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Finding Neverland Blog Archive

Thursday, July 28, 2016

To London, with Love (Part 1)

Heathrow Airport

'Welcome to London', the security guard said the moment I was about to step out of Heathrow Airport.

'You will fall in love with this city', he kept on talking while I just kept on looking here and there trying to absorb the fact that I was finally in London.

The sun was shining and there was this excitement within, I was happy because I really wanted a change in my life and wanted to start anew but then there was this fear that it is a new place, new people and not knowing what to expect. But yes, that's when I fell in love with London the City.

The taxi dropped me few streets away from the university accommodation and I had no clue where to go so I asked the first person I saw in the street about where to go. He looked at me for a few seconds, took out his phone and started typing the address in google maps.

It will take you 5-10 minutes to reach your destination, let me help you.' he said.

Then suddenly he picked up my bag and asked me to come behind him. At first I thought he was gonna run away with my luggage but he did not, and actually took me all the way to my university accommodation, right in front of the hall put my bag down. I said thanks.

He just smiled at me, said, 'Welcome to London'. Shook my hands and went away. I was extremely surprised and it hit me how nice people could be here. Over the year and half I can say I wasn't wrong but that was when I fell in love with the people of London.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Story of Younis Khan (Part-9)

Younis Khan and Shan Masood

He learnt. He read. He took coaching courses. He started watching videos of his batting. He sought out other players, like Rahul Dravid, who urged him to expand his mind and keep the sport in one corner of it, quarantined from the rest. He sought opportunities to play domestic cricket in England and, most unusually for a Pakistan batsman, Australia. He threw himself into the life in South Australia in a two-month stay in 2008-09, cooking breakfast for team-mates. In the middle of the stint, he flew back to Pakistan to play a domestic game, then returned to finish his contract in South Australia and was then back again right into the Pakistan season. He lost 10kgs from the travel and play, and thought it was something he needed to do.

He created an ascetic lifestyle. He brought discipline into it. He began picking a corner in dressing rooms wherever he went, put his world into order around it, and didn't take kindly to others littering his space. If he wasn't training or playing, he wasn't seen. He cut out lunch. He started eating dinner by 6pm, which in many homes in Pakistan is when lunches are still finishing. He cut the Pakistani out of his diet, eating grilled and steamed food. He took up fishing, taking advantage of his proximity to Port Qasim with its great fishing spots. He developed unique netting routines and methods of practice so different that younger players, like Shan Masood, speak of them almost in awe.

"Some of his sessions are basic because he's done Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses, but very technical, and a lot of people would struggle to do them," Masood, also a team-mate of Younis at United Bank, told me. "When you're playing professionally, you want to face bowlers who are bowling well in the nets. You want to face proper throwdowns.

"But with Younis it would be [exercises like] his backlift already up and somebody looping balls up to him. A lot of people think you don't get those kind of balls out in the field [but it comes] from his understanding of the game. Those are routines he is very particular about."

You might remember an extraordinary shot Younis played off Shaminda Eranga in a Test in Abu Dhabi two Januaries ago, so extraordinary it has its own thread on Eranga was bowling with the second new ball and Younis was already a hundred to the good. This delivery landed well short of a good length, a couple of stumps outside off, and got as high, maybe, as Younis' hips. Most batsmen would think it fodder for their cut. Younis, however, straightened from his crouch and punched the ball through covers, and if that wasn't a remarkable enough option to take, he actually jumped at the moment he connected. Jumped, not skipped on his toes, but jumped high, like he was clearing a hurdle with both legs, knee-first, back arching simultaneously. It was a shot, thought Masood, that defied the laws of physics.

That shot was the result of a variation of the marble-slab practice common among batsmen the world over to prepare for fast bowling. Coaches throw the ball hard at the slab, placed at a good length away from the batsman, to recreate zip and bounce. Younis doesn't use the slab in the same way. He puts stumps flat underneath it to create an angle so that the slab becomes a little ramp facing up to him. On this the balls come at an even steeper angle, at his chest and throat, allowing Younis to hone this levitation shot.

"He's not that much into [team] nets," said Masood. "He'll go face two rounds of the fast bowlers' nets, two rounds of the spinners' nets and that's it. The rest of it are his own personal drills and he does it every single day, whether he's batting or fielding."

Now he has reached the point where Waqar Younis, the coach, refers to him within the team as the "Institute": go there, learn. It is this status that elevates Younis - in some opinions - above other batsmen in Pakistan's history. Nobody has scored runs and at the same enabled others to bloom.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

How much you mean to me.

My love I want to tell you,
how much u mean to me.
you're like a chocolate,
wrapped in a candy,
that tells how you're sweet.

Caring as YOU are, I feel im cared,
No worries and No sorrows.
I feel like im flying,
for your wings, i did borrow.

You showed me life form an angle,
that sure is not in three-sixty.
Because a thousand happinesses,
did multiply by fifty.

The way you talk and smile
through the day,
Brings gudguddi even at night.
people start wondering.
what made me go so bright?

Happy u so make my life,
Dont ever go away,
I want to hold on to you,
through thick n thin of life.


The chocolate will go bitter,
the feelings will go bad.
the wings will tear apart,
the angels out of dee.

the Happiness will go quarter,
the nights into nightmare.

the brightnes will turn dusky,
my heart will start sereaming
the life i so call it,
will go out of meaning.

My love i want to tell you,
how much u mean to me.
you're like a chocolate,
wrapped in a candy,
that tells how you're sweet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Story of Younis Khan (Part-8)

Younis Khan Smile

The career of Younis Khan is really the story of how to survive as a batsman in Pakistan. The rate of non-survival has little to do with batsmen. If we can equate a rare batting talent with an exceptional piece of music, then think of Pakistan cricket as a tone-deaf listener. They will move him around the order. They will drop him after his first failure. They will call him back only to drop him after his first failure again. They will make him play under threat of axing. They will play him on an away tour, against quality bowling attacks, and drop him when a home series beckons. They will force him to retire. They will prolong the career of a has-been who is keeping out a will-surely-be. They will take him as standby on tours, and then, when the opportunity arises, fly someone else in to take his place. They will play him in the wrong format. They will turn him into a wicketkeeper. They will ignore his best seasons.

It took over four years, and the arrival of Bob Woolmer, for Younis to really cement a place and position (he missed 14 of the 42 Tests Pakistan played from his debut to the end of October 2004, in Woolmer's first Test). Even then, when he made 147 in Kolkata the following March, a duck in the following innings prompted the team manager to warn him he was finished. To which Younis' response was 267 and 84 not out in the very next Test. And if true, then the claim that he thought he might be dropped had he not scored the Pallekele hundred tops them all - in the 11 Tests leading up to it, Younis had made six hundreds.

It is a fraught existence to which Younis has responded in the brooding, ominous pose of Johnny Cash's "Ain't No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down)": defiance, defiance until I die, defiance especially when I'm dead. When he made his international debut, in an ODI, his first act was to protest being pushed down to No. 7 as Pakistan searched for quick runs in a chase of 275 against Sri Lanka. He couldn't believe they were discussing the possibility of a youngster spoiling the chase in front of him. Twice when a wicket fell he was determined to just stand up and go, in defiance of the plans, only for the captain, Saeed Anwar, to tell him each time to relax. When he did go, he made a 41-ball 46, though Pakistan lost by 29 runs.

"When I first played, I really struggled. For the first one or two years, I tried really hard, tried to stay in the team, because I wanted to do something for my family, for my country. I stood like this, I stood like that, I stood like Javed bhai.

"But I figured it out after 2001. When I performed a little bit and got sidelined and then came back, in that one year that I played domestic cricket, I came back and thought, I don't want to be Inzamam, I don't want to be Miandad, I don't want to be Imran. I want to be Younis Khan. Whatever my style is, however I am, I want to stick to it. What I am, I am."

Specifically it was after a Test in Auckland, when he made 91 and an unbeaten 149, that Younis says he found himself, or at least began that process of discovery. He determined not to listen to anyone about how he should bat. Woolmer was an exception but only because he was an enabler, an encouragement for Younis to explore his own game.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Are We Wise Enough?


Written By: Tanzeela Ahmed

One fine day, when I was getting ready for university, my three years old niece, Mahnoor was keenly observing me and then she patted my leg with her tiny hand to seize my attention.

I gazed at her and then she whispered...Phupho, girls don’t go school wearing lip color...

I busted out in laughter. I’m not a student, I’m a teacher. Moreover, I teach in university not in school. I exclaimed!

Mahnoor: Ohhh, Okay.  What about your students?  Do they bother you and don’t let other student study well? She anxiously inquired.

Me:  Yes a few of them are irksome and trouble makers.

Mahnoor: But why? Haven’t their parents taught them to study hard and behave well with teachers and elders? Well, there are some “Gandy bachay” in my school too, very disturbing and irritating… You see, her all sympathies were with me.

To my wonder, she got it very right. It was fairly an ordinary conversation. But let me admit that at the tender age of three, she managed to astonish me. If a three year old is reasonable enough to produce such logical argument, then why the grown up are not able to use their common sense well, understand basic concepts and practical implication of beliefs? 

General perception is “As we grow so do we get wiser”.  Level of wisdom is broadly linked with age.

When I was kid, growing up over night was ultimate wish and now the childhood is the time that I badly miss and so want to relive it. Wish I could have a time machine…  I guess, everyone out there can relate to it.  Anyways, by and large it is consider that being a kid or minor connote no mind-power...  A usual perception is that being a kid means a free license to break rules, do blunders, create mess and make wrong moves.

I can’t comprehend that why average Pakistani families discourage kids taking reasonable. In every family we can point out some wise kids and most of the time such kids are ridicule by their elders and are mock as “Chalako masi, Shana, Shokha, Chota Ustadd, Siyana etc etc. So we can say that culture is an evident factor that permits to learn wisdom faster or hinder it. Perhaps, the development of rationality and individual skills largely relies on our values and believes system.

Being wiser is not an option it’s mandatory. “Wisdom” is the divine excellence human beings are blessed with. The act of growing up actually let us observe more, understand more, encounter numerous situations and thus we draw conclusions and take decisions.
Knowledge grows as we grow…

Experience comes with age and so is knowledge. With the passage of time, people acquire knowledge, gain experience and it makes many of them perceive that now they are wise enough, but at times their own actions and reactions in peculiar circumstances are enough to prove them imprudent.
Our actions / deeds make us look wiser or foolish

My observation is that the majority of people relate education and degrees with the level of wisdom. It’s true in many aspects but not legitimate all the times. This world is full of wiser people who have barely attended school but their approach towards life and their actions & contentment is good enough to prove that.
Wisdom doesn’t need any credential”

A degree can’t buy well manners, Knowledge, wisdom, experience and ability to stand exceptional.  Degree is a piece of paper and one has to earn and justify it.

Scientific researches depict that as we age our brains shrink in volume / weight, particularly in the frontal cortex. It has been widely found that cognitive functioning slows and memory decline also occurs with ageing.  Old people are less impulsive. So they take more time to think and react and it probably helps them to make wise decisions.

What makes difference is how we use our brain to understand, interpret and generate an opinion.  Yes, we do get wiser as we get older only if we are truly able to constantly learn, adapt, expand our vision and cope up with the ever arising challenges of growing age / life.

Let’s accept it as true that being wiser means possession of knowledge, experience, continuous learning and having the ability to produce good judgment in all practical matters.
“Use your brain well. Otherwise you will never get wiser even at 60...”