The 11 villains of the Australian Cricket Team

Looking at the outpour of the grief and targeted criticism towards a beautiful girl, my heart broke. Don’t get me wrong. I was grieving too. And I think Anushka should have focused on NH 11 maybe rather than asking her man “I want you here in 5 minutes”.

How prophetic that advertisement was .. which sets me thinking that some real smart brains should be employed in Advertising Council to approve only those advertisements that will have no impact whatsoever on any event in the near future. Just think of it. Anyway, I think it is completely wrong to blame the girl, beautiful girl, not very beautiful but definitely better than most of the so called other beautiful actresses out there. The real blame lies with the Australian team who actually were the villains. And as I write something about them, they are back to their craft by breaking the hearts of New Zealanders.

Look at Steven Smith. He is like the villain of our films – Ranjeet. Poor Umesh Yadav kept on saying,’ Please mujhe bhagwaan ke liye chhod do’ and he kept on smashing him, as if saying, ‘Aaaw, tujhe bhagwan ke liye chhod dunga, to mere liye kya bachega?’. He repeated the same act with other bowlers. What energy man!

And then there was Starc. Remember Shakti Kapoor. Wonder what was going on in his mind when he saw the diminutive Ajinkya Rahane. Maybe “Ooouw mere chote se Lolita. Main tera balma. Tera wicket mujhko hain lena”. Cheesy lines and for that matter can work both on the field as well as in films.

And the Bad Man Gulshan Grover was very much present as Mitchell Johnson. “Hamra naam BAD MAN aise hi nahi hi. Pehle to hum tumhar bowling ko peetunga aur phir tumko.”

Assisting them were some sidekicks or rather time pass villains. Wonder what Maxwell and Warner really talked about when they were fielding. ‘Captain to mera shikaar hain. Baaki sab tere liye.’

‘Hmm, gosht tera aur mere liye sirf haddiyan. Bahut na insaafi hai. IPL main bade sher bante hain, chalo inko bheegi billi banaye.’

Well, it is not really possible to imagine that they could really talk in Hindi or for the imagination drained minds to even figure out what am I talking about. The fact of the matter is that I don’t really agree with those comments and thoughts which say that ‘Hey, at least we reached the semi-finals. Respect.’ For a country which really does not care about any other sport or game and pledges its time, money and thoughts on this game and rather its cricketers, nothing less than a world cup should do. You don’t win test matches abroad. You don’t win one day world cup. You don’t win T20 cup. So what have you achieved?

Besides creating brands for themselves, is there anything that these 11 jokers can showcase as their achievements? Ok, you beat teams when they visit India. Okay, you have great personal batting or bowling records. And often I feel it is only the records that each one of them is worried about.

So, I wonder why there wasn’t an advertisement which said, ’I don’t need you in 5 minutes. I don’t need you at all if you come without the world cup.’ Or maybe ‘Jo desh se kare pyaar, who world cup se kaise kare inkaar?’ Maybe it is sounding too naïve or reeks of jingoism. But, what does Saina Nehwal think of when she keeps on fighting in different tournaments without being adored as a goddess as these jokers are often referred to (as gods). Why isn’t badminton referred as a religion or hockey or football for that matter. In fact, the only question wherein all kids and adults alike always answer wrongly is ‘Which is the national game of India?. If you think it is cricket, I really can’t blame you.

Wonder what the 2 girls who won Olympic gold in Squash (see I don’t even know their names, so cricket obsessed we are as a nation) thought of? I guess nobody told them ‘I want to see you in 5 minutes’. Or the kabaddi world champions who are waiting for an auto rickshaw. (Latest article on FB. Check it out).

Still, it is unfair for us to blame the team who dint even look like making to the semi finals. Are you joking? We are talking about a team full of jokers who are established brands and we still expect less. Talk to any organisation or sales head and tell him that there are 100 odd leads but only 2 closed cases. Do you think that you would be appreciated or get a kick at the right place to get your senses right?

Arre, the badminton, kabaadi, squash, boxing girls won … They achieved their target. And we don’t know about them so well. They are not even established brands. So, whose mistake is that? Government? Sports ministry? Or us? No, it is the fault of our actor or actresses who do not associate themselves with award winners rather hog the limelight with the losers.

Still, it is not good to expect too much from our cricketers. We are a soft hearted nation and we could have won the world cup had it not been for those 11 villains. Right!

Look at what Faulkner did. ‘Main woh bala hoon jo sheeshe se patthar ko nahi todta, apni slow bowling se wicket leta hoon hoon. Aur jab mood main aata hoon, dushman ke chhakke chuda deta hoon.’ Well, nobody could imitate Prem Chopra ever, neither in words or action.

And all that Michael Clarke had mogamboto say at the end of the game was ‘Mogambo khush hua’.

ME and my College Bag are becoming ‘Abhay’ – What your father goes?

The other day I was in our sales office which is on the 15th floor of a well-known and prominent corporate park at Goregaon. By the time the meeting ended it was 630 in the evening and needless to say the fear of being engulfed by the evening-traffic-rush made me break the record of 60 metre sprint from the meeting room to the exit. The posh local train compartment, also called as elevator by sophisticated ones, was nearly full and hardly had any space once my a** was in. And then it happened!

Abhay BagA typical corporate dude with his typical looking College Bag squeezed himself inside. The good thing about today’s dudes is that they are not unhealthy like us but the same can’t be said about their shoulder bags. It is not the bag that irritated me though, it was rather the attitude of the person (erroneously thought of as a ‘dude’ earlier) who pushed himself inside disregarding the convenience of others. The whole act reeked of the approach of “ME and my shoulder bag has got inside, occupying space meant for two people.. What your father goes? You adjust. You suffer.” Sympathizers may argue that he could not have left his bag outside. Well, thankfully bag manufacturers still have the sense to create a handle or a hook at the top of the bag with which you can hold the bag with your arms stretched downward thus allowing people around you some deserving space which you otherwise deprive them of by using the shoulder straps of the bag. And unfortunately, he is not alone!

As I rekindle my memories of Engineering days, when this trend had just started, the college bags had started to become a ubiquitous item carried in a pregnant format. I never realized that others will follow suit as it was quite a non manly and uncool thing to do. Imagine college kids and their bags on the shoulder with the bulky portion or the meat of the bag pressing against their tummies. The intent of these innovators was to have space in the crowded local trains without worrying about a clever thief unzipping the bag from behind and stealing valuable engineering books and papers and copying chits. And those were the days when some builders, politicians and industrialists were getting richer by the day or rather the media was finally showing the country divide between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. And within a few years when the dollar into rupee conversion turned many software programmers into millionaires who could buy a flat and car and yet enjoy the foreign locales, the college bag had replaced all other forms of bags for kids, students, office goers and even small time businessman. And so was the bag carrying style. The handle and the hook were not to be used. Was it only convenience or were the beliefs and attitudes changing? So were we believing that we have been short changed in life while a few lucky ones were getting everything in the world? Was our righteousness and caring and sharing attitude the hindrance to becoming rich?

So was there any connection between the way we carried our bags and the social statuses? Were we becoming a country who cared nothing for others? Was the great middle class which was one big family getting transformed into many nuclear families wherein each was managing his or her own affairs and not meddling into the lives of the other families? Was money becoming the new way of identifying with the world and its inhabitants?

I have often thought about it without getting definite answers. However the signs were all over the place.

How often have we come across people who would leave the tap running while washing their face or even while adjusting their hair as if they took an oath everyday to waste water ….

How often have we seen people throw away waste like chocolate / chewing gum / saunf wrappers / bus tickets as if the road was begging them to do so ….

How often have we seen people not bothering to switch off the electric lights / computer screens at offices / public places as if this was the way to protest against the treatment meted out to them ….

So what am I saying?

We, the people, especially the middle class has lost its heart. And unfortunately the middle class is the heart of the nation. So the nation has lost its heart and it’s connected feelings of empathy, sensitivity and sharing while adopting one feeling – becoming ‘Abhay’ (Fearless). Today, the middle class does not fear the societal norms and civic sense anymore as there is angst within us that some lucky guys have made it rich so fast. We do not fear being admonished by our elders for not caring for the neighbours, society or less privileged as at least we are practicing the principle of swadharma (caring for self).

And this fearlessness is evident at all levels of life. This feeling which has been passed on through smart phones and videos and internet and lesser and lesser of personal touch is today evident everywhere. The new age mantra is become ‘Abhay’ and rise to your glory and wealth and a popular figure on the social media. Small baby steps that help you in achieving the same –

  • Care for yourself first, second and third. Maybe the fourth could be your friend. You can always decide on that basis the Whatsapp messages received.
  • Make your own space, even at times if it means encroaching other’s space. Let the guy fall off the train, my bag retain its place on my shoulder. Let me cut lanes while driving fast, other cars can utilize the services of brakes.
  • I cannot be number two. I must have the maximum likes on FB. I have to ride from the left, center or right of the road and overtake all those vehicles. That proves me a winner. Right!
  • I am a leader of myself. Even when in a team. Let me highlight my glories, my trophies. A simple thank you for the team is good enough.

From a Chalta Hai attitude the country has moved on and is becoming Abhay – Mera ho gaya. Tu tera dekh. Whether we moved on from 3rd gear to 4th gear or put the social structure in reverse gear is a question whose answer will be known in years to come. Or maybe it is already known.

Maybe if this blog gets noticed, I can start marketing “I am Abhay” bags. 🙂

100 Not Out. Still there are Fires. Still there is Smoke.

During the good old Doordarshan days when the number of channels was limited and even the advent of Cable channel did not completely rob DD Metro of its sheen, there were some advertisements that created an impression forever. These were shown on DD as well as cable TV channel. The prestige ‘Jo biwi se kare pyaar …’, the Hamara Bajaj ‘Buland bharat ki buland tasveer …’, Lalitaji from the RIN Ad …and so on. And then there were social messages which were super famous and loved by all. ‘Didi, ye anek kya hota hai?’ … The Swimmi Ad wherein all small fish synchronized their swimming to become a big fish and then as if on cue that the common junta also understands English, we were exposed to a daily dose of “With a cigarette in my hand, I felt like a man” which ended with “With a cigarette in my hand, I was a dead man”. In fact, these 2 statements made me take up a cigarette in life.

The message showed a young guy with lovely looking ladies all around him when he was smoking. That’s instant gratification of one’s desires. I wonder how many really even saw the other half of the message. And when we looked around during college days, it was a proof that cigarette smoking was cool. Still, not many succumbed to it and I doubt if the social message had anything to do with it. Maybe it was middle class values or maybe the pocket-money wasn’t that good enough. However, some of my friends were hooked on to it and as age increased, the number increased. Maybe a key reason for this increase was in fact the last line of the message that sounded like a big lie – “With a cigarette in my hand, I was a dead man”. I did not see anybody around me who smoked, die a painful death with lot of coughing and puking. Everything was fine. People were smoking and living a good life. They still looked cool. The guys who smoked seemed as if they had a purpose in life.

smoke freeAnd I became a regular smoker at my first job. The corporate life demanded it or so I thought. The old song ‘Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fikra ko dhuein main udhata chala gaya …’ defended or in fact made smoking a righteous act. Many a cup of tea and coffee along with this dhuan (smoke) were enjoyed in working life. And often I thought why did I smoke? And I got some answers.

(1)    There is no smoke without fire and when the fire is lit at one end of the cigarette, you can be rest assured that somebody’s heart or head is on fire. Maybe he had a fight with his boss, or some issue with wife, or society, or all the issues related with so many responsibilities on his poor shoulders; the bechara smoker deserves his smoke. To get rid of mental stress and tension.

(2)    And why is it a “he”? Even “she” smokes. But, it is common understanding amongst all smokers as well as junta that the female gender is blessed with high emotional understanding and hence their heart and head do not undergo that level of pain that a guy undergoes. And not to forget our Indian culture, our forefathers had hukka, chillum et al. It is a guy thing.

(3)    Smoking is one aspect of budget that has seen a continual increase and since it leads to so much revenue in terms of tax, so one has to smoke. But, true to the spirit of smoking, a smoker can compensate for the inflationary rise by eating less of biscuits, nankeens or even fruits for that matter. Who eats fruits anyway these days when fruit juice is readily available?

(4)    Employment – not only to the workers of tobacco industry but also to the allied industries of chewing gums, mouth freshners, saunf et al. For every cigarette smoked, at least 10% is spent in buying stuff to get rid of the bad breath. But, money is not everything in life. One has to transcend to higher pleasures of life and one of them which leads to you temporary relief is smoking. So, even if it comes at a price, then why not?

(5)    Public image – Again, in this age of self discovery it doesn’t make sense what people think of you. So why worry how they perceive you? It’s your money, your smoke and your time. Often I saw dedicated guys learning something or doing something different from having a relaxed smoke time. Such a waste of time. A dear friend of mine, a handsome, debonair fellow from South has a huge female fan following on FB. However, none of his photos include a smoke or process of smoking or a cigarette. And I often wonder why?

This point actually made me think. The earlier points I totally agreed to – I got relieved from tension and all issues of life when I smoked. It made me feel macho. I contributed towards society through tax and generating employment for many. But, why was I put into a “Reserved” category?

For smoking, I had to be out of office. Many places strictly do not allow smoking and if found smoking you had to pay a hefty fine. Whether it was hot sun or even dense showers, despite me braving these elements, I was still shooed away and made to smoke in some corner. Why? Why was I treated like an outcast though I smoked maybe only a smoke a day and didn’t harm a soul? Though being a very light smoker, I contributed to the welfare of street side tea stall to the amount of nearly Rs. 4,000 every year. Still, why did I have to go out from the confines of my home, or office or any public space and smoke in a corner as if I was committing a crime?

Some questions don’t really have an answer; they are an answer themselves. And I realized that maybe “With a cigarette in my hand, I wasn’t exactly a dead man but I wasn’t feeling like a FREE man”. I was too dependent on that roll of paper between my fingers; too restricted by people asking me not to smoke; too confined in corners. 100+ days ago I became a free man. There are still fires in life, still smoky situations abound, however, none require me to lose my freedom. There are many other ways to deal with them besides that small roll of paper with wonderful ingredients within. Some I have already spoken about.

Rishi Arya