Food For Soul – By Devadatta Rakshit.

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I always admit the fact that I’m a Foodie. Hence my taste buds are nurtured in such a way, that I am really addicted to good food. And being a Bengali (read Bangali), I can proudly say that our heart always reach out to sumptuous delicacies. But have you ever imagined, if dishes were to talk and think, what it would have been like. Enter any Wedding Hall or Restaurant, and you will encounter with the so called “employees”. The Beverages always act as if they are the owners, whereas they only serve the purpose of a Receptionist. Some might talk to them, others try to ignore them. The Starters are always the bunch who works the most, but all the praise and hype and hoopla surrounds the Entrees. The Kebabs, the Kachoris, the “Choles”, the “Salads”, the “Fries”, your lump sum diet is filled by these, but you always talk about the Mutton, the Chicken, the Fish, the Paneer. As if they are the Higher Authorities and no matter what you need to please them.

Lastly comes the Support Staffs or Desserts. No matter how much you try to ignore them, you would always need their help. The Sweets, the Chutneys, the Papads act as the same. It really would be an exhilarating experience to listen to these items “talking” amongst themselves. Wherein the Ops Team would always curse the Management, but can never raise their voice in public. The Support Staffs would silently keep supporting, but would hardly get any rewards or recognitions, on the contrary would get backlash on the slightest of pretext. And the Receptionist would always try to hog the limelight, sitting pretty in one corner.

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Aarushi Talwar- A victim of circumstances !!

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It’s been couple of days since the Talwar couple has been convicted for the murder of their only daughter Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj. By all means, this case has been a pot boiler in every sense. The media buzz refuses to die down with relentless discussions, acquisitions, arguments, articles, blogs and what not, trying to reach a conclusion – who is, right? Since last five years, we all have seen many ups and down in this case. The very fact that parents can kill their only daughter has been a point of contention beyond imagination. (Read:http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/life-sentence-for-nupur-rajesh-talwar-in-aarushi-murder-case-full-court-order-451171). Many theories cropped up, and people let their imagination afloat to reach a consequential end. Today, when we stand at a juncture where we all know the verdict, my heart reaches out to only one person in this mega plot – Aarushi Talwar. She was this 14 year girl, who was murdered and left open for  public scrutiny till eternity. Numerous versions came up in no time. Whether it was Uttar Pradesh police, the CBI, media or the public…every Tom Dick and Harry had something or the other to say about this girl. It really didn’t  matter whether you know her or not, but you have all the right to pass aspersions on her, perhaps assassinate, rape and vandalize her respect, dignity and character again and again and again. Spare her for God sake !! Let her soul rest in peace, and this the least we all can do for this little girl who is reduced to a mere commodity on whom anyone can lay their hands on. The most condescending fact is the investigating agencies’ call to base the case on this girl’s character without any evidence, stands absurd beyond a reasonable doubt. The basic fulcrum of the judgment too was the so-called “objectionable activities” of the girl that made her parents take this drastic step. I wonder how without any substantial evidence one can pin down a soul to such a level? Can this be hidden under the garb of the circumstantial evidence? I believe no !! Arrushi deserved much more respect, and in my opinion, others including the family are the ones who need to answer a host of obvious questions in this regard. The malicious treatment that was meted out to  Aarushi,  leaves me sad and bewildered, to say the least. I believe, every norm of preserving the privacy of a person is overstepped again and again on the pretext of justice, making  her a household name for all the wrong reasons, one can ever think off.(Read: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/blog-i-know-aarushi-talwar-451221).x

Aarushi- Hemraj murder case is arguably one of the most sensational criminal proceeding the country has seen in recent times. And, if the reports are to be believed, there is a long and hard battle lying ahead of the Talwars who hope to get some respite from the higher authorities. Keeping in mind the shoddy nature of  investigation, some believe that the judgment is apt, others argue that there are still several pieces that need to be explored. But, amidst all this hullabaloo,  my only plea is….deal Aarushi with respect and dignity. Don’t make her a scape goat. Don’t denigrate her character, don’t make her a victim of circumstances… she is gone….and never to come back to tell – what happened? Why did it happen, and perhaps the most important question…Who did it?

Aarushi Talwar will remain etched in Indian psyche for years to come. Everyone has their own way of deciphering the various concoctions of  this saga. For me though, this double murder mystery will remain an example of a perfectly botched up investigation and an even more perfectly executed murder, where the victim is made the real culprit, in more ways than one.

Vishwanathan Anand- Only a sportsman or a Sports Legend !!

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Whenever I think about the retirement frenzy of Sachin Tendulkar, I am made to think what makes him so popular, and a legend as many pronounce. Is it only the career stats and achievements or something much more than that? My answer, however points at the connectivity a person creates with the people who love, respect and admire their idol in more ways than one. Vishwanathan Anand is arguably one of the most towering names in Chess not only in India, but in the whole world. He is the one who has remarkably placed India’s name in the chess arena globally. He has touched the pinnacle of success where no Indian has ever reached.  But, the quintessential question is- will  Grandmaster Anand will ever get this kind of adulation on retirement that he deserves considering his stature? I believe No !!  The point we need to ponder is – why?

Chess has always remained an elite game. Only people with higher IQ are eligible to take up this game. Chess is not everybody’s cup of tea.  I have grown up seeing and learning about Vishawanathan Anand as a man who has made India proud in  the 64 squares board game. But, to me he will remain a great sports person and never a legend. Many would argue that Anand is and will always be a legend as he is the only Indian who has reached this height. Yes, he is the chess supremo, but sadly, Anand never took any step to give anything back to this country in any way. Did he ever make an effort to tutor young brains of India, who perhaps lose it out in the international circuit  because of lack of guidance, coaching and sponsorship. Correct me if I am wrong, I have never heard anything that makes him anything beyond  a great chess player.  He may be the man who took Chess to a new level in India, but till date remained a name who had  potential to harness young talents in India, but sadly never took a step towards this. In a way, Anand is a far fletched idea for most people. Spare a though to the fact, if Anand had chosen to guide young talents of this country, how many more Anands we would have had till now?

There are many who would feel that this is a downright negative blog about a man who has brought such laurels to our country. To them I  would say, I do not deny what he has achieved, but at the same time, no denying the fact that Anand’s conspicuous  absence from India  has done more harm than good to this nation full of incredible talents.  Anand could have done much more if he had chosen to make himself  available in the manner Prakash Padukone, Gopichand and Mahesh Bhupati are doing through their sports academies in the country. I would have loved to see a chess academy from this master manufacturing and honing skills, than his occasionally hyped visits to the country, and that would have perhaps made him a legend in every sense. For now, Vishwanathan just remains a great sports personality….with all due respect !!

Creating Ourselves: Identity

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A beautiful piece that I read today. The meaning for identity is just so unique when you see it from her eyes and mind. A new perspective.. a new dawn I would say.

Cats and Chocolate

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Identity is fascinating. If we didn’t find it fascinating, there would be no interviews, no memoir, no ‘I’, as such. To identify each other, we talk about interests, beliefs, our dreams, our likes and dislikes, our passions. We talk about where we think we belong, what our past has been, what our present is, and where we think we’re going. Or we are ‘rebels’ in some sense of the word – setting ourselves apart from the culture we grew up in, or apart from the culture that people attribute to us.

It fascinates me because I’ve noticed that my identity has shifted, along with how I define myself at any one time. I used to define myself by what I consumed: my favourite TV series, my taste in music, what I wore.

Nowadays identity is something I consider deeper, rooted in a sense of my experiences and how I’ve responded…

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When a Savior becomes perpetrator…

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The latest rape allegations on Tarun Tejpal, the editor -in- chief of Tehalka Magazine has left the journalistic fraternity in total dismay. He is one of those tower names in the world of fearless journalism, who have time and again expressed unbiased opinion on issues of grave importance. Tarun Tejpal, all through his career has been a pivotal pillar and benchmark for the younger generation, who have followed his every move as a journalist. It was his ethics, ruthlessness and sheer dedication to his job, that made him one of the maverick journalists of all time.   Allegation of rape  is thus downrightly disgraceful, and certainly sets an extremely low standard regarding the morals of the magazine, as a whole. The  issue came to light after Mr. Tejpal offered his resignation and an apology for is unintentional deeds. Can rape be unintentional ? (Read:http://cowgirlkitty41.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/psychological-debate-why-men-rape-women/) I fail to understand what must have been the psychological state of this man who have been exceedingly vocal about matters related to woman emancipation and other forms of so called injustices in the society. In his resignation Tarun Tejpal states, “I feel atonement cannot be just words. I must do the penance that lacerates me. I am therefore, offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months.”(Read: http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/tarun-tejpal-the-hunter-becomes-the-hunted-113112100246_1.html)

I am quite amused by the choice of his words that he used to rescue himself from the horrendous act he graciously committed. It is believed that this well written resignation letter is to rescue himself from the awful misreading of the situation that lead to an unfortunate incident. Certainly unfortunate Mr. Tejpal, if proven guilty you will have to brave 10 years of imprisonment, to say the least. Also, I wonder if apologies and well executed statements  stand any chance when you have committed a heinous crime like rape.

The entire episode of Tarun Tejpal is shocking and shameful beyond words, more because, he is one of those people whom I admired immensely as a media professional. Even the fact that he is associated with such an allegation is disturbing enough. In my opinion, this act of perpetration (if proven true)  is nothing but a display of sheer hypocrisy, double standards and blatant sense of voyeurism.

Well, after penning down my thoughts, I wonder if calling him “Savior” is at all a befitting word for this man !!

A Phenomena called – Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

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….My life, between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that that wonderful journey has come to an end, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who have played an important role in my life….”, these were the first few words that the little master began his iconic speech on the last day of his cricketing career. With moist eyes and lump in his throat, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar made the whole nation weep with him as he spoke, which has perhaps become one of the most poignant moments of his illustrated career. 16Th November 2013 will always remain a significant day, as the man who carried the weight of Indian cricket for more than two decades, bids adieu to the sports he has loved, revered and played for the last 24 years. In the past, India has seen a resurgence of several greats in this filed, but none could match the stature and poise of this man. Perhaps something that not only makes him a successful cricketer, but also an immensely beautiful human being, at large. Sachin Tendulkar is essentially a complete man, his durability, temperament, honesty, simplicity and of course his consequential attitude makes him the lynchpin of one of the most formidable batting line-ups ever. Needless to say, this man has time and again proved that there is no alternative to hard work, perseverance and determination. As Mathew Hayden rightly says, “I have seen God, he bats at no. 4 for India.”

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Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was born on the 24th April, 1973 to Ramesh and Rajni Tendulkar. At the age of 11, he found the ultimate love of his life and devoted himself completely. It is said that his father Sri. Ramesh Tendulkar named his son “Sachin” after his favorite music director Sachin Dev Burman. Youngest of his four siblings, he could never complete his formal education and instead went on to train himself under renowned coach, Ramakanth Achrekar. Sachin is married to Anjali Tendulkar and is blessed with two wonderful kids – Sara and Arjun.

While still at school, he was involved in a mammoth 664 run partnership in a “Harris Shield” game with his friend and team mate Vinod Kambli, which still remains a challenge for the next gen cricketers. In 1989, Tendulkar made his international debut in a Test match in Karachi, Pakistan, on Nov 15, 1989. He was 16 then. Arguably, with of the most impressive debuts in the international arena, Sachin kept accelerating with every match he played. From then, this little master has never looked back and graced this game with his style, class and devotion.

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Sachin Tendulkar has created and broke his own record several times. Tendulkar holds the record for a maximum number of appearances and is the highest run-getter and century maker in both versions of the game. He was also the first man to score a double century in the 50-over format. Eminent cricketer Ravi Shastri once said,“I have never seen such arrogance, such contempt for bowlers since Richard.

Over the years, a lot have been said about this phenomenal sportsman. What is that one thing that makes Sachin what he is today? Experts feel that it is not one but the confluence of physical strength, alertness, technique, wisdom, humility, patience, and vision that make him a genius. Often people refer to him as God of Cricket, and why not, Tendulkar has in his own way changed the dynamics of this game, which now in a certain way has become synonyms to his existence. Asked what drives him the most, Sachin flatly replies, “It’s the challenge that drives me.”

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Sachin Tendulkar in his career has been bestowed with numerous awards. The tallest of all being “Bharat Ratna”. On 15th and 16th of November 2013, The Times Magazine announced him as the “Person of the Moment”. The final cricketing moments of this legend swept the whole world, what many believe is perhaps the first of its kind. However, the most revered award according to Sachin, are the words of Sir Don Bradman where he says, “I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I feel that this player is playing much the same as I used to play, and she looked at him on Television and said yes, there is a similarity between the two… his compactness, technique, stroke production… it all seemed to gel.”

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Sachin Tendulkar’s camaraderie with his teammates is something that makes him special in more ways than one. His teams mates are always in a complete awe of him. On his retirement, Virat Kohli says, “Tendulkar has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It is time we carried him on our shoulders.” His friends like Saurav Ganguli, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble strongly feel that Sachin has been the backbone and strength of the Indian team. He leads by example and believes in the strength and potential of each and every member of the team. The current captain MS Dhoni sums ups, “With Sachin Paaji, a part of me will be gone too.”

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Sachin Tendulkar is a notch higher than any cricketer in every sense. His cricketing stats speak for the legend. But, the adulation he has received in the last 15 days is certainly also for the beautiful person he is. He epitomizes endurance and consistency on one hand, on the other his immaculate strength of character is commendable. Cricket will no longer be the same without him. While some believe his records will never be broken, I feel, there just can never be another Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. He was and will always remain the quintessential part of Indian psyche, and keep inspiring and motivating generations and generations to come. Thanks you SRT for all the entertainment for the past two decades and wish you the very best in life!

Spare the budding star- Prithvi Shaw

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In the last 24 hours, I have been through five top web sites and hit practically the same news again and again…. Read this “Prithvi Shaw: The prodigious run-machine” by TOI, “Meet Prithvi Shaw, India’s ready-made replacement for retired great Sachin Tendulkar” by www.news.com.au, Next Sachin Tendulkar?- DNA. There are several such headlines that have managed to create much flutter in Prithvi Shaw’s other wise normal life. I just want to ask ..is this hype and adulation really needed? I agree, his achievement is highly commendable, and he has all the potential to take the cricketing world by storm in the coming years. Or should I say, he is the next big cricketing name in India ! Amen !! But, just think of a 15 yr old being compared to the like of Sachin Tendulkar in a country that is so insanely obsessed with cricket. This is insanely cockeyed and must be stopped right away. In an interview to Indian Express Prithvi  said, “People come up to me and say they see Sachin Tendulkar in me. They compare me with God! It is in my best interest to ignore these comparisons and focus on my batting,”. I hope God, along with cricketing skills, also bestows him with ample patience and humility.

To me, this whole media frenzy will perhaps harm him more than doing any good. Spare him for God sake, so that he becomes a towering name in the world of sports and a name to reckon with. God Bless Prithvi Shaw !!