Vantage point

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Honest Shoaib

If this is not hilarious, what is? Shoaib Malik throws a match, and then admits it later, explaining the reasons. The first step of the PCB's punishment for him, is to award the match to his team! of course, probe, fine, suspension etc may follow. but I find it hilarious that the first step taken was awarding the match to his team. Imagine a conversation between Shahryar Khan and his secretary.

Scy: Sir, sir, Shoaib Malik threw a match.
Shahryar Khan(SK): Oh no, not him too....... but wait! there are no international matches happening.
Scy: He threw a match in the domestic twenty20 league, and just admitted to it.
SK: You can't help but admire the efficiency of these ISI folks, eh? Extracting a confession so fast!
Scy: No, no, no. There was no ISI hand in this. He admitted it on his own.
SK: He did, did he? The cheek of this guy! Admitting to wrongdoings without any work from the ISI. We'll punish him. And you know?
Scy: How?
SK: (rubbing his hands in glee) By awarding his team the very match they worked so hard to lose. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Walks like Taliban, Quacks like Taliban.....

By now everyone must have read about Shivsena's views on the Marine Drive rape incident. Amit Varma, appropriately, called them Mumbai's Taliban. However, some of his readers have protested this denigration of the Sena by comparing it with the Taliban.

I remember a couple of years back, on the show 'Question Time India', a member of the audience had gotten all worked up because someone compared VHP to Taliban. A few of my friends, who agree with a lot of Sena's policies, have also expressed dissatisfaction when I have made similar comparisons.

To all these people, I just say, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it must be very duck-like, if not a duck itself.

Sena's views are almost identical to Muslim Fundamentalists. The MMA in Pakistan, ideologically close to the Taliban, has imposed a ban on celebrating Valentine's day, much like the Sena. If you have read the rationale given by many Muslim Fundamentalists behind imposition of a burqa or hijaab in some societies, it is remarkably similar to what the Sena is saying. i.e it is a woman's responsibility to ensure that a man is not 'aroused' enough to molest her.

I had just written an entire paragraph about how there is no connection between occurence of rape, and how a woman is dressed, quoting some stats from "covered" societies, but I deleted it. Because the point is even if a woman wearing skimpy clothes is the one and only provocation for rape, even then the fault lies entirely with the rapist for forcing intercourse on someone.

Yes, as Amit found out, our society is still very prudish. We still play "judge" and want to dictate how others live, under the garb of "Indian culture". In our society, blaring songs, maha-aartis and muezzin calls on the loudspeakers do not "offend" or "inconvenience" the public. However a couple displaying the slightest bit of affection towards each other is termed as "offensive" and "indecent". As I have said earlier, these prudish ideas are the real "foreign influence" because it is borne out of centuries of Islamic, followed by British rule. ironically, the parties standing for "swadeshi" are the ones who cling on to it the hardest.

Even our laws, as Satyen pointed out to me, are archaic and Victorian. Section 110 of the Mumbai Police Act says 'any 'indecent' behaviour in public places, including kissing, putting arms around the neck or reclining on your companion's lap, is punishable.' The fine for being let off on bail is Rs 1,250.

So tomorrow, if you and your loved one, sit on the wall, with arms around each other's neck at Marine Drive, Constable More, or his friends, can legally arrest you. of course, they will let you off if you pay them a hundred bucks on the sly.

Such laws exist because we are living with, and are perpetuating a bizarre set of moral values. We need freedom from our own warped ideas of what is right and what is not. Until we get that freedom, we will keep living in such Kafka-esque states.

Ending on a positive note though, more and more people are shedding these shackles of intrusive morality. I for one truly believe that our society is opening up, and the support for ideas like the Sena's is declining. We are moving towards a freer society, and not going backwards like Iran, Iraq and Pakistan.

It would be nice if we moved faster, though.

The Next Coach

One of India's most loved-foreigners, John Wright has completed a stint as the cricket team's coach, and has left with his held high, having been with the team during more ups than downs.

As Wright rides away into the sunset, newspapers are rife with speculation about who will succeed him. Names like Dav Whatmore, Greg Chappell, Dean Jones etc are being thrown around. The BCCI will make its decision soon enough. However one wonders what parameters are being used to choose the coach.

A coach is one whose job is three fold. One part of his job is to devise the strategies for entire seasons, breaking them down into tours, and matches. Strategy, in this context means selection decision, batting lineups, and deciding on a general plan to attack the opposition. He also has to devise tactics, which can be match-to-match, session-to-session, and literally over to over. This would include bowling changes, field changes, shuffling the batting order, speeding up or slowing down the pace of the game, etc. In both these aspects, a coach works closely with the captain and the senior members of the team. The captain then implements these strategies and tactics on the field.

The third aspects of the role is more "technical" in the cricketing sense. A coach has to help the members of the time iron out the wrinkles in their game, like correcting someone's stance, bowling actions, grip, etc. He is also expected to keep their technique wrinkle-free by overseeing the net-sessions.

What made John Wright so good was that he excelled in all three aspects of the job. The Wright-Ganguly combination seemed to have their strategies and tactics in place most of the times, and he was also helpful to the cricketers.

I think a major factor behind Wright's success was his experience. He had worked as a coach at first class level before, coaching Kent, and his experience prepared him for the role of coach. He already had the coaching "software" ready in his mind, and all that he needed to do was change the inputs from Kent-County-cricket to India-Test-cricket.

It helped him get into the groove very early. And it is this experience that has made not just John Wright, but others like John Buchanan and Bob Woolmer so successful. It is quite natural, actually. If we expect our cricketers to first cut their teeth in first class cricket and then coach the national team, it is natural to expect the same from coaches.

Which is why I hope that the BCCI looks at experience as an important factor. Greg Chappell has decent experience coaching first class teams. If he is chosen, it will be interesting to see how an Aussie will work at masterminding the overthrow of the Australians from the top.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Indian politics has really gone to the dogs. On one side you have Leftists. On the other, you have Riotists.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mal-Lie-Ka Sherawat

When I read this story - The Making of a Starling - almost a year back, I was relieved. At last, the press would get over Mallika Sherawat's so called "fight against orthodoxy". All her tedious lies about being repressed by a close-minded father, being from a small town in Haryana, studying in a Hindi medium school, fighting with her father to come to Bombay, and barely making ends meet, etc, would be exposed I finally thought.

But this Sunday, I was shocked to see her spouting all the same lies in the Sunday Times of India!


The reason is simple. If you are a Delhi girl from a rich family, educated in the reputed DPS Mathura Rd, who got into a disastrous marriage after being smitten early, got divorced shortly afterwards, and got your doting Poppa to bankroll your attempts at becoming a film actress, you are really no different from the riffraff that is so common in Andheri-West.

But if you falsely project yourself as this girl from small town Haryana, brought up in an orthodox house, who fought with her father, and struggled hard to make ends meet in bombay....someone who worked hard to get rid of a 'Haryanvi' accent, and someone who showed the courage (hahh!!) to rebel, and all, suddenly you become a heroine in the true sense. The public roots for you, even if you have zilch talent.

I wonder if Reema Lamba, a.k.a Mallika, has been taking advice from Billy Flynn from Chicago.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Dance Bar Ban

Let us tackle this point in 2 aspects -

1. Is going to dance bars wrong?
2. Do dance bars make people criminals?

I don't think going to dance bars is wrong. I myself have never been to one, i don't smoke and I hardly drink. But those who do, make a personal choice about how to spend their own time and money. So who am I to stop them from doing so? What exactly is an "evil public act"? Who defines it? Is drinking a crime according to our constitution? No. Is dancing a crime according to our constitution? No. Then why is it a crime to have a place where people do these two legal things? Because you or me, or someone else views it as evil and dirty? If we do, then we shouldn't do those things. but what right do we have to stop others in a free country? How are we then diffeerent from the Taliban or the Saudi government which believes women driving cars is an evil act, or women wearing jeans and leaving their head uncovered is an evil act? What all are you going to ban? This is India, a free country. Let people do what they want.

A lot of our stone sculptures like those at Ajanta, Ellora, Karla, Konark etc show men and women intoxicated and having sex. Should we destroy these sculptures because they show "evil acts" the way Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas?

Now on to the second point. Do dance bars lead to the growth of crime?

I don't get how. You think that if you close down dance bars, criminals will stop employing jobless villagers? That is precisely what I am poking fun at. Criminals can meet anywhere, and recruit young men anywhere. How is the place relevant? the reason for the young men taking to crime is not because they are asked to do so in a dance bar. it is because they are jobless, and they need money to eat food, and wear clothes. The reason behind crime is unemployment and a corrupt legal system.

However politicians like Patil succeed in not tackling the real issues like corruption, crime rate, unemployment, because they know they can raise non-issues like dance bars or james laine, or valentine's day, and get the common people emotionally involved. So the next time R.R.Patil goes to a village, the villagers wont ask him why there is no electricity in their village, why the policemen are corrupt, why there is no water. No, instead people will hail him for closing down dance bars and going after James Laine.

Meanwhile, thousands of bar girls are rendered jobless inspite of doing nothing wrong. Actresses do the same thing on camera and earn millions. I am sure you too have some favourite actress you admire. Bar girls were doing the same in a restaurant and earning just 1/1000th the money to make a living. But R.R.Patil won't even let that happen.

Comments Corner

I have decided to make a post every weekend about the interesting mails I received from readers.

Swapneel Shah, responding to the Rameez Raja SomeAchaar, writes "I think that you guys are mistaken. Since the aforementioned 'mis'takes were by WAQAR Younis and not Rameez RAJA.

I think Waqar is the worst ever commentator to lay his ass in the box. He even mis-pronounced names of people from his own country wrongly - Row Iftikhar, etc.

He doesn't even flinch an inch after making his mistakes. It is as though he does not even think about what he has just spoken, Kamran Akmal was recovered and not discovered in this series.

He is praising Shoaib Akhtar (surprisingly after his much publicized altercations) and then say there is no way, having him in the team can benefit the Pak team and I hear him call Salman Butt Salman Khan on numerous occassions during the Channel Nine commentary during the Pak-Aus tour. It was an insult to Richie Benuad to even ask him to sit next to this son of a *itch."

Sandeep Kumar disputed my judgement on Greig being the worst commentator and votes from Voicebot Shastri instead. I disagree. Greig has all of Shastri's flaws, and a few dozen of his own.

Keerthivasan Rajamani defends the Delhi crowd disrupting the Kotla one-dayer "I really dont see something wrong, in the crowd throwing bottles and other stuffs on Pakistani fielders. I mean i do not support the act, but the act is understandable.

Nobody sees India Pakistan match as just a cricket match, but as a war of nations. Otherwise, why is it given so much of importance. People are naturally frustrated. Their reaction is what we have been seeing throughout. Banglore audience not behaving like that is debatable. Do not expect maturity out of public, and if they are really mature, then nobody will come down to watch the match at all. They would sit on Television and watch the match, and the entire game will die."

I agree about one point, and that is the Bangalore crowd. I remember many years back, the Bangalore crowd disrupting a match. I think it was an Azhar dismissal to a bad decision that set it off.

Satyen Kale responding to the R. R. patil SomeAchaar writes "also check out R. R. Patil's profile on

An excerpt: "Shri R.R. Patil Ex. President Nationalist Congress Party Maharashtra Pradesh and Dy. Chief Minister Goverment of Maharashtra
Born on 16th August 1958 at Anjani Taluka Tasgoan Zillah Sangli
He educated B.A ( Hons) LLB ( Special)
He Knows English. Hindi, Marathi
He married to wife Suman and he has two children"

also check out the article "R. R. Patil gives up tobacco". Hilarious!"

Ujjwal Deole jumps to Patil's defence "First of all I think you have misquoted RR Patil. He said that criminals go to such dance bars and villagers who have no jobs spend money unnecessarily in these bars. He meant that, these villagers thus develop a contact with these criminals and thus dance bars have become a place of encouraging or pushing people into crime. And with this reasoning I totally support his call of closing down all the dance

Secondly, even if he didnt mean the above logic, there is a lot of
difference between a dance bar and airport, buses etc. Firstly,
travelling by bus, planes, restaurants is not an evil public act.
However, visiting dance bars and indulging in dirty acts and
intoxicating is an evil public act. Hence the cases are different.

Dharmendra D, on the same topic, writes "you must read "fahrenheit 451" by ray bradbury for a good account of what restricting things can do :)"

The email I wrote in response to Ujjwal is being put up as a separate post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

SomeAchaar - Maharashtra Govt to Ban Airports, Trains, Buses, Restaurants

Mumbai - The Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil today announced the shutdown of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the Domestic Airport, Mumbai Port, Mumbai Suburban Railway, BEST bus services, and all restaurants in the city. The decision was taken after it was brought to Patil's notice that criminals frequent planes, trains, buses and restaurants.

This decision was taken after the stupendous success in reducing crime because of closure of dance bars. Justifying his decision to close dance bars, Patil had said "Criminals frequent these dance bars. Hence it is our duty to close them down." Sure enough, over 200 criminals who used to frequent these dance bars first went into depression, and then either surrendered to the police or moved to other cities, leading to a drsatic drop in the crime in Mumbai. A few criminals even vapourised into air on hearing of the closure of dance bars.

Enthusiastic NCP activists then set about to find other places that criminals frequent, and their findings were eye-opening. It was found that 100% of criminals who travel abroad to places like Dubai, Karachi and Malaysia, frequent the airport. It was also learnt that a high percentage of criminals use buses and local trains for commuting, and many of them had food in restaurants.

R.R. Patil, who is committed to reduction of crime in Maharashtra immediately announced ban on air travel, train travel, bus travel, and eating out in restaurants.

Sources inform us that a ban on the activity of "running" is also being contemplated, since criminals are known to run when police try to arrest them. Patil, it is learnt, is confident that a ban on running will help police catch criminals who get away.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Delho Bor Ast, Again!

What was worse than the defeat at the hands of Pakistan was the disgraceful behaviour of the crowd which started throwing bottles at the Pakitani fielders after it became clear that India would not win the match. The boorish behaviour of the Delhi crowd is absolutely inexcusable.

What makes it even more shameful is that exactly a year ago, in Lahore, a city considered as the Pakistani clone of Delhi, the crowd was so graceful in defeat. At that time too, a home team had played bizarre cricket to lose after being 2-1 up in the series. At that time too, the visiting team was an arch rival. But the crowd at Lahore took defeat in a stride. Even in Rawalpindi, on the last day of the third test, a decentish crowd had turned up even though a Pakistan defeat was sure. They clucked their tongues when wickets fell, cheered in confusion as the supposedly injured Shoaib played a six-filled-cameo, but in the end, they applauded the Indian victory.

Even in Bangalore, where the Indian team surrendered the test, the crowds were appreciative of the Pakistani performance, took defeat with a shrug, and cheered wwwhen Inzamam and Ganguly shared the trophy.

As Jug Suraiya and I have said in the past, Delhi Boor Ast.

Friday, April 15, 2005


A plea to all newspapers. Please, pretty please, pretty please with 12.5% extra on it, stop with the VAT puns!!

Far Pavilions

Welcome to the Blogroll, another guy who is passionate about cricket -

Kumara Raghavan at Far Pavilions.

Kumara works for IBM in Australia, and was formerly a part of the IBM xSeries India that I now work for.

Someachaar - Rameez Raja Banned for Six Tests

Kanpur - The ICC has banned Rameez Raja from doing commentary for 6 matches, after he was found guilty of repeated mispronunciation of cricketer's names. The ban came after he was officially reprimanded at the end of the Ahmedabad one-dayer for the same offence, and was warned that a repeat will get him a stern punishment.

ICC Match referee Chris Broad, while watching the highlights of the match, noticed that Raja was pronouncing the name of Virender Sehwag as "Varindar" Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh as "Yovraj Singh", and Rahul Dravid as "Raool Draavid". Broad found this in violation of the ICC Code of Conduct for commentators Rule 420 and summoned Raja for a hearing. He was let off with a reprimand.

However, during the Kanpur one-dayer, Broad noticed Raja repeating his errors. Under the ICC rules, Broad had no option but to ban Raja from commentary for six matches.

Rameez Raja is planning to protest this decision by taking a hair-cut.

Of course, this post is fictional. Rameez Raja is the second-worst commentator in the world. Of course, Tony Greig reigns at the top unchallenged.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The End of an Era?

I have just learnt that Saurav Ganguly has been suspended for six matches by the ICC for repeated slow over rate.

Could this be the end of an era? Has Chris Broad in fact ended Saurav Ganguly's international career?

Consider this. The public outrage over Ganguly's form is currently the worst since he became captain. The next test match India play is almost six months later, so the only action happening until then is ODI. Even in ODI action, the India-Sri Lanka series which was planned for later this month has presumably been cancelled. So the next bit of cricket is in August, in Sri Lanka, where we play the hosts and West Indies in a triangular.

So Ganguly will not be in the team for the remaining two deciding one-dayers of this Pakistan series, and the first four crucial one-dayers of the tri-series in Sri Lanka.

Suppose India win the two remaining matches in the series, everyone will hail Dravid's captaincy. If we do well in the tri-series, the praise will go sky-high. Ganguly's utility as a captain will be questioned. People, and selectors, might ask "We are winning without Ganguly, we have a good captain in Dravid, why do we need him?". And they may dump him.

Suppose India lose the remaining matches, or even lose one of them, squaring the series. Then we go on to play badly in Sri Lanka. There will be a clamour for sweeping changes, and heads will roll.Since the rot will be perceived as having started in ganguly's reign, compounded by his bad form, his will be the first head to roll, maybe even before his 6-match ban is fully implemented.

So either way, Ganguly is, if you pardon my french, screwed!

Which is quite unfortunate really. I have always been a fan and supporter of Ganguly. I have always said that the media, and the cricket-loving public have been too harsh on Ganguly through the years, and the man deserves better.

So it is sad to see that Ganguly himself seems to have fallen into the vortex of self-doubt. There seems to be no fight left in him. There have been occasions earlier when people have asked for his head. But every time, either he, or his team have silenced the critics, most memorably in the 2003-04 season, when buoyed by his sparring century in Brisbane, India came back from Australia riding a wave of triumph.

This time though, lady luck and self belief have both deserted him. Now the opposition doesn't even have to target his weak points. He seems to be vulnerable in areas where he was a master. At one point of time, his dominance of spinners was second only to Brian Lara, and if Saurav Ganguly came down the track, 99 times out of 100, it would be a six. So it is pathetic to see him make half a dozen futile attempts os similar nature.

A Ganguly who charges a spinner, and is made to look stupid? That's not the Ganguly we know.

In 2001, when the Aussies targetted Ganguly, he faced a similar rough patch which there seemed to be no way out of. But then, that was the best bowling line-up in the world. This Pakistani attack, is at best mediocre, and losing your leg-stump first ball to someone like rana Naved-Ul Hassan, when you had dominated the Pakistan bowling in the 90s, is an indication of a problem between the ears.

I believed Ganguly would still work it out, come back strong, silence his critics, etc. I believed he would go back to the nets, talk to some wise men, and sort out his game. But this 6-match ban may well spell curtains for the greatest captain India has ever seen.

All those who will applaud his exit, please pause and think. Do we have a batsman who can walk into his slot easily? Do we really think that Ganguly, with almost 15,000 runs, has degraded so much that he needs to be dropped? And do you think the degradation has been that consistent?

Secondly, do we have a captain who can walk into his slot easily? Is Rahul Dravid really the answer? Can he handle the twin responsibilities of being a captain and Mr. Reliance in tests? And can Rahul Dravid really command a place in the one-day side all over the world? He is in sublime form right now, so this question might seem churlish. But think what happens when he is not in good form.

Dravid in poor form, is a liability to the one-day team. No matter how much he has improved, he still is not as adept at rotating the strike as Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj and Kaif, neither is he as adept at switching gears at all times.

Think about it.

Told Ya!!

Don't blame Ganguly, Nehra, Balaji, and co for today's defeat, in which Pakistan pulled off a record-chase. Blame Modi.

The fears I had expressed in this post a couple of months back have come true.

So Musharraf, Miandad, please welcome in your word-eater ranks, Narendra Modi.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Market Responds

A couple of months back, I wrote that if the "new" approach of Times of India was so wrong, then rather than wasting our time breathing fire at their every silly little gimmick, we should take our business elsewhere. If we feel there isn't a good alternative at the moment, and if there are enough of us who feel so, then the market is bound to respond with a product that offers an alternative.

The 'Media Mahabharat' happening in Mumbai is a demonstration of exactly what I was saying. At least three new newspapers are going to be launched in Mumbai, throwing gauntlets at Times and Express, the two biggest players in the market.

The thrust of my widely misunderstood article was this simple argument -

- If the Times is dumbing down its content, or making it more and more tabloidish, it is either doing so in tune with the taste of the majority of its customers, or it is doing so in defiance of the same.
- If it is in tune with the taste of the majority, then what wrong are they doing?
- If it is defiance of the taste of the majority, then they should be losing business. But they are gaining business rapidly. There can be two explanations for this. Either it isn't in defiance of the tastes of the majority. Or the alternatives to times are even more in defiance of the tastes.
- If you think there isn't an alternative, wait for a while. It will automatically emerge. Just like water automatically rushes to low-lying areas, entrepreneurs automatically rush to the vacuum created by the pressure of demand and non-availability of alternatives.
Note: In no way am I condoning the intellectual property rights violations by the Times Group. I hope the victims sue them.

So you see, the market has responded. The mammoth Dainik Bhaskar group, in collaboration with Zee, is all set to challenge the Times.

This is one battle that will be interesting to watch.

"My call" in Urdu.... "My Call".

Source? Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain.

Asked at the end of the second one-dayer what he was saying to Razzaq after the run-out, he said

"Main na, usko Urdu mein keh raha tha ki 'My Call, My Call' thi."

How can you hate a Pakistani captain as cute as this? When people wonder why the fiery edge has gone out of Indo-Pak cricket, I tell them it is because the Pakistani captain is such a nice guy.

Hai na?

Vantage Point in Wisden Asia

My article on Virender Sehwag's technique has been published in this month's issue of Wisden Cricket Asia magazine. It accompanies the cover story. Do read it and send me feedback. The magazine is avialable at all news stands in India.

A BIG thanks to Amit Varma for going through the artice, suggesting some improvements, and forwarding it to the Wisden folks.


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Try Yagoohoogle.

Summer of the Boring Ads

This summer....
(A visual of navels having lips and singing)
...during commercial breaks...
(A visual of Aamir Khan in drag) prepared to get...
(A visual of a talking frog jumpiung around)

This is the year when each and every soda commercial has laid a big stinking egg. Each and every soda commercial seems as if it has been written by interns from the accountancy department, instead of creative people. Each and every soda commercial is as bearable as a million teenagers scratching blackboards with sharp nails.

For the uninitiated, the peak season for soda drinks, i.e aerated drinks, starts off around this time of the year, and continues until monsoon. March-April is the start of summer in most parts of India, and cola sales shoot up. As a result, all soda companies and their ad agencies work hard on flagship commercials which define their brand in that summer.

This year, all ad agencies seem to be suffering from constipated creativity.

It all started with the ghastly 7 Up commercial that I wrote about last month. Utter mutilation of the ever-cool Fido Dido, and the ridiculisation of the luscious Yana Gupta betrayed mismanagement of resources, the likes of which has not been seen even in an Indian PSU.

Then followed the 'Khufiya' series of ads from Pepsi which wasted Saif's comic talents. Not only that, it would flash on our TV screens the 'blue screen of death' eerily reminiscent of a Windows malfunction. Fortunately, the head honchos at Pepsi realised that Indians have a life, and he couldn't really expect us to have a coupon in our hand while watching TV and wait with baited breath for the offensive blue screen. The ad was pulled off the air.

Only to be replaced by the inane and irritating 'Oye Bubbly' series. The ad starts off by focusing on the taut abs of three pretty ladies. So far so good. But then all of a sudden, their navels sprout lips, which start singing "hey bubbly...". Eh??? Then a hole in a guitar, speaking in Saif's voice tries some hurriedly written pick-up lines. The ad heads downhill, with a floodlight, a burger, a shirt pocket, and a door, all trying to woo the pepsi bottle. All Shahrukh Khan does during the ad is look bemused, and bite off a set of lips protruding from a burger.

If Pepsi has laid some eggs, the Coke poultry has been busy too. If you thought the Aamir Khan Coke ads last year were lame, the ones this year beg for many a Jaipur feet. Multiple Aamir Khans, one of them in drag....oof, I can't even describe it without feeling disgusted.

Thums Up promises to take us to the Everest, and give us a lot of money. They also show Akshay Kumar on a pile of snow pretending to be on the Everest..

Mountain Dew takes potshots at the lame Thums Up series, and ends up looking even lamer. They show the usual himbos snowboarding on the Everest. How dumb!!

Even the usually reliable Sprite disappoints, featuring a talking frog and a cliched joke.

Pretty much every soda brand has come out with muddled boring ads. Unless their aim is to gain mindshare by annoying the customer, they are way off the mark.

More Mush

Divided opinions on the Mush visit. Amit Varma has a viewpoint similar to mine over here. Secular Right disagrees. Ravikiran pronounces a dubious judgement of Amit's views being fallacious, which leads to plans of violating a crow's modesty. Amit posts a response.

In the words of every cricket commentator, it's all happening here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Karan Johar's Masterstroke

A conversation between me and a friend

Me: I really hate Kareena Kapoor.
Friend: Me too!
Me: She is so irritating. She actually makes her sister seem bearable.
Friend: I agree.
Me: In fact, you know what is the only right thing Karan Johar has done in his life?
Friend: What?
Me: Name Kareena's character "poo" in K3G. Can't think of another word that descibres her better. Poo!

Mushy's Comin

Musharraf is coming. And like last time, the country is split into two. There are people who believe that it is a matter of shame that the 'Killer of Kargil' is being welcomed by the Indian government. Many bloggers fall in this category. And there are people at the opposite pole who will act as if it is the second coming of Christ.

I would urge a middle path. The bloke is a foreign head of state. He leads a country that we would be better off at peace with. He is coming here as the Presdient of Pakistan. Let us extend to him a welcome we would give to any visiting head of state.

But let us not a pathetic spectacle of ourselves like we did in July 2001. The Indian government ordered a special "clean up" of the Taj Mahal because Mush was coming. They also ordered the demolition of a couple of houses in Delhi to enable the widening of a road so that he could visit his precious 'Neherwali haveli'. I find this despicable. The very existence of Taj Mahal should be reason enough for the government to maintain it with top priority. The visit of a visiting head of state should not be the catalyst required. And why are we demolishing houses for his cavalcade? If he wants to visit his house, he bloody well walk to it, or skip it from the itinerary.

The behaviour of the media was the most shameful. Not only did they roll over for Mush in the press conference like puppies wanting their tummies tickled, they were also putting a very desparate spin on the whole event.

For instance, when Musharraf's visit to the Ajmer Dargah was cancelled. Aajtak had a correspondent at the Dargah with the priests and a few other people around him. The correspondent started off by saying something like "The people of Ajmer were expecting Musharraf to come, and a lot of preparations were made, but now that the visit is cancelled, they are disappointed. Let us ask these clerics what they think."

At this, the cleric said, "No, no, we are not disappointed or anything. We believe that only those people will visit the dargah whom the Khwaja has really invited. If Musharraf couldn't come, it is his bad luck."

The correspondent though, insisting on putting his own spin to it said, "Yes, but all the preparations will go waste."

The cleric responded "We did not make any special preparations. For us, Musharraf is no different from any regular visitor. the preparations were made by the government for security."

Seeing that the crowd around him wasn't playing along and not helping him portray the "Ajmer people sad because Mush not coming" angle, he cut the conversation short and said

"So as you see, the people in Ajmer are very maayoos at Musharraf cancelling his visit. Back to you in the studio."

And just before the cameras switched back to the studio, one could hear the crowd yelling "Yahan koi maayoos nahi hai, koi maayoos nahi hai (No one is sad here, no one is sad)".

I expect a majority of the Indian media to do the same again, and expect Musharraf to dictate terms. I hope the MEA shows more brains than in 2001, and realise that there is a middle path between spitting on Musharraf's face, and sucking up to him. Be polite, be pragmatic, but also be on your toes.

The Game Spreads

Dhoni, the new star of the Indian cricket team, is from Jharkhand.

Think of the stars of Indian cricket in the past few years. Sehwag from Delhi, Yuvraj from Punjab, Kaif from UP, Balaji from Tamilnadu, Pathan from Baroda....

Looks like the days of the Mumbai-Karnatak monopoly are over. Now the Indian team is truly pan-national, with hardly any state association having a big chunk.

This is a good sign because it means that talent from all over the country is being unearthed. The game is spreading all over the country.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Most Remarkable Thing about the Kochi ODI....

... for me was nor Dravid's well crafted century, nor was it Sehwag's "Guardian Angel Toiling Round the Clock" century, nor was it Tendulkar's five wicket haul, and nor was it Sehwag's decision to do away with the ceremony of being presented the Man of the Match award, and helping himself to it.

The most remarkable thing for me was that one of the dignitaries at the Presentation Ceremony was a fellow named "Presentation"!!!!! I had heard about funny names being the norm in Kerala, but this is just too much!

I was rolling on the floor laughing, and completely missed whatever Inzi and Ganguly had to say. I finally managed to stop laughing only to see the dignitaries (Mr. Presentation included) watch flabbergasted as Virender Sehwag coolly walked to the table, picked up the Man of the Match award, and walked off, robbing one of them of a photo-op.

Update: After making this post, and laughing again for a good fifteen minutes, I realise that the reader might respond with a combination of scorn and skepticism. Some may even minsinterpret this as a delayed April Fool prank. So I decided to get some proof of this fellow's existence, using my old friend, Google.

At first, it was impossible. How can you search for a guy named presentation? But then finally, I somehow managed to zero in on a news article that mentions him. His full name is Dominic Presentation (short break for another guffawing attack), and he is the Sports Minister of Kerala.

This article from The Hindu is the proof.

And notice, that the guy is Minister for Sports, Fisheries, and Airports!!!!! That is one eclectic combination of portfolios!!

Oh God, I can't remember the last time my stomach muscles were aching from laughing this much. A guy named "Presentation".....Minister for Sports, Fisheries and Airports.... Oh somebody save me!!!

In response to Dhammo

My friend D "Dhammo" Dharmendra has made a post answering a few questions and I am putting up my responses. I invite you all to to the same on your blogs. And if you do not have blogs, I invite you to start blogging.

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451 which book do you want to be?

Catch 22. Funny, dark, complex.... I'd love to be it.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Even worse, an animated character. I really fell in love with Jasmine from Disney's Alladin.

The last book you bought is:

Ravan and Eddie by Kiran Nagarkar

The last book you read:

39 Steps by John Buchan

What are you currently reading?

I usually read 4 books at a time.
- Ravan and Eddie by Kiran Nagarkar
- An Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
- Deception Point by Dan Brown(though I am getting bored of it....might quit midway)
- A collection of short stories in Hindi by Bheesham Sahni

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
- The H2G2 trilogy in 4 parts by Douglas Adams
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
- Vyakti ani Valli by P.L. Deshpande
- "How to Get off a Deserted Island" by Justin Case