Friday, May 17, 2013

Astonishingly fixed!!

Don’t pretend that you were unaware of it. We were well aware of it but we ignored it. We ignored it by choice, not by design. Ever since the first time match fixing reared its ugly head in the almost sacred cricket grounds in India about 13 years ago we knew that nothing would be the same. We have taken that episode and locked it away in some hidden confines of our secure mind.

We might say that we have moved past it, we might say that the systems are more vigilant; that we have better technology and science on our side to prevent the ugliness of man’s greeds (or in very few cases needs) from affecting the sanctity of the sport. But the truth is, all these weapons we have in our arsenal, are available to the other side as well. And they have learnt to use it better.

Are we really to believe that from a pool of 144 players, only 3 broke a sportsperson’s code? Are we really to believe that out of almost 360 games played in the 6 seasons nearly 300 had genuinely nail biting finishes? The signs were there all along, but we chose to ignore them. To conceive otherwise, even in the tiny confines of our minds would be to say the least, a faith shattering experience.

What will the young and innocents of India learn if we were to start seeing the truth as it is, moreover start acknowledging it for what it is. That mankind has abandoned all values and literally sold its soul? That the most rewarding and successful path to notable achievements is to throw money into the equation? Whatever happened to determination, hard work, morals, and the likes? Just the mere thought of such a world and such a young crop is horrifying. So we collectively decide to do what we do best, ignore the problem; as if that is going to make the problem disappear.

The question is where do we go from here? Do we still lie ignorant and naïve and believe that these 3 are the only black sheep among us righteous lot? The choice almost always is between the easy path and the right path. Rarely do they meet, often we blame our choice on ignorance.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cricket & India - a deep connection

Cricket has often been counted among the many religions of India. What is so special about this sport that it demands such a fan following in our country? What attributes to the tremendous success of this sport? What is the reason that none of the other sports have tasted an inkling of success?

Many in the past have tried to justify this unwarranted success of Cricket to various factors. The lack of space in India, or the subsequent need of just a 22 yard by 3 yard area to play, maybe the relatively relaxed pace of the game. Some have even gone as far as to say that it is because of the relatively lesser fitness required for the sport. These might be contributing factors, but none of these can be THE reason for the paramount success of the game.

Cricket at the most basic level is about scoring runs. Most bowlers might be offended by that statement. I am not undermining their importance to the game, but the fact is a match is not won by taking more wickets, it is won by scoring more runs. So in effect, the batsmen do become the most important cog of this wheel. But, here comes the kicker, he only gets one chance at it. One mistake, one moment of lapsed concentration, one misjudged shot and his contribution to the aim of the game is over. This is where lies the connection between Cricket and India.

Take Football or Basketball for instance. The objective is to score goals/baskets. But even if a player fails to score once, twice, or however many times till the duration of the game he keeps getting repetitive chances to score. Not like cricket.

As a society, we do not believe in second chances. Look around you and you will find plenty of examples to validate this statement. Whether it is our education system, our work culture, our marriage systems, our outlook to criminals’ correction, anything, everything. We do not believe in dishing out second chances, at least not readily.

Most of the other countries where these other sports are popular reflect this multiple chances attitude in their society. Be it a man trying various streams of studies till he finds out what interests him the most; working on different ventures, failing at them but still working on new ventures; second, third, nth chances at failed marriages, anything, everything. Second chances are offered in plenty.

If studied deeply, a sport reflects on the society. This is the reason why Cricket is losing its following among the young Indians. Their attitude is changing too. They want second chances. They understand the importance of it. They know they might make mistakes, but rather than having to live with it, it is better to move on and try again. And again till it feels right. You have after all, just one life. Why live in regret?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

the answer lies within

“The answer lies within”. No, this is not about the movie Talaash. It is about the current pathetic state of affairs of our country, of women in our country, of how men treat women in our country, of impotent laws for seemingly extra potent men. The list for things that are wrong, terribly wrong can go on and on. It doesn’t start and end with the shocking Delhi gang rape case. And the solutions professed by most seem to be all but superficial to me.

We say we want stricter laws and severe punishment for the offenders. We extend this demand not just for the culprits of this one tragedy, we want it to be made a law. My question is this…say some politician grows a spine and drafts such a bill. Have we elected good enough leaders to make this bill a law? Let’s say we have, the bill becomes a law. Do we have enough police force to catch the bastards every time such an atrocity occurs? Let’s say we have. Are they all honest enough to resist a substantial bribe when they have cornered the animals? Let’s say they are. Is our judicial system (the symbol of which, let me remind you, is a blindfolded lady) impervious enough to not let these rats be ‘baizzat bali’ due to some slimy, tiny loophole?

The point is not just to make a strict law. That is the easy part. It is the execution that is difficult. I want to draw your attention to a similar outburst our country faced some time back. The Lokpal episode. What was the outcome? We protested, the ‘leaders’ drafted a Lokpal. We shut up. The bill didn’t really have enough teeth to make a difference, but it had enough substance to make the common man believe that he had made a difference. What a brilliant convince or confuse tactical move. But the result, nothing.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not discouraging, or criticizing such demonstrations of protests. I am totally for it. If not anything, at least it gives us hope that we are not the only ones who feel that something terribly wrong has transpired here. Freedom of speech is a constitutional right. But we need to ask ourselves this, are we merely satisfying our egos by feeling that I have made a difference by going on these protests and being a part of these revolts? Or are we really making a difference?

‘Be the change you want to see’. That is all I am trying to say here. All of us are guilty, just by virtue of being a part of this system. Even seemingly harmless acts of ours have repercussions. It has eroded the system. And what we see now are the results of a broken down, ineffective system.

That is why I say, the answer lies within. You cannot force someone to be human. It has to come from within. All we need to solve this and many other issues is Humanity.