers from their sophomore album, “A Dream To Remember” interspersed with a few of their already well established songs. It started with the Shuddha Dhanyasi Keerthana Onwards and Upwards. If you ever thought you couldn’t head bang to Carnatic music, then maybe, just maybe give this a try.

If I could, I would probably write blog posts for each of their songs and the word limit would never be sufficient. Such is their performance and urge to entertain us that right now, no words would make justice to their beyond the world performance. But then a few highlights of the evening cannot go unmentioned.

The Celestial Nymph, one of their toughest songs in terms of technicality was performed with utter consummate ease that even a repeat performance of the same wouldn’t have satiated the audience. Another crowd puller was their latest Kooth Over Coffee. Chennai and Coffee, well, it is match made in heaven centuries ago, and so was the bond between the performers and the audience. I could almost assert with certainty that everyone would have had “Yele en rasavukku, yele yele” on their lips even as the left the venue with heavy hearts as the concert was almost approaching its fag-end.

Special mention goes out to Praveen (Guitars), Swamy (Keys), Aditya (Bass), Jagadish (Rhythm Guitars), Shiva (Percussions) and Yadhunandan (Drums). The face off in between various songs among these instrumentalists was more than delightful. They also surprised the delighted audience with a rendition of Uyire and Malargale Malargale, songs of our very own Mozart of Madras. What more could the fans ask for! (But obviously we wanted more)

They also conceded to the fans request of performing Kooth Over Coffee, a second time with peppy chorus that had the audience at their feet. The evening ended with 4 lines of Harish singing us Sreeragamo and lulling us into a portal of eternal happiness. The tired artists still obliged to pose for selfies with their fans who drew energy from them.

The experience is one each of us would cherish for more than just a few years.

“Thank you very much Agam! We love you too!”

PS: Do give the songs a try if you are not a fan already.

Matches and Exams-A match made in boardrooms and institutions

“And Dhoniiiii, finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 years.” These words have simply lost the ability to be read in any voice other than Ravi Shastri’s. It was a night memorable for the nation. April 2nd, 2011 is a day that is unforgettable in the sports history of the country. The next day, Sunday was predominantly spent by most of us watching countless media clips soaking in the victory that crowned us the world champions of the most beloved sport. Slowly but gradually the Monday came and it was April 4th and that’s when realization struck that the Annual Examinations were beginning. OMG! Oh My God!

Matches and exams are the most coupled events to happen simultaneously in any sports lovers’ life. It is almost as if educational institutions and cricket boards sit together to decide in what best (worst) possible way the dates can be together so that the students can ponder over and over their lives forever. These can take the most hilarious turns from the team losing to the adrenaline levels being pushed to an extent where you are just too excited and exhausted by the time it is exam morning.

These matches also almost tends to be the ones you remember for a long time. Just like watching the highlights of a match, every memory of such exam eve matches is always accompanied by the voice of our parents yelling at us in the background. It could go from “They are going down, what is the use in seeing this?” to “He hits a century because he cares about his career and future. When are you going to start caring about yours?”.

But there is an inexplicable amount of emotion which goes into watching these matches and giving these exams irrespective of what the result turns out to be. It can give you many life lessons as well. You know it is all about the performance on that day coupled with the zillion hours of practice before. Isn’t that what exam is all about anyway?

From watching matches during my boards to college internals and entrances, I have seen it all and done it all. I am pretty sure you have done the same too, if not for cricket for something else. At the end of the day all that matters is what happens after the stroke of the bell and the toss of the coin. As long as the player values his spot in the playing XI and as long as we value about ourselves, it is definitely to bring the best out of one. All I would say in the end is trust in yourself.

All the best!

Cheers!

The beginning of a new chapter

Hi all!

To my friends and twitter followers, I am known as the cricket crazy girl. After quite a long time, I have mustered the courage to pen my thoughts down on the beauty of the game and what it means to me. So here it goes…

35th ODI century to the phenomenon called Virat Kohli! Records tumbling all over and stats men kept busy. Oh wait! Didn’t I tell I was writing about the game? Then why am I beginning it with just a guy? Because this guy is the reason I fell in love with a game the whole nation was known to be crazy with.

So then why today am I doing this? Why not before? The innings of Kohli yesterday was such that I needed a let out to pump my adrenaline levels back to normal. This innings was the right motivation I needed to start writing about the sport which already has scores of established bloggers. This innings needed to be recorded. This innings demanded to be written about.

But no, it’s not just this innings of his which has led me here. It is a culmination of how he has gone about in the past 6 years of his career. A span that speaks of dedication, consistency and hard work with luck, talent and form splattered all across it. A girl who has stayed devoid of any sport suddenly found love and happiness in cricket. The guy who scored 100 of 160 runs from running just a couple of weeks back, suddenly scored more than 65% of his runs in boundaries. Such is life where turnarounds can happen in a moment.

A crisp straight drive hit right back at the bowler, a gorgeous cover drive, a magnificent pull, a majestic hoick. The madness of a Kohli innings stays with you long after it is over. The emotions you put into the game linger around you. But then this game is not just all about Kohli glorification. The game is greater than any player and whoever realizes that would be hooked to the game by now.

Then when exactly does this transition occur? Is it when your favorite player fails? Is it when your favorite team has fallen back into a losing streak? No. A true fan of the game could never be deterred by similar tiny hurdles. But then when do you fall in love? For me personally, it was a collection of moments. A steaming Stuart Broad yorker met with a straight bat defense from Dravid, a raging Mitchell Starc bouncer simply ducked by Root, a slow ball from Bravo clattering the stumps and I could go on and on.

The minute you realize you have fallen in love with the game, the game becomes you and you become the game. It gives you joy at the oddest hour, sorrow at the unexpected moment, teaches you to applaud your opponent, and gives you life lessons.

To many more years of association with the game of cricket!

Cheers!