Monday, April 21, 2014

IPL 7 – an IPL without Razzmatazz!!!

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a cricket tournament named Indian Premier League going on somewhere in the land which was once forbidden forever by India. If you have noticed, you must congratulate yourself for your observation skills. If you haven’t, I wouldn’t blame you for missing an event which hasn’t done much to get anyone’s notice.
While I have said this in every season of IPL starting from second season, “that this is the dullest season of IPL”, this time I can say with lot more surety. This is surely the dullest season.
Right from the ads.
Chalo Bulava aaya hai makes one feel if IPL has been played in Jammu – near Vaishno Devi. These ads are nothing compared to what we have seen in the past like the legendary Jhamping Japaak. And I am not even talking about one of the best ever ads we saw in season 1 – Mano aur Ranjan ka Baap. The phrase used in that ad – kab tak chupegi kali patton ki aad mein, kabhi na kabhi to aayegi bhindi baajar mein was creativity at its best. Compared to such legacy of IPL ads, current lot looks like an old Maruti 800 compared to Mercedes Benz.
Another problem IPL is facing is the dearth of legends. No serenity of Tendulkar’s strokes, no calmness of Dravid’s presence in the middle or irritation of Sreesanth’s tantrums. The next generation which was supposed to become legend to carry on IPL’s torch seems to be fading away – Gautam Gambhir is carrying on his form from where he left at the point of being dropped, Sehwag is giving him company and Yuvraj Singh is just a bouncer and a full length ball away from looking like he did in WT20 final.
But such days had to come, maybe they came sooner than they should have. This was inevitable part.
What is hurting most is the part which could have been avoided. One legend IPL is surely missing bears the name of wave which is supposed to have engulfed entire nation – Modi, Lalit Modi. Make no mistake, IPL without Modi is like what Baby Doll would be without Sunny Leone. Without him, every season has increasingly lost its riches. Current season looks like a poor orphan.
Let me give an example. In his days, “money is not an issue at all” was tattooed everywhere on IPL. People made money. It was well spent too. Everyone went home happy.
But not anymore.
I was bamboozled to see LED lit stumps and bails in WT20. Now when I see stumps and bails without the lights of LED in IPL7, I feel as if it is a tournament organized by poor board – totally opposite to what IPL was supposed to be, abundance of wealth. Other than the cost, I cannot think of any other reason to do away with glamorous lights. In LKM’s days, if an ICC tournament had LED lit stumps and bails, he would have put real diamonds on stumps.
If IPL needs one legend to be back, it is LKM. Maybe one slogan IPL8 must shout months before it starts, if it does, is Abki Baar Modi Sarkar.
Coming back to cricket – it has been typical IPL style.
Batsmen have been slogging and slogging well. Every shot is told us to be an amazing shot which was never seen before. Every Six is prefixed with a sponsor name. Every four is shown to be a disappointment as why it wasn’t a six.
Bowlers are pitied. Yet people are happier with high scoring matches than low scoring matches. In every match, we keep discovering a new Ishant Sharma – be it Morne Morkel or Dhawal Kulkarni. This proves that secret of Ishant’s brilliance, as opposed to popular belief, is not in his hair.
Off spinners are bowling nothing but leg spin in the name of carom ball or doosra.  Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla are two main leg spinners. Indian medium pacers keep bowling in three different speeds – slow, slower and slowest. That day is not far away when speed of Indian medium pacers will be giving tough competition to IRCTC.
In one of the matches, Rajat Bhatia bowled at 82kph. Erapalli Prasanna would have been proud to bowl at that pace. Bhatia bowls at this pace when he runs in like a medium pacer. Imagine if he had run up of a spinner. While such style of bowling seems to be effective when batsmen are supposed to hit every ball out of park, it reduces your chances to get batsmen out bowled – I wonder if bails would get dislodged at this pace. But then, bowl slow seems to be the mantra. After all, not everyone can be a Dale Steyn. Becoming Ishant is easy as we discover in every match.
To all that hype and hoopla about modern day fielding, more catches have been dropped than one would expect. More catches are told to be extraordinary when they look quite ordinary. More fielders are trying to make simple catches look ordinary. Like any corporate presentation, fielding is turning out to be more about presentation skills than content.
Teams have changes so much that you would find it difficult to remember the original teams.
CSK has remained largely constant and mostly consistent. There was a time when we hoped men in blue to play like men in yellow. After inception of CSK, people are hoping to play in yellow to be able to play in blue.
MI looks confused at the top of batting. But then, such has been the vacuum created at their top order. They seem to be a bit too dependent on Mallinga, too confused about Pollard and too messed up otherwise.
KXIP, as it has always been, is more about the owner than the team.
People will judge Virat’s captaincy skills when he plays for RCB. It will be compared with MSD’s skills. Hope they forget it all and just enjoy his batting. If there is one team you would like to watch like the way you watched MI or RR or KKR, it would be RCB. It would be because of Virat.
KKR is playing like KKR. It must be appreciated that during all these years, they’ve manages to hold on to atrocious colours when it comes to jerseys.
I don’t know if it’s just me or to others as well - every member of RR looks like Dravid when in batting gears. Or maybe such is the aura of the man. I wish Dravid was playing for RR this season too. Alas. Time will tell if Sanju Samson turns out to be a replacement for MSD or he will join the likes of Swapnil Asnodkar and Paul Valthaty in history books. 
Quikr is one of the sponsors for DD. The day isn’t far when Quikr’s claims of ability to sell anything would be put to real test – they would be asked to sell DD. I am not sure if they would find any buyers.
SRH continues to own the most balanced fast bowling attack – brilliance of Steyn balanced by gaucherie of Ishant. They have the worst batting. On top of it, they have Amit Mishra. Enough said.
Till now, it has been typical IPL cricket. Cricket was never any different in any of the season. But then, IPL has always been more about the packaging than the product. IPL has always been more about razzmatazz than cricket.
Razzmatazz is what is missing this season and only one man can bring it back.
Hence let us all shout at top of our voices – Abki Baar….

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Harry Potter and Election 2014!!!

It is a work of fiction. Resemblance of any person, dead or alive is purely coincidental.

It was a typical London evening - while setting sun had beautifully painted the sky in saffron color, dark clouds were trying their best to set the sun before it should. Slight drizzle had kept Harry at home. Harry was getting bored and he decided to switch on to Sky Sports to watch CSK match. He had become a huge fan of SIR Jadeja.

Suddenly, doorbell rang. Harry opened the door. At the door he found a man in his 40s, of Harry's height, wearing specs, covering almost all his face in a muffler and a white cap which had something written on it which looked like a foreign language.

"Yes. How can I help you?" asked Harry.

The man coughed so hard that Harry almost took out his cell phone to dial for the ambulance. "Mr Harry PotterJi. Please to meet you. I'm AirWind KeJhadeBaal, founder of Mango Man Party (MMP) from India"

"Oh yes. I've heard about you and your astounding ways to bring changes to the system. But I'm really sorry sir, I don't make any donations"

"No HarryJi, No. I'm not here to collect donations. I'm here for some other purpose"

"And that is?" inquired Harry.

"For that, I will have to sit. I won't eat or drink anything till...."AirWind started to sit down.

"No, no. Not here. Please come in" Harry interrupted him. His batch mate Parvati Patil had informed Harry about happenings in India. Harry didn't want a Dharna at his gate.

AirWind sat down. Harry offered him tea.

"Yes sir, tell me. What brings you here?" Asked Harry.

AirWind briefed him about electoral procedure in India, about MMP and few other things. In the end he said," As I said HarryJi, my election symbol is broom. I know your fondness for brooms and I also know you have many of them. Can I get your Nimbus2001 for few days?"

"What? Blimey. You want a broom from a wizard and that too Nimbus2001? As you may or may not know, I've given of wizardry long back. So I am soon going to destroy them so that they do not fall in wrong hands. Anyways, why would you want that broom?"

"Well HarryJi, if I get that broom, I can tell everyone that my election symbol is endorsed by the best broom in the world while campaigning with Nimbus2001. I can tell people that I've got the best broom in the world to sweep the corruption in our system. I can tell them that opposition can't stop me from sweeping them out of elections because I've got the most powerful broom in the world"

"Goodness gracious. Nimbus2001 isn't meant for sweeping or cleaning"

"I know HarryJi. But we will have to bring the change now. We have to clean the system. People of this country have woken up. Junta of this country have woken up"

"Which country? You're in England"

AirWind coughed,"I'm sorry. People of India have woken up. They can't be fooled anymore"

"What the hell has that got to do with Nimbus2001? Why should I give it to you?"

"Don't worry HarryJi. We are fully transparent in our donations. We shall post your name on our website. We keep account of each and every penny"

"But why?"

"Because you've to show your support for me. You've to show your support for a common man like you"

"I'm not a common man. I'm a wizard, used to be the best one" Harry's ego was hurt.

"That's what HarryJi, that's what. You're so special yet live like a common man. No VIP culture. No Z+ security. No big bungalows. That's what I'm fighting for"

"What? A bungalow and Z+ security?"

"No HarryJi, no. I'm fighting for common man. I'm fighting for common man of India who has woken up. And I've shown to you how similar I'm to you. I can show you more"

"You've got my attention" said Harry.

"Like DumbledoreJi, I also had my Guru. Alas, we aren't together now"

"Oh I'm sorry to hear that"

"No, HarryJi no. He's very much alive. Just that we've parted ways. And who was that friend of yours who had long hair and beard"

"Hagrid, my dear Hagrid"

"I've had a friend like him too" said AirWind and did a round of Kapal Bhati. "Like you, I've also got many friends who are commoners. They don't belong to anyone in the ministry of magic or anything like that. You know, I know someone like Draco Malfoy, a high profile son of a very big name. We don't get along at all"

"Oh Draco. He has turned out to be a good friend"

"Oh is it? Lot of people guess that my and my Draco's future would be the same. See, how many similarities we've got"

"But its not all about friends. Its about foes too. I had a foe, a big one"

"The dark lord. I've mine. He's really dark"

"What's his name?"

"Ssshhh, we don't take his name"

"But you've got to be brave"

"Yes I know. But my dark lord is very dangerous. He's destroyed everyone who's come in his way. He's a true dictator, an anarchist"

"But I've been told that you're a self proclaimed anarchist"

"My anarchy is for common man. His anarchy is for crony capitalists. We are different"

Harry looked perplexed. The doorbell rang again. A man wearing pink pants was waiting.

"Hey Harry, dude. I'm Rob, Rob Art WhatRaw. Call me Rob"

"How can I help you sir?" Asked polite Harry.

"Well as you know Harry, the land on which your house is built belongs to me. In fact this entire area belongs to me"

"Okay. Now will you leave on your own or shall I call the Police" Harry wasn't amused.

"Relax dude, read them" Rob threw some papers on Harry and sat on the sofa "Oh AirWind is also here. What for? Nimbus?"

AirWind didn't respond.

"So Harry, here's the deal dude. Hand me over your magical broom and I shall let you stay here on rent. Else, I've brought the police with me. Now hurry up, I need to help Draco for his interview with AirNab GlobalWarming. Poor kid, AirNab will anihilate him"

Harry looked outside the window. Two police vans were parked outside. The paper in his hands which Rob had handed over clearly said that the land belonged to Rob. Harry had seen dark magic of different kind but this magic which he had just seen was the darkest of them all. 

"Why do you need the broom" asked Harry.

"Well, my friend Draco wants it. Someone has told him that with the help of this broom, he can generate the escape velocity which will improve his state of mind. If Draco wants it, I want it"

"No. I came here first. Broom belongs to me" AirWind said facing Rob "We have awakened now. We can't be suppressed. We won't be suppressed. We will fight"

"Abey teri fight ki" said Rob and ran towards Airwind to bash up. 

Suddenly doorbell rang again. Before Harry could move, the door opened on its own.

An old man entered the room. He was sitting on a flying saucer which was designed like a lotus. Seeing him, both AirWind and Rob shouted in fear - "Oh, Development Baba. Damn"

"How did you open the door" asked Harry.

"Oh that's nothing. My model of development goes much beyond opening the doors. Like breaking the broom in to pieces which these two want to badly" said Development Baba, brought some gadget out of his pocket and Nimbus2001, Harry Potter's prized possession turned in to ashes.

AirWind and Rob watched it happen, they just watched it.

"Why?" asked Harry.

"Because these two wanted it. Its my duty to deny them whatever they want. Did you need it? Let me know if you did. In my model of development, I've made much better things."

Harry was content with what he had. He was anyhow going to destroy it. "No, I'm fine"

"But I want something. Give me your magical powers, some of them at least" asked Development Baba.

"Why do you want it?"

"I will use it to further develop my model of development"

"Well I can't give you my magical powers. I can't transfer it to muggles. Maybe I would have if I could but I can't"

"Oh no. Give me something. What about deathly hallows? Did you really destroy them" asked Rob.

"Yes I did. But that makes me wonder, which one of those three you would have preferred. Development Baba, I ask you first. What and why?"

"I would have liked to have the invincible wand. I know it will help me in winning the elections but the kind of expectations people have from me, only a magical wand can save me"

"What about you Rob?" asked Harry.

"I've all that I want, dude. But yeah, if I could have Resurrection Stone for my friend Draco, it will be great. He will bring back his dead family members to life so that they can handle politics. Its surely not his piece of cake"

"And Mr AirWind?"

"Development Baba has broken my broom. What can I do now? I wish I could have cloak of invisibility so that I could disappear"

"So what can you give me now" asked Development Baba.

"As I said, I cannot transfer my magical powers to you. That's not possible. Other than that, I do not have anything. Sorry"

A deathly silence followed. Harry switched his TV on. SIR Jadeja was taking his guard.

All four of them bowed in front of TV to take SIR's blessings - three of them for elections and Harry for getting his house back from Rob.