The ICC Hall of Infamy

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You gotta love the burra-sahibs at the ICC. Recently, following an article in the TOI I had a chance to look at their  Hall of Fame (evidently only people who retired before 1995 being eligible for consideration) and their Hall contains twenty-two Englishmen, eleven Australian and fourteen West Indians  and yes only three each of Indian and Pakistani players.

Not that ICC’s Hall of Fame matters a rat’s ass but it’s funny to see the “revenge” of the bura-sahibs who seek to bury their own obsolescence and the loss of colonial power (ever since the English and the Australians lost their veto power in the ICC) with a Hall of Fame that is so “oh those were the good days” nostalgic and so laughably biased that it isn’t funny.

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The Greatest. Period.

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It was in 1984. I was sitting in front of the TV when the pre-Grammy awards program came on. In pre-MTV days, state-controlled Doordarshan had almost no Western pop/rock programming except some horrible Europop that acted as fillers.

So I had absolutely no idea as to what I was going to see. I did not even know what the Grammies were. Good Bengali boys were supposed to listen to Rabindrasangeet and not even think about the devil’s music.

And then I saw him.

I did not know his name. I neither understood the lyrics. Even if I did, I doubt whether as a seven year old I would have understood a song about an illegitimate child.

But I was blown away. By the man in the video. The tip-toe stand, the twirl, the way he moved his jacket. The walk. The beat. And the pavement glowing as he put his foot on it.

Who was this mystery man?

My maternal uncle (mama) had just come back from the US. He had a wondrous cassette  player and a few cassettes. One of them was “Thriller”. It was then, over endless loops of that album, that I fell in love with what we then called “Western fast” music (as opposed to the slow Beethoven).

And I also fell in love with the man whose album it was. A man whose name I, and my generation,will never forget.

Michael Jackson.

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Pak A Punch Once Again

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Whether it be in claiming in their history books that they whipped the asses of India in all the wars that they fought against us ( including 1971 and Kargil) or whether it be in not giving up a match even when logic dictates otherwise, there is one thing that has characterized Pakistan—-their stubborn refusal to accept defeat.

If their pale surrender in the 2007 ODI World Cup and their final choking act in the 2007 T20 World Cup in front of the perennial losers India had tarnished this reputation, the 2009 T20 World Cup victory has asserted it once again.

With this victory, I hope, that the old Pakistan is back once again—-temperamental, nasty, supremely talented, the guys I grew up hating, loving and feeling jealous of.

Because with the colorless Kiwis and South Africans around and Australia looking a pale shadow of its old self, the cricket world needs some drama, some brilliance. The kind that only the men in green can provide.

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My Name Is Red

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 [ Caption: "Ami Miss Calcutta 1976" Ms. Sen---she is talking to a Maoist. With a red band on her head. Yes Ms. Sen, we may not know your "statistics" (Context: this Bangla song---ekhono to keu jaane na amar statistics) but we sure know how "independent" you are.]

Over the past three decades, the Left Front’s Red fortress in Bengal had acquired its aura of impregnability based on the Party’s  absolute stranglehold over rural Bengal.  While anti-incumbency, outrage at lack of development, atrocities like Bantala and Birati  might have lead to the loss of a few seats in Kolkata and some impassioned editorials in Anandabazar from time to time, it remained so insignificant in the electoral scheme of things, that the Politburo Pilots merely shrugged them off as not something worth getting their tea cold over. This confidence stemmed from the strategic infiltration of the party into all the institutions of rural life —panchayats, police, business and district administration– all of whom could be expected to work synergistically to keep the rural populace “in line”.

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Tik 20

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In 2007, I had hesitatingly “predicted” (perhaps too strong a word) India’s victory in the T20 World Cup. This was because I saw in them a shadow of our 1983 World Cup team—- underdogs, with little in the way of reputation and unsullied by  expectation.

This time however I saw in them the team of 1987  i.e. mega-hyped pre-tournament favorites who dominate the tournament and then in a few moments of madness (not keeping men for Gooch’s sweep, Kapil Dev’s crazy slog-sweep) throw it all away.

I was wrong. The Indian team of 2009 World Cup, unlike their grand-daddys in 87, never really looked, at any point of time, capable of going the distance. In all the matches save against Ireland they rarely dominated with their tournament hopes being obliterated by losing to two of the weakest teams in the league of the Big Boys—the English and the West Indies. When they played for pride, they did even worse going down in a spineless, spiritless surrender to South Africa.

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Baraah Na De

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[Photo courtesy Anirudh Bhatt]

Dhoni ki “baraah”  inch dilayega Vishwacup. I have my doubts. Not so much about the Viswacup but about the “baraah” inch part. Though why he went from 1.5 feet to “baraah” inch I am struggling to understand. Maybe Sehwag’s mysterious “coming back home”  may have something to do with the reduction.

To paraphrase John Donne “Any man’s muscle tear diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind.”

Ladies Seat

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“We are ready,” the Samajwadi Party chief said, urging his counterparts in the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United) to block the bill if the government tried to push it down the House’s throat.“Laluji (Lalu Prasad) be ready. Sharadji (Sharad Yadav), you also be ready,” Mulayam said.

[Link]

Hai Taiyyar Hum.

Yes sir.  Nothing gets the caste kings of India, cutting across party lines, as “ready” as reservations. Only this time they are opposing it, tooth and nail, since it is not directly for themselves.

Afraid that if the Womans Bill goes through,  many of them will be found occupying a “ladies seat” and thus be forced to vacate it, our favorite politicians are on the warpath.

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From Chandni Chowk to China to Nigeria

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Are fake drugs manufactured in China being pushed into various African countries with the `Made in India’ tag? The Indian government has long suspected this to be the case, but it now has definite evidence for the first time.Last week, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria issued a press release stating that a large consignment of fake anti-malarial generic pharmaceuticals labelled `Made in India’ were, in fact, found to have been produced in China.New Delhi has registered “strong protest” with the Chinese mission and China’s foreign trade ministry, according to sources in the commerce ministry.While this is a case of a Chinese company exporting fake `Made in India’ labelled medicines which has been accidentally exposed, it is unlikely to be an isolated incident. Indeed there is no reason for Nigeria to be the only country to be receiving such consignments.”His letter went on to say: “Fake foreign-made generics carrying `Made in India’ label can do tremendous harm to our interests. It not only dents our image and takes our legitimate market share, it also erodes the distinction between generic and fake medicines that we have been campaigning for at WHO and WTO”.

[Link]

And if there was any further proof needed of China’s malignant intents with respect to diminishing the image of India, here is a Chinese guy singing “Tujh Main Rab Dikta Hain” [Video] in a Chinese idol knockoff. [Link courtesy Suhel] in a not-so-pleasing voice.

With  China’s tendency to make people lip-sync songs (as evidenced during the Olympics) and in general of “mislabeling” things,  I would not be surprised if the voice behind the lips is that of a true-blue Indian, in on a plot to make Hindi music sound rather bad.

Did I say true-blue Indian? Make it a true-red Indian. Like the Great Carrot or the Marvelous Khichudi.

Pariyon Aur Haiwanon

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After the rip-roaring success of “Da Vinci Da Gupt Katha” comes the sequel “Pariyon Aur Haiwanon” (English: Angels and Demons), another nail-biting conspiracy thriller from the team of Dhan Brown, Ron Coward and Panty Shah.

In the world’s premier nuclear physics research facility CERN (Chattisgarh Entropy Research Nigam), Dr. Ganga (played by Mandira Bedi) , expert on super-string theory (she calls them noodle straps), has been able to isolate what high energy physicists call the Mamata particle, a sub-atomic “Nano” particle produced by colliding Jyoti Bosons.

The power of the M-particle is so enormous that if it comes in contact with matter, it will create a catastrophic explosion. So catastrophic in fact that there will never be any industry or prosperity within 250 miles of that cataclysm. Ever. Which is why Dr. Ganga keeps the M-particle in an egg-shaped vacuum chamber (called the Charu Sharma container) under high security.

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