Thursday, June 16, 2011

The cricket jargon

So you aren't a die hard cricket fan and whenever you watch cricket or are coerced into watching it, you mute the television because you can't understand the language that the chaps are speaking in.
If the above statement made you think something like, “oh my God, that's my story”, then this list might help you in understanding the jargon of the game a little bit.

1. Phrase: rub of the green
meaning: extremely good fortune
not to be confused with: one of the three primary colours
usage: when a batsman survives a close LBW appeal or an almost run-out or a clear caught behind not given by the umpire, then the “rub of the green” is going his way.

2. Phrase:electrifying atmosphere
meaning: when the crowd's in a frenzy or when the roof is about to come off
not to be confused with: motion of electrons and protons
usage: whenever there's an India Pakistan game, or/and Ravi Shastri is the commentator, you say that the atmosphere is “absolutely electrifying”.

3. Phrase: to know where one's off-stump is
meaning: having the precise idea of the location of the stumps behind you
not to be confused with: the ordinary English phrases like “to know where you stand” or its even more stupid version “to know where your towel is”, courtesy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
usage: when a batsman leaves a good ball outside the off-stump, he knows where his off-stump is. Instead if he leaves, and the ball hits the stumps, he needs a training session with Gavaskar.

4. Phrase: long-hop
meaning: a ball that is pitched very short
not to be confused with: a form of walking
usage: when a slow, short-pitched delivery is bowled at a competent batsman, who duly dispatches it to the boundary, its called a long-hop. Albeit, if the batsman fails to connect, its called 'clever change of pace'.

5. Phrase: the heavy ball
meaning: a deceptively quick delivery
not to be confused with: using lead instead of leather in making the ball
: whenever a lean, wiry frame delivers a ball whose speed on the speedgun sends the device in a tizzy, and the batsman in a frenzy, the bowler is said to have bowled the heavy ball.

Phrase: to take guard
meaning: to mark the spot on the pitch where you keep you bat just prior to facing the bowler
not to be confused with: the duty of a Nepalese national
usage: when you see the batsman pointing two or three fingers at the umpire, not horizontally but vertically, he's taking his guard.

7. Phrase:to slog it out
meaning: to keep batting with concentration despite the hostilities of the weather or the opposition's fast bowlers
not to be confused with: slugs, slogging
: when you see a batsman play out overs after overs, huffing and puffing without scoring, he's in fact slogging it out in the middle.

8. Phrase: to trouble the scorers

: to score runsnot to be confused with: vandalizing the guy who maintains the scoreboard
usage: when you get out without scoring, you haven't troubled the scorers. The more you trouble them, the better it is for you, and your team.

9. Phrase: to get off the mark
meaning: to score your first run(s)
not to be confused with:
carrying a paper marker with you while batting and giving it to your partner when he's on strike
usage: when a person is batting, there's a mark against his name on the scoreboard indicating that he's the batsman on strike. The moment he takes a single, the mark is transferred to his partner. If he takes a two, or any even no. of runs, its customary to alternate the mark between him and his partner so that it comes back to him after two, four or six shifts depending on the no. of runs scored.

10. Phrase: to
give charge to
meaning: to advance down the track
not to be confused with: motion of electrons and protons
usage: when you want to get to the pitch of the ball, generally to play a lofted shot, you give the bowler a charge, i.e. advance down the track

. Phrase: soft dismissal
meaning: to be caught of a ball that you didn't try to hit forcefully
not to be confused with: physical characteristics of substance
usage: when you are in hitting mood, and then suddenly decide to let one go, and play it with loose hands, and are subsequently caught, it's called a soft-dismissal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sizing it up

There was a time when ignorance was bliss. There was a time when I could hold my breath, for eternity, and compress, suppress and oppress it. There was a time when wearing lose-fitting shirts obscured the vision.
And then, time turned its back on me.
The uprising was just too great for the linen to withhold. There was a limit to what the loose-fitting shirts could hide. And then there was a time when ignorance broke up with bliss. With it came the realisation that what I had been doing all along was just delaying the inevitable. I was living in a state of denial, vehement denial. And that it had to end, sooner, or never.
I no longer found solace in the fact that since it was a hierarchical thing, I had no option but to let it happen. Even the argument that my height could compensate for my weight didn't seem just; a feet and a half along the x axis were a feet much for the six feet along the y-axis.
Sitting on my armchair one day, I skimmed through the pages of my memory just to see when/why/how did it all began. Flashback, 1999, Guwahati: Class Monitor Vikas had a spat with class' bad chap Sumanta Kumar Das. The skinny Class Monitor Vikas was no match for the plump, overweight bad chap, and came home with a broken tooth, ripped front-pocket and bruised knees. My mum, who needed no reason to scold me, was unusually calm that day! Her Class Monitor son had given her a perfect opportunity to press for her demands for an extra half a glass of milk for breakfast, a quarter ounce more of rice for lunch and an extra chapati for dinner. Determined to exact my revenge, I put the routine in place. At first, there were signs of change, Paulo Coelho's fabled “beginner's luck”. But then, with time, Sumanta and I became friends, which had more than something to do with his dad being a confectioner, a fact which I wasn't aware of when I charged at him. The vendetta took along with it the addenda off my daily diet. The martinet turned gourmet became a martinet again!
There were a couple of other instances which made me contemplate gaining some weight again. One was in 7th standard, when a bet that I bet, and lost in an arm wrestling match with the thinnest chap of the class. The other was Big Show's demolition of John Cena at Wrestlemania XX, Madison Square Garden. On both these occasions, I wished the sufferer had a bit more strength in his arms and a bit more fire in his belly. So I promptly ordered a cheap duplicate of the Slim Sauna Belt from our desi substitute of Asian Sky Shop, and began the alleged work out, starting with 15 minutes a day. The duplicate belt lived up to its reputation, and within a couple of days, I had to buy a new pair of pencil cells to feed it. And then again, and then again. And again. And again. And I had had enough.
Since then, weight and I had peaceful non-coexistence; a pattern which broke up last year.
During the summer vacations, when there was absolutely no activity, it decided to say a little “hello” to me. I ignored it. And sure enough, it took offence to the rebuff, and decided to stay. And it decided to stay.
In June, my brand new pair of Jeans became its first casualty! That was followed by my favourite T-shirt, the wonderful shorts that my sister gifted me, and a pretty old pyjama which I used to loiter around in during the rains. Then came the final nail in the coffin!
One fine day, I overheard a conversation between my mum and dad. The next thirty seconds were the most heart-breaking, nerve-shattering, rib-cracking and muscle rupturing of my life. “Vicky mota ho gaya hai”, she said. The floor slid underneath my feet, the world came at a standstill! I had a nervous breakdown! I went into a frenzy.

This realisation happened exactly an year ago! I did my bit to get back in shape. Hit the gym for a week. 20 crunches, 15 push-ups, five kilometres on the treadmill and stuff! But the weight didn't budge. Then I started getting up at 6, pretty early by my standards, and went for a jog each day! This lasted till the vacations, and with them, ended this brief struggle! I was never one who could control his instincts, so dieting was never an alternative for me. I gave it up for a while, resigned to my destiny. I stopped playing, stopped watching cricket, stopped everything. I lived but ceased to live.

As months passed by, I realized that there had to be a change. A physical change was beyond me. For the second time, I had no other alternative. I had to change the way I looked at it! I didn't have to change my eyes, I needed to change my vision.
These days, I've started noticing people a bit more than I actually do. People, who're rounder than they need to be, rounder than me! My height is my consolation, there are others who should be inconsolable, but are living their life as they want it, as I wanted mine to be.
One thing which I certainly learned, something which my mum, dad and sister had been telling me all along, was that one can always lessen the horizontal distance by increasing the vertical bit! In other words, I had been walking with by backbone forming an arch ever since I learned to walk! That is gradually changing. I try to keep my posture straight. And hence, the back-problems which I had been victim to, for ages, are withering away! Every adversity is an opportunity, I've seen it, felt it, made it happen!
There's another thing that I've learned from this ordeal! Eventually, its not the fat around your navel that matters, its the one behind your forehead!