October 2010 - Posts
It was not what was said that rankled but it was the way it was defended that got my goat. This is not about cricket at all. This is not about any sport. Some times there are circumstances that transcend sport.They become a matter of existence. And one has to speak out.
This is about the way I live. This is about what I believe in. This is about my freedom. Our freedom. My freedom of speech. Our freedom of speech. And my freedom of speech is as worthy as someone else's. So what if he/she is a writer/thinker. That doesn't make me any inferior in justifying my opinion.
Freedom of speech is by far the most valuable Right that I enjoy as a citizen of India. And I hope and expect that no other fellow countryman of mine is snatched of this right. I know that many are snatched of their's. And I know that their so called agents exercise a far stronger hold on the Governement for their own selfish agenda than the opperessed. I also hope that we never come down to pass a legislative resolution to legalise the Indian citizens' responsibility. We all have our legal Rights. Alas we don't have any legal Responsibilities.
This country as far as I know, has rarely punished any one under the sedition law for speaking out against state terror during my lifetime. Thats almost 40 years now. And there have already been articles coming out speaking out against the Sedition law and how draconic it is. But just as I would defend any one's right to freedom of speech (I firmly believe in Rohington Mistry's right to write something far more contemporary than Jataka Tales and be taught in a University) and freedom of painting ( MF Hussain - I love his art, irrespective of his supposed religiously provocative nude goddesses), one draws a line at Arundhati Roy's usual and expected outburst. And one isn't even questioning her statement. What one is questioning is her arrogance. Her defense stinks of egotism. It is more a leftist Page 3 'Look at me' pleading where we are supposed to listen with rapt attention. Coming from a leftist, its the most individualistic statement that one has come across. Ironic isn't it?
When some one laments that a country can't accept its writers expressing their opinions, he/she is implying that the country should distinguish the writers/ thinkers from the other 'common' citizen. A person who got her reflected fame from a Medha Patkar and then hopped from one cause to another is supposed to be a 'serious' thinker. The power of media can never be underestimated. Even a Rakhi Sawant holds her own court today.
A Bal Thackeray or Raj Thackeray are distinguished cartoonists. Bal Thackeray is the editor of a very popular Marathi newspaper. Both are supposedly popular leaders. So if we talk of freedom of speech, we should let these two gentlemen talk as well. When the government files a case against them, it is acting against their right to speech. So when a court gags Raj Thackeray to make speeches does the intelligensia rise up as one?
As the editorial in Hindu said today, a person can't be gagged to speak his/her mind unless he is actually harming another person. Arundhati Roy says that most Kashmiris think and say the same things she is saying, 'Kashmir was never an integral part of India'. Fair enough. I can assert that most Maharashtrians feel exactly the same things that a Raj Thackeray says. Now who has a better chance to resort to arms and throw stones as a response to their respective speeches? The Kashmiris or the Maharashtrians? If public support was a criterion at any point in time, politicians would win hands down.
The other day there was a big hue and cry made about the Kala Ghoda festival not being celebrated because of Kala Ghoda being in the silence zone. One has always been a Kala Ghoda enthusiast and was very sad to miss it this year. But who decides which festival is better? Navratri or Kala Ghoda? Ganeshotsav or Kala Ghoda? Diwali or Kala Ghoda? All break the silence zone rules. Because one likes Kala Ghoda better and because it has a more 'elitist' appeal, newspapers will carry Kala Ghoda's torch.
One doesn't care about Arundhati Roy or her speech. The same way that one didn't care about Roebuck's tirade against bloggers. Its the ego behind that hurts.
The extreme reaction of the Indian cricket fan to the slings and arrows of their team's fortunes has been a pet topic on this blog. One has always reasoned to be gracious in defeat and even more gracious in victory. The Indian TRP crazed media on the other hand has made the Indian fans look like a bunch of goons and thugs who are willing to burn effigies at the drop of a catch. This story is then picked up by all news agencies, each analyst/ commentator adds his/her prejudices and opinions to the story, spice it up and publish it. So an event which was completely localised in a small part of India has got the attention of the world. Michael Atherton, for e.g., had called the Indian fans 'the most immature in the cricketing world' after similar incidents were reported for some umpteenth time.
The modus operandi of such staged effigy burning sessions was simple. As a TV news reporter go to any town, organise some 10-15 jobless guys, give them a couple of posters of the reviled players, a set of matches and voila! We have breaking news. What damage this kind of reporting has done to the poor Indian fan's image is anybody's guess.
There have been reams of articles claiming moral outrage at such behaviour. The symbolism of the burning of an effigy of a guy, who is sitting a few thousand miles away, by a handful of ruffians is extrapolated by most media as almost a physical assault on him.
Against this backdrop of immaturity, one has come out quite impressed with the maturity shown by Manchester United's fans in the Rooney affair. As a fan they feel outraged that the ONE they thought as their own and was a RED for ever, has decided to leave them. They feel like jilted lovers. More like a couple who seemed to be destined to remain married for ever and spend their retirement years in bliss. Then the wife comes out and asks for a divorce as she doesn't think that the relationship is going any where. One feels for the Manchester United fan in these turbulent times.
The initial reaction was a sense of shock and denial. It was all a bad dream. But once the news was confirmed by Rooney himself, the MU fans started to warm up in their efforts to slam Rooney. They have started with trying to reason with him near his house. A 40-strong group of United supporters, many wearing balaclavas and
hooded tops,travelled to his home in Prestbury, Cheshire to warn
him off any move to Manchester City. Witnesses reported a gathering outside his house, with a banner reading "If you join City you are dead".
Now that is the most level headed and balanced fan reaction one has seen. Why try and burn effigies when yon can actually march to the offenders' home and pour out your grievances? You can engage in a little sparring if the offender doesn't seem to be getting your point of view. A tap on the head will do wonders to his/her views.
Can someone furnish one with Cheeka's address? One is dying to have a chat with him. Any suggestions for good places to buy a Balaclava are welcome.
It looked like we had covered every possible cultural misunderstanding between India and Australia during the 2008 series. But seems that we were mistaken. The Indians are far too sensitive and frown at one other thing which normal boys across the world do. In fact its so normal that some countries actually are rumored to have special class breaks for the same. Schools in some countries have held competitions to honour the fastest of them all. The event is called Pantathlon and a favorite amongst all teenagers. Australia is no exception according to Boxing Queensland's Allen Nicolson.
Here's a story that appeared today. "Australia's best amateur boxer was sent home early from the Delhi
Commonwealth Games after an alleged indiscretion in front of an
official. Gold medal favourite Damien Hooper, 18, who competed in the
middleweight division but lost in the quarter-finals, was sent back to
Australia a week early over the incident, a senior boxing official
The official did not disclose what exactly Hooper did
to be sent home midway through the event but there are reports that he
dropped his pants in front of an official after his quarterfinal loss.
contacted, Hooper, who hails from Queensland, refused to comment,
merely stating that, "I'm happy to talk about boxing, but nothing else.
Please don't ask me to comment about anything else."
Queensland's Allen Nicolson defended Hooper and said a minor
indiscretion should not result in any major damage to the boxer's
"Perhaps he did step out of line in some way ... but it was a little mistake," Nicolson said.
know the kid, and it's not the type of thing you would expect him to
do. Kids do all that, dropping their daks, but because it's India, it's
"He could have been going to the loo. At 18,
he's not exactly a dirty old man. Damien, don't worry about it. You
won't go to prison for it."
One wonders if the kid acted the way he did because he got bad advice or was it because he wasn't offered an IPL contract?
A Test series ended in a white wash. A Test series that could have ended as a battle of equals if one team had managed to get a wicket before the final two runs were stolen. A series that could have actually ended in a white wash the other way round. If only the ultimate loser had found that one last inspirational burst. It is always the final score line that is looked at and commented upon. Sometimes the future is predicted on the basis of such score lines. And some times those predictions turn out to be wrong.
India finally managed to pull away from Australia on the final day of the final test of a very short series. Till that time no one team could claim to be in complete control in a riveting contest. It took one session between lunch and tea to differentiate between two proud nations. Till then both were running neck and neck. It was just that wee bit difference in quality that finally carried the day for the victor. But boy! Was it close?
To say that India Australia Test matches have many twists in the tale is as obvious as to call a game of Russian roulette ‘exciting’. This series had its usual twists and turns with each mistake, whether made by players or umpires considered to be fatal or at least ruinous. A word about the UDRS and the way it’s non acceptance by the BCCI has been heckled by some respectable pundits. Every time a wrong decision came India’s way, all hell let loose with some juvenile sniggering for company. This series wasn’t an exception either. But to be fair the umpiring errors in the series evened out eventually and can’t be alleged to have impacted the eventual result.
And from whatever one saw of the Shock Eye (thanks sfx) extrapolations, UDRS doesn’t seem to be a fool proof method either. One would like to actually review all the shock eye decisions that made the ball hit stumps and miss stumps from impossible angles and write a thesis on it. One has no strong views against technology and believes that UDRS ultimately should be used across Tests. But remember that guns don’t kill. Men do!
Many comments have been made about this current Australian team's weaknesses and how the frailities can be exposed by England in the upcoming Ashes. Much has also been mentioned about its new lowly Test ranking of #5 vis-à-vis England’s #4 making England the favourites for the upcoming Ashes. One begs to differ with both these predictions.
Australia's bowling on the India tour has been roundly criticised as lacking depth and experience. They may not have the McGraths and Warnes any more but on a bouncy Autsralian track Hilfenhaus who bowled exceptionally well on the Indian tracks, Mitch Johnson who didn't do too badly either and Doug Bollinger along with Shane Watson is a pretty handy bowling attack. Their inexperience of the Indian tracks and their inability to reverse the ball did hamper their effectiveness. But people tend to forget the Indian batting that they were up against.
Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman is an awe-inspiring batting line up. Gambhir and Laxman didn't play the 2nd Test but India was at full strength at Mohali. They actually managed to get 19 wickets in the 1st Test and 13 in the second. They can always fancy their chances against Trott, Collingwood and Bell on Australian pitches. The spin of Hauritz is a worry but so many foreign spinners have found Indian pitches as their graveyards that Hauritz can still do better.
On the batting front Clarke and North are a worry but Ponting has batted extremely well and showed glimpses of getting back in form, the openers were consistent and Hussey wasn't doing too badly before getting a couple of bad decisions. Paine looked pretty decently as well.
Did anybody really give this team a chance in India? One would think not. They lost a Test match which they should have won but from a gutsy effort by an injured warrior. The second one was lost by day 3, brought back into balance by Lunch, Day 4 and slipping away by end of day 4. This team fought all the way in alien conditions against a very good team and lost without losing its self respect nor the respect of its opposition.
If the ICC rankings really matter that much to the Ashes and readers are not convinced of one's arguments, let one put it in a simpler way. The #3 team today is actually Sri Lanka. So if they they were touring Australia today they would have a better chance to beat the Ozs than even England.
Thank you the Australian team for the awesome entertainment. India will look forward to your return. Even you Ricky, if you can make it next time.
Its an irony that a Test series which supposedly pushed back all the negative publicity for cricket and brought back the cricket lover's attention to the game actually would be a punter's delight with its swings and thrusts.
One has had a few disagreements with many people who have been dismissive of even harbouring the idea of India as a potential sporting powerhouse. India doesn't have the requisite resources, willpower and the organisation needed to churn out champions consistently. It doesn't have a 'sports culture' and can never hope to get one in the near future. One has written a few times about this and argued that if we as sports lovers have to produce sportspersons in spite of the system, so be it. There have been some notable examples where it worked (Abhinav Bindra, Sania Mirza, Vishwanathan Anand) and some cases where the 'system' hasn't been a hindrance (Saina Nehwal, Vijender Singh, Sushil Kumar) and, in fact, actually helped.
'Sports as Khel-kood' as the rationale, was first used by Mihir Bose in the 1980's in his seminal work 'A Maidan View', is still being reproduced by the same sports historian to comment on the current sporting affairs in India. The basic argument goes thus; 'If a child in our country returns from the playground, he is not asked
by his parents how he fared, but slapped for missing his studies and
wasting his time. Sport is against our Indian ethos, our cultural
Reading the heart warming story of Geeta Rani and Babita Kumari at the Delhi CWG makes one realise that the pessimistic view on India's sporting future may not be a very well informed one. Let's take the facts in this case. The 2 sisters come from Bhiwani in Haryana. Haryana, is one of the worst perpetrators of female infanticide in this country. Wrestling, that too around 10 years back, would be the last choice of a sport of a father for his daughters. The social stigma, the potential difficulties in getting the daughters wedded and the financial pressures would be quite insurmountable for Mahabir Singh Phagot. The duo has another sibling sister Ritu, who is also a wrestler. And to top it, the two daughters of his elder brother are also training to be wrestlers. The family boasts of 5 wrestlers among their women folk. As an aside Anita, who also won a gold medal in wrestling at the CWG, comes from the same village.
Reports say that some villagers scorned and even tried to dissuade the girls when they started practising in their backyard. What has gone unwritten is the taunts, the leery talk by the other boys, the innuendo and a highly stressful social life that a girl would go through as a price for her choice of a 'man's profession'. Phagot got no financial backing from the government in spite of his continual chasing. The girls practiced with thier male cousins in a mud Akhada. Their request for a mat was turned a blind eye to by the state sports federation. The same villagers and the Fedreation were cheering for the 2 girls this week and profess to be extremely proud of them. Geeta won Gold medal, Babita lost a Gold medal and had to settle for a silver. Bollywoodish, no?
One will admit that this is but one solitary example and can't be taken as a pointer to changing mindsets. Also it's only the CWG and not an Olympics. But what Geeta Rani and Babita Kumari have started may soon turn into an avalanche and a majority of Indian parents won't deem sports as Khel-kood and prove Mr. Bose wrong. One is sure that even Mihir Bose will be happy for once to be proved thus.
One had started the day practising the cliche, 'It doesn't matter who won or who lost, the real winner was the game of Cricket.' One of the main reasons behind the philosophical attitude was obviously the fact that the odds seemed to be favouring the Ozs. And as the day progressed it didn't matter who the winner was (especially as everything pointed to Australia being the one) and Cricket was emerging even a bigger winner in one's mind.
But now that India has emerged victorious, it still doesn't matter who the winner eventually is. If Billy Bowden hadn't remained as unmoved as Pragyan Ojha's leg in front of the middle stump kissing Mitch Johnson's ball..err.. rather delivery, the result would be very different. And if the throw at the stumps was 2 inches to the right, it would still be different. The 4 overhtrows reminding so much of the overthrows at the *** end of the Chennai Test in 2001.
One has always campaigned against the premature obits of Test Cricket and this match goes a long way in proving one's point.
One had never imagined seeing VVS lose his cool on the field. Today was the day.
One had never imagined that one could feel overwhelming symathy for Ricky Ponting. This match has compelled one to feel thus.
Maybe Ricky isn't feeling very low. This match was a great preparation for the upcoming Ashes. Thats where his real Test lies.
Cricket was the biggest winner today for sure. No need to go to the 3rd Ump for the final decision.
An open letter to Shankar (the Movie Director) -
(the God) in Hindu mythology was handed the job of a destructor while the more
challenging job of creation went to Brahma. You obviously have very
strong reservations about such narrow minded mentality and believe in
the modern adage of multi tasking. You have gone ahead and made me a
believer in the idea of the life cycle of birth - death - rebirth in
your latest piece de resistance Enthiran/ Endhiran.
I never knew I
possessed so many minds. Normally people are in two minds but here I
was, discovering an entire army (like your C42s) of minds about my
feelings towards your movie. Was I was watching a creative piece of
destruction or a destructive piece of creation or a story with
'feelings' or feeling about for a story, or the first Llama appearance
in an Indian movie or the effect of one stray bolt of lightning in the
history of Indian Cinema? I am still confused and as I am not as
imaginative and talented as you, I can't make up my mind.
movie surely was more complex for my small brain than even Inception. I
heard that people watched that movie some 3-4 times to actually
understand what was happening. What you have achieved Sir is beyond
Inception. I can proudly say that I can go and watch the movie 10 times
but still not understand the purpose of the movie. Please accept my
congratulations in advance for the Oscar that is just a matter of how
many and not if.
I was told later (after I had stopped
ranting about the ruins of Mohenjodaro) that A R Rehman has given music
to this master piece. He obviously was doing the music for your movie
at the same time when he was composing the CWG song. He was in the
'money for jam' mode. He made some 5 crores for giving an insipid song
to the CWG organisers and continued the same trend with you. Or maybe I
miss your/ Rehman's creative genius here. The songs were for a movie
titled 'the Robot' where the central theme is that Robots have no
feelings, no soul. If you/ Rehman decided to give a befitting music for a
Robot then you have surpassed even your own monumental expectations.
normally tend to feel proud about a Maharashtrian doing well in any
sphere of life and will fight even weak cases for a Marathi man/woman. I
have been known to defend even Raj Thackeray on occassions. But Swanand
Kirkire has left me but no choice to disown him as a fellow
Maharashtrian. Any lyricist who can put Kilaimanjaro and Mohinjodaro in 1
line can't and won't be defended. To hear his lyrics and Rehman's music
for almost 40 minutes makes one appreciate the Gauls in the bard
Cacophonix's village (where incidentally, Asterix and Obelix also happen
What can I say of a movie where the most
memorable scene is the Robot negotiating with Denguerani (with a mosqui
voice) in machhar language to accompany him back to ARB* so that he can
get a peck on his cheek. He feels no pain/ pricks but his electrons and
neurons and protons go all woozy when ARB*it happens. Go figure!
Denguerani was fabulous BTW.
One of my co-spectators had
unfortunately dozed off and missed the part where Danny got killed. We
refused to part with the mystery even after a lot of cajoling that turned in to emotional blackmail ("Remember I was the one who told you who was the murderer in Gupt?") . He plans to go and watch the movie again.
from today anyone asks me about one moment in world history that i
would like to change, I will unfailingly say that the silly bolt (lightning) from
the black that lead to so much chaos should never have occured. I am not a
Robot and alas can't erase the memory of this trauma called
I am not from the breed that scoffs at
Govinda classics and Dabangg. I don't swear by Fellini. Rajini is GOD
and I am a firm believer.But even GOD has been misused by scores of
people across centuries as we know.
* - ARB to the uninitiated is Aishwarya Rai Bachhan
P.S. This one is for you SB :)
It is a sunny morning, and the
stadium is jam packed. Hundreds
braved the scorching sun, and tested their patience in the serpentine
queue that railed out into the road near by. They were all waiting to
get the ‘ tickets’ to watch the match
people, who couldn't join the queue audaciously searched for an opening
to sneak into the queue. The police officers, who were posted to control
the crowd, found it hard to stop these intruders.
“It is really hard to stop these guys. Our patience are being tested since morning,” says Sasidharan, a Home Guard.
In a fraction of a second, an old man jumped into the queue and the home guard ran behind, wielding his baton, to stop him.
These were the chaotic scenes witnessed at the start of the 1st Test Match between Australia and India in the 2 test series which has been described in various quarters as 'serving only starters in a gourmet restaurant', 'skimmed milk', etc.
Ok. So may be we didn't see this crowd at Mohali today. It was a very low turn out and a lot of people seem to have written about the need for Tests to be played only at the main centers like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. Some people had commented on Twitter that they had woken up at 5.00 a.m. to watch the match (presumably in England) so why would locals not go to the stadium in droves.One is equally pained at the low turn out at stadia in India for a Test Match. But is shifting Test Matches to 'major' centers really a soultion? The last time a Test happened at Brabourne (It was the Viru missed triple special), the only day there was a semblance of a fully filled stadium was the morning Sehwag came out trying to get the remaining 20 odd runs to complete his triple. One was a spectator that day.The stadium emptied as soon as he got out.
One was also a spectator at the Eden Gardens in the 2nd India v South Africa Test match. With a large part of the stadium undergoing renovation and hence unavailable for seating and with South Africa batting, the stadium wasn't even half full. So is it that Indians throng to watch a Test when India is batting? Absolutely. Do they throng the stadium when the match gets tight or in anticipation of an Indian victory? Absolutely. There may have been a Test viewing culture in the major cricketing centres of the country but with the Mc'donaldisation of the world and the fast paced life, along with the stifling heat don't expect full attendance for Test Matches in India at any centre anymore. Has one seen the asbestos sheets that cover the open spaces in a stadium in the name of security (at least at Wankhede)? There's no way one can sit through out a day in that cauldron.
One has actually watched quite a few Tests over the last 2-3 years across many a stadia including SSC in Colombo. All of them at the so called major centres. And guess how many times one came across packed stadiums? Never. TV has brought the action in our Air conditioned homes and we are loving it. No more security checks. No more perspiration, no more sun strokes and no more queuing up for tickets. Do all those self proclaimed purists go to watch all 5 days of a Test match when it's playing in their cities/ towns (excluding a lucky few who get to sit in press boxes)? One hasn't in Mumbai. What right do we as a community have to crib about low attendance at Mohali?
The photo seen above and the report in bold are about another opening today. THE Superstar Rajinikanth's movie 'Endhiran' or 'Robot' in English was released today in India and the kind of frenzy it's generating has been amazing. One plans to watch the late show tonight as well.
The cricket today was absorbing and one is sure that with a likely possiblity of India batting tomorrow, which is also a Saturday, there will surely be crowds at Mohali. Maybe not as many as Endhiran. But surely enough to make this Test a blockbuster which it promises to develop into.