Posts Tagged ‘Cricket’

Euro 2012

June 25, 2012

Cricket has always been the game of choice in India for all of us Indians, wherever we may be. So much so that any other sport is completely dwarfed under the mighty and sheer noise of cricket. Or is it?

I have been living and working in the UK as an NRI for over ten years now. And as someone who loved and played a lot of soccer through schooling in Kolkata, you can only imagine what a hot bed Britain has been for me, and how much it has fed into my madness of soccer. People here love the sport, and I love that about them. All the various clubs, the mass hysteria that players cause, from Rooney to Beckham – it’s a sport that lights up the dreariest British days, unlike anything else.

On a recent visit back home, I was reluctant because there was a big tournament on and I did not think I would get the opportunity to watch and/or share in the excitement in India, especially since it was a soccer tourney in the UK, and back home in India, there was going to be some or the other big cricket series on. I thought wrong. Because not only in Kolkata, where unsurprisingly I got a lot of soccer action, owing to its historical obsession with the game; but even in the other cities I visited to catch up with friends, I was amazed to see the excitement, the energy, the knowledge, and the keen fan following for soccer. In Delhi of all places, I watched matches with large crowds of friends at their homes at all odd hours. In Mumbai, I went to lounge bars that had been opened after the big soccer clubs. It was unbelievable. I guess it had been a while since I had come back home to India!

Now back in the UK, I am constantly in touch with friends and family in various parts of India and we are constantly discussing Euro 2012. I have managed to get them so charged up, that we are always on Skype, discussing, hedging bets and what not. So much so that I have just remitted some money to my much younger brother and sister to get a big screen television set to really take in the games when they begin.
India, my home country, never seizes to amaze me. And now in Soccer, we have another common love, to share and enjoy!

The Patli Gully

April 25, 2012

Recently I took my sons to a cricket camp just outside London. It brought back a flood of memories. Today, living in my well manicured South London home with my wife and kids, an NRI of some twenty years, it all seems to be in stark contrast to the simple but spontaneous childhoods that people of my generation had back home in India. Today, I was bringing my boys to a Tony cricket camp at a suburban club. But all I could think of was my own patli gully!

So let me tell you all about this narrow lane. To me growing up in the heart of Dadar in Mumbai with typical middle class values, the narrow lane outside our building wasn’t just some ordinary lane. It was to me, a wonderland of endless possibilities and fun. It was where I played cricket with all my building and society friends. It was where I first kissed a girl and held hands with her. It was also where I hid from my parents and tried my first cigarette with my then best buddy, Pendharkar. To put it plainly, the patli gully was a world unto itself. A heaven for us young adolescents who would wait with baited breadth for the school bell to ring, signaling the end of studies for the day, and the beginning of another adventure, at times several together, in our narrow lane!

On a slightly more philosophical level, it is largely that narrow lane that today keeps my grounded and rooted, not just to home and India, but also, to a sense of modesty and discretion. To not flout the privileges my life now affords me. So to that end, my patli gully has been much more than a source of mischief and fun. And as I look onto my boys playing properly padded up at the nets of this upmarket cricket camp, I have decided that I must take them back to where I grew up, to my patli gully, so that they understand me, and life, a little bit better!

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