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Just how much did Sachin mean to us?

Aspiration for success is the single most natural thing in the world. It is not a trait unique to human beings alone; it is the very fundament upon which nature exists. It is what gives rise to evolution and results in life as we know it. And yet there are times, when even before you begin, you not just suspect that you will not succeed, but know that you are doomed to, and, will fail. Nonetheless, you go ahead and do it anyway. Because it is not a choice, but a call to duty; like a mountaineer attempting to scale that one last impossible peak, a surgeon trying to perform the miracle that will not happen or even a letter of infatuation that you know will never be reciprocated. Failure is merely a meaningless by-product.

And so I attempt to put in words, the emotion that cannot be explained but only be felt, the phenomenon that cannot be understood but only be experienced and a love that cannot be rationalized but can only be succumbed and surrendered to. I attempt to both understand …
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Of Federer and Nadal; of Sport and Us

There were 13 players on the field. But one stood out. And he knew it. There was a swagger to his walk, poise in his posture and his entire demeanour was of a man who knew there were a million eyes on him; who not merely was aware of and acknowledged it, but also courted the attention, craved for it and feeded of it. As the ball soared off his bat, 50,000 rose off their chairs in unison; but even before the triumphal act was concluded, the smiles were wiped off their faces and there was tension in their eyes. The fielder settled under the ball; it was to be a regulation catch. But, was it to be? The floodlights shone down upon him, almost sinister in their intensity, but that did not matter; he has done this a thousand times before. What mattered though was the thousands of eyes boring into him, the unnatural silence, the searing hostility of strangers, the expectations of teammates and most of all the stature of the man of whose bat the ball has soared from and was now hurtling down…

Jayalalitha is dead. Sexism in Indian politics is alive.

Yesterday, an astute politician and a popular leader, Jayalalitha passed away. There has been a spontaneous outpouring of genuine grief and deep dismay among most Tamilians. 
By all accounts, Jayalalitha had led an extraordinary life. From becoming a film heroine at the age of 16 to being a chief minister at the time of her death, much of Jayalalitha’s journey had been larger than life. She had had to display exemplary courage and tremendous willpower to defeat formidable foes, surmount numerous obstacles and beat impossible odds. Each time she was deemed vanquished, she rose like a phoenix from the ashes, stronger than ever before. And yet many of us are puzzled by her popularity, uncomfortable with the devotion shown to her and scornful of what we consider as the mindless sycophancy that reigns around her.
The underlying source of all this thinly disguised distaste is our deep-rooted and firmly entrenched belief in the inferiority of the woman. In plainer words: sexism and patriarc…

The Ascent to Sandakphu

IndiaHikes - Sandakphu
Man originated somewhere deep in the jungles of Ethiopia. And then, he walked, and walked, and walked; to become, arguably, the most dominant species in the history of the planet. Walking then, is the most natural thing in the world, and as old as the hills themselves. And yet, today, walking is an archaism. We live in the era of Uber and Amazon, of the remote and the elevator; all designed to not just make walking unnecessary but also unfashionable.
Trekking then, inhabits this curious corner of contradiction, natural and unnatural at the very same time. For the first time trekker, this contradiction is all the more magnified; accustomed as he is, to the warm comforts of luxury travel, the lure and excitement of trekking is nonetheless elementary, almost primal even.
As the first timer treks, flat terrain is his friend, all so familiar and so very comforting; if at all, monotony is the only damper. The descent is a trickier beast, with dangers potentially lurk…

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhay: In search of a name through rural Bengal.

A name is your very identity. And yet, you do not have the power to choose it and most often do not have the power either to change it. Does a name really matter? Are our destinies shaped in any measure by the name we are given? Do we imbibe anything of those who we are named after? If yes, do we also imbibe something of those, who we were named after, were named after in the first place? I do not know and let’s admit it, neither do you. What I do know however is that, for long now, I have been doused by curiosity to know more about this man, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhay. In my IIM Calcutta interview, my name struck a chord with the Bengali professor and we had a pleasant conversation on culture. On my first day in campus, as I was being handed the keys to the hostel room, the sombre security man, upon noticing my name, looked up, broke into an unexpected smile, and insisted that I visited Sarat Chandra Kuthi, across the Hugli. And so it was almost inevitable that I would one day visit…

Sporting Immortality: Tendulkar's 6 off Akthar, Centurion, 2003 World Cup

Sport is meant to be a celebration of life, an embodiment of the ideal and the representation of the best in man. Stripped of fancy words and trite pretensions, Sport is but a contest between individuals; a contest to be faster, a contest to be higher, and a contest to be stronger; simply, a contest to be better.
In cricket, the contest is between bat and ball; between the batsman and the bowler! A battle for supremacy.
35 yards.  In Mumbai, you can fit about 40 families into a space of 35*35 yards. Shoaib Akthar’s run up is 35 yards long. The batsman is a further 22 yards away. At that distance, the previous delivery is merely a memory and the coming delivery an expectation.  Shoaib Akthar starts his run up. Head down. Hair trailing. Then, he picks up pace. The trot becomes a run. He starts to look up, the hair is flying now. The image begins to blur. The crowd is on its feet. It’s a crescendo of noise. He’s not that far away now. The batsman awaits. He is alive, more alive than he…

Reservation in the age of Meritocracy

Note: This was written for a 3 minutes speech which was to be given as a part of my Management Communication class here in IIM-Clacutta. Well, that didn't go too well but I thought it might deserve a place here, so there you go.


Meritocracy is the foundation upon which modern human civilization is built. Countries and societies which have nurtured and promoted meritocracy have prospered, and the United States of America is a prime example of this. Meritocracy is a philosophy which holds that power should be vested in individuals exclusively according to merit. Reap what you sow! And who can argue against that?
And yet we as a nation not only argue against meritocracy but spend considerable effort in undermining, sabotaging and suppressing it in every way possible. We as a nation have replaced meritocracy with mediocrity. 68 years after Nehru celebrated India’s tryst with destiny at the Lal Qila, we continue to pander to the masses, to play to the galleries and to woo the vote bank. …