Saturday, June 12, 2021

Anjali - Traumatic Attacks by a mean Dog

 This morning we woke up to loud yelps like someone is murdering one of the pups and sounds of war between grown dogs and excited and traumatised pups. I was slow to react but Anjali was out of her bed in a trice and so was Shobhs. The dogs surely are in good hands.

In minutes Anjali found that this one mean, little dog that looks like a jackal (a proper villain type) slunk in and attacked the pups. Akela fought him off and Anjali fearlessly shooed him off. The neighbours who have been watching Anjali and her dogs pointed out where the offender ran off to. Another uncle gave her some thumbs up. All in all, a major traumatic incident passed and everyone started breathing again.

But it looks like Anjali's story with Akela and her pups has its share of followers in the colony. And of course, from within the safe confines of our house.

Good show Anjali. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Anjali - The Pups Are out on the Road!

 Yesterday I went walking in the colony and found the pups running about on the road, oblivious of the dangers the road contains. They were walking about foraging for food, running under cars and playing about.

Zindagi out on her own

For a moment, my heart worried for them. And then I realised, we must have been like that too. Going out for the first time into a world full of danger and beauty, lack and opportunity. 

Sona and Zor doing their own thing

It's part of the process. Its their life and they will live and learn.

Zindagi in her new domain

From the confines of our house, now the whole world is theirs. I could see the expansiveness, the freedom, the choice, the edge of life they will live at.

Under the auto on the road

And I am sure, they will keep coming back as they do to Anjali every day. 

Thought for the Day - How Much of Our Time Goes in What Doesn't Concern us

 But everything concerns us - from Biden's views to Kohli's clothes to what Priyanka said or Alia's take on the world. Maybe it does but as long as I cannot do anything about it or do not see those things touching me, I would rather focus my life on myself. So I have been completely ignoring the world around me like that ostrich which buried its head in the sand (and was spotted by the chap who made the wrong connection) and have been focused on my own little world filled with puppies and all things nice when there are so many things to worry and fret about.

I have been off the news about vaccines, their efficacy, how they might kill us or if they don't how the virus will or if it does not how hospitals will, or they they don't how new variants will, and if they don't how governments will - it all seems to be headed to the one grand certainty. So I decided I could live without the fear, without the extra information which is rather useless to me right now - so I already have vaccinated myself - what will I do if they say its good or not now. 

Nor am I concerned about the economy, about mental health, about climate change, the lack of propriety. Nor about who won the Nobel or the Booker, who made millions or who is the richest man, or who died or whose birthday or anniversary it was. I am not concerned about tragic stories or even nice stories, celestial events or astrologers, junior doctors pay and criminals ruling the world. I am not worried bout corruption or about war in the world. I am not concerned about the evil designs of China or Pakistan or whoever. I am not concerned about the Sensex or stocks, about rising petrol costs, dying elephants in the zoo, miffed politicians. I am not concerned about appeals for help, people popping out of nowhere in the inbox. I am not concerned about fake reassurances about bombastic lies, about gurus who preach and teach, about disciples on their quest to get ahead in the spiritual queue. I am not concerned about ayurveda or homeo, health insurance or real estate prices, the daily dose of family and friends murdering each other, of loot and rape.

My life as it is today is limited - to my house, my books, my computer, my TV, movies, shows, music, a walk in the neighbourhood, watching the trees and the greenery, listening to birds, watching puppies, cleaning windows and doors, cutting and eating fruit, drinking water, eating food, breathing. 

In and out.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Picasso - Movie

 2019. Marathi movie. A young kid from a distant village in Ratnagiri wins a painting competition and a scholarship to go to Spain if he clears the second round - and we'd expect the movie to be about his painting. But then the young kid finds that he has a pay a lot of money to enter the second round and hopes his dad - an artiste in the folk art of 'Dashavtara' - can help. But the father is losing his space and popularity to a young actor and is already short of money and sources to borrow from. He has to use what he knows best - his art - and redeem himself in his eyes, his son's eyes and in his audience's eyes.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Anjali - And Akela and Her Pups Take Leave!

 It is amazing. Akela and her pups - the fiesty Sona, mischievous Zindagi and ponderous Zor, have left the safe environs inside our compound, under the cars, and have moved out into the big, wide world. They have only moved out of the compound, and now rest under whatever car or vehicle is parked there but to us, it is almost like they have said - 'Thank you for hosing us all this time Anjali, but now we cannot burden you any longer. We will find our way in the world.'  

I find it amazing, this behavior. Dogs normally don't leave they say. I wonder what Akela sensed that she feel it is better for Anjali that they left? It seems like a thoughtful gesture, way beyond what I can conceive, heroic even, to expose themselves to the outside world, and save Anjali some distress. By moving out they are reducing her responsibility in many ways - kind of weaning away from her. (Today a large dog came and grabbed tiny Sona by its neck outside and Anjali quickly went over and rescued it - after Akela fought that dog away.) The pups are constantly under threat of being run over, stolen or attacked. The only comfort is that they are now old enough to forage for some food. Of course the pups do come into the compound and into the backyard to play and fight playfully.  

But then, that's life. And we make our choices. I am amazed at Akela though, at its love for Anjali who did all she could for her and her pups through this 50 day period. (And still continues to.)  It's such a nice story. One that we humans could learn much from.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Another Wonderful Music Video by NIFT, Hyderabad Students

 Another wonderful and uplifting video by students of NIFT, Hyderabad. Watch!

eCanteen Fundas - Self=Confidence is a Skill, Can be Learned

 So, self-confidence can be learned!


E-Canteen Fundas: Dial up that confidence level to conquer it all

I made a presentation today,’ said Rahul. ‘Everyone told me to be more confident.’

‘I have an interview coming up and I’m short of confidence too,’ said Rinku.

‘Not to worry,’ said Rakesh. ‘Confidence or self-confidence is having confidence in our abilities to handle whatever comes our way. Most times, we feel that we don’t know enough or we’re not good enough. The gap between others’ expectations and our ability to meet those expectations shrinks us, be it in an interview, presentation, social skills or so on. What most people don’t realise is that self-confidence is a skill. It can be improved with practice.’

‘Really?’ said Rahul. ‘How?’

‘The building blocks of self-confidence are our thoughts, words and actions,’ said Rakesh. ‘Since the biggest confidence-breakers are negative thoughts and negative talk, stop those. Replace them with positive thoughts and words.’

‘Okay, bhaiyya,’ nodded Rinku.

‘Next, take action,’ said Rakesh. ‘Every confident performer practices extensively — writing stuff down, rehearsing, recording themselves, correcting body language and tone. This means that for every situation we don’t feel confident about, we need to practice. The more we practice, the better we get and the more confident we become. Then, we are less affected by negative talk.’

‘I never thought of it like that,’ asked Rinku. ‘How much should we prepare and practice, bhaiyya?’

‘Until it becomes second nature,’ said Rakesh. ‘Work on every area that bothers you until you feel confident. Practice, get feedback, correct and practice again. Build little wins every day. Every extra repetition builds muscle to your confidence.’

‘What if we lose confidence before the event?’ asked Rinku.

‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘Despite our preparation, we sometimes lose confidence. This loss of confidence is not real, it’s fuelled by scary stories that we tell ourselves. Stay in the present, stop telling yourself stories, trust your preparation and deliver what you have prepared for.’

‘Can we be confident if we have no time to prepare?’ asked Rahul.

‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘Trust yourself. Tell yourself to do the best with what you have. It’s about what you know, not what you don’t know, so back yourself, own it and deal with the situation.’

‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I feel more confident now.’

Pro Tip: Self-confidence is a skill and can be built with preparation. Just focus on what you know, work on areas of doubt and back yourself to handle what comes your way

Another Crop from Mom's Mango Tree

 Now that the mangoes have grown some more, I informed Vasu and he arrived early in the morning. We got on the terrace and got down to work - i.e. Vasu got the stick ready, climbed up and plucked and did all the hard work while I waited below, caught the mangoes and piled them in the bag.

I could not believe it but we got around 150 mangoes again - add the earlier 250 its 400 - plus there are another 50 or so left and another 50 that have gone to ground. I am blown by mother nature, by this abundance.

And not just that - the fruits look so healthy and large. Mom - every time I look at them I remember you - remember nature, and its abundance.   

Waiting for them to ripen now!

Anjali - Where There's Love, There's No Fear

 I can think of no better explanation. Anjali, as would most people, is a bit squeamish about blood and crushed bones or flesh, and that includes me. When Akela got injured in some fashion and came back with a horrible wound on her paw, I stayed far away, not wanting to upset her.

But Anjali went near her, carefully, checked out her paw, reported how badly it was. 'It's fully covered in blood,' she said. She did not say, you do something, or get upset etc which is what I would have done, but checked with her friends and advisors - Niveditha and Pallavi, got some volunteer to come and got medicines.

Ever since then she has been regularly administering the medicines with utmost care and sensitivity and I am amazed how she goes near the injured Akela and does it. I caught her doing it yesterday again applying some Betadine, some ointment, while Akela lay on her side, and allowed Anjali to pet her.

True, when there's love, there's no fear.   

Anjali - And They Return

 Akela and her pups - Zor, Zindagi and Sona went away fro a day and then, perhaps because Anjali went searching for them, returned to the compound for a while. Akela is still unable to walk with her paw thought it is healing nicely. 

The pups are full of beans as always and since they are having difficulty foraging for food and since Akela is herself injured and not able to hobble around, Anjali feeds her so she can feed the pups. Here's a happy moment when all three pups are feeding happily.

Ah, such a nice sight! 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Anjali - And Akela and Zor, Zindagi and Sona Leave

 Just like that!

One day they are right here under the cars and this afternoon we find that Akela has upped it and left with her three pups. Not that they have gone far - they shifted form under the Santro and Ertiga and moved under a car outside on the road right next to our place.

Anjali found them, enticed the sad and scared Zor to come back along with her, played with it. This morning she gave the adventurous Zindagi who ran into some puddles from the look of her paws a bath and scrubbed her.

For the most fleeting of seconds her face showed disappointment when she said - 'They left Nanna. I know it is what we wanted and what I hoped for, but its still...'. She played with Zor for a while and let her go and then said - they look like they're saying thank you for having us all this time.

And then she put this thought aside and went on to do her homework while I , who did nothing for the dog nor the pups, sat with a heavy heart. Hopeless sentimental fools.

I'm still waiting to see if they'll come back gamboling. What made them leave 

The Great Indian Kitchen - Movie

 2021. Malayalam. Another fine work about how a modern woman tries to adjust to the ways of her traditional in-laws house and in the end, gives up. Its the small things that are done so insidiously that get to her, the lack of concern for her (even her mother-in-law), the clear rule of men and their ways. Loved it. More so the kitchen. Superb stuff.


Open Secrets - Alice Munro

 Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and she only writes short stories. In 'Open Secrets' she presents eight short stories - Carried Away, A Real Life, The Albanian Virgin, The Jack Randa Hotel, A Wilderness Station, Spaceships Have Landed and Vandals.

 haven't  read anything like this before and the stories require tremendous concentration and perhaps a re-read and like I saw on the net, even a guide on how-to. The prose goes back and forth in time, switches mediums, people, places. She provides twists when least expected, leaves us wondering what it was all about in the end. Astonishing.

The first story Carried Away, about the librarian and the soldier she falls in love with who marries some other girl and his death by decapitation, and the way his boss gathers his head and puts it back goes along as matter-of-factly as Orr's death in Catch 22. Ot the Albanian virgin, the woman abducted by a tribe who wants to marry her off but where she has a chance to remain a  virgin and live like a man. The lasy who follows her husband to Australia and poses like a woman he is writing letters to in Jack Randa Hotel. Complex stories, complex people.

Need to read the stories again. Ten years down the line. Thanks Vinod bhai.    

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Helen - Movie

 2019. ,Malayalam. Survival movie based on  true story. Directed by Mathukutty Xavier on his debut. Gripping. These Mallu movies have hit the rest for a six. No one can make movies like they do.



Saturday, June 5, 2021

Anjali - The Ease of Manifestation When We Let Go of Our Attachment

 I was chatting with Anjali yesterday while we were doing one of our "chatty-catching up" walks. 

'It's incredible isn't it?' I said. 'You were talking about getting yourself a dog for a while now and even got a date on your mind - June 2021. And when I asked you a couple of months ago what you were planning to do about it you told me that you were not thinking anything but that the dog will appear in the right way if it was meant to be. And now look.'

Can't wait to get in

She smiled.

After she made that dramatic statement was when I noticed Akela laying her litter in our compound. Anjali approached the whole affair very sensitively - giving it food from afar, making it secure, finally coming to a stage when Akela would let her touch it. Then as the pups grew enough to walk around she would pick them up, feed them. Then she gave them all names - Kroor, Zindagi, Sona and Zor. And then except for Zindagi, the others went missing.Two days later they returned - minus Kroor. Then the dog pound fellows came around and once again all the dogs were missing. Then Zor was not allowed in by Akela and spent a traumatic night with us. Then Akela got injured and still hobbles about - and Anjali who has never seen blood in such quantities before actually got her a volunteer to help nurse Akela.

The pups are so playful now - at that age when they are incredibly cute. They can't wait to get into the house, can't wait to climb into their mistress's lap. A full 45 days. almost the entire summer vacation we have had these pups and the mother.

We could not have planned it better - this initiation. It's incredible how things happen when we let go of our attachment to outcomes.

Anjali agreed. And then I asked her again. Now what? 'I am not thinking anything,' she smiled. 

Open to all possibilities.     

Anjali - Emotional Intelligence

 I was feeling a little low as far as my writing projects were going. I broached the topic hesitantly while we were at lunch and in a manner of speaking Shobha said 'You could always do your lectures etc,' which I was already, but since my entire focus was on how stuck I was with my writing I felt she meant that perhaps my writing was not working. I nodded and went into my room to work off the blues when Anjali dropped in.

'Do you know how freakin good 'The Men Within' is Nanna?' she asked. 'Who can write a book like that? Why are you even doubting yourself? You are a wonderful writer Nanna, the very best...'

She would have gone on and on if I had not pulled her close and hugged her. 

How did she realise exactly what I was feeling and what I wanted to hear? 

Shobhs came in and I told her that was what I was feeling inside and what Anjali had told me and Shobhs explained. 

'I didn't mean it like that,' she said. 'All your books have been critically acclaimed. You have a readership and your columns and blogs are read. Don't ever think you're not a good writer.' 

Thanks Shobhs. But a huge thanks to Anjali. I am amazed at your emotional intelligence. It will serve you well girl.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Mauritanian - Movie

 2021. Based on the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay detention camp where the 26/11 suspects were kept, it covers the fourteen year jail that Mohamedou faces without trial, including torture that makes him confess to crimes he has not committed. He wrote a book which drew attention to his plight and he was finally released in 2017 with no apology. Good performances by Jody foster, Tahar Rahim, Benedict Cumberbatch.

I admire how they show the mirror to the society through these movies - we would have always thought that they have it all covered until you realise that of the 779 detainees only eight got convicted of which three were let off after appeal. Watch.


One - Movie

 2021. Malayalam. Mammootty stars as an idealistic Chief Minister pushing for a bill that allows the people to recall any elected representative who is not performing. Nicely done as it addresses a lot of issues that the public will identify with.


Borat Subsequent Movie Film - Movie

Sacha Baron Cohen brings it on - on Mike Pence and Trump and the pandemic and I love they way they can go at anyone. The film, as always outrageous and funny. Check the poster out and if you are ok with that kind of comedy, go for it.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Anjali - Zor, Zindgagi and Sona upto Mischief

 Now the pups are growing up a little and are getting more and more mischievous. They fight amongst themselves, tear anything they can get their teeth into bits, run off with Lakshmi's chappals and so on. Here they are.



Guarding the house!

They constantly park themselves on the front step and make piteous sounds to be let in. And if you don't open the door they are at it, clawing it. Once they are in, they gambol all over in a disjointed way until Anjali takes them all out. Overall, they are at the perfect pup age when they look so cute and adorable.

Meanwhile their mom Akela, is still injured though, she's healing. Anjali takes care of her medicines and bravely ventures to put a bandage or take it off. I'd never do anything as brave as that. Good for them they have Anjali.

A Rare Phenomenon - Quite by Chance

 Something interesting happened this afternoon - the sun showed up with huge halos around it. It was beautiful to watch. Apparently they are called sun halos.

Amazing isn't it? I loved the way the sun just shone through our concrete roof!

Another Wonderful Initiative - By Jani Mia and Friends

 Now Jani Mia has been a student of mine at the University of Hyderabad - a passionate Bharatanatyam dancer - who is now teaching at Chirec Public School. Jani keeps in touch even though its been five years since the course and yesterday he sent me a video about an initiative he and his friends have taken up to feed those in need during the lockdown. Here's the video and some material of Food Mat 56.

And it's continuing even now. 400 lunch packets and more every day. 

Well done Jani Mia and friends. Keep up the good work. It's brilliant that you conceived and pulled this idea off.

Anjali - Her Blog on her Existential Philosophy Class

 Good one A!  Enjoyed reading!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Lovely Initiative by Gangadhar and Lakshmi

 Gangadhar and Lakshmi are post graduate students doing their Masters in Performing Arts at the University of Hyderabad, both Kuchipudi dancers. The lockdown and the ruthlessness of the COVID second wave exposed them to the hardships of many around them. That was when Gangadhar came upon this idea - why don't I teach the choreography of a song I had done recently - put it together as a workshop and earn some money that could be used to alleviate some people's troubles. He shared the idea with Lakshmi and Sravya, two of his classmates from the University and with their support went ahead and did an Instagram poll about the proposed workshop. 

The response was encouraging so he made a poster and announced the dates - the weekend of 21 and 22. It would be an online workshop, priced at a modest 1000 rupees, and would be for two hours each day. Gangadhar was overwhelmed by the final response to the workshop - 80 members signed up from across the world - 15 from foreign countries like Italy, US, Russia and so on. 

A Zoom meeting was shared and the workshop was on - on the terrace of their house, pushing the trash away, making space near the tanks, cleaning it up, creating space for a puja to initiate the program and then, so appropriately, under the open skies, this wonderful workshop took off - Gangadhar taught, Lakshmi demonstrated and Srikanth, Gangadhar's younger brother helped. It went beautifully.

They collected way more than they imagined - a sum of Rs 1 lakh.

This was the song Gangadhar choreographed, performed and taught.

And then they got down to identifying the beneficiaries -  people who were alone, who could not pay rent, who had lost their parents to COVID, who had no income, who had no food, who had no money - and helped each one as the case deserved. A total of 23 beneficiaries benefited from this wonderful initiative. As a token of appreciation to all those who helped they compiled a video which is shared above.

What warms the heart is the initiative, the leadership, the responsibility and the brilliant utilisation of resources to create value - and then use it to help a good cause. It is not what we have but how we use it that matters, not how much we have but what we share from what we have that matters. I'll always remember this story because of the way Gangadhar and Lakshmi used their available resources - knowledge of dance, a laptop, technology and social media, limited space - and created magic out of nowhere. Wonderful stuff Gangadhar and Lakshmi and keep spreading happiness and love through your art.

More power to you.       

Monday, May 31, 2021

eCanteen Fundas - Toxic Positivity

 Don't make them feel worse with your positivity!

E-Canteen Fundas: Feeling positive or a little too positive? Toxicity positivity harms more

I’ve had a strange experience today,’ said Rinku. ‘Krishna and I talked to his aunt about how we were feeling about the pandemic, hoping it would help. We ended up feeling worse.’

‘Why?’ asked Rahul. ‘Was she very negative?’

‘No,’ said Rinku. ‘In fact, she was too positive. Every time we tried to express our feelings, she’d butt in with ‘it’s going to be all right’, ‘you’ll be fine’, ‘don’t feel like that’, ‘be happy’ and so on. I felt I was doing something wrong by not feeling positive.’

‘Ah, you’ve been a victim of toxic positivity,’ smiled Rakesh.

‘Whoa, what’s that, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘Toxic positivity is when people try to ignore or minimise real and difficult feelings with a false front of positivity,’ said Rakesh. ‘It makes you feel like something’s wrong with you.’

‘But isn’t positivity good, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘Not if it makes you feel worse,’ laughed Rakesh. ‘These are difficult times and we all feel anxious, lonely and fearful, and want to share our vulnerable feelings and talk about them. It’s not right to dismiss these feelings and say ‘all is well’. Painful emotions have to be dealt with openly and honestly. Positivity is not bad — the problem is with our timing and the outcome we achieve.’

‘How does toxic positivity show up, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘When someone expresses their vulnerable feelings,’ said Rakesh, ‘And people come back with — ‘You’ll be fine’, ‘it’s nothing’, ‘be grateful’, ‘be happy’, ‘you’ll get over it’ and so on — instead of making the person feel supported. They make them feel invalidated, ashamed or guilty for feeling what they feel.’

‘But the words sound kind,’ said Rinku. ‘I use them too.’

‘Toxic positivity isn’t about the words, it’s how we make the other person feel,’ said Rakesh. ‘In a different context and time, the same words have a completely different result.’

‘How should we deal with the negative feelings?’ asked Rahul.

‘There’s nothing negative or positive about our feelings or emotions,’ said Rakesh. ‘If we feel fearful or upset, we must process it for our well-being. Brushing them away will not solve the problem. It’s when we feel our emotions that we make room for other emotions.’

‘How should we deal with people who are feeling low, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘Listen,’ said Rakesh. ‘Be empathetic, ask questions and ask how you can help. Validate their feelings and help them feel their feelings. By the end of it, help them feel better.’

‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘We’ll be wary of toxic positivity.’

Pro Tip: Toxic positivity harms more than it helps. Feeling your real feelings without always covering them up with positivity helps

Butter Chicken in Ludhiana - Pankaj Mishra

 Written in 1995, on an offer by the publisher to the 25 year old writer to write about travels in small town India, Pankaj Mishra's book is considered one of the better travelogues as I remember. I do not have much expertise on the matter but its been years since Vinod gifted me this book and I tried reading it one and gave up because I had too many judgments and then finally, got done with it yesterday. It was quite nice reading and though I agree with Pankaj when he writes at the end that he feels embarrassed at his tone in the book, I also understand that for a 25 year old its quite an accomplishment to write this book.

He travels from Shimla, to Delhi, to Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar, Hapur, someplace in Punjab, Gujarat, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Kanyakumari, Kottayam (where he meets Mary Roy), Shimoga (where he delivers a lecture to a largely Kannada speaking audience), Calcutta, Varanasi, Jehanabad, Murshidabad and several such places. He travels in buses, trains, cars and the best parts of the book to me were the people he met - without doubt the medical representative he meets who reads eclectic stuff in Trivandrum being the best character. But then, all of them offer a window into India and its people, though sometimes they come across as one-dimensional caricatures. They are products of the system, and have their own dreams and ways to get by. Conversation about caste - his friend who studied in Allahabad University and was into Osho and literature  who went back to farming, the chap he meets whose grandfather killed 14 Harijans and was mentioned in the BBC which he wore as a badge, the number of people who had issues with Muslims and prejudices against them without really understanding what they were talking about, the travails of the foreign girls in Varanasi who were troubled by sex-starved locals (upkeepers of our culture), it flows nicely and gives a perspective of an India on the move.  

Quite a nice read. Now few would identify with the trains, the buses he wrote about and you realise that for a book that was written in 1995, it's almost like it was written in another era where we travelled by bullock carts. Thanks Vinod bhai!   

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Anjali - And Now, Akela's Injured

 This morning Anjali discovered Akela was injured. Her paw was torn, no idea how, and full of blood. Anjali was upset and wanted to do something because he poor mother was in pain. She finally called the volunteer group lady and she said they would send somebody. That's a huge relief.

The volunteer arrived a couple of hours later. I am amazed that they do such things during lockdowns and stuff. He tried to nurse Akela and put some medicine but she would not let him. So he left the medicine with Anjali and told her to do it.

This is like a full scale soap opera. 

Through the afternoon Anjali tried bit by bit and finally got the medicine on Akela's paw.  Seems like she is getting better. Meanwhile the three pups have got some teething problems and are gnawing away at anything they get their teeth into. 

One wonders at the fragility and uncertainty of their lives. The mother does not know what will happen to her children, all three now back in the inner circle, and the pups surely don't know what happened to their mother. Its difficult to not think of a benevolent god up there who seems to take care of all beings on earth.


These days when I step out for my walk I notice the young pups waking up and popping out from under the Santro as if to say a sleepy 'Good morning'. Later in the day they bug me by snapping at my heels.   

Oka Mini Katha - Movie

 It's the story of a boy who grows up thinking that his penis is too small. Porn movies and other such don't help and he is feeling the heat when his father wants to get him married. Visit to a brothel, a doctor who claims to increase size through surgery are botched and he marriage seems imminent. What the boy does to hide his secret and how he tries to overcome his shortcoming is the story.

I liked it. It was funny and never vulgar. Santosh pulls it off with amazing elan, never making it seem fake or forced, and holds it all together. As always I am very impressed with him and he seems to be only getting better ever since I first saw him in Golconda High School as a schoolboy. In the end he ends up giving an important message that size is not everything. I enjoyed it.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Anjali - A Class on Existential Philosophy

 Anjali signed up for an online class on Existential Philosophy by Karim Benammar. So naturally I asked her what it's all about and she gave us a half hour talk on the points she made - and well, it was quite a class.

She started by the existential question on why are we alive - to live and to make a living. And how life is about the meaning we give it. How we are free to sculpt our life and how we have a responsibility to give shape to it, by becoming who we are. The way to live authentically is to create your life your way - that we must construct the answer to why you are alive and not discover it.

What holds us back from an authentic life is fear and laziness. But we must believe in our uniqueness. We must not decide out of fear or laziness. Focus on what you want, not what you don't want.  To know if you were living authentically look to the Eternal Return experiment where the same life gets repeated over and over again - would you still want it? 

We can decide what we want to spend our time on - look at the world from a scarcity view point or an abundant viewpoint. We must believe in abundance and expend our surplus with projects.  And if life has no meaning, give it meaning and enjoy it. Be who you are. You are not alone - take help. Create your life as a work of art.

Albert Camus, Sartre, Foucalt, Viktor Frankyl. It was exhilarating stuff. I loved it. Good course to take and am glad Anjali took it. I knew nothing of this when I was her age.  

Anjali - Zor Drama Continues

 Zor's drama continued again through the day. Akela would keep snapping at her and this one would yelp - each time the poor Zor tried to return to their fold under the Santro. Obviously something had happened and Akela decided that she would disown Zor. Or perhaps she was weaning it away.

But all this drama is too much for humans to bear so everyone got into the act (but me). Shobhs started showing Akela her place when she would snap at Zor. Zor would yelp piteously when she spotted Anjali and would find way into the house.This continued four or five times. Anjali got a number of a volunteer group that helps adopt  pups and spoke to that lady who told her she would put it up in the group if Anjali sends pics. Pics were sent and we are hoping some kind soul will adopt the hapless Zor.

Meanwhile Anjali returned this afternoon with a triumphant smile. 'Akela has finally accepted Zor back into the fold,' she said. 'She did not snap at it.'

Ah, some less drama now. 

Each time I step out the three pups snap at my heels. Can't stand it. I hop and skip like a retired ballerina. Also I am not able to get my car out because they lie under the Santro. Who says they have problems? What about me?     

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Anjali - Zor Returns, Traumatised

 Late at night, almost midnight, we heard sharp yelps. Really loud, as if the pup was in pain. I am not too much of a use in such conditions and found Shobhs heading out to check things out. With mixed feelings I found one of the pups (later found out it was Zor) was under the Ertiga and yelping, perhaps in pain. Its mother Akela was trying to console it but obviously wasn't doing a good job of it.

Zor returns

I normally slink away from such situation simply because I find myself very inadequate while handling pups, cats, birds - need to get over this fear of not being able to handle their unpredictable responses - but I found Shobhs more than equal to the task. The pup had by now limped across, yelping, on its own, and Akela seemed rather lost. Shobhs decided to get into the act and picked up the pup, held it, and miraculously, it started calming down, like a cranky or upset baby. Since we could not see any outward injury, we felt it was just scared out of its wits. If Shobhs released her grip a bit, she would yelp.

So Shobhs brought the pup back in and watched the rest of the movie we were watching with the pup in her arms. Couple of times it yelped, like it remembered a bad dream, but otherwise it slept exactly like how a baby would. After a while Shobhs deposited Zor on a doormat and she slept quietly.

In the morning when I started out, I saw three brown pups - Zor and Sona seemed to have returned from their adventures, looking a lot worse for the wear. Anjali woke up and we updated her on the night drama. She quickly figured out with her instincts that Zor was being abandoned by Akela, who would not let this one under the car. Anjali nursed, fed it until its tail was up and then, Akela admitted her back. The animal kingdom has a strict sense of survival perhaps. No sign of Kroor yet though.

The drama continues.   

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Anjali - Zor, Kroor and Sona go Missing

 I was surprised to find Anjali very composed when she told me that three of the four pups were missing from a couple of days. Akela, the mother, and Zindagi, were still around. Anjali went around following Akela to see where the pups were but Akela generally went for her normal outing and came back. zindagi was lolling about by herself.

Zor and Kroor 

Just like that.

Guess that's how nature is. I am still not ruling out the possibility that the three month old pups will come back - adorable little ones. Anjali was quite calm.

'I know they are old enough now to forage,'  she said. 'I am not too worried now. They will be able to look after themselves.'

She still feeds Akela and Zindagi and plays with them every few hours.

'Will you get upset if Zindagi goes away too?' I asked.

'No,' she said. 'If they they have to go, they will go. I am ok with that.'

Nice. Looks like I am the softy at home.

But Anjali, for treating them so well and caring for them so dutifully, feeding them, playing with them, protecting them, a big hurrah. I'm sure they will always remember you and your love.

And wherever you three are, have a good life!

Thought for the Day - Don't Have Judgments - They Obstruct the Flow

 It's rather simple - drop judgments.

They obstruct the flow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Thought for the Day - All That We Want Is Already Within Us

 This is a powerful thought I picked up from a book. All that we want, which is outside us, will remain there because there is a separation. We always feel it is difficult to attain it because i n our mind there is a separation. And it is this separation that causes much heartburn to us.

Pic Satish N

If we flip it over and then look at it this way - all that we wanted is already within us - it does wash away much tension from us and our separation from all these things that are outside us. And if we receive the next moment with this simple thought that all that we did in our life so far is to meet this moment - it is quite liberating. It makes the moment, this life seem so worth it. This one grand moment.

And then we can reduce this separation from the outside. You see, the book said something like, all of this universe is already within us, and so it is. If we believe that, if we can do away with this separation, it will truly be ours.

Until then, remember, all we want is already there within us. All we get will also come into reality the moment we see them clearly within us and not as separate from us.  

Thought for the Day - What Excites Us is What We Want

 Many times they say - what do you want, what are your goals? And we saw success, money etc. And they say, affirmations, visualisations - get excited about what you want. And we are like - hey, i don't know if I'll get it so why be excited about it?

I am one of those people who doesn't get excited by much.

The logic struck me the other day though. If I am saying i dearly want it, I should be excited right? Why do I not get excited? Because  I am scared it may not come or if it comes, i am scared I can't handle it? Actually you know what - I don't want it.

So we have already rejected it.

But my new insight is, be excited as if it is already here, it is within you, like you are already owning it, driving it - hallucinate. In fact it might be a good idea o have parties like that - visualisation, hallucination parties. Just let go and feel good about having it, owning it.

Two keys - owning it NOW. Feeling good that we own it NOW.

Compress life, your future into your present and ramp up the excitement. It's like celebrating even before the birthday comes  - well you can't beat such people right?

I finally got it. Be excited about life, about what we want, celebrate like its already here. You can't lose when you're in celebratory mood. I would like to bring in 1% of this celebration, this excitement into my life starting now.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Sudani from Nigeria - movie

 2018. Loved it. Majeed, a passionate manager of a football team in Kerala recruits Nigerian players to play prize money tournaments. His star player Samuel from Nigeria (nicknamed Sudu because the locals think he is a Sudanese) suffers a fall and sustains a fracture. How Majeed and his family helps the young man recover by putting him up at his own house and sending him home is a heartwarming story. I am somehow convinced that it must be a real story - its too good a tale to be fiction. Watch.


eCanteen Fundas - Duty vs Responsibility

 My attempt - duty vs responsibility. Duty is what we sign up for as part of the unit, and responsibility is how we fulfill that duty.

E-Canteen Fundas: Is wearing a mask our duty or responsibility?

People are so irresponsible,’ complained Rinku. ‘No masks, no distancing.’

‘My father says it’s our duty as citizens to follow guidelines,’ said Rahul. ‘I’m confused — what exactly is my duty and what am I responsible for?’

‘Let’s see,’ said Rakesh. ‘Duty is a commitment, moral or legal — job, family, team, society, nation and so on. Simply put, duty demands that we work in the best interest of the team we’re part of. For example, your duty as students is to follow rules and bring glory to the college. You’re obliged to fulfill your duties and if you don’t, you could be penalised.’

‘And responsibility?’ asked Rahul.

‘Responsibility is how we undertake our duty,’ said Rakesh. ‘Responsibility, they say, is our ability to respond correctly. For instance, you could undertake complete responsibility for a college programme even though you are entrusted with a part of the duties — by bringing great energy, completing your tasks and helping out. Greater the responsibility, greater is your involvement, resulting in higher good for you and your team. Of course, you could also perform the same duties with zero responsibility.’

‘Can you explain some more, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘Sure,’ said Rakesh. ‘Duty is ‘what’ is expected from you. Responsibility is ‘how’ you deliver it. Your duty as a student is a broad set of obligations to fulfill — and your full commitment is expected. However, despite the fact that all students are bound by the same duties, each one responds differently.’

‘But, bhaiyya, what if the unit I am part of treats me unfairly?’ asked Rinku. ‘Am I bound by my duty still?’

‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘It’s only fair that it works both ways. Just as a student of the college has a duty towards the college, the college also has a duty towards the student. Many times, the duty of the member is demanded by the unit as an obligation. But if the unit does not fulfill its duties to its members in the same spirit, the commitment must be revisited.’

‘How can we handle our duties and responsibilities in a balanced manner, bhaiyya?’ said Rinku.

‘Clarity helps,’ said Rakesh. ‘If you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, the how will fall in place. It will help fulfill your duties and responsibilities correctly — not more, not less — in the right spirit and in a balanced manner.

‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul, ‘I think we now know why we need to be responsible and do our duties rather mindfully. Our lives depend on it!’

Pro tip: Be clear about what your duties are and commit to them. Be aware that it works both ways. With responsibility, take up more than your role demands and see the difference it makes

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Lockdown Traffic at 8 am Near ESI

 I went out for a walk as I do every morning and returned at about 730 to ESI to find the road choked. There is no way I could cross the road so I took the Metro station and crossed over. While crossing over I took this pic.


God Save the Child - Robert B Parker

 Private detective Spenser, glib talking, too smart or his own good, smart with his hands gets a assignment to track down a missing boy. Then a ransom note, then a death threat. The boy's family is dysfunctional. Spenser uses the investigation to fall in love with a school administrator and beats up a muscleman and rescues the boy.

It's slim. Too much description. Weak plot. Liked that it was slim. (It seems to be popular with many editions though.)

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Shyamchi Aai - Sane Guruji

 Sadashiv Pandurang Sane aka Sane Guruji (1899-1950) was a well-known teacher, philosopher, author and a poet. His most famous work is his autobiographical work 'Shyamchi Aai', about his mother Yashoda and the lessons he learned from her, which was made into a film that won the President's Gold Medal in 1954.

The book is split into forty two stories, each told by Shyam to his friends in an ashram, one per night. Each story has a lesson in equality, forbearance, courage, self-respect, honesty, tough love, love for all human beings and is told through an incident that actually happened in his life with his mother. Shyam's father was originally from a rich family but he was cheated of his inheritance and lived most of his life in poverty. His wife Yashoda supported every decision of his and brought up her children with dignity, care and love and the right guidance. As her favorite son, Shyam helped his mother as much as he could, in household work, even doing women's work, pressing her feet, taking care of her when he was ill, which she was frequently. A couple of his siblings die to illness. Shyam's father agrees to send him away to Aundh to study and while he was there, his mother passes away. That their house is auctioned off to pay the money lender's dues also bears heavily on poor Yashoda.

Apart from the lessons and life of the Sane family, the book gives a wonderful insight into life in a typical middle class family in Konkan district - the food, the customs, the games and thanks to the book, will be forever captured. 

It is translated into English by Shanta Gokhale and she mentions that she has reduced the drama and tears and focused on the lessons than on the hardships. Sane Guruji went ahead and completed his education, doing his BA in Marathi and Sanskrit and MA in Philosophy from New Poona College and then chose to teach in Pratap High School Amalner, a small town in Jalgaon district. He remained unmarried and was given the title of National Teacher. 

Interestingly Shobha's maternal grandfather Mr Oak was also Head of the Philosophy College in Amalner around the same period, so I am sure they would have met.        

A 14 Day Isolation - And Changed Architecture in My Room

 So Vasu and I decided to visit Beauty Green for some work. Since the cases were increasing we thought about the pros and cons - we were both fully vaccinated two  weeks ago and had not been meeting too many people so we decided it was safe enough. We were together for three hours before we came back. Two days later Vasu called and said that one of his consultants he knew had tested positive and he had tested positive too.

That set off all sorts of alarm bells ringing in my head. I set off to do a test immediately and isolated myself in Anjali's room and decided to follow the protocol for 14 days anyway. I moved my laptop, my stuff, books, clothes, toiletries and sat down in the room. Now I had done a 10 day Vipassana course so this would not be tough except for the worry about testing positive or having passed it on to others I had met. Shobha was half-vaccinated, but Anjali was not. I had briefly met Ranjan the day before so he was worried too.

Couple of days later the test results came and they were negative which was a huge relief. I still decided to isolate and stay away. I realised the mind plays tricks and its easy to worry and panic if the oxymeter mistakenly shows a weird number or if you cough once. Your mind goes to extremes. I decided to cut off reading news, talking to negative people, watching scary movies. I decided to watch and read funny movies and books. And speak to those who would put me in a good space.

The changed architecture in Anjali's room aided my productivity and I quickly upped my writing. I caught up with some other things I had been meaning to do - blogs, writing work, mails, people. Shobha was fantastic as always in a crisis - she has this stoic response that focuses on the positive, does not get too worried and has a practical and balanced view. So she took it on herself to serve me all that I needed and after the first week and ten days we all breathed easy. The toughest thing was not meeting Anjali of course and we kept in touch over the phone.

I returned back to my room and instantly changed the architecture inside. I found that this new set up already has improved my productivity. And surely the isolation has improved my perspective on many things as well. 

The Last Paradiso - Movie

 2021. Italian. Movie about a small Italian town ruled by a few landlords, a philandering revolutionary who is having an affair with the landlord's daughter, a murder and revenge. 

V Hindi film like. I am wondering if our movies were ahead of time or what.


Wonder Woman 1984 - Movie

 2020. The movie picks up from the last one which was set around 1944 and we're in 1984 dealing with a person who gets the power to become anything he wants. So everyone gets what they want thanks to him including Wonder Woman who gets her old boyfriend back but then they realise that it is better if we give up what we wish for, for a better world. I loved that idea. The rest of the movie reminded me of an old Telugu movie.


Aanandam - Movie

 2016 Malayalam movie about an engineering college group that goes on an industrial tour. Simple, fun and makes you wonder why we don't have such uncomplicated and fun movies in our lives. My faith in campus stories has gone up since.

V watchable.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Anjali - We Do Take Ourselves Too Seriously

 This came out of the blue. We were chatting recently when Anjali recollected an old conversation we had, one that I had forgotten.

'I really found that interesting Nanna,' she said, her eyes twinkling. 'We do take ourselves too seriously. Who cares what we do, what we are, what we feel? We just give ourselves too much importance and feel bad etc.'

Wow. That's a good one Anjali. I don't remember in what context I said that but makes perfect sense. To stay grounded and not take ourselves too seriously makes immense sense. It gives us the element of flexibility, openness to do our work well which in other words can become too rigid and inflexible, leading to low growth.

The attitude of not taking things too seriously actually helps improve productivity. It can make a serious difference. What it does not mean is that we become flippant - it means we do what we do with the same focus - and more flexibility 


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Devraj Govindraj - The India Fast Bowler Who Missed out

In an article that he wrote in 1982, Sunil Gavaskar picked a team of all the cricketers in India who were unlucky to have missed out on playing Tests. To open the new ball, he picked Hyderabad's Devraj Govindraj.

"To open the bowling I would have Govindraj of Hyderabad. He had a lovely rhythmic run up and bowled outswingers mainly, but had a very, very nasty bouncer. No less a person than Barry Richards had to take evasive action after having been surprised with the pace with which Govind's bouncer came at him. Govind was also a very useful batsman who sold his wicket dearly and a fielder with a very good throwing arm. He could also use the old ball.' 

One doesn't need to say anymore. 

Sunil Gavaskar and Govindraj - 1971 West Indies tour
 (pic courtesy Govindraj) 

I played one game with Devraj Devendraraj Govindraj around 1985-86. I was an 18 year old playing for Marredpally Cricket Club (MCC). He was in India on a trip from England where he was living then. He was gaunt, slim, did not bowl and stood at mid on and encouraged us as we bowled. I was hoping he would bowl but he didn't. It was an easy game and we won and perhaps celebrated as we always did at the MLJ residence. His old captain ML Jaisimha was leading the MCC side that day so he was quite comfortable with us, a bunch of youngsters.

We knew of course, that he had been part of the 1971 Indian team that went to the West Indies and beat them, Sobers and all, a historic tour that also signaled the emergence of Sunil Gavaskar who scored over 700 runs. Govindraj was the only fast bowler in the squad but did not play a game - the team opted to open the new ball with Abid Ali and part time medium pacer Eknath Solkar. But he did play five side games on that tour and in one game, clean bowled Gary Sobers, a memory he cherishes. He also went to the historic tour of England when India beat England 1-0 but once again didn't get to make his debut despite playing many side games. But there's something to be said of being part of those two historic tours - he probably was a lucky charm. He was part of a fantastic squad from Hyderabad of which 7 were in the Test squad - Pataudi, Jaisimha, Abbas Ali Baig, Jayantilal, Abid Ali, Krishnamurthy, Govind Raj - if I got my facts right. 

The 1971 team with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
- inset with Gary Sobers and Dennis Lillee (pics - Govindraj)

I met Govindraj again last year when good friend Jagannath Das wanted to interview him for his paper and took me along. We met Govindraj at his cricket coaching camp at Amberpet, filled with a lively and enthusiastic bunch of kids, and he was fully involved in the process. He looked like he was enjoying his life on his terms and spoke candidly about his life and cricket. In one moment that he took the ball and loaded his arm to show the basics of bowling, I instantly knew how devastating his outswinger would have been, his control would have been, with that loading and action. Ah, I'd have loved to see him in full flow. It was fascinating to chat with him and to see his passion about encouraging local talent in the area.


This year, when the MLJ Foundation was launched in March 2021, I decided to get going on my long-pending project on finding more information about MCC and its earlier days. I decided to speak to those who played for MCC in the 60s. Arvind Rao, Govindraj and Santosh Reddy. I messaged Govindraj and asked him if I could interview him on the phone. He was fine with the idea and we finally caught up over phone the other day.

Govindraj recalled that he played for MCC in 62-63 as a fourteen year old who was in awe of ML Jaisimha. 'I would go to watch Jaisimha play all his games, at Osmania, Nizam College etc,' he said. 'I was a huge fan.' When I found that a friend of my uncle's, one Mr Samuel knew the Jaisimhas, I pestered him to take me so I could meet him. We went in Samuel's Fiat car to Marredpally. I remember seeing Jai's Buick parked in the yard. And meeting Jai, I was awestruck, so much so that I took a stone and scratched Jai's number on Samuel's Fiat car. Samuel did not much appreciate that!'

Schools pics - Can see Manohar Sharma, Man Singh, Habib Khan, Sultan Saleem (I think), 

He was a schoolboy then, studying at Keshav Memorial, primarily a batsman who bowled a bit of off spin . Once Jai saw him bat at Gymkhana grounds and asked him to play for MCC and that began a long relationship - one in which Jai saw serious potential in Govindraj and backed him to the hilt. Also a school boy cricketer, Govindraj scored a hundred against Jai's team, Secunderabad XI, in the Zonals or what was called the local Moin Ud Dowla tournament then.

14 year old Govindraj scoring a hundred against Secunderabad XI 


'I initially played for SUCC in the A division league and without knowing the rules played for Gagan Mahal CC the same year and was suspended because we cannot play for two teams in the same year,' he said. 'Then I played for MCC as a fourteen year old and we won the league championship and beat top teams. That year I played Hyderabad Schools, South Zone schools, Under 25 and scored runs and took wickets. In 1964, when I was 16, I made my Ranji Trophy debut for Hyderabad against Madras at the Railway ground. Jai was my captain.' 
With West Indian wicket keeper Gerry Alexander

'Jai was a beautiful batsman,' he reminisced. 'His square cut was a delight to watch and he was aggressive, playing lofted shots once he settled in. I remember him and Budhi Kunderan getting 99 before lunch against England at the Madras Test. I went to watch that match - and stayed at Telugu movie villain Prabhakara Reddy's house. I was so happy to be there.'

The MCC team of those days comprised of Jai, Govindraj, Lakshman (leg spinner), Bobjee, Arvind Rao, Santosh Reddy, Muddaiah (who also played a couple of tests). Visiting Test cricketers like Hanumanth Singh, Balu Gupte, who would come for training with the SBI Training Centre, played a few games for MCC as did Prasanna. And Pataudi of course. 'When Pataudi threw the ball, Jai would ask two fielders to back the wicket keeper, that's how fast the throw would come.'

'It was a 40 over league,' said Govindraj. 'If we won outright i.e get a good score and then bowl them out twice we got 10 points, else 5. We won many outright games and topped the table.'

'I used to swing the ball a lot,' said Govindraj. ' And I'd bowl off a crooked run up. From off spin to fast bowling I transitioned mainly because of Roy Gilchrist, the West Indian fast bowler who was the South Zone coach. He asked me what I do best and I said I bat and bowl. He told me to bat and took his full run up which was scary. But even after he released the ball slowly, it went past before I could bring my bat down. Don't lift it so high he would say. Then he saw me bowl and encouraged me to bowl fast.'

A couple of years later Ken Barrington, who came to coach at Fateh Maidan saw Govindraj at the nets and predicted that he would play for India in two years. He did.

'I had no coaching,' said Govindraj. 'Fully self-taught. I started with 10-12 steps then 14 and finally at 16 steps run up I found my rhythm. I don't know how, but I used to swing the ball a lot and get all my wickets caught in slips or bowled. Against a Sri Lankan team, their first eleven, I got 11 wickets, six in the first and five in the second with scalps like Tennekoon, Mendis - they were getting bowled round their legs, so much was the ball swinging.'

Govindraj was picked for the Indian camp of 30 probables before the 1967 tour of Australia and though he appeared to be a certainty, he was dropped and Umesh Kulkarni and Ramakanth Desai were picked. That was the same tour that Jai was picked for after being dropped initially and called as a replacement and he scored a hundred after he landed in Australia. 

'I remember bowling to Jai at the SBI nets from 2-6 pm everyday before he left for that tour,' he said. 'I also remember that I would get the best of batsmen bowled at nets - Umrigar, Manjrekar   - but I could never get Jai bowled ever.'

Govindraj remembers Jai as someone who was very serious about cricket. 'He was very punctual and would practice morning and evening. All discussions would be centred around cricket - win or lose. We would discuss strategy, technique, and would conduct post mortems of each game. It was a lovely time.'

With SMG

Jaisimha, Pataudi and Abbas Ali Baig were the poster boys, stylish, good looking, cultured. Pataudi was Oxford and Abbas from Cambridge. 'People would flock to watch them when they stepped out to field,' said Govindrjj. 'It was a sight. Upturned collar, scarf around his neck, that walk of his.'

Govindraj played continuously for about ten years for Hyderabad and South Zone from 1964. In 1971 he was picked for the West Indies tour and did not get a game. He went to England in 1971 and then his shoulder injury ended his career  pretty much. In 1979 he left for England and settled down there. Interestingly he chose to drive buses, and loved the job. 'I never enjoyed any job more than driving the bus.'

Such joy, such comfort in his own choices and beliefs, such dignity in what life offers - a lovely insight into his personality. Do what your heart tells you to do and enjoy it without worrying about the rest of the world. Beautiful.


A Cricketing Family

I knew that his family was one where there were many cricketers. I had heard stories of his younger brother Inder Raj who people say was one of the most exciting batsman ever with an array of strokes that he played fearlessly, hooking fast bowlers off his nose. He played for Indian school boys and made two appearances in first class cricket - one for Hyderabad and one for Tamil Nadu. Three other brothers played for Hyderabad schools. I asked Govindraj how this came about.

'My father Devendraraj was very interested in cricket,' said he. 'He had a league cricket team called the Deccan Recreation Club which he started in 1936. He was an Accounts Officer at the AG's office and rose to the rank of Assistant Accountant General by the time he retired. He would wake up and go to the temple every day at 5 am and wake us up at 6 am to go for our cricket practice. He would put a Hanuman bottu for all of us every day. We would cycle to Fateh Maidan and when it rained we would go to Gymkhana. Of course we would play a lot at home, with a water drum as our wicket.' 

The Deccan Recreation Club - 1936 owned by Govindraj's father Devendraraj, a cricket enthusiast

Five brothers from that family played state level cricket which is a rarity. Govindraj was the second brother (the first was Rajenderraj who did not play much cricket), then a sister and then he, followed by Inder Raj, Chander Raj, Narender Raj and Gour Mohan Raj. The last three played Hyderabad schools.

Sitting - Inderraj, Govindraj, their mother, Rajendraraj
Standing - Chandramohanraj, Chanderaj and Narenderraj

'But Inder was incredibly talented,' said Govind Raj. 'He was a left hander in the Sehwag mould, only more exciting. He would challenge me when I was at my peak that he would thrash me and I remember a game in Nizam College when he hit me for four or five boundaries in an over. We couldn't stop him and when my skipper wanted to take me off I asked him for one more over - I wanted to hit him. I hit him on the head and he got a bad injury which needed 6 stitches. He was 76 not out then, came back with his stitches and got his hundred. Sadly he wasted his talent.'

SMG at Govindraj's home in England - with wife and son 

'Father was a huge cricket enthusiast,' said Govind. 'He would call me in England after he retired, almost every twenty minutes to update me on the games. He would tell me of Gavaskar's exploits and I would tell him - if he passes 20, he will get a hundred.' 

Govind fondly remembered young Sunny on his first tour to the West Indies and how he suffered an infected nail. 'He was in agony,' said Govindraj. 'I had the same problem just before, so I advised him to treat it with lime. It worked. He missed the first Test though because of that nail.'

It was lovely talking to him of the times gone by. I asked him about any colourful stories he heard of and he laughed and said there were many but they were best kept secret. There was so much more to ask and share and I told him I would call again to pick some more stories. I told him about Gavaskar's speech at the Foundation's Memorial lecture and he asked me for the link and for Arvind Rao's number. I sent him both. He promised to send me some pics and did. I propose to catch up with him again and fill in some more details. 

Lovely talking to you Govindraj Saab. Catch you soon.