Saturday, 24 June 2017

Boris Becker

It was a game of tennis like nobody had seen before. The flamboyant German teenager was dominating the play like no one else before him. His opponent was an American, whose countrymen had dominated the Championship for many years in the past. After all, the American had defeated two other American Champions, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, to reach the finals. The teenager’s serves boomed across the stadium, such was the strength he exhibited. Soon he had ran away with the first set, winning it comfortably, 6 games to three. But then the American showed just why his countrymen had dominated the sport for so long as he came back strongly in the second set, winning it, 7 games to 6. But still, the teenager had run him close. The teenager was young but he played mental games with his opponent, as he sent hostile stares to him, before and after points. And the moment arrived, which changed the entire tenor of the match. The American was leading 3-2, when he sent down an unplayable cross court drop shot, which seemed beyond the reach of his opponent, when out of nowhere, the German produced a spectacular dive, to reach the ball, and caught the American off balance. The German won the point, but more importantly, he broke the resistance of the American to win his maiden Wimbledon handsomely. That day, a Star was born. A Mega Star named Boris “Boom Boom” Becker.

The year 1985. The same year when India won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia and Ravi Shastri became the Champion of Champions. Those were the days when you had ample time to see the Wimbledon championship from start to finish. Thus, there I was, watching the Wimbledon finals. This year, the finals was between a veteran player, an American, Kevin Curren, and a flamboyant German boy, Boris Becker. By the time the Championship was over, everyone across the tennis watching world had only one name on their lips, Boris Becker! He had become the youngest Winner, at 17 years and 7 months. His overtly aggressive style of play was loved by one and all. And his crinkly eyes, muscular but athletic build and blond hair, charmed the girls to ecstasy. What endeared him to them was the power of his booming serve, his menacing stares to his opponents and his never say die attitude, displayed through his diving across the tennis court, to reach and come out with winners, in near impossible situations. And he reinforced his reputation the next year, when he defended his title by defeating the ultra cool Ivan Lendl. And the next few years he was always among the top seeded players, who entertained the tennis watching aficionados, with their great rivalries on court. I for one, never watched a full tennis match, after the retirement of Becker, even though there were great champions like Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, later too.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Mind Readers

Research says “Women are very good at mind reading”. I am surprised this required research at all. After all, it is such a common occurrence, why waste money on research. Any husband will tell you how his wife reads his mind perfectly.
But why should I write about other people. I will share my own experiences.
Starting with an innocuous but regular occurrence, whenever I take up some extra domestic work, that too on a weekend, my wife reads my mind with mind boggling accuracy, “Which cricket/football match on TV today?”. I used to be surprised in the beginning, but now I am used to it.
Returning home with my wife, the slightest of slowing down of the car, is detected on the radar of my wife's brain. “You should not buy beer today, today is so and so festival”. Wow! How does she do it. In the time spent together so far, I have now come to know of the unknown festivals of India, which she uses to deny me my single can of beer. I may be having it only once in two-three weeks but for her I am a drunkard, who has to be weaned away by all possible means. But what is stunning is, the reading of mind, due to slightest of reduction in car speed.
On weekends, as soon as I start making myself slightly more comfortable, she senses that I am preparing to doze off. That's called sixth sense. Suddenly she remembers to buy those household things which won't make a difference, if not bought. There is no emergency but then it prevents a husband from enjoying his two winks.
But reading of my mind attains it's highest levels of accuracy when I am channel surfing. Any beautiful moment on TV, like for example Baywatch and the like, and the antennae are extra sensitive. Same is the case when we are in Goa, and I am admiring the foaming sea. But I not at a fault if some other type of natural beauty are in the foreground. However, the thoughts are sensed and all efforts are made by the wife, to distract me from such diversions.
So Scientists should not waste the public money on such common sense topics like mind reading abilities of women and they should concentrate on finding ways to block such capabilities.
Yatindra Tawde

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Extortionist

Sam runs a big ticket extortion racket along with his other clan members. And the victims are usually tourists. Tourists who like to move around with all their valuables and useful things everywhere. In this SouthEast Asian country, Sam is king. The country has a lot of tourism attractions to attract tourists to explore the natural beauty as well as great ancient heritage places. No wonder the tourists flock to its shores.
But in the good old times, it was never like this. The tourists came then too, enjoyed their stay to the fullest, visiting the verdant sunny beaches, the beautiful eye catching temples and experiencing the rich culture of the island nation. And these tourists enjoyed feeding their simian cousins as an added attraction. For many years, it was a routine during the peak holiday season, year after year. Then things started changing.
The change of the millennium brought about many changes for the human species. Their lives became faster, their machines became smarter and they started hoarding all the planet resources for themselves. It became more and more apparent that, going by the pace at which humans were going, if the other species had to survive, they had to evolve much faster. And some of them did. You only have to look at the millions of cat videos on the net to realise that. When you watch them you get the feeling that they are the ones who have their hoomans at their beck and call, to feed them, to cuddle them, to make their beds, so on and so forth.
Sam and his clan have the extortion racket running successfully for a few years now. It all started when a teenage Sam picked up a bag and scooted off but not very far away. The woman, whose bag it was, realised what had happened and screamed loudly and cried out, “My bag, that scoundrel has run off with my bag.” Suddenly her son comes from nowhere, eating an ice cream. Being smart, he offers his ice cream to Sam, who is sitting at a distance. The ice cream is a big turn-on for Sam and he abandons the bag, which is quickly picked up from the surrounding crowd and given back to the woman. The woman has got back her bag and she is so happy. Sam has got his ice cream and he is very happy. But more than happy, his extra active young mind is working overtime. He has seen a tourist give him the most cherished goodies in exchange for a bag and that sets him thinking. He makes it a habit, in fact it becomes his addiction. Almost every day he picks on some vulnerable tourist, who is careless with his possessions, and pinches them from the tourists. Then he waits in anticipation for the next set of tasty goodies offered to him, which invariably are. He then goes on to train his clan members to help him in his daily shenanigans and before long he has set up a profitable venture.
Yes, the monkey groups in the state of Java, in Indonesia have become a handful for the many tourists flocking to that place. They extort food by taking possession of the tourists bags, cameras, mobiles, etc. , handing them back only after they have been offered the best food that the tourists can manage. And the racket has gained such gigantic proportions that they are now making news across the world. Like the humans developed agriculture across various parts of the world in the ancient past, Inspite of being separated by huge distances, the evolution of the world wide simians to pick up this pioneering trait of the Indonesian monkeys, is a big possibility.
Beware tourists!
Yatindra Tawde

Mumbai - 2025

Mumbai - 2025 I am wandering through the lanes of my place of birth, Dadar, getting nostalgic about the days gone by. Hindu colony and my ...