Saturday, March 25, 2006

Agony of a helpless fan

Reactions have started pouring in about the way India lost the final test. A lot of introspection, analysis, in depth discussions on what went wrong went throughout the media and it is high time that I give my own view. A lot of hype was generated over this match because it was Tendulkar’s 132nd and Dravid’s 100th one. The irony of the fact as one television viewer put it was the way the team showed him due respect with a 100 all out in the final innings. There are a couple of reasons involved with this abysmal show and I would come across one by one.
First of all, the toss. Winning the toss and then electing to field was as good as losing the toss. One error of judgment probably cost the match. Someone said that had Dravid batted first the result would have been opposite. When Srinath was asked about the reason for fielding first he was diplomatic in answer and came up with a reply that Dravid had full confidence on his bowlers. What a way to show parochialism!! I wonder why some of it was not reserved for Ganguly when he was being crucified in front of the whole country. But in the post match press conference Dravid tried to defend his decision saying that had he lost the toss what would have happened? That’s a poor explanation considering the fact the importance of toss would be lost and we would always prefer to lose the toss so that the captain has complete confidence on his players? What an argument? Common sense dictates that when you decide to let go an opportunity you are either extremely brave or extremely dumb. It was not the first time that Dravid had shown the tendency to sacrifice. He opened in tests against Pakistan and we lost badly.Dravid, we all know is an extremely nice guy. So nice, that he would rather prefer to be a sacrificial lamb himself than sacrifice others for the team. Time and again he fails to realize how valuable is he for the team and how to preserve himself for the best of situation. In short he is an extremely poor man manager. It did not help that to preserve the top order batsmen from the onslaught he bought Kumble to bat in the top order. Predictably Kumble managed just 8.
Now comes the batting. Before the beginning of every series the media goes into a top drive and declares that the batting line up is the best in the world. Even before the Indians bat for themselves the media starts batting for them. Is it a fable? As Geoffrey Boycott pointed out the Indians might be the maharajahs of flat pitches but they are beggars elsewhere. Who is to blame? The media which creates hype or the batsmen who fail to live up to the hype and prefers to divert their energies to advertising pursuits. If I am to put it bluntly then except Sachin and Dravid other batsmen are not genuine batsmen but a bunch of entertainers.
Next is Sachin Tendulkar. My only prayer to the media and the idol-starved Indian public is to leave him alone. For 16 years you have put piles of pressures on him. He never proclaimed that he was God. You made him God. And when he starts acting like human you start treating him like Satan!!! The fact is he is human. And humans are mortal. The problem with Sachin is people shoot up their hands in air in a mild symbol of resignation and say the same thing over and over again when confronted with the question of what is wrong with Sachin. “I am too small to comment on him. He is the master of his own destiny.” People start reciting the famous lines from William Henley’s Invictus.
His dilemma then is, whom should he ask for support and direction at this fragile point? The only two people who come to my mind seem to be Ramakant Achrekar and Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, the first little master.Sachin has undergone so many surgeries owing to back spasm, tennis elbow and wrist injury that his batting style has undergone major changes. Age does not help and the changes are noticeable in his battings. He has cut down on playing hooks and pulls and his reflexes are not as razor sharp as they used to be.
Returning to the final test what worsened the situation was poor fielding. A captain should be a great motivator on the field.Dravid is not. He dropped catches. That might have been justifiable because he is after all human but to undertake the burden of captaincy and show your true worth as a leader you have to rise to the occasion. It does not help that Dravid is not an aggressive captain. India had discovered the great art of aggression with Ganguly and perhaps that art has died with him. Dravid should realize that to lead by example all the time one has to be a superman.
Finally the fact that the team has gone through a lot of restructuring and overhauling. Too much of everything is bad. And the fact that Chappell is bringing in personal egos by not bringing in experienced players does not help the cause. Ganguly might not be a good prospect for the World Cup but at least he could have been played in the final test. If experience counts for a lot of value in life then why not in cricket? Cricket is a major part of our lives too. Every Indian’s life.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Bohemian affair

I got my hands on yesterday’s newspaper, researched a little bit on the television and came across a conclusion after delving into my inner consciousness that still instills a lit bit of sanctity and sanity to my inner self. The headline grabbing news that students were on fire in France because of a controversial law that empowers the employer to hire and fire at will within two years of first appointment. The feeling was not about the law or the justification of the protests. What led me into thinking was when the media related it to the protests of the 60’s,the counterculture, the “rebel without a cause” mindset and how different people came together to protest on a plethora of issues and that the justification of protest lay in the numbers. Protest, I thought, were merely for the sake of protesting, some way to vent the anger and frustration simmering deep down the heart or trying to find an outlet for youthful enthusiasm.
Some days ago when Bush came to India different parties went into protest and it was the not the issues that mattered as much as the protests. Protests, I thought, were merely for the sake of hogging the limelight. To create a impression in a circle or to enter a wider canvas. JNU, I think is a leftist bastion and the simmering cauldron of what I think is the “rebel without a cause” mentality. The PM went there once and faced protests on the issue of Iran and for once I was left wondering what was the point in protesting for a cause that was as alien to us as the rise of global warming to Sourav’s exclusion. And then I came across the conclusion that somehow has solidified over a period of time. The fact that India is a free country and a vibrant democracy where protests are means to glamourise the protestors. It is always glamorous to think differently, to rise against cruelty and oppression. In a nutshell to show heroism. It is another thing that the meaning of the words heroics and antics have been mixed up in the plethora of protests. Long live JNU.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Holi

Humming the tune of Silvertown Blues while shaking my feet in sync my mind goes back to...
No. It is not going to be off there on again “one of those” boring posts.
Welcome home. Today is Holi.A chance to take rest. A chance to make a mess. To take some time off the hectic hara-kiri, mechanical, robotic, devoid of humour, devoid of sense life has become. In college there was added reason to celebrate holi. Most of the time was spent like a holiday which conserved all the energy to perform any Sadomasochist act during Holi. My last big Holi was as wild as I had seen in my life. People were at each other’s throat, tearing shirts and acting as if the laws of jungles were applicable to tigers, deers and us equally.
This Holi is going to be a lame duck affair. I am plain not interested. I have grown up.
I have grown out of it..

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The sniper-Lord of the trees

Perched high atop a tree
the sniper simply waits
Seconds pass by,then minutes and then hours
the tiger never comes
Despair belittles expectation
Hope turns gloomy
Perched atop a tree
the sniper simply waits...
He fails to see the writings on the wall..
He waits and wastes..

Thursday, March 09, 2006


A couple of years back a college senior whom I silently admired as my mentor and looked forward to learning a lot of lessons from him died in a street accident.As the story went he tried to cross a busy railway line unaware of the fact that a train was approaching.He ended up dead and I was left shell-shocked
Even in his death I learnt a lesson of not crossing a busy street or a junction without being aware of the consequences that lay ahead.That is to make myself sure that the street is perfectly safe to be crossed.Today while returning from office I thought of a old primary school science lesson which instructed us to look at both sides of the road before crossing the road.Now according to the instruction which I vividly remember we have to look at our right first,then left and then right again.And I was left wondering that why we should be looking at the right for the second time.This is a question that I never asked my primary school science teacher but I was forever left wondering as a consequence.
If the answer is an ambiguous one I would love to ask the replier that why should we not look at the left again after right,then right,then left and be stuck at the same place forever.
Was that a trick our teachers played out so that before we come to a conclusion the green signal flashed before us to cross the road..
I am still confused..

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The aftermath..

A few days ago Mr. George Bush pronounced that India is home to 2nd largest population of Muslims and they live in complete peace. Those made my chest swell 3 inches with pristine pride.
Cut down to the fact that India has a Muslim president, a Sikh PM and a Christian leader of the majority party. It further makes me proud that the Muslim president is the father of one of the most advanced sciences India has produced indigenously. And that Sikh PM with his omnipresent blue turban is the father of India’s reforms that are still the pillars on which the success stories of India’s reforms hinge and the world applauds.
That is not all.
A Gujarati Muslim (Azim Premji) is one of the richest Indian and a Parsee (Ratan Tata) heads one of India’s biggest industrial empires that is built on the sweat and blood of his Parsee fathers.
All these in a country which has a Hindu majority.
But we do not take pride in the opportunities our nation provides. We do not take pride in our tolerance and our impartiality.
Because had we taken pride we would not have killed fellow Indians in the name of externally inconsequential factors like Iran, US, nuclear bomb, Islam and cartoons.
How do they affect us directly that we are so agitated?
How then we not justify the saying that:
Religion is the opium of the masses...
Where are we heading?
Written below is a dialogue that must have taken place between the two terrorists before they blew up Sankatmochan temple. Note that terrorists have no religion. They have fellow brothers worldwide who blow up the Golden mosque (the holiest shrine of the Shias) with equal passion as the Sankatmochan temple. They are the enemies of humanity.
Let us say they are Islamic terrorists bent on creating trouble. Their “forefathers” have already created troubles in IISc, Palika Bazaar, Charaar-e-Sharif and so on and so forth.

Yakub: Inshallah brother. How are things moving?
Razzaq: Fine. In two hours the bombs will be ready..
Y: Good. Let us blow up this temple (Sankatmochan) and create panic..
R: Yes, afterall this is fun isn’t it? Today we destroy a temple. Tomorrow they destroy a Mosque. It is a chain reaction. A biological reaction like an uncontrollable nuclear fission. Ha Ha.
Y: Why the Sankatmochan temple?
R: Because it is in the holiest city of Hindus. Because saint Tulsidas himself created it. Because it is where he wrote part of Ramcharitamanas.Because it has a long legacy. Because of which they are more passionate and show blind faith. On Saturday and Tuesday the crowd is at its peek. The destruction will be maximum..
Y: Just one explosion?
R: No.After the explosion people will run in panic and empty the temples. They will rush for the railway stations. That is where we are going to plant the second bombs..
Y: subhanallah !!!
R: I am told that God lives in the hearts of these believers. I think these people do not know that
Y: Temple is where the heart is.Ha Ha Ha...
R: What will happen next?
Y: Some political parties will rake up this issue. Blame fellow countrymen of another religion and thus stir up a communal atmosphere. They are our friends actually..
R: Just the way a rival party tried to stoke up Muslim passion over a Danish controversy and Bush visit. Pathetic souls. They destroy their own people...
Y: Don’t say that. They are our friends.
R: So are the communists. They flare up Muslim passion in the Ramlila Maidan and try to create an inroad in the vote bank..
Y: They call themselves atheists. And they believe in equality.
R: We realize their hypocrisy. The people don’t.
Y: I can’t wait to see the country destroyed.
R: Me too. Then we can create a big mansion for Osama..
Y: We already have followers here.
R: Cheers, brother to our future
Y: Cheers..

Those who respect their religion don’t do it at the expense of others.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A movie

Just saw a movie of Russell Crowe. I can’t recall the name of the movie bit it is based on a true story on the boxing days of Jim Braddock. Basically his rise to glory under adverse circumstances amidst the great depression.
Normally movies are meant to be dramatic and they glorify some aspects so much so that they appear to be unrealistic. But then those are what movies are for?
Jim Braddock was a boxer in the depression era. I caught up with the movie when he lost the fight to a fellow boxer and a powerful man; probably the owner of the boxing federation took away his license. Without his primary source of livelihood he was destined top rot in the great depression. Times were hard, jobs were scarce and it was a “dog eats dog”situation.Jim had no many and he had a family to take care of. He had a wife and three children. The worst part was his little daughter was sick and hid house was on the verge of being sealed. Somehow his wife bought time from the owner. They were on the verge of a break up as Jim was unable to take care of his family. But his wife persisted. Jim had to beg to buy medicines for his sick little daughter. But then his former coach cum motivator cum friend,( basically last two words define him aptly) came with a proposition to fight. His right hand which broken from his last fight was still recovering. He took the chance because either way he was dying. Boxing is a game that holds a lot of potential. It can run into a draw, someone can end up dead, someone can end up writing history and a lot many things. Jim took the chance and went for it. He was hungry before the fight, he was weak and he had a family to take care of. But he had talent, he had a fire under his belly, he had determination and most of all he was not a lady’s man, he was a man’s man. So he went for the kill. He won.
You can always debate on how good is the acting, how quality is the movie but the best thing of the movie is to sit back and enjoy the movie, to understand the true meaning of the movie, to understand the circumstances portrayed in the movie. To look beyond technicalities like acting, direction, plot and cinematography. For once leave it to the critics.
BTW my belief these days is that any Hollywood movie has to be good on technicalities by default.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The story of Monty Panesar

He is an important aspect of globalization..
An Indian (by origin) playing for his adopted country against India..
For those of you looking at him through the narrow prism of nationalism he may be a villain
There are a lot of instances before in cricket
But since it touched India and for the first time a Sikh is playing against a Sikh (Harbhajan Singh) isn’t that something...
Isn’t this the globalization of cricket?
Where meritocracy of cricket rules of nationalism

Wake up Australia first class cricketers
Professionalism ahs arrived
Zimbabwe is calling you

What a good man is the Prime Minister..
His credibility shows it all for once. If a degree is the stepping stone to incessant success the PM has a lot in his kitty. A PhD from Oxford to show off perhaps...

As Barkha Dutt informed that trusted sources in the Government had told her how the nuclear deal almost came to a standstill. But it was due to the pragmatism of the PM that a deal was closed. According to her Condoleezza Rice who was adamant that either permanent safeguards need to be carried out or the deal be off. The PM took a hard line stand and preferred the second option. Even in airport when George Bush was shaking hands and patting his back it was not about shallow informalities or empty talk about the weather. It was about the final solution. Condi took him to a side and repeated the same thing which she had talked over telephone. But it was due to the personal insistence of the President that the deal saw the light of the day. According to Barkha,according to her trusted sources the President being an uncomplicated man told his security adviser straightaway that he wanted the deal .The officials from both sides burnt the midnight oil and clinched a deal that was a win win..
That was the gist.
Now we do have to trust the Barkha, the President and most of all PM
Or trust no one at all
I take a hard line stand and choose the first

Leave him alone

The war continues, unabated.Deliberately or not Mr. Chappell has again fired a salvo. We may put it down as his “Unputdownable” Aussie approach ,his straight talking no-nonsense attitude or in your face mannerisms but to even think of firing salvos at a wounded tiger belies all sane thinking.For a moment let us agree that Ganguly was a bad man,Ganguly played dictatorship but then we cannot deny the fact that he loved India. We cannot deny the fact that all he did was for the benefit of the team. We cannot belie the notions that for a game as dynamic as cricket you are not allowed to keep position until and unless you show results.Ev the much revered Tendulkar lost his job when he could not show results and Ganguly had to take reins. Every person has his style of leading and what ultimately matters is the output he shows.Neverthless even if we consider Ganguly a villain with sinister intentions why did we treat him and continue to treat him like this?
After Ganguly failed to retain his lace in the team he shut his moth off and made an intelligent decision. He let his bat do the talking. After all he knew that all these months of complacency have left him nowhere, he was sinking and it was better to shut up. Disregarding all this Mr. Chappell kept on firing salvos. The Aussie in him simply won’t shut up. Or may be it’s the devil. Or it is personal vendetta
Whatever it is Mr. Chappell should understand like a sane man what good is he doing by mincing those words time and again before the media?
Why we, as hapless, emotional fans being made to vacillate from one position to another. Why are our emotions being thrown into wilderness?
Why doesn’t he just concentrate on the job he has been invited to do?

Friday, March 03, 2006

The pragmatist and the idealist

George Bush is talking to Manmohan Singh:

Mannu Mannu
Yes papa
Eating sugar
No papa
Telling lies
No papa
Open your nuclear facility
Ha Ha Ha

This is what the opponents are portraying about the relationship. When Manmohan and Georgie are bent on creating a path breaking bonhomie between India and US. Prime among them are the leftists. I just don’t understand them. When it comes to taking a stand on something that benefits India they bend the argument in favor of universal morality. Its high time they realize that shallow intellectualism, shoddy ideologies and empty ideas will not lead to any fruitful benefit. Benefit if they understand as India’s benefit. These people are steamrolling any argument in favor of universal brotherhood as if India is going to act like a referee and shout foul whenever there is any match between the US and the rest of the world. Well if something happens to the referee will anybody care?
Why do they object to something that will make India a bigger player in the world arena rather than playing a passive judge?
When will they look beyond the transparent film of morality to India’s side of the story. Why are they living in the beliefs of Leninism, Stalinism and consigning pragmatism to the dustbin. Nehru played the non-aligned card and when it came to defending the nation he faltered at the pedestal of nationalism. We cannot sacrifice our integrity at the expense of so called brotherhood or morality.
It is a cut throat world out here where every dog has to fight for the bone. Rather than going for it why are we still keeping hungry and fight for others. When will we start thinking of ourselves? Or have they consigned the idea of Indian nationhood at the altar of Leninist brotherhood