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MS Dhoni

India had already been kept on the pedestal in front of the world by Sachin Tendulkar, the master blaster, the God of cricket. His game not only lifted the status of the Indian cricket team but also that of India as a whole. He had made India a feared opponent in the world of cricket. But, this was just the beginning as many more young talents would emerge and carry on the task which the God of cricket had started. One such talent was Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who grew up watching Sachin play and would eventually go on to lead his idol and many other extraordinary young talents to create the future of the Indian cricket team. Dhoni or MSD, as he is popularly known as, began his career by playing domestic cricket for the cricket teams of Bihar and Jharkhand, dominating the bowlers since then.

Dhoni made his debut on 23rd December, 2004 against Bangladesh in Chittagong under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. He played under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, both remarkable captains. Dhoni’s entry into the international cricket scenario was not how anyone would dream of. But as the saying goes, fortune favors the brave, he got a chance to prove his worth to the team and become an important asset for the team. In 2007, Dhoni was handed the captaincy and he was trusted with the leadership of a young and inexperienced team through the first ever T20 World Cup. Dhoni made many quick decisions that benefited the Indian team a lot resulting in the great victory of the 1st ever T20 World Cup.  This was the beginning of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s great legacy. The country was in awe of Dhoni’s captaincy. Dhoni’s ability to remain calm in tough situations set a precedence for the team members and his unflappable nature won him the nickname of ‘Captain Cool’. Dhoni impressed the entire world with his batting prowess and wicket keeping skills too. His fast stumpings, runouts and his ability to call for a review from behind the wickets with more accuracy than anyone till now makes him stand out the most. He was the best finisher India could hope for. For example, if India needed 20 runs in the last over, the pressure would be on the bowlers and not on the batsman, Dhoni, since he was unstoppable in the slog overs. He has won India many matches in spite of bottleneck situations. His wicketkeeping was another aspect he excelled in. There is still no one who can beat him in terms of runouts and stumpings. His fastest stumping record, which also happens to be the world record, is 0.08 seconds. Now, how do you beat that speed! His consistency in his play and the thrilling results he achieved made him the permanent captain of the Indian cricket team in no time. Dhoni led Sachin, his idol, as his captain in the team for 6 years. He was praised as the best captain ever when he won India and Sachin their well-deserved ODI World cup. Dhoni was also the costliest player in the first ever auction of the IPL in 2008. He has been leading the team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for over 15 years now and has won the IPL 4 times. Also, under his captaincy, CSK has won the Champions Trophy twice. Dhoni is the only captain to win all 3 ICC trophies, the T20 World Cup, the ODI World Cup and the Champions Trophy. In 2014, he retired from test cricket and in 2017, he stepped down from his overall captaincy, naming Virat Kohli as his successor. In the latter part of his career, Dhoni started building the future of many youngsters in the team by giving them stands and promoting them up the batting order while coming later in the line to bat himself. This selfless act of his was not recognized by people, who started to criticize him and suggested that he should retire. They did not realize that Dhoni was an in-team mentor for youngsters and that he also helped Virat Kohli in the initial stages of the latter’s captaincy.

On 15th August 2020, Dhoni retired from all forms of cricket after the disappointing semifinal defeat in the 2019 ODI World Cup. However, he still plays for CSK in the IPL.  People have slowly started to realize the need of Dhoni in the Indian cricket team. His appearance on the field playing has become a joy for everyone around the world who loves to watch cricket. Now people long to see him play on the ground. Although Dhoni faced many backlashes during his career, he didn’t let it affect his performance on the field and always had a positive outlook for every situation. In fact, Sachin Tendulkar also acknowledged that Dhoni was the best captain he had played under. Not only India but even the rest of the world accepts and agrees on the fact that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the best wicketkeeper, finisher and captain any team could wish for and that there will be no one greater than he.

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This one is for Parents

Another year and a whole new set of resolutions and promises. How well we know that these last a month or two and we are all back to our old ways. When we speak of our children, we very well know how Instagram is deleted in January and is back in March, how good habits are formed and last till the end of the month, how promises to play online games only on weekends are soon lost in the maze of excuses. 

We all have been there and seen it.  

Children are able to relate better when they listen to logic and when rules are backed by reasoning (some solid research and data). 

Here, I have tried to put together few known but often overlooked, basic guidelines. 

1) Discipline:  Yes, Discipline never gets old. With changing times, we may change the methods or ways, but it is still the bedrock of success. Discipline is required at every step of the way whether it is for sleeping on time, studying, playing games or eating. 

Certain ground rules need to be laid like no screen time two hours before sleeping. In Finland, parents would start dimming the lights, switching off any screens several hours before sleep so when it is time for kids to sleep, they immediately fall asleep. This ensures a good night’s sleep which ensures that the kids are energetic and constructive the next day.  Another aspect involves discipline to study everyday not just during exam time and to have some sort of physical activity every day. 

Discipline needs commitment and cooperation from all family members. As we say, Lead by Example. You cannot expect your child to study while you are glued to Netflix. 

2) Schedule:  Creating a schedule makes life so much simpler. Once everything has been accounted for and scheduled, there are fewer chances of messing up. Schedule everything, even play time, only one condition, follow it to the end. To make the schedule work for the children, let them personalize it. After all, it is their schedule; let them make it. They want to play first and then study - perfect but do study. The key is to stick to the schedule. And sure enough they will find that they have time for everything. 

This will have two advantages. First, they are not leaving everything for the last day and then scrambling for guides and shortcuts. Second, they are forming a Habit which will last them a lifetime whether they are competing in a cutthroat corporate world or taking care of a family. Also, when they make their schedule, chances are higher that they will follow it. 

3) Prioritize:  Let’s be real, the syllabus is vast, extra-curricular activities daunting, exam pressure stressful and add to the deadly combination, a dose of peer pressure, social media and unrealistic pressures from parents. It is all very intimidating. As parents and teachers, we should help children prioritize their activities and studies by explaining to our children that the challenging subjects need more time and effort so instead of procrastinating, they should deal with it. Keep aside an hour for the challenging subject every day. Mathematics is a subject which many fear or just love.  Whatever place you are in, this requires regular practice. So half an hour every day for someone who is good and an hour for someone who is not so good. 

When we prioritize, we need to make sure that Health - Physical, Mental, Emotional is of paramount importance. Health is and should always be the number one priority with all other things following later.  

4) Health:  We come across children talking about burn-outs, being mentally stressed and experiencing anxiety and nervous breakdowns. Ever heard of a child doing well in class but not performing well in exams? Sounds familiar?  Making silly mistakes, not reading the questions carefully, giving up halfway through the exam are all too common. 

The emphasis on good health-physical, mental and emotional cannot be stressed upon more. In a world of technology and social media, children are exposed to unrealistic and often unnecessary stuff. The responsibility is ours, as parents and teachers, to understand these challenges and deal with them lovingly and patiently. 

Each aspect has to be addressed. Ensure that children have enough physical exercise in the open air, let them play games/sports with friends, let them get dirty,  fight, resolve, lose and win. They learn a lot just from playing, whether it is team spirit, resolving issues and a valuable lesson that you cannot win all the time. 

Help your children to understand that it is fine not to be good at everything, that it is fine to love English or History, that everyone does not need to be an Engineer or a Doctor, and that each profession is important. Make them believe in themselves, help them be confident and at the same time be mentally strong to be able to accept their flaws.  

Emotional health is often either overlooked or stigmatized. Listen to your children by making time for them. Do not trivialize their achievements however small, and do not ridicule their failures. No one is perfect. Listen to them, not just hear them, advise when asked, understand their view point, not just push yours because  you are a parent. Just be there for them and let them know that you will support them no matter what!!

5) Goal Setting: When we are able to visualize our Goals, it becomes easier to work towards them. These can be short-term and long-term goals. You can simplify it further by breaking it to mini goals with  each mini goal working  towards a larger one. Do not forget to applaud their achievements. Each mini goal leads to a short-term goal leading to the ultimate or the final goal. Make sure that children do not lose focus of the Final Goal. Small steps go a long way to achieve the objective. 

Teenage is both a beautiful and challenging age. So many changes are taking place - physically and mentally. This is also a time when we need to be sensitive to our children’s needs, their problems and their stress. Grades do matter but let us strive to build an environment where children love doing what they have to do. It no longer becomes a burden but a voluntary and wilful step.  Not all children are the same, not all can become doctors. We do need a psychiatrist, an architect, a lawyer and even an entrepreneur. It is about doing anything with honesty, sincerity and passion. Once we achieve this, the Sky's the Limit!!!

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1. Battered 

‘Battered by the storm that brews,

she stood still standing in her colourless hues.’


The image was shot on a barren grassland in the South Indian peninsula in the month of October 2022. As I was treading about on this field, on an overcast day, this stunningly moving little shed caught my gaze. Though made of bareboned materials it looked like it had already lived through many raging storms. Something so simple yet powerful, with a fortunately apt ambience created for one of my best works.


2. Riches



‘When fate takes toll,

And the need does arise,

Even riches and gold,

Shan’t pay the price,

Of what worth they are,

Mere grains of rice’

This image was captured in the month of May 2022. Inspired by the Indian tradition of not wasting a single grain of rice when it is served to us, I composed this image to have rice grains, surrounded by valuable riches. Implying that when need arises, the grains of rice, although much less in value, will be worth even more than all the riches in the world. Symbolising this fact, I believe that this image not only brings out the importance of rice, but also emphatically contradicts the ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ of life.

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