Sunday, November 22, 2009

1/2 Boy 1/2 Man

The average age of the army man is 19 years.
He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's, but he has never collected unemployment dole either.

He's a recent college graduate; he was probably an average student from one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip -hop or country or gazals or swing and a 155mm howitzer.
He is 5 or 7 kilos lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting the insurgents or standing gaurd on the icy Himalayas from before dawn to well after dusk or he is at Mumbai engaging the terrorists. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.
He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.
He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march.
He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. His pride and self-respect, he does not lack.
He is self-sufficient.
He has two sets of combat dress: he washes one and wears the other.
He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry.
He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.
If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.
He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.
He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.
He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all.
He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.
He feels every note of the Jana Gana Mana vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hands from their pockets, or even stop talking.
In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from hom e, he defends their right to be disrespectful.
Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy.
He is your nation's Fighting Man that has kept this country free and defended your right to Freedom. He has experienced deprivation and adversity, and has seen his buddies falling to bullets and maimed and blown. But,
He has asked nothing in return, except our acknowledgement of his existence and understanding of his human needs.
Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Of Beer, Wine & Sachin Tendulkar

Beer is made by men, Wine by God.
---Martin Luther, German founder of Lutheranism, (1483-1546)

As one flips past every News channel today it is clearly evident what the flavor of the month is. Well, clearly it is SACHIN TENDULKAR.

As Sachin celebrates 20 momentous years in International cricket the nation is celebrating with him. His majestic 175 recently v/s Australia has served as a timely reminder to all of us just what this man is capable of & his natural God gifted talent.

In this world of beer lovers & slam, baam thank you maam beer lovers cricket (i.e. T20) Sachin Tendulkar is the real McCoy, The real wine….and the creation of none lesser than God himself. And like all good wine, this man too has matured gracefully with age, his gifted talent being wonderfully moulded to serve & play the role TEAM INDIA needs him to essay

There have been endless essays & numerous sheets of work that have been written on what really makes ST great or what really makes him tick….
For someone that has played intermediately level of Cricket & Someone who has seen & understood the sport from close quarters I can tell you its just one simple thing… ”the ability to harness what he was born gifted with”. Many people call that dedication or discipline. I will not term it as anything….just ”the ability to harness what he was born gifted with”

For me its also related to a larger Cosmic truth….this Man was born to play cricket…and with the choices that he made here, on EARTH …he chose to play cricket and just simply succeeded beautifully. Let me illustrate what I’m trying to say further…. Its like this….God gifted a lot of people varied talents.. he wanted Pavarotti to sing, Pachino to act and Rehman to create music… they choose to make a vocation of their gifted talents and they made history…. But therein lays their greatness, their choice to do what GOD chose them to do! For geniuses that’s not an easy choice!
There have been numerous instances…where GOD chose someone to do something…blessed them with an innate ability and that person has not been able to do it… (while on the topic of SACHIN, VINOD KAMBLI is the most prime example…someone as talented & gifted as SACHIN) but could not fulfill what he was blessed with.
The arts over the years have continually seen such mercurious talents. Talents just blessed to do things simply & easily, with grace… yet what others would spend a lifetime to achieve. From the world of Snooker Ronnie 0’sullivan is a sporting name that one feels of this way.. from acting one felt that way about Vivek Oberoi, maybe from singing about Kailash Kher (not withstanding his current fame & success) I think he could have done bigger, greater deeds with a voice like that….more akin to someone of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s stature….
Back to the cricketing world.. Maninder Singh… again a herculean talent that really never made it on the world stage.. this man ladies & gentlemen (like Sachin) made his test debut for India at the tender age of 17…and was hailed as the successor to the great Bishan Bedi! (but where is he today… such in controversies of alcohol & drug abuse)

It’s in these simple choices that greatness is born & manifested. Luckily for now all of 1.2 billion Indians can just smile & rest easy…for this man chose to play cricket & chose to fulfill his destiny!
Bravo Sir! And all the best…