Friday, March 19, 2010

Game That’s A Religion

That's one of my favourite article!!

Yeah! “‘Chouka mara rey’, ‘buddy leave the bat it’s my turn now’, ‘tu khudko Sachin samajhta hai kya,’” all these cricket terminologies are often heard from the street across the house while people are having their most relaxing moment sipping evening tea in balconies. The sporty sound threatens to convert into a howl if it is a holiday! The after-effect of ICC Champions’ Trophy and UEFA Champions’ league matches and current IPL has tickled the sporty hormone of kids and youth to play cricket in their campus.

‘Cluckk’, broke off the windowpane followed by a thick silence in the street. There falls the thunderstorm when the owner of windowpane appears frowningly on the little monsters playing cricket in street who immediately want to disappear but after getting back their cricket ball. It is a usual event that takes place in almost all the societies, gullies and mohhallas. Let’s call it the ‘Chronicles of Gully Cricket’ or ‘Backyard Cricket’? Well the name doesn’t make any difference to the carefree chaps armed with bats and balls shouting, fielding and exclaiming at the same time. Sporting an indigenous game in their lane, their gullies, they call it simply Cricket!
‘Simply’ because it barely needs a cricket kit, pitch, uniform or even a proper bat and ball. “It is a team-less, ground-less, umpire-less and a free of rules game we play !,” exclaimed Harshit Agrawal, a ten year old kid while playing Gully Cricket in the lane near his house. Asking about the strategies that they follow he said that the place for playing is never decided beforehand, it varies from garage, street to a quadrangle of four flats and a tar road of the gully. Even the bat and stumps could be of any shape (or say shapeless) as long as the ball can hit them both accordingly. “The bat should be suitably gripped, be it a small rectangular board or the one that is already bat-shaped and mummy uses for beating the clothes,” blinked Harshit. His friend Golu joined in to detail further about the tennis ball they use to avoid injuries as the cork ball used in cricket hurts hard, above all tennis balls are cheaper costing from Rs 25-30.
“A prop is used as a stump which could be a bottle of cold drink, a carton, even a bucket sometimes, a sign on the wall or even bricks give proxy to stumps. When ball hits the prop that means the striker has to leave the bat,” they delighted realising that people take interest to study their regular game. Best are the rules that are presumed and have chances to change any moment of the game, more like a home-made recipe. They don’t need to toss as to which team would bat first because they strike on chance-by-chance basis.
Interestingly Gully cricket says that no player can be given ‘out’ if he hasn’t scored a single run and even the first ball ‘out’ is not considered. “Ofcourse we do have wides and no balls where wide add a run to score, no balls provides a free hit,” Harshit explained. Obviously batting plays the dominating role so everyone wants to bat atleast once before breaking down a windowpane or any such object. And they bowl six balls per over, how many overs, varies with the number of kids and their ‘hours-of-leisure’.
Yes, this game is incomplete without fours and sixes. “We designate an object like a rock or tree as the boundaries for fours and when the ball gets out of boundary wall or out of sight adds a six to the score,” the kids said. They delegate fielder’s responsibility to a newcomer or the youngest kid who chases the ball inarguably.
Who would not love to play a game which is not captain-ed by anyone and which doesn’t need even an umpire or spectators? At the time of conflict on ‘out and not out’ either they depend upon the players who are already out and watching the game or a vendor across the street who occasionally watched and commented on their performance, gets the authority to decide. If none of the ideas work, they simply end the match to begin a new one next day. As simple as that! “There are many rules that are made and trashed every day, we can’t tell about all the rules as we don’t remember. But we can play till the time we are bone-tired,” the kids giggled.
The game usually ends with a broken windowpane or a fight or missing the ball. Cricket might be the gentlemen’s game, but gully cricket is for real tough kids. So grab a bat or any approximation of it and get on the Gully to play Gully Cricket.
By:Rashmi Drolia

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No More...

Guess it's getting bore out there, simply publishing the published matter, nothing really constructive on the blog.
I have been waiting to write something about my native place, where I am born, brought-up, educated, lived and....still living. And the sad part is still True, I don't like this place called Raipur. I feel sorry to mention this because not more than three years ago I adored it. I loved it with its each corner.
I have observed drastic change since it has become the capital of Chhattisgarh. I have keenly noted the change in attitude of people here. They were never so rude or selfish or 'thugs'. Not only the infrastructure of Raipur but also the minds of people had a makeover. The infrastructure, I mean there was so much of space while walking or driving that has been suddenly filled up with a crowd like that of Mumbai. It's scary! Believe me, it feels like...where this humongous crowd takes birth from, suddenly people have started shifting here! Raipur was never so thickly populated. And while typing this, I can figure out the frown of concern on my face.
Years ago when I learnt driving two wheeler as a teenager, citizens co-operated through non-verbal communication and gave sides to the learner. And now, the no-traffic sense, people racing in haste, honking ugly horns, rickshaw, cycle walah, trucks, city buses, autos, cars and modified bikes and stray cattle, everyone is struggling to save their life walking on the same lane. It’s like, anything can happen to you any moment! It's so depressing and it really is…I have heard people saying this and self-experienced it. Then I challenged myself to learn driving four-wheeler, though I succeeded but only after three long sessions from different driving schools. I don't feel ashamed on mentioning it because it was a huge challenge and now I believe I can drive confidently on any kaccha-pukka or bhid bhara ilaka.
Atleast Raipur has gifted me with this skill- driving confidently.
I recollect the time when a word against Raipur triggered up a fight and today it's the same me puking everything against it. Sad. Not only it has a constantly increasing population but also the mindset of people dejects me. I believed, it exclusively irritates me-the mindset of people, but later I realised that my irritation matches to those who are guests here or have recently shifted. They too crib about same problems. You talk in English, they call you ‘angrez’, you travel to gupchupwalah in rickshaw or auto, they mock at you and the gupchupwalah hardly consider you as a customer but stepping out from a car gets you attention from everyone making you feel important (saying this because I have tried on both). I know it’s not new but believe me the expression on their faces, you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Then talk about work and ‘they’ will be off for the next 3 days or more? Yes, they don’t want to work. Life here doesn’t starts before 11 am! If you are a workaholic, prefer working from home because anyway the shutters are closed and the clients/customers/staff wouldn’t answer your calls. Besides if it’s a festival, be prepared to work more for next few days (almost 10 days) because the labour/staff/driver/maid would be holidaying in Hawaii. They don’t care about money but rest. Chhattisgarh state once known for its abundant labour is suddenly facing deficiency. Strange! A drastic change has been observed in the attitude of labour class since the state has become ‘independent’. Because ‘they’ get 30 kgs of rice for just Rs3 per month with free salt and other necessities, they have grown incredibly lethargic. And the extra rice (30 kgs is too much already) is sold to poorer people on higher rates. How clever! Men prefer to sit home and booze while the ladies of the house go out to work. What more on this?
Might be I criticise more about this place because I have started hating it terribly. I hate the people here, their attitude, the pollution (Raipur is most polluted city of the country) that has gifted me with forever dandruff to my silky hair, the sun here (48 degrees in summer!) tans my skin within 2 minutes if am out without shade, the surrounding that gives me nothing substantial to learn and develop, ofcourse the insane traffic, the piercing eyes of people when I am out with my fiancé or even alone and almost everything about this place pisses me off. I really wanna get out of this place ASAP.

Monday, March 8, 2010

On Women's Day

Below are profiles of three old women who have a sad story to share. The series of
profiles were published in Central Chronicle.

Life with a cause is life with effect

It feels great when you are having a chirping time with your complete family. You experience a blend of happiness, sorrow, anguish and all the emotions together to spend the evening of life. How would it feel if suddenly you are forced to withdraw from the family and left isolated between the crowd of strangers? Definitely traumatic!
Those rock steady eyes longing to be taken away tell several tales of distress and loneliness. She doesn’t know what her rights are as a woman or as senior citizen, what she is worried about is where and how her daughter would be.
Manjula Taunk, 65, hailing from Titlagarh, Odisha was brought as first candidate to the newly constructed Sanjeevani Oldage home on March 13 last year. Her brother Dheerajlal Parmar whose name she couldn’t properly pronounce is a local resident and refuses to shelter her excusing on lack of space. A sister of three brothers, Manjula mourns towards their irrational behaviour. “It aches that the brother didn’t even show her the house and directly lead her to oldage home from station,” informed the caretaker when Manjula found it difficult to converse.
She can read and speak Gujarathi but in lowest volume that’s hardly audible. Studied till standard IV, she was married at an early age. Soon her husband Harilal abandoned her with toddler daughter in a delusion that she is mentally unstable. Helpless Manjula took refuge at her mother’s place. And after the death of her mother she was immediately brought to oldage home.
When asked about the daughter, her eyes turned abnormally red and the weathered skin shrank even more. “Her father took my daughter away one day, I imagine her getting married. But no one informed me about her well being,” she said in Gujarathi.
What a contrast Manjula is to the women who arise in morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.
Probably she wakes up thinking about her daughter every morning. “Yes, she remembers her daughter and misses her native place a lot,” said the caretaker. It’s easily visible how alone she is among the people who have their own share of cheerless stories. Who will tell them whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, makes it worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.
After a moment she was found staring at nowhere without a blink. She rarely talks and suddenly bursts into tears for no reason, may be finding herself in a place where she doesn’t belong to, stirs her soul. Or thinking about all the rejected relationships she had been, would really put her into mental instability one day.
As of now Manjula is waiting for a piece of information about her daughter if at all anybody knows she was alive.
In spite of having a family that could have been a happy one and lots of relatives, why women like Manjula are destined to a place like oldage home. Why they are bound to live life without a substantial cause that leads to that nothingness in their eyes? It could be a sincere responsibility for the society as a whole or ironically a lesson for self. The choice… is yours.

Savitri-journey of the wronged women
In a diversified society like India’s, you are going to bump into diverse aspects of women. The famous and educated ones stand on the podium to receive award on being the achievers and they further move on steps ahead to infinity while the deprived ones are pushed to the back of curtain where no one can see what is observable fact behind it. It is where lies the real happenings of the society where one do not want to venture out and give a human touch as all prefer to keep this picture of our country under the warps.
Let’s takes an opportunity and initiative to raise this curtain of mercilessness, and highlight these women who have grown old behind the darkness. Once a wife, sister, daughter and mother and today they are just hooked to one designation, asylum seeker! They don’t ask for awards nor do they ask for fame and money but only mercy as a woman to live as they want to with dignity and as a human being.
Why not give them a privilege to make them feel important and living? Why not let their heart speak out the emotion waiting to be revealed?
She spoke, but after shuddering and tear drops pouring down the memory lane as if the eyes having seen the world so long is speaking to us and to all those who matters...
“I belong to a small place called Chaal near Katghora where I lived with my brother and his wife. I was married at a very early age and widowed soon with no child,” she stopped talking with a ‘what to say’ expression. Savitri Bai Yadav was brought to Sanjeevani Oldage home, Raipur, on August 20 last year. She was found with a shocked face looking at infinity, drenched in rain and bruises all over her face.
Actually Savitri has been deceived by her brother Badar Saey who sent her here to check on a property. Savitri was left segregated at Raipur junction alone by the accompanied lady, an acquaintance to her brother. The feeling of dejection and shock deactivated her senses till the time she was taken into oldage home. She still wonders why her brother did this to her without any prior intimation because she used to feed herself with petty cash the domestic household work earned her. On asking how she spends her time here she says, “Because my right hand doesn’t work I can do only limited work. But quite comfortable with others.” The lady actively participates in religious activities and worships a lot in the small temple of her oldage home. May be she prays endlessly in hope that her brother would come searching for her one day!
Though she is mentally normal and feels secure here, but she definitely feels alone in the crowd missing her brother and village. Savitri seldom talks and when she does, it’s mostly about her village.
Isn’t it a perfect story of a woman left behind? They adore the successful ones and are ignorant about woman like Savitri. May be because they turn blind eye to them or doesn’t specify them as special to be noticed or just that –to be respected, be successful.

"It is a time when one's spirit is subdued and sad, one knows not why; when the past seems a storm-swept desolation, life a vanity and a burden, and the future but a way to death."- Mark Twain.

A Woman, a mother, a no one…
They say mother’s love is deeper than ocean, bigger than sky, beautiful than a fascinating scenery, cooler than the shade of trees and sacred than any other shrine. Too short a definition on the eternal motherhood. Woman is a creation that has been inherent with mother’s love right from the day she is born.
Persisting on the International Women’s Week, we discuss on, Why they talk so much about mother’s love and not son’s love? Why her love is always far heavier than that of her son’s? It’s seldom heard that a mother has kicked the son out of house but it’s common to see a son pushing her out of shelter specially when she grows old.
This is about one such lady who is an accurate image of that mother whose love is a contrast to her son’s and who could choose to spend her life in an oldage home but wouldn’t want the son to go roofless.
“I have always been my own bread earner by ironing clothes and cooking food in houses of my locality. I didn’t want to become a dependent widow on my son and daughter-in-law,” sobs Ishwari Devi Panjwani, 65, a resident of Bajaj Colony and now Sanjeevani Vriddhashram.
Ishwari sought for shelter here on January 28 this year and is a mother to one son and grandmother of four grandsons. It questioned her safety when Ramesh Panjwani (son) and Meena Panjwani (daughter-in-law) constantly pressurised her to register the two-storied house on their name. The old lady could sense the insecurity, that once the house is their, her harsh family members wouldn’t let her in. “So I decided to stay at Radhaswamy Ashram for a while,” she shares. But they continued calling and visiting her that brought her to Sanjeevani oldage with a prospect of permanent shelter and security.
Mothers slog all through their life for family’s happiness with a tender hope that she would just relax in her armchair and read stories to her grandchildren. For woman like Ishwari Devi, such thought couldn’t be more than a fiction. But see the vastness of mother’s love, Ishwari Devi refused to file a case against her children because they would be left roofless after case goes in her favour. So, she forced herself to live in the oldage home. “No one would be happy in a place like this but I do seva here and help them cooking and gardening,” she says pretending to be happy.
Indian constitution says, you have the right to raise your voice against exploitation. No one can force you to do the thing you don’t want to, no one can perform an act on you that you deny to subsist. But women in our country are more or less forced to perform such acts, willingly or unwillingly. Here comes the question for Ishwari Devi, should a woman fight for her rights or save her children? Well ofcourse the latter one. Yes, the son calls her often but only to threaten for the house. He’s least bothered about what picture is he portraying of himself before his sons, regardless that the same situation could gear in reverse order from his sons’ part too that would leave him shattered!
Concludes Ishwari, “something is always better than nothing, so I am trying to settle in here.” She shares her story with none, but cries whenever she recalls what life has brought to her.
Hard fact is that women like her choose to continue living their life in exile, “she could solve her problem within a few days only if she agrees to disperse her son out of the house, the house that is her,” says the caretaker of Sanjeevani Vriddhashram. As an owner of the house she would have done this long before but the vastness of motherhood says, ‘I would have if I could have-only if it woudn’t be my son’.