No poetic citation to kick off proceedings today. I had intended to convey a lot in the previous post. And convey I did, albeit a tad too randomly. Maybe, trains are just meant to be thought in, and not written about. Or maybe, I am a sucker for philosophical meandering. Or people loved Ta-ra-rum-pum.
To (mis)quote my philosopher-to-be friend, “Why do people judge?” Things, appearances, TV shows, other people. Blogs, too. Is it a mechanism to appease that never sated feeling of self-importance? To hold on to the belief that our opinion matters? To pander to the inherent attention seeker in us?
Do people like to be judged? I don’t, apart from the blog, which despite my whole “I write for myself” theory, is eventually attention seeking. I don’t mind advice, or ‘constructive’ critique. What gets on my nerves, is the deigning. People usually know a lot less than they give themselves credit for. We delude ourselves into thinking that we are responsible for every good thing, and every mistake avoided, villifying the judged, if we have to, in the process. That is when self-importance becomes ego. And the phrase “too full of oneself” starts being applicable.
Onto murkier waters/ fields, or the “Battle of the Bastards”. Miguel Sepochnik, the Baazigar fan, who gave us ‘Hardhome’ is back with more characters to kill and a bigger budget. After my two week hiatus from GoT oriented posts, I’d planned on writing a poetic review, which didn’t materialize because Raghav Sharma bailed out on me and WordPress deleted the draft. The fact that I don’t recall a single line indicates that what happens, happens for the best. Let the bullets (I wish there was a provision for arrows) suffice.
- Daenerys is back in Meereen and she can talk. About burning and killing people, of course. And she’s doing things with her eyebrows. Perhaps an after-effect of binge watching Imran Khan’s works. Vaes Dothrak to Meereen is a long journey, even on dragonback.
- Impressive neck-slicing technique, Grey Worm. Math is not for the Unsullied, though.
- Dragons, Dracarys and Daenerys. Wow, duh and duh, respectively.
- Worst parlay ever. Even beat Jaime’s cute date with the ‘Blackfish’. Lady Mormont agrees.
- Ramsay’s back with his Welsh accent, and ‘busturd’. And Shaggydog’s head. Not for long, though.
- “You’re going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well.” Sansa-1, Ramsay-0.
- Yara and Daenerys. Hmm. Such coyness. Why in front of Theon, though?
- You really do know nothing, Jon Snow.
- RIP Rickon. Frankly, the show never cared about you. And neither did we. You really should have zig-zagged, though.
- Stunning cinematography. Terrific background score.
- Of course, Littlefinger’s the saviour. Sansa’s smile, though. Sansa-2, Ramsay-0.
- RIP Wun-Wun, the breaker of doors. Never mind, the show will find another character for you to play.
- “I’ve reconsidered”. Witty to the end, Ramsay of the House Bolton. And creepy. How can anyone smile when being beaten to a pulp? I’ve read at least ten reviews, and they’ve all used the phrase ‘beaten to a pulp/paste’. There is no other way to put it.
- If stares could kill, the Red Woman would be a goner.
- “Your name will disappear. Your house will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.” Knockout. RIP Ramsay. Or don’t.
In the real world meanwhile, Anil Kumble became the head coach of the Indian cricket team, pipping Ravi Shastri for the job. I’ve always had immense respect for Kumble’s tenacity and grit. And his ability to match Munaf Patel’s bowling speed. He’s a good choice, and will hopefully manage to fare better than his predecessor Duncan the dour. It is his Bangalorean colleague and the incumbent coach of the India Under-19 and India A teams, though, who was the first choice for the job. Mine and the BCCI’s too, apparently. But no, Rahul Dravid is content doing what he does best: remain in the shadows. He wants to keep working with the juniors. Which is probably for the best. The spotlight isn’t meant for him.
I recall witnessing Dravid’s 22 ball 50, which was then the second fastest by an Indian in an ODI, after Sir Ajit Agarkar. Not that I cared, then. Tendulkar had made a century. That’s what mattered. His ‘low’ strike rate was the bane of jokes throughout the World Cup in 2003, and even abuse, when he ran Sehwag out in the final. I remember being outraged when he declared at Multan, with Tendulkar batting on 194. The rest is a haze. He was dropped from the ODI team in 2007, after one poor series against Australia, never to be recalled, but for those four matches in India’s disastrous 2009 Champions’ Trophy campaign. And only to run Gambhir out against Pakistan and be at the receiving end of his resultant ire.
It was only in 2011, when the high of being the ODI World Champions was being ruined by the bashing being dished out in England, that I realized his true worth. The team was in shambles, with Ganguly and Kumble gone and Zaheer hobbling off on the first day of the tour. Indian batsmen scored three centuries in that four test series. And they were all by Dravid. He carried his bat in one of those efforts. His last series was one of his worst, with his bat-pad gap being exploited mercilessly by the Australian bowlers. Australia was where things had first started to unravel, back in 2007, when he didn’t score a run for 40 deliveries and made a 5 from 66 deliveries in yet another stint as an opener. If Federer embodies grace, Dravid embodies grit.
Ironic could be his middle name. For most of his career, he relished contests with Australia, alongside his co-conspirators Tendulkar and Laxman, at Kolkata and Adelaide, most memorably. He was deemed a slow batsman, yet he made that 22 ball 50 and also hit a hat trick of sixes off Samit Patel in his first and only T20 International. His preference for the classical strokes of the game was exalted, yet he ended his T20 career with an ugly swipe, trying to win Rajasthan Royals the Champions’ League and more importantly in the same match as Tendulkar did. He kept wickets, even though his place was in the slips, as the statistics show. He opened the batting in tests, even though he was the best number 3 batsman that we ever had. Doing whatever his team needed him to do.
His playing days are long past him now. But he’s shown what he’s capable of, first at Rajasthan Royals, then at the India U-19 and A teams, and more recently at Delhi Daredevils. He brings the same things to the dugout and the dressing rooms which he brought to the crease- dedication, dependability and a cool head. Maybe, he will take the job one day. Maybe not. If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt from him, it is that nice guys may not always finish first, but like his reverse sweep to end his highest score of 270, they do so on their own terms.