Fiction: The whistling candy and jamun tree

In the faraway village, stood a Jamun tree standing tall and alone facing the dusty road where a rare vehicle spluttering past the muddy terrain brought alive the sleepy crowd flocking to trail in numbers. The villagers walked miles on their tired feet to sit under the shade of the tree during the tribulations of daily life and it provided the only luxury to the battered faces sprinkled with mud and sweat as if water fell from the sky on this dry land.

An old petrol lantern was dimly lit inside the square room smeared with cow dung on the hut roof and erected on the unpolished, decrepit wall. Little Gotiya squatted on the floor and at times changed his position to sit cross-legged while holding his second standard book to study but his little head decked on the floor. The seven-year-old rubbed his eyes and was dreaming about running with his tiny legs and naked feet in the mud to sit under the shade of his favorite jamun tree. It was too late to flee home in the night and after all, Maa told him about the doktar unngkle( Doctor uncle) who preys on young children to give them injections before throwing them to the wolves. Poor Doktar, he died but his bhoot (ghost) roamed around in the quest for small children like Gotiya who shy away from being a good boy at school and doesn’t memorize lessons at home.

The spanking at school and holding his ear on the floor sitting on the knee like a monkey, being mocked at by teachers and friends was still ringing in his mind. He recited a small prayer, “Dear God! I will give you ladoo. Please kill my teacher.” He suddenly bobbed his head and fell asleep on the floor. A tight slap hit him hard on the head which suddenly woke him up. Ouch! It hurts. He stood straight and sat cross-legged. “Don’t you dare doze off like that. Now, recite the table,” Maa gave him a stern look and snatched the book from his hand. Poor boy mumbled and slurred like a drunkard with fear in his eyes. He stammered.

Gotiya was distracted by the perfume of daal and aloo sabzi wafting on the petrol stove inside the tiny room as the cool breeze flew inside. His eyes furtively traveled towards the wooden window to get a peek of the Jamun tree slowly waning away in the fleeting distance. He had no choice but to recite the table by closing his eyes but couldn’t buckle his mind. There were too much of distractions, thinking about his friends in the village, food and the shade he craves for.

The hazy morning complicated little Gotiya’s life when he was pulled brutally from his sleep on the floor and a bucket of cold water poured on his skinny body, hair combed with force and blue school uniform thrust on him. “I don’t want to go to school,” he cried his lungs out. In a flash of anger, he bit his mom’s hand and ran with all his might towards the paddy field outside and crossed the river. The tiny soles pained and wore bruise but nothing would stop him from running with force.

He stood in front of the Jamoon tree as if it was his best friend and a revered God, “Oh! my friend. Everybody is mean. The school is bad. Mom is also wicked. No one understands me like you do. Hide me if you love me.” He fell asleep under the tree’s shade that mothered and protected him like its own child.

He was fast asleep and felt a tickle inside his belly, inching his tiny body on the grass from left to right. A bright smile flashed on his face and was carried in a dream pocked with games and moon walking to enter the perfect world of adventure, where his favorite candy that he always longed for by standing in front of the shop across the road popped inside his mouth. A loud whistle pierced his ear and it grew louder by the minute like a melody. He slowly opened his eye and got up on his knee. A bright smile appeared in front of him and a tender hand pulled open the wrapper of his favorite candy. He grabbed it with both hands and whistled on top of the candy. It wasn’t a dream but real. His mother stood and smiled at him, gently whistling on the candy. Gotiya’s eyes sparkled and ran to grab his mother’s pallu. There was no fear of school or lessons. Only him and the favorite whistling candy under the shade of the Jamun. He winked at Maa, ‘My angel.’







Pune Memoirs (III): Longing for new phone, friends and conversation with the wise

Pune Memoirs, 2005/06

Third Year

Savera/FC Road:

The humble and priceless Nokia 3310 suddenly behaved like Cinderella not giving me bhav and going blank out of the blue like the girl that you flirts with only to get cold stares in return. There was not a single instance when the battery didn’t conk and was getting increasingly tired with not just that but everyone pulling ironical, ‘Throw it away….change your phone.”

Me being me, I was reluctant to split with my old and personal blue Nokia that gave such homely feeling that makes it easy to flap open, move the battery, remove the sim or switching on and off in comparison to today’s  smartphones that are such a pain in the ass. The worst feeling is that I was dying to get a new phone and at that time, the craze during our final year at Fergusson College was the funkily designed and sexy Nokia 6600. Almost everyone owned this handset. I was growing bonkers and getting jealous of everyone owning this prized handset that came in two colors, black and white.

There was Ruchit who owned the Nokia 6600 and every time, I saw him at our college hangout in Savera and the times we would share the same table, his oval-shaped prized gadget would make me burn with envy.  Oh! Nokia! Why have you stopped innovating? Cut to the past, there were the TY exams to concentrate on but the mind was preoccupied with a new phone. I remember once our festivals was in full swing, can’t remember which one and it must be either Oorja or Wallstreet when I hopped from college to Savera for a quick coffee. The man hailed me to join his gang with Gulshan and some chicks gulping coffee and he splayed the handsets right in from of me,  ‘yeh dekh! 6600…see how many there are! yahan pe bhi wahan pe bhi.’

I made a straight face, “Mein kya karoon agar tere paas 6600 (What can I do?) Tere Ghar mein aake bhangra karoon kya (Should I come and do bhangra dance at your house?” It was so much fun spending the most wonderful times with Ruchit and people, the fun conversation and hanging out in college together to laughing over tea and coffee. As I look back and time takes me to those near perfect days, it feels like yesterday only. Life was so simple. Savera was one place where everyone knew everyone in our college hang out, laughing together, puffing and gulping the favorite filter coffee. What a happening crowd of Fergussonians! The place where I met and made the most wonderful friends and would spend the whole day ratta maro for the final year exams.

We discussed everything, right from college life, to exams and career aspirations, films, the economy, politics and almost anything. Early morning bird needs only one motivation and it’s the sheer bliss of sitting at Savera where I would hop straight as early as 8 a.m having coffee with a fag before hopping for lecture.

Savera, our college hang out.

I remember one of the tables that were opposite the side that gave the wall view of Shirke bungalow, a couple of jovial uncles in their 80s used to sit, smoke and laugh on the biggest table that could accommodate 8 to 10 people. The dudes were a jovial lot brimming with life and so amusing to hear them speaking so enthusiastically or reminiscing about their good ole’s days at Fergusson College.  How the uncles laughed heartily? It gives you a sense of what life is all about and listening to them gave so much energy to the body and soul. I was so in awe of them, their zest for life and there was never a dull moment for they lived to see the city changing in so many ways, narrating tales. Life should be like that only. Age should be no factor deterring someone to have fun and the intact mojo of the senior citizens deserve respect. I was wondering how life must have been on the Katta (campus) for them in those days.

I remember having a conversation with them and one of them told his friend that he often saw me sitting, sometimes alone or with friends at Savera to read the newspaper and having my coffee. He told his friend, ‘He is such a good boy’ and to me, he said, ‘Enjoy life, man. Make the most of life. Stay blessed.’ In life, there are so many people who make a difference to existence and sometimes plain strangers bring a smile to the face. There was something divinely amazing about them, their never say die attitude and growing with grace in Pune. Often, I would spot the uncles from a distance and would say a hi to them where the greetings would be met with such enthusiasm. The roaring laughter, friendship bonds that grew strong at every fleeting second and crazy souls in the uncles would later become a mirror image of my life. I was a Savera addict. Everyone was!

The best thing was the annas. Yes, I hate calling them waiters and Dinesh Anna was one who knew how I love my coffee, shakar alag se. Everyone in the restaurant was family. So much that once Adi once told the anna, ‘Uska ek putla banao yahan pe (Erect his statue here). Yeah, Adi was wondering how I gonna survive once college is over and everyone would be missing me since I am forever there. The dude even suggested that my statue should be placed right in front of the Savera entrance so that when people enter, the first thing to notice would be my greeting and at least, my shadow will loom large. “Your statue should be built here man,” he told. Ha!

Of course, I was forever sitting in my second home and everyone would joke how we Fergussonians peeps, have done a double BA, one in college and the second one BA in Savera for hanging there forever. I remember watching my latest crush, one of my juniors sitting in the company of her friends and I was on the last table in the smoking zone. Of course, my friends were curious to know about my crush. I nodded them to see her with the eyes since she was with her friends and told in hushed tone on her identity. The moment she got up and turned her face, everyone went aha and of course, I was a bit flustered asking them to behave normally to avoid that she gets a hang of things.

The nights of being plainly bored at the apartment on FC and running across the road towards Savera in the hope to meet some people was something very normal. You can always be sure to meet friends or acquaintances. It was 9 p.m one evening and I hopped to Savera in the hope to catch up with some folks. I did saw the usual suspects and didn’t take the main entrance in sheer excitement but waded my way from the pavement to shout like a mad person, ‘Kya re bhai log!’ There was Tootoo, Sane and a host of other dudes who are our seniors and they bobbed their heads up to see me.  I didn’t know what fell on their heads or what went into mind for they blinked for a second and started laughing. We chilled out together and the soulful conversations with them, in particular, Tootoo who is passionate about everything gave wings to the bond and friendships that I shared with my seniors.  He has always been someone whom I looked up to it and a magician who can lift the mood, make everything so easy and remember he would always urge me to create my platform than waiting for someone to do it for me.

There is also Ajitabh bhaiya with whom I recently connected on FB after nine years and he was one of the people who played an immense part in my formative years. A senior who was always passionate about cinema and we would booze together, having tea and coffee where conversations would veer to psychology, human identity and not losing one in the crowd or pointless to live for others lent so much perspective to a life of self-worth. I remember there was a Doctor who would come to Savera, the time I was trying to learn Marathi and he would urge me to repeat with confidence, ‘Bhariya’. Of course, the broken Marathi that I started to learn in those days and the reason that I am able to follow every conversation is by sitting with people like Tootoo, Sane, Suhrud, Amol, Sudhendhu, Chanda, and Koko.

There was no group or clique as such in my book of friendship. Friends are friends. Right from fun moments, pep talks and crazy cum wild times, there was no limit to living life and the next chapters you will be introduced to those amazing friends, quirky characters and of course friendships that bore no expiry date.






Mojo of heart break

Soak in the muddy mess,

untie the mind’s laces,

declutter the wings,

the love that wasn’t meant to be,

bury everything,

feed the pigeons with the disappointment,

sprinkle the tears in the ocean

the heartbreak will sway to your tune,

make it your mojo,

no love is too big to lose,

press the heart,

carve a house of free abandon,

let the hurt flow,

heal the bruise with mud,

make the pain a sheer joy and madness,

you’ve dared and love,

regret is another name for barely living,

burn the dead corpse,

residing with the ghosts,

no past is haunting,

it’s your moksha.





Not a regular Sunday

Have you ever wondered how Sundays look like?! Drab, boring or simply laze around like a maze. The biggest luxury in life is to end up not doing anything and just sit to whine time, gleaning through magazines, listening to radio, watching a film or simply spread on the couch.

A light feeling of ending not doling gyaan or doing productive task that robs the joy of Sundays. I’ve done all of this in the past, working on a Sunday-I never cribbed, trying to be superman doing so many routine tasks-I still do that, blogs, reading media feeds on Facebook or trying to work on the novel-guilty on that count for delaying forever. Today was a much-deserved break after last Sunday when I was running behind to complete a work deadline and the day went kaput working till 1 a.m or the blood test showing that I am verging on high-risk cholesterol. Yeah! It’s true. Another reason to buck with diet and exercise but it’s not a day to push myself to the brink.

A lil bit of reading, revisiting Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things after more than two decades, which is not enough and randomly flipping through entertainment magazines like Stardust & Filmfare and receiving the visit of a relative who brought some teabags from India. There was hardly anything that I could have done except than surfing through the phone or I-pad. You know this feeling of not doing anything? Yeah right! It’s the day. It’s my day. My moment to be cherished. The bliss of just sitting around, gulping cups of chai and casting the phone away as if it’s your estranged relative makes the day so much fun, therapeutic and stay free of load that may flow in your life in an otherwise packed weekend.

There was no pressure that I usually put on my head on a regular Sunday to read stuff on the net, the newspaper or replying to people’s e-mails or writing to win the race against time. The truth is that I had a tiring week, shuttling between work, deadline and some prayer meet for my uncle who recently passed away. It ain’t easy to wake up at five a.m for three consecutive days and sitting cross-legged to pour the ablutions composed of ghee or rice inside the fire that blows right on the face. All done in a week.

A friend pinging on G-chat came as the rarest surprise since it’s the medium that we hardly speak now in the times of WhatsApp and it feels like the good ole’ days when we were forever hanging out there to discuss everything under the sun. The feeling of being there and done that, discussing human aspirations, mindless gossips and time pass which we have done innumerable number of times in the distant past. I call it, the days of yore. No heavy thinking which is a far cry from the normal days and it makes the Sunday unusual, routineless and burden free.

Chuck out this pressure from life. Remove the clutter for its one day in a week that we truly deserve to be disconnected from everything that life throws at us. In today’s times, it’s a luxury that we can well afford to the soul. Don’t deny it. Embrace it by opening the arms like Shah Rukh Khan’s signature move. Just switch off. You deserve this guilt-free Sunday to flush everything down the drain.

Do share how you spend your Sunday.

Have a great end of week.






Left Right…Romance chowk: Passionate toilet love and train ride

Left Right…Romance Chowk

Chapter 7:

Ouch! A thunder like sensation hit the hairy chest. He almost yelped in pain.  Sejal stroke her lip with the tongue like a maniac and untied the lace on her Salwar Kameez while Mann pressed her curvy body with his hand, cupping his lip on her neck, to reach the naked back.

The sensation drizzled down his spine as he pressed and caressed the Salwar Kameez that she was wearing and ran his finger on her breast covered by the garment.  Sejal pressed his belly with her hand that ran like a hot iron up and down, towards the chest and navel.

The sun shone glittered on their faces and the heat flew past the window to surround them on all corners. Sejal and Mann were unfazed and stuck to each other like glue, laughing unabashedly. Making out inside an empty train gave them a thrill and Sejal face was cupped to her lover who was playing with her tresses. Suddenly, the local at Bandra chugged slowly and they were caught up intensely with each other as their bodies pulled together and slipped like soap that pushed them violently inside the Indian toilet that made the door flung open to hit bang close right in front of them.

“Shit! The train is moving fast. Pull the chain,” She ordered. Mann pulled the toilet flush instead and the water that roiled inside the vase splashed on their faces. He made an innocent face, “Obviously, it’s the toilet chain and it cannot stop the train. Damn it, it’s the Indian railway to Punjab or something.” Sejal was sweating, “We gotta jump somewhere and it doesn’t matter if we land up with bruises or hurt the ass.” The train stopped after a long forty minutes and they nearly choked inside the toilet. Suddenly, footsteps and loud voices scampered inside the compartment before the engine roared to life again.

She slowly opened the toilet door and saw the horrifying image of a jam-packed compartment, human mass swathing like eggs. “We are screwed, dude!” she hit a panic mode.

“Obviously, we cannot make up inside the open toilet like that under the dirty water and shit. Shitty potty and stupid love,” he let off.

She shrugged it off and laughed like a maniac. “There is little that we can do. You can squat if you wish and me shall watch your performance as your sole audience. Baby! It’s your moment of fame.”

“And it’s your moment of thrill. Where do you get such crazy ideas of sitting inside trains to do weird stuff? You get a sort of orgy like feeling and lust spurting inside your body,” he pulled a senseless joke.

The latch was stumbling up and down as if it’s going to break at any time soon. Someone knocked on the door that freaked them out and Sejal whispered in his ear, “Now! We have to play chor and police inside. Keep pulling the flush to distract attention and make those idiots think that someone is having terrible loose motion.” Mann kept pulling the flush as if it’s some gun trigger to ward off the grandkids of Osama Bin Laden hell-bent to seek revenge on the United States.

It seems that the person who wanted to relieve got the message with the toilet flush sending the signal, Do Not Disturb for serious work is in progress inside. They almost stumbled on each other and the balance in the toilet tilted as if it was under the spell of an earthquake and both pulled their legs together, carefully not to step on water flowing on the edge of the urine bowl.

He held her by the waist and she pulled his hand away. “Shut up and don’t do that, you idiot. We are not in a five-star hotel but a toilet. I am feeling suffocated now,” she felt like biting his ear.

“You asked for such fun na. Your idea of unearthing some secret and that too inside a moving train’s toilet,” Mann sarcastically hit at her. Sejal turned her face away from him and was biting her fingernail, wondering how to get out of the train.

“Listen, we need to get out of here and coaslesce with the crowd without arising suspicion,” he furtively looked at the roof. She was restless. “But how? As it is, I am dying inside this train’s toilet. Think dude, think.”

She yanked the door open and pushed her body out of the toilet, closing it with a loud thud. Mann was almost thrust to the wall with force while she wriggled her way past the crowd, relieved that she could walk away from the odor inside. She moved with great difficulty between the crowd and finally found a place to stand awkwardly near the door to breathe free.

She stood to admire the rural life and forgetting for once that they have left Mumbai behind, as the wind blew on her face.

The sight of kids playing in a pool of mud, a villager walking with a pot of water in his hand adjusting his lungi and village women trotted with water buckets on their head as the train moved with hurtling speed. It abruptly stopped at the next station that was filled with people scampering their way inside like chickens sprouting in a farm. Mann pushed the door wide open and someone who was standing with his back firmly stuck on it, almost slipped. He looked at Mann menacingly who sneaked out by muttering a quick apology to avoid being beaten black and blue.

Mann was hanging at the train’s edge doing a Shah Rukh Khan with his hands wide open admiring the paddy field when someone pushed him and his body flung in the air to fall in a huge pool of muddy water. Sejal fell on him and the force with which she threw herself hit him like a tornado on the back.

“Now, stop looking at me like that. I pushed you off the train and thank me for that.” He was at a loss of words, not knowing how to react.” Mann’s body was spinning and hurting as if he has been whipped by a belt.



Traveler’s dilemma

Kites undoing each other,

cutting loose strings,

you know this feeling, right!

illusion in the berserk mind,

spinning sensation,

twirling on the dance floor,

gyrating with ghosts,

imaginary souls,

the heart beat,

anxiety pang,

life has left you in a lurch,


no thread to hang on to,

ditched by circumstances,

cursing the skies and storms,

a slippery slope,

gotta climb on top again,

it’s no child play,

nor it’s impossible,

random thoughts,

a traveler’s dilemma,

puzzle to be solved,

mystery of existence,

highs and lows,

sugar and salt,

laughter and tears,

dare you!

read my mind






Blog Throw back: A Jazzy encounter, it’s Shibani Unplugged


Reproducing on the blog the interview that I conducted with Shibani Kashyap way back in 2013 for the newspaper that I used to work for, The Independent and which appeared on March 25, of the same year. It’s been four years now and thought of sharing the full interview with minor changes as well as a slight update in the end. Hope you will enjoy the interview with the wonderful Shibani as much as I did conducting it with her back then. A blog throw back.



Singer, music composer, model, performer and now actor: The chubby girl who traipsed her way in the Indie-pop industry in 1998 with the super hit song, “Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat” and famous for the song that stirred a wave in the Hindi film industry, “Sajna aa bhi jaa” from the flick ‘Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2’ (‘WBHH-2’) and Sanjay Gupta’s ‘Zinda’ was strumming with her guitar when I met her in 2013.

Image credit: Shibani Kashyap/

Draped in a beautiful red lehenga suit adorned with gold sequins, Shibani can easily be mistaken for an actress. She recalls with a smile the song that she composed and sent ripples across the entire nation. The year was 2003 when Shibani was nominated as the new singing sensation of the year for “Sajna aa bhi jaa”. “As a musician, I do not just sing but attempt to create something which any artiste would like to. It is important to find my style and signature to communicate with the audience,” she said.

As an artist, she felt that the song was special which she presented to good friend and director of ‘WBHH2’, Shashank Ghosh. “I presented the song to Shashank and told him to listen to Sajna aa bhi jaa, which he loved instantly and decided to include in the film,” she said. The singer-composer who appeared in the music video mostly sings her own composition.

The artist who forayed in the industry as a pop singer at a time when pop was flourishing in the ‘90s attributes the dip of this genre to mainstream Hindi movies. “Films are known to borrow pop songs that became such an overnight sensation and larger in any part of the world. Also, the media should have promoted pop and believed in the artist,” she said in reference to the diminishing interest of the genre. Shibani always wanted to become a singer. “I trained and learned music in my quest to become an accomplished artist. One thing led to another and I started to sing jingles in my own voice.”

She loves performing live at the famous pubs, Not Just Jazz by the Bay and Blue Frog in Mumbai and Delhi: “Performing live for a big audience gives me an immense high and feeling of power. It is an instant exchange of energy with the crowd.” How different is performing live and being in a recording studio? “As an artist, recording in a studio bears its own charm where everything has to be controlled to reach the level of perfection,” she said. Shibani is also part of a new independent venture, that regroups artistes and she believes that such a platform is empowering to satisfy one’s creative urge.

For her, it is important to give a choice to the audience who do not tune in to ‘Bollywood’. “All playback singers devise new ways to express themselves through music and the audience is waiting for a product which is not ‘Bollywood’.” She admitted that there is no revenue per download in that segment as yet. “It’s not monetising for the time being and if it catches up in terms of popularity, revenue can be garnered per download.” The artist has several albums to her credit such as the Sufi ‘Nagmagee’, and ‘Nazaakat’, for which she bagged the Sangeet Award at San Fransico in 2005 despite contenders such as Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghosal.

Talking of her album ‘My Free Spirit’ which has already been released, she said, “The album topped the Indian chartbuster where I was nominated in the category of best singer. There is a new one in the pipeline where I am teaming up with singer Mika Singh, and of course, I am crooning for several films.” The singer is gung-ho about the Raveena Tandon starrer ‘Shobhna Seven Nights’ for which she has composed the theme song and in which she will appear in a music video with the main heroine.

And, of course, there is an acting debut on the anvil as well. “The movie is called ‘Ranveer the Marshall’ where I play an action heroine. I also walked the ramp at the request of Shashi and Anu Ranjan for the NGO Beti where my costume was designed by ace designer Neeta Lulla. I walked for a social cause,” said the singer who also performed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. She was a sitting judge for the music reality show, ‘Bathroom Singer’.

How does she juggle acting, TV judge, modeling, and music? “See, Singing is my prime activity and judging the show was an offshoot of my profession as a musician. The director of the show wanted a popular and known face on TV and I relented,” the 33-year-old singer said.

She also travelled from Mumbai to Delhi to present social crusader Anna Hazare the song, “Anna Hazare Deep Hamare” during the latter’s fight against corruption. Is this a way for celebrities to contribute to a social cause to make the society better? “Anna has taken a huge step in fighting corruption where our hard-earned money is at stake. It is so easy to say politicians are at fault. It’s high time for us, the people, to come together and shoulder our share of responsibility as citizens.  Anna wanted to make it the official anthem and I sat with him during the strike.” Shibani feels that as a musician, she has the creative space to spread awareness and contribute to social causes. She has done quite a bit of social awareness earlier too.

“I lost a friend in the 26/11 Mumbai bomb blast and came up with the song, ‘Alvida’. It speaks of the need for people to be vigilant and take responsibility in the wake of terror.” Then there is “I’m a Woman, I’m a Girl”, which she composed and sung, to celebrate the 50 golden years of the beauty pageant Femina Miss India. “It is a song that celebrates women who represent different cities and I will perform live at all the Femina Miss India pageants across India,” she revealed.

Meanwhile, the newly married Shibani is reveling in wedded bliss. The singer tied the knot to actor Rajiv Roda in February this year (2013). “I am more than happy and settled now. I always felt that ‘ek aur ek gyara hota hai’ (One plus one equals eleven). We both have the same aim and targets in the world of entertainment and we are looking to collaborate in the future.”

Shibani has also been hit with social networking bugs such as Facebook and Twitter where she is regularly seen interacting with fans. So what is her take on social networks? “As celebrities, we have our responsibilities and social media such as Facebook , Twitter and blogs makes for interesting changes where we can interact with fans , tweet and share our candid thoughts.” As a parting gift, the artiste who is also a Sufi singer, broke into an impromptu rendition of “Sajna aa bhi ja”, the title track of ‘Zinda’, and the Sufi number “Nagmagee”.

I met Shibani as a journalist and became a fan, clicking pictures with her, giving me her autograph and of course gifting me her album, My Free Spirit that I cherish in my music collection. Of course, we are still in touch on Facebook and always a pleasure to read the updates from this down-to-earth soul.

You know where to find Shibani who is present on social media and she has supported the cause of women in sports, performing live at the Sparkles & Hope event 2017 as well as performing for the ongoing All Women Cricket League.