Babble Without a Pause

January 21, 2012

Facebook and the Age of Virtual Activism

Time was when activism meant picketing on the streets, getting your voice heard. Or sitting in a cramped prison cell in silent protest, against a despicable racial segregation movement eating your country. Time was when protests were something you DID, for something you believed in wholeheartedly. Time was also when if you thought something was f*cked up, you’d do whatever it took to fight back. Like parking yourself in front of a military tank about to crush you down like a flea, and take a stand.





NOW, is obviously NOT that time





January 11, 2012

Where everything’s made up and the point don’t matter

This morning I awoke, like I always do on a sunny Monday morning, with a smile on my face. Several minutes of scratching and belching, a couple of looks in the bathroom mirror, more scratching, and a glass of juice later, I happened to sit down to read Cricinfo, as I always do, and happened to chance upon the following tribute written in the wake of India’s crushing loss to Australia, replete with gyaan from past and present intellectuals, cricket pundits, and miscellaneous afficionados, including such greats as Maninder Singh (a former cokehead whose worldwide prominence can be gauged from the absence of even a photo on his obligatory Wikipedia page), but mercifully devoid of  scholastic analysis from that extraordinarily articulate cricketing mind of our time, Cricinfo’s very own Sambit Bal.


Having made it through aforementioned piece, I was filled with this sickening feeling in my stomach. No, not gas. It was the familiar feeling of having just wasted 10 minutes of your time reading an article so replete with horse manure, that you start experiencing the all too familiar existential angst of why you are where you are today, what is the meaning of life, and how the 10 minutes you just spent has forever been lost, to the infinite universe around you.


For those of you too lazy to click the hyperlink above, let me put it to you in a nutshell. India sail to Australia to play cricket. Ok, US citizens and NRIs and general non-cricket-watcher-types, here is where you get off the train.


Where was I? Oh yes:

  1. India sail fly to Australia for 4 test matches.
  2. India lose first 2 test matches.
  3. Experts start calling for heads to roll.


Cricinfo, let me start with you. When you began, as a small, lowly startup, much the same as CricBuzz is today, you were good at what you did. You were the shooting star in the online cricket world, trying to bridge the divide left behind when cricket, like most sports (kabaddi being the exception) began crossing over from the print medium of brilliant magazines like SportStar to the online medium. Over the years, you began crossing over into the Reality TV channel of cricket, where every move, every quote, every statistic, and every match no matter how contrived, banal, irrelevant or pointless began to be analysed, overanalyzed, and hyperanalyzed to the point that Elton John began feeling left out. Rather than stay a pure medium of reporting on cricket for India and its cricket-hungry passionate crowd, you sellouts then, well, sold yourself out to ESPN, becoming in the process, ESPNCricinfo, a web portal that, for all intents and purposes, has a live scorecard that auto-refreshes at a pace slower than the plot of ‘How I met your mother’ moves. You have become the Bollywood Masala, the ZOOM of cricket websites, keen on filling up your pages with backtrack links, ‘expert’ opinions, reports, galleries, plays, bulletins, opinions on reports, comments on galleries, and that god-damned Facebook ‘Like’ button. It is sad to see you fall this far.


Sanjay Manjrekar, whose sole claim to fame is __________ (anybody who knows, please fill the blanks), is one of those diehard supporters of Thayndhulkar. I understand, Mumbaikar and all. Even so, to hear him say: “VVS averages 20 in last 12 overseas innings … Even if he gets a good score in next Test it will not serve India long…” was appalling  expected. Well, Mr. Manjrekar, by that erudite rationale, he should not have been selected in the first place. His spot should have been handed to Rohit Sharma from the get go. Would’ve saved Rohit the embarassment of being thrust into the furnace without adequate preparation. It would’ve spared Laxman the humiliation. And it sure as hell would have spared us from having to see your post-hangover-face, babbling babble into the Cricinfo webcam.


If you think I’m being overly harsh to Cricinfo and it’s ilk, let me eliminate all traces of perceived bias, and simply present the facts for you:

  • Dravid: 39 (by the time you read this).
  • Sachin: 39 (by the time Cricinfo begins re-runs of ‘Men in Blue are the awesomest‘ articles come April)
  • Laxman: 37 (Atleast till November).


I agree, the process of phasing out the seniors is of paramount importance, to ensure Team India is where it wants to be three, maybe four years from now. In the context of India’s ageing stars being replaced, the logical choice would be to bring the curtains down on Sachin Tendulkar. Or perhaps Rahul Dravid. I guess what’s confounding me is, in what context is Laxman the automatic first choice to be given the pink slip. He is the youngest of the three, has the best record against Australia of the three, and in all probability will be the last of the three middle-order stalwarts to retire. Yet he’s the one (surprise, surprise) in the crosshairs.


The point one erudite member of the Cricinfo bandwagon made was interesting. In his article, he says among other things, (and I paraphrase): ‘Laxman has averaged a shade over 40 in the past 12 months. That average is significantly bolstered by a 58* and 176* he made against a dispirited West Indies side at the Feroz Shah Kotla and Eden Gardens last year’. Ah yes, the doesn’t-matter-because-it-was-made-against-an-also-ran-side innings. Perhaps we should exclude innings of that kind from your career record, Sanzay Manjrekar. Or you, Ravi Shastri. It would be worth taking a gander at those stats then. It can be safely said that the same dime-a-dozen commentator would’ve been crawling out of the woodwork to criticize Laxman had he not performed against the same ‘lowly’ West Indies side. How does one win with you guys, I wonder.


The icing on the dung cake that is cricket punditry was this gem from Anshuman Gaekwad:

Sachin still has the class, Rahul is very hard-working but I am not sure how long Laxman will be able to continue.

I see. Rahul Dravid is hard-working, VVS is not. Sachin has the class, Laxman …. (I won’t dare repeat those words, for it is, in my opinion, blasphemy). For the record, it will be well nigh impossible to discover another batsman, in this generation, or the next or even TEN generations from now, that will have the class, the grace and the beauty of batsmanship that Vangipurupu Venkata Sai Laxman charmed the cricketing world with. The man made batting a thing of beauty, the wristy flick to leg an art form.


In case I haven’t already, let me make it clear. I’m not trying in the least to imply Laxman is a better batsman than either Dravid or Sachin. The three of them have, between them, more than 30,000 runs in tests. All three have their place in the pantheon of Indian greats assured, whether they retire today, or two years down the line. But to call out Laxman, a man who single-handedly won India matches in the 2nd innings chasing, for the past 2 years, is abominable, nay reprehensible. Where was Gautam Gambhir, for example. Or MS Dhoni. Where, even, was Virat Kohli. This isn’t to pin the blame on the proverbial donkey. All I’m saying (as I’m sure a lot of discerning Indian fans understand), is that it takes a team to win, just as it takes a team to lose. India did not lose the two test matches so far on account of one man’s failure. It has been an abject batting display for a while now, and, given Laxman’s golden run against Australia, it is a fool who would call for blooding Rohit Sharma at Perth, Australia’s famed paciest, bounciest wicket. Sure, Rohit deserves a chance, sure Laxman will retire one day. Given his contribution to the team’s growth and improvement of their overseas record over the last decade, the least we can do is give this Indian great his chance to walk out on his terms. It isn’t like young upstarts like young Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina or even Yuvraj Singh (I know, young?, what was I thinking) have exactly burst through the ranks, scoring centuries at will, or standing up when needed, so to play the age card is a disingenuous excuse for the selectors and the aforementioned pundits.


Gentlemen of the on-field caliber and off-field class and upstanding spirit of Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar have rarely been the type to sit around playing into their twilight years, for records, endorsements or money, that much is guaranteed. Neither are they likely to hop into the commentary box at the drop of a hundred dollar bill (I’m looking at you Shastri and Gavaskar). When they leave, it shall be on their terms, for they will know when they hear Father Time blow the whistle to call a stop to their careers. So, this one time, I address you, Harsha Bhogle, Ian Chappell, Sanjay Manjrekar, Ravi Shastri, Maninder Singh and you countless other corporate country clowns. I also address you ‘fans’ who were drooling all over Sachin when the man scored 200* a couple years ago and went on to win the World Cup last year, and have turned on him in a heartbeat with such status messages as: “Sachin kabhi to khelo jab India is in trouble……..”. I have but one thing to say to you:

Dayavittu nimma pie-hole annu shut maadiri.

Krupaya apna pie-hole band kar de.

Dei Rascala. Pie-hole shut panna da.

Krupa karun tuza pie-hole band thev.


January 2, 2012

A Rock n’ Roll kinda New Year

Filed under: Random musings,Uncategorized — Raj @ 3:38 am
Tags: , , , ,

Its been a crazy year, with everything thats come and gone. Standing on the threshold of a new year, here’s some famous words to live by.

Take it Easy in the New Year. Live Life in The Fast Lane, remembering always, that All you need is Love. Know that The Show Must Go On, and it will With or Without You, so don’t take yourself too seriously. I wish you Peace in the Funky New Year. About the year thats gone, Get Over It. If you ever end up a Victim Of Love, its gonna be hard, but Try and Love Again. Although, try not to be a Desperado.

If you’re still in the education phase of your life, I don’t need to tell you this, but you’re gonna be up All Night Long most days.  One of these Nights thoughit’ll all be over, the hard struggles of school/college. Your Stairway to Heaven may not be immediately visible to you, but Wait. Sleep each night with a Peaceful Easy Feeling, knowing full well that Your Time is gonna Come.To those of you who are working: If you like what you do, it’s time to Spread Your Wings and fly away, to soar and reach new heights this year. If you don’t, or find yourself screaming in your sleep that you Can’t Get No Satisfaction, or that you Want to Break Free, perhaps it’s time to Break on Through (To the other side), to something bigger and better.

Above all, try and walk  the Walk of Life on your own terms, One Day At A Time, with a smile on your face, and tell yourself when you’re down that you can get back up With a little help from my friends and Walk On cause tomorrow will always be a Beautiful Day.

As for 2012 and the Mayan doomsday prophecy: Well, those halfwits definitely got it wrong. So Carpe Diem Baby! Bring on the next apocalypse.

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