Thursday, February 11, 2021

Forests, Environment & Union Budget!

 








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“The time I spent in the jungles held unalloyed happiness for me, and that happiness I would now gladly share. My happiness, I believe, resulted from the fact that all wildlife is happy in its natural surroundings. In nature there is no sorrow, and no repining. A bird from a flock, or an animal from a herd, is taken by hawk or carnivorous beast and those that are left rejoice that their time had not come today, and have no thought of tomorrow.”... Jim Corbett

Whenever the subject is forest just the way he has relieved thousands of people from living under the threat of a Man-Eater, the same way Jim relieves me from how to start my sharing & this one is also not an exception! Unfortunate fact is nearly hundred years back a white man (Englishman) nearly gave his life for conservation of forests in this very country of ours & wrote such wonderful words of wisdom about the forests & now when we call ourselves free country & largest democracy of the world, we don't care much (read as don’t care at all) about these forests which are our best ever treasure, actually! And if you think I am sounding like some extremist environmentalist or green movement worker, well, you have liberty to think whatever you want to but take one look at the budget of this trillion crore rupees or whatever figure it may in the economics & the provision our Mai Baap govt has made for the forests & you may believe on my words! Ok, here is something not just in newspapers but the information is from the web site of our finance ministry of the Union Budget Provisions for 2021, for the few heads including forest & environment dept too...

Agriculture, Rural Development, Irrigation and allied activities   ... Rs 2.83 lakh crore

Wellness, Water and Sanitation theme.... Rs 69,000 crore 

Education and Skill ... Rs 99,300 crore

Development and promotion of Industry and Commerce...  Rs 27300 crore 

Infrastructure sector ... Rs 100 lakh crore

Women and Child, Social Welfare...  Rs 35,600 crore

Environment and Climate Change.... Rs 4,400 crore

I am not some finance expert but a civil engineer & a wild lifer, so I am not that friendly or say at ease with the figures or budget heads & provision type details neither I know how many rupees makes total budget of our country! But one thing sure I know & understand & that is analogy, by which even a dumb (read as an engineer) can also make out the money provision made for environment (which includes forests) is way lesser in compare to many other heads from the above chart.  Here as usual many will wink their nose & say, what you want, moon & sun for the forests, are the other heads not more important than some wild animals which any way lives in forests & doesn’t need roads or medicines or education or food & many such things, so what more the govt should make provision of than four thousand plus crore rupees for the forests! I agree, as ours is a developing country & 130 crore population need many things to survive but the we have a democratic govt by the people, of the people & for the people but to whom the tigers, elephants, deer, leopards, falcons, mongoose, lizards & thousands of such species to look at for making budget provision for their needs, is I want to ask to all those who winks their nose at the demand for more budget provision for environment & forests! 

Yes Rs 4400 crore is definitely a big amount for a developing country like ours but then look at the volume of the forest area & millions of species making those lands as their home & the very same amount is going to be used for the environmental activities also which are directly related for the conservation of forest or say wild life or biodiversity, whatever we call it! For e.g. from this amount we have to stop pollution of rivers, lakes, ocean as well the mountains & hills. From the very same amount we have to make the millions of people living around every wildlife habitat which includes not just tiger sanctuaries but grasslands, wetlands, unprotected forests, mangroves & many such as its these people (read as humans) which are direct threat to the forests (and environment) if we don't give proper infrastructure to survive on their own!  As well from this amount we have to make provisions for the forest staff which is already very less in numbers & by infrastructure as most forest guards don't have proper accommodation as well facilities for their families while they serve deep within forests, away from the urban world to protect some tiger or a leopard & its home & from whom but none other than the fellow humans! Leave apart accommodation most forest staff does not have their own life protecting things like guns while the humans from whom these guards are supposed to protect wildlife have self loading rifles & no proper vehicles to cover the large areas & has to patrol on feet (which also is important)! This entire infrastructure including new posts & labour force is supposedly done from the budget provision & that’s why the amount is not enough. And then we have to make research, studies, and maps, collect data, awareness (which is the key actually) & many such activities, which will help us in conservation of the forests & environment & that's possible only from the annual budget provision only. 

Oh yes, some more figures I will share, the area of our country which is the seventh largest country by size is  32,87,263 square kilometres & the the land under forests of all types is is 7,12,249 sq km which is 21.67% of the geographical area of the country. By the way the ideal forest cover for the country & the target set is for 33%, means we have to not just protect this 7,12,249 sq km area but we have to add nearly 3,00,000 sq km area in this existing forest land & that means we have to acquire this land or free the same from other uses as well take efforts to make it green & see that the wildlife gets settled in this new added land under forest! And now tell me, we are talking about one third of land area of the entire country & the budget for the same is not even one hundredth of our total annual budget & still we expect only the forest dept or some NGOs' to Save the Tiger; seriously optimistically selfish souls we are really, are we not! At the same time the policies as well our bureaucratic hierarchy makes the forest dept crippled whenever it has to encounter its fellow depts’ may it be revenue (blue eyed) & police or irrigation or public work (road making), defense & oh yes railways too (how can I forget maximum wildlife kills which happens due to railway tacks passing through forests)! As all these depts. works for our (humans) comfort & safety as well earns revenue also along but its only the forest dept which does not work for the humans so they are tagged as speed breaker (read as obstacle)  for all other depts. & best way to cut their wings (and legs, hands & brain too) is cut their budge, isn’t it! 

As there are IFS i.e. Indian Forest Services  as well State level forest service’s but we all know (with high regards to many forest officer’s die hard attitude towards their duty) they all are like toothless & clawless tigers when are outside of forests because of the system we call as govt! And the major threat(or say the only threat) to the forests is not from inside but from outside of the forests, this very fact if we doesn’t accept now & act on, then the 33% of forest cover area is like "Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapne" i.e. impossible task! And all of this is reflected in the union budget provision for the forests; this is why I felt like taking the budget aspect of wildlife, to make masses aware! As with all due respect to my forest dept friends, none of their suggestions are taken into account while making development plans or any infrastructure projects as they are looked as trouble makers & so are their pleas for protection of forests is a bitter fact! This is the case of govt forest officials so less we speak about the NGO's working in the wildlife field & their suggestions is better! I repeat, I am not saying don't do developments or don't provide comforts to the humans, as I too am a human only but guys, create a balance somewhere, is all I am saying & I am not alone saying this! And for that lets start from the budget provision for the wildlife, as that's the first step! The wild life field’s NGO's task is more tough because where the govt itself don't give much money (read as a damn) for the needs of the wildlife how can we expect the so called successful city people to contribute generously for the wild life as here people can buy cameras worth lakhs of rupees & spend equal for one forest trip but when giving financial support (read as donation) for any wildlife activity then they have all the reasons for not being able to contribute, lockdown is the new one! 

This year has already been bad for most of the industries as well businesses & entire society but it was more bad for the forest people as their entire livelihood is dependent on tourists visiting forests & the whole season has washed away due to lockdown. I have seen the impact on the locals residing around forests & their financial status which already was & is below par than many city folks. In such times the forest dept & wildlife NGOs' will need more support in every form especially the money front, this our Mai Bapp govt must understand! Well, if you are not still satisfied with my logic, here is something more "aankho dekha haal", I visited a small grassland forest near Pune for photography of chinkara & grassland birds & a forest labour/ guard who was on contract basis employed, was accompanying me  around to show the habitat. After listening my chatting with my friend along, the guy must have realized I knew a name or two of senior forest officers (and good one), so he dared & told me that he hasn't received salary for nearly six months as the funds has not been released by the govt is what RFO (Range officer) was saying to him, so can I put a word to top bosses & do needful as the RFO from his pocket has gave him some advances to keep his household running! I said I will do whatever best I can & the story doesn’t ends here, it was Diwali vacation & I have got a box of sweets for the RFO there who happens to be my friend too. As the RFO was at taluka place of the forest & likely was not going to meet me I asked this forest labour fellow (Van majur) to hand over the box to RFO saab, though I didn't tell him what was in it! When I left for Pune, after an hour I received call from the forest labour (well, in India a man can live without food but cell phone he can afford, Jio mere lal) & he asked, "Sirji wo jo baxa aapne diya RFO saab ke liye, usme kuch mithai hai kya?", are there sweets in the box which I have given for RFO?. I replied, yes it is, then he sheepishly asked, "sirji, aap naraj na ho to, plz mai rakh lu wo baxa mithai ka, bacho ki diwali ban jayegi mere", i.e. can I keep the sweets box, please, my kids will be very happy as they don’t have anything for diwali! Well, my grassland trip photography joy was washed away in the lump which formed in my throat with those words & all I could say is, "rakhlo wo mithai bhai, Happy Diwali!" Well, that guard's family I could make happy with one sweet box but who will make such thousands of families as well species happy, is the question I want to ask; that's all folks, think over! 

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Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.


Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4xX7eopH5o&t=5s

 

Please do visit my blog links below to read about real estate & home buying! 

https://visonoflife.blogspot.com/2021/01/post-lock-down-real-estate-home-buying.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.com/


Creating Togetherness; team Sanjeevani Way(Click link below) 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/albums/72157627904681345

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org

Take your issues to Hon PM at link below..

https://secure.mygov.in/

Think Green, Think Life

www.sanjeevanideve.com


Friday, February 5, 2021

Roads, People, City & Attitude!

 













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“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”...

“Not TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of American communities.”...

“There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.”...
... 
Jane Jacobs.

All above three quotes I used as the subject vs. aptness of each above quote was such that I felt like Hanumanji searching for Sanjeevani Herb ( a life saving medieval herb) on Dronagiri mountain & as got confused which one to get so got entire mountain to Shri Ram! That’s greatness of Jane Jacobs & her thinking ability about urban planning! Not to test your anxiety, this city always amaze me with the controversies it love, the intensity with which each controversy is fought & the consistency of generating (or say invention) the controversies we create! Oh yes, I m referring to our Smart Pune city & the latest entrant in the controversies league is our narrow roads & their widths & their widening! Now, one will ask, how this can be subject of controversy as there are roads in every city, town & country & they keep on widening (though in our country, roads keep on narrowing also) also, so what so big deal in it! Well, first this is Pune, where everything is a big deal especially when it’s related to the city or people & second it’s not about road widening but it’s about our attitude regarding such civic issues, that’s what makes even the issue like road widening as big deal. And then while the Smart City campaign was in full swing (anybody remembers it?) that time majority of Punekar’s has mentioned traffic as the most concerned aspect of this city which is directly related to the road widths & which is again a myth or a sign of our unawareness (ignorance actually) regarding our city & its issues! First, let me put forward, “traffic has nothing to do with the road widths”; I am no great urban planner but I have been to some great cities & seen work of some great names which are respected in urban planning & I am resident of this city for more than thirty years, that has made me dare to make such bold statement!

Problem of our city is not traffic or roads or vehicles, problem of our city is our attitude towards the traffic or say transportation along with a blind eye(nose, ear, brain too) from the “Mai Baap” govt regarding real needs of this city’s residents for their commuting within & out of the city! As there are bigger cities with denser population & smaller roads in the world but the most “kamjor kadi” i.e. weak link with this city is public transport! And if poor public transport is not enough then very poor infrastructure of traffic control systems which we call as traffic police (that’s not right actually), I am not blaming their efforts rather I pity when I see a white shirt cop covered in smog & smoke & yet keeping his or her cool while he or she is dealing with the Punekars’ on roads, which behaves as they are at war (and I don’t blame them also)!. Though I personally feel again its attitude which is reflected in following the traffic norms may it be parking our vehicles or driving or the way we use roads & its outcome of Police dept’s not being able to create enough fear in the minds of the commuters & we blame it on roads!  It’s a debatable question that how much is an ideal road width & whether 6 m wide road are really good, well they have been for the years & there has been TDR as well FSI which was equal to that on the wider roads in past, I see no harm being done till now! I am not against or for of widening all 6 meter wide roads to 9 meters, I am just asking few questions to all of us as well trying to analyze the situation or say solution!

First & foremost, how we conclude that giving more FSI or TDR on 6 m wide road fronting buildings will create chaos on roads as well traffic, because are we going to allow residents in these buildings to park their vehicles on the roads adjoining to them & if not then what control we have that these 6 m roads are not having traffic issues even right now also? We need on one side affordable (joke) home in the city centre & we don’t want to choke the roads by the vehicles of these affordable home’s owners, right? Then why are we silent on not building a public transport system which will remove the need of even a 1 bhk (I mean small home) flat buyer to buy a car & two no’s of 2 wheelers for his daily needs of commuting? As well just do mind, urban planning is not about some concrete structures & metal subjects on roads but it’s about people & the people in this country love to flaunt their wealth, of which buying (read as owning) a car, big car is one of the most essential aspect! And whatever laws you make or public transport you build, people will buy cars & two wheelers just the way they spend lavish on the marriages & decoration & fire shows in those marriages!  So, it’s not about the road widths only it’s about how we can make these people refrain from bringing their wealth in the form of cars on the road, first by providing good public transport & second making them respect (read as fear) the traffic laws if at all they bring their cars on the roads & then road size won’t matter much, is what my logic is!

At the same time it’s not just about the vehicles & public transport, it’s about the use of roads & footpaths also, which we all know about. The irony of Pune’s roads (actual any town in this country) is where roads are wider there they are used for all other things than traffic & where they are narrow there is no space for even vehicles, so we are talking about miss-management of the traffic & that’s something nothing has to do with the road width! And the for years we have 6 meter wide roads & 9 meter wide roads & now we have 30 meter wide roads too which also get chocked in the peak hours of traffic so why to give more FSI on these roads too then?  High time to ask some basic questions about the studies we ever have made about the way we use our roads to our  so called planners & the govt, what it want as outcome actually when they widen some roads or allow some TDR on some such widened roads!

Last but not least, what about the trees aligned all along the narrow roads & wider roads which we are again re-widening, they were there since we started making the first roads & now only they can’t move away on their own, we have to cut them away & the new trees will take decades more to again give us the shed & oxygen but till then what about the air we will keep breathing, have we thought of it?  Guys, if we think of only the cars then we will end up only making the roads & flyovers, it’s high time to think about the people & the trees & the birds & may be then we can at least dream of a city where the debate won’t be about 6 meter or 9 meter roads but about good life & bad life; till then keep fighting guys, if that’s what you call as Smartness!

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Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.


Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4xX7eopH5o&t=5s

 

Please do visit my blog links below to read about real estate & home buying! 

https://visonoflife.blogspot.com/2021/01/post-lock-down-real-estate-home-buying.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.com/


Creating Togetherness; team Sanjeevani Way(Click link below) 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/albums/72157627904681345

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org

Take your issues to Hon PM at link below..

https://secure.mygov.in/

Think Green, Think Life

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Post Lock-down Real Estate & Home Buying!

 







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Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction... Germany Kent

Germany Kent is an American print and broadcast journalist. Kent is also regarded as a social media etiquette expert. Kent has authored ten nonfiction books including The Hope Handbook Series, best-selling written work The Hope Handbook, and the critically acclaimed book “You Are What You Tweet”, a national bestseller. And with the new year here (actually one month has already passed) not just real estate but all of us need to not just read but live by the philosophy hidden in the words of Ms Germany, especially now when the vaccine is in market & herd immunity against the pandemic is building (hopefully). Lockdown is over, though the pandemic is not but just like World War wounds which took decades to heal for the most European countries, this war also we will be carrying in our minds for much longer time than the lockdown period. There will be calculations for the damage done & predictions but one thing is sure each of us has been hit in some way or other so the silver line is barring few companies ( Netflix, Amazon etc) every segment of the business world has its own wounds to look after & nurse it. Real estate isn’t also exception & that way real estate was in doldrums even before the pandemic hit the world but let’s look from the positive aspect of the lockdown or the pandemic as one thing is sure the dimensions were already changing to buy a home (let focus Pune) & I will say the pandemic helped in gaining speed for this change of dimensions for buying a home! 

Speaking about Pune which has been one of the dearest place (read as city) for the migrants from all over the country & even the world,(as someone told me there are over ten thousand Koreans in the city, that’s big number) for not just the jobs or knowledge this city offers to the residents but the life style also, which is an important aspect when you conclude on some place over other options as your home! And Pune was (is too) having it fullest in the form of hundreds of eating (and drinking too) outlets as well shops & malls with multiplexes & drama theaters & not to forget the social events like Ganesh Festival & Savai Gandharva which keeps the citizens entertained all around the year, what more one wants to for living when one is earning some money too in a city! So, agreed Pune was a hot destination for real estate & many industries as when a person is happy with the home then the reflection is bound to be seen as outcome of work front, is what every HR manager has been taught in his or her MBA degree, isn’t it! And so was real estate happy too as more jobs & more colleges’ means more migrants & means more need of the homes. AT the same time the existing genre of flat buyers in early seventies & eighties was also looking for up gradation of their home in the form of redevelopment or change of location of space. All this made real estate in Pune also a deer business for everyone associated with it, including the govt! 

Well, with the pandemic fear factor melting slowly once again people will start a fresh & definitely one thing will be there that owning a home will be priority & this I am not saying because it’s my profession but that's a natural course of action in changed times! Take a look at early news headlines in midway of year 20, all those which fled from the city were the ones residing on rental basis in the city & when they came back in mid way of peak of pandemic the way they found it difficult to re-enter in their rental premise (courtesy the respective society's managements), I am sure they must have decided two things either move away from this city for ever or buy a own home & most will go by later option as getting away from Pune permanently is not an easy option, especially if you are from some small place in rural India! As once you are used to this lifestyle, its addiction is worse, is a fact! So this segment which was a rental resident will be a new flat buyers for the real estate though their budget may not allow them to buy a home where they were residing pre-lockdown (or else why would they get in rental in first place) but they will be ready to move a bit away also, yet have a own home! 

Then there is work from home culture which is a life changing for many families, as never all five or six members of three genre has been needed to stay at a time for so long in the home & this has made many families to have a slight bigger home with added specifications in the home. And with work from home culture along with online schools & senior citizens not allowed to travel indeed need of additional room than having just big room sizes is being seen. One BHK family is looking for 2 two BHK & 2 BHK families are thinking of 3 BHK home as if husband wife are going to be work from home with kids school also from home then you are bound to need more rooms. This again will have own limitations as salaries are reduced (in most cases) & job security is a concern but life is not going to stop for this, right? So, start looking for options is the right way & upgrade on the basis of number of rooms rather than just location or amenities like swimming pool of club house which are actually useless for a while from now, yet the maintenance costs are there! At the same time do we really need big (I meant very big) room sizes as there always is a debate of what should be the ideal sizes of the rooms i.e. bed room or hall or kitchen. Well, there is no specific definition of such (there is actually in by-laws of PMC but that’s for sake of use) ideal dimensions of the rooms but what I feel is its individual’s perception which decides or say defines ideal, when its room sizes. So, just know what you want as room size because a 10’6” wide & 14’ long can be a good bed room & a 13’ wide & 18’ long also is a bed room only! I am not saying stay in a cramped room but reduction by a feet in all rooms if can give you one additional room then that’s need of the time is what I feel.

Also about the luxuries of the life, the pandemic has shown us that living by needs is always better than greed as who cares what brand of the jean or the watch you are wearing if you are wearing a mask to cover your face itself all the time, right? So, instead just looking for luxurious specifications  if the project is offering more open spaces with trees & has open gym on terrace as well & if it’s a township then option of having some guest rooms common for the outstation visitors along with common workplaces & yes, Wi-Fi also, all these can be good & useful amenities. Agreed challenges in front of the builders are more high as everyone will try to salvage the damage done by the lockdown & even the Govt is not exception & will try to take away as much it can from the pockets of the business fraternity (what else it can do), the present 50% discount in premiums vs. making developers pay the stamp duty of the flats (homes) is classic example of the attitude the govt is thinking with! At the same time more FSI means more premiums & more homes & more revenue, is also what govt thinks & will flood the market with FSI but that means more supply & lesser margins & turnover at slower speed; do mind, all these aspect of real estate. And then there is issue of increased labor costs as our dear State (Maharashtra) opened its gates later than all others, most labor gangs have got engaged in other Metro cities as we can't expect them to be jobless for so long. And now real estate industry in the State is facing acute labor shortage, especially the skilled ones & then this is not an industry which can accommodate to work from home culture as its the home we are building in first place! The developers must consider all such aspects of real estate & yet try to give what the new generation clientele needs for their ideal home & not what as a builder we think is a best home! 

I have deliberately used the term “New Generation Home Buyers”, as this is a new generation which has survived in the pandemic & has faced the lockdown bravely & is overcoming the damage it has done & I am sure in the process they have become wiser than earlier & this wisdom will be reflected in everything they buy hereafter & do mind a home is a need but the costliest need, do I need to tell any more to the real estate people!

 

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.


Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4xX7eopH5o&t=5s

 

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

https://visonoflife.blogspot.com/2020/06/a-good-home-is-good-deal.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.com/


Creating Togetherness; team Sanjeevani Way(Click link below) 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/albums/72157627904681345

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org

Take your issues to Hon PM at link below..

https://secure.mygov.in/

Think Green, Think Life

www.sanjeevanideve.com

Friday, January 22, 2021

Ye Wala "Down Under" Special Hai!

 








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“Some folks will say ‘Oh, Winning ain’t all!” But I know it is all. At the end of the day no one looks at the loser. So that is why we play to win.”... Vivian Richards

“You don’t play for the crowd, you play for the country.”... Mahendra Singh Dhoni



If you are reading this sharing as a cricket fan then you need not have to be introduced to this name but then even in this country there are people who doesn’t know Amitabh Bachhan & don't know rules of the game names Cricket, for such people (very few they may be) Viv Richards rather Sir Viv Richards is legendary batsman, fielder & part time spin bowler of West Indies & was part of the team when they ruled world cricket for more than a decade. More than that he is a wonderful human being & a great sportsman & that's why to start my sharing I used his quote & there is one more thing; the fourth test match which team India won at the venue of the Gabba i.e. stadium name at Brisbane in Australia, the last team to defeat Oz (i.e. Australia) at this venue was captained by Viv Richards & that was 33 years back, as since then no other visiting team has beaten Australia at Gabba venue! About the man whose quote I used after Sir Viv i.e. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, well, if you don't know this name also, then it’s ok, just keep reading, is all I will say! By the way, the test series in Australia is called Down Under because Australian continent, if you look at the map is down i.e. geographically located below all other continents, so visiting there is called as Down Under!

Well, most of you might be knowing about it now & thanks to FB, Insta & Whatap as so much has been written about this victory that as usual people just reply by thump-sup or smiley to any such forward even die hard cricket fans, but then I am not writing this for cricket fans or followers, I am writing this for myself & those who doesn't know the impact of cricket or any game & its outcome on our life or how the correlation between the two things exists!

Before I start, will share a whatsap message I posted on my team (Sanjeevani work group)....

In test match to make 300 plus run on fifth day in australia against best speed attack  with world no 1 fast bowler & world no 1 off spiner bowling u , no team has achieved it ever &  barring rahane n pujara no other indian  batsman in d team playing has ever visited autralia before this series..and they did it which no indian team has ever done...
attitude attitude attitude, of never to give up...salute team india for teaching me this basic of life once again at age of 52.. the best part  what bought tears in my eyes is indian team signing on a tee shirt & presenting nathen lion for his 100th test, this is india guys, we respect  our rivals also for their achievement, this is probably best of sports moment in my 45 years out of 52 where i hv been seeing all types of sports...cricket that too test which i lv most.. thnku thanku god, for making me abe to see these moments... sanjay deshpande ( attached snaps of tv screen)

Above message I shared with my friends also & once again we were in our half pants & in rubber sleepers, diving on ground or shouting names of teammates, playing cricket with a tennis ball on a ground  which is a dried farm-land, under blazing sun with temperature souring above 45 degrees, in a small town named khamgaon in vidarbha!

As usual many people will frown by reading all this & will say, this is too much of glorification of a game which is played competitively in hardly ten countries in the world out of some one eighty odd countries. And again there are many who thinks this game (test matches) is such a waste of time with five days pattern & twenty two men (women also play) wasting their time & others along, who watches a test match & do we really need it with T-twenty days (IPL) around! My answer is, its matter of choice as if a five day test match is waste of time then Tour D France (Cycling competition) is also a waste of time or when Sir Edmond Hillary climbed Mount Everest that mountaineering is also a waste of time or even the Olympics which goes on for nearly sixty days is also a waste of time & so does many tournaments of different sports for e.g. Golf, as except those who are interested in it (and can afford to play it) who watches them!  So, the answer is, any sport in any form if you are considering as waste then go & check seriously your IQ as well attitude is what I will advise as a sport is not just a time pass but it’s an opportunity presented to you to test your physical & mental endurance by your participation in it & that's why cricket , even in test match form is not a waste of time!

Rather test match format really tests you to your extreme as for five days you are on ground running, bowling, batting, catching or fielding, giving everything you have within to the game. And in the process you have to face extreme weather, you have to be mentally fit to take on the abuse from the spectators as well sledging (taunting from the opposite players), you have to be alert by mind to understand the tactics opposition team & management will be using to get your wicket or to smash your bowling. And you have to be physically fit to stand & deliver despite the weather as you may a Mumbai born boy who is used to humid & warm temperature but then you have to play in Oz or England where mornings are bitter cold & windy &  a smallest injury to your fingers hurt like a gun wound! You have to train your body to sustain all the weathering effect & stand there in your fittest form as then only you can give your best & this all makes your realize what you are within, this is why I don't think test cricket is a waste!

And about popularity of this game in our country, it’s because every kid can afford it with whatever infrastructure (financial or social) he or she has in their backyard, that's why the game is of masses, just the way football is in Brazil! And then thanks to the names like Dhoni, Sachin Dravid & now Siraj, Pant, Gill, Sundar, Natrajan, Shardul & many such; you don't need to have a wealthy farther or family to make you able to play it in big way i.e. international level, for your country as if they can do it, then you also can do it! This is why the game is popular & this is why this Down Under tour is special & so is why this win of team India is very special! By now a lot has been already written about the test series win & about contribution of youngsters & how it’s been played against all adversities etc etc & I won’t bother you with those specifics of the team India, also there has been greater wins in the past & celebrations too as how can my genre (40-50 in age) ever forget the 83 World Cup win & again T-20 World Cup & a decade back again the World Cup lifting, indeed they all were wonderful moments of cricketing history yet this is special & different  because its outcome is not just some test series win & retaining a trophy named Border – Gawaskar! The greatest outcome of this test series win by me is Hope, Confidence, Attitude & Dedication! As if one has these four elements then nothing is impossible to achieve, this message which also is an outcome of the win of Team India! 

And this win has given many young, unknown faces, face of Super Hero, which again is like Salim Javed's script of Big B's movies in 80's when angry young men used to correlate their frustration & anguish & their fight with "Jalim Jamana", which has deprived them luxuries of the life & which are meant to for a lucky few. As look at the names who played vital role in this series win & their backgrounds; may it be Siraj, son of a rikshawala in Hyderabad or Shardul Thakur, living in a outer suburb of "Aamchi Mumbai' & lower middle class family, they are idols of the country now. Oh, yes there was Rishabh Pant & Shubham Gill too, who displayed one more quality that is, be fearless & charge on the opponents without thinking (read as worrying) about their might! Who will forget image of a twenty one year old boys dancing down the pitch & throwing world no 1 off-spin bowler in to the stands like they are playing gully cricket or going on the back foot & punching world's no 1 fast bowler for boundary, trust me it must have felt like a slap on face for him! This is what makes the win special as message is clear, this generation is not afraid of taking on any opposition! And do mind, in the country full of people which otherwise are busy in forwarding each other Ram Mandir vs Masjid type messages, today nobody asked Siraj (a Muslim) what's his religion while he is playing for his country & opted to stay in Australia while his beloved father passed away back in this country, as he knew his country needed him as all the regular bowlers are injured, he stood & kept bowling keeping the grief away! Look at Washington Sundar or Shardul Thakur, who were waiting for this very opportunity to prove that when their time comes they don't need any caste or birth or income group certificate to get them in the team but they are here by their skills & efforts & dedication to deliver what they know best i.e. to play! This is why the Down Under win is special, as it gave hope & confidence to millions of youths who blames the system for not being able to fulfill their dreams & then this wasn't some movie like Gully Boy where a slum dweller boy becomes Super Star, this is real life story of gully boys which earned their place to stardom by what they have & these qualities each of us has, so each of us can be there where we want to be, some day, whatsoever system there may be around! 

And what these Gully Boyz has displayed, nothing extra-ordinary actually, as most of them where in queue to get in the main playing team & the injuries to the senior players gave them that chance & they grabbed it with both hands. Same way, every one of us gets some chance in the form of opportunity on some day at somewhere, it’s just that we are not ready or prepared to grab it & hold on & then we blame to luck, to system or to anybody for our inability to become the star!  This is what these boys told to entire country silently by their actions & this is why the down under win is special! And indeed its contribution & courage showed by the seniors also matters a lot as look at Pujara who remembered me (and many) of a soldier standing along on a border while the enemy is breathing fire & yet hold them while the watch keeps ticking to frustrate the enemy & ran it out of ammunition! And Rahane the make-shift caption like Sunny Deol in Border movie, kept dancing all around & keeping his wounded inexperienced troop's moral high; to watch this  all happening in real life, is what makes this down under win special! 

To conclude, when the fourth & the decider test match was in the last phase, some twenty over remaining & India was five wickets down, on our college batch group discussion going was what will be the result’ I wrote, guys India will win as they are playing to win & not to save the match! Do mind, even the draw could have made India to keep the trophy with us but a win is what a champion plays for & exactly this is what these gully boys did. My genre has seen some great names in the game & trust me they were & are real great but they also would have hesitated to go for the win had they playing today at Gabba & would have saved the match which would have considered as a moral victory but not this Team India, which believes in only one thing & that's winning & yet not to lose the basic sportsmanship of the game! They played by simple rules of the game, give your fullest, be focused, be positive & enjoy the game, and play to win & if you lose, it’s ok, this isn't the last game, keep doing the same for next game! This message is the outcome of the series Down Under & it’s not for cricket or the sports lover, this message is for every person, even grown-ups & so called successful personalities too & this is why the win is very very special! Thanks team India for making me know how much is there for me to learn about living the life, keep playing & keep enjoying, win usually follows, is I know by now!  

 

--

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.


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