Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012








2012 is the start of something new.




I wish you all a very happy new year and may this year be your best yet.

:)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Khan Academy






                I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Khan Academy lately. I thought it deserves a mention on my blog so, here it goes.

                If you have no idea what the Khan Academy is, well, it is basically an online school. It has more than 2700 videos on subjects covering Math, Science, Humanities and others. If you want to know more about it, check this link à http://www.khanacademy.org

                                Anyways, here’s how I came to know about it.

At around the same time as I found about MIT’s open courseware, a friend of mine told me “Hey dude, check out Khan Academy on youtube. The videos are awesome.” I just brushed him off telling him that nothing can parallel OCW. However, curiosity got the better of me and I googled for the Khan Academy. I wasn’t really impressed at first glance. I mean, the videos looked boring. Just some doodles on a black screen. I didn’t really give it a second thought.

                Some time later, I found out that the founder of Khan Academy was an MIT alumnus. That was enough. I instantly googled “Khan Academy” and to be honest, I was bowled over. The website design was pretty cool and that caught my eye. I thought to myself “So, he’s a professional eh? Cool.”

                Some of the first videos I watched totally immersed me and I understood stuff at first glance that seemed like greek at school. I read his ‘About’ page and watched him speak about the Khan Academy on TED. I must say, I was amazed.

                That ‘amazement’ didn’t last for long though. I completely forgot about it after a week or two. However, a few days back, my winter break started. I was feeling bored when suddenly, I remembered the Khan Academy. I was glued to my screen for the next 1 ½ hour. My mind switched to warp speed to help me in calculating stuff.

                I started with the easy-peasy kiddo stuff. I decided that I’ll start from the very top of the exercise chart and work my way through.

5 days later,

.

My energy counter reads 351,880. I’ve got 125 meteorite badges, 20 moon badges, 2 Earth badges, a Sun badge and two challenge patches.

                It didn’t really take much time for me to get all those stuff. Around 6 1/2 hours spread over the past 4-5 days.

                The reason for me writing this post is to get the word out there that something as awesome as the “Khan Academy” exists and also, I wanted to keep a check on my progress.

                If you are ‘motivated’ to learn, you should go check the website out. It’s pretty awesome. 

Anyways, I’ll be posting another such post detailing my progress monthly. I do a lot-lot more work when I know that I’m accountable to someone.

Until next time,

Adarsh! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011


                As I’m typing this from my room, all of my friends are moving at around 90 kmph. All of them went on a 6 day field trip to some places in Northern India for sight-seeing. I didn’t sign up for that field trip. Why? Don’t ask me because I honestly don’t know for sure. But now, I so really want to be there with them and I’m sulking.

                However, AM tells me “Adarsh, can you please explain to me the point of sulking? It isn’t going to change anything! You took that decision now, it’s up to you to bear the consequences. I’m not going to tell you if it was a good or bad decision because it all depends on the way you see it. If you keep sulking for the next 7 days, it’s definitely going to be a bad decision. However, it can be a good decision as well. Of course, nothing can substitute the joy of spending those 7 days with your friends but, at least doing something is better than doing nothing. Do something, anything that can at least attempt to make up for this decision of yours.”

                Me – “Coming to think of it, you’re probably right. Sulking isn’t really going to change anything. But what do I do to make up for it?”

                Am – “That is something only you yourself can answer. I can just give you some hints. The new year’s coming, maybe you could create a list of your resolutions? How about becoming proficient in all of the Khan Academy exercises? You could probably watch a few videos on science as well. You could even create some videos. Personalize your room? Draw stuff to put up on the walls? Blog? Bring out your guitar from the confines of the underworld? Clean your room? Read the editorials? Play cricket? Take Dingo/Johnny out for a walk? Finish reading “For the Love of Physics”? Photoshop some stuff? Prepare for the EIOF exams? Prepare for the IEO? …..the list goes on and on.”

                Me – “That’s a great list. I’ve got so much stuff to do over the next seven days. Thanks mate, you’ve been of great help.”

                Am – “What would you ever do without me? :D”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Review of 2011



                  2011 has been a momentous year.  It has changed me in ways that I couldn’t really think of an year ago. In the words of Apple, it has been the best year of my life yet.

                It only seems like yesterday when I remember talking to a friend of mine about my resolutions for the new year. However, on further inquisition, it doesn’t seem as though it has flown by like a super-sonic jet. It has paced itself pretty well.

                2011 was a year of experiencing/learning new lessons. When I look back at the person I was on 1st January, 2011 and the person I’m on 28th December, 2011. I see a lot of difference.

Finally back on the right track

                If there’s one thing that I’m glad happened is that I’m finally starting to realize the importance of ‘studies’. I mean, 9th grade didn’t really go well for me. I lost my way in studies. Sure, I did do better than the average kid in the exams but nowhere near what I was capable of. My marks in the prep-school that I attend deteriorated. When I got my results for the second term of my 9th grade, all my teachers were like “Whatever happened to you Adarsh?”. They obviously didn’t expect those marks from me. Then, I swore that I was going to a lot-lot better in my tenth grade. I even created a note on Facebook out of pure annoyance and determination to ‘shut their mouths’(those are the actual words I used).

                It took me a lot of time but, I think that I’m finally on the right track. After 12 full months, I can say that I’m back on the right track again. On comparing my grades and stuff, you might just see a small increase but only I know that what has happened is a gazillion times more than that. I can’t really explain it. Somewhere along the way, I just realized how fun learning can actually be.

“The marks you get does not determines your life but it’s your attitude to learning that does.”

My attitude towards learning has undergone a paradigm shift.

Who am I behind the iron curtains?

 2011 was also a year where I learnt more about myself. Who I really was under the iron curtains. I stopped being pretentious and started acting more like the ‘true’ Adarsh. However, you can’t change a lifetime of acts in a short period of time. I’m trying my best though.

The start of “About Everything and Nothing”

                Also, 2011 marks my first year of blogging. It was fun putting all my thoughts into words. I preserved a slice of my life in these blogs and I love it. I still smile when I go through the entries that I wrote while my exams were going on and how I was battling them. There’s a lot more to come in the following year though!

Other stuff

                The vacation to the Paradise on Earth, Kashmir also opened my eyes and gave me a much needed break. Made me truly appreciate nature’s beauty and the joys of travelling.

                - I graduated to mystery and thriller novels. It all started with a Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer and around 10-15 novels later, I’m loving it!

                 - Got hooked to the serials on Star World. It all started with Dexter. I just finished watching the finale of Terra Nova. I’m currently hooked to the Big Bang Theory.

                - I had a hard time fighting over my addiction to computer games. I managed to prevail in the end though. And, this blog was kind of born out of that addiction so, I don’t mind it one bit :D

                 - I got my first portable gizmo this year after winning a bet with my mom. An iPod touch. Never mind the fact that it’s the first generation, it still works like a charm.

                 - I also attended this one summer camp by the British Council Library. It was a fun-filled 3 weeks and I pretty much loved it. Met a lot of interesting people there!

                 - The volleyball bug caught me yet again!


The best thing to have happened this year

                However, the best thing that happened to me was –




                On September 1st of this year, I stumbled upon something that changed my life. Literally.

                For reasons that are still unclear, I typed “Physics” into the youtube search bar and the results caused an irreversible chemical change. The first result read something along the lines of (8.01 Physics : Classical Mechanics. MIT ). I was like “MIT? The name sounds familiar. Let me go check” and then, I pressed the link.

                For the next 15 minutes, I was hooked. I probably didn’t even blink. Walter Lewin amazed me. After 15 minutes, I found myself dazed. Part of my brain was awed that I could watch lectures from MIT on youtube and the other part that lecturers could be so awesome as Walter Lewin.

                I clicked on their channel and it read “1727 uploads”. I almost fell down from my chair. After a bit of more search, I was led to their admissions website.
After spending an hour or two on it, I realized something.

I was made for MIT.

                Seriously, from then, life hasn’t really been the same. Reading through the admission blogs took me into some kind of fairy-tale trip. Each and every minute on the website just strengthened my conviction that I was made for MIT.

                My facebook status on September 1st, 2011 read 
feels like I've finally found a purpose....Emm..Eye..Tee...Here I come! ;P

            It felt surreal to be honest. For the first time in my life, I had a purpose. I’m not kidding.

                Life was never the same. I realized a lot of stuff while reading through those blogs. My view of the world was shaken, never to be the same again. For the first time, I’d come across people of my kind! I began taking pride in being a ‘nerd’. Also, MIT told me that life is not all about studying. Find what you love and do it.

3 months into that search, I haven’t really found much but, I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the process.

                Also, learning took a whole new meaning. Learning wasn’t ‘boring’ or stuff that I just did anymore. I actually began liking studying. My attitude towards it has changed.

                3 months later, I’m still determined to make it there. I frequent their admissions facebook page atleast once a day for any new updates. Though there’s a  ~0.25% chance of me getting in, I’m not ready to lose hope because I know I was meant to be there.

Final Thoughts

                In all, 2011 was a pretty wonderful year. On a scale of 1-10 on how satisfied I was with the way I spent the year, I’d give myself an 8.  

                I’ll be welcoming 2012 with a grin on my face and hope that it is my best year yet.

Until next time,
Adarsh.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dr. BabaSaheb Ambedkar – A multifaceted personality




Dr. BabaSaheb Ambedkar – A multifaceted personality

                Eight years ago, on a visit to my village with my family, I spotted a statue of a person right in the centre of the village. He was wearing spectacles and was dressed in a suit. I wondered who he was. I looked down at the inscription on the pedestal of the statue. It read “Dr. B.R. Ambedkar”.

That was the very first time I came across Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar.

Casteism(and untouchability) has been around for thousands of years. People have tried to rebel but none have succeeded in doing so as successfully as Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar. He did so not through ‘fear’ but by appealing to the inner conscience of people. True, it did take time for it settle in the hearts but, the wait was more than worth the blood-shed had a feud taken place.

            History has given us many leaders but only a few have managed to shake the very foundations and be successful. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is definitely one of them.

            His page on Wikipedia lists him as an Indian Jurist, political leader, philosopher, thinker, anthropologist, historian, orator, prolific writer, economist, scholar, editor, a revolutionary and one of the founding fathers of independent India. That’s enough proof to tell you that he is a multi-faceted personality.

            He is a combination of the best. He has a will of iron like Sardar Vallabhai Patel(The iron man) combined with the power of pushing people into action like Mahatma Gandhi. He fought for his people and not once did he back down and ask himself why he was doing what he was doing. Many people think serving the society as a burden, not him. He believed that serving the people around him was his responsibility.

            Prejudice surprised him. As a child, he didn’t understand why it even existed. How was he different from the others? Why shouldn’t he be treated equally like the others? Why won’t people understand that he was no different from them?

            His childhood is filled with memories that showed him, how deep casteism had dug into the Indian hearts. It was etched into their hearts as though someone/something had soldered it there. Right from not being able to drink water because he wasn’t allowed to touch the water-cups to being shunned by the station master because he was an untouchable.

We might read about those incidents and feel sorry for him. But, in reality, these were the incidents that helped realization dawn on him and mature faster. He realized just how cruel the Hindu idealogy of ‘untouchability’ was.

These incidents didn’t deter him. They didn’t trouble him as they would have troubled others. If anything, they just doubled his determination to put an end to this practice.

He was curious and tried asking others “why?” but their answers never seemed to satisfy him.

It was this endless thirst for knowledge that persuaded him to become what he did. If there was one thing that persuaded him in completing his education, it was the hope that at the end, he’d have answers.

                        His parents played a really important role in his upbringing. Had his father not realized the importance of education, I doubt it if he would have even thought about sending his son, Bhimrao Ramji to school. He even shifted his house to Mumbai on the advice of Bhimrao’s teacher to give him a better education at the Elphinstone High School. He managed to keep his scores and grades high despite the cruel treatment that he was meted out to by his class-mates. In a particular incident, he wasn’t allowed to write on the blackboard because his classmates thought that their lunch-boxes, which were stacked on the other side of the black board would get ‘polluted’.

            He was identified by some organizations who were interested in improving the standards of the society. When he passed his matriculation exam, a big party was held to congratulate on his achievement of being the first to pass this exam from his society.

            Though Bhimrao Ramji was 17 years then and an educated person, he could not voice his opinions against child marriage. He was married to Ramabai a nine-year old girl from the neighbouring town of Dapoli.

            People who take full advantages of the opportunities given to them are the ones who turn out to be most successful. Bhimrao Ramji understood this ‘truth’ of life pretty early in his life and when a chance to go abroad for higher studies came about, he accepted it. This was possible through a scheme of the Maharaja of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad II, which gave a scholarship to some outstanding scholars to study in the United States of America.

            This was a very important stage in Bhimrao Ramji’s life. He went to study at the well-known Columbia University, New York. After years of facing unrelented prejudice in India, he welcomed the freedom and equality he experienced in the United States. Though racism wasn’t extinct, the life he led there was refreshing. No one discriminated him. It was as though he had landed in a land of utopia. It was probably from here that Bhimrao Ramji mustered up the courage to fight casteism in India. He envisioned the life he led in the US for every Indian Dalit.

            While in the university, he could have done anything. There was no one to tell him to do anything but, he chose to study. Eighteen hours a day. This led him to complete his Ph.D. thesis in just 3 years and he received an M.A in two years.

            He then went to the London School of Economics but as fate would have it, his scholarship expired and he had to come back to the state of Baroda.

            He was offered a high post in the Civil Services and held a doctorate. These were despicable days. He once again faced the discrimination because of his caste. No one handed him files or papers, even the peon threw them onto this desk. This gives us an idea of how ‘untouchability’ had become a part of everyone’s heart.

            He had enough of the treatment he was being given here and decided to quit. He managed to obtain the job of a professor of political economy in the Sydenham college of Commerce and Economics, Bombay. He still had this urging desire in him to continue his higher studies. He went to England in 1920 at his own expenses. In the next three years, he managed to get numerous awards and qualified as a Barrister-at-Law.

            He returned to his mother land at the ripe age of 23. He knew however that nothing had changed around him. People didn’t care what his qualifications there. They refused to see the light of the day and continued to treat him as an ‘untouchable’.

            It was then that Bhimrao Ramji felt that the time to do something about it had finally come about. Even though his qualifications meant nothing to other people, he was well respected within the Dalit community. He had received the best education any Dalit in those times could get and hence had the potential to be the leader of the Dalit community.

            He started voicing his opinions and things that he felt should be reformed. One of them was the separate electoral system for the Dalits and other lower castes. He also favored providing reservations for the Dalit and other minority communities. 

            Some incidents have shown his true fearlessness. He believed that justice doesn’t come on it’s own, people must try and secure it for themselves.

            Even though the legislature allowed everyone to use public water, wells and tanks, dalits were still afraid to use them. One such was the Mahad(Raigad, Maharashtra) municipality tank which had opened four years ago but not one ‘untouchable’ had drunk from it. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar led a peaceful procession to the Chowdar tank and became the first ‘untouchable’ to drink from it. This action provided the necessary courage that other’s needed and they drank from it as well.

            He believed in setting an example for others.

                        He was glorified as a hero by thousands of his followers on his return from Bombay after the separate electoral system had been granted.

            However, Mahatma Gandhi opposed it. He believed the Harijans(children of god – Untouchables) and Hindus would never reconcile if this idea went forward. He believed that Hinduism would change and leave the bad practices behind. He began a fast-unto-death.

            Only Babasaheb had a say in this matter. At first, he refused Gandhiji’s plea saying that he was doing what was best for his people but, as the matter prolonged and Gadhiji’s health began failing, he visited him. In subsequent visits and numerous talks, Gandhiji had finally managed to convince Babasaheb Ambedkar that Hinduism would change and leave it’s bad practices behind. Instead of separate electorates, more representation was to be given to the depreesed classes.

            The period between 1935 and 1950 was his prime-life. He was appointed the Principle of the Government Law college, Bombay.

            During the Second World War, he was appointed as the Labour Minister. However, he remained in touch with who he was. He didn’t turn corrupt. He said that he was born poor and his attitude towards people never changed and never would change.

            Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is best known as one of the founding fathers of the constitution.

            All his study in law, economics, and politics made him the best man available for this job. He had to make a constitution for the World’s largest democracy. He stood up to the job and did all the research he could on the constitutions of other countries and a deep knowledge of the law. He had to face this burden alone, he alone could do justice to this task. He didn’t back down by the sheer enormity of the task, instead, he faced it. Head on.

            He said that “Hinduism has only given us insults, misery, and humiliation.” At a Dalit conference in 1935, he said “We have not been able to secure the barest of human rights….I am born a Hindu. I couldn’t help it, but I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu.”
After attending a Buddhist Conference in Srilanka, a few years after the independence, he announced that all ‘oppressed’ people should embrace Buddhism as the way of life. He also said that he was going to devote the rest of his lie to the revival of Buddhism in India.

            For the next 5 years, he carried on a relentless fight against caste discrimination. The battle was half-won when the constitution prohibited the practice of untouchability in India, However, Ambedkar knew that it would take a long-time before it managed to get through the heart of every Indian.

            He embraced Buddhism in 1956 at a public ceremony. He became one with nature just 7 weeks later….

That was the end of the life of one of the most charismatic leaders in the History of India.

            He was one of those who changed the course of history, moved and shook the world. He showed the path the people should follow and occupied a million hearts. People like him don’t come about often but, when they do, they leave such a lasting effect that persists for ages to come. Few people on Earth have managed to cause a paradigm shift like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Even fewer have managed to do it with his tenacity. He was a true leader.

            Men like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar are immortal. They continue to live long after they become one with nature. His memory continues to live in the Dalits who till this date, respect him with all their heart. The coming generations will continue to respect him and cherish his memory.


Friday, December 23, 2011

*sniff*






Aww. Looking at the picture above moistens my eye.(Removed the pic... Privacy :/)

          I have wonderful friends. I can’t really ask anything more. They bear my endless rants for almost 6 hours every single day of the academic year. You’ve got to give them a prize for that.

          I’m just 15 and have spent 13 years in this school. 13 years. My-my, that’s a lot 
of time.

          In a few months, I’ll be leaving it. I just can’t really come to terms with that. 
Whenever I start to think of it, my mind just brushes it away and refuses to let it come back in.

          13 years . That number just keeps repeating itself in my head.

          I’ve one-half of my life there. All those grins, smirks, laughs. Boy, those were amazing moments.

          I went in as a, I don’t know, 45 cm tall kid and today, I’m almost 165 cm.

          December’s almost coming to an end now. January and February. 2 months. That’s all I’ve got. *Sniff*

          To be entirely honest with you, tears are forming in my eyes this very second. My mouth’s aching because it wants to whine and my mind’s drawing a complete blank. 

I’m actually trying to save stuff for the farewell speech that I’m going to make. Last year, during the previous batch’s farewell, I realized that written words just don’t have the impact that actually speaking them out does. This year, I’m not going to make that ‘mistake’ again. I want people to hear what I want to say through my own mouth.  To be entirely honest, I’ve been thinking about the speech since last year. I’ve spent sleepless nights thinking about it but as of today, I haven’t written even one word. This post is the only time I’ve ever mentioned it.

The word counter reads ‘312’. I’m surprised. It didn’t feel that way at all. Anyways, I’m going to bid adieu now.

By the way, add all the digits of the number of posts I’ve made in 2011 and see what it adds up to ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life’s not fair.



Life’s not fair. But, I guess you already knew that.

                I’m talking about the volleyball match that we had today. When we needed it the most, we blew it. The students of the 8th, 9th and 10th grade were divided into 2 teams and a match was conducted between them. I got to know later that, the winner would receive their prize on annual day (That just put salt over my wounds :/)

                To be brutally blunt, we lost.

It hurts to be honest. I spent so much time and effort into volleyball, I just don’t think that I deserved losing. I gave it my best shot but I’m afraid that wasn’t enough. Sigh.

                I could blabber on and on about why and how we lost the match but, I think I’ll save it for some other day. Let’s just say that it wasn’t our day. However, that doesn’t take anything away from the opposition, they played well enough to defeat us.

                I made many judgemental errors.  Just like Brutus(in Julius Caesar). Defeat was imminent I guess.

                However, I became wiser at the end of this match. Next time(If there’s going to be a next time), we’re going to put up a much better fight. I really want a re-match but, that isn’t anywhere on the current schedule. I just want another shot at glory and this time, I’m sure that we’ll make it.

                Before I go, don’t forget the eternal words.

Nobody challenges me and lives to tell the tale.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

31-29. Boy. What a match.


Originally written on 12th Jan, 2011. ( LOL!. See what I mean by being handcuffed to the past? I meant, 12th Dec, 2011...I just don't want to edit the above part for posterity purposes :P)

(C)

31-29. That’s what the score-board read after 50 minutes of exceedingly fun yet tension-filled volleyball match at school. It was definitely one of the most exciting matches I’ve played and the best in the past 6 months. And, guess what? It wasn’t even played in our games period. We got lucky because the girls from the Xth and IXth grade had dance practice so, we were left free to play volleyball. We owe them one.

                The following 2250+ words are entirely on the above match. My friends managed to coerce me into writing a blog-post and here it is.

                The teams, if you ask me, were a bit off-balance but they worked out pretty well.

‘Our’ Team : Me, Ibrahim, Harindra, Vijay and Hussain.
Their Team : Aniket, Ahmed, Rounak, Harichandra, Mustafa and Aditya.

                Before I go any further, let me just give you a brief idea of how the teams were stacked against each other.

In ‘my’ team(I’m allowed to call it that. No?), 4 of us play pretty well, Me, Ibrahim, Harindra and Vijay. Hussain also plays the upper-arm pass nicely but whenever he has to pass using his under-arm, I get a heart attack. However, he serves pretty awesomely and also ‘understands’ when I tell him stuff.  Harindra’s the tallest among us 5 so, he is the ‘spiker’(or smasher as we call them). Yours truly is the setter because that’s the position I’ve spent the most time on. Ibrahim took the centre pass as well as some of the back portions because he’s pretty agile and can move all over the court. Vijay was beside Ibrahim and Hussain took care of the back zones.

                Their team, on paper, to be very honest, looked weak. Only two of them, Aniket and Ahmed can be called ‘on par’ with the four in our group however, their under-arm pass is a cause of concern for them. But, their upper-arm passing ability more than makes up for it. And Ahmed, well, he places the ball exceedingly well. Something that I’ve been trying to get my team-mates to do but never could. The rest of them, well, there’s this guy called ‘Harichandra’ who’s as tall as a giraffe but is not of much use. Rounak, he can pass the ball on the other side of the court from his position but if you make him back up a few steps, he’s bound to pass the ball awry. Aditya’s under-arm pass is enviable but, make him play the upper-arm and he’s in trouble. Mustafa plays both the passes with ease but you never know when he’s going to get the pass correct.

                So, on paper, we were ‘stronger’ and clear favourites but the game told a different story. Their team had 6 players and each could cover a specific zone but for us, we had a guy less that made Ibrahim run all over the court but he managed it pretty well. Also, there’s one more thing that I have to mention before I go any further. Their team only concentrates on sending the ball over the court while on the other hand, my team tries to smash it over and ends up losing a lot of points due to bad tries but, we keep trying. You’ve got to commend us for that!
                The game started with Ahmed serving the ball from their side. Ibrahim managed a good pass but I messed up a bit on the lifting the ball and Harindra missed hitting it and we lost a point. The next ball was similar and they were two up. That’s when we pepped our game up a bit and gained a point but soon lost the serve the very next ball.
                Some time later, the scoreboard read 3-8. We were 5 points down and it was their serve.
I’ve grown used to these kinds of scoreboards. My team doesn’t do that well at the start but peps up the game at the very end. We have a track record of not scoring a lot of points during the first 15 points. We almost always come from the behind and win the game, a lot like team India during their Windies tour. We take inspiration from Shahrukh Khan. “Har kar Jeetne Waale ko Baazigar kehte hai.”
                We kept serving, passing, shooting, blocking and all. My team gelled together pretty nicely. Everyone was happy (atleast I think they were). Hussain did make a few serving errors at the start but soon pulled himself up. We left the ‘serving’ part to him and he did it pretty nicely. Ibrahim and me shifted places a few times due to varying reasons. I trusted my intuition to tell me when it was time to change. It hasn’t failed me much.

                Moving away from the match, I for one, like having those people in my team who don’t question my authority. I mean, there’s a frigging (:O) reason for every decision I take. I do think quite a bit before taking it. More often than not, my plan works. Sometimes, it doesn’t and I take full responsibility for it.

                Today, I wasn’t in my prime form to be entirely honest. I made a lot of mistakes but, did I make up for them? I think I did. Though not directly, I think I played a pretty important role indirectly.

                Anyways, the match went on. It was, 14-19 or something similar. I started ‘panicking’ a bit now. I told my team-mates to pull up and not make mistakes (aah, the irony) Now, when I start panicking, I put stuff on a tight-leash. I only allow the stuff that I’m okay with. Stuff that I know will go right more often than not.
One such thing was the serve. Now, Hussain serves nicely but, when he serves I have this sense of insecurity inside me. I never know when he’s going to do a right serve or a wrong one. So, I decided to take that under my control. I gave the serving job to Ibrahim.

                It’s Ibrahim’s “dream” to serve using the upper-arm but, unfortunately, I don’t allow him to do so. Actually, I do, only during the starting stages of the match when we can afford to lose a point or two. But, not after the scores have crossed 20 points. That’s because the team can’t afford it! When he ‘executes’(ahem ahem) the upper-arm serve, I have no idea if the ball’s going to go properly or not. On the other hand, his under-arm serve is sure to be executed proper 95 times out of 100. So, I gave the serve to Ibrahim and told him to do the under-arm serves because then, I’ll have this sense of security inside me. I’ve played a lot of volleyball with him and trust him. And, Ibrahim didn’t disappoint me. He did make an error once but his other serves more than made up for it.

                Also, Hussain’s under-arm pass isn’t one that I can trust always. My heart skips a beat whenever the ball goes towards him. No offence meant man, I just hope you get what I mean. So, I told him to let Ibrahim take his passes. Had it been anyone else, they would’ve ‘rebelled’ but, not Hussain. He just ‘understood’ and nodded his head. Aah. I love the guy :P

                5 minutes later, the score read 19-23. Red Alert. Red Alert. My heart started beating twice as fast. I told my team-mates that we can do it and the events that followed sure did surprise me. We stopped passing the ball around thrice before sending it over the other side. Also, harindra stopped trying to smash. He just sent the ball sailing over the other side of the net.

                Here’s one specific ball that I remember.

In a small rally, the ball goes over the Hussain and as he prepares to pass the ball using the under-arm pass my heart beats 10 times as fast. He doesn’t connect it properly and I see the ball falling on the ground just a few feet infront of me. It felt as though the whole world was crashing down. That’s when the ‘saviour’, Vijay, comes out of nowhere and by a freak shot (a wild swing of his arms) sends the ball the other side. Phew.
                Somewhere during this period, there was a long-long rally. Both sides kept their cool and tried their best to send the ball over the net. However, one member from their team made a mistake. His instincts took over him and he ‘smashed’ the ball and it went outside the court. Duh.

                20-23. 21-23, 22-23, 22-24. 23-24. 24-24.

You can imagine the thoughts racing through our minds as the game went on. Everyone was determined to win. No one wanted to lose. We had worked so hard for it. We leveled the scores with some awesome rallies. We tried every trick in the book (ahem ahem) and managed to get the scores leveled.

24-25. 25-25. 25-26. 26-26

                All our hearts were beating ten times their normal pace. We were playing our hearts out. Every time the ball went over the net, we sighed a relief but were as alert as the FBI when it came back in.
There was a sense of disbelief hanging in the air.

                When someone made a mistake the whole team was like “Aaah!” but we kept our cool. We just told them “aah. hard luck mate.” I saw to that no one cursed one another :P I mean, we all were like “mistakes happen.” Not so much for the other team. Every time someone of them made a mistake, they were all like –I don’t know-. They brought in ‘reforms’ everytime someone made a mistake. They crowded around the person who made the mistake and let out some ‘grumbles’. We just stayed where we were.

26-27. 27-27. 27-28. 28-28. 28-29. 29-29.

                It was becoming surreal by now. We jumped up with joy for every point. There were shouts of “YES!!” for every point that we won. That’s how volleyball should be. Nerve-wracking.

The scoreboard read 29-29. The bell had rung 7 minutes ago but we kept playing. Nothing (the principal doesn’t count) could stop us until we finished the match.

                Then, for the first time, since 24-24, we got a lead. A one-point lead. All this time, we were trying to not let them win it but now, it was their turn. They had to make sure we wouldn’t win by gaining a point.

                Ibrahim served it and the ball went over the net. Aniket passed it directly over the net. Ibrahim passed back. Ahmed-Aniket-Ahmed over the net. Ibrahim. Ahmed. Vijay-me-Harindra over the net. Then, the ball went to the character called “Harichandra”. Remember him from the start? Well, he passed the ball over the net. I thought he managed to do it correctly.

I saw the ball travel from the top of the net to our side of the court in slow-motion. It travelled and travelled and travelled. I glanced to see who was going to take it. I saw both Ibrahim and Hussain kneeling down. I assumed they both wanted the other one to take it.

0.5 seconds to impact – No one’s underneath the ball. I’m all like “WHAT THE. SOMEBODY TAKE IT!”

0.3 seconds to impact – Hussain is practically on the ground now and Ibrahim’s just a spectator beside him.

0.1 seconds to impact – I lose all hopes of finishing the game. The game’s going to continue till 32.

0 seconds to impact. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then, a nano second later, it struck me. The ball fell outside the court. YAHOOO!

We won the match!!!!!

Boy. What a game it was.

True that we didn’t have the smashes that we usually do, we played ‘mediocre’ volleyball. But, more importantly, we had FUN. That’s what sports are all about. FUN. You must enjoy playing them and I sure did today. Winning was just the cherry on the top of the cake. I would’ve enjoyed the game just as much even if we had not won.


                The tension was worth watching. I loved the shouts of “YES” that emanated from us after every point and the sense of disbelief that hung in the air when the last ball went outside the line. They were all like “It’s over? Just like that?”

                I think the main reason why this match was so interesting was “Team-work”.

Every single player in my team played an important role in the match. Harindra’s forced passes at the end got us much needed respite. Ibrahim’s agility helped cover the whole court and left no place for Ahmed to place the ball too. Vijay was always there where Ahmed usually places the ball and took the passes with almost cent percent precision. Hussain serve’s gave me a sense of security at the start and then, he made a jewel of a decision at the end to leave the ball. Me? Let me think. I did ‘okayish’ at the setting part. I think, my main role in the game was to marshall my troops to victory. Coming to think of it, maybe I didn’t play that big a role after all. It was probably because of me that the game even came close. Had I not made the mistakes that I did, they wouldn’t even have come close. My role in the game wasn’t big. It didn’t need to be. Each one of us contributed in their own way and in the end, that’s what made us victorious. Also, a big thanks to my team-mates for not ‘mocking’ me when I made the mistakes. I owe you one.

                Anyways, it was fun reliving the match over here. This game’s going to be etched in my memories for a long-long time to come.   

It’s been fun writing 2200+ words but I now have to go study for my Hindi Unit test tomorrow. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Someone did this for me a few years ago.

©


 “ Today, I pulled into a small gas station in the middle of the desert in New Mexico and realized I had left my wallet at my girlfriends house 5 hours away.  I had no money and barely enough gas to make it another mile down the road.  The only other person that stopped for gas was a burly looking trucker.  I was a bit reluctant, but I asked him for some spare change for gas.  Instead he filled my tank and said, “Someone did this for me a few years ago.”  MMT

            That was taken from “101 stories that will leave you smiling, crying and thinking”. I urge you to go take a look and read through those 101 stories. Trust me, it’s time well spent.

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            Everyday, I commute to school through public transport (buses). I’ve been doing so since the past 3 years. It would surprise you to know how much one can learn about himself by just spending 50 minutes around people he's never met before. 

 The past three years have been a wonderful learning experience. I'll just give you a brief idea of what it feels and then, I'll come back to the main reason why I'm writing this entry.

            There’s no one for you to fall back on.

            You can’t expect a helicopter to descend from the skies if your legs are hurting. You’ll have to grit through the pain and walk because at the end, the journey will be worth it.

            Choices. Travelling teaches you how to make them and how to learn from them. There have been times when I made a choice like “I’ll catch the next bus, this one’s too full.” and cursed myself later. Every single choice you make, every single action you take will have it’s own consequences good or bad and you’ll have to take full responsibility for them. I for one, enjoy this responsibility. I hate it when I depend on others and things go wrong because of them.

            There’s more to the world than my cozy little bubble. You get an idea of how the world works. These rides have taught me when to back down gracefully.

            “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.”

            I didn’t realize what it truly meant until I witnessed people yelling at each other during my travels.
            There’ll be times when people will scold you for absolutely nothing. Though the book says that you must stand up for yourself, more often than not, it’s easier to just throw a blind eye. Some people just refuse to see the light of the day and I don’t see any ‘wisdom’ in arguing against them.

            I am probably making it look like I’ve had only ‘bad’ experiences but I’d be lying if I said that was true. I’ve met amazingly kind people as well. I can spot a ‘good’ conductor by just observing him from a few metres away. It feels astonishingly good when a conductor remembers you and you don’t even need to tell him where you want to go. The ticket will be waiting for you.

            I’ve probably gone too far from the actual purpose of this post. Let’s get back. 

            The reason I’m writing this entry is to tell you all a ‘small’ incident that happened today.          

            I’m a Indian school-going kid. 9 times out of 10, my school-bag’s going to be fully loaded with books. Travelling with such a bag on buses isn’t easy.

            So, today, I was travelling home from school and was sitting in a ‘full’ bus. I spotted a kid who was standing. He had this ‘big’ school-bag on and was sweating profusely. I at once felt an urge inside me to ask him to give his bag to me so that he could stand more comfortably.

            Over the years, I’ve met some kind-hearted people who’ve done that to me. I mean, they spotted me ‘struggling’ with the bag and kindly offered to help. I gladly let them help me.

            As far as I know, this kid wasn’t giving his bag to anyone because he was too ‘shy’.
I wanted to help the kid by taking his bag. I just felt sorry for a fellow human. I wanted to show him that there’s “good” in the world :P

            After some intense debate with myself, my emotions finally took over me and I nudged the kid. I told him “I’ll catch your bag”. He was like “huh?” I repeated “ I said, I’ll catch your bag.” He then understood me and willingly gave his bag over to me.

            After about 3 minutes, my stop came. As I stood up to go home, I gave the bag to the kid. Here’s when it happened.
            All this while, there was this guy sitting opposite to me beside the window. He had this ‘Dell’ bag and this cool looking mobile (It looked like an iPhone but it wasn’t one.)

            When I got up and gave the bag to the kid, that guy offered to catch his bag.

Call me -whatever- but, this small gesture from him made my day.

       I liked seeing how my ‘action’ had resulted in others doing the same thing. I mean, had I probably not made the first move of asking for that kids bag, he would’ve probably had to slog through wearing it till his stop came but now, even though I wasn’t there, there was someone who offered to catch his bag. I like it.

            As I gave the kid his bag back, to be entirely honest, I didn’t hear him say “Thank you.” But, when I was of his age, I just used to mutter “Thank you” in my breath. Though I didn’t say it out loud, I meant it. I’m pretty sure he meant thank you as well but just couldn’t gather up his vocal chords to make a sound :P

            Why did I do what I did?

Because, Someone did that for me sometime back and I hope the kid does that for someone else in the future.