Archive for March, 2006

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With the boo, Sachin seems Taboo, “cricketkeeper” Dhoni cannot afford to be a phoney

March 29, 2006

Yesterday(28/3/2006),I had the pleasure of watching(at the stadium)India beat England at the Firozshah kotla ground here in Delhi.There were some very interesting comments by the crowd on Mahendra Singh Dhoni but first the context:-

About a week back , Sachin Tendulkar made frontline news in the Times of India and Hindustan Times when he was booed by his homecrowd for getting out very cheaply. Many former senior cricketers criticized the crowd for insulting a senior cricketer like Tendulkar. Kapil Dev, in his autobiography has mentioned how the players were reduced to tears on receiving an overwhelming welcome on winning the world cup in 1983. Six months later, the crowd tried to pelt them with stones on losing a match to the West Indies. He said that this has to be taken in the spirit of "taking the brickbats with the bouqets" and that is how Sachin should probably see the situation.

It is too premature to compare Dhoni to Sachin, but some of the statements of the crowd were revealing(It seemed that he was was the "cricketkeeper" of the nation instead of mere wicketkeeper):-

1) As soon as Shewag got out, somebody called to say, "Oye Gambhir, Gambhir hoke mat kheliyo, kuch Dhoni se seekh. (Gambhir, don't play quietly, follow Dhoni's example) 

2)Except for the fall of the first wicket, whenever the other wickets fell, the crowd was eager to see whether or not the incoming batsman was Dhoni by continously chanting his name. When he finally made his appearance after the fall of 4-5 wickets, he received a loud roar.

3) In the Toilet, I overheard people in adjoining toilets having a chat on what a fool Dravid was for not sending Dhoni earlier.

4) At the food stall, somebody remarked that one need not worry about the fall of early wickets as anything was possible as long as Dhoni's wicket was intact.

5) When I was returning to my seat with foodplates in both my hands, I had to stop at one place where I overheard a cop requesting his boss(in hindi)not to move him as Dhoni had come and the boss eagerly stole a glance to the ground from his duties to acertain the fact.

6) When Dhoni hit a shot which seemed to be rushing to the boundary but was halted, prompt came a remark from behind ,"Yeh ulloo ke paththe pata nahin kahaan kahaan se aa jaate hain fielding karne". "God knows from where these **** come from to obstruct the shot". It seemed that every shot of Dhoni should go for a four or six.

7) When Dhoni got out,an Englishman in the crowd began to stand and applaud. Somebody remarked from Behind" Oye Angrez ki Aulaad, Dhoni ne Dhulai nahin ki tau kya hua, main teri dhulai kar doonga. Niche, baith, ****"-Hey Englishman, so what if Dhoni did not hit out today, I will hit you. Sit down, you ****)

Such expectations, such adulation. One really salutes Sachin Tendulkar for carrying the burden of even more expectations in his illustrious 16 year career. Some film producers sit among the crowd for gauging the response to their films but I would be very nervous to hear such comments if I were a cricket star.

Though over the years I have admired different attributes of different cricketers in both forms of the game, I am with the crowd and very much a fan of one day cricket. Unfortunately,  cricketers are unanimous in their opinion that test cricket is the real cricket though in my view one day cricket is a different form of test where the resources have to be utilized optimally because of the time constraint.( Just as one of the reasons attributed to the success of Japan and Germany after the second world war  the scarcity of resources which forced their efficient utilization). There are some self styled connoisseurs who still enjoy the five day game(one can admire a player's stamina and temprament but who wants to pay to watch all that and who has the time in today's world) but I think the majority is for the one day fireworks. I think that the cricket board should host a best of three one days at each ground. Then the cricketers will get their job satisfaction and the crowd shall get their value for money.It will be a win-win situation for all.

Sachin does not deserve to be booed but the test matches played on lop sided batting pitches(first two test matches in pakistan) definitly deserve a thumbs down.

My admiration for Dhoni has doubled and going with the popular mood, let me add one of the most popular songs of yesteryear's:-

"Anhoni ko honi kar de, honi ko anhoni,

Ek Jagah jab jama ho teeno- Dhoni, Dhoni aur Dhoni"

There are six matches to go. Hope my words prove prophetic. 

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Only the Media can save India

March 6, 2006

On Sunday(26/2/2006) evening, NDTV showed a program to get Justice for Jesicca lal whose murderers were recently acquitted by the court even though she was shot in front of over a hundred people. The people participating in the show were a supreme court lawyer and a judge and a deputy commisioner of police apart from another victim who had a case similar to that of Jesicca. Ex-miss India Shobha De and actress Preitty Zinta spoke for Jesicca from Bombay on television and the owners of the place where the murder took place, Bina and Shalini Ramani were speaking from Goa.Many finer points were contributed by all concerned in the program on how to prevent such a recurrence in the future.

Since then, the print media has also been persistently following up with a reference almost every day.It was heartening to see the media finally taking up the cudgles on behalf of the victim and play its real role as the watchdog .  

The main issue is where do we go from here. What about the rest of us whose cases may not be high-profile or who may not get the attention of the media for one reason or another.  This is the most glaring case of the dictum “Without danger, we cannot go beyond danger”. Things got completely out of hand in this case and the media was forced to take a stand though trials by the media are generally deemed undesirable.

This brings to mind the opt repeated statement that “Public memory is very short” and everybody forgets once the issue goes on the backburner. The issue here is -why does the media let it get on the backburner in the first place? Is the role of the media confined merely to highlight the wrongs without seeing to it that there is redressal? A couple of years ago I read in a weekly newsmagazine how prominent politicians were occupying bungalows which they should have vacated after losing power. There was no follow-up after that till one fine morning one read about the governer of Bihar being forced to vacate. The media should have a page at the back of their publications “Issues unresolved” in which such issues should be mentioned. In corporate management, one is constantly told to follow-up. Why can’t the media follow up?

Talking of mangement reminds me of the concept of goals. There are umpteen number of workshops conduting people teaching the importance of having proper goals to the extent that even students should be habituated early in life about setting goals in all spheres of personal life- family, health, social life, financial independence etc. I even learnt from once consultant that daily goals were too restricting while having monthly goals made one a little careless but weekly goals were the best- they could be set realistically set and achieved. This was in the individual’s context. I have never understood that why there are no goals for politicians. You elect somebody, he sets no goals for himself and you can’t do a damn thing for five years if he does not perform properly whereas in management one would be kicked out in a very short time frame if there was a slip-up in performance. Why can’t there be goals for each member of parliament in each constituency and why can’t the media follow-up and see to it that they are fulfilled. This would be good for politicians themselves in the long run.Its a win-win situation for everybody.

Mrs Shobha de mentioned in the program that if the Judiciary also became corrupt, all hell would break lose. Everybody knows that cases get delayed and “Justice delayed is justice denied ” is more a rule than exception in India. From a common man’s perspective, how does it matter because as far as he is concerned whether it is lack of efficiency or corruption, he has to suffer. Why can’t the media get after the root cause?-how cases get delayed in the first place because that is the root cause of all the mess. People are scared of the courts because the remedy is worse than the disease.

I have heard cases of judicial corruption but not experienced them myself. However there is one type of corporate corruption that is very common. Many suppliers of raw-materials are always scared that their payment shall be held up. Recently, a friend told me how demeaning he found to almost go begging for payments. Many are scared to increase the volume of their business because if payments get stuck , they stand to lose more. In the United states, there is a credit history of a person which one can check on the payment of a nominal sum. There, nobody fools around with his credit rating because the whole system operates on credit and he would stay nowhere if his credibility in this respect were questionedor lost. Why can’t such a system be followed in India? On one hand the finance minister talks on business matters at “Davos” but if the basics are not right, how bright are the chances are success. Here again, the businessman is scared ot the law because it takes its own sweet time.

This Jesicca case has set a good precdent. Some elements in the media have earned a bad name in recent times because of sensationalizing issues.Why can’t the media do good work by highlighting and speaking up on behalf of the common man as it has done in this case. There must be thousands of such cases. A discussion forum can be created on the internet on each issue and then cases can be tackled case by case. Having talk shows without followup on discussion forums is efficiency without effectiveness. Only the media can make things totally transparent and effect a “Dood ka dood, aani ka paani”.

Congratulations to both NDTV and whoever took up the cause.Talent and motives are more important than the tool and now it can finally be said that the informtion revolution and mass communication revolutions have been successful.