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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Coffee? Toffee?

There are people who think they are the cat's whiskers simply because they can stir up a controversy that leads to much gnashing of teeth, shaking of fists, stamping of feet, and clatter of keyboards. I imagine it must be immensely satisfying for these individuals to sit back, prop up their feet, and sip their shaken (or stirred) martinis as they watch the world slug it out.

One debate that is probably older than the 'Coffee? Toffee?' debate is the Delhi vs. Mumbai debate. Opinions spread faster than raging forest fires, and do much more damage. (After all, forest fires don't retweet themselves, or share themselves on other forests' walls.) What I don't understand is that why does everything have to be a 'versus' game for us? Why can't you simply enjoy a blissful walk along Marine Drive without complaining about Delhi's weather? And why can't you zip around in the Delhi Metro without using the choicest epithets for Mumbai's traffic?

I was rather appalled to read an old blog ( that someone had pasted on my wall. Normally, I treat trashy comments put on my wall with the same regard that I reserve for Ravi Shastri's comments. However, the author's name rang a bell. Manu Joseph? THE Manu Joseph? Seriously?

Well, I don't understand the need to browbeat Delhi and its people, to glorify Mumbai. I've stayed in both cities and I don't mind settling down in either of them. I love their respective cultures, things to do, places to visit, and some of the quirks of people.

As a 'Delhi male', I resent the insinuation that all that Delhi males do is be fixated by women's breasts. Oh come on, Mr. Joseph, get over your Freudian fundas! Have you ever been here long enough to see male commuters on the Delhi Metro give their seats to the fairer sex or the elederly? Have you seen a schoolkid helping an old lady cross the road? Have you seen a bus driver waiting that extra second so that the family of four can safely get off the bus?

And yes, 'phallic cars' eh? Whatever gives you the idea that a man would want a fast car to mate with women? I thought the idea was simply getting a high from speed. (I'm tempted to take a potshot at you and comment that in your city, you woudn't know much about speed.)

Undeserved privileges? Like traffic being stopped every second hour to accommodate a VIP passing by? Or unsavoury labels from pseudo-intellectuals?

As far as the onion goes, the very act of peeling it is the one that brings the reward. If you expect some further returns after having peeled the onion, well... your fault, not the onions. (Oh, and did you realise that no matter how much you crib and rave and rant, onions are rather indispensable in food - and sometimes, even in Parliament.)

I think you have a point about JNU. People chanting slogans and welcoming a man who would have possibly have had an IMDB rating of 5.5, if he had been a movie. In his own country, he is reviled by some and revered by others. So? Why should that prevent the anti-capitalists from agreeing with him? Free speech and all, innit? (Moreover, you make it sound like the entire population of Delhi was there. It wasn't.)

My opinion of Open magazine as a responsible, mature magazine has taken a major beating after reading your article, Mr. Joseph. And let's not even begin to discuss my opinion of you.

P.S. I didn't really know 'sperm' was supposed to be a bad word.

P.P.S. Assuming you're not equating yourself to being generated from a 'lowly sperm', how exactly did you originate?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cricket - a game wrongly described as gentlemanly, lorded over by boards with deep pockets and infested with bookies, fixers and other assorted shady characters.
Cricket 'World' Cup - A one-and-a-half month long frenzy that grips the 6 nations in the world, who have debatable levels of competence in the game, every once in 4 years.

Football is the beautiful game. In all its savagery, with all its pace and skill and guile, it is the real team game. It is played by over 130 nations in the world. Cricket, on the other hand, is barely played by a handful of nations. And some of them are so dismal at it, that a bunch of blindfolded neighborhood youths could probably give them a run for their money.

O Football, I love you. I worship you.

But today, I have a confession to make.

I am an adulterer. In public, I have denounced cricket, subscribing to the above mentioned definitions and many others. However, behind closed doors, I have had secret flings with my mistress. I've enjoyed brief sojourns in her company and savoured moments that are different from anything you have been able to provide. During Sachin's Sharjah blitzkrieg against the Aussies, during Sourav Ganguly's epic removing-the-jersey-and-waving at Lords, during Laxman's epic innings in 2001, and lots more, I've been there. Kumble, spinning out 10 Pakistanis. Sachin Tendulkar reaching 200 runs in a match. All these are moments, I've been proud to witness.

I cried with Kambli in 1996. I cried for what could have been. I was shattered when Cronje died. I feel the emotion of each legend of the game, as he hangs up his boots. Perhaps, if not for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, cricketers like Ponting, Murali, Lara and Warne would be ranked as cricket immortals of this era. But, the stature of the man is so great that he makes them look merely mortal, as he gazes down from his elevated pedestal.

I'm still crying as I type this out. The images of an emotional Yuvraj saying he wanted to win it for Sachin are images I will carry to my grave. Sachin Tendulkar, befittingly wrapped in the Indian tricolour given a lap of honour around the Wankhede Stadium, by his proud team mates. The great man, as humble as ever, lauding his team mates for sticking together and winning it.

I don't care if the cup doesn't come India's way in the next 28 years or even after that. I think it's a stage of nirvana that I have attained.

In fact, I'm so delighted right now, that I could possibly listen to a full hour of Ravi Shastri's commentary without grimacing even once.

Thank you, Team India.

Updated definitions:
Cricket - One Religion to rule them all, One Religion to find them, One Religion to bring them all and with its brilliance bind them.

Cricket World Cup - The Cup of Life. A ruby in the crown of THE greatest cricketer in contemporary cricket. Sachin. Ramesh. Tendulkar.

P.S. I was kidding about the Ravi Shastri bit.