Fathers And Sons


Son: Dad, I need some money.

Dad (not looking up from the newspaper): Why?

Son: You know I did not get through to a merit seat in engineering or medical. I need the money for capitation fees. You know none of this would not have happened if you had only managed to get a fake SC/ST certificate right? Or if our grandads had been like oppressed, depressed and suppressed like centuries ago?

Continue Reading »


Murali and Bedi


Bedi has been the quintessential angry old man on the park bench of Indian cricket, picking fights with anyone who walks down the gravel path when he is in a foul mood, which is almost always. In the process, he has become somewhat of a spectacle, the kind that makes sensible people take the long route around when they see him ensconced on his bench, shaking his walking stick at the sky. Whether all this bile comes from frustration at how his next generations have minted money while he has not or whether he just enjoys letting fly against all and sundry is a matter of conjecture. What however is beyond doubt is that no one takes him seriously.

Continue Reading »

Back From Meeting A Legend


While I was off the grid for the last few days  in New York City, much seemed to have happened. Harbhajan Singh ultimately got a wicket, Mohammed Azharuddin flashed once again outside the off-stump with his stick and knocked the feathers of a shuttle-cock [Link] (obligatory Gunda reference:  Azhar hain jurm se nafrat karney wala, garibon (match-fixers) ke liye jyoti, aur gundon ke liye jwala) , the Indian woman’s hockey coach was accused of doing too much of “Chak De” [Link], Arundhati Roy advanced yet another step towards her Nobel Peace Prize [Link] making it to the list of Forbes (evil capitalist alert) world’s most inspiring women  and  Wikileaks confirmed that the ship of government is the only ship that leaks from the top [Link].

As to the so-called classified information leak, while it may be big news in the US with Pakistan’s duplicity in the AfPak region being exposed for me it was more like “Tell me something I don’t know.” The day Wikileaks has the full Amar Singh transcripts [link] or the gory inconvenient truths behind all Al Gore globally warming shenanigans [link] or details of Zardari’s five female Turkish “guides” whose services were not compensated for by the Pakistanis [links], I would be mildly interested.  But not now. For the present, what was infinitely more intriguing was attending an underground party in the Bronx, thrown in a warehouse, with a “macabro” theme, wherein along with retro erotica from the 1920s being projected on the walls, there were decks of old Tvs showing, in addition to ancient Japanese horror and psychedelic patches of color——hold your breath——Mithun-da’s “Disco Dancer” and Shahrukh Khan’s “Duplicate”.

Continue Reading »

Why I Oppose The Ban On The Veil


During my graduate days at Stonybrook, once it happened that I opened the door to find a kindly- looking elderly gentleman in a nice suit standing outside. Since no one came to sell anything to poor desi graduate students, I was a bit surprised. Soon however his intent became clear—–somehow he had come to know that there was a bunch of heathens living in this corner of Long Island and he had taken upon himself to show us the way of Christ.I respectfully told him that I was not interested in what he was selling and was about to close the door when, with the smile stuck on his face like a Halloween mask, he said in a voice whose edge was unmistakable —-“Son, you don’t know it but you are going  straight to Hell”.  Fortunate enough to have had a comeback materialize instantly on the tip of my tongue, I barked  “Good then I will see you there”, banged the door on his face and called the cops (since soliciting was prohibited on campus).

Continue Reading »

Football Fever?


Maybe it’s true what they say about getting old—-you lose your short-term memory but retain your long, remembering things that happened years ago while forgetting where you kept your dentures six seconds back. Otherwise who can explain why the moment the word “World Cup” is mentioned, my mind fills up with images of the past.

Maradona, in his prime, cutting through the Belgian defense like knife through butter and then upping that against the English with another thrilling dash. Maradona at his uninspired best, totally dominated by the Brazilian markers throughout the match, suddenly unleashing a bit of twinkle-toed magic to send the long-haired comet Claudio Caniggia in the clear and Brazil out of the Cup.  Zico, one of the greatest players of his era, missing a penalty and then his opponent Michel Platini, in the heat of the contest, consoling him in what would go onto become one of the all-time classics. Baggio’s missed penalty. Saeed Al-Owairan’s unbelievable run to goal. Roger Milla taking the ball from under the feet of that super clown Higuita. Valderama, Rincon and Asprilla making the defense dance with their triangle-passing game. Hassan Sas turning the Brazilians round and round with some amazing dribbling skills.

Continue Reading »

The Dawat


[Opening bars of the Bhojpuri song: “Set kara di life he Baba Dhoni sangh hamaar ho” sung by a chorus of girls and Ravindra Jadeja]

Anchor: Welcome back to GBTV’s continual coverage of the Dhoni-Rawat marriage or as we call it The Dawat, perhaps the most significant media event after the Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai marriage, which again was the most significant media event after the Lord Rama-Sita wedding. In light of the gravity of the occasion, we have in our studios,  cricket expert and part-time ramp model Rameez Sivaramakrishnan Lal, who has been our chief correspondent for all Dhoni-related news.

RSL: Thanks for having me here.

Continue Reading »

My Own Private Bigotry


There was a time, in the pre-Internet days of the early 90s and late 80s, when I would sit at the library of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (my father was a professor there) and read, with a schoolboy’s sense of wonderment, issues of “Time” and “Newsweek”, marveling at everything from the quality of pictures to that of the reporting and of course the writing. The operative phrase here is  There was a time because these magazines have changed markedly since then, teetering close to financial ruin [Newsweek magazine is on sale after multi-year massive losses and Time magazine by the end of 2009 had lost 35% of its readership from the previous year while Newsweek lost 41% (link)]. And nothing perhaps symbolizes the rot more than Time USA’s bigoted attempt at humor, Joel Stein’s [picture to left] “My Own Private India“, a piece that twenty years ago would surely not have made the final published cut.

Continue Reading »