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Friday, November 22, 2013

Udaipur and Jodhpur Yatra

I had palnned Sikkim/Bhutan Trip in festival session of Nuakhai. That trip was cancelled due to backing out of the friends. Hence, I was looking towards other options. I do view it as a now or never situation in planning travel schedule. I took quick decision with help of my friend at IIM Ahmadabad. Udaipur and Jodhpur were prime destination of two days short trip of Rajasthan. I was lone traveler this time.

A balanced tourism is more about connecting with the local people and their culture, rather than site seeing like Maharajas of distant land. Talking for long session (1/2 -1 hour) with remarkable people like Shambhu (auto-rickshaw driver at Udaipur) and Yarden Gerest- Mar (Student of Computer Science at Hebrew University, Israel) were good experiences of the whole trip. Touring India is always mixed bag of praise, platitudes and panning. Foreign tourists are confronted with unfamiliar sights on a daily basis, such as open defecation that are no longer seen in the developed nation. India has both sides, some exciting and some negative.

Best moment was a small interaction with an unknown artist at Jaswant Thada. A great source of frustration creeps in people with a strong sense of entitlement face either unnecessary criticism or unmet expectations. Creative people like writers, actors, humanitarian aid worker or fashion designer have some similarity with such street artist as they work (initially) for peanuts in their respective professions. I was lost in bliss moments on listening to such beautiful music amid thirst and heat. Such non-material aspects of a life are truly divine.

“From the bastions of the Jodhpur fort one hears as the Gods must hear from Olympus,” said author Aldous Huxley about the Mehrangarh Fort ramparts. I covered Mehrangarh Fort early in the morning. Flying fox tour was too expensive (Rs 1500 for traveling to the wire around fort) and adrenaline rush doesn't suit me. What I like is slow and steady romance with medieval history and an ancient culture. I was unable to find location where a prison scene of 'The Dark Knight Rises' was shot. The exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish art Stefan Norblin in Umaid Bhawan are still fresh in my imagination.

Guided Trip in auto-rickshaw was plan for touring beautiful city of Udaipur. Most of the places shown were redundant for me. Folk Art Museum at Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandir was a surprise revelation for the day. I watched Daily puppetry show and gathered information about popular Ghoomar dance. Both Lake palace and City palace were full of scenic beauty. Camera charges at city palace was so high that appears more irrelevant in this era of high resolution mobile camera. I was unable to visit Sajjangarh fort due to time crunch.

Medieval painting, historical exhibits and cultural objects like arms, protective elephant howdahs, palanquins, armors, turbans, costumes and paintings at both places were preserved with great care. Impregnable defensive architecture have always been plus point of forts of Rajasthan. I took audio tour at Jodhpur and personal guide tour at Udaipur. I find audio tour better for those who are alone and have plenty of time and interest. I have always been in dilemma that vacation can't be a photo opportunity. Sometime it seems wrong to constantly capture the beauty as champion trophy, instead of savouring the moment. Sometimes the wrong path can take us to the right destination. But, having an smart app like Google Maps was useful. 'Baati Dal Choorma' was the only local cuisine tasted by me.

Tour of Jodhpur belonging to Marwar state and Udaipur belonging to Mewar was completed. It was very hard to grasp disparity in lifestyle of Bhil culture as seenin folk museum compared to luxurious lives of aristocracy.  Boredom tends to cause excessive pleasure-seeking since, lacking other goals, people often use pleasure as a goal. Thus was the era of Kingdoms and Feudal lords full of extremes in war, love and art. As Walter Benjamin famously wrote, “There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.”

Monday, November 18, 2013

Farewell Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar retired today from all formats of cricket matches today. Many has paid homage to this legend and much has been already said about his retirement and figures. I will add few words. I don't call him God but sure rank him as one of the best auteur of the game. I assume him as the last gentleman of the cricketing era giving place to aggressive new India. Sachin was raised in tradition of Mumbai batsmanship, aggressive in strokes yet solid and calm in defense. He took it to greatness with his action and achievements.

Rahul Dravid, Robin Singh, Hansie Cronje and Heath Streak are my favorite cricketers. I like Sachin but never loved him. Yet, he was always there as a symbol of hope. During 1990, if Tendulkar failed, TV sets were closed considering all was lost for India. In those days, Indians rarely have something that can be termed as world class. Sunil Gavaskar has given us inspiration that one can be second-to-none with sheer will and hard work. Gavaskar was combination of rock solid guts, the classic technique and full commitment to stand up to such hostile fast bowling of his era. Kapil Dev was similarly inspiring because fast bowlers were non existing species in Indian cricket history. Kapil was generating sufficient swing, bounce, accuracy and work horse like stamina on the dead pitches with athletic fielding capabilities. I always saw Sachin as a combination of both of these stalwarts : First Among Equals at world level amid figures like Brian Lara, Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, and Jacques Kallis.

Qualities like Longevity, Dedication, Perseverance, Focus, Ambition and Humility are part of his status. He has even attracted admiration from the players of other country for his composure and behaviour on & off the field. But why I admire him, for his Integrity. All games is safeguarded by their popularity. Whole nation was in the state of shock due to match fixing scandals in 1999. Yet, Sachin's honesty and integrity healed fans and they gave moral support again to Indian cricket team. Indian media has bipolar disorder who either give people as god-like status in good times, while every weakness is dissected in loss. Hence, a career with traces of controversy is an extraordinary achievements. Even without evidence, minor allegation against him like ball tampering in SA 2001 and Monkey gate in Australia tour are insignificant. That career record makes one wonder about miracle named Sachin.

I was kid in early phase of his career and hence not seen great innings of Sachin against fast pitches against England, Australia and Pakistan. This one is hailed as mark of new era in world cricket.

I saw him first delivering match winning last over in Hero Cup semifinal.

I saw him destroying pace attack in foreign condition at South Africa.

I always remember his back to back explosive innings at Sharjah amid sand storms.

I was glued to radio commentary for Chennai Test of 1999 against Pakistan. I was heart broken when chasing 271, Sachin had made 136 with severe back pain & batting with grim resolve in losing cause.

Sachin's batting against Pakistan at Centurion in 2003 world cup match is unforgettable.

I rate heroic 175 against Australia in Hyderabad as an example of lone man fighting a battle.

That double century of Sachin against South Africa was so perfect example of building inning with speed and calculative risks.

Even ad featuring Sachin are now memories of past.

This was one my favorite.

A part of his success goes to the his family, friends , players and his coach. His cricketing records will be broken. Thanks Sachin for so many good memories. Profile of Sachin on Cricinfo.


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