Mutter With Megha

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[GB says: We interrupt our regular programming to bring you an "interview" Megha Murthy and I did in "honor" of my winning Indiblog of the Year at this year's Indibloggies. Debashish who coordinates the award asked for an interview and well...just read on. This post is mirrored at Indibloggies and at Meghalomania]

In light of the Greatbong’s unprecedented landslide victory in the Indibloggies, the powers that be felt that winning an award (well actually, two) wasn’t enough of an ego trip. So they decided that one should do an interview with him as well. Perhaps a more serious, ‘getting to know the man behind the blog, his passions, his drive’ type routine. Of course, if seriousness is what one wants, one shouldn’t ask the resident flake of the blogosphere to do the interview. But now the deed has been done, and it’s time for the public to pay the heavy price for it. So here you are. Styled after her idol K-Jo and his koffee, and channeling the I-will-get-husky-voiced-for-no-reason-at-all Simi aunty, here’s Mutter with Megha. In conversation with Greatbong.

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Post Mortem Part 1: Chappell

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Now that some of the raw emotion unleashed at having had our nose rubbed in the ground by Bangladesh and our asses whooped by Sri Lanka has slowly dissipated, it is time for some analysis.

I have observed a persistent tone in some comments on my previous posts: that being that I am perpetually critical of Greg Chappell because I have an axe to grind with the man for his pro-active (to put it mildly) role in the removal of “Bong icon” Sourav Ganguly. So let me, in clear words, with no trace of sarcasm that may be misunderstood, try to explain why I think Chappell has been an unmitigated disaster for this Indian team.

As we all know, Chappell has always been a proponent of “current performance” and not past records. Great. Now let us apply his own criterion on him.

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It's Over

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The collective wet-dream of the blue billion (that of winning the World Cup) fuelled by carbonated empty calories, Mandira Bedi’s cleavage and the “breaking news” hype-driven media ended pre-maturely today as wet dreams usually do: with frustration, an absence of a satisfying climax and a lingering feeling of overwhelming futility.

When the final Indian wicket fell, and like many others whose rational mind tells them not to believe in the Men in the Blue and yet whose heart hopes, against all hope, that the moments of drama we see acted out in cellphone commercials realize themselves for once in real life, I was engulfed with grief. But the grief, as intense as it was, soon gave way to tear-drenched clarity.

Sad to say, it’s not a bad thing that we got eliminated in the first round itself. We are just not good enough to play in the Super 8. If we had somehow gone through, we would just have had to endure more moments of heartbreak and aggravated more ulcers because our body parts would have been handed to us on a platter by the Australias and the South Africas and the New Zealands.

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Pulling Down the Bermudas

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As 270 pounds of quivering man meat flung itself through the space-time continuum, defying Newton’s assertion that gravitational force is proportional to mass, in the process giving us glimpses into the crazy world of sub-atomic particles, and plucked a catch out of thin air while the first time wicket-taker Malachi Jones weeped copiously out of disbelief or what Govinda would say “abhe yeh to zyada emotional ho gya” , the only thought that passed through my head was that God was punishing India for its sins—like exposing the world to Rakhi Sawant’s bouncers, selecting Agarkar for no rhyme or reason and for letting Rahul Gandhi get anywhere near a microphone.

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Three Farewells

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If there was any proof needed of how high the stakes have become in the world of cricket and what unbearable levels of stress players and officials are subject to during the course of high-profile tournaments like the World Cup, Bob Woolmer’s death, most likely due to the emotional stress of Pakistan being knocked out of the Cup in the first round, is it.

Revolutionizing the role of the cricket coach from the glorified drill-instructor of the pre-Woolmerian days to the “laptop” supremo performing computerized data-analysis to mine weaknesses and strengths of team players as well as those of opponents, Bob Woolmer will always occupy a special place in the history of the modern cricket game. And ironically it is that modern cricket game, bankrolled by obscene corporate sponsorships, driven by media hype and fuelled by pulp patriotism, that by putting immense pressure on its stars to perform has brought them to their physical and emotional precipices, from where one push can send them over the edge — a disquieting fact now brought into cruel focus by the death of Bob Woolmer.

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They Blue It

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As a customer who paid $200 to buy the World Cup package (which now looks like it has bought me only 3 India games), I would like to ask Rahul Dravid one question.

No it is not about his own batting failure in a big match or the catch that he dropped of Tamim Iqbal. I have nothing to say there.

My question is after winning the toss, why oh why did you decide to bat first on a pitch with a greenish tinge which, it stood to reason, would be the worst to bat on in the morning when it would be at its freshest? Was it because you wanted to give the batsmen some practice, the practice that they missed in the match against West Indies, since winning the match against Bangladesh was almost guaranteed either way?

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Under Siege

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Who would have ever thought we would live to see the day the CPM government would be under fire, not just from the spontaneous bedlam generator otherwise known as Mamata Banerjee but from its long-trivialized Left front partners and the ever-sympathetic jhola liberals, when its activitists would be running scared from villages (the same villages where once their writ ran supreme) and when sharecroppers, small land-owners and minorities, the pillars of their 30 year old rule, would emerge as their most trenchant opponents.

Who would have ever thought this day would come.

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World Cup Snippets 3

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The question that every cricket lover, who has ever sat on after a cricket match just to hear Inzamam speak, has been asking is: ” What is the real reason why Inzamam and the Pakistan team have been banned from speaking in English?”

Is it because Pakistan has been threatened with a “terrorist state” label if their players do not stop the abuse of the Queen’s tongue?

Well the answer is finally here. [Link]

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The Trouble With Businessweek

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Businessweek, in its cover issue, “The Trouble with India” (cover picture of the stereotypical Indian elephant to the left ) paints, in my opinion, a predominantly bleak picture of the country’s infrastructure and dabs it up with terror tales of companies knee-deep in the Indian quagmire.

Infrastructure is one of India’s biggest problems and in that respect the cover piece is “on the ball”. No problems there. However in its haste to spell out all that is wrong with India as an investment center, the author resorts to what should now be known as Western “Sominism” (after New York Times’ Somini Sengupta).

At one place, the article says:

In December, a bridge in eastern India collapsed, killing 34 passengers in a train rumbling underneath.

Right. However this omits a very important fact, a fact present in the BBC report of the same accident.

The bridge, built 150 years ago, was being dismantled when it crashed onto a carriage at Bhagalpur station in the eastern state of Bihar.

In other words, the accident was caused by criminal negligence of the demolishing crew and not because of poor infrastructure (the fact that an old bridge was being demolished shows that there is at least someone doing something about the problem).

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World Cup Snippets 2

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The first controversy of World Cup 2007. And it concerns a particularly insidious “gas leak” in the Hilton Hotel that Pakistan was staying in that led to the evacuation of the Men in Green.[Link]

Mohammad Sami, the Pakistan fast bowler, told how he ran down a corridor to escape from the building after saying he saw smoke in the hallway. At first it was thought there was a fire scare, but later reports suggested the problem was gas.”

Gas. Now normally all cases of gas-related incidents are blamed on Abdul Razzaq who is addicted to spinach. But since he is not there, the investigative agencies are at a loss as to the source of this accident that led to a woman, with her face covered with an oxygen mask, being carried out of the main hotel building on a stretcher and into an ambulance.[Link]

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