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Monday, January 31, 2011

World Cup Cricket Hassles: City of Sorrow?


Kolkata, the city of joy (or was it?), is fast turning into probably a city of sorrow. First, the Dada of joy Saurav Ganguly was unceremoniously unbought by Kolkata Knight Riders for IPL-4. No other team considered him either. An icon abandoned.

Now, Eden Gardens Stadium, the Mecca of Cricket in India, is on the verge of being rejected by the ICC for the Ind-Eng World Cup match on Feb 27. In fact, the ICC rejected it outright for non-completion of repair work by the set deadline. But Kolkata being what it is, the panic button was pressed in all possible high and highest centers of power. The ICC President Sharad Pawar had to give an assurance for reconsideration. But, things are in the balance.

The reasons are really beyond understanding. How is it possible? When did you first come to know that World Cup is being organized in the Indian subcontinent? Must be long long back. Then how come possibly the best stadium of the country with the capacity of more than 80 thousand ardent fans ignored like this? No explanations can explain such colossal nonchalance.

Or for the Indian cricket board what could be more important—World Cup or IPL-4? You can make the calculations and arrive at a conclusion as to which could have been expendable. For IPL-4 encounters the Eden Gardens has to be ready. Maybe there is catch in that too! Dada omitted?

Anyway after Commonwealth ShameGames this is another shame for a country priding in the wonderful game of cricket. And with all the money jingling at the cricket board coffers!



Monday, January 24, 2011

Cricket: Disappointing End To Ind-SA ODI Series.

Team India without Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gambhir nearly won the first ever ODI series in South Africa. First match was one sided with SA winning hands down. Then came the two suspense thrillers with nail biting wins for India. Team India leading the series 2-1.

But then, disappointment. Not because India lost the next two, but because rains marred both with D/L method coming into play. Without the rains well, you never knew!

The fifth and last one dayer today was again on the verge of being an incredible one. From a doomed position o eight wicket down Yusuf Pathan hit a breathtaking century and a few more lusty hits from him would have shaped the most mind boggling victory for Team India. This man Pathan has already become a terror for all the teams in World Cup starting next month. And, Indian bowlers did a tremendous job giving Team India a chance to win at least four matches. Good signals!

On the minus, India batsmen could not rise up to the challenge. Okay without key three players, but if all top order batsmen fail you have no business to win. A lone Pathan or Virat or Harbhajan cannot win you matches all the time. Also, Dhoni should win a little more tosses though it's all up to the coin to decide.

Team India lost the ODI Series 2-3, but they scored high on many counts which will count well for the World Cup.

Now, put everything in place for the World Cup! As Chief Selector Srikkanth has already announced the best team to win it!




Monday, January 10, 2011

Self Promoters!


Self promoters are a fast breeding species of modern times prying on your creative wealth. Like parasites they take away all credit for your creative work. When they team up for mutual promotion they are the most potently dangerous one.

A friend of mine told me such a story. My friend was assigned a job recently by his boss. Inspired by the trust he made a proposal and did everything possible on earth to make it a grand success. He chose his team taking colleagues with proven talent and the execution went off very fine and fulfilling.

But when my friend presented the final product for approval his boss refused to comment on it and instead looked for his team colleagues and praised them unequivocally. My friend persisted in his efforts to elicit a comment and on his third try the boss while turning away said it was very nice. He was very hurt and perplexed. ‘Very Nice’ comment was not meant for him—the creative energy behind the project. Why? But, my friend being a simple sincere guy did not take it seriously and rejoiced for his praised team mates.

After that the boss prepared a display board of project highlights. My friend just managed to find himself in the corner of one of the numerous frames, as if by default. This time my friend was furious. Now he could see what’s what. His team mates did so much self promotion and mutual promotion after the execution that the boss totally sidelined him. My friend told me that he would see to it that the self promoters were exposed. But I doubt, knowing him to be such a kind hearted soul.

These self promoters never steal your money or physical wealth, but they thrive on your creative wealth and finally steal it so expertly from you that you are reduced to a nonentity. Don’t give your ideas to anyone.

Take guard. Beware! Make all efforts to defeat them permanently.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cricket: Truly Sincerely Yours…....No.1

Team India came very close to making history by winning the first ever Test Series against South Africa in South Africa. But they made history anyway, on two counts. First, they drew the first ever Test Series after four earlier series losses. in SA Second, Sachin Tendulkar achieved the half century of centuries in the first test there. Apart from these there are many positives that justified India as the No.1 cricket test team.

Skipper Dhoni has never lost a series so far too. In 2010, drawn against SL, won 2-0 against earlier No.1 Aussies and 1-0 against NZ. Team India can now fight back from a position of weakness to either draw or win the series like in the Sri Lankan and South African tours.

Now, what qualities should a No.1 team have? Learning from Australia’s nearly two decade long dominance of the top spot we already know about these qualities. Only, we can take a test of Team India’s No.1 attributes. Here they are: Team India…

·        No longer depends on key players. If Sachin or Sehwag or Laxman or Dravid fails or all of them fail, some down the line deliver.
·        Have almost two layers of top players in reserve. One bright innings in a while does no longer guarantee a team spot forever, whoever the player is.
·        Have more pace bowler options.
·        Have lot of aggression almost amounting to sledging.
·        Throws up unexpected rallying like Harbhajan making back to back centuries against NZ saving and winning matches.
·        Now can snatch win from the jaws of victory. Will to win is growing and growing.Admits mistakes made more frankly.
·        Play positive cricket that leads to nail biting matches. Make IPL run for cover?

How’s that?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kamalananda Bhattacharyya: Life and Works. And His Beautiful Songs!

Respectful tributes to my grandfather whom I never met in this life, but his music kept him alive in me all my life.


January 4, 1951. Assam lost a great poet, composer-lyricist, playwright, actor and freedom fighter Bauli Kavi Kamalananda Bhattacharyya. On his 61st death anniversary he is remembered fondly by Assam’s intelligentsia, artistes and music lovers.

Born in 1894 at Nagaon, Kamalananda Bhattacharyya did not have an easy life. Brought up in a musical ambience he lost his father at a tender age of 15 and being the eldest son the full burden of seven brothers and family fell on him. Fighting against odds he went to Cotton College at Guwahati and passed the pre-university course. But he had to come back home before pursuing higher studies. Again he tried for graduation and went to Calcutta, but could not complete and had to join a secondary school as a teacher back home to meet the growing domestic needs. But even that was not for long. Sensitive and a patriot at heart, Kamalananda could not ignore the call of the non-cooperation movement and jumped in. He was the first person of Nagaon to resign from a government job. He served rigorous jail sentences including Sylhet jail. He never had full time employment again; instead he tried to make ends meet by doing the odd jobs.

After India attained independence Kamalananda was offered a ticket for the assembly elections, but not able to tolerate politics from a few selfish close friends he gave away his ticket. He was then made the District Information officer of independent India, but in just six months the post got abolished. He even lost his hard earned savings as the concerned bank closed down.

Despite all the problems Kamalananda led his own life sticking to his preferences. First, of course, music, apart from a poet-composer-vocalist he also excelled in musical instruments like the violin, the sitar, the flute and still others. While he was in school he was writing and composing songs in spare time. In 1935 he went to Calcutta and recorded four songs of his for Sanola Gramophone Company. Next year he got recorded a play of his ‘Babrubahan’ for HMV Company.

Second, his writing work. From young age he had been translating English and Bengali plays into Assamese for Nagaon Natya Mandir stage. He then started to write original plays and many of his memorable songs were composed for these plays where he acted too both in male and female leads. In 1928 he published his legendary poem-song collection Bauli and by that time almost everyone in Nagaon was singing one or the other of his famous songs.

Third, he was also a keen sports lover and a player. Football and cricket his favorites. He used to play cricket with the British officials.

Fourth, he was a man of taste. He used to dress neat and stylish changing three times a day, though he wore only the traditional Indian dhoti and kurta. He also used exquisite perfumes and people were heard commenting ‘Kamalananda had passed this way' even after long due to the lingering fragrance. He was also fond of the foreign garments which he got from Calcutta and used to gift them to relatives and friends. But he became the first man in town to publicly burn down all such garment in his courtyard respecting the call for nationalism.

And not the least, his love for nature. From maintaining his own garden of beautiful flowers to writing-composing immortal songs in praise of nature.

Kamalananda Bhattacharyya composed over 200 songs in pristine Assamese using such rare words that left intellectuals like Late Navakanta Barua awestruck. Some of his songs portrayed his romanticism graphically describing the beauty of both nature and its inhabitants. His strong patriotic spirit got reflected in some others. His broken health, untimely loss of dear ones and his eternal economic struggle left him sad—a heavy boundless sadness that was compared by him to the desolate vastness of the seas and the ocean. This ‘sea sadness’ was tellingly captured by some of his immortal songs like the one in which he empathizes with the lonely boatman who got lost in endless high seas with his dilapidated boat.

In the last few days of his life Kamalananda Bhattacharyya suffered from a thoughtful confusion. He could never realize many of his dreams as broken health cut short his life in prime. So the sensitive poet compared himself to a ‘boliya’ or a madman just two months before his death as if he saw the approaching end. In a quiet night illuminated by the full moon Kamalananda penned his last song titled ‘Boliya’ where he commanded himself ‘Hey madman, leave alone now! Your time has come. The dreaming prince has ceased now. Leave alone now!’ That was October 16, 1950. This song was later composed by Bibekananda Bhattacharyya.

Maybe it was family legacy that Kamalananda Bhattacharyya too passed away leaving the full burden of family on his young eldest son, Pundit Bibekananda Bhattacharyya. Young Bibekananda did not allow him to be bogged down and as per his father’s wish went to Lucknow to do a course on tabla. And he took a vow of preserving and propagating Kamalananda’s music and works which he kept on till his last moments (Bibekananda Bhattacharyya passed away too in September 28, 2007 after a brief illness}. Thanks to his efforts ‘Kamalananda’s Complete Works’ was published, two audio albums of some of Kamalananda’s famous songs sung by me were released and Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, Guwahati took up the responsibility of organizing workshops on Kamalananda’s music on a regular basic from 2006. From 2008 I have been organizing the music workshops and started an annual music competition on songs of Kamalananda in 2009. I have also started composing his songs that were not tuned and some of them have already been sung my disciples getting a lot of appreciation from the music fraternity. I am determined along with Chinmay to preserve and spread this beautiful treasure and tradition of music forward.

Let the music of Kamalananda Bhattacharyya live on and get the attention and admiration it deserves. This is our cherished wish on the 61st death anniversary of the great poet.
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