Monday, August 20, 2012

Indian Politics 101

Now class, repeat after me.

A for Arrest. When you get caught of philandering away the taxpayer's money, you are entitled to live in a high security zone, with your food and accommodation billed to the state. Following arrest, you can live your dream - of doing absolutely nothing! In other words, it's A REST.

B for Bail.This is the money you pay the government when you think you've had enough of a rest(refer to A for Arrest) and there's much to do outside. Like philandering some more of the taxpayers hard-earned livelihood.

C for Corruption. With this skill, the only change that the nation will see is the one filling your pockets.

D for Democracy. The only form of the government that lets you exploit all your learnings from this class.

E for Escape. As a politician, it's your birthright. To usurp absolute power, you have to learn to escape from the clutches of absolute responsibility.

F for Fools. And their money, of course. They are the ones who vote for you.

G for Government. Of the people. By the people. For your bank balance.

H for Holiday. That's what you'll encounter every day on the job. However, the only days you'll have to show yourself at work is on Public Holidays.

I for India. Never forget. Especially when you are asked to read out a speech abroad.

J for Justice. This is what you should stand for. Especially if you don't want to remain seated in your position of power.

K for Kingdom. That's what you call your area of jurisdiction in your bedroom.

L for Laissez Faire. That's some Phoren word which means the government cannot interfere in your conduct.

M for Majority. That's the number of fools it'll take to help you keep your job.

N for Nearsightedness. It's the ability to keep an open eye for short-term gains.

O for Opposition. Who will do precisely what you do when they take your place..

P for Power. It's the primary requirement for you to stay blissfully corrupt (Refer to C for Corruption)

Q for Quota. This is a special trick you can use to bring more fools to part with their money in your favour. (Refer to F for Fools)

R for Revenue Enhancement. Clever ways of getting yourself more of the Fools' money.

S for Spin. It's the ability of turning truth and facts in your favour.

T for Truth. Only to be revealed when it favours you.(refer to S for Spin)

U for Underachiever. It's what Time Magazine calls Manmohan Singh. It's what Outlook Magazine calls Barak Obama. It's what you should aspire to be.

V for Vote. The best way to make fools believe they matter to you.

W for Welfare. Yours, and not for anyone else.

X for XXX. Which you should not check out on your smartphone when you are in the parliament.

Y for Years. Either in power or in arrest. (Refer to A for Arrest and P for Power)

Z for ZZZZ. Good Night and Good Luck!



Friday, August 17, 2012

Partition by WH Auden

I was always fascinated by the story of one Cyrill Radcliffe. Yes, that same man whose name is immortalised by a disputed border that separates a population of nearly 1.3 Billion people, and has witnessed god-only-knows how many battles between the two countries it separates. While searching for some info, I find a few lines written by WH Auden in memory of the man who named the Radcliffe Line. Here goes:

 Unbiased at least he was when he arrived on his mission,
Having never set eyes on the land he was called to partition
Between two peoples fanatically at odds,
With their different diets and incompatible gods.
"Time," they had briefed him in London, "is short. It's too late
For mutual reconciliation or rational debate:
The only solution now lies in separation.
The Viceroy thinks, as you will see from his letter,
That the less you are seen in his company the better,
So we've arranged to provide you with other accommodation.
We can give you four judges, two Moslem and two Hindu,
To consult with, but the final decision must rest with you."

Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day

Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect
Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.

The next day he sailed for England, where he could quickly forget

The case, as a good lawyer must. Return he would not,
Afraid, as he told his Club, that he might get shot.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ten Indian Pacers

(Wrote this in the morning thinking of our fastest men and their problems. To be sung to the tune of Ten Little Indians, the nursery rhyme.)

Ten Indian pacers erring in line,
Ishant went home limping, and then there were nine,
Nine Indian pacers trying to lose some weight,
Praveen fell off and then there were eight,
Eight Indian pacers aiming for the eleven,
RP’s hibernating and then there were seven,
Seven Indian pacers practicing slower-ball tricks,
Munaf now bowls Off Spin, and then there were six,
Six Indian pacers practicing the dive,
Vinay couldn’t get up and then there were five,
Five Indian pacers who are playing lot more,
Irfan’s now a batsman and then there were four,
Four Indian pacers on a T20 spree,
Dinda’s left his game there and then there were three,
Three Indian pacers wondering what to do,
Sreeshant’s turned to acting and then there were two,
Two Indian pacers bowling in the sun,
Zaheer’s already cramping and then there was one
One Indian pacer always on the run,
If Umesh hurts himself, then there will be none.

Monday, August 6, 2012

If India fails to win an Olympic medal, why blame Cricket?

The London Olympics has already become India’s best Olympic performance. At the time of writing, India has already won a Silver and two Bronzes, thanks to Vijay Kumar (Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol), Gagan Narang (Men’s 10m Air Gun), and Saina Nehwal (Women’s Badminton Singles) respectively. And considering we are assured of another medal from Mary Kom, who just entered the Women’s 51 Kg Boxing Semi Finals, it takes India’s medal count to four, one more than Beijing 2008. It’s a reason to celebrate. Despite the fact that we as a nation technically trail behind the likes of Chinshanlo Zulfiya of Kazakhstan and Kim Un Guk of North Korea on the medals tally, unless our boxers and wrestlers bring back the much elusive Gold medal. But hey, it’s still an improvement. 

The country could have easily won one more medal when Joydeep Karmarkar missed a Bronze by a fraction of an inch, quite literally. However, come 2020 and the number of Indians who’ll remember Karmarkar’s 4th place in 50m Rifle Prone will be far lesser than those who’ll remember Rajesh Chauhan’s last over six against Pakistan in an ODI at Karachi. And there in lies a lesson. No, seriously. How many of you remember the name of the Badminton player from India who almost made it to the quarters of the Barcelona Olympics? I certainly don’t.

Clearly Indian Cricket has become the Microsoft of Indian Sports. Nobody seems to appreciate what it’s managed to achieve, even though nobody can imagine life without it. True story. Surely, the BCCI has managed to do something that other sporting bodies in India have failed to do. They’ve managed to create a loyalty among fans, even without their knowledge. Sample the cases stated below:

Broadcast: As a kid, I grew up watching Sachin making piles of money winning matches, while Azhar matching the little master’s earnings by losing them. But I couldn't say the same about Badminton, which was never really telecast on national TV. So even watching countless fixed...fixtures at Sharjah was more memorable than growing up watching Vijayalakshmi auntie and Ananthapadmanabhan uncle play ‘shuttlecock’!

Cool-factor: Admit it! It’s a lot cooler to say “I never budged an inch while watching Robin Singh play a match-winning 32* in a crucial tie against Zimbabwe at Benoni”, than “ You didn’t watch Narsingh Panch Yadav win the Men’s 74kg – Repechage Freestyle Wrestling Gold, ah? Mad or what!!”

Victory Celebration: We never really celebrated when Jaspal Rana won a Gold medal at the Asian Games at Hiroshima in 1994. Yet, we took a family picture around our old Nelco Blue Diamond TV when India won the Asia Cup in 1995 at Sharjah.

Sex Appeal: When Hrishikesh Kanitkar scored a match-winning boundary against Pakistan at the Bangabandu Stadium to help India win the Coca Cola Independence Cup in 1998, he instantly became India’s most eligible bachelor, getting proposals from North Indians, South Indians and even West Indians (One woman named Sanya Rambally who lived on the outskirts of Georgetown, Guyana actually believed that Kanitkar had the sexiest forward defence, second only to Shivnaraine Chanderpaul). However, not too many women gave Bajrang Lal Takhar a second glance after he won a Men's Single Sculls Gold at the Asian Games in 2010 at Guangzhou.

Publicity: If you were shown photos of two similar sounding sportsmen named Raman Lamba and Limba Ram, who are you likely to recognize? The one holding the cricket bat, obviously!

Clearly, much has worked in favour of cricket, thanks to its fans, who may even recall the bowling action of Bhupinder Singh Sr with moist eyes, but couldn’t recognize Ajit Pal Singhs from their Ajit Singhs. Why even Ajit Agarkar would have a bigger fan club than his two equally illustrious namesakes. So guys! Don’t blame one game for the country's failures in other fields (and not just sporting ones). If you feel so strongly about sports in India, do more than worshiping one set of medal winners and forgetting the rest until it's time for the next Olympics four years later. Follow them. Encourage them. And if nothing else, stop blaming Cricket the next time an Indian athlete fails to win a Bronze.

( P.S.: If you agree with what the author says, first memorise the names of the Men’s and Women’s Kabaddi squads who won the World Cup in 2011-2012 and then forward this article to 10 other friends. If you do so immediately, India will surely win another medal before the Olympics ends.)