Pro Kabaddi League 2014 Champion – Jaipur Pink Panthers

At the end of the Pro Kabaddi League 2014 final when Abhishek Bachchan and Ronnie Screwvala hugged, no one could guess whose team was the champion. That one moment can very well define the entire Pro Kabaddi League 2014. There were 8 teams, over 90 players, over 50 matches, lakhs of fans, an extravaganza spread over 1 month, 1 champion and on top of all this, the real winner perhaps being the game of kabaddi.

And they say kabaddi (read Pro Kabaddi League 2014) was the second most watched sport, that could sum it all up too.

Jaipur Pink Panther were on the roll in the final

The line-up for the semi-finals of Pro Kabaddi League 2014 was on the expected lines. Jaipur Pink Panthers, Bengaluru Bulls, U Mumba and Patna Pirates. Personally I thought the final would be between the Mumbai and Bangalore teams but that didn’t happen. In fact it was a little disappointing to see both my favourite teams losing their last matches of Pro Kabaddi League. Anyhow.

The way Jaipur Pink Panthers played in the finals, they deserved to win the match. But the way U Mumba played throughout the Pro Kabaddi League, may be they deserved to be the 2014 champions. But can’t take anything away from the eventual champions Jaipur Pink Panthers, they were on a roll and they won fair and square. The final score read 35-24 and there was that much difference between the two finalists.

Happy and proud faces of owners and players said it all

The excitement and smile on the faces of owners of Jaipur Pink Panthers; Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and of course the pride on the faces of the team members of the PKL champions lead by Navneet Gautam said it all. Congratulation to the Pro Kabaddi League 2014 Champions, Jaipur Pink Panthers .

U Mumba did all they could but fell at the last hurdle of PKL. But nothing can take away the success they achieved and the manner they played. Congratulations to owners Ronnie Screwvala and the team led by my favourite player of the Pro Kabaddi League 2014, Anup Kumar. You guys were awesome.

Bengaluru Bulls and Ajay Thakur came up short in the semi-final

In the other match of the evening, the match for the 3rd place in Pro Kabaddi League 2014, Bengaluru Bulls lost to Patna Pirates – a match they should not have lost. But from the word go, Patna Pirates were on the top of their game and never allowed Bengaluru Bulls to come even close to matching them.

It was a really off day for Ajay Thakur, my second favorite player (am a little biased too, Ajay Thakur is from Himachal Pradesh, my home state) and their captain Manjit Chillar. Both of them did try and so did their team mates but the day belonged to the Patna Pirates. They played like they had come to win and they succeeded too. The final score read 29-22 and it was a fantastic match.

Pro Kabaddi League season 2 in March 2015

Among all the raids and excitement, the biggest announcement came at the start itself as Anand Mahindra announced that the season 2 of Pro Kabaddi League is closer than many of us thought. The date is now set, it’s just 6 months away. Come March 2015 and we’ll see these teams fight it out again for the trophy of Pro Kabaddi League 2015. I am already feeling exited.

Thigh Five for the game of Kabaddi!!

Pran, the ‘Pran’ of Children

* Kyun ki Chacha Chaudhary  ka dimag computer say bhi tez chalta hai. (Because Chacha Chaudhary’s brain works faster than a computer). Can you believe this was the reason Pran gave for Chacha Chaudhary being the smartest? And this was 20 or may be more years ago. Who can beat that?  Well, he is Pran, the cartoonist and writer Pran Kumar Sharma, for you.

And not just Chacha Chaudhary. Billoo, Pinki, Sabu, Raman, Shrimatiji.. These names, their lives and that humour.. Pran, an outstanding and perhaps the most lovable writer and cartoonist gave me and so many like me some of the most unforgettable childhood memories. He was such an integral part of our childhood. Him leaving this world has made countless Indians sad and refreshed so many of innocent memories from a not so distant past.

An “influence” like none other

Pran fondly made so many children “happy and innocent liars” and I was one of them, a proud one too. Being two brothers almost of same age meant our home never witnessed a quiet moment. But whenever there would be pin drop silence in our room, my parents could easily figure out that we would be reading Pran’s comics. And when they would ask, we would say in chorus “padhai karr rahe hain” – we are studying. Of course a big sized book always came handy to hide comics in it.

The strongest “bond” among friends

If you had a few Pran’s comics, you would be sure to make a lot of friends. Whenever a new boy would join the class, he could not only make instant friends among strangers, but he could become popular too if he had a few comics by Pran which others didn’t.

Exchanging Pran’s comics was a very common phenomenon. The number of comics that were shared between two guys was directly proportional to the level of their friendship. Similarly, if you didn’t like someone, all you had to do was refuse to share Pran’s comics with him.

Interestingly, talking about Pran’s comics is something that is not uncommon among colleagues in offices, provided you have colleagues who are also more of a friend.

The biggest “leverage”

Having lots of Pran’s comics gave you an edge. You could manipulate so many people. I still remember when I was in 9th class I allowed one of my classmates to copy my English home work for the summer vacations and in exchange he lent me all his comics. Those were the days. I can still remember how many of my classmates who could afford more comics could have their way.

The “innovative” characters

And the characters that Pran created, they were lovable especially Chacha Chaudhary who was awesome. His dog was called “Rocket” – that was so ahead of times. Sabu was an alien from Jupiter – can you believe Pran’s thought process? And “jab Sabu ko gussa aata hai to Jupiter mein jwalamukhi fatata hai” – when Sabu is angry, a volcano erupts at some distant place in Jupiter. This was a classic line.

Billoo, Pinki, Raman, Shrimatiji.. We grew up with these characters. They were such an important part of our lives. And so was Pran. He no doubt was the “Pran” of innumerable happy children. His creations and the memories they gave us will always stay in our hearts and lives.

Pro Kabaddi League – raids, defences, all outs, points and unlimited fun

“Isko nahin dekha, to kuch nahin dekha” – if you haven’t seen this, you haven’t seen anything. Pro Kabaddi League has arrived, period. And you don’t have to believe me, rather I hope you don’t. Just tune in to Star Gold or Star Sports every night at 8pm and get hooked.

It’ll take you one minute to get interested, three to get the adrenaline rush and in five you would have fallen in love with the game of Kabaddi. And if you have played or watched it closely while you were in school, you would be transfixed and be left asking for more.

The teams and the tournament

Pro Kabaddi league, as they are calling it, has eight city based teams and matches are being played across these cities. The team have some catchy names like Patna Pirates, U Mumba, Jaipur Pink Panthers, Dabang Delhi, Bengaluru Bulls, Bengal Warriors, Telugu Titans, Puneri Paltan. And their owners are the who’s who of Indian celebrities; Abhishek Bachchan, Ronnie Screwvala, Kishore Biyani and few others. You can see the owners shouting and encouraging their teams. And you could see Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and many other celebrities in the audience too.

The passion, the excitement, the zeal and the craziness that the players, the coaches and owners are showing in Pro Kabaddi League will surely rub off on you too.

The local strength and the global angle

Most of the players in Pro Kabaddi league are Indian and are from all over the country. But you can’t miss the South Koreans, Iranians, Japanese and even Turkmenistan players who stand out for not only their nationalities but their strong game too. The Top Raiders like Anup Kumar, Shabeer Bapu Sharfudheen, Ajay Thakur and Jang Kun Lee and the Top Defenders like Surender Nara, Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Manjit Chillar may not be household names, but trust me they are as amazing a sportsperson as one can be. They and many more like them are absolutely fantastic and their game a treat for the eyes.

Give them time and they’ll be the new id0ls, heartthrobs and rock stars of not just the Pro Kabaddi League.

The favourites and the underdogs

This is only the first edition of Pro Kabaddi league and the talk of the favourites and the underdogs seems a little unfair to me, honestly. Though the tournament is no where nearing the end of 2014 edition, yet there is a clear winner, and that is the game of Kabaddi. I have been thoroughly enjoying every minute of it, and I am sure so will you.

Just watch Pro Kabaddi League once! And your high fives will become Thigh Fives!!!