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Archive for January, 2008

Stupid? Its in your Genes!

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 25, 2008

Some people get turned on by intelligence and greater number get turned off by stupidity. But, if not learning from past mistakes is a measure of stupidity then we might have found a compelling evidence to get us off the hook when we turn in to a laughing stock for others. Yep. Its the usual suspect – genes. Bottmonline is that if you have certain genes (or lack of it), you might just not have the ability to learn. Some people just don’t learn. They can’t!

Don’t you just love Biology!

Posted in Psychology, Science | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Formula One: India Enters the Race. Literally!

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 11, 2008

Note: I know it is old news. So what. I don’t reach office everyday on time either. Moreover, they announced their driver recently which heats things up.

India takes another stride towards establishing itself as a global player. Enters Formula One! Strictly speaking, there is no such concept of a team from a particular country but, with us, nationalist sentiment invariably puts India at the forefront. Moreover, the team is called “Force India”. (Listen to the webcast on this website!) Only team with a country’s name in it!

Vijay Mallya says, “I feel proud that an Indian has put its flag on the F1 circuit.” This makes it quite clear how eager successful Indians are to put India on the global map. Tata did it by winning the deal for Corus and coming up with world’s most economical car, Tata Nano. And obviously, Tata is the favourite to acquire globally recognised luxurios car brands such as Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford.

More success will inadvertently subject us to greater scrutinly and thus the importance of being gracious has never been greater. We should not project the image that as the confidence of the nation is growing we are becoming graceless and arrogant. We need to learn from some of the mistakes we committed during the Cricket Fiasco.

Our country is growing. Its time to grow as individuals.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cricket Fiasco: Bottomline

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 10, 2008

You need to close your eyes in order to see clearly for there is so much chaos. At a time when we needed to show highest degree of restraint, we have gone berserk. If as a nation we want to play an important role on the world stage, we will need to show far greater maturity.

Australian Cricket: Australia did get carried away in the dying moments of the game when they were beginning to realise that their dreams of most victories in a row might remain a dream after all. But, are we trying to suggest that the Indian team would have not appealed had it been in similar situation? I am hurt because Indian lost the game but, the damage that is taking place outside of game is far too lasting than a game of cricket will ever be capable of. We are risking quite a lot.

BCCI: Its all about money. Look at the state of the Indian cricket. Why can’t we produce a team which can win or at least put a decent fight with the kind of budget it has?

Umpiring: Bucknor should have been asked to leave (or asked to voluntarily resign) simply for being incompetent in a job for which he is being paid handsomely as would have been the case in any other job. Not because he is a cheat or anything else that Indian media will like some of us to believe nor because BCCI likes to flex its muscle like some foreign media is getting obsessed with.

Media: What a joke. Majority of them thrive on being cheap and sensational. Screw them.

Now lets look at the case of Harbhajan. Comments like “We told you the first time not to call him monkey” is ridiculous. Its like don’t tell us that because we don’t like it. Who the hell likes when you sledge even if it is not racist by definition? The whole basis of provocation is the opposition not liking what is being done to him. There is no place of racism in sports. But, what makes sledging any more attractive?

To be honest, I personally think that Harbhajan might well have called him a monkey. But, it can’t be because some prejudice leading to racial taunt. Its because he did not like what was told to him and was hurt. He wanted to hurt Symonds and for a volatile and intemperate personality like Harbhajan, only one thing would have come to his head. Not because he is racist. But, because he wanted to hurt Symonds. That does not give mileage to Harbhajan mind you. In fact he along with Sreesanth should have been brought to task for indulging in such lose talk time and again. But, lets not make one person more equal than other because the other person was able to qualify the remark as racist. Ability to see the big picture will hold us all in good stead.

Bottomline: None of this was to protect national pride. Far from it. Different interested parties have blown everything out of proportion to ensure that we lose sight of the real problem because their best interest lies in it. To the Aussies: We don’t only burn effigies of foreign umpires and players. Our players and selectors are not spared either if the player from a certain state is not selected or if a player bats too ‘slow’. But, they do not represent all of India. In a vast country like India with one-sixth of world’s population it will not be wise to expect common sense from all of them when even three commentators sitting in the comfort of their air-conditioned box cannot come to a consensus. We are not racist, we are emotional. We are not stupid, we are passionate. If there is a line amongst all this, we are bound to stumble time and again. Lets not make a big deal and do what we do best. Wait for another scandal. Enough said.

PS: Here is what a comment read in one of the responses.

If my Mum had been in charge of international cricket, this would have been sorted easily. Every time I was in the garden playing with my friends and a game was threatening to get out of hand, she used to stick her head out of the window and say , “If you can’t play nicely, don’t play at all. If it carries on like that your friends can go home and you can clean the toilet.” It always did the trick.

Related Posts:
Shocking Journalism. Worst Protest.
Australia-Great Team Lacking in Spirit

Posted in Controversy, Cricket, India, Journalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Shocking Journalism. Worst Protest.

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 7, 2008

I was hurt like any other Indian when India lost Sydney test and the manner of loss made it harder to digest. But, what disappoints me more is the way it has been captured in Indian media. Rise of Internet has ensured that people don’t have to wait till the next day to go through the newspaper. This is being exploited by the media who keep coming up with cheesy headlines and controversial stories – mostly concocted, to increase their popularity. If print media is bad, electronic ones are worse. 24 hour news channels have ensured that it is full of rubbish. Every channel tries to tap in to mass’s sentiment twisting every piece of news to spice it up as opposed to making an effort to present accurate information.

Cheesy Headlines, humiliating remarks, everything blown out of proportion. What is happening? The way Indian public has responded to this is shocking. Its one thing to criticise. Its another thing to humiliate. People have been posting absolutely absurd and mindless abusive comments in response to articles. And all this in the name of protecting our pride. Is this the impression we want rest of the world to have about us? My pride is far more injured by the events that is taking place in India as compared to what happened in Australia on the cricket field. What happens to the pride of these people when India gets named as one of the worst countries in the way children are treated here? This rarely forms subject of intellectual discussions because dealing with it will require them to be far more proactive as compared to showing anger in chat rooms.

When a few Australians did not carry themselves as we would have liked, we responded in the way we did. What about thousands of Indians who are proving to be no different? This is specially surprising when majority of the neutrals and quite a few Australians have shared our sentiment.

Same Australian public gave rousing reception to VVS and Tendulkar when they came in to bat at SCG and gave a standing ovation when they scored their centuries as if they were playing in front of their home crowd. It is one thing to be disappointed. It is another thing to be stupid.

Its true that we did not like what we saw in the test and what transpired thereafter in Harbhajan’s case but, our behaviour and that of quite a few journalists has not been very appealing either. Everybody is wrong but for us. Talk about fairness!

There are lots of decent ways to lodge protest and put your case forward. Calling names and posting abusive messages in the forums is definitely not one of them.

Update: All is not lost and I am not the only one to be incensed by the nonsense that is going on in Indian press which by its very nature demeans the cause Indians are fighting for. Here is an extract from an article in The Guardian that states as to what this post is about.

India is blessed with an extraordinary capacity for indignation. But occasionally there is cause. So even if it was a little tiresome to have to hear Harbhajan Singh’s mother on every news channel, watch donkeys with name-tags of the umpires Bucknor and Benson dangling around their necks, and find that 94% of viewers on one network wanted the team to return from Australia, it did not fully detract from the issue.

A few other people have written about the quality of journalism which they call over the top or in other words nonsensical. In Guardian, Dileep Premachandran calls it India: Where truth is up for grabs. (Cracking title but may have overcompensated by launching a scathing attack) and on Cricinfo Suresh Menon pleads for some balance.

Posted in Controversy, Cricket, India, Journalism | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Importance of Being VVS

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 5, 2008

If you are an Indian, Cricket is quite likely to occupy some portion of your heart. And it felt nice to have done justice to that Indian spirit of mine when I chose to watch cricket late at night even if that meant the prospect of high dose of caffeine during meetings the next day. But boy, it was so much worth it. Laxman stayed long enough to ensure that it was every bit worth. Every shot that he played could be watched several times but still would generate the same feeling of ‘wow’ on each occasion. It is true that Tendulkar played a bigger and an important innings the next day but, in the context of the series, Laxman once again reversed the fortunes of India from psychological point of view after they lost very badly at Melbourne and conceded a huge first innings score to Australia. You have to take bull by the horns in such situations and it was so nice to see the most elegant batsman in the world destroy the most potent attack with most delicate of touches. He saved the day and probably the series for India but, as a player he has earned himself just another inning to fight again because the next time he goes to bat, he will have to “prove” himself once again.

There rarely is a cricketing reason when he gets dropped. But, you don’t look for reason when somebody is more equal than others. Most make convenient choices and not the right one. Dropping Laxman is one such choice they make time and again because they know that their names will not be trashed in the newspapers and effigies not burnt on the streets. Best of games is played in the minds and not only on the field. But the game that Laxman has to play in his head every time he goes out to bat is more to counter the attack of people on the same side and not that of his rivals.

Sports unifies you as a nation. But in India for that to happen Saurav Ganguly has to be in the team otherwise Bengal becomes a different nation altogether. The most famous Australian we had on our soil is unanimously considered a legend. But, he, Mr Greg Chappell is now more famous for being the Indian coach who managed to show Saurav Ganguly the door. Now, thats probably the Australian way of doing things. Perform or perish. One year hence, Saurav Ganguly does nothing impressive on the cricket field and makes his way back in to the Indian cricket team. Now thats the Indian way of doing things. We reach greatest of heights with least of effort. You just need to know the right set of people. To be fair to him, he has shown greater resolve to perform ever since he returned. But, that in a way proves Chappell’s hypothesis based on which he argued the case of him being a destructive factor in the team.

Every country that India plays knows the importance of VVS. Its such a shame that his own country-men don’t.

Posted in Cricket, India | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Taare Zameen Par

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 1, 2008

Just when you think that bollywood can’t set the bar any lower, somebody slides right under it. However, there are occasional movies which manage to escape the rule and its no coincidence that Aamir Khan featured in two such movies (other being Rang De Basanti) in recent past. He seems to be one actor who genuinely makes every effort to take the road of his own choosing without compromising his value system unlike most of his peers who almost always have a price tag attached to their morality. He has done it again with “Taare Zameen Par” which is refreshingly original. It is not only entertaining but, more importantly touches upon a subject which most parents and children will be able to relate to. As most parents continue to project their idea of life on to their children, the life turns into a puppet show with strings attached to every part of the child’s body each going in different direction but for the one the child truly wants to. Everyone who reads this will nod their head in agreement but, how many will go ahead and let their kids breath the air they want to?

Following is a passage by Khalil Gibran-The Madman, I read long time ago which beautifully captures this.

It was the garden of the madhouse that I met a youth with a face pale and lovely and full of wonder.

And I sat beside him upon the bench and said, “why are you here”?

And he looked at me in astonishment and he said, “It is an unseemly question ,yet I will answer you.”

“My father would make of me a reproduction of himself,so also would my uncle. My mother would have me the image of her illustrious father. My sister would hold up her seafaring husband as the perfect example for me to follow. My brother thinks I should be like him ,a fine athlete and my teachers also ,the doctor of philosophy and the music master and the logician they too were determined and each would have me but a reflection of his own face in a mirror.”

“Therefore I came to this place. I find it more sane here. At least I can be myself“.

Then all of a sudden he turned to me and he said, “But tell me,were you also driven to this place by education and good counsel?”

And I said, “No,I am a visitor.” and he said, “Oh,you are one of those who live in the madhouse on the other side of the wall.”

Posted in Bollywood, Movies | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

 
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