Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Divine Connect

I hate missing dates of important things. And something as important as a beauty pageant is worth keeping track of. So, I am thankful to TOI of reminding me that the Miss India pageant is round the corner. As much interest as the approaching pageant shall generate, the pageantry of last year also drew a lot of interest, and in particular the Ms Universe pageant that kept me enthralled for the reasons which you, my dear readers, shall get to know in the following text. Allow me to relive those moments which till now were privy to me but shall be made known for the greater good of mankind.
29th May’07:“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Never used to believe in this, until today when I got up at the twilight hour of 7 this morning.
When the whole world was snoring I braved the lingering sleep in my eyes, drove it away, and left the warmth of my bed. It was a call of duty. I entered the darkness of the living room and almost every object there questioned my presence at that unearthly hour. The hostility was palpable. By then the remote was already there in my hands. I pressed the button and the TV blinked to life. Tulsi was still crying. A few channels up and I found my senses alert. This is what I was looking for. Every image on the screen was screaming for attention. I pulled a chair close to the TV, adjusted my glasses, and sat down to focus my senses on the unfolding saga - swimwear round of Ms Universe 2007. Puja was walking towards me. Stunningly beautiful she had all of me arrested in a state of awe. God must have taken at least a hundred years before he approved of this creation. I took in all of her in my eyes and closed them shut lest she escaped. There she was standing before me in all her splendor. This is love! Finally it had happened. I could feel my heart fluttering away. She smiled at me and I blushed. In moments she walked into my arms and confessed her love for me.
I opened my eyes. She was still standing there. The camera panned to the next contestant. My heart skipped a beat. Ms Mexico was oozing her charm and beauty from every pixel of the screen. Chiseled to perfection, with looks to die for, her hair making Mexican waves stole their way to my heart. For a moment we both stared at each other. I could feel the divine connect between us. Now this has to be love! Hardly had we settled happily ever after when Ms Philippines stepped into the screen. Puja and the Mexican lass got eclipsed. The confusion in my heart cleared; and I understood that the divine connect was actually meant for Ms Philippines. She cavorted and danced her way to my soul. My existence had suddenly found its meaning. No sooner had this realization donned on me than I found myself reconsidering my precious divine connect to Ms Philippines. Ms Australia with her dainty presence filled life into the lifeless idiot box and corrected the anomaly of the divine connect.
Rest of the story is too mushy to be relived publicly. All I can share is that I found true love on almost ten occasions and the divine connect last remembered was with Ms Brazil.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A disturbing contrast.

This was written quite some time ago. I was rummaging through the pc when this peeped through a pile of documents and begged for a place in the sacrosanct blog. So there you are, happy reading and of course comments are invited.

India is proud of its diversity and of its unique contrast in almost every aspect of life. This statement reflects the pride in an Indian emigrant’s eyes and is hardly a truth for a resident who lives in the present state of affairs. Where would you find pride when there is hostility between groups; groups which keep on redefining themselves sometimes on the basis of religion, sometimes caste, sometimes language, and sometimes region. It’s such a pity that while a RamSetu bridged two lands, the same is now a device to dig a gulf between people.
However, in this entire chaos one shouldn’t miss the remarkable trait of resilience which an Indian bears on his character. At a time when nothing seems to unite us, a fictional battle on an astro-turf brought forth a new anthem of unification – Chak De! And then a heady and a surreal win in the T20 brought together an entire nation in elevating a bunch of mortals to the pedestal of mythical heroes. As if this were not enough the sensex came round from its phobia of heights and soared to a new high of 17k bringing in its wake a national delirium. It’s really been raining goodies this monsoon!
But allay thy ecstasy. The typical Indian contrast which gets toasted around the world has been extended to the field of sports too.
Amidst this roar of celebration there is a voice of resent. Our hockey players have felt slighted at the ‘step-motherly’ treatment meted out to them. There are enough details in the following to tell you why.

Here are some of the awards announced for the Indian Cricket team for their T20 victory.
Ø Rs 2 crores as a tournament prize.
Ø Rs 8 crores from BCCI for winning the final.
Ø Rs 4 crores from BCCI for reaching the final.
Ø Rs 1 crore for Yuvraj singh from BCCI.
Ø Cash awards upto Rs 21 lakhs from all the governments of states from where the players belong.
Ø Rs 3 lakhs to Uthappa from the Kerala government just for the reason that his mother is from Kerala.
Ø Flats worth Rs 25 lakhs from Sahara.
Ø A new award, 'Jharkhand Ratna' introduced for the first time and presented to Dhoni for making the state proud on the 7th foundation day celebration of the state on November 15 at Ranchi.
Ø Special News Bulletin, Editions and Highlights in almost all the TV news channels through out the night.
Ø Special News Editions, Cover stories and Posters in almost all the News Papers for the next two days.
Ø Heroes' welcome in Mumbai.
Ø Welcome by the Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Deputy CM R R Patil and their Cabinet colleagues.
Ø 30 km long victory procession that lasted over five hours.

We won the Asia cup Hockey a couple of weeks ago.
Specific Features of this victory.
Ø We did not lose a single match.
Ø We defeated the strongest team - South Korea, twice in the tournament - League and Final.
Ø We defeated South Korea in the final by 7-2 which is one of the biggest margins in finals.
Ø We scored in all 56 goals and gave away just 5 goals in the 7 matches that we played.
Ø We scored 20 goals in a single match against Sri Lanka and did not even give away a single goal. This equaled the highest margin of victory in Asia cup record.
Ø We remained the lone team to maintain our slate clean (Rare all-win record at pool stage) among 11 teams and topped the tough six-team Pool B.

Rewards for this victory.
Ø Individual greeting messages by Our Honorable President.
Ø For the news channels and papers, it's just a news.
Ø IHF had announced an incentive for the team where they would receive Rs 1000 for every goal scored, and lose Rs 2000 for every goal conceded.
Ø The state governments did not even sent a congratulatory note.
Ø No Airplanes for them to Travel to their Cities. Only by Local trains, and then by Autorickshaws and Taxis did they reach their Places in Bangalore.

There are various reasons why Hockey and other sports has been discriminated vis-à-vis cricket. Prominent among them is the fact that these are not glamorous and do not attract much viewer ship. Some say that the lack of major wins under their belt is a cause for Indian Hockey’s poor standing in front of cricket. As mentioned earlier, there are a numerous reasons which lead to the same sorry conclusion about hockey in our country, but the question is what needs to be done? Easiest would be to take away the tag of ‘National Sport’ from hockey. That would help in easily disregarding any cribs from the hockey fraternity. But then can we forget that this was the game which brought India 8 gold medals in Olympics, six of them in consecutive editions of the Games. So what can be done?
I think what Indian Hockey needs is a double dose of corporate sponsorship. Political influence would be hard to remove and a parallel League – the kind, of which we are seeing in cricket, might rob away the chance from a player to play for his country. Big corporate sponsorships would increase the required media visibility and popularize the game. One might argue that nobody watches a bunch of losers. But that’s a lie. Every one watches the Indian cricket team play even if it gets badly bruised and beaten. Sponsorships would also mean an access to better training facilities. We shouldn’t be expecting an overnight change in the performance of the team, but certainly that’s the way to go about it. A corporate sponsorship will not just help in getting world class facilities, rewards, and endorsements to the hockey players but would also bring in a lot of responsibility and accountability on the players. Just as the cricket players are mauled for their poor performances, the hockey players who till now were finding criticism in the form of a small editorial paragraph in the newspaper, would now be brought under the spotlight and their poor show would no longer escape the public eye.