SA vs NZ, 2015 World Cup semifinals

What a game of cricket it was. So beautiful and so sad at the same time. Why is it that one semi final turns out to be the match of the World Cup. 1996 Australia vs West Indies, 1999 South Africa vs Australia. Man, what a game this was, with twists and turns, both man made and natural, both cricketing and non cricketing reasons (injuries, rain etc) that would have made Vyasa proud had he scripted it. Faf and Riley Roussow soaking up the pressure; the beauty of Trent Boult’s left arm outswingers [there is a poetry to left arm bowling isn’t there: both spin and pace :) ], AB batting as if he was superman from a different planet, Davy Miller’s astounding finish, and then under lights, McCullum as usual in his Jambavaan like way, Grant Elliott’s nerveless knock, the sublime beauty of the leg break bowler Immy Tahir, Morne Morkel’s outstanding medium pace bowling; Faf Du Plessis’ brilliant catch; Eden Park, oh Eden Park, the tiny matchbox sized ground; the rain precisely when AB and Faf were batting brilliantly; Steyn injured: still diving around; Faf’s catch; missed catches and run outs galore; boy, what a game; after the 1999 semi finals between Australia and South Africa this was probably the greatest World Cup game. As much as I felt very happy for New Zealand, a tiny nation competing on the same footing with nations so many times more populous and with greater (human) resources, I also felt really sorry for the South Africans; for someone like Morne Morkel, to see a great fast bowler like him crying unabashedly at the end of the game was a pathos filled sight. The story of cricket is also the story of life: Imran Tahir moving to South Africa from Pakistan because he fell in love with a girl from South Africa. Grant Elliott moving from Johannesburg to New Zealand to better his cricketing fortunes. How must he have felt to knock the South Africans out. The sight of the substitute fielder Farhaan Behardien (what is his origin? is he Pashtun? Iranian?), either arms around his team mates belting out the anthem with gusto; fielding with his heart on his sleeve and exhorting his team mates during the drinks break shouting words of encouragement simply left me speechless. As somebody said about football which is also true of any sport (or anything else you inevst in): cricket is not about life and death: it is much more important than that :)

Let’s also not forget that this game was played in the best of spirits; no unnecessary bad mouthing, undue aggression etc; spirit of the game if you will, to use a well worn cliche.
It was just mighty unfortunate that the rain came at the wrong moment. SA were looking good for 350. Steyn and Philander getting injured also didn’t help. Also, superman genius that he is, maybe ABDV, like Sachin, dare I say it, is not as great a captain as he is a player. Maybe Faf can be captain? Never seen them so sad, not when they lost in 1999 or even 2011: to see some of the truly great players like Steyn, AB, Faf and Morkel crying at the end was truly sad. God bless these guys and the South African team.

Cricket in the Prairies

It is a pity that Americans don’t play cricket for the great American plains offer a perfect setting for cricket in the summer. The long, languid, and pleasant evenings. The setting sun, the vast baseball fields, the twitter of the birds and the laughter of the kids playing softball on an adjacent field all add to a truly memorable experience. I also love baseball, people are usually bored because (they think?) it is slow, I like it precisely because it is slow, because I am a slow kind of guy. Baseball and cricket side by side would truly feel like paradise. :)

Springtime thoughts: bubbles and waves

Aside from the fact that trees are the most beautiful macroscopic objects and the greatest thing summing up joy is the sight and chatter of bird flight, the sight of bubbles floating in the air and little waves forming on a water surface upon throwing little stones into it truly fills the heart with joy. What better way to live a life than to study the mathematics of these waves, so drunk is one with joy that one doesn’t know if the beauty of the math or the beauty of the actual water waves or perhaps a combination of both is filling your head with joy.

Birds and joy

A peaceful and quiet evening, with most students gone for the spring break. The rainy day meant that there abounded puddles of muddy water. Two birds, a mynah and a sparrow, suddenly jumped into a water puddle, splashed around to their heart’s content and flew away generating a fleeting moment of pure joy.

Rare songs

Sometimes, one hears a beautiful song in a concert which is deeply fulfilling. One yearns for more. One wants to hear different versions of the same song but it is so rare that one cannot find it: not many people attempt to sing it. All this is to say is that there is this lovely Kambodhi song Mari Mari Vachchuna of Mysore Vasudevacharya that I heard once by Malladi Suribabu and Malladi brothers, so utterly peaceful. I haven’t heard it since and I am unable to find a recording by anybody else of the song. I have never met Vasudevacharya but from his songs, I somehow imagine him to be a gentle sort of person. His songs are lovely. Also, is it a coincidence that two of the most beautiful (Indian classical) musical autobiographies are written in Kannada. One, Vasudevacharya’s Nenapugalu (my thoughts?) and Mallikarjun Mansur’s Nanna Rasa Yatra (my musical path?).

A Bharathiar Kavithai

மாலைப் பொழுதிலொரு மேடை மிசையே வானைlயும் கடலையும் நோக்கியிருந்தேன்
மூலைக் கடலினை அவ்வான வளையம் முத்தமிட்டே தழுவி முகிழ்த்தல் கண்டேன்
நீல நெருக்கிடையில் நெஞ்சு செலுத்தி நேரங் கழிவதிலும் நினைப்பின்றியே
சாலப் பலபல நற் பகற்கனவில் தன்னை மறந்த லயந்தன்னில் இருந்தேன்.

ஆங்கப் போழுதிநிலென் பின்புறத்திலே ஆள் வந்து நின்றெனது கண் மறைக்கவே
பாங்கினிற் கையிரண்டும் தீண்டியறிந்தேன் பட்டுடை வீசு கமழ் தன்னிலறிந்தேன்
ஓங்கிவரு முவகை யுற்றி லருந்தேன் ஒட்டு மிரண்டுளத்தின் தட்டி லறிந்தேன்
“வாங்கி விட்டகையேடி கண்ணம்மா! மாய மெவரிடத்தில்?” என்று மொழிந்தேன்.

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