Thodi Si Jo Chori Ki Hai

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So Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif  bowl no-balls on demand and Salman Butt, as the captain, butts them a few buts.  Big deal.  I don’t get what the uproar is all about honestly. If you have a white tiger in your zoo, you don’t expect it to smell of fresh roses– now do you? Then why for crying out loud do you expect players of a country that siphons off  relief money, a country whose  entire team has been shown to be corrupt by Justice Qauyyum, where all the players (save those at the end of their careers and hence worthless) proven to be crooks by their own legal system were let go with minor raps on the knuckles,  to be as honest as Manoj Kumar? Of course they are as bent as the proverbial fiddler’s elbow (or as they say in Pakistan as bent as Shoaib Akthar’s arm at moment of delivery) and we all love them for it. So I say well-done Amir-Asif for reminding us once again as to the gentle delights that Pakistan brings to the world of cricket.

What? You say they have cheated? I don’t think anyone can claim to have been defrauded here unless that person is Zardari (last in the news for not paying the government of Turkey USD 8000 for four female “guides” supplied to him for “educational” purpose). He is the only one who has been hard-done by, having been deprived of his ten-per-cent per-transaction cut. And he has realized that too,  asking  for a detailed probe into the whole incident [Link] showing the same alacrity and seriousness with which he investigated the 26/11 attacks.

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The Road To The World Cup

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And yet another final against Sri Lanka finishes with a 100 ball 67 runs from the world’s most highly paid cricketer, an innings where one would be forgiven for thinking that “captain aap ka pen to out (as per the ad I saw on Ten Sports)” was saving his ink for the really significant cricket ahead—-the T20 Championship League, significant in the monetary sense at least.

While the result of any tri-angular tournament involving Sri Lanka has as much effect on me as the news of an impending Emran Hasmi release (namely that of absolute couldn’t-care-less-ness) [the best moment of this series being the gigantic Happy Birthday Malinga pictures on the scoreboard with him dressed like Jeetendra in white], the cricket was significant in the sense that it should give us cricket fans some pause to think about the state of India’s team as we head into the last preparatory lap before the World Cup 2011.

Watching Dinesh Katrik walk all about trying to find the gap, something he could do very well once upon a time as evidenced by this famous picture [Link], one could see why still much of our World Cup hopes rest on Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, his fitness and his form. Just like every World Cup from the 90s. Assuming Sachin is available and firing, our opening pair is formidable. Accepted. Number three slot is also pretty strong—-I stop short of calling it formidable because Gautam Gambhir has climbed down somewhat from the spectacular heights he had attained in 2008 and 2009, though I am sure his running around with a guy in the recent Karbon advertisement  has nothing to do with the loss of his mo-jo.

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The Ground Zero Mosque

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The whole Ground Zero mosque/Islamic prayer center has been in the eye of heated debate in the US for the past few weeks, threatening to become yet another political fire-storm for a floundering Obama administration.

At the heart of the whole debate, it is a very straightforward issue. The US constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the right of free expression. Provided the proposed mosque meets city zoning laws, there is really nothing one can do to prevent it from being constructed. The US constitution, unlike the Indian one, very rightfully does not consider “not hurting of sentiments” to be a conditionality of constitutional rights, since “protected behavior”, by its very definition, is one that hurts someone or the other which is of course why it needs to be protected through constitutional guarantees in the first place. Given that, the legal rights of those constructing the mosque are absolutely supreme and those who have a problem with it (even though they be the majority) can either try to change the US constitution or suck it. Simple.

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A Sixer

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On August 20 2004, Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind was born. Now many of you readers, the regulars and definitely the drive-bys might consider this silly or borderline kooky that someone would consider the anniversary of a blog worth remembering and devoting a whole post to. But for me  this entity made up of bits, suspended in the conceptual space called the Internet, populated by my thoughts and supported by technology has assumed a life of its own as I fuss over it, worry about how it looks, change its clothes from time to time, clean the dirt that trolls and advertisers leave behind, fret about illnesses brought about by server crashes and spend days, months and years just watching it grow. And so in this vein of anthropomorphizing, blog birthdays become significant events if only because they serve as an excuse to stop awhile, cut a cake and blow a candle. Or six.

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Of Azaadi And Kashmiri And Other False Words

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There has been a slew of pro-Azadi, anti-India articles in the Indian mainstream press recently (two examples: Link, Link) with one of these fine specimens of mediahood proudly recounting how he became a stone-thrower for a day pointing out quite pointedly that the only thing that saved him was the “Hindustan” times card with the emphasis being on the sub-string Hindu. Of course of all these marvelous bits of journalism, with their objectivity and integrity misaals in their own right,  my favorite piece is the one by one M.F. Hussein, extraordinary connoisseur of Bollywood derrieres (do see Gajagamini if you don’t believe me) , who tells us how he left India for its lack of freedom. Yes and presumably found it in Qatar, an Islamic theocracy where freedom of all religions sans Islam is severely restricted and where apostasy (leaving Islam) is a crime.

I like that the most because it reminds me of a World War II joke I read once in Reader’s Digest. An American and Russian were having a conversation. The American says “US is the freest country in the world. I can go to the White House, walk upto the table of the president,  bang my hand there and tell Harry S Trueman exactly what I think about Harry S Trueman.” To which the Russian says “Hah we are as free. I can go to the Kremlin, walk upto the table of the General Secretary of the Party, bang my hand there and tell Stalin exactly what I think about….Harry S Trueman”. Yes Mr. Hussein you are absolutely free in Qatar to paint Hindu Goddesses in the nude but things will be different should you choose to paint a picture of …well you know who I am talking about. This is not to condone the acts of vandalism of your work, which was done by goons with no respect for the pluralistic traditions our country stands for, but to castigate India for being “not free” while being a voluntary citizen of Qatar is the height of hypocrisy.

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Sab Ka Dhan Se Khel—Commonwealth Games

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I just do not understand, like Shekhar Gupta here, why everyone has their IOC thongs in a bunch about the CommonWealth Games. I just do not get it.

The essential mistake that people are making is that they see the CWG in terms of rupees and paise, profit and loss. Which is why they are rolling their eyes at the hundreds of crores (or is it thousands—-I guess in my excitement I forgot) that has been siphoned off by various principals. What these ignoramuses should realize is that hosting the CWG is an expression of national pride. I mean honestly what could be a greater statement of pure  “We have arrived”  Chak-De-Indianess than hosting the Commonwealth Games, an event that dwarfs the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in terms of international significance, second only in prestige to perhaps the SAAF Games, the Afro-Asian Games and the Sanjay Gandhi Khokho Championship. Come on, people, this is the friggin Commonwealth we are taking about, the world’s most premier club of nations defined as a fellowship formed by the colonies of a country which is now a colony of Bangladesh and all you care about is whether proper procedures for tenders were followed and whether crores have vanished.

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India All Time XIs

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With Cricinfo currently starting on its Indian All-Time XI and with the Sri Lanka-India series providing as much excitement so far as an attack of measles, I thought this would be a good time to do my own India’s Best Test XI and Best One-Day XI.

A few assumptions. Only players who appeared for India post-independence were considered. Also the list is hopelessly biased towards players I personally saw, heard and read about.

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