Father’s Lost Diary
Tiara had always been a great fan
of Suhas Kumar. And why wouldn’t she be? He was the heartthrob of millions of
female fans across the country. Girls would die just to have a glimpse of him,
and Tiara was no exception. And her father, George made sure that she did not
miss out on any of her Idol’s new releases. Any movie featuring him, and George
would ensure that the tickets for the first show were arranged for Tiara.
George never realized when Tiara
grew up to be a teenager and became completely in awe of Suhas Kumar. She
wouldn’t eat for days if she read that Suhas had a new affair. She would feel
excited that Suhas had broken up with his girlfriend as if she now had a
chance. George would often tell his daughter that Suhas was of his age and is
of no match for his pretty daughter and she used to get very angry with him
saying that he is jealous of the film star.
George started greying and
balding in complete contrast to increasing popularity of Suhas Kumar. Tiara
started feeling ashamed of accompanying her father anywhere. And then one day,
George fell sick and had to be hospitalized. Doctors diagnosed that the
pressure of taking care of a family had taken a toll on his health and his
condition was fast deteriorating.
Tiara was alone at home one day,
and while cleaning up the house, and happened to chance upon an old red diary
hidden beneath a heap of books, George’s collection, being an avid reader. She
opened the diary to realize that it was her fathers’. She opened the first
page. It was dated 18 years back, the day of her birth. George had written that
it was the happiest day of his life. He would sacrifice anything in life for
the little angel who has been bestowed to him.
With trembling hands, Tiara
started turning the pages. She started reading about George’s various hobbies
and interests and how he sacrificed all of them just because he wanted to just
concentrate of bringing up his daughter in the best possible way and how he
felt so happy about it.
And then on one page in the middle,
was an old worn out photograph of a very young and dashing man. The photograph
was of someone who was much more debonair and good-looking than Suhas Kumar,
her Idol. She took the photograph in her hand and stared at it for a while
trying to imagine which actor of yesteryear’s he could be. Then she started
reading the next pages of the diary. Her throat choked as she read how George
was being approached by many movie producers to act in their movies and how he
turned down all the offers very firmly just because he thought that the movie
industry was very ruthless and valueless and he didn’t want his darling, his
daughter also to be drawn into it. She tried to see the dates of these accounts
in the diary and realized that she was all of 3 years at that time.

Tiara was speechless. It was not
difficult for her to realize that the photograph she had in her hand was of her
bald and frail father. She could not gather the courage to read any further.
She closed the diary and imagined her father’s face as she had seen all these
years.
As Tiara entered the hospital
room, her father was sleeping peacefully. She stared at her father’s face but
she was unable to recognize him anymore. She was unable to see the forming
wrinkles on his face. She was unable to see his balding head. She could just
see the young and dashing face of George that she had seen in the photograph
that morning.

Tiara went and kissed her father’s cheeks and laid
her head on his chest and cried her heart out. Her cry woke up George and he
lifted her face and held it next to his. Tiara could not feel the wrinkles or
the roughness in his face, but could feel the softness of all the efforts in
bringing her up all these years. She cupped her father’s face with both hands, kissed
his forehead again and said to herself that she got her Idol, her real Hero…her
Dad!

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Technology –a boon or a bane to Cricket
An honest opinion on how the Cricket World Cup
has changed over the last few years based on the advent of technology, a blog
by the true and honest me.
When we talk of the advent of technology in the
cricketing field, the immediate picture that comes in our mind is the UDRS. The
Umpire Decision Review System, from the time it was officially adopted by the
ICC had been a matter of debate, whether it is between the cricketing boards,
the players, the ex-players, the experts and commentators alike. Even the
general viewers and the cricket buffs have not been spared of this debate.
The most widely argued reason for the debate on
the UDRS is due to the controversies it has created, every time it has been
tried out for adoption in any cricketing match. The controversy and the
argument always had been over the contentious issue of the accuracy of the
technology, with the teams and players coming up with their views and counter
views based on their share of knowledge of and experiences with the technology.
I would
not be using my space here to explain what exactly UDRS is but for the novices
in cricket, I wouldn’t be
doing justice if I do not at least run through it. UDRS as the full form of one
of the alphabets of the acronym itself suggests, is the new review system
launched by ICC in November 2009 first introduced in test matches and later
made mandatory in all matches from October 2011.
Under the UDRS, each team is allowed to make
unlimited successful and two unsuccessful review requests per innings during a
match to review a non out or out decision, which can be availed either by the fielding
captain or the batsman being declared dismissed, by signaling a “T sign” using
both the arms.
The technology that is used in the UDRS may
vary from the much simpler Hawk-Eye, the relatively easier Snickometer to the
more sophisticated Hot-Spot.
The Hawk-Eye, which is a just a computer based
technology which just tries to visually track the trajectory of the ball and
record the most likely statistical path of the moving ball. This is a much
simpler method and can be used only to indicate whether the ball would or would
not have gone one to hit the stumps in a leg-before-the-wicket decision.
The more sophisticated technology which is the
talk of all debates on UDRS is the Hot-Spot, which is an infra-red imaging
system which is used to determine whether the ball has struck the bat or pads
or any other part of the batsman’s body
during its travel and where it has struck.
The raging debate on the use of Hot-Spot is the
whooping cost involved in it, which seems to be approximately around $56,000
per day, which translates to close to Rs.25 lakhs in Indian currency. Though
the cost is surely a concern, it is quite ironical that the richest cricketing
body in the world, the BCCI is vehemently opposing this on the matter of the
cost.
The high cost of this technology is due to the
fact that it requires two infra-red cameras to be installed on opposite sides
of the ground above the play area which continuously records the images.
Wherever there is a snick or bat/pad event, it gets recorded in the infra-red
image by way of a bright spot due to the elevation of the local temperature
recorded where the contact friction happens. Sounds too technical, yeah it is.
Another simpler variation of it is the
snickometer which is used to graphically analyse the sound and video and hence
tries to confirm whether there was a fine noise, or snick as the ball passes
the bat.
The technology being adopted is certainly a great
boon for the game of cricket and hence it has been responded quite positively
by most of the players. Though surely human errors cannot be completely
dispensed with, this technology has certainly helped in reducing these errors
to the minimum.
However, we must also admit the fact that
technology is created by humans and therefore they also may be fallible at
times. The creators of this technology, themselves going around declaring the
possibility of high percentage of inaccuracy, add fuel to the already raging
debate.
We should also be honest to state that the
hot-spot may perhaps not pick up feather touches which does not result in
substantial change in temperature, or the haw-eye just predicts the
predetermined path of the ball, as programmed by the software but does not
consider the amount of seam, bounce or spin, it would have actually got, in the
real sense. But all in all, we all would need to admit that it has reduced
human error to the minimum.
In my opinion, embracing technology is always
good, in any part of life, and cricket is so exception, but the existing flaws
in the UDRS system should be pruned up and it should be made consistent and
100% accurate so as to avoid further controversies. I also feel that this
technology should more and more be used in domestic level matches too (of
course the cost is to be borne in mind), so that the players and umpires get
used to it and understand its usage more effectively and efficiently.
Further the review system should be consistent
in its results or else instead of improving umpiring decisions, it would only
lead to increasing the number of controversies relating to non only on-field
umpiring but third-umpiring as well. When I say this, I would need to refer to
the recent case of a match in the World Cup where a batsman was found trapped
in front of the stumps twice. The first time, the batsman was given not out by
the on-field umpire and when the fielding team called for review, found that
the ball was hitting the leg stump and hence the on-field umpire was allowed to
sustain his original decision. The second time, the same batsman was given out
by the on-field umpire, and when the batsman called for review, found again
that the ball was hitting the leg stump and hence the on-field umpire was
allowed to sustain his original decision. Sounds funny, but on both occasions,
the ball was hitting the leg stump, but the first time, because the appealing
team reviewed it, it went against them because they were challenging the
on-field umpire and the second time, it went 
against the reviewing batsman, because he too was challenging the on-field
umpire’s decision.
UDRS is a challenge for many umpires too, with
the case of a senior Umpire being removed from important matches of the World
Cup because most of the cases reviewed against his decision had gone against
him, is also a thought to ponder.
In conclusion, I would say that technology need
to be pruned and fine-tuned and the flaws removed to provide 100% accuracy or
else the controversy surrounding it will continue and we will have more and
more “spot”-on debates on this “hot”topic,
but will still end up realising that the “feather” touch is still wanted and there is still so
more to catch the “eye”.
Written for the #BloggerDreamTeam

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Faith – my definition of it
I have grown up with learning
quite a distorted meaning of the word faith. From the time I started
understanding things and trying to put them in the rational perspective, I
started questioning the tradition. I had my serious difference of opinion on
rituals and prayers and that eventually made me an outcast in the society.

I was branded as an atheist, a
non believer, a person not having faith, much below in standard to the
faithful. I decided to adopt that stigma and try to really make people
understand my concept of belief, of godliness and of faith.

Checking out on the dictionary
meaning of the word, faith, we realize that faith has been defined as the
confidence or trust. The trust can be in anything or anyone. It can be on a
being, an object, an organism and not necessarily on God or a deity. Further
meanings searched, and I have even understood that faith is what we call hope,
in any outcome, which may be rational or irrational.
I have always pondered whether
faith has anything to do with belief. I could not find any conclusive evidence
of anything common between them. We are living in a community where people
follow different religions, and then there are people who follow none. Does it
mean that only those who follow some specific written and laid down rules are
the ones who have faith? I beg to differ. I feel that we all are people of
faith, because faith is the basic element of human nature. I shall take the
very simple example of our world, our universe. The whole universe is so
infinite and so complicated that we have not been able to study and understand
it fully since ages. In spite of so many studies on the subject, even
scientists have admitted that the human knowledge on this subject even to this
date is only perhaps a tiny fraction of the reality. In spite of not really
knowing how this universe functions, we just accept it as awe-inspiring and
impossible to be understood by finite human minds. This is what faith is.
Faith is what allows us to carry
on with what we do every single day without even realizing that we hardly know
anything of how it all functions. I can have faith in certain principles that I
hold high, in the community that I abode, in the institutions that have been
laid down to govern us. I can have faith in myself and I can have faith in the
universe as a whole. I have faith, and my faith is the ability to trust
something from the core of my being. In that aspect am I not being a person of
faith?

For me, faith is trust, a
trust that I get emotionally involved in, which is far deeper, far more sacred
than belief. For me, faith is the trust, which hurts me bad, when broken. For
me, faith is the trust which allows me to find trust again, when broken,
despite the pain and the hurt I had gone through.
In my advocacy on my concept
of faith, I am not at all against people who hold religious beliefs as the meaning
of faith. I honestly feel that the people who hold any particular religious
belief are also people of faith. They are the people who have agreed and
committed to each other to trust one another and care for each other, if not
the physical care, but the care of each others’ souls and spirits.

The only fear that I have
about religious faiths is that more often than not it leads to hypocrisy or
fundamentalism. And when it happens, either one of them, it does not remain
faith anymore. And when it does, it starts doing harm. When people of one
religious faith starts believing and holding that their faith does well, but
other faiths do harm, then it is not faith but emotions which take over their
minds. I get scared when emotions take over sensibility, because that’s the
first step towards strife. The hatred happens naturally because different
people following different religious faiths substitute different emotions.

Epilogue:

In conclusion, it is a
debatable issue. The Christians have faith in resurrection as much as Communists have in the Karl Marx’s theory of Value.  We humans are not qualified enough to defend
either of the two, rationally or irrationally.

I would just leave it to
best judgment and a prayer that we be tolerant to each other. Defend your
faith, by healthy debate, but please do not defend it by war. May your faith
save you!

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