Posted in family, True Story, Inspirational

35 Not Out

Australia wins the Ashes.  Travis Head is awarded “Player of the match”. It is normal for us to give all the credit to the individual batsman for the victory, however there was more than one reason, more than one player for this victory.  Great bowling, fielding and unnoticed to the world an army of other individuals worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the team win. The coaches, the Physios, doctors and even the groundsmen play a role. But ultimately the responsibility and commitment are shouldered by two individuals at the crease for the win.  Your best bowlers can bowl the opposition out, but your batsmen have to score runs, for your best batsman to perform he needs someone at the other end to keep scoring. He needs a solid partner.

He/she needs someone willing to stay out in the middle facing all the elements and weathering the storm together.

Amidst all this, the universe rejoices another partnership milestone.

 YES, The Ganesan’s – Uma and Ganesh notch a 35 not out partnership.

Thirty-Five years ago, they made it official to the world that they are in love and wanted to start a life together. Well, it wasn’t entirely their decision when it came to setting the date for the wedding.  They would have preferred a date a bit later at least with a lead time of more than two weeks to organise this event.  But, as per the Sri Lankan tradition your wedding isn’t entirely your business, it was a whole family business. 

It was almost a shot gun wedding – no I was not pregnant. 

Ganesh suddenly returned from the UK earlier than expected.  This immediately raised the curiosity of the family to ask when we were getting married. My mum was okay to leave that decision to me.  However, as my dad had passed away only a few years ago and it was an un-manned household, our voices were drowned.  However, the plea from my cousin Sulochana was what finally made us to go along with this rushed wedding.

Cuz Sulo was the one who first broke the news and got permission from both parents on our behalf.  Proposed marriages were still the norm at that time.  Announcing that you have made your own choice could get you into hot water. But luckily both our parents were happy with our choices. 

Cuz Sulo (Sulo akka) was migrating to Australia the next month.  She was there when I was born and to every other milestone of my life. Then when my father fell ill, she was there from accompanying him on the ambulance, to the end.  She even allowed his funeral to be held in her house.  So, when she asked us teary eyed “I would like to see you two getting married” we just couldn’t refuse.  We both cried and said OK. We had both lost a parent, the lesson – life and time was precious was hard wired, we may not have all the loved ones that we want at our wedding if we delay it crossed our minds. So gave in to this crazy idea.

For the new age thinking the marriage should be about the two of us and we should decide etc etc,  yes, that’s exactly how I felt 35 years ago, when the whole planning of the wedding was hijacked from me. With age and experience I think my ideas and ideals have changed a bit. In the last 35 years we have weathered some storms, some worse than the other.  But amongst all that there was some splendid display of great batting.  Time to time the unorthodox Batsman would be summoned to the middle of crease for a small talk.  But to his credit he would listen to his partner and continue with his good form. But the beauty of the partnership was that they took turns, rotated the scoring. For an unorthodox batsman he knew when to drop his flamboyancy and be there for his partner. Whispers in my ears “we’ve got this” – no this man has no idea how to whisper, if so, it would be a whisper that could be heard by the neighbours, so unpoetic it may be but a stern bellow “we got this” maybe an added “don’t be silly”. So the batting continued.

As two veteran batsmen on the crease we were doing a fabulous job.  However, we couldn’t have got through all the curve balls and bouncers without the abundant love and support from our big family/clan. 

It was chaotic to say the least to prepare a wedding in two weeks with your entire family and neighbourhood involved. All the wedding halls were booked out but that didn’t faze my cousin Sulo, she opened up her house without a single moment of hesitation. 

I have always thought that it wasn’t a perfect wedding.  I could have/would have changed so many things, the venue, the décor, the flowers, the amount of jewellery, my make up the list goes on. Unable to go through the old album to prepare something for this anniversary (due to my injury), I thought I will edit our wedding video.  Looking through the video after so many years I realise, that it was the most perfect wedding.  Yes, the venue, deco, jewellery and make up were all wrong.  But, does it really matter?

It was an era where the Hindu bride was meant to bow down to the earth and look sombre and pious. In this video, I notice that the bride and groom in spite of the big audience they seem to be in their own bubble having their own fun and laughter.  That wouldn’t have been possible without the said man standing next to me. 

I always thought it was a shambles of a wedding and a-not-so bad marriage, room for improvement – well sometimes a whole renovation was needed. 

But I am ashamed to say that it has taken me 35 years to realise that it was indeed the perfect wedding for a perfect couple. It was a gift prepared for them by their loving family. I didn’t have my dad to give me away but the whole village made sure the job got done.  To my big crazy family and friends, THANK YOU. 

In this partnership many would think that I was the better batsman (batsman/woman whatever), maybe so for most part.  Keeping with the cricket theme – yes Ricky Ponting played on with a broken jaw and that was a great feat indeed.  But how could he not?  He had to do it for the team and furthermore he had faith in the team.  Him at the crease gave them the best chance and as he said, “it was worth it”

I gave the promise “in sickness and in health” a good test. Opted to take the revolving door to the hospital year after year.  Thank you, Ganesh, for walking through that door with me each time.  You gave me the courage and a reason to fight it. Yes, I did it for the kids too.  The kids were your gift to me and I will do anything to protect those precious gifts.

I think we have a lot more runs left in us. However, point of difference – in Cricket you have the option to form a new partnership. Sorry mate you’re it for me and not giving you that option either.  So, pad up and let’s keep going. 

The Video

As I couldn’t lift the big old photo albums, I decided to edit our wedding video.  I have never taken any interest in doing such things in the past, always palmed it off to my kids such projects.  This is my very first attempt and again using my broken shoulder as an excuse asking forgiveness for the roughness of the editing.  But keep in my mind it was a 3-hr video which I have managed to cut it to about 5 minutes or so.  That was not an easy task. The videography itself is pretty archaic – its like watching through an old bond movie with the really bad special effects. If you can stomach it try and watch till the end, a bit of comedy awaits.

For the non-Hindu audience – short explanations on some of the traditions

Lighting of the lamp – All events and celebrations start with lighting this particular style lamp. 

Alarthi – Two women (mature women – ideally someone already married etc) hold a tray with 3 pieces of banana. A wick would be inserted to the cut banana so it could be lit like a lamp.  This ritual is done to the VIP of the event. I think it is a form welcoming him wading off evil spirit and giving blessings etc.  I am by far the worst person to talk about rituals as I have no idea, so I could be totally wrong.

Thali – it is similar in importance as a wedding ring.  It is a special type of necklace given by the groom to the bride. It has a screw at the back rather than a clasp or a hock.  Hence the reason for a flock of individuals to be at the back assisting the groom.  It will always be only women who would be at the back, it is an important job. 

In our weddings there are many rituals that happen before and after the wedding as well. I have cut short all the rituals as they are too darn long.  As per my husband this is to discourage a second marriage. 😊

Please ask away any questions you have. Nothing would be deemed offensive.

Posted in Sports

Ball Tampering … The Biggest Brain Fart



24th of March 2018 was a dark day for the Australian Cricket team and it’s fans.  And it’s not because we lost the game, but because we lost the essence of sports.  In the era of billion dollar sponsorship’s and big salaries, sports has become a business.  We see this not just in Cricket, but in every other sports.  Winning at all cost.

There is a lot of noise in the main stream media and even on social media currently about the three players Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith. The whole of Australia, even those who don’t follow Cricket have something to say.  In the public’s eye they were villains who brought discredit to the game and to Australia.

Where did I stand on this issue and where am I now?

I was livid. I was disgusted.  I was disappointed in Steve Smith.  I had such great regard for Steve Smith until then.  I admired the way he played, the way he captained.  Cool, calm collected and a young man with great talent and temperament. All that tarnished by a moment of insanity.  I could never accept cheating.  And there was no dressing this up as anything else. This was blatant cheating.

Australian team as well as the public have never gone easy on other teams and always taken the high moral ground on other teams for even the smell of cheating.  Memories don’t fail me when I recall the incident or incidents of 2006 Australia vs Sri Lanka, how Sri Lankan spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan was tormented by the bias umpires, Australian Team and the Australian public.  Here was one up and coming young bowler from a third world country, but he showed talent, the only way to get him out of the picture was to brand him as “chucking”.  In this scenario it was not even cheating and his actions were cleared later as not ‘chucking’.  In such issues facts don’t matter.  Bantering continues with baseless allegations by the faceless men and women of Australia.

I learnt a new word after coming to Australia – Gamesmanship.  Then Wicket Keeper Ian Healy was the master of it.  He called sledging was Gamesmanship.  At the beginning I was against it.  I thought this was a Gentleman’s game and sledging hard no place in it.  In time I came to accept it.  Still it bothered me when Fast Bowler Glen Mc Grath was teased in the West Indies and he lost his cool.  Not sure what was said but it was about his wife.  She was battling cancer at the time.  I am really not sure how anyone can stoop to that level to banter someone using their dying partner.  Yes, they crossed the line there.  But then again Glen Mc Grath himself is no saint.  He once called a Sri Lankan player (I believe could be another from the sub continent) “black monkey” because the other player hit his ball for a four.  I don’t think that Glen is a racist.  Just that he was angry, annoyed and exasperated at that time and wrong words came out.  Which can happen to any one of us.  How many of us are guilty on the road when we mutter to ourselves “bloody Asian drivers”.  The difference is, we are not in the public arena and on camera.

Coming back to Steve Smith and the other two, why did they do it?  I don’t think winning at all cost was the only motivator.  I don’t know much about Cameron so I am not going to comment.  Warner probably was at his wits ends.  Sledging about his wife, the fans wearing Sunny Bill Williams face mask etc.  Warner himself has accused South Africa of ball tampering in 2014 and was fined for the comments he made without concrete evidence.  I am not sure if he thought they were still guilty (South African’s).  Well let’s not forget their captain Faf du Plessis was caught twice before.  It’s a lame excuse but it’s still an excuse “everyone does it”.  Maybe that was what he was thinking.  But the outcome shows that there was not much thinking.

I still cannot fathom what was going through Steve Smith’s head. My verdict for Steve Smith might be biased.  I am not saying he is not guilty.  But it takes a great man to admit his fault so wholeheartedly.

I wonder whether we as a society created this issue.  When these young men (and women) enter the main arena, we are surprised, pleased and overjoyed at their talents and success.  We praise the budding talents.  For us they are new to the scene.  But the fact is that they have been in the scene for a long time.  They had given up their weekends and mornings before and after school on training.  They had given up their holidays and friends for more training.  They had already given up on their childhood.  Now they are finally on the main arena.

Good life begins with sponsors, six figure salaries and the spotlight.  Well that’s what we see.  They are under scrutiny from the first match.  Two consecutive bad scores and we are ready to write them off.  We say we shouldn’t have this mentality “winning at all costs”.  But are we happy if they lose?  We see time after time sportsmen facing depression and anxiety.  We hoist them at their peek and then drop them without a second thought, when they have given it all and got nothing left.  Ian Thorpe, Graham Hackett, Geoff Huegill, the list goes on.  We drive them to hit rock bottom.

Maybe there is a lesson in this.  Let’s teach our young to do their best.  To never give up.  But accept the fact there is one winner and also not the winner in every battle.  Let’s clean up our own mess before we take the broom to our neighbors.  Sledging and gamesmanship has to go.  Let’s replace it with Sportsmanship.

A moments lapse of misjudgment has now destroyed Steve Smith’s great future.  I can’t but feel terribly sorry for this young man.  I think he knows it more than anyone else, that he is to blame and no one else.  He has passed a harsher judgement on himself than anyone else.

I feel for these players mental health, I feel for these players partners and their kids.  For those who have not listened to this press conference, please do.  In my books he is still a man with a lot of integrity.  He said sorry, He took responsibility.  It’s a lot more than what some churches have done.