Advance preparation

In the final analysis, the Indian cricket team managed a respectable showing in the recently concluded World Cup Cricket for One-day Internationals (ODIs), ending up as one of the two losing semi-finalists.

How that happened cricket pundits are still trying to figure out. Pretty much the same team that did not win a single game in the two months they spent in Australia prior to the World Cup, their undefeated progress to the semi-finals has become a bit of an enigma. Knowledgeable analyses like “they would have felt at home after so many days in Australia”, “playing Pakistan in the first match was the key”, “the team management helped them focus on the game” have been offered, giving us deep insights into winning cricket games.

But this is the hallmark of great teams. Up one day, especially when playing at home. Down the very next. Frequently giving up without a fight. Being consistent, especially when on a losing streak, particularly in unfamiliar conditions overseas.

While the armchair pundits continue their efforts at unravelling the mystery behind the team’s showing, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), claiming responsibility for the World Cup performance, while maintaining a dignified silence on performance prior to the Cup, is not letting the cat out of the bag. Instead, demonstrating the leadership that has made it India’s richest sports body which apparently generates 80% of the revenue generated by the game all over the world, it has already hunkered down to the task of preparing for the next World Cup.

Their actions in the immediate aftermath of the recently concluded World Cup might also provide some clues on the turnaround in the team’s performance.

 As a start, the BCCI has lost no time in issuing guidelines to the Advertising Standards Council of India, the apex self-regulating industry body for advertising companies, that when a pretty girl calls a cricketer in an ad, she has to give him at least an hour to reach her. Five minutes will just not do, as was the case with a TV ad of a tyre company where a girl had the cheek to ask the vice-captain of the team to reach there in five minutes, and which, one can conclude, was the reason for his lasting no more than five minutes on the pitch in a crunch game.

Thankfully (or was it pre-planned by the Board? Perhaps we will never know) the next edition is in England and Wales, where our teams have had spectacular lack of success in the past, though a couple of teams in the past did buck the trend. A long series of matches has been scheduled just prior to the tournament, involving the home team and, for additional insurance, the other best team in the world (India is always one of the best teams; sometimes one of best four, sometimes one of best seven, sometimes one of best twelve). Matches will be scheduled on pitches that require skill and fitness. After this series against fast pitches and competent opposition before the Cup, whatever performance the team is able to put-up in the World Cup will be like manna from heaven.

The number of teams participating has been reduced to ten. Who can argue that even if the team involved is Afghanistan or Ireland, or even Fiji and Chile, who have never claimed to play cricket, for that matter, the possibility of defeat always looms, such glorious uncertainties is what the game of cricket is made up of. Gradually, the number of teams will be reduced in future editions, till we are left with two, one of them India. From then onwards, the winner will be decided based on the toss of a coin. If we lose…well, who can argue with the caprices of a coin.

Even management of supporters has not been left to chance. Selection policies have been updated to ensure that at least one of the major players has a girlfriend who is a well-known actress, so that knowledgeable fans know who to blame for the team’s poor performance.

In an inspired move, the selection committee has asked for the duration of T20 cricket’s India Premier League to be extended so that the top overseas players who participate in it can qualify to play for India and eliminate the problem of Indian players not performing overseas. There need to be teams and players overseas to lose to, stupid! In any case, it is a much more controllable and easier method to deliver results than the alternative, which is to get people to adopt fitness and sports as a way of life. 

Eagerly looking forward to the next World Cup.

Defamation

We can hold our heads high.

Our leaders are leaving no stone unturned to protect us. British film-maker Leslee Udwin’s documentary “India’s daughter” has been banned. It has been banned because it defames the country.

By the way, we know that the country’s defamation can only happen when a foreigner is involved, like in this case. An Indian can, at best, cause regional defamation, state-level defamation or religious defamation. But defaming the whole country? No, an Indian can never hope to rise to the level of causing national defamation.

And why should it (the documentary) not be (banned)? After all, it seeks to unearth the truth. And ask searching questions about male attitudes towards women. It deserves to be banned.

Of course, it is quite possible that in the process of interviewing the accused, laws may have been broken, which the Home Minister has been at pains to point out. And that needs to be addressed, as the common man is extremely upset about that, which is evident from the fact that amongst the milling crowds at bus-stops, the people at corner shops, the panellists on TV shows, the headlines in newspapers, nobody is talking about it. The Home Minister has rightly addressed this aspect to allay the fears of the common man.

The documentary, among other things, portrays the accused in the infamous Delhi rape case of December 2012 as blaming the victim for the rape. It is a clear case of a sick mind. We need to shelter the public from such honest confessions, especially the adult male population, who currently don’t, but will start thinking like the accused if exposed to his views. Who knows what further atrocities women will be subject to as a result, that would not take place if the adult male population were not to be exposed to these views.

If that is not enough, we are bound to reverse the gains that have been made in uplifting the stock of women in the country through the introduction of pink taxis and a women-only bank run by men.

Whoever has heard of a debate on an issue of importance doing any good in our society? Whoever has heard of presentation of a true picture ever leading to a catharis in our society? Whoever has heard of debate and counter-argument leading to society gaining a clearer understanding about itself?

There is no need to waste time on such trifles. In any case, since we know that ours is a rich culture, there is no need for a debate, or presentation of a true picture of what people really think, especially men about women. We know. We know all men are chaste and pure and only possess clean and noble thoughts for women. It is only the people who are caught after acts of crime against women who possess a sick mind. Everyone else is clean.

And we know that men have the right to decide. On what women should do. What they should wear. Where they should go. Who they should meet.

Now that the issue of defamation of the nation from presentation of a true picture has come to light, requiring political leaders to act, we should be happy our leaders do not undertake half-measures. When they address an issue, they address it whole-heartedly. Defamation might never be able to raise its ugly head.

In order to shield the country from defamation brought on by poor performance in a future game, political leaders have prevailed upon the Board of Control for Cricket in India to use its clout in world cricket to treat all games, where the Indian team loses, as not having ever been played, with retrospective effect. Any media house found covering the same will be acted against. This will also prevent any other country defeating India from inviting criminal charges from the Indian government for defamation of the nation.

Every person who does not wear foreign clothes or, at the very least, does not talk in a western language, will be removed to an area specially reserved for such misfits. After all, if an overseas visitor were to interact with such a person and see reality, would it not create a poor impression of our great civilisation that is tantamount to defamation? We cannot leave such things to chance.

If at any point of time economic measures reveal a less-than-rosy picture, the slump in growth is to be addressed by changing the formula to measure growth rather than risk defamation.

Many other measures have been prescribed. But nothing is foolproof. To cover that eventuality, legislation has been enacted requiring citizens, in the manner of Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys, to “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil”. In simple terms, bury your head in the sand and pretend all is well.

In the interest of transparency and openness and in order to protect against defamation, all divergent views, particularly ones that call upon men to introspect about their attitude towards women, need to be clamped down upon.

Being published

I feel happy to share with you that the last two issues of Friday Gurgaon, a weekly newspaper in Gurgaon, have featured my articles. Here are the links to the two articles in the online version of the paper:

http://www.fridaygurgaon.com/news/5808-Licence-to-Learn.html

http://www.fridaygurgaon.com/news/5792-lies-damned-lies-and-elections.html

Regular readers of this blog will recognise these two as modified (and edited) versions of articles published on the blog.

Friday Gurgaon is also open to continue assessing future submissions for publishing :-)

Another article was published in Unhinged, an online satire magazine, a few days back. Here is the link:

http://unhingedmagazine.com/2015/02/the-good-that-men-do/

An interesting thing I have noted is that both Friday Gurgaon and Unhinged have embellished the article/s with images. My articles are always only prose, except, where the article is about an image of some sort, like traffic signs. Perhaps time to consider including suitable images, though I think addition of images limits imagination. Not sure if that last sentence made any sense. Will welcome views on inclusion of images with articles.

Lies, damn lies, and elections

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of resorting to funding through illegal means…who has accused the BJP of irresponsible behaviour by taking credit for events they had nothing to do with, like reduction in fuel prices…who has accused the AAP of behaving irresponsibly while in government…who has accused Congress of failing to protect the honour and dignity of women when in power…who has accused BJP of inadequate political strength in the state as they had to parachute a Chief Ministerial (CM) candidate from outside the party…who has accused AAP of diversionary tactics as they have no substance…who has accused BJP that black money has not come back despite it being a national election promise made by them last year…who has accused AAP and the entire sub-caste to which the CM candidate belongs as being anarchists…who has accused BJP of unfairly tarnishing the image of a peacable and industrious community…who has accused AAP of making false promises and misleading people…who has accused BJP of tampering with voting machines that will be used in the elections…who has accused Congress of mismanagement of local affairs in their long reign…who has accused the BJP leader, also the country’s Prime Minister, of wearing expensive foreign clothes made in UK despite their “Make in India” call to the nation and the world…who has accused them right back of wearing expensive foreign clothes themselves and, to add insult to injury, expensive shoes as well…who has accused BJP of treating the Northeastern people as immigrants and, further, not being able to distinguish between Nagaland and Mizoram…who has accused AAP of trying to stay in the limelight through dubious means, and misleading and being negative as per old habit…who has accused BJP’s CM candidate of sourcing funds from abroad for her NGO without revealing the source…who has accused Congress of taking the people for granted during their years in power…who has accused BJP of portraying Mahapurush (Great Man) Anna Hazare as deceased…who has accused AAP of immaturity by politicising a routine political insult and failing to understand the metaphor…who has accused BJP of being in cahoots with industrialists, particularly the ones whose surname end with “ni”…who has accused Congress of being anti-development…who has accused AAP of forming a united front with BJP to wipe out their ideology…who has accused BJP of hiding the reasons why their CM candidate was removed as DIG (Deputy Inspector General) of Mizoram, Goa and Chandigarh…who has accused AAP of wasting public money by not joining forces without pre-conditions with BJP after the last elections leading to re-elections within a year…who has accused BJP of being inconsistent and issuing an advertisement that does not mock AAP…who has accused independent survey agencies being motivated by narrow commercial interests, especially if their results predict a loss for BJP…

Phew! I don’t know if this will qualify as the longest sentence written. It is certainly the longest written by me. Politics does this to you. Enables you to overcome your self-defined limits and reach beyond. Boldly go where you have not been before.

I hope by now you are pretty clear what each party stands for and what their strengths are.

At any rate, I am sure we are all clear what the other parties stand for and what their weaknesses are.

Delhi state elections are scheduled for the 7th. Results will be declared on the 10th. Campaigning gets over on the 5th (today). I will need something strong tomorrow to replace this excitement.

Get the picture?

My teenage son, who has just been through with the Student Body elections in his school, and watching news channels on TV with me cover the elections , seems to have an unasked question on his lips, “But why does our school tell us that we cannot malign other candidates?”

FAMOUS LAST WORDS. This post originally 4/12/13. Let’s have fun today and add yours. Interactive smiling day

Ankur Mithal:

Deviating from the cartoons he usually posts, here is a delightful collection of “Famous Last Words” from one of my oldest blogging friends that I enjoyed reading and that, I think, my readers might also like. I must add, though, that I could not place a few of the “famous” people.

Originally posted on I Know I Made You Smile:

Napoleon Napoleon

Socrates Socrates

3 words4 words

View original

Con-science

Do you want more evidence?

The words were spoken calmly. Each syllable clearly standing out, much like the character of Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies enunciating his lines, speaking to a young, disbelieving Harry. The voice was soft, barely audible. But they had the effect of a thunderclap on the listener.

A hush descended over the audience.

“Nnnno”, came the feeble reply, as soon as he came to. But for the audience the matter had already been settled.

The speaker of “Nnnno” was a renowned scientist. In a panel discussion on the existence and usage of an Access Control System superior to the ones used today, he had dared to question the veracity of claims made by a prominent leader of a political party, who had produced arguments in favour of the fact. The fact, as the leader had knowledgeably articulated, was that there were, indeed, Access Control Systems superior to the ones used today, that were commonly used. 

After some light debate, while patronising the lack of knowledge of the scientist and hoping he would back off and avoid a public embarrassment, the political leader had finally got irked and, rising to his full height, said, “have you not heard of the ‘Laxman Rekha’?” which had produced a stunned silence in the hall, to break which he had calmly queried, “do you want more evidence?”

Now who has not heard of the ‘Laxman Rekha’, the magical access control system practiced by Laxman who, while going away to look for his brother Ram in the jungle, had drawn a line around Ram’s wife Seeta’s dwelling to ensure nobody could cross that line and harm her? What was it if not access control? Created, not be maniacal data-punching into a computer and issuing plastic cards, but simply by drawing a line with the tip of one of the arrows in his quiver. Activated neither by proximity nor by insertion of the issued card, but by the mere presence of an individual in the vicinity, hence based on advanced bio-technology.

The scientist, clearly, had not researched his facts.

The Prime Minister had set the ball rolling immediately after winning the election and forming a new government, by informing an incredulous crowd at a rally that plastic surgery was commonly practiced in the country in ancient times.

His claim was met with a stony silence. The PM had paused, expecting a thunderous ovation. But he had reckoned without the rationality of the gathered crowd. Sensing the mood, which he was so good at, having only recently become PM, he weighed his options. Based on a long and old tradition, evidence was looked down upon, particularly when one had to provide it. But this was not your usual situation. The credibility of the PM, and of the new government, was at stake. He reluctantly asked, “How do you think Lord Ganesh got the head of an elephant?”

It was a rhetorical question, and the crowd erupted in response. The smoking gun, with fresh fingerprints, had been produced. No other evidence was required.

Soon after, in another rally, the Home Minister informed the gathered crowd that genetic sciences were commonly practiced during the time of the Mahabharat.

The crowd was taken aback. They had heard about the plastic surgery capability that had been revealed to a crowd at another place by the PM, but were not, it appears, ready for another blow to their dearly held beliefs. Displaying traits of an informed, logical crowd, they met the claim with a stony silence.

It was the Home Minister’s turn to be taken aback. After the tough time the PM had faced in convincing a crowd of the nation’s ancient plastic surgery capability, he had expected this disclosure to be met with less resistance. But he had reckoned without the rationality of crowds attending political rallies.

Faced with a similar dilemma as the PM a few days back, he asked, “how do you think Karn was born outside his mother’s womb?”

Once again, it was a rhetorical question, and once again, as only a logical crowd would, it erupted in response. Could this be real? Was it possible to produce two solid pieces of evidence in such quick succession? Who had not watched the serialisation of the Mahabharat on TV only a few years back? How had they missed this crucial part? But they were a generous crowd. They recognised greatness when they saw it. They acknowledged that the Home Minister had been able to rise to his exalted position only because of such powers of observation which he was now sharing with them. They had missed the part as they are ordinary mortals. With these happy thoughts, the rally ended.

The ruling party has been on a roll ever since. Skeletons have been tumbling out of cupboards all over the country.

We now know that we discovered Pythagoras’ theorem, even though we did not even have anyone named Pythagoras in any of our myths. Having had to make a choice between installing Pythagoras amid our pantheon of Gods and Goddesses and lending the discovery to someone else where the name would be more likely to appear in myths, we apparently lent it to the Greeks.

Flying was common. In aircraft alongwith other people, as well as solo. Who has not heard of Raavan flying off with Seeta in the ‘Pushpak Vimaan’? Who dare question that Hanuman flew off to ‘Doonagiri Parbat’ in the Himalayas to get the ‘Sanjeevni Booti’, a medicine, for Laxman, when he was struck by an arrow? Would Laxman not be dead if Hanuman had not flown solo? Even though not required, sketches have emerged of huge rectangular boxes which do not adhere to any of the laws of flying discovered by the modern world. If ancients could make those boxes fly, they could make anything fly.

And can anyone question the availability of nuclear missiles? Who can forget Ram and Laxman, in the televised version of Ramayan, touching an arrow to their forehead, saying a silent prayer, and unleashing terrible death and destruction with the missile? They even propagated the concept of the nuclear switch that has been adopted by modern rulers. Only the top two, Ram and Laxman respectively, had access to launching those missiles.

The Earth is round – this has apparently been stated by modern man a few centuries back. We have always known it. Don’t we know that Lord Vishnu’s Varaha avatar (incarnation as a boar) lifted it out of water to save it from deluge and destruction. Recently illustrated versions of the myth depict Varaha with the Earth on its nose. And since the Earth is round in these illustrations, it proves that we knew the Earth was round even in those times. Even though the story had not been illustrated with a round Earth in the times it had been told.

We are on the lookout for creating more such scientific and undisputable data. These discoveries are even more significant because nobody else believes them. There is a lot that remains to be done. We have to find reasons for claiming that we built submarines in ancient times. We need to find reasons for having discovered remedies to threatening ailments like Cancer that either did not exist in those times or had not been discovered. With the vast array of mythological treasure trove at our disposal, no peak appears too high.

Several noteworthy initiatives are already underway. A path-breaking research has been undertaken at a prestigious institution to prove that the chemical composition of water in the Nile, H2O, is the same as that of water in the Ganga. Does it not prove that Ganga is the font of all rivers in the world?

I am humbled by all these revelations and the ones still to be made. Nay, not humbled, ashamed. I have taken pride in our history and traditions without even knowing the facts. How am I any better than the unthinking masses who I often mock? I need to make amends.

As a first step, I consider it a humble duty to take forward this rich legacy; this rich legacy of writing great stories that have no fundamental logic underlying magical events. So that a millennia later, should some likeness of the magical events be translated into reality thanks to technological advances in the interim, our centuries-old technological prowess can continue to be proven without anyone else believing it.

And, I believe my generation is infinitely better placed than the sages of the past who penned most of our mythological literature, to do so. We have a purpose in mind; of continuing our great tradition of laying claims to technological advances that nobody else believes.

The old sages, in comparison, had no such vision. They did not have such political leaders to blaze the way for them. They were merely writing great stories of which, the two that I am most familiar with, ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’, remain the most relevant, riveting and compelling stories ever told. Cannot but feel pity for the poor sages.

Season’s Greetings

Workready greetings

Wishing all my e-friends a Merry Christmas (belated) and a Happy New Year (in advance).

My “work” has rarely found a mention on this blog. This greeting is one instance of a crossover. I made this greeting with the help of my wife and son for business connections and…OK, OK, my wife and son made the greeting and I , well, thanked them. I thought it turned out very well and decided to use it for the blog as well.

Workready Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is the name of the company for which this greeting was made.