What Dhoni’s 104m Six probably did to Bangladesh

Despite all the criticism by the Indian media over his form in recent times, MS Dhoni, during the Asia Cup 2016, has shown exactly why he is the world’s most dangerous cricketer, and India’s Captain Cool at the same time.

What stood out the most for me was the first sixer Dhoni hit off the bowling of Al-Amin in the supposedly penultimate (and which invariably become the last) over of India’s chase. Until that ball (ov. 12.1), Bangladesh had sneaked in a tiny toe before the door to the Trophy was about to shut on them, and based on their own recent good form and a deservedly improved level of confidence, they did believe that they could give India a shock. This was a belief that they carried for months after beating India in their previous tour to Bangladesh and it somewhat overshadowed the fact that Bangladesh were never really in control of the match, even after the untimely dismissal of Shikhar Dhawan just a few deliveries ago. Bangladesh, their spectators more than the players, were upbeat and for a moment imagined a future where their bowlers would be able to restrict the battering ram of Indian middle order within 20 runs of the target. And so they brought their best bowler of the day in the 19th over to bowl one good over and choke India.

But they forgot who they were going to bowl against. What followed can only be termed as cruel. Even if Dhoni had hit him for 5 boundaries in a row, Al-Amin and Bangladesh might still have had some fight left in them, but the power of the six showed a cruel and utter disrespect for the confidence of an emerging team and seemed to have opened the eyes of 160 million Bangladeshis to the utter domination this Indian team, and their captain in particular, has enjoyed over them in this tournament. The metaphorical door slammed shut and took the Bangladeshi toe with it. Being such a master of the game, what Dhoni’s super-hit did to Bangladesh and their fans can’t really be explained any more than this. You need to be a Bangladesh fan to be able to feel it’s impact. If I had been a Bangladesh supporter, I would have cried in my sleep. Thankfully, I slept well.

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Nostalgic about Ghazals this morning

MusicIn the mornings, Stockholm’s metro usually presents a sight where most people have their headphones on, listening to music. I am usually no different. This morning, while I was travelling to work, I was listening to some ghazals by Pankaj Udhas and Jagjit Singh. It had probably been a few months since I last listened to a ghazal and therefore the music sounded sweeter than usual.

After a couple of tracks such as “Sharaab Cheez Hi Aisi Hai..” and “Aap Jinke Kareeb Hote Hain..” (both by Udhas), I started to feel possessed by the poetry – something that ardent Ghazal fans will identify with – and closed my eyes for a moment and lost myself in the crowd.

“Hosh waalon ko khabar kya, Bekhudi kya cheez hai.
Ishq keejiye phir samajhiye… Zindagi kya cheez hai.”

I opened my eyes and made that smooth, rythmic and slight sideways shake of the head which we music lovers do in appreciation of great poetry and melody, not to be confused with the headshaking to meet the beats of a faster Music.

“Un se nazaren kya mili, Roshan fizayen ho gayi.
Aaj jaana pyaar ki Jadugari kya cheez hai.”

Do you understand the feeling when I say that the next couple of lines always mesmerise me and make me smile?

“Khulti zulfon ne sikhayi, Mausamon ko shaayari,
Jhukti aankhon ne bataya, Maikashi… Kya cheez hai”

I looked at others listening to their own secret music and wondered if they ever shut their eyes and appreciate the beauty of the poetry of a song like a ghazal lover does. Being a foreigner here, I wondered if the locals ever had any idea, or were capable of ever understanding, what a Ghazal was. Did they have something within their own culture that took the place like that of Ghazals in our culture? Do they ever feel that the lyrics have reached inside them and touched their soul and changed them – for good or for bad Do they ever open their eyes and say, Wah!?

“Hum labon se keh na paaye, Un se Haal-E-Dil kabhi,
Aur woh.. samjhe nahi yeh……. Khaamoshi.. Kya cheez hai..”

Do they ever wonder if no other arrangement of a few words could ever match the beauty of what they just heard the shayar say? A bit like,

“Aise bolo ke dil ka afsaana, Dil sune aur nigah dohraaye.
Apne chaaron taraf ki yeh duniya, Saans ka shor bhi na sun paye.”

Maybe! And maybe not! I don’t know. As for myself, decades after decades, I know I can continue to say “Wah!”

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