“Baar baar aati hai mujhko madhur yaad bachpan teri…gaya le gaya tu jeevan ki sabse mast khushi meri”
Those were the days. Those were the days of 90s when we were of school going age. School was fun and very eventful. Cream shirt, maroon shorts/skirt, maroon striped tie, a colorful school bag, a tiffin box with our favorite dish and a funky water bottle was the way we carried ourselves. Except Wednesdays when it was color dress, meaning, u can wear any dress of your choice and on Saturdays it was all white attire with white canvas shoes. If at all you missed wearing tie, belt, shoes you were liable for hafta to be given to special students called as cabinet leaders. A good day earning would fetch them many ice candies and chocolates. 😛 These cabinet leaders reported to the School Prime Leader(SPL).On Saturdays, there would be couple of exercises along with a march- past with the school band, as I write this, I can listen to the band 🙂 The SPL along with cabinet leaders would stand upfront and show us the moves as the band came into action. Every school day started with morning prayers in an assembly on the ground and ended with a national anthem in class over intercom. During assembly, every person stood as per his/her height class wise. After morning prayer, to be adept with current affairs, each person as per roll number was supposed to read out the news from a newspaper to the whole gathering. There was certain protocol(read rule) to start the news-“The news. Deccan Herald”, Nothing more, nothing less than this 😛 Sundays was meant for TV and Cricket. Those were the days when world saw the brilliance of Sachin Tendulkar on a cricket field emulating or even getting past the original little master Sunil Gavaskar. DD1 was the only TV channel available which later led to the emergence of cable channels Zee and Sony. Friday night was the time when a relatively new Hindi film was aired on TV. Those were the days when Sunday evening 4 pm was the only time a regional cinema (read Kannada) would be telecast. I used to look forward in bated breath with my grandmother to check which film would be screened that day readying ourselves for tea. If it turned out to be a RajKumar or Anant Nag starrer (our favorite stars), we would be delighted. That was the time when likes of Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam ruled the music charts. Along with film music, pop albums coexisted and were quite popular.
Those were the days when Shakti-Shakti-Shaktimaan was the only superhero we knew. Every villain in real life was Tamraj Kilvish and every sorry to our parents/friends sounded as “Sorry ShaktiMaan”!! We enjoyed our movies whether it’s Johnny Lever’s comedy, Madhuri Dixit’s smile/dance, Sanjay Dutt’s KhalNayak act, Govinda’s comedy/dance,Sharukh Khan’s romance/negative characters, Kader Khan’s comic timing, Nana Patekar’s Krantiveer act, Salman Khan’s Hum Aapke hai Kaun, Akshay Kumar’s action sequences, Sunny Deol’s high pitch dialogues(Jab yeh dhai kilo ka haath kisi pe padta hai na … toh aadmi uthta nahi … utth jata hai 😛 ), Sooraj Bharjatiya’s family drama, Rahul Roy’s Aashiqui, Kajol’s versatility, A R Rahman’s music,various convincing characters played by Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher, Shakti Kapoor and last but not the least Sunil Shetty’s HaiHuku HaiHuku Hai Hai 😛
Unlike today we played various games on the ground by getting our hands dirty (literally) especially cricket irrespective of scorching heat, pouring rain or chilling weather. Those were the days where we were glued to TV video games like Mario, Contra, Road Rash and handheld brick games when we were indoors. Also those card games, remember? Those Big Fun chewing gum were bought like crazy so that we could get those free trump cards on WWF and Cricket. We enjoyed even the ads that came up on TV- Rahul Dravid’s Jam Jam Jammy, a Japanese saying in his accent Suzuki Samurai, No Problem, A devil as a brand ambassador for Onida TV, Preity Zinta dancing to Laa..Laa la laaaa in Liril ad, tat cute kid’s mouthwatering expression on the mention of Jalebiiiiiiii from Dhara cooking oil, Humara Bajaj and off course Sabki pasand Nirma, Washing Powder Nirma. Those were the days when exceptional TV programs like Surabhi staring Renuka Shahane , Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, longest running film based TV program-Chitrahaar, a detective series called as TehkiKaat with Sam D’Silva as protagonist, MahaBharath (bought India standstill every Sunday at 11am), Rajit Kapur’s Byomkesh Bakshi, Ashok Saraf’s Hum Paanch, Annu Kapoor’s Antakshari, Alif Laila, Chandrakantha,Vikram Bethal, Shankar Nag’s Malgudi Days on the works of R.K.Narayan, Philips Top 10, Sonu Nigam’s Sa Re Ga Ma, Pankaj Kapur’s Office Office, Ramsay Brother’s Zee Horror Show entertained us. Not to forget CID which is still running I guess. Daya yeh darwaza thodo!! Hehe. Those were the days, those were the days of 90s.
I was in 5th grade then. An average student, mischievous at times with flair in mathematics. Apart from playing cricket, movies was my favorite pastime. I loved mostly the romantic ones especially the first half where it was a done deal that hero and heroine would unite. During those times there came a film called Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (in short DDLJ) which broke all the stereotypes. It was appreciated for its freshness and amazing chemistry between lead actors Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. I loved that film, so did everyone else. I never missed watching it again whenever it was aired on TV. Since then I idolized SRK and even called myself ‘Raj’ every time anyone asked my name. There was a certain Simran in my class. No there was no gal called Simran but I called one of gal so, because I was Raj. Whenever I would see her, more often than not, a tune would ring in my head- Tujhe Dekha toh yeh Jaana Sanam, Pyaar Hota Hai Deewana Sanam. She was cute and sweet and I think she also found me charming. I guess she fell in love with me in the pit created by my dimples. SRK had one, so did I. We used to show our love to each other by exchanging letters. Yeah u read it right, letters- LOVE letters. We were so immature and sweet then. We were not spoilt by cell phones and its offerings like Facebook or WhatsApp.
When we were afraid to speak one to one, we used to pour out our feelings on a paper even though it’s a simple thank you or a sorry. Now that we were in same class we used to sit together on same bench. Traditionally I was a back bencher but I didn’t mind sitting beside her on first bench. Whenever anyone tried to sit beside her I used to fight with them to retain ‘that’ place. Now sitting on the same bench we used to talk continuously, giggle and occasionally gossip. Also we used to share our tiffin during lunch break. During tiffin, we used to play a game where no one reveals what dish is there in his/her box and the other person has to guess. If he/she succeeds, well and good and if anyone fails, he/she has to do a task which the other person wishes. Once I was told to rap like Baba Sehgal or dance like Prabhu Deva. That was fun, real fun. We were happy in our own world. Her house was nearby school. I used to walk along with her and carry her heavy bag after school to drop her. Now that we were in our respective homes we used to miss each other. Luckily we knew their family- they were family friends. Her dad’s office was near our home. So to meet me in the name of ‘homework’, she used to go to her dad’s office and come to my place. When teacher used to give loads of homework, we used to be happier unlike others. 😛
Once she told me she wanted to learn to ride bicycle. My dad had bought me a new one recently and I decided to teach her on a ground nearby. After lot of practice, falling sometimes on the ground, she finally learnt to ride a bicycle. She was indebted to me and treated me a cola drink. She decided to buy 2 colas, but I blurted out a filmi dialogue saying “Dost ek hi bottle se cola peeyenge isse dosti badthi hai” and ended up drinking a single cola with 2 straws. 😛
Once there was a singing competition in our school and both of us had participated. She was a better singer though with a beautiful voice like that of Shreya Ghoshal at 10. It was auditions and we had a bunch of participants from different divisions coming to our class for singing. Competition was tough as we were competing with 7th grade students too. It was my turn and I had carefully thought of the song that I will sing. I began singing- Mein Toh Raste Se Jaa Raha tha( te te te taun), Mein Toh Bhel Puri Kha Raha tha (te te te taun), Mein Toh ladki ghuma raha tha ( looking at her ) 😉 Raste Se Jaa Raha tha, Bhelpuri Kha Raha tha, Ladki Ghuma Raha tha. Tujko Mirchi Lagi toh mein kya karun.(Looking at the audience with a bit of dance 🙂 ) Tujko Mirchi Lagi toh mein kya karun and she was the first one to clap and cheer me up as others joined for applause. Then it was her turn. And she put every one of us in trance by singing my favorite song from Saajan looking fixedly at me- Bahut Pyaar Karte Hai Tumko Sanam. Kasam Chahiye Lelo Khudha Ki Kasam. I just realized she finished it when audience clapped continuously to a thundering applause. Without any hesitation, the judges declared her as the winner. She got a huge Dairy Milk as a prize which we both shared after classes. She kept the wrapper too in her notebook intact for memories.
One fine day she became our class monitor. There was a rule in our class-If anyone found talking and his/her name written by the monitor on the blackboard he/she would get a punishment. Punishment was he/she would get a tight slap from the monitor in the presence of teacher and the whole class. That day I purposefully talked and giggled with my other neighbor. She wrote my name on blackboard even though I was special to her as she was honest and I being honest with myself, accepted a slap from her gracefully. She hit me but ‘pyaar se’ unlike others who got a real slap. I was happy but she was hurt. She did not get the courage to say sorry so she wrote a sorry poem on a piece of paper and passed it to me. The poem read-
You were talking so much like you’re a bible reader.
I not like punishing but I was the leader
So had to slap you but I was very worry
Please don’t stop talking, I am sorry
Now I am a software engineer working in a MNC. Its weekend and I find myself lazy on my couch. I switch on the TV and find DDLJ is on air. All memories come rushing in. You ask me where is my Simran? She is happily married to Kuljeet with 2 kids.
P.S: The first thing that would pop up in your mind- Is this my story? Answer is a big NO. This is purely a fictional story, an inspiration from varied experiences.
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It took 28 years for an Indian to hold the much coveted World Cup trophy and what a time to get it on our own backyard with crazy fans cheering all around and over 1 billion eye-balls on TV screen. To bring smiles on every Indian and to make them feel proud after India was plagued by corruption, scams and what not in past few months was a much greater achievement. Winning the way we did,with emotions running high and Sachin playing his last world cup saying the win was an ultimate thing and proudest moment in his 21 year career suggested what the trophy meant to him and each one of us. We lived our dream, a beautiful dream indeed.
I feel the key to India’s success was peaking at the right time and Dhoni’s captaincy.We had arguably the best batting line-up ever to take field on a WC but our bowling was not at all on par. A leader is the one who knows his strengths and knows his weaknesses better. To get the best of his team is Mahi Way of doing things.He backed the bowlers to bowl the crucial overs and more often than not the plan clicked. And one man we cannot forget,our coach Gary Kirsten who was always there toiling hard with the team. More importantly each player played their best game in whatever roles they were supposed to play.
Our batting was always a threat to the opposition and with the starts given by Viru and Sachin decimating the bowling attack,it looked more ominous. Sachin needs a special mention here. Lot was talked about him going into the tournament-His last world cup,only trophy he is missing in his kitty,best chance to win a world cup for the very reason it is played in India.It was indeed a privilege to see him bat the way he did. Being the second leading scorer in the tournament giving solid starts for the lower batsmen to consolidate is what he did best most of the time. Viru was at his explosive best-Especially the 175 knock that he played against Bangla in the tournament opener, was crucial to settle the nerves. Then came Gauti to play THE innings of his life in the finals.Tat 97 was very crucial after India lost both the openers cheaply. Virat Kohli is the future and present of India.Whenever I see him bat,I feel India is in safe hands.Then came Yuvraj-the flavour of Indian cricket in the world cup. Making a comeback into the tournament with not so good 1-2 years, he was the game changer for India.4 man of the match awards and man of the tournament.Wow! A dream outing.He played the sheet anchor role with perfection. We all know what he can do with the bat when on song,but the way he bowled with 15 wickets in all, was astounding.India found an all rounder in him.Suresh Raina’s cameo against Aussies and Pakistan was very very crucial given the situation.With his surprise entry into the team in quarters replacing Yusuf Pathan, he proved his point big time. And with his inclusion the fielding standards were raised automatically. Then the captain who looked patchy in the entire tournament and to play a innings like that he did in finals was simply special.It was only fitting for him to finish things off with a thunderous six. Zaheer Khan was the bowler of the tournament for me.Especially the way he bowled with the old ball, every time a bowl was thrown at him with India needing wickets desperately he didn’t disappoint at all. He leaded the bowling attack with elan. Bhajji looked good in patches especially against the match against Pak. That void in spin bowling was filled by Yuvi’s bowling. Munaf,Nehra and Ashwin played the supporting role.
To dethrone the Aussies who ruled the world cricket for a decade or so, was special. Aussies were not all at their best in this tournament. To defeat them and to go on to win the title was icing on the cake. With West Indian domination of world cricket in 70-80s and Australian domination in late 90s,this could be the time for India for world domination. I liked Ponting’s face of disappointment after playing an innings of substance to end on loosing side. India held it’s nerves to go on to win the match in style. Yuvraj’s celebration said it all.
Then came the mother of all battles- the much hyped Indo Pak encounter. With ticket rates touching sky high,Pakistan PM and Pak delegation along with Indian PM witnessing the match,likes of 2G s-SoniaG and RahulG in the stands giving political angle to it added much to the hoopla. It was a self declared national holiday on that day. Sachin getting dropped 5 times,Yuvi and Raina’s rescue act,Umar Akmal’s fabuluous shots,Bhajji’s roar to celebrate a wicket, Misbah’s late hitting- the match had it all.
India were never beaten in a world cup game against Pak and history repeated itself.With that confidence,India went on to conquer the final frontier-the Lankan juggernaut.I felt Lankan side were mightier than Oz and Pakis and looked a much more balanced side then we were.Taming the lions was not impossible but difficult. After they set a stiff target with an amazing innings from Jayawardene,Indians had to bat very well to win,keeping in mind the pressure always building up to the chase,after all it was a world cup final.Early wickets of Sachin and Sehwag added to our batting woes in big finals. I sought for divine intervention- a rare occasion in my cricket watching career.Some of my friends went on to switch off the tv thinking it’s all over.But Lankans were up to a resurgent Indian batting. Gauti rose to the occasion and deserved a 100 the way he batted, equally well supported by first Virat and then MS who promoted himself ahead of in form Yuvi. As India looked confident to seal a victory,MS began to cut loose letting his bat do the talking to silence his critics. After Gauti’s unfortunate dismissal,it was only fitting for Yuvi to join in and finish things off along with MS. India winning the world cup and winning in style led to night long celebration as though India got independence.People dancing on the streets,bursting crackers with joy all around,distributing sweets to their loved ones was a common sight across the nation.
Someone rightly said -As long as Rajnikanth was on the stands cheering the team,India would never loose. After it was proved ,quite obvious though,people were wondering where was Rajnikanth when India played 2003 World cup final.We as fans by being superstitious did anything and everything to bring back the cup. Aamir Khan who saw India winning against the arch rivals Pak in Mohali,went on to wear the same T shirt (thinking it as lucky)to cheer the team in Mumbai. The great Amitabh Bachchan did not watch the quarters,semis and almost resisted to not watch finals with the belief that if he watches India would never win.It was a grand celebration in field too. Emotions were running high with likes of Harbhajan,Yuvi,Sachin in tears-tears of joy,tears of success. Then it was time to hold the world cup-the moment everyone longed for. With hand shakes,hugs all around someone had an idea to take Sachin on their shoulders and go around Wankhede- the hometown of Sachin and the very ground where he was an ball boy in one of the 1987 World Cup matches.It was apt for Virat Kohli to say that it was high time, to take Sachin on their shoulders after he served for 21 long years by taking responsibility on his shoulders.Most of them went on to say they were playing for Sachin as he deserved to hold a world cup after representing the country for so many years.Indeed it was a fitting tribute to his illustrious career to lift the ultimate prize which had eluded him in his past 5 world cup appearances.
Then it was chance of Guru Gary who was taken around the stadium for some time. It was unbelievable scenes from Wankhede and people were getting crazy and it took long time for the news to sink in. I had never seen people so happy dancing with joy. I got up from the bed the next day realised we were world champs recalling the match felt very happy and slept again.
With this win comes an additional responsibility of maintaining the tag of world beaters.HOPE we do so…