Archive for the ‘youth’ Category

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Fare well to Farewell;Alvida, Dada

October 8, 2008

Fare well to farewell- Alvida, Dada.

Today’s(8/10/2008) entire sports page in the Times of India is devoted to Mr Saurav Ganguly’s retirement and deservedly so. Well, all the speculation about voluntary retirement in the media turned out to be true. It is only in the fitness of things that as the curtain draws on the careers of one of India’s best batsmen and perhaps greatest captain, he be given a commensurate exit. He has fared very well so far to earn such a farewell and one hopes that he fares well in what will turn out to be his swangsong series against the mighty Australians against whom he has waged many a battle.

I am reminded of a Television Show some years back where ex- cricketers Krishnamachari Srikanth, Mohinder Amarnath and well known cricket commentator Charu Sharma were discussing “How to drop a player gracefully?”. They could not come to any firm conclusion but concurred that while Sachin cannot be dropped because of what all he had achieved(70 plus hundreds in international cricket), the other senior cricketers deserved a dignified exit with graceful indications/hints in advance. Srikkanth seems to be walking the talk because this is his first major step as the new chairman of selectors.

I remember reading about what the Australians did with Steve Waugh. Waugh had failed to “cross the final frontier” of beating India in India in 2001 and would have liked one more chance. Since the Australians are ruthless, he got no such opportunity. They did not even allow him to play as a player(he was willing to give up the captaincy) in the 2003 world cup . He had to hang his boots as per the selectors bidding but they went about the process in a dignified manner.

Since in India, strong emotions are associated with cricket, there was bound to be speculation about the retirement of the fabulous four- Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly. The cricketers will always say that age is no factor as long as they are fit but from a country’s point of view, young players have to be groomed both for playing and leadership and a certain gestation period is involved because of which succession planning is necessary.. One of the reasons why Yuvaraj Singh has not got enough chances in Test cricket is because the middle order is filled with seniors. In retirement too, Dada is proving to be an apt leader ; the fabulous four have to be shown the door(gracefully) – Yeh, dil maange more( Younger cricketers)

It would not be out of place to mention here that one day, if the popularity so demands, test cricket too should be minimized or dropped gracefully in favor of 20/20 instead of breast beating over it as if it was some kind of holy cow. A country with a spiritual legacy should not shed tears over such matters and follow one of the tenets of spirituality- impermanence. Popularity apart, 20/20 has to potential to make the game global and also take it to the Olympics.

Coming back to Saurav, I will never forget what my father said when Saurav Ganguly decided to fight his way back after being dropped as captain and player and he had been captain for 49 tests. He said “This is like a managing director being stripped of his post and being told to try his luck again as a management trainee all over again in full public view”. I have read about how a cricket captain’s job is perceived to be next to the Prime Minsiter’s in the context of the following it enjoys in India. Saurav should be remembered more for mental strength and sheer resilience for his comebacks apart from unique leadership, graceful, southpaw touch and the towering sixes he hit in one-day matches. I had written a poem(of sorts) on one of his comebacks:-

The return of Saurav Ganguly(Click with mouse)

One can only say something like this while bidding goodbye:-

Pyare Dada,
Aapko na bhoolne ka karte hain vaada
Aapki leadership,mental strength aur resilience yaad rakhenge sada
Aapka silken touch or towering sixes pe ham hain fida
Australians ko dikha do dadagiri aakhri baar kehne se pahle Alvida.

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Gudiya or Media ?

July 14, 2008

When Rajesh Talwar was released from Jail after being wrongfully confined for 50 days after being accused of murdering his daughter, Arushi, it was surprising to see so many media people thrusting their mikes and trying to ask questions when the situation warranted otherwise. It reminded of an incident some years back when actor Govinda’s son was injured badly in an accident and some media person was trying to ask him how he was feeling when he was resting in his bed and not in a position to speak.

In an interview a month back, Mr Rajesh Talwar had stated in Hindi he might as well be hanged now that his bitiya( or guidya affectionately) is no more. Having been arrested almost immediately after her death and having had no time to mourn the loss of his daughter, it is hardly a matter of conjecture where his time should have gone after release- media or gudiya. How could the media justify its presence there? They could have waited for Mr Talwar to fully recover and no sensible person in the viewing public would have been interested in knowing Mr Talwar’s views on his jail stint at such a sensitive time.

The media clearly went overboard this time. In the NDTV program “We, the people”, prominent journalist Barkha Dutt probes the issue. Some main points from the program were:-

1. The media has to set its own Lakshman rekhas. Some time ago, in his Sunday column, Vir Sanghvi also spoke of self regulation. This is very true because if the govt has to intervene and regulate, it can severely curb the freedom of the press. One person in the audience said that in foreign countries, yellow cards were placed by the police at certain points beyond which the media could not go. If the media continues to behave the way it did with the Talwars, every citizen will also need to carry a yellow card.

2. A prominent lawyer suggested that the media should fully investigate systemic failures instead of moving to the next juicy story. This is very true. God alone knows what is the worth of talk shows if there is no follow up on any issue. The concerned people could follow up on discussion forums the net if possible.

3. One gentleman also pointed out that it is better to avoid sweeping generalizations and target only those media channels who wrongly sensationalized the whole thing. This is also correct but the problem is that after a few days, everyone will forget and it won’t be a surprise if there is a repetition in the future.

4. It was also pointed out that the term media trial is misleading. It should be media exposure and the media should confine its role to highlighting instead of also trying to be prosecutor and judge which is clearly exceeding its limits.

5. Someone suggested that there should be no political interference in the functioning of the police. The media and the judiciary have complete autonomy and if they can behave irresponsibly on occasions, one wonders what would happen if the police were to behave likewise. One has to have transparency in all matters so that misuse of powers is minimized irrespective of the profession.

6. Many youngsters pointed out that the media had no business in probing private SMS messages or whatever which is hardly debatable and which is why I mentioned the yellow card earlier.

7. One lady relative of Mr Talwar was shown crying on how he needed to be left alone with the family after release to mourn his daughter’s death. This was not discussed long enough or debated whether the media had any business to be there in the first place.

Rajesh Talwar’s elder brother Dinesh Talwar summed it up by saying that they all had to decide what kind of functioning of our democracy had to take place if such disasters had to be averted. Without any regular mechanism of follow up, not much change is likely to be effected. In India, we have more drama than karma.

The media went too far in its professional interest in this case. It is true that every person has his professional agenda which is most important to him or her and people going to any lengths to further their professional interest has become an all pervasive phenomenen. Agar society hoti badiya, na hota media ya Gudiya:-

Money makes the world go around- in this case beyond limits and out of bounds

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B.C.C.I OR B.T.T.I ?

June 2, 2008

The day after- After the IPL got over yesterday with Rajasthan Royals emerging as the clear winners, the Delhi times made an assessment of IPL in an article “Figuring out IPL”
It states “IPL will bring about Rs 12 billion every year in cricket. India’s total budget last year was Rs 4.9 million. BCCI will earn Rs 3.5 billion from the first year of IPL which is more than Rs 2.3 billion it earned in 2007. The forecasted profit of BCCI is a whopping Rs 43 billion for the next 10 years”. Almost seems that 20 overs cricket can support ofher forms of cricket just as cricket sometimes supports other sports in India. Other sports lack public support; the cricket administrators should see the writing on the wall and go for the form of cricket which the fans like the most- it is the public which makes cricket in Inida a popular sport and the cricketers demi-gods.

Since there is a lot of breast beating over the commercialization of the game, Sachin Tendulkar’s views on the issue are worth noting “ “I don’t personally feel that, you know, (IPL is) dumbing down the game. It’s just another version of cricket. Test cricket is there and then they started One-day cricket many years ago and One-day cricket has been a tremendous success and if the game is gonna get globalised in the form of IPL, then why not? It’s better for cricket,” he added in defence of the league that has been criticized for being too glamorous and money-centric.The criticism of money centric is as silly as our obsession with Nehruvian socialism once upon a time which liberalization has proved time and again.

A few days ago, Mr Lalit modi had mooted the suggestion that IPL should be held twice a year which the President of BCCI, Mr Sharad Pawar deemed impractical because of the tight cricket schedules. This like missing the wood for the trees. The so called commercialization of the game has become possible only because of its public support. Look at the advantages of 20/20 match- gets over in 3 hours with thrilling results as against 5 days of boring cricket with impending draws, can be played at night throughout the year(except winters) as against day time which is office going time, is assured of public support again and the possibility of going international as Tendulkar pointed out, grooms captains among players like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan singh etc.

One wonders why anybody would like to watch Test or even one day cricket anymore which in any case used to be watched only when it became interesting(Tests). The TRP ratings say it all- it was a mind boggling 8.2 in the first two weeks, 8 at others and has always been above 5. Shahrukh Khan’s Paanchvi Pass has TRP’s of 4 and serials like Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi TRPs averaged at 5. By all accounts , the IPL is Paanchvi Pass(Five star success) and the way it is going, it won’t be long before it replaces traditional forms of cricket and in the future, we shall say- Kyunki T20 bhi kabhi test/one day thi. Prominent journalists have written about how cheerleaders should be left alone and the moral police should not act as spoilsports; actually it is Test cricket which requires these cheerleaders and I doubt they shall be able to save that form of the game even if they choose to go all the way with their act.

Lalit Modi had also compared an IPL match to an entertaining Bollywood film which is bang on target because it does make a good substitute and is a good alternative. The public support for IPL reminds of the song from one of yesteryear’s greatest Director of Hindi films, the late Mr Manmohan Desai. A song from his film, Roti goes something like this “Yeh tau public hai yeh sab jaanti hai, public hai” . The cricket Administrators should read Peter Drucker’s “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” where there are several examples of company failures(bankruptcy) who fail to read and follow the market forces. That apart, management is about leverage- getting more for less which a 20 over match represents. I don’t think anybody can watch even the best of Bollywood films for five days; Test cricket is basically impractical and outdated.

Though too many matches can sometimes be a case of “Familiarity breeds contempt”, on the whole 20/20 are more practical and enjoyable and should be spaced evenly throughout the year and preferably with countries playing one another. 20/20 should be the rule and not the exception. So much so that the B.C.C.I should stand now for Boring Cricket Curbing Initiatives and convert its name to B.T.T.I- Board for Twenty Twenty in India.
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After writing the above, former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar wrote in the Times of India that while playing Ranji Trohy, he was used to empty stands but 20/20 had the kind of crowds that could prepare a player for the big picture occasion. Another article stated how families who watched matches in groups are going to miss 20/20. Cricket Adminsitrators should drop other forms of cricket the way Australians drop their cricketers ruthlessly– Saare Niyam tod dau, Test cricket khelna chod do.

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Heart over head;democracy is dead

May 14, 2008

In the Sunday Hindustan Times of May 11,2008, Vir Sanghvi has written in is article “The American President” that whatever be the merit of Barack Obama, Americans are likely to choose republican John McCain as he fits more into the mould of White Anglo sexan protestant which, historically in the recent past, a majority of American Presidents have tended to be. Sanghvi is so sure of this assertion that in his own words he is willing to put his money where his mouth is.

I had read somewhere that Democracy has meaning only in a literate society and in the same vein, American and British democracies were more vibrant. There is some merit in this as we have evidenced how in Bihar Lalloo Yadav ruled Bihar by person and proxy over a period of 15 years without commensurate merit. One can imagine poor, illiterate people casting their vote parochially in favor of their caste or religion without giving a damn to merit but if educated people also allow themselves to follow heart over head, one wonders what is in store in the long run?

Apart from Americans, the emotional element is very much evident in British society where monarchy persists though in this day and age, it is clearly our of vogue. Though South Indians are perceived to be down to earth, it is not too tough for a filmstar to become a prominent politician without any commensurate merit. Heart predominates also because the head does not decide the merit parameters of politicians.

In his Article “to woo UP, Rahul should tie the Dalit knot” of 5/5/2008 , journalist Jug Suraiya says “The proclaimed Yuvraj of the congress party, Rahul should emulate kings and emperors the world over who have used marriage as an instrument with which to forge links with other principalities and powers to help them extend their own domains. “
That’s a new one but may not be a bad idea while the going is good. Had India been a completely literate society, dynasties would never have lasted for four or five generations where American and Russian Presidents cannot stay in power for more than two terms.

It is really strange that people like President Putin of Russia who has given a superb performance in terms of turning around Russia has to think of abdicating power even if technically whereas other politicians can continue without merit on the strength of heart alone. God alone knows when genuine democracy will arise on sheer merit. Democracy seems more dead unless we use more of head.

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Shit to remain fit.

March 8, 2008

I am reasonably sure that many of you are going to think that this is going to be an amusing post. I have to try to make it amusing actually. Many years ago , someone had asked me that the body could function well with some of the body systems not working but which was the one system the malfunctioning of which could start a whole negative spiral which in turn could bring the functioning of the body to a halt. The answer was the excretory system. So, amusment apart, it requires serious introspection.

Some four five years back, my yoga teacher apprised me of a yogic kriya that I was unaware of. It is called laghu shankh prakshalan. He told me that just as a car required servicing twice a year, one was better off with internal cleansing twice a year- at the beginning of winter and summer season. He further stated what I had read in one of Dale Carnegie’s books years back “You get diseases not from what you eat but what is eating you”. The yoga teacher said that in today’s world it was psychosomatic;
could be both ways supplementing each other. Stress could be causing digestion problems and even vice-versa. Reminded me of the percussion instrument dholak which is banged from both sides. Though done through the excretory system, the basic objective is to clean the digestive system. It is also supposed to be very good for a glowing skin. Well as they say in management, one has to go southwards to go northwards

It was quite ardous when I did it for the first time four years back. On an empty stomach, I drank two glases of like warm water with four sets of stretching exercises(10 times each)which were supposed to have a direct effect on the stomach.. One was supposed to repeat this at least three times till one got the call of nature. After the nature’s call, one had to keep repeating this- drinking water, the exercises and the call of nature till the entire system was clean and in the words of the yoga teacher, the final objective was that while flushing the toilet, what was before and after should look the same- clear of all yellowness or whatever.

Now, the amusing part. The yoga teacher told me that for people whose passages were not blocked, the whole exercise could take about a hour to an hour and fifteen minutes at the most. . However this year when I did it, it took almost two hours. This was perhaps the shit’s way of getting back at me. Everyday while playing Tennis, I would say “shit” if my shot was blocked at the net or went out. The shit had perhaps decided to teach me a lesson and took its own sweet time to clear my system. It was perhaps fitting that my shitting was getting back at my hitting(the shots). The half an hour was so tortous that I was thinking of all kinds of things to keep me going- shahrukh and Saif ali Khan’s jokes the previous filmfare awards night to the gorgeous Vidya Balan to balance this strange Vidya. It even reminded me of the words of the brilliant Intellectual J.krishnamurthy “To divide anything into what should be and what is, is the most deceptive way of dealing with life.What is what you are doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment. One must not go into the opposite or any opposite ideological action as that would be a fictitous desire other than what is. “ While I generally agree with him, I suppose there are exceptions to most rules in life.

Well, finally the moment arrived when cleared of all that was yellow, I was a happy fellow the expression of which was far from mellow. I shouted at my servant in delight to get the khichdi which one is supposed to have after an hour ready. Though the feeling is nowhere near to what one experiences in Vipasana meditation which clams to be a deep surgical operation of the mind and one actually feels dry cleaned from inside, this feels you wet-cleaned from inside. One feels like a new person all right.

How’s that for “From shit to fit” ? For those seriously inclined, one of the best links to this yogic kriya is

Happy shitting

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New media with/or New Idea

January 16, 2008

Delhi Bloggers and New Media Society had it first meet at a farm in Shivaji Marg on Saturday, 12/1/2008 . I had not heard the word New media before that.

Though new media may be the term for different types of internet enabled communications, the word also brings memories of the recent sledging controversy for which Harbhajan Singh has to face charges for calling Andrew Symonds a monkey. From all accounts, it seems that even if he said that, he must have been provoked by Symonds. Apart from cricket, Australia has been a force to reckon with in Tennis and even hosts one of the four grand slams this time of the year. If sledging were allowed in Tennis, it would create such a funny situation if players were to shout obscenities after every shot or whenever they feel like. In doubles it would be even funnier as the players at the net can really get intense in the exchange of words when they feel like it . It would be even more amusing in sports like wrestling, judo, golf etc. The only reason why the cricketers get away with sledging is that they are not audible; one report even suggested that they deliberately say nasty things when they are away from the stump mikes. If that is correct, another form of “New media” should be introduced; what is to stop the ICC from forcing the players to carry a small microphone(new media) on their person. If that is not embarrassing enough for the players, whoever abuses should be chucked out for ten games straightaway unless we want to permit sledging in the name of “gamesmanship”. This way it can be new society with new media at least on the cricket field. One must appreciate cricket writer Peter Reobock for using the term “ a bunch of wild dogs” for the Australian team and demanding Ricky Ponting’s resignation – that is the gutsy new media of a different kind.

New media also reminds of another issue. Recently, when Amitabh Bachchan’s mother died, both the Times of India and Hindustan Times flashed pictures of a distraught Abhishek and Aishwarya on their front page on the same day. It reminded me of what Mr Bachchan said in an interview some years back” Even if the color of my beard changes, it makes front page news. I don’t know what to do”. In the late seventies and early eighties when Mr Bachchan was the reigning superstar, he replied when asked about the desirability of performing certain roles, “If eight hundred million people want to watch this, what can I do? “ There maybe a point there but I don’t think that the readers of Times of India or Hindustan Times want to know about the personal occasions of filmstars on their front pages. I am sure that represents a tremendous opportunity cost and a tremendous opportunity lost. It would not be out of place to mention here that one journalist even made it to Mr Bachchan’s bedside when he was sick sometime back. Time for introspection, time for new media.

In general, it will be the day when new media follows up on an issue instead of following the policy of “loving them and leaving them” where news stories are concerned. There should be a pending issues section in newspapers where issues for which no solution has been found are continuously displayed. That apart, when any media, whether it is mainstream media or web media, is able to bring about the kind of transparency and accountability in politics that is there in both sports and films ,that would be new media indeed. New media is not just about new technologies but new ideas as well.

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Home Shanti Home

December 25, 2007

Though I should have written this post long back, it kept getting postponed for one reason or another. A week after “Om Shanti Om” was released, a Nigerian friend of mine who had left India way back in 1975 suddenly popped in front of my residence. For a while I thought it was a mistake since we are several families living in a flat system. When he muttered the word “Baba” and his residence number of the seventies, I was able to put two and two together and welcomed him in.

Imagine meeting him after 32 long years. When we had parted ways, I was taller than him and we were of the same built but now, he was much more taller and heftier than me. After the initial exchange of pleasantries , he tried to speak in hindi or whatever he remembered though in 1975, he spoke as well as any Indian. He would speak a few words here and there which sounded funny. He said that he was out of practice but had not forgotten “Zeenat Aman”, “Yaadon ki Baraat” and Amjad Khan of Sholay. Some things are beyond the domain of language. We also remembered how his elder brother, Nuhu would wear goggles and look like Clive Lloyd( West Indies captain on their tour off 1974) and we would run after him shouting “Lloyd”, “LLoyd”

When I took him around the colony and the local club, we remembered our childhood days in the early seventies when we had spent three years together. He was extremely naughty and that gleam in his eyes had not receded over the years. Though a year younger than me, it was he who gave me my first “Sex Education” lesson at the age of nine( He was eight at that time) . Though I did not ask him at that time, I could not help asking him where he had received his sex enlightenment from at such a young age. When he arrived at his old house, he showed me the tall wall between his and the house of an American couple who used to stay there. He said that he had a naughty chowkidaar who used to put him on his shoulders and show the American couple “doing it “ at a certain time in the evening. He said that he learnt both theory and practicals like that. With or without internet, those inclined to learn will learn. Imagine, him coming after a gap of 32 years and telling me all this.

Om shanti Om was a tribute to a movie called Karz which was released sometime in the seventies. In the seventies, there used to be a great commercial movie director,”Manmohan Desai” who used to make films on long lost brothers who would separate as children and unite as adults. The best among them was the Amitabh staarer “Amar, Akbar Anthony”. You may enjoy such films as children but one tends to outgrow these things. Never in my wildest imagination I would have thought that Baba would return after 32 years. As far as I was concerned, he was out of sight, out of mind. I could not have traced him on google as I did not know his real name. He would not have been able to trace me had I not been staying in the same colony at a different place. Brothers or friends, it feels great to be reunited after such a long time. Hindi movies have a logic after all and I should say “Home shanti home”