Friday, March 25, 2011


Why we need the cup

I must say I’ve been an exceedingly good follower of the Cup that counts. In this fast-paced, time-constrained, sleep-deprived, Joginder Sharma-infested world that we live in, I’ve managed to wake up almost every day before 1430 hrs and willed myself to watch 8 hours of the Gentleman’s game. Those 8 hours have also included Sourav Ganguly, uncharacteristically with a shirt on, and Navjyot Singh Sidhu, the less said the better, with the inexplicable absence of Mandira Bedi, who for the last decade of so, one thought was the official mascot of the cup that counts. While Irish banks saw their likelihood of a default plummeting and sales of Bailey’s sky-rocketed, I chose to take the path less followed and sweated it out with the 24 spectators as Something Not-too-spectacular Happened in the Kenya vs. Canada match. For 10 minutes anyway, before I realized that I had forgotten the name as well as the team of the one player of these 2 admirable nations that I’d included in my cricinfo fantasy XI. It was also then that it struck me that the love child of these 2 fine cricketing nations was sure to be a Surd- Ken-nada, geddit? Tee hee.

Much has been said by Ravi Shastri, in very original terms, about how for India, its ‘now or never’, how ‘it’s Sachin’s swansong’ and constantly reminding us that ‘it doesn’t get any bigger than this’. I agree that we need the cup. And more urgently than Ravi Shastri thinks we do. Let me elucidate why, as articulately as I can with the customary dash of panache. Conversely, you could check out this, this or this. If one or more of the this’s are un-hyperlinked, blame Ashish Nehra.

As Indians, we have this very annoying habit of analyzing everything that comes our way. It is because of this very reason that all B-school entrance exams have a section on Data Analysis and why all products of the said B-school claim, without batting an eyelid, that they have ‘strong analytical skills’ before accepting 8-figure pay packages to cause financial downturns. So as soon as we succeed to fail to win the cup that counts, the analysis will begin. Why, Navjyot Singh Sidhu will ask, did we not win this cup when we comprehensively won the world T20? And pat will come the answer, it’s because that team had Joginder Sharma in it in place of, hold your breath, Sachin Tendulkar. You don’t have to be this girl to figure out what’ll happen next- Sachin out, Jogi in. Parents all over the world will start naming their young boys Joginder instead of Sachin, leading to an unprecedented number of suicides around 2020, when the said kids develop enough sense. Instead of aspiring to make 100 international centuries, young ’uns will discard the willow and start practicing the unhealthy art of mediocre slow almost-bowling.

Superstitious that we are, there will be immediate calls for Dhoni to grow back his hair, to divorce Sakshi Rawat and for Lehman Brothers to be resurrected. We shall also look to the other World Cup winning captain- something-or-the-other Dev and demand everyone to sport moustaches as well. This will have several dire consequences- first of all, with everyone refusing to get a haircut or shave, there shall be another round of mass hara-kiri as the word barber gets eliminated from the dictionary. Seeds of civil war shall also be sown as people like this, this or this, who have over time, consistently shown the inability to grow any form or facial hair, are deemed unfit for civilization to prosper and are either packed off to concentration camps or forced to rise up in arms. This unhealthy trend might also percolate to the women’s team, who it must be reminded has yet to win any cup whatsoever. Thus, the percentage of women with long hair and fancy moustaches, which has stayed constant at 0.034% for the last century (the majority of which co-incidentally happened to inhabit Roorkee in the 4 years that I spent there), will rise faster than the average of any mediocre batsman who tours India.

The other reason has to do with gratitude. Public memory, we all know, is very short. Already, everyone except bankers in Switzerland and Cayman Islands have started saying- Kalmadi, who? For how much longer then, can we expect the noble populace to remember the sterling contribution made by the likes of Dodda Ganesh, Amey Khurasia, Harvinder Singh and master of all- Noel David. Was there ever a more glorious sight in Indian cricket than Vikram Rathore running to take one catch after the other, than MSK Prasad manfully keeping to the express pace of Abhey Kuruvilla and Tinu Yohanana and more recently, Dinesh Mongia and Sanjay Bangar clamouring to get into the playing XI as Parthiv Patel calmly tossed back balls hit to the boundary by Ricky Ponting? I tell you, their names must not be allowed to fade from posterity. 2015 shall see 10 teams compete for the cup, by 2019 we will have kicked out Zimbabwe and Bangladesh as well so that we can have a shorter tournament that can be fitted in between then Maxxx time-out in IPL-12. Paksitan will surely have ceased to exist by 2023 and the venues chosen from then on will be so politically, racially and safety-wise charged (read- Bhagalpur, Chhapra and Purnia in Bihar) that Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and England will refuse to play there. Obviously the 2027 World Cup will be won by Sri Lanka and so 20 years from now, we shall see yet another Ayodhya ruling which will claim that the Lankans are descended from Ravana and therefore, do not qualify to play in a tournament meant for manava and not Rakshasas. And then, ladies and gentlemen, We Shall Win The Cup That Counts (West Indies will have become the 42nd Indian state after Telangana, Bodoland, Vidarbha, Gujjarpur, Jat-bhoomi, Great Iyerangar-rrzhu, Greater Iyer-rrihlkjskldfjslkahzrrzhu and a few others). Can you look me in the eye and honestly tell me that anyone will remember then that Vinay Bharadwaj had won Man-of-the-Series in the LG cup played in Kenya?

And finally, there is that matter of the lesser sports. Already, we see unhealthy signs of some shuttler called Saina Nehwal being shown in TV ads instead of God Incarnate- Joginder Singh. We’ve travelled down that road already. She will have a couple of fatwas passed against her by the VHP, marry some Mr. Nehwal, get divorced, have an affair with Ranbir Kapoor and eventually marry Shing-shon-zhu and move to Gongzhou before you could say Arunachal Pradesh. And poor Jogi, whose sublime acting skill we should have rightly witnessed, as he told us to substitute our Ohs with PSPOs, will be denied the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement award that shall be won by Harman Baweja instead. In an attempt to excel in some sport while continuing to turn a blind eye to Kabaddi, we shall organize some more of the Kalamdi’s wealth Games, our kids will have to pepper their vocabulary with words like ‘Scull’ and ‘recurve’ and Ashutosh Gowarikar will have to resort to making a movie on Equestrian Show-jumping. Yes, the same shiver went down my spine as well.

Therefore, if we are to be saved from this dystopian future, India must win the World Cup 2011. Or Megan Fox must agree to marry short bespectacled bloggers who write Saagar with 2 a’s.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The king is dead

There was a pregnant pause before 'Long live the king' could be uttered. So I decided to conduct a hypothetical thought experiment. The last of these was discussed with PTV a couple of days ago. He disapproved quite vehemently. But then, he's going senile. And bald. And he's a Haddu. And he writes poetry. So one should treat his opinions in much the same way as the rest of the world treats Asif Zardari. This particular thought experiment focuses on who one should call the King. Let us put things into perspective. Say, George VI, having finally succumbed to the misery that he felt at not being able to emulate his elder brother in saying 'Screw you guys, I'm-a goin' to the US of A to marry that babe', has just passed away- may his soles rest in one piece. Folks across the universe are deliberating who the next 'king' should be. Assume here that the universe is much like that of the eminently forgettable movie- Delhi 6, i.e. transitions between the worlds of the living and dead are quite possible, even encouraged. And so the contenders begin.

Let's deal with the obvious ones first. Prince Charles is heard remarking to some jolly good fellow how he shall one day be the king. That he shall be to the throne what Tim Henman was to Wimbledon is yet to dawn on him. Jolly good fellow says Top Drawer and lets things be. Out of sympathy, he offers one Diana Spencer as Georgie boy turns in his grave.

Abdullah Bin-Abdul Aziz of the House of Saud, Custodian of the Two Mosques, Husband of the Two Hundred wives and Two million others, great protector of all that is oily, bearded and answers to Osama, kind jewel of the scorched land and part-time hair-stylist, also known as His Potbelliness, proffers his majestic persona. He is ruled against because Google searches for King Abdullah yield 'Did you mean husband of Queen Raina'.

David, Charlamagne, Caesar and Alexander turn up, announcing that their kingship has been on the cards long enough. The time has come for them to turn to the real thing. However, the contemporary world discards the traditionally stronger suits of David and Charlie and tensions break out among Caesar and Alexander regarding which is more desirable- diamonds or clubs?

Bahadur Shah Zafar is also summoned. But then, he writes poetry. Back to Burma. And a letter of invitation to PTV.

Elvis Presley announces that he has left he building to take the throne. A consensus is reached. The crown is called for. Elvis realizes he would have to wear the silly thing on his head. He refuses to compromise his "Abdullah Bin-Abdul Aziz of the House of Saud, Custodian of the Two Mosques, Husband of the Two Hundred wives and Two million others, great protector of all that is oily, bearded and answers to Osama, kind jewel of the scorched land and part-time hair-stylist" styled hair. He abdicates. And Michael Jackson is busy playing with little boys.

A loud commotion is heard. One discerns a thousand splendid surds, all the way from Punjab, Kanneda and Southall combined, dancing to Singh is King. They meet Burger King on the way. Heated exchanges follow. Burger King agrees to include aaloo in his menu. His business multiplies several-fold. The songs turn to burps. They all live happily ever after.

Kenny Dalglish arrives uninvited. So does Eric Cantona, who takes him to the Manchester ship canal, shouts 'This. is. Manchestaa' and kung-fu kicks him into the water. Just as he is about to ascend to the throne, Ken Loach clears his throat and announces that it will not be possible to Look for Eric if he's seated on the throne. So he is made to disappear. To New York Cosmos. No one goes there anyway.

The scenery dissolves. Swiss mountains appear out of thin air. Identically dressed men and women start dancing in cohesion as SRK makes his way. He starts off, My name is K-k-k-k-k... Last I checked, he was marginally ahead of Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar combined on the number of K's used.

Just as we begin to despair and you start scrolling down to see when the post will end, A. Raja emerges and argues that since he can own everything on the planet anyway, it is only logical that he be the king. To cement his point, he presents his surname, which incidentally, is the one thing he didn't have to buy. He then decides to give something of his vast fortune to the rest of the world. So he creates the common wealth and installs Queen Elizabeth as figurehead. Why, you ask? Because he wanted a hefty royalty.

I do have a lot of free time, no?

Feel free to conduct similar thought experiments. And post a bit more.

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