Harsha Bhogle and the art of winning a battle without fighting

Fight only if you must. Sometimes, the best way to win a battle is not to fight at all.

harsha2Harsha Bhogle has been axed as commentator by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from the IPL 9 Season. As is the case with most BCCI decisions, no reasons are forthcoming. Meanwhile, the rumor mills are working overtime to suggest that any of these three – or all – reasons may be valid: BCCI being ‘deeply influenced’ by innocuous (per me) Tweets by Amitabh Bachchan and M.S.Dhoni conveying their personal opinions on how commentators must commentate; Harsha’s run-in with a Vidarbha Cricket Association official in Nagpur over a common-sensical suggestion and how Shashank Manohar, the current BCCI President, stepped in and stood up for this official; or how players have begun to influence the BCCI on who should be chosen as commentators. But when news broke out on Saturday evening, when the first match of IPL 9 was being played between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants, that Harsha will not commentate, the man in the spotlight was off to watch a movie with his wife Anita in Mumbai. All he did was he tweeted his surprise at the turn of events.

I think this is a phenomenal quality that Harsha’s got – to not fight everything and everyone that comes in your way!

Though not among my personal favorites (L.Sivaramakrishnan and Danny Morrison are), Harsha is clearly a world-class cricket commentator. He’s worked hard to follow his bliss and he, deservedly, is very, very admired. Just the outpouring of sentiment in his favor, over his axing, is evidence of how much he’s loved. Yet, the landscape in which he plies his trade is fraught with BCCI’s mafia-like ‘control’ of the game and infested with intra-organizational, political landmines. And Harsha perhaps knows this better than anyone else. Hence his choice to not lose his dignity or sanity trying to stir an already confounded situation is commendable. Undoubtedly, the public – his fans and followers of the game – is with him.

There’s a learning here for all of us. When someone queers your pitch, just walk away. You don’t have to respond to every provocation or pick up every gauntlet that’s hurled at you. Some battles are best left unfought. People react to situations based on their own insecurities, perversions or justifications. Things happen in Life because that’s the way Life is – it keeps on happening, endlessly, often mindlessly. So, if you get embroiled in trying to bulldoze your way every single time someone or something becomes an obstacle, you will only be fighting inconsequential battles all your Life. Precious personal positive energy will get drained this way. Sometimes it is better to be silent and work around a problem person or situation than wanting to decimate an obstruction. Be stingy about where your energies go. Choose the good fight – where there’s a cause, where more than just you will be benefited, where there’s an opportunity that your victory can make the world better. For any other battle, not fighting is perhaps the best way to win!

A Life lesson from Virat Kohli: Stay Humble, Stay Amazed!

Everything happens through you and never because of you!

Like his captain M.S.Dhoni said in the post-match presentation ceremony, I too am loving the “evolution” of Virat Kohli – not just as a cricketer but as a human being. There was a time, not too long ago, when he was considered brash, arrogant, foul-mouthed and tempestuous. But the Virat we have seen through this World Cup T20 is a different person altogether.

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Bowing to Sachin

First, after scoring a steely 50 against Pakistan at Kolkata on March 19th, he bowed to Sachin Tendular in the stands, dedicating his innings to the Master – “It is because of Sachin that I started playing cricket,” he later explained on TV. Next, last evening, when Dhoni hit the winning four against Australia, Virat, at the non-striker’s end, sank to the ground. On his knees, he bowed down in reverence, overwhelmed by the moment. Had it not been for his pyrotechnics in the previous two overs, India would not have made it past the line and into the semis of the WCT20 2016 – he knew that; yet, he felt humbled by his own brilliance. Then, he stood up, removed his helmet and raised his finger, pointing it at the skies and looked up with complete certainty that he was but an instrument; he was genuinely grateful for being the ‘chosen one’ for last night!

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‘Humbled!’

To me this quality in Virat will continue to take him onward. And higher! I am sure Dhoni’s sagacity and equanimity have had a huge influence on Virat’s temperament. Yet I want to credit this 27-year-old with coming forth and being willing to be humble. Bravo Son! Soldier on!

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‘Am merely an instrument!’

If there’s one quality that we all need to nurture in us as we go – and grow – through Life, it is humility. We must realize that success and failure are mere labels. Virat, for instance, who is the toast of 1.2 billion cricket-crazy fans in India this morning may well be rubbished even before the season is out if he fails to deliver the goods. In India, especially with respect to cricket, every fan is a better analyst and judge of your potential and playing conditions than you are. So, it is very, very important to understand that everything happens through you and not because of you. This is not just applicable to a game, as in to cricket, but to Life itself. We are mere messengers, instruments for a higher energy (some call this energy, God; I am comfortable just recognizing the presence of an inscrutable, magical energy that is beyond my understanding!) to work through us. Each event, happening in our Life, is a learning. If we do something miraculous, be amazed, be humbled, like Virat was last night. If you do something stupid and botch it all up, again be amazed, be humbled, and learn from it. Don’t gloat, don’t exult! And don’t despair or give in to depression either. Victory or defeat, success or failure – all are mere imposters. Treat them with dignity. Let them come. Let them go. And you simply journey on, letting your music play – through you!

PS: All pictures are courtesy Internet and copyright/ownership rests with original creators.