Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Kangaroo's Hat - Trick

Finally the seven week long cricketing carnival is over and the Australians get to keep the cup....again.That makes it three in a row and four in all. Somehow it was not too much of a surprise for me or anyone else. It had to be them. Actually i don't know What could have prevented them from getting it this time. Sri Lanka could have been considered as a remotely possible hurdle ( some might disagree ), but that was not to be.

The rain interfered match had its share of excitement. Though it got delayed by several hours due to rains and the overs getting reduced. Yet it had a lot of action when it finally started. Gilchrist, who didnt have a very good run at this World Cup so far, showed his abilities mercilessly against the Sri Lankan bowlers. The Aussie fans had a lot to cheer for. I think it was his innings that made the difference. Sri Lanka did make a descent start with Jayasuriya and Sangakara showing good temperment. Unfortunately they were not good enough. With the rain playing hide and seek things just did not go the Sri Lankan way. The game ended amongst comical circumstances, with bad light stopping play and the Aussies celebrating early. However play resumed in the dark and the inevitable result was the same. Anyway things always seem to go Australia's way. I wont say that they are very lucky but they dont quite seem to have a bad day very often.When the Aussies got beaten before the world cup by England and New Zealand, people realized that the champions were not invincible. At the World Cup they rubbished such claims. They are certainly beatable but most of the time they are too hot to handle.

As for this World Cup is concerened it was no less than an emotional soap opera. Lots of action. Several records broken. Some of the greatest batting and bowling performances. Lots of criticism about the way it was conducted by the ICC. Depriving the West Indian flavour of music and passion from the whole event. The high prices of the tickets kept the local populace away from the game. The early exit of big teams created furthur loss of spectators and revenues. Big sponsors lost money. Tragical events and unsolved murder mysteries. Other than this, World Cup 07 marks the end of the careers for many great legends and will most certainly be the last one for many others. So there were many who wanted to be crowned the world champs on their way out. Some announced their retirement or stepped down as captain out of sheer disappointment and despair.

The Aussies are in their league of their own. They are ruthless and perfect cricketing machines. They have stamped a mark of authority on this game. Psychologically, they literally own it. They set the standards which others can only try to follow. Their professionalism and commitment towards the game is unparallel to any other team. They belittle the most tough of situations and come out even stronger. Blowing away the puny opponents that stand up against their god-like prescence in the game. The mark of real champions. They deserve to win and settle for nothing less. With such a reputation, along with it comes a lot of arrogance and pride. Which is quite normal i suppose.

The Australians are indeed very good but they are not my favourite team. I along with so many others were quite eagerly supporting any team that went up against the cricketing giants. If only wishes would come true. The Aussies dont leave anything to chance or luck. Unfortunately the other teams do need a lot of it especially against the Aussie juggernaut. What does it take to beat them is not a simple question to answer. Lets hope we have a different outcome in the next one in 2011 for the good of the game!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

America's obsession with guns

The Virginia Tech horror

It has happened in America time and again. Senseless violence in an educational institution. It is claimed to be the worst ever such shooting but it certainly was not the first. My deepest condolences to all those who died at Virginia Tech. And also to their family and friends. But no matter how much i feel sorry for them things can't be undone. However, lessons can be learned from it. Such that similar incidences do not occur again.

As for the assailant, I don't know in what way killing so many people, some of whom he probably never knew, would satisfy any of his grudges or problems. Surely it was not a spontaneous action. It was quite well planned. With videos and pictures of his intentions being sent to the media before he did the heinous deed. He was most certainly psychotic and needed to be handled carefully. It seems he did show signs of a crooked mind, which were unfortunately ignored. A timely action and this terrible event could have been possibly avoided. But what could drive a person to kill another for absolutely no reason at all? Is society is to be blamed for not understanding a person properly, for discriminating him, for being insensitive to him? Or was he born with a messed up head? Who knows?

The point that i would like to make is, it is not possible to identify all the maniacs in a place and lock them up or counsel them. What could be done is reduce the damage that they can cause. What I mean is, not letting them, or as a matter of fact let anyone get their hands on guns so easily. America is a trigger happy nation and acquiring a gun is so very easy. It is available off the shelf in a nearby store. No fuss, no checks. As simple as that to get armed and ready to shoot. Actually the whole of American culture believes in guns. From their movies to video games. It is a part of the American way of life.

Even an average house would have a hand gun. For what? Are they so insecure about their safety? The basic idea of a handling a gun might be to "shoot to protect yourself" or to "shoot to protect someone else" but basically it is the freedom to shoot, kill and violence. That too if it reaches the hands of a deranged lunatic like in this recent incident. Here too only the motives of the killer are only being investigated but not how he got the guns or any such details. I believe the person who sold the guns is equally guilty and prosecuted. However i believe that would not happen.

If things like this continue, students instead of worrying about their studies, would be worrying about their life, from fear of being shot at by their own classmate. Such a fear in a place of learning is not at all acceptable in a civilized society. An educational institution is a place of harmony and peaceful co-existence. Where young minds come with the purpose of learning, and not with intentions of hate, revenge and violence. Someone a little upset over some frivolous issue is not expected to whip out a gun and start shooting. Is that all the principles and moral values a person will have? Can nothing restrain him from taking another's life? It is probably that few seconds of thought that is eliminated by the gun. Where all it takes is a fraction of a second to pull the trigger.

Things have to acted upon now. The American law and views regarding guns must be changed. If not done so, more innocent lives will be lost for absolutely no reason at all.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Reservations is not the solution

It is one of the oldest debates that is held in our country. A country of diversity, social taboos and discrimination. We still classify our country-men into categories and read them out their privileges. Surprisingly, the entire system is very happily accepted and the nation is quite willing to continue this on for ever. It has been over fifty years since the country got independent and yet to certain miserable souls it means nothing, since they are enslaved by their social restraints.

We see political parties become "champions" to the cause of the upliftment of the "socially backward". Quite strangely all the politicians somehow unite and share the same view point on issues like these. The stay on reservations by the Supreme Court for OBCs was one such instance. I mean, there are so many atrocities that take place against the so called "lower caste" that really are demeaning to the basic human dignity. Women and children are abused, treated worse than stray dogs. I don't see any politicians rallying for these causes. They simply turn a blind eye toward these things, pretend everything is all right. That is because people are use to the politicians only in large numbers, like cattle. They will feed the herd which gives them the maximum returns and let the other herd be sent off for slaughter.They will support only that which churns up the maximum votes for them.

Such moves to enable such reservations is a trump card which does so without having to be specific about who their intended target is. Everyone wants to be counted as belonging to some category which entitles them to certain privileges. This way they get to be in the good books of everyone. They would not even dream of changing this social system which works miracles for them. It does not a take a genius figure all that out.

How is a reservation in an IIT or an IIM going to help out a certain person who has been mentally and physically abused his or her entire life? There might be few who are lucky enough and have gained descent education. But there still are many who cant get one square meal a day. Not because there is none available, but because they are supposed to eat only after all the cows and dogs in the entire village have had their fill. Punished and abused for something over which they had no control over. Being born in a certain family is no control of theirs. Everyone is born the same way and dies the same way. So why not we judge a person by the way he or she lives his life and not by their birth. To look down on someone and worship another based on a thousand year old tradition/religion is in no way justified. Shameful rather.

The point is, the problem has to be addressed at the grass root level. The underlying belief and way of thinking which has been so strongly embedded into the way of life, has to be changed. The more emphasis given by our "wise" policy makers on such issues ( like reservations ) further enforces the ideas of caste and discrimination. In fact that is what they count on. Our petty differences fuel the ambitions of our politicians. Why not take steps to have good standard schools even in the remotest of villages? Those that will help everyone compete on the same level and cater to all, irrespective of any differences. But no such thing seems remotely possible in the near future, because there does not seem to be any significant effort taken so far. Just easy ways to fool the poor people, who are so desperate for a change.

Our generation does not care too much of these social branding ( at least i think so ). However when issues like reservations rise, suddenly, all that seems needlessly important. I am not against aiding the deprived but there should be other factors to be considered too. Factors like financial position, background and current privileges enjoyed should also be considered. If that person has already received the fruits of his or her "lower"social status and lives with dignity then the purpose has been achieved. He or she must then not be considered for any special privileges, any more. However there is no talks on such an arrangement.

I am a strong believer of equality and firmly regard it as one of the epitomes of modern India's progress. Reservations in higher educational institutions or anywhere else for that matter, is not the solution for social upliftment. It is like a temporary arrangement. Our "wonderful" politicians though consider it to be the solution and want us to believe in that too. It is an easy way to please the people, rather delusion them. The more difficult but the right way is trying to bring about equality among the citizens, which i hope should and must be the motto of the modern youth. Especially, as students and the future generation, we should not be mislead by these consolations and must make our policy makers focus on the real issues in our society.

The views and opinions are all solely my own. I express deep regret if any of my comments have hurt anyone. Any provocation to any one's feelings was totally unintentional. Unless you are a politician of course. In which case I am happy that you access the Internet, and that you can read.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Great Indian Cricket Tamasha

As expected the debates and the blame game is on. Indian cricket is being analysed and dissected by experts, the cricket board, former players, the shop keeper down the street, the milk man, the bike mechanic, my neighbours and almost everybody ( Not my mom though. She hates the whole game.). Everybody who has a mouth has an opinion. Who is to be blamed for the poor show at the World Cup? One or all? What changes should be done in the team? Should X quit and should Y be the captain? Many questions to answer and every one ready with one.

Quite surprisingly Greg Chappell had a very neat answer. He had a lot to say regarding the pathetic performance.Chappell had claimed a lot during his unabated bashing of senior Indian players a couple of days. For one thing he blamed the Indian seniors for poor sportsmanship. He said that the seniors operate like the "mafia". He also claimed that "They hammer and abuse them because they feel threatened by the junior players and don't give them a chance".

That too against players of such experience and reputation.Sachin, Rahul, Sourav are good role models for the youngsters in the team. I don't know in which way they could have possibly hampered their development. Cricket is a team game and I don't think anyone will be foolish enough to depend only on the talents of a few. It needs all the players to play well and everyone knows that.

I don't think it was right in anyway to blame anyone person or a group of players like that. Questioning their attitudes towards the game and the team like that was in no way justified. That too by the ( now the former ) coach of the team. It has been high drama in the past couple of days. Causing a needless controversy at a time when already the team morale was so low. Chappell just wanted to show that none of this was any of his fault. Though he is to be equally blamed for this. Maybe his strategies and ideas were worthless in the Indian context. Who knows? In any case he wants to wash his hands off the issue now. Following the outburst of Sachin to an Indian news agency, Chappell thinks he has had enough of being the coach, and tendered his resignation. In fact by all of his needless allegations he has made himself totally unworthy of the little sympathy I had for him. One good thing that he did with his outburst was that he diverted some of the cricket fan's anger on to himself. Now everybody is all so suddenly supportive of the team and the players! The same crowd that was threatening and abusing then not so long back.

Even if the players are to blamed, this is no way in which it should have been done. No one wants to lose a game on purpose. They did not deserve it so bad. As it is they were being tormented by their crazy fans and now this. Being humiliated like this by the coach himself, is very unfortunate. Oh! and don't even get me started on the media. They compete amongst themselves for ratings. To get the most juicy bit of information and force out a statement or a reaction even where none are available. But lets talk about the media some other time.

Anyway, it is good riddens to Mr.Chappell ( As the coach at least. I think the board has other plans for him ). Who is going to be the next coach is still an open guess. Indian or a foreigner, only time will tell. Whoever it may be will have quite a tough task at hand. There is a lot of talk going around about it. Lots of speculations but i personally feel that anyone who undertakes the task must be well known with our typical subcontinent attitude. It means, he must be prepared for some amount of politics, hero ( player ) worshipping, tackling the relentless media and the psychotic fans.Oh! and also be able to coach the team to able to WIN MATCHES.

Other than that it seems the our poor players are going to see a cut in the number of products that they can endorse. That too only after the permission of the BCCI. As well as of the salary paid to them depending on their performance. That is so cruel!!!!! How good or bad ( well...cant get any worse from here ) it does to Indian cricket will have to be seen as time goes by.

As for now, Indian cricket remains "exciting" more off the field than on it. Keeps us all amused and keeps our minds occupied with our ideas and arguments.

As an Indian cricket fan ( me of course ) once said "Let the tamasha continue....."