Gold

Gold

I am in the middle of reading Shashi Tharoor’s An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India. If you have been living under a rock like I was, then you may not have heard about his Oxford debate where he smashed his contemporaries on why Britain should do reparations to India.

At this time, I chanced on the movie Gold in Amazon Prime. What perfect timing! A movie about India’s first Olympic gold medal – as a free country. The movie stars Akshay Kumar as a sports manager of the British India National Hockey team, and their ability to keep winning the Olympic gold for British India. History buffs and hockey buffs (preferably both) would be quick to point out that during that time the team was led by the Wizard of Hockey, Dhyan Chand.

For the sake of preserving identities of the negative roles, the names have been changed, and Dhyan Chand is portrayed by Kunal Kapoor as the legendary captain Pritam. If you do not know who is Dhyan Chand, please stop reading and head on to the wiki link. India was well known in the history of hockey largely due to this chap. We owned the international circuit from 1928 (per-independance) up till as late as 1980. Pretty much the time cricket took over as the national craze and the national sport lost its crowds. Ironically, in 2014 when Dhyan Chand’s name was being considered for Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian award in India), it was never nominated and the award winner was none other than apna Sachin! (aila!)

But I digress, this is about the movie, and not a diatribe about hockey losing out to cricket!

The movie is about getting India’s first Olympic gold, and how the main character in the story (a Bengali team manager played by Akshay Kumar) helps the team get its gold. This under the backdrop of the partition and post independence struggles that the new country faces makes for a riveting story.

Bollywood has oft taken an anti-Pakistan stance in the past, and it’s very easy to take this stance. However, you should see how this movie has spun the entire India-Pakistan tale. It’s heart-rending and one might wonder … a magnificent what-if … our national leaders back then were brave and foolhardy to take such a decision then. What stops from doing something equally foolish now?

History tells us the outcome of this story … India dominated the hockey scene for a long time. However, the story also talks about the role of administration in ensuring that the sport has enough backing. In the chaos of IPL and slogans like fan banna padega … I ask you this … what about our national sport? I wish this movie had done much better on the box office, it deserves to be scene, not only for the acting – but also for the narrative.

Why does a non-football fan like me still watch the World Cup 2018?

Romelu Lukaku

I am not a football fan. I get why a lot of people are and believe me I have tried when I was in college. However, I just am not a football fan.

I am a fan of ordinary humans doing extra-ordinary things, however. This is pretty much why I am watching the World Cup. In case if you haven’t figured this out yet, I am talking about the team that has everyone talking about as the surprise winner – Belgium.

Why do I root for Belgium?

One player. Romelu Lukaku.

Again, let me iterate. I am not a football fan. So I do not know how well does he play. What I am a fan of though, is the resilience and determination that this chap has shown over his life. If you want to read Romelu Lukaku’s story, do it. I can wait, you need to read his story in his own words.

People in football love to talk about mental strength. Well, I’m the strongest dude you’re ever going to meet. Because I remember sitting in the dark with my brother and my mom, saying our prayers, and thinking, believing, knowing … it’s going to happen.

I read this post while Belgium was still playing the first rounds. By the time I decided to follow their every match, we were already in the elimination phase. It meant having to sacrifice some sleep, but then again … I want Belgium to win.

The human story

It’s not a story of excellence and practice. That is there in ample, but which player who is playing at this stage hasn’t done this already?

What you have to admire for this guy is the sheer drive … the deep desire to win, not because its nice, but because you have to. It’s this ability to pour your heart and soul into each and every match no matter what. This is the stuff of what inspiration is made of.

This drive and integrity can be showcased in any field … and not just football. The next time you do anything, ask yourself this … is this the best you can do? If the fate of your family depended on this … or the world … would you do this any different? If yes, what is stopping you from putting your 100%?

You.

World Champions!

It’s Diwali in Mumbai. I can hear to the fireworks still going on … as Dhoni and the Indian team is getting prepared for lifting the world cup.

Cricket is a religion in India, and you could see it today as many Indians in the stadium were praying during the last few tense moments. The entire nation had come to a stand still during the final match of the World Cup 2011.

I had to drop my parents off to the railway station, and the roads were as empty as they normally are at 2am in the morning. Traffic signals were not working, auto rickshaws were not there. Imagine no traffic near Andheri Station!!

A final note, I had been a critic of MS Dhoni, but I am happy to admit that I was wrong. Well played Mr. Cool!! Hats off!! And Thank You!!

A side note … where is Ms. Pandey?

To IPL or to IPO?!?

This is a follow-up to Sudhir’s post on IPL. Yesterday I was reading the Economic times whilst the bai was cleaning my room (that’s the only time when I took a break from Sacred), and there it was … in the big headlines pattern.

IPL teams can raise capital through going public … or via private equity as well!! Imagine the Mumbai Indians being listed on the BSE, and everytime they have a match against some other team, the share prices would buckle, a cricket crazy nation … now putting their money where their mouth is. I am just waiting for those Sports Team Mutual Funds … wanna bet that Ravi Shastri launches one??