The demise of Appu Ghar

All good things must come to an end and so did the Appu Ghar. The 15.5 acres amusement park is being brought down to be replaced by the Delhi Metro. Appu Ghar maybe no more, but the nostalgic memories of this magical park will last forever.

In the evergreen debate between the Mumbaikars and the Delhiites, Mumbaikars used to score over their counterparts thanks to the presence of the glittering stars of Bollywood and the safety tag of the Island city. Having passed through the phases of living in both the cities, it used to be a tough choice for me. For having grown up in Delhi, my heart was still in the calmness of Delhi, though Mumbai has become my Karma Bhoomi and I shudder at the thought of leaving it. Visiting my previous home has been on the cards for a very long time, but in the tough schedule that a student has to follow, the dream could not materialize. But in all the Metros and the Development plans being executed in the capital, it has lost something which was closest to the heart of its citizens- Appu ghar.

And in the host of management entrance exams that I had been giving, I lost the chance of visiting this place as it opened its gates for the last time on the 18th February, 2008. A feeling of nostalgia overcomes me whenever I think of this place. Even before I visited the Qutab Minar or the India Gate, I had made three round trips to Appu Ghar. And visiting any trade show or exhibition at Pragati Maidan was incomplete if you didn’t flock to Appu Ghar in the evenings.

The house of horrors, the bumping cars, mini Disneyland, the eerie tunnel were the places I used to frequently visit. Those were the days when you didn’t have any worries and could soak in the excitement of the place. It has been more than seven years since I last visited it, but the park is etched in my memory. Away from the commotion and the traffic snarls of the city, it was one place that despite all the noise that the children would be making would offer a sense of calm. America would boast of the Disneyland, but Appu Ghar for its citizens wasn’t far behind.

February 18th, was the last chance for people to say goodbye to this amusement park. As the number of tickets sold touched 5,000 and the timings extended by an extra hour, people flocked from all the parts of the city as well as the outskirts to visit this magical place. Many children who had grown playing here would have got their children to share the same experience. But, there are many of us who missed that last opportunity would lament this miss for a long time to come. But, as they say all good things must come to an end because that is the nature of life.

It seems that the Appu ghar has been shut down for the development of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The Metro has been a huge boost for Delhi and now it can compete with the like of Mumbai and Kolkatta in offering good commutation means. But whatever the purpose be, was their not a way of building at some other place? Maybe im being a bit irrational for Appu Ghar meant more to me than any other landmark in Delhi.

The place might have been losing its charm, for children nowadays prefer computer games and gaming consoles to a visit to the park. And with malls, supermarkets, gaming centres opening up in all parts of the city, where is the place to have an Amusement Park. Im disappointed that the next generation in my family could not visit this place but hopefully by the time they grow up there would be something better to visit. Appu Ghar may be no more but it will be missed for ever. I don’t really have much to look forward to the next time I visit the capital. And if I were the Supreme Court of India and had to make a choice between the Metro and the Appu Ghar, the choice would have been a fairly straight forward one.

Heart Warming Story of a Caddie turned Golfer

A rags to riches story that should make every Indian proud. An unassuming Golfer from Kolkatta won the Indian Masters title at the Delhi Golf Club but the Media has been ignorant of it. A great inspiration story buried even before it can be told.

In the first ever European level Tournament in India, it would have been only fitting that an Indian won it. It is interesting to note that SSP Chowrasia had no formal training in Golf. He was a greenskeeper’s son and was self taught. This was the third ever win of a European tournament by an Indian. Arjun Atwal was the first Indian golfer to win the European Tour International schedule at the 2002 Singapore Open Masters.

The 29 year old champion Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia pocketed a handsome amount of $416,660., the highest prize money ever won by any Indian Sportsman. Chowrasia had been playing professional golf since he was 19, but had not won any major international Golf Tournament but with this win he moved up the international golfer’s rankings to 161 and also at the top of the Asian order of merit. Chowrasia always used to fail at the last hurdle that is the finals, but in front of his home crowd he absorbed the pressure to emerge the winners beating fellow greats like Ernie Els, Arjun Atwal and Damien McGrane.

Going in the footsteps of Ali Sher and Feroz Ali who were also caddie turned golfers, SSP Chowrasia now stands as an inspiration to numerous caddies around India who have hopes of playing in an international Golf tournament some day. And Chowrasai too believes that the Caddies have it in them to accomplish the feat, and tries to help the caddies whenever he can.

In October 2006, this man had stood runners up in the Indian Open behind Jyoti Randhawa and had won his biggest cheque of 33,900 dollars. When asked about an international open, the humble down to earth Bengali had said,
”I don’t think I can play in such cold conditions. After all, Bengalis don’t want to move out in winter without their blanket and you can’t swing the club with the rag on” But winning in the cold winter of Delhi, Chowrasia has proved himself wrong.

In a country like India, the Media plays a big role in building a Sport. Golf though a very popular sport world wide has not got the recognition it deserves in India. And chowrasia’s win shows that you do not have to be a millionaire to be able to afford the Golf Clubs. The Media’s bias towards Sports other than cricket is there for all to see. Well, the media persons have a tailor made answer ready that they reflect only what the Society does or indeed in this case wants.

But the Media should understand that it can play the role of a Leader. It can awaken a revolution among the people whether it is injustice done to the poor or the lack of law and order. The Media should focus on Sports like Hockey, Golf and Football. We do not expect an entire Sports channel dedicated to such Sports but at least a fifteen minute piece everyday will not cause any real harm. But, the TV channels would rather play the same cricket clip again and again than playing a clip of a different Sport.

The Print and the Internet Media is equally guilty here. Here is a young Indian who has won an international Masters tournament and is being discussed all over the World but back home in India, people barely know anything about him. And after winning the highest Sports prize money ever by an Indian, he still cannot feature in the Headlines of a news paper or a TV channel.

If in a Sport we aren’t really doing well, I can understand the Media wants to stay away from it. But in spite of winning the Indian Masters, if the Media chooses to ignore Chowrasia then it is due to the Media Bias. What was astonishing to see was on his arrival back to Kolkatta, there were not a large number of Media persons to talk to him. The Reason an IPL meeting was taking place in Kolkatta and all the Media personnel had been stationed there.

The Media needs to wake up and realize that it’s main job is to inform the people and not to entertain them. Otherwise Heart Warming stories like these would be buried even before they can be told.

Aussie ki taissie: History repeats itself yet again

Call it divine intervention or poetic justice, the Aussie juggernaut has been halted yet again by Team India who conjured a magical win at the Aussie citadel of supremacy, Perth. This historic wonder down under is the best revenge for the Sydney Fiasco.

The Aussie tour could not have been scripted better. It’s such milestone moments that transmit through a billion pounding hearts like an electric surge. And when such moments arrive, it is time to revel in their glory. Someone had rightly said that you find bliss when you least expect it. The Indians too found it, in the wilderness of Perth. Continue reading Aussie ki taissie: History repeats itself yet again