The results of the recent assembly elections in Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan underline strong indicators for future. Political parties that ignore these will be upstaged, as the Congress found out the hard way.
Thinly spread welfare measures are no good without addressing and understanding the real aspirations of the people. The Aaam Aadmi Party (AAP) has found support from the rich, poor and the increasingly assertive middle classes.
Residents of slum clusters, middle income colonies in East Delhi and tony Greater Kailash BMW owners have voted for Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP. The electorate across caste, class and religion espouses similar expectations from their elected representatives. Indians are united in their disdain for corruption, high handed government functioning and inability of the leadership to deliver on basic civic amenities, law and order and governance. They seek employment and income rise.
These matters affect everybody, businessmen and blue or white or pink collar workers or the impoverished. The massive victory of Shivraj Singh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh for the third consecutive tenure highlights yet again that voters will back a clean leader who understands people’s need for socio-economic mobility via development, growth, infrastructure building while retaining the need to help the poor in a focused way. Chauhan joins the league of repeat performers such as Narendra Modi or Naveen Patnaik.
The voter, literate or illiterate, fully understands that doles such as free food are not long-term solutions. They are just clever vote garnering stratagems of politicians. It is skill building and education that matter. Indians vote emotionally at times, but never foolishly. Thus, identity politics centered round caste, religion, minority appeasement is not finding resonance with the electorate anymore.
In Delhi, people voted for AAP due to its positive agenda against corruption. In Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot has been rejected. BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, given his aggressive pro-growth manifesto backed by performance in Gujarat has made an impact in Rajasthan. It would, however, be premature to say there is a Modi wave in the country, rather there could be none. The AAP performance in Delhi underlines voter misgivings about BJP’s communal antecedents, including the blot of 2002 Gujarat riots. People will not hesitate backing a greenhorn political outfit such as AAP, given BJP’s fascist baggage and non-performance of the Congress government under Manmohan Singh.
At the same time, AAP is not all bad news for BJP or Modi, especially in politically more significant states such as UP or Bihar, as the message from the assembly elections is people want their leaders and government to change their life for the better. In such circumstance, Modi with his growth-development agenda could appeal across India’s Hindi heartland, especially youth and first time voters, who seek a decisive leader who delivers.
In UP, for example, the powerful regional outfits Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party have so far relied on caste and religious equation to retain power. In such contexts, it is possible that the BJP could make inroads due to the electorate’s frustrations with the existing parochial political outfits.
However, the emergence of AAP does queer BJP’s standing, even though it is too early to make a definitive judgment about AAP. So far it has been a party on a fault finding mission. AAP’s intentions are good. It has caught people’s imaginations and is looking to spread to other centers, including Mumbai, Bangalore. It intends to fight the Lok Sabha elections. However, once ensconced in power, bringing about systemic changes will not be easy. Recall VP Singh.
He was voted to power due to his anti-corruption crusade. Singh, however, failed the country miserably. His abiding legacy has been divisive caste based politics in India. Further AAP’s views on matters concerning the economy, foreign investment and business continue to be suspect and anachronistic.
Yet, there is no doubt the political space of the two national parties BJP and Congress is narrowing, unless they get their act together. The Congress faces annihilation in the general elections next year. Today, its existence as a political force has been wiped out in almost all states of India.
The mother-son Gandhi duo Rahul and Sonia need to introspect. Their top down high command NGO style welfare politics has failed. There is need for Congress to build local and grass root leaders that understand the pulse of the people, rather than sycophants. The Congress has refused to change though the writing is on the wall that it needs to get its act together. Insouciance has given way to arrogance. The BJP is doing better with considerable bench strength of high performers in North India. There is already talk that Chauhan could be an able moderate replacement for Modi, like Atal Behari Vajpaee was to LK Advani, should such a need arise in a coalition setup. General elections in India next year look to be a fight between BJP, the regional parties and dark horse AAP. The Congress is out.
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EXTRACTS FROM THE BOOK
EXTRACT-1: It is never easy to predict the right age of an editor, especially the male ones. Normal people wear wigs to look young. Balding, greying, weak eyesight are the brainy signs that editors aspire. Thirty year olds try to look over 40, those in their 40s try to look in the 60s and those actually in the 60s want to appear dead. I know at least a couple of editors who wore glasses though they were medically not required to, just to portray an air of knowledge, reading and books. Most smoke cigars and cigarettes to convey to those around that they are thinking hard. Many put on weight to look like uncles rather than young boys that they are biologically. An editor’s job is the opposite of a film star’s. The latter are supposed to look young, fit and botoxed, while the former strive to look old and haggard. There is a similarity between the two as well. Both the sets of people like to talk a lot, have opinions and solutions about every problem in the world. Like Shahrukh Khan, when an editor talks, he or she does not stop, unless there is nobody else in the room. I don’t know what SRK does when he is alone in a room. Maybe he talks to himself or calls up Karan Johar to continue the conversation, possibly underlining that he is greater father than a superstar, even after the stupendous success of Chennai Express.
EXTRACT-2: After talking for a while about various global issues, my father turned his attention on my future wife – about how much he cared for her as he had seen her grow in front of his own eyes. He even mentioned buying high quality active baby diapers for her from abroad when she was born, on request by her parents. I think Lata was a trifle embarrassed. It was quickly apparent to everyone present that my father was uncomfortable with developments in my personal life, just as he was not happy with progress in my professional sphere. I think both my parents believed I was not good enough to be married to a girl like Lata. They might have been positively inclined had she wanted to marry my high-earning elder brother. My parents were unsure about my value in the marriage mart. Rather, they thought I was valueless. A married man is weighed by his ability to stand up for himself and his family, especially monetarily that reflected in a high credit card limit. My father knew that my card was of the lowest student category, unlike Sid’s unlimited usage with periodic offers of free aeroplane and movie tickets, access to luxury airport lounges and golf courses. Sid gifted an add-on facility to my father who never used the sleek black plastic card with his name embossed on it. But, he showed it around as if it was an Olympic Gold Medal that Sid had won for the country.
EXTRACT-3: There was an unexciting footnote to my first wedded night. A strange feeling engulfed me that had nothing to do with the liberal quantities of Whiskey downed over days. My urge to make love to Lata had evaporated. When she was my girlfriend I could not disengage my hands from her body. On our first night as a married couple I just didn’t feel up to the sex, while she was desperate to have it. She thought it was auspicious to make out. The perfume she was wearing was exotic, the expensive lipstick tasted sweet, the tinkling of the fluorescent bangles sounded surreal in the bedroom of our new rented accommodation in Gurgaon. The lights were dim while I could smell the fresh new linen, rose petals strewn on the brand new soft mattress and bed cover. Each element, the occasion, the beautiful bride could only combine to create a heady aphrodisiac that could drive any man wild. The room had been done up by Lata and her mother, now officially my mother-in-law. Yet, I felt like a footballer at the end of a-90 minute gruel. I was completely out of wind. Lata whispered into my ears that she wanted me to ejaculate inside her instead of my tummy or hers. “You can feel free now. No need to stop yourself,” she said biting my ears and licking my face that I would have found extremely erotic anytime of the day or night. Though I believed it was a bit early to start trying for a family, I did not want to initiate a debate on my first night as a married man. The thoughts of kids, however, contributed to reducing my sexual appetite further. I tried every mental stratagem to make it happen. I thought about porn sequences, MMS videos, making love to Sushmita, Pooja and the village girl by turn. I thought about Bollywood and Hollywood actresses in various erotic situations. They were of no help.
About the Book: India is in transition. The changes are not economic only. There are social, cultural transformations, attitudes and reactions to which vary. In the story, the protagonist drifts into journalism missing out on usual routes of Indian nirvana, IIT, IIM or IAS. He moves from adolescence to adulthood setting up an independent consultancy somewhere along the way. It is not easy to create a steady niche professionally and personally among myriad influences and sometimes fixated ideas of father, mother, brother, girlfriends, wife, married lover and more. The contradictions need to be managed, errors ironed out. Some experiences are expected, others not so calculated. There are mistakes. The journey of life is not easy. There are secrets that cannot be told, expectations not met, events that cannot be controlled. Retaining a bit of spice and humour becomes essential. A pair of dimples that women find irresistible is a relief but only fleetingly. There is happiness in speculative gains due to rising real estate prices. Some things fall in place, others do not.
About the Author : Siddharth Srivastava is an independent journalist based in Gurgaon, National Capital Region. He has worked for The Times of India. Over the last decade his writings have appeared in reputed publications across the world. His other assignments include India-related consulting projects from clients based in America, Europe and Southeast Asia. This is his first work of fiction.Siddharth has studied in St. Edmunds (Shillong) and Delhi Public School (RK Puram). He has a BA (Honours) degree in economics from Hindu College, Delhi University and a post-graduate in the same subject from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He represented Delhi state at the national level in water sports.
Like many others, I like to follow Bollywood, the movies, stars, gossip, directors, songs, composers. There’s a lot of trash, but there’s plenty of creativity too. Off late I have been intrigued by the rising numbers of ex’s floating about. Everyone is someone’s ex.
There is Katrina Kaif, Salman Khan’s ex and Ranbir Kapoor’s current girlfriend. Salman of course has been famously involved with Aishwarya Rai who like Katrina has also moved on to Abhishek Bachchan. Another ex who has embraced matrimonial bliss is Kareena Kapoor, who was earlier seeing Shahid Kapoor. The duo delivered the massive hit Jab We Met, after which Kareena went out with Saif Ali Khan going onto marry him.
Recently, in an interview, Kareena has apparently addressed Katrina as her sister-in-law. Looks as if Katrina, like Aishwarya and Kareena is heading towards wedded bliss and could settle down in Ranbir’s Pali Hill bungalow. Not a bad deal. Salman continues to be a footloose aging bachelor, though the memories of the exotically beautiful Aishwarya or Katrina must haunt him at times, unless the superstar walks into the life of another beauty.
Ranbir again figures as Deepika Padukone’s ex who in turn is reportedly Ranveer Singh’s current girlfriend, or so the audiences have been made to believe in the run up to the release of Ram Leela. Even if this was a ruse, it seems to have worked as the movie is a hit. Ranveer, meanwhile, is the ex of the heavenly Anushka Sharma who is apparently seeing cricketer Virat Kohli.
Cricket and Bollywood have always mixed well, the most enduring example being the very pretty Sharmila Tagore and the debonair MAK Pataudi or Shahrukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty or Priety Zinta sponsoring IPL cricket teams. Apparently, Virat and Anushka have been spotted arguing inside a SUV, which is a sign that the two are indeed a couple.
Commercial interest sometimes prevails over the personal, when exes sign up to essay roles opposite each other. Thus, exes Ranbir and Deepika starred in the hit Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, in which the two pulled off a steamy kiss towards the end of the movie.
There were surely some emotions exchanged here. Following Ram Leela, Deepika has apparently said she prefers company of Ranveer to Ranbir, which is understandable as Ranbir has made it clear he likes to hang out with Katrina.
The on screen chemistry of exes can sometimes work better than couples officially seeing each other. For example, Saif and Kareena have just not worked out in reel life despite several attempts. Maybe too many private moments off screen diminishes sparks on screen. Salman and Katrina have, however, worked well, in the past, that is. I can recall Ek Tha Tiger.
But, then Salman works well with anybody. Plus, nobody has ever been sure whether Salman and Katrina have been seeing each other, have moved on, have been seeing each other again, have moved on again. This time though, it does seem that Katrina has finally moved on or else Kareena would not be calling her a relative.
Of course, the great Amitabh Bachchan and ethereal Rekha crackling chemistry in Silsila, remains unmatched, the supposedly real life other woman story dramatized in reel life by none other than the doyen of romantic cinema, director Yash Chopra. Unlike Bachchan and Rekha who avoid and ignore each other in public, I have been reading reports that the exes Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty have patched up with age and are on speaking terms now. Like it happens in politics, exes it seems can never be permanent friends or enemies.
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Re-posting this piece (that I wrote some years back) in the wake of the depressing Aarushi Talwar and Tarun Tejpal episodes:
It is a disadvantage being a father as the mother will always know and do better. I don’t argue the assertion – she creates the child, bears it for nine months, the bond develops before birth. Is it my fault? I am prepared to be pregnant, if only to save my wife the anxiety that can be mentally, if not physically, as difficult for the father, apart from the adjustments to routine, sleep, work and entertainment.
But, say as much as I may, the wife says I am saying it, as it is not possible for me to do what I have offered myself for. Call it the absence of pre-natal bonding, I found that coming to terms with my baby took me more time than it did my wife. She seemed to trapeze with practiced ease the rounds of nappy changing, potty washing, bathing and more. I haven’t managed bathing without fearing that her tiny body would slip off my palms though she is a year and a half old now. She senses the strength of my grip and wails every time I try and wash her. I call my gawkiness a genetic aberration; my wife calls it a lack of commitment.
She is working, so am I, so we spend as much time with the baby, which can never be enough; thus there can be no alibi that one partner has the unfair advantage of spending more quality time with her, except before birth when my wife claimed she communed with the being inside. I have tried to think up as many explanations for my incompetence vis-à-vis my wife, try as much as I may. There is one more reason, apart from the pre-natal one. Don’t mistake me as chauvinistic, but I think I could be a better dad if my baby were a boy.
I know as I was a boy once (still am), what a boy wants, see the world through his eyes, a world defined by me in a way that a guy sees — playing sports, watching porn, proposing to girls, cycling, swimming and climbing hills. I have never seen the world through the eyes of a girl, although there were several girls I loved, but never loved enough to see things the way they saw it, until my baby came. I wonder, will she play golf, read Ludlum and listen to hard rock?
My wife never does, but could I or should I teach my daughter to do the things I like to do? I admire my role models, but do I need to study female role models, who may be different? Who would I like my daughter to emulate? Tiger Woods… I am sure she will go her own way and define her own rules; I want to do what my father did, though I never followed what he preached.
It is my duty now to see from my baby’s eyes and define and study closely the world of women leaders — of Thatcher, Rowling, Sarandon and the standards they set. My wife drowned the arguments. “Philosophy is okay, but cannot take away from the immediate reality of changing nappies, feeding from the bottle and doing it well,” she said, and was right.
I tried hard and without being immodest must say was reasonably okay by my standards only. She hears the baby cry in the middle of the night before I did, and do. She is up and away from bed much before I do, or to make matters worse I am frequently even slower than my mom-in-law who resides in the next room. I am good at several things, playing golf for one, but cannot figure out why my wife is better at this, though looking after a baby is no sport.
Yet I compare with golf which is languorous while parenting is not. I went through another period of introspection and arrived at another answer. I like to delegate, provided the work is done well. I want the best for my daughter, and there is no better nappy changer or potty washer in the world better than my wife. So I have delegated and am happy about it. I discovered this when my wife was away on a business tour. I was fast, faster than ever, never gentler. I think my mother-in-law sensed it, but has kept it to herself as in her eyes only her daughter is number one, which is fair enough, as long as the mother-in-law is not number two, I reasoned. Sadly, my wife will never know my real prowess, as whenever she is around I subconsciously delegate. This could be genetic or I wish I had not read too many management books, but I have decided I will never beat my wife, but should at least better my mom-in-law. She is fast, I am faster, but my wife is the fastest. And that’s the way it stays.
(Buy my book An Offbeat Story here)
The last few days, India celebrated and mourned the end of Sachin Tendulkar’s stupendous career, fostered by hard work, sweat and grit.
Apart from the well deserved Bharat Ratna, Sachin’s grand career was topped off by a farewell speech that made every Indian weep more than ever managed by any family drama on TV or Bollywood love story that ends in a tragedy like Qayamat se Qayamat tak. Saurav Ganguly is right when he says that Sachin is cut out for much more than just commentary post retirement.
Given such context, it is an irony that Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, the top two political leaders of our country hope to further their ambitions by backing projects that are towering inanities. Modi is building the tallest statue in Gujarat, while political rival Nitish Kumar is constructing the largest temple in Bihar, clearly hoping for monumental electoral dividends in the process. Both are obviously deploying tax payers’ money.
Post his break up with the BJP, Nitish Kumar, it does seem, feels his political clout is dwindling in Bihar, given the large turnouts at Modi rallies and a possible sympathy vote for Lalu. Jokes apart, a politician in jail can sometimes turn into a more potent political force than ten roaming about free.
Modi believes eulogizing the decisive and strong Sardar Patel adds to his own image of a leader who can set right India’s problems, unlike a “weak’’ Mamohan Singh. Several individuals from our rank obsessed middle classes and social media nationalists, the main supporters of Modi that usually don’t go out and vote unless it happens online, will surely gloat that India is going to be first in the supposed biggest temple and statue global rat race that exists only in our minds.
Such notional achievements also helps the middle classes ignore and gloss over the fact that we are bottom level in far too many indices that matter — corruption levels, poverty, health, corruption, female infanticide, ease of doing business etc.
The Sardar Patel statue has been aptly termed as “the statue of unity, (to remind us that it will be higher than the statue of Liberty in America, that Modi cannot visit due to visa issues)’’ when it finally looms over the Narmada.
I am sure there will be millions of likes (maybe another world record) should there be a Facebook page “World’s tallest statue in India visible from Mars to the naked eye.’’ Soon, we may have Amitabh Bachchan promoting Gujarat tourism with Sardar Patel dominating the background. We could also witness masked Shahrukh Khan or Aamir Khan or Hrithik Roshan perch somewhere on the massive effigy, given many super hero sequels likely to be produced following the success of Krrish-3.
But, truth be told, the latest Modi Nitish projects make a mockery of a nation that deep down idealizes and finds meaning in Sachin’s real greatness. The efforts by Modi and Nitish will mean nothing to a whole lot of people.
The poor man without woolens in these winter months will feel no warmth viewing the grand structure of the great Sardar Patel. Prayers can offer solace to the soul, not make homes, hospitals and schools.
Honestly, I would have been happier if Modi and Nitish intended to build the largest shelters in the world to protect homeless and poor against the winter months. Even a tallest building offering ample commercial space makes some sense. It is good for business, tourism and employment for any Indian city to be spoken in the same league as Dubai, New York or Kuala Lumpur.
Still, I would say Modi, Nitish are better off than Mayawati who has built statues of her own self all over UP or Rahul Gandhi, who unfailingly reminds us about his great family connections. Polemics may differ about the roles and contributions of our past leaders Nehru, Indira or Rajiv. That, however, cannot be the basis of voting for Rahul’s party. Can Arjun Tendulkar claim a place in the Indian IX because he is Sachin’s son? He needs to be ball boy first.
Given India’s diversity politicians in the country are known to espouse every strategy, right, wrong, legal or illegal, to win or influence votes. It is already happening with state elections underway and national voting soon. The adrenalin is high, the language crude – lingo includes dehati aurat, chai wala, feku, pappu. The politics is personal and personality driven. Politicians are the stars and crowd pullers.
Thus, thankfully, we see a dwindling of Bollywood, TV, cricket stars being paraded around to fill up the galleries. This is unlike in the 90s or even later when a slew of characters playing monkey Gods, Gods, heroes, heroines, villains and comedians took to the streets on behalf of their chosen leader.
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The BJP wants the security of its PM candidate Narendra Modi upgraded to possibly make him appear even more Prime Ministerial. I don’t wish to comment about the political aspects of such a demand. Also, there are genuine threats as proved by the bomb blasts at the recent Patna rally addressed by Modi.
Instead, I want to talk about the obsession with security of the so-called VIP’s in our midst while safety of the common man stands singularly compromised. Encircled by layers of gun toting black cats (BC’s) from the SPG, NSG or others is the halo desperately sought by our VIP’s to convey importance, power and status.
In India, the ten heads of Ravana stand for evil. Our politicians (many actually criminal turned public figures), ministers, officials, bureaucrats, love to be enveloped by a large head count of sleek uniformed BC bodyguards trained to fend off terrorist attacks, but mostly involved in shooing off usual people going about their normal business and also the media. BC protection naturally attracts media, even if nobody is clear about the antecedents of the VIP being protected – some can be long retired, forgotten, irrelevant bureaucrats, politicians or generals.
While consumerism inspired private individuals display expensive cell phones, cars, young second wife as personal embellishments, these cannot outshine the glamor attached to BC’s. The IPhones, BMWs, pretty babes are small change in comparison. BC’s endow star value to those that do not have star value, like a Prithviraj Road address or a Harley Davidson bike. They are the show stoppers. If one can manage to wrangle BC’s, one can pull off much more is the clear message.
Ask Robert Vadra. Ask Mayawati who never steps out without an ensemble of diamond studs, branded bag, sandals and BC’s. Ask LK Advani, who has reluctantly relinquished his decade long PM in waiting status, but tenaciously holds onto his personal BC’s. BC’s dart about when Rahul Gandhi is around.
Modi already has quite a few BC’s guarding him. Obviously, he and the BJP believe, more the merrier. The BC’s are the tip of a deep seated feudal culture that endorses superiority and status. An army of peons, drivers, gardeners, security guards, personal factotums, orderlies are deputed to those connected with officialdom in any way. Officially, they are all supposed to guard the VIP and his or her family. Unofficially they run personal errands such as buying vegetables, milk and groceries. The Indian government, state or center, is the biggest maid agency in the world placing millions of factotums sustaining on tax payers money.
Truth be told, the BC syndrome afflicts most of us in various shades and forms. It is the ceaseless march towards exclusivity – a bigger car, house, gated community, business class, first class. To prove he is at the top of the money game Mukesh Ambani lives in a building that touches the Mumbai sky. Still, BC’s officially allotted by the government are top billing. There are similar embellishments sought with equal vigor — a bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi, convoy of cars fitted with jammers, no frisking at airports or halting traffic to allow for VIP passage.
In Hindi movies it is usually the bad guy who is surrounded by armed muscular bouncers, either bald or mustached. The hero, the simple aam admni, is unarmed, in love with a girl. Initially the BC’s beat him up.
But, then the villain makes the mistake of eyeing the girl. The hero beats up the villain and the BC’s. This happens only in movies. In real life the story is usually vastly different. The aam admi is the one beaten to pulp.
In this context, I admire cycling groups mushrooming across the country. It is healthy and environmentally friendly, but nobody cares about their existence. Given the dominant VIP, BC culture, cyclists have a tough time surviving chaotic, potholed and dangerous roads, like trying to walk on water without sinking.
The crashes are inevitable the recent Sunita Narain hit and run just one recent example. The cyclists don multiple gears appearing like batsmen out to face pace bowlers, except the beamers are in the form of furiously driven traffic that can kill.
As an aam admi, I too sometimes wish a BC or two. Maybe I should declare on Twitter that I am PM candidate. Maybe, my security threat perception will be graded A+ (instead of Z+) entitling me two unarmed home guards. That would be fun. I may request them to halt traffic a couple of times so I can pass by in glory. Or tell them to wait at the door while I drink coffee at CCD. But, I don’t think I am going to ask them to shoo away normal folks. That is not right.
Records are meant to be broken. In India, if you ask me, world records are most frequently broken by stock markets — the fastest rise, fall in 24-hours, change in a week, month, etc etc. Indian stock exchanges should be in the Guinness book for the instances that current highs or lows are scaled for new ones.
A similar situation existed recently for forex rates (rupee against dollar), thankfully only for a few weeks, until the good looking Raghuram Rajan played spoiler. Rajan has also turned repo rate as much a subject of bedroom or party conversation as BMI or Glycemic Index, Salman Khan’s abs, MS Dhoni’s bikes or Sunny Leone’s curves. I have spotted Rajan’s comments in gossip sections, due to pleasant photo op opportunity. I won’t be surprised if staid RBI press conferences soon transform into Page-3 material, covered appropriately by Page-3 reporters. A possible query for Rajan: “`Sir, can you tell us about your fitness regimen and diet.’’
Moving on from economics to Bollywood, there are projections that Hrithik Roshan Krrish-3 starrer is going to break the Rs 2 billion record, topping Chennai Express and earlier blockbusters 3-Idiots or Dabangg-2. Hrithik’s father, also the director of Krissh-3 predictably believes his sons’ movie will cross Rs 10 billion.
Any projection about yet-to-be released Hindi movie is fraught with as much uncertainty as Narendra Modi becoming India’s next PM. Political or Hindi movie forecasts in India are as reliable as electoral exit or opinion polls.
Ranbir Kapoor starrer Besharam was supposed to be the next Dabangg and overtake Chennai Express. The movie created as much bang as a spurious imported Chinese Diwali cracker. In 2004, every survey predicted BJP as clear winner. In 2009, Advani probably had his suitcases packed to move into Race Course Road, just as Modi possibly thinks he will be addressing the nation from Red Fort next year instead of SRCC or Patna.
Paradoxically, cricket, of glorious uncertainties, is no longer so. Today, everybody is sure that India will chase down a 350 or near about total in one day cricket, as long as “mother f…..g, sister f….g’’ Virat Kohli bats at number three.
The Aussies, stuck to “monkey gate’’ lingo are yet to figure out Virat’s chaste Hindi expletives propelled sixes. Language is the secret of Kohli’s energy, I would like to believe. In politics, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too has a record.
He is the longest serving PM of India, outside the Gandhi-Nehru family, the usual rulers of India. Manmohan’s record is a little unbecoming if you ask me.
I would say he is the longest serving lame duck PM of India. Looking back, even IK Gujral and Deve Gowda appear more effective. There is so much humility, honesty and soft spoken one can tolerate when the crying need is pro-activeness to take on dwindling growth, inflation, corruption. Are sweets relevant, when the patient is suffering acute diabetes?
In cricket, there is talk Kohli may overtake Sachin Tendulkar’s monumental one-day record, going by current form and new rules weighed against bowlers that have turned sixes and fours the norm, singles and dot balls the novelty. This could be Ravi Shastri on TV: “Ishant Sharma bowls. It’s a six. Yuvraj retrieves; Ishant again. And that’s a doooooooooooooooooot ball. It’s all happening here in Ranchi; a dot ball. Do we see a Mexican wave?’’
Sunil Gavaskar and Dean Jones are sure Virat will score more centuries than Sachin. Just the other day Sachin’s records were considered humanly impossible to scale, like Don Bradman’s test average. Like the stock exchange, new records are constantly being set in cricket somewhere. New permutations are constantly devised by full time cricket statisticians – highest 9th wicket stand with number three batsman; most sixes in a rain interrupted match; most fours scored by a number four batsman on a Sunday that happens to be Diwali.
Yesterday, I heard Dhoni broke the world record of staying not out in the second innings for a winning cause in a one day match. There should be creative courses on cricket statistics, like theatre. It is getting bizarre.