Tuesday, April 25, 2017

878. The knock that marked the beginning of Sachin Tendulkar

Yesterday 30,000 people sang the " Happy birthday to you" song to Sachin Tendulkar as he cut the cake in Mumbai during the IPL match between MI and RPS. It was heartening to see the effect the little master still has with the crowd. I have followed him through out his career. When I started following cricket as a 5 year old boy (1987), Krish Srikanth was my favorite batsman. 

I loved cricketers who smashed every ball and at that point of time, India had only one swashbuckling opener and his name was Srikanth. Navjot Singh Sidhu was also good with his six hitting abilities; but when Srikanth was facing the ball, you can always expect him to throw his bat at everything and that was a joyous sight to see.

I used to like Tendulkar because he scored quick. He was young, came in at 5th or 6th scored some brisk 30 or 40 runs. He would often come in to bat in the 45th or 46th over. March 27th 1994- the date is still fresh in my memory. I was writing my 7th standard annual exams. India was touring New Zealand. It was the second ODI.

India pinned its hopes on Navjot Singh Sidhu the opener.  But on that fateful ( or should I say joyous) day, Sidhu woke up with a stiff neck and he could not turn his neck. Young Sachin ran up to his captain Azhar and pleaded with him to let him open the innings. Azhar and Ajit Wadekar were surprised with a young batsman running up to them with such an offer.

New Zealand had a deadly bowling attack spearheaded by Danny Morrison. Chris Pringle was unplayable in those conditions and Larsen was pinpoint accurate. And taking the responsibility to open the batting against such an attack was an act of bravery. 

New Zealand batted first and scored a paltry 142 in their allotted 50 overs. A score of 142 in New Zealand was still defend-able because matches in New Zealand were low scoring affairs. Sachin and Jadeja opened the batting for India. I was watching the match on ESPN and was surprised to see Sachin walking into bat. Morrison and Pringle were taken to the cleaners. 

Sachin redefined the art of opening. Indians were scoring at ten runs per over. He faced 48 balls and smashed 82 runs from it. Gavin Larsen was a stump to stump bowler and Sachin clearly unsettled him by coming down the wicket and taking him to the stands. 
A star was born on that day. India chased down the total in 23 overs at a run rate of 6 per over. The world media turned their focus on this guy from India. The little master finally made the world to notice him and from then on, there was no turning back.

He no longer had to come into bat in the 45th over. He would open the bating and score a brisk 50 and take the team score to 100 odd runs in the first 15 overs itself. After he gets out, the whole team would crumble down. But more often that momentum he gives would be more than enough to help the team cross the shore. 

He went on to score 100 centuries in his career. The desert storm century, world cup 90 against Pakistan in 2003, first man to score 200 happened in his career. But in my opinion, it all started in that match in Auckland in 1994.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

877. The story behind Jolene

Have you ever been in a situation where you had felt that someone is trying to steal your better half? Have you pleaded with that someone not to come between you and your better half? If you had been in such a situation, you could relate well with this song.

Dolly Parton, who happens to be the aunt of Miley Cyrus wrote this song Jolene, which went on to become a cult hit that has been covered by people all over the globe. When Dolly Parton was newly married to a banker Carl Dean, a red headed bank clerk tried to flirt with him. That incident became the foundation for the song Jolene. 

 "Jolene" tells the tale of a woman confronting Jolene, a stunningly beautiful woman, who she believes is trying to steal away her lover and begging her "please don't take my man." Throughout the song, the woman implores Jolene "please don't take him just because you can."

I recorded this song on Smule. You can check my version of the song here.

When you listen to the song, there is so much desperation in the song. It echoes the sadness with which a girl pleads with another girl to save her marriage.

I love various covers for this song. I am going to add three cover versions here

1) Miley Cyrus - Backyard cover.

Though I am not a fan of Miley, I actually liked her in this song.

2) Benton Blunt's version of Jolene

I am a sucker for music reality shows. I follow almost all of them. When Benton Blunt came on stage to audition for America's Got Talent, no one was actually prepared for what's in store for them. He blew them all away with his rendition of Jolene.

3) Pentatonix and the Grammy award winning cover

What makes this version so special is that this cover enabled Dolly Parton to win a Grammy 44 years after she recorded this song. Dolly Parton also makes an appearance in this song.

In a way, if a person has to plead with another woman not to steal her husband, the husband is not really worthy because he is an easy bait. Similarly if a husband has to plead with another man not to steal his wife, she ain't a keeper. In Dolly Parton's case, she is married to her hubby for more than 50 years. Ain't that adorable?


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

876. How to prove you are a true Indian

Post the comment "Modi is the best PM in the world" in public forums, especially on FB

Go to a movie theater and search for someone who does not stand up for national anthem, If everyone are standing up, search for someone who does not stand in attention; if you find an adimai, beat him slap him and shout " Bharath Mata ki Jai". Also shoot a video and post it on FB, or go live on FB
Wheel chair bound guy kicked for not standing up for National Anthem

Give one star rating for Snapchat and Snapdeal

Abuse Pakistan in comments in FB

Write random shit in Hindi and post that Hindi script in Tamil forums and when any Tamilian argues with you that Hindi is not the official National language, tell them that they are anti national 

Stop Ogling at her

Preserve the Indian sanskari/ sanskriti by slapping any boy and girl walking together in public. Even if they are a brother and sister duo, slap them hard and make them accept that they are wrong

Randomly shout Anti Kejriwal slogans and when AAP supporters corner you, change the topic and abuse Rahul Gandhi by shouting Pappu joke

And finally, if a Pakistani attacks you in public forums, ask them to go to Pakistan.

- Chronicwriter

Monday, April 17, 2017

875. Do not say "Don't" for everything

 "Oh baby! Don't climb the stairs. You will fall down"
That was his mother when he was a 2 year old baby

" Ashwin! Don't run fast. You will fall down and bruise your knees"
This was his father when he was 3

" My dear grand son, Don't talk with Rahul. He is from THAT caste"
This was his grand father injecting caste feelings for his 5 year old grand son.

" Ashwin! Don't share your snacks with others. If you share your snacks; you won't become strong"
This was his grand mother teaching him to be selfish

"Don't take Maths Biology. Take Computer Science as specialization in your class 11"
This was his uncle advising him on what career he should choose in his life.

"Don't select that college. They are liberal. Study in this college because they are strict and you will get good marks"
His maternal uncle gives his expert advice on college selection.

"Don't marry her. Her family does not have enough money. Marry Reethu aunty's daughter"
His mom gives him relationship advice.

" Don't have a baby soon. At least postpone it for 3 years"
That was his married friend giving him a lecture on family planning on the day of his marriage.

" Midhun! Don't run fast. You will fall down and bruise your knees"
That is our Ashwin talking to his 3 year old son Midhun.

And history repeats. Most of us can relate with Ashwin.The life that we live is conditioned by people around us. If we have gone through such a conditioning, let us atleast try our level best not to pass this disease to Midhun. 

Allow Midhun to fall, get hurt, fail.
Allow Midhun to choose a path that he wants to trod on
Allow Midhun to be independent.
Allow Midhun to live his life.


874. So I danced and covered "Sway"

Do you have two left legs? And do you think you can never dance? Well, this blog is for you. If you have not listened to the song “Sway”, you should probably listen to the song now. Why am I saying this now? Because, once you listen to the song, the music will flow through your nerves and veins and you would automatically start dancing.

I used to dance like a crazy monkey and my lifestyle in the last few years made me like a robot. I could hardly move to music. I sing a lot and started singing in Smule. A month ago, I decided to record this song “Sway”. It used to be a ball room/ party dance song and it is still the same. When I started to sing this song, I automatically started moving.

This song was written in 1953 as "Quien Sera" by the Mexican bandleader Pablo Beltran Ruiz. Norman Gimbel wrote the English lyrics for the song and Dean Martin recorded it with his voice. Martin sings that when he sways with his dance partner on the dance floor she is all he sees. If you are a salsa dancer, this is the dance you should try out with your dance partner. You can jive to this and even do samba moves to this song. There are so many layers to this song. Check this recording of mine here. The lyrics are added too

The song lyrics for Sway by Norman Gimbel and Dean Martin.

When marimba rhythms start to play, Dance with me, make me sway
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore, Hold me close, sway me more

Like a flower bending in the breeze, Bend with me, sway with ease
When we dance you have a way with me, Stay with me, sway with me

Other dancers may be on the floor, Dear, but my eyes will see only you
Only you have the magic technique, When we sway I go weak

I can hear the sounds of violins, Long before it begins
Make me thrill as only you know how, Sway me smooth, sway me now

Other dancers may be on the floor, Dear, but my eyes will see only you
Only you have the magic technique, When we sway I go weak

I can hear the sounds of violins, Long before it begins
Make me thrill as only you know how, Sway me smooth, sway me now

Singers who have performed this song are Bobby Rydell, Ben E. King, Michael BublĂ©, Cliff Richard. Jennifer Lopez recorded it for the 2004 movie Shall We Dance. If you had watched the movie Sexy Beast, with Ben Kingsley and Ray Winston, you would have  heard this song in it. This song still sounds fresh and modern even though it was made over 50 years ago. So if you think you can't dance, just try listening to this song again and again.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

873. My Hercules Rockshox cycle

When I was 11 years old, I asked my parents to buy me a bicycle. They told me that they would buy me a bicycle only if I get first rank in School for three consecutive months. That was their way of saying No to me. So I only had a chance to ride my sister's bicycle. It was a red color BSA SLR. 

What made it worse for me was that it was a ladies bicycle. My classmates would make fun of me when I took that cycle to school. So I decided to get first rank for three consecutive months and make my parents buy me a men's bicycle.

Eventually I succeeded only when I turned 14. My dad kept his word and bought me a double shock absorber cycle( Hercules Rockshox). Back then, owning such a cycle would me that you are cool. But there was a problem. As I was short, it was pretty difficult to ride that cycle. More often, I would sit on the bar and ride the cycle.

That's Pravin and I going to school
Every morning Pravin and I would go together to school in our bicycles. We would race with each other, try riding it without holding the handlebar and try various stunts. After school, we would paint the roads by exploring and navigating through all the streets en-route to our home. I had this cycle even in my college days.

Today, people buy bicycles to exercise. Back then it was our only mode of transport. May be I would buy a cycle someday and start riding it again.

Some of the memories with my cycle include

  • Locking the cycle with a chain lock
  • Skidding the cycle like a boss
  • Paying 50 paisa every week in the bicycle shop to fill air for the tyres
  • Tightening the cycle chain when it gets loose
  • Making noise with the bell
  • Using the right brake for the stopee effect.
  • Actress Devayani has sat on this bicycle once
Because of my short stature, I would literally sit on the bar and ride the cycle and most of the time, the bar played a big part in me lying down and writhing in pain. Even though it hurt the sensitive parts of my body, I would make it a point to ride this cycle, because I loved the cycleDo you have memories with your bicycle?


Monday, April 10, 2017

872. My Primary School Teacher - Matilda

A couple of days ago, I wrote a blog post about my first mimicry performance in school. In the image used in that Blog, my teacher Matilda can be seen in the background. [link]

And I saw her after 30 years in a Facebook picture. Matilda ma'm. She was my primary school teacher. She was known for discipline and in the 1990s she was in her late 50s and was about to retire. Now she must be in her 80s. She is the same lady who is standing behind me during my first mimicry performance.

I do not know her story. I don't even know her family members. But there is something about her face that made me to write this blog post. A sense of accomplishment or A sigh of relief or happiness or sadness. I seriously don't know what emotion to connect her with for the first photo; but that stance just depicts a lifetime of achievement. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about her are the following two sentences

Goooooood Mooorrrrnnniiinnnnggggg Misssssss
Good Morning Students! Sit Down

Some of you might just look at the above picture and say "That is a picture of an old lady". For me that is a symbol of someone who has taught hundreds of students who are all settled in different parts of the globe. This blog is just a simple tribute to all the teachers who have spent their time and energy in laying the foundation for our present life. 

Edit: After posting this blog, I realized that Matilda Ma'm is my FB friend Stuart annan's mother. I am glad that I came to know about this now.


Friday, April 07, 2017

871. Adios from my present workplace

As I clicked the E-resignation button, I was left with mixed thoughts. Flashes and scenes from the last two years of my life at this workplace appeared in front of my eyes. The wonderful boss Smitha who made a huge difference in my life; the vibrant marketing team, my friend Siva who has been an angel in disguise about whom I have no words to express my gratitude - all of those memories flooded my thoughts.

You can't call any place your home. We are all hitchhikers moving on in a journey 

This workplace helped me realize that I can shuffle between two masks effortlessly. The calm-lost-in-thoughts mask and the crazy monkey mask. Sadly the latter mask was used only in a small circle. When the former mask started taking control of my personality, I decided that it was time to move on.

Note to readers: You did not understand the previous paragraph right? Good for me

The lessons have been many. In fact, my present stint has been a life-changer for me and that is why it is hard for me to move away from this place. But life goes on and we all have to keep moving.

Here is a picture of me about to make the job switch.

Where am I moving on? I am going to be driving in the same road; but in a different gear.

A picture from the present workplace, that always makes me laugh is added below. Believe me! I am not sleeping.


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

870. Our new Garden

We had a lovely garden in our house in my native place. Croton plants, Anthuriums, rose pots and lilies adorned our garden. My mom gave me a corner in our garden to have my own set of plants. I had a cactus space of my own in the house.

When I moved out my hometown and settled in Chennai, I was caught in the busy corporate lifestyle. My life centered around television, smartphones and laptops and soon everything became mechanical, monotonous and automated.

This is when my wife suggested that we have our own garden in our house. We went to the nursery and started collecting a few flower pots. My daughter Anya wanted cactus plants for herself. I have told her that I will buy them in another two years' time when she becomes a little big.

The joy of digging the mud, planting the plants in the soil and watering them took me back to my childhood and made me realize what I have been missing in life in this fast paced world. My daughter has started to water the plants every day. She has taken her first step into the world of botany.

Watch my daughter, watering plants in our garden

A post shared by Prason Christopher Robin (@chronicwriter) on

I hope that she will continue to stay closer with nature and start contributing to a green world.

Note: The picture is not our Garden. But someday the garden would be like that.


Monday, April 03, 2017

869. My first mimicry performance

It was the year 1987. I was in 1st standard. I studied in a school called Morton English Primary School. My classmates were busy memorizing dialogues to be recited the next day morning for the mimicry competition in school. 

Some were trying to imitate MGR. He was the chief minister of TamilNadu at that time and some were trying Rajinikanth's voice.

My friend Senthil was practicing the dialogue "Mogambo Khush Hua", which apparently was a Hindi film dialogue from the movie Mr.India. None of us understood what it meant, but we all thought that Mogambo was farting (Khush= Fart in tamil). He was the official fart master of the class. So the dialogue best suited him.

I did not know what I should do. That evening when I came home and told my mom that I need to participate in mimicry competition, she asked me whom I am going to mimic. I told her that I had no clue. That is when she said "Hey, You can talk like Donald Duck right?"

Me: Yes! Mom. I can

She: So do that.

Me:  I can sing a song in Donald Duck's voice

She: Yes. Try that. But can you add some more voices too?

Me: Yes mom! I can mimic a typist typing a document in a type writer

She: You mean, all sounds including typing, type setting, carriage return lever?

Me: Yes mom! I can do that. I have seen that on TV.

She: Done. In that case try it out. 

The next morning, my mom made me wear a waist coat with a bow tie. I told her that I need to look older. So she took my dad's black shoe polish and drew a mustache on my face. I felt like a grown up man now. 

My classmates were amazing on the stage. They recited long dialogues and we all clapped in unison for them. Then my turn came.

When I walked up to the stage, a new idea hit me. I took my position in front of the mic and said " I am Donald Duck. I am a typist and I am going to show you how I work happily while singing a song". Then the different sounds emerged from my vocal cords. The crowd liked it. Later I was announced as the winner because I did an extempore talk before my act and also because it was different from the rest.

Many years later, when I saw beat-boxers doing their act, I thought to myself, "Well, I did that when I was a kid. May be I should have practiced that art a little more".

Starting young has driven away all stage fear in me and I owe it all to that little stage in Morton English School which acted as a platform for me to try different art forms very early in my life. And also because of a supportive mother who always brought the best out of me. When parents were encouraging their kids to perform tried and tested stuffs, my mom always encouraged me to try and explore any creative idea that I wanted to showcase to the world. And to me! that made all the difference.

First prize for mimicry competition - It was a plastic Dappa. My school Principal- Late Mrs. Daniels is in the picture