Original Manuscript Of Ramayan – It exists!

Original - Tulsi Ramayan

Original – Tulsi Ramayan

In 2013,  my wife and I visited a very interesting holy town, Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh.  It is said Lord Sriram stayed here in his years of exile.  From there, we proceeded to Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Sriram.   Heavy monsoons forced us to divert from the main highway.

On the diverted route, we were told that we would be passing through the place where Sant Goswami Tulsidasji, the author of Tulsi Ramayan used to live – Rajapur.

As I understood, Ramayana – the hindu epic about Lord Ram’s life – was written by Maharshi Valmiki in Sanskrit about 4,000 years ago. The original script is told to still exist in Nepal.   On my various trips to Nepal, I tried but could not find the exact location.

About 500 years ago, Sage Tulsidas translated the original, Valmiki Ramayan, in a more commonly understood local script Awadhi, titled Ramcharita Manas.   The prospect of experiencing the vibrations of the place where Sant Tulsiji lived and authored his Ramayan was of course, very exciting.

After negotiating 30 kilometers of rough road which was made almost impossible to drive through during the monsoon we reached Rajapur.   After asking around for directions, we reached a large piece of compounded land in this town.

In one corner, Government authorities have built a Hall in the memory of the great sage – Sant Tulsidas Memorial Hall.    We had to walk through the muck and potholes stacked with rain water to reach the memorial.  Contrary to my expectations, the place was completely isolated and badly maintained.   On further inquiry with the only gentleman who was staying there, I was told that this place was just a memorial hall and not the place where Tulsiji stayed.

After a few more inquiries with the locals outside,  we were guided to a small temple devoted to Sant Tulsidasji on the bank of River Yamuna,  about 2km away.   It was a beautiful and peaceful place!  The temple priest was from Tulsidasji’s descendant.  The temple displayed some of Tulsidasji’s very own belongings including the Saligramji (stone idol) he used to pray to, his wooden padukas (footwear) etc.

From my discussions with the priest, I understood that one of the Chapters of Tulsi Ramayan is still preserved around that place.  I could not believe it!    Would I really be getting a chance to see and offer my respects to the Ramayan!

I expressed my enthusiasm to the priest.  He directed us to a swamiji in the room across – the senior most surviving member from the clan of Tulsidasji.  Swamiji obliged and agreed to show us the original!

Across the temple, is a two room hut where Tulsiji stayed – the place where he was inspired to rewrite the Ramayan in Awadhi – to make it more approachable to the common man.  From a safe in this house, Swamiji  got a bundle out  clad with multi layers of colourful pieces of cloth.   He gently and respectfully, unfolded the cloth covers one after the other.

He unfolded about 7-8 of the layers, each of which appeared to have its own importance.  And there!  The handwritten original Ramcharit Manas!  Chapter: Ayodhya Kaand!  It was written on paper with hand made ink.  The paper was yellowish and recently laminated.

Tulsidaji Janmasthall Rajapur aug 2013 (5)

Ayodhya Khand – Ramayan

Ramcharitamanas - Storage

Original Tulsi Ramayan





 Swamiji then read out a couple of pages and explained the logic and sequence of how dohas, chands, (the couplets, etc) etc were written.  He had a well-researched book which was a translation of Awadhi words to Devnagiri (Hindi) script.

I was told that the other six chapters were thrown away in the river by rulers who wanted to destroy signs of the ancient Indian culture.

I did not feel like leaving that place located at the bank of Yamuna.

I felt like I was with Sant Goswami Tulsidasji and was being blessed.

Ramayan is preached and prayed in almost every nook and corner in India and wherever in the world Indian population has flung out to.   In spite of being such a document of such historical importance – whatever is left of it – there is hardly any security or maintenance efforts by the authorities.

Rajapur is 85 kilometers Southwest of Allahabad / 45 kilometers Northeast of Chitrakoot.   If you ever happen to be in the area, make it a point to visit Rajapur.  It would be worth every minute!

Written : Badri Baldawa

Edited  : Meeta Kabra

Thoughts At The Most Peaceful Place

I had a crazy idea – to look for the most peaceful place on the earth!

In 1983, when I visited North Pole, Narvik was the northern most place, I could access. My first experience there in the midst of midnight sun left me with a great feeling.  In 2006, when I went to Antarctica in the South Pole region, the large icebergs floating in the ocean itself had an amazing and surprising soothing effect on the nerves.  On my expedition to Mt Everest, Base camp in 2008, trekking the mountain snow peaks by myself, probably calmed down my temperament by leaps.

North Pole Location

North Pole Location

In 2009 I planned my second trip to North Pole, this time to reach exact 90° N.   I did reach.   The place is aligned with the northern most tip of the earth’s axis of rotation. This place is just a large sheet of ice and has no inhabitants. I realised it was the most peaceful place I had been to till then.  I closed my eyes to experience the vibrations.  Soon enough my thoughts took me to a star shining absolutely bright, right above me.  This was of course, the Dhruv Tara, the North Pole Star, also called Polaris.

Wow! While the thought process started, I realised there were many lessons the Pole Star has, to make life meaningful, if only we could follow.

  • Pole Star is committed to stay firm for sure. Why can’t I be in my commitments?
  • A person, trillions of miles away on earth, confidently depends on the Pole Star to assess directions. Can I make myself dependable in such a way at least to those who are known and close by?
  • Pole Star acts as a guide to those who lose their path. If one gets lost on the earth’s northern hemisphere, one can make out the directions by looking at Polaris.  This guidance is unselfish, unconditional and unbiased. Can I be such a guide?

I wish we have the ability to follow what the Pole Star has been practicing flawlessly for ages –  Dependable, Unbiased, Firm and Guide to those who need!  All these, without any self-interest.

Round The World in 60 Seconds

When we went to North Pole 90°N in 2009, I was told that we would be spending almost 24 hours at the extreme northern point of earth’s axis. Obviously, there would be no shelter.  To the contrary, it would be a trip full of hassles, especially if we encountered heavy rain or snow.  I wondered if I’d get totally bored of spending a full day there, with nothing to do.

Once we reached, it all proved to be interesting.

If one has to travel around the world, one could do it near the equator or the Tropic of Capricorn or Cancer or any latitude.  Which basically means you have to go around the axis of the earth.  90°N is also a point on the axis of the earth.  At this point of North Pole, it would take the shortest time to travel round the world.

Keeping this concept in mind, a beautiful event was arranged, “going round the World in 60 seconds”.  A flag pole painted ‘North Pole’ in red and white was fixed on the sheet of ice on the land’s surface at 90°N.  All the guests and crew formed a circle around the pole.  The circle was about 200 feet in diameter.

Then, every one sang and danced while going around in a circle.  About 105 guests from 24 nationalities.  While moving in the circle, we were waving the Indian national flag, which we had carried with us. We were one of the very few who carried our national flag with us, as can be seen from the picture.

It was symbolic of going around the globe.  At North Pole, going round the point of North Pole 90° North, is same as going round the world from any other degree of latitude.  This could be done in shortest time, even less than 60 seconds!  

We felt pride as we went around the world waving our national flag.  The captain prayed for universal harmony and suggested that we all accept the challenge to spread world peace.  The event was appropriately named ‘around the world in 60 seconds”

Round the world in 60 secondsat North Pole 90°

Round the world in 60 secondsat North Pole 90°

Another thrilling event was the Polar Plunge, which I have written about.

Also, for the first time in my life, I had barbeque, wine and dine on a large sheet of Ice.   No structures around for handreds of kilometers/  On the ice, chairs and dining tables were laid, the barbeque was cooked and served hot.  We spent the entire day at the North Pole leisurely.  I didn’t want to leave the place when we were told that it was time for us to sail back.

Amazing and absorbing events at oddest of odd places in the world.

It made me realise, wherever and in whatever condition one might be, with proper imagination and planning, one could still wholesomely enjoy life.

Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa

Edited By : Meeta Kabra

The Rich Indian Culture

I was outside Athens Railway Station, Greece.  My wife and I were  waiting for our one of our family friends, to pick us up. This was in 1983.

Just then, a 25-30 year old youngster from Netherlands approached us to check whether we need a hotel room.  I said ‘no’.  But, he prolonged the chat.

He: Why sir? Won’t you need a room to stay?

Me: We will be staying with a friend and are waiting for him to pick us up.  Where are you from?

He:  I am from Netherlands.  I just completed my studies.  I have been wandering the world for the last 3-4 years to experience and understand people and places. I earn money by providing services to tourists in the cities I visit. As soon as I earn adequate money, I visit my next  destination.

He continued:  Are you from India?

Me: Yes.  What do you know about India?  (At that time, India was not very well known  to people in Europe)

He: I love Indians more than any one else in the world. I take two vacations every year.  Out of the two, I ensure that I visit India at least once.

He then named about 20-25 small towns from all over India, particularly from Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal that he had visited. He then told us in detail how well the Indians treated him in the small villages and farms on his visit.

Me:  What do you think is the difference between the culture in India and Europe?

He: Pardon Sir ……. , probably I heard you wrong?

Me: In your opinion what is the difference in the culture between India and your country?

He then said: I heard that Sir, but your question is wrong, Sir.   You have an unbelievable rich culture.   When I went to any of the places including towns and villages, even the poorest of poor, whether farmers or petty shop owner, ensured that the food and shelter requirements of the visitors are taken care before they care for their own.  Here, even if a daughter takes a rose flower to her mother’s birthday, she collects the dollar, the cost of the flower.

There is nothing of such culture that exists in Europe.   Comparison can be only if it exists at both the places.  In this case, culture does not exist at all in our region.  Hence there cannot be any comparison.”

Every courtesy we extent to our guests makes our country and culture, more respectable and memorable.  Let us keep it up!
Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa
Edited By : Meeta Kabra

Polar Plunge

 We were certified as have done an “act of indubitable courage as well as extraordinary incomparable foolishness” and that we had “temporary loss of common sense…….”.  This was when my wife, Pushpa and me tried to exhibit a brave act.

Our expedition cruise, “50 years of Victory” was anchored at The North Pole. Yes, at 90 degrees North.    The guests were given a crazy offer. They could take a “Polar Plunge”.   The organisers cleared an area of about 15 feet by 15 feet on the icy surface of the ocean. The melted ice formed a pool of polar ice water.  The water was surrounded by thick wall of ice all around.  The temperature was about minus 20-25 degrees centigrade at surface. One could see the water as it was freezing.  Even so, the passengers came out of their cabins to take a plunge.  A different type of adventure.

We were told it could be fatal to be in that water for more than one and half minutes.  To ensure the survival of the people who take the dip, they were tied to a rope before the dive.  The rope would be used to pull a person out, in case they fainted or wasn’t able to come out at the stroke of 90 seconds.   Once the swimmer was out, he was immediately made warm by towels and rum if one desired.  Then you could go to your cabin and have a hot shower and relax for a while, till the blood pressure got back to normal.

I was not confident of taking the plunge.  Not too many from our crew dared had opted for it – only about 10%.  I gave an excuse to myself, “I am from a warm place like Mumbai. We were not exposed to extreme cold.  No… no… no… not safe.”   I told Pushpa too.   But she had different ideas.

l was still considering the matter when Pushpa threw a surprise at me. She said she wanted to go for the plunge.    I thought she was joking.  Nope, she wasn’t.  For such crazy activities, usually I persuade her to join me.  This time she beat me.

It so turns out that before we left for the trip, Pushpa in a casual conversation had mentioned the Polar plunge to our daughter, Meeta.   Meeta suggested, “If you get a chance, do it!  Why do you want to miss it?  Unlikely that you will be going there again.” I wasn’t aware of this conversation.

Pushpa was determined.   And she did it too – without any fuss! To survive she had to return within one and a half minutes.  She was pulled back after a minute or so.  They offered her vodka to keep her warm after the plunge.  But being a teetotaler, she refused to take the drink and survived comfortably.

Pushpa’s plunge inspired me.   After watching her doing the feat so comfortably, I had to do it too! I went to the cabin, changed into swimwear and took the plunge. I’m not sure I’d have taken the plunge if it weren’t for Pushpa.

After the plunge I realised it was one of the most exciting, adventurous and crazy events of my life.


We were given certificates from the organisers for the brave act.  The certificate also stated that we “did an act of indubitable courage, as well as extraordinary, incomparable foolishness… “   It further said that Ship’s Doctor had confirmed that it was an act of absurd heroism and we had “temporary loss of common sense”!

Having the plunge at 90 degrees North was a life time opportunity and achievement.  Having done something that not many would do and being the first Indians to do that, we were extremely happy to have accomplished the feat and fully satisfied with our efforts to go on this expedition.

This incident further confirmed my belief that if in doubt, ask yourself, “If others can do it, why can’t I?”

Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa
Edited By : Meeta Kabra

Unique In Its Truest Sense

“Oh! The Sun has risen from the West today” is a proverb used when something most unexpected happens.  But it is true that there is a place where the Sun never rises from the East.  It sounds unbelievable. The place is……

Hold on… … there are more curious characteristics of this place.

It is an accepted fact that Sun rises every morning and the moon every night.  However this is a place where Sun and Moon rise and set only once a year!

Standing here, one can see the stars, sun and moon spinning around one “point” straight over one’s head, in the sky. They appear at different locations in the sky as the day progresses but are visible 24 hours (depending on the season).

Not just that, you can go only South from this place!  How would a compass behave at this place?  It stays confused with the needle going around in circles!

This place is happy with just a latitude as a coordinate, it has no longitude.  The local time of any place on earth is determined by its longitude, such that the time of the day is more-or-less synchronised with the position of the sun in the sky. Since there is no longitude, does this place have no time zone either?  It is not synchronized with GMT and no time zone has been assigned to it.  Use any time zone that is convenient, no questions asked!

At this place, there is no earth underneath but still one can walk along and dance around.   There is no land within a radius of about 700 kilometers and 5,000 meters underneath. “Land” is a sheet of floating ice here.

This unique place is The North Pole, 90°N.

We all have learned that the earth spins on an imaginary axis, once a day.   North Pole is the point where this axis intersects the earth’s northern most surface. The North Pole is the point from which all the meridians begin, thus no longitude!

In this world, where every country is fighting for a chip of land, this is a vast area which is not governed by any one country in the world.  No country owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. It is surrounded by five countries Norway, Russia, Canada, USA (Alaska), Denmark (Greenland).  Their authority is limited to a 370 km around their coasts.  The area beyond that, up till North Pole is administered by the International Seabed Authority.

It doesn’t even have an official marker for the position, as the ice moves constantly.   The position is detected by a specific compass.

North Pole experiences only night for half the year, and has day time continuously for the other half depending on whether the pole is facing towards or away from the Sun.

The Geographical North Pole at 90 deg N is different from the Magnetic North Pole. The latter is a wandering location and moves about 45km every year.

I visited this place with my wife, Pushpa in 2009 and experienced all of the above.  I stayed there for about a day on the floating ice and was told by the time I left the place, that I have moved a few kilometers since I landed. Unique in its truest sense, the experience is irreplaceable for us!  We were the proud first Indians to land on North Pole, 90°N.

Let us not get restricted to popular travel destinations only, opt for unusual.  Though looks difficult, they give unique knowledge and unique pleasure.

Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa

Edited By : Meeta Kabra

Volunteering Seva Serves Dual Purpose

I happened to visit Asharfi Bhavan, an ashram (hermitage) in Ayodhya.  The ashram  conducts many activities like teaching Sanskrit, operating two gaushalas (cow sheds), maintaining a temple, serving free food to poor and visitors, etc.

The most impressive activity was that Vedas and Puranas (ancient scriptures and texts of Hinduism) are taught to students in Sanskrit – a language being forgotten soon. In fact, they are creating future teachers and pundits in Sanskrit. The students are given books, clothing, accommodation and food free of cost.  To run the operations Guruji went around the country year around to make discourses – a source of valuable donations.   Yet, the Ashram was always short of funds and they had to borrow to run the activities.

The Ashram property was in desperate need of repairs, repainting and renovation.  The class room roofs had leaks, the students slept in rooms that were almost open to air.  In winter, even at a temperature of 5 degrees centigrade, students slept without proper bed or blanket.  In rains, they spent more time cleaning up rainfall that came through the ceiling and walls than studying.  Some of them did not even have a proper, single layer of clothing whether to protect them from winter or monsoon.

Guruji  never asked for donations.   I thought it was an opportunity for me to assist.   I got the rooms repaired and had some sweaters sent for the students.  But that was barely enough. In October 2009, I suggested,  “I would like to assist the Ashram in all possible ways,  but I have my own limitations.  An alternative is to appeal to others for charity.  But I am not good at it.  Instead, let us provide some service which the devotees want.  Whatever savings we make from those services could be used for the requirements of the Ashram.”

Guruji asked, “Do you have any concrete ideas?”

“A pilgrimage to Kailash-Mansarovar (KM) is considered a difficult journey.  Many devotees are anxious to accomplish this yatra (journey – in this context a holy journey) at least once in their lifetime.  But they are worried as they consider it life-threatening.  Visiting  KM remained as a dream to most of them.  I have been to Mansarovar and have done the Kailash Parikrama in 2004 too (a journey around the mountain).  I am aware of some of the major difficulties one would face in that journey – they are manageable.  With your blessings, we can convert the dreams of devotees to reality. A group of people can be taken to this journey.  With your pravachan (spiritual discourses) and satsang (virtuous company) in the journey, it would be of more interest to them. Savings from this event, could be used to meet some of the problems Ashram is facing.”

IMG_1554Guruji  said, “Even I am keen to visit Kailash Mansarovar.  Many of the disciples here too.  There couldn’t be anything better.  But only thing is you will manage everything.                                                                                   I agreed.   I made necessary inquiries and it was decided in November 2009 to have the KM yatra in August 2010.   The initial target was to take 50 people.  I guessed even if we add  Rs.10,000 per person as for services and try to save on costs, there could be a net saving of Rs.7-8 lakhs.

The response was excellent.  We accepted 100 applicants out of which 90 members joined the 2-week yatra.  We then also extended the pilgrimage to Muktinath, another difficult 4 day trip from Kathmandu.  There were another 90 applications for Muktinath.

On the way, Guruji gave his discourses wherever possible and a grand Mritunjaya Yagna was performed at the bank of Lake Mansarovar.  The next day, the climate deteriorated. The members, except those who went forward for Kailash Parikrama, got a day more to spend at Mansarovar and continued to have Darshan.   (There were a few unfortunate events the burden of which I still bear on my heart and soul but will write about it separately)

After completing Kailash-Mansarovar and Muktinath yatra.   we presented a cheque of over Rs. 22 lakhs to Guruji the funds saved out of the event.  Appreciating the efforts, many offered direct contribution to Guruji  These contributions helped the ashram in clearing most of its loans.  It also provided for the necessary repairs and completing certain renovations of the ashram premises, which had been long overdue.

This event gave great satisfaction and confirmed that even for charitable purposes, we can collect funds by providing a service (Seva) instead of asking for donations.  Seva can serve dual purpose.  It can bring in contributions and also meets the needs of served.

Writer  : Badri Baldawa

Editor  : Meeta Kabra

It’s All About The Attitude

“The one who does not make a mistake is God. The one who makes mistakes and realises the mistake, is human God” meant the shop keeper Kewalbhai, when he said in Hindi “Jo bhool nahin karta wah Bhagawan hai.  Jo Bhool karke maan leta hai bhagwan jaisa insaan hai”.

I was with my best friend Kishore Bhatia and his wife Neelu in Rishikesh on 27 March 2015, a place I love to visit for a peaceful and pollution free break.  We observed that the shop owners in the area around Geeta Bhavan lacked courtesy.

In one of the shops, Kishore asked for a blue shirt.  He did not like the shade that was shown to him and Neelu requested if she could see some other colours.  This supposedly was reason enough for the shopkeeper to be upset.

He argued that he did not show other colours because he was asked for blue. He spoke in a manner that made it seem like Kishore had committed a crime by asking for a colour of his liking.  He then went on to practically throw a few shirts before Neelu whereas he could have politely shown the other shades.  I did not like the shop keeper’s attitude.  I got into an argument with the shop keeper for his behavior, making me lose my peace of mind.

That evening, as we calmed down like the surface of the river in front of us, we analysed the incident. We realised that though the shopkeeper’s attitude was not right, we weren’t right either. By getting into an argument for someone else’s mistake and improper attitude, I created an adverse impact on me.

Next day, I went to the shop-keeper and said “I feel bad that I had an argument with you yesterday.  Let us not discuss who was at fault. Let us forget that incident as I have realised that the arguments could have been easily avoided.”

He got up from his chair as if an electric shock passed through his chair.  He held my hand and apologized for his attitude the previous day.

Jo bhool nahin karta wah Bhagawan hai.  Jo Bhool karke maan leta hai bhagwan jaisa insaan hai” said the shop keeper Kewalbhai.  (The one who does not commit mistakes is God.  The one who does a mistake and realises it, is a human God).  He started praising me as he held my hands firmly for quite a few minutes.

He further said, “You are a good human being. I want to give you something”. I was relieved and happy.  I wondered whether he would extend a gift from his shop!    Instead, he gave me a gift of his sincerity.  He gave me a printed card and said “if you ever have a problem with your teeth, touch the problematic tooth with your finger and chant the mantra written on the card just once.  You will be relieved immediately.  He similarly gave tips for other problems.

He asked me to join my palms together so that he could read my hands.  Two corresponding lines, one  one each palm, formed a curve like a half moon.  Next, he checked the levels two prominent lines on my two little fingers.

The levels didn’t match; there was a difference of about 1 to 2mm.  The shop keeper said, “ just now, you have an upset stomach.  You don’t have proper appetite either.”  Sure enough, he was right. I had a mild stomach ache.

He took out a black cotton thread, chanted a mantra mentally and tied five knots.  He looked at my face and added another two.   This time when I held my palms next to each other, all three lines matched perfectly.  The difference had gone!   Suddenly my stomach ache disappeared too and I felt normal.

I wondered why I argued with such a helpful and talented gentleman.  Had I controlled myself for a minute, I would not have harmed my peace of mind.

This incident taught me once again: “I have a particular attitude towards life, others have their own.  If I understand this, I can protect my peace of mind.”

Author: Badri Baldawa

Editor  : Meeta Kabra

Thrill On The Pitch – World Cup Finals 2011

Grand event of World Cup Finals between India and Sri Lanka on 2nd April 2011 at Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai.

I was seated on a couch in the Garware Pavilion adjacent to the players’ dressing room. On this day, I could not have expected to be seated anywhere better in the universe.

I was one of the five winners of ‘World Cup Ka Hero’ for the Finals in 2011, a lucky draw, sponsored by Castrol out of the participants from all over India. We were entertained for 3 days prior to the match. A suite at a 5-star hotel and a car at my disposal with an armed body-guard!

The night before the final, we attended an entertainment program – a fantastic, huge event, which I understand was at a budget of Rs.20,00,00,000. The gathering included celebrities, past and present cricket players and personalities from all over the world. It was a grand 3-hour show.

On the day of the match, I was escorted to the stadium through the VIP entrance, an hour and  a half before the start of the match.   Two seats in the center of the pavilion were replaced by a cushioned couch – a throne of sorts – for me. Around my couch were three cheerleaders from East Europe, two on each side and one in front; a security guard behind me.   Adequate food and drinks were stocked at my disposal.

It was toss time. We were escorted to the ground, very close to the spot where the toss would be conducted. We were introduced to the crowd in the stadium on the public address system and were asked to cheer the crowd. It was an amazing life-time experience and the entire stadium responded with a deafening sound. An unimaginable atmosphere.

The crowd of course, wanted India to win the toss. Toss proved to be a confusing event.   Dhoni spun the coin and the Sri Lankan skipper called. We did not know who won the toss. In the loud noise, the umpire could not hear the call. There was a discussion and it was decided to toss the coin for the second time! This time Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first.

India started well with first 3 overs from Zaheer proving to be maidens. Indians controlled well till the 40th over permitting Sri Lanka to score around 180 for 5. One ‘not out’ by umpire went for review and was given ‘out’ to the cheers of the crowd.   However in the last 5 overs, India gave away an average of 12 runs per over, obviously not to the liking of the crowd. India was left to chase a total of 274

At the lunch break we were taken out to the pitch through a tough multi-layered security system. We were asked to cheer the crowd again.   It was an electrifying atmosphere with Indian flags all around and variety of loud sounds.

It was a huge total to defend, the highest in any World Cup final. To India’s bad luck, Sehwag fell for lbw in the second ball for a duck. India was at 1 down for 0 runs. The crowd hissed.   “Shooooo” was the crowd when Gambhir was dropped right in the beginning of his innings.

The crowd was hoping 100th century from Sachin Tendulkar to come to the rescue. Alas! Tendulkar went out soon at a small score of 18. The crowd went completely silent! Suddenly the exciting match started looking boring. Kohli was slowly trying to pick the reins up but soon got out.

Meanwhile, Gambhir made good use of the life he got and continued to bat steadily. As it looked like he would score his century in the next ball by scoring to the ropes, he went for a lofty shot and that was his end.   We as an audience were confused – do we sympathise with him for missing his century or applaud him for his valuable 97?

It was all Dhoni and Yuvraj thereafter. India now needed 28 runs in 22 balls. It was the 49th over when Dhoni hit the unforgettable sixer to win the World Cup. Winning Sixer by Dhoni!

I could see tears of joy from many of the Indian players and fans alike. The rest of the team carried Gary Kirsten and Sachin around the stadium on their shoulders.  There was joy and celebration everywhere.   The fire crackers all around seemed louder and brighter than ever. The stadium continued to remain crowded till almost an hour after the end of the match. Security was extremely tight. After the presentation ceremony, the crowd invaded the pitch. Many Indian cricket lovers were kissing the ground. Some of them collected the dust from the pitch to carry it home.

I, World Cup Ka Hero, was presented mementos, all autographed by Sachin Tendulkar – a mini ball, mini silver-finish bat, a cap, two T-shirts and a coffee mug. The mug also had pictures of Sachin.

100_1314 100_1306 100_1300100_1349

None of us had had enough. So the electrifying atmosphere shifted to the roads after the match – people jumping, dancing with slogans cheering the Indian team, Dhoni and Sachin. Many Mumbaites came out with cars to get a glimpse of the Indian team at their hotel. The queue ran from the Gateway of India to Khar, a distance of about 18-20 km.

It was a night when I did not want to go back to my bed!   An experience I would never forget in my life!

Last week when India defeated Pakistan in their first 2015 world cup match, it took me back to the experience of the last World Cup final.  Let us all hope, the Indian Team comes true to our expectations this time too!

Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa

Edited By : Meeta Kabra



I Almost Gave Up My Childhood Dream, But ……

My target was trekking to the Mt Everest base camp.  It was the sixth day of an 18-day expedition. I was on my way to Dabuche.   Instead of the norm of going with a group of 8-10 people, I decided to experience the journey by myself, with a sherpa to help and guide me.

I had already had enough of the bitter cold. I was weak from a day’s worth of upset stomach to go with the steep climbs.  I had seen injured people being carried back and heard of quite a few who were being flown back due to severe altitude sickness. Along the way. I had seen too many bodies of trekkers who died in their attempt to complete the trek.

I almost gave up.

Usually, trekkers from both directions assemble in the evening at the dining area of tea shops at their night halt points.  Most people prefer to hang around closer to kitchen ovens because it is slightly warmer compared to the sleeping cabins.

Keep Climbing

Keep Climbing

At the end of that day, I was too tired and feeling depressed.  That evening, I heard terrible stories about the trekkers who had gone ahead. I was scared, worried and tense.  For the first time in the trip, I wondered seriously why I had left the comforts of home food, bathing and toilet luxuries, my own bedroom with controlled temperature and the great evening walks with my wife. Doubts started creeping in.

Things were likely to be tougher since the path ahead was more isolated.  Maybe, it was wrong to have come for such a tough trek.  I thought it wasn’t too late to go back home instead of facing the risk ahead. I considered telling the sherpa that we ought to return.  But I could wait till the morning.

I wasn’t hungry, I just had a bowl of soup with bread and stretched for a while on the bed.  It was already dark.  I felt slightly relaxed and positive.  I picked up the torch which was always handy.  I looked for the folder with the travel documents.  In the folder, I found two sheets of printed stuff.  I had carried with me some of the interesting and encouraging messages sent by friends and family, before I left.  I put on my glasses, held the torch in one hand and started reading them.  Each of the messages made my nerves tingle with positivity.

  • “you are an inspiration”,
  • “you are different”,
  • “with your energy, you can give people half of your age a run for their money”,
  • “nothing is impossible for you”,
  • “you convert ideas into realities”,
  • “you convert hopes into accomplishments”,
  • “You overcome fear into self confidence”,
  • “You are definitely one of those handful few”,
  • “You are equipped with spiritual health and strong will power”,
  • “Not many can visualize a dream and achieve it also”,
  • “I would have the privilege to tell to my friends, that a personal friend of mine has done this”,
  • “We are proud of you”,
  • “it is tough, but cake walk for you”,
  • “Fantastic, what a way to do the things man”,
  • “It is honour to know someone like you to look upto” etc.
  • One also read: “Height may make you feel a bit shaky at times, but I know you can reach the top!  With your courage and determination, you can go past all obstacles coming your way, you can do it, you can do it!”
  • Another:

    “Follow your dream…..

    Take one step at a time and don’t settle for less…

    Just continue to climb….

    If you stumble, don’t stop, don’t lose sight of your goal…

    Press to the top, as at the top, we can have a vision to see something new….

    Press on, follow your dream, follow your dream”

These really boosted my spirits, when I needed them the most.  I regained my confidence.  It reminded me of my philosophy which, for a short while I had forgotten, ‘If others can do it, why can’t I”.  These well wishers saved my day and enabled me to move forward with full vigour to make my 50 years old childhood dream come true!

Therefore, let us put in inspiring words wherever possible. Let us not under-estimate the power of our positive words.   They work wonders!!

Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa

Edited By : Meeta Kabra