Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A different ball-game altogether

Lets start off with a question - Which country won the last World Cup? I can see a few eager hands - Spain you say? Wrong answer, Guess again. Italy? No, Idiots! It was Australia who won the CRICKET World Cup the last time it was played in 2007. Yes you ignoramuses, its natural to think that when one says "World Cup" everyone thinks about the Football World Cup but wonder of wonders, there is a Cricket World Cup and its being played again this year in India. Wowee So Exciting. No. Not Really!

 Cricket must be one of the most boring games ever invented and I wouldn't have a thought to spare about it except for the fact that once in a while you get to see some pretty handsome lads from the various cricketing nations. I used to semi drool thinking about Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Hansie Cronje :( and er.. uh.. Kapil Dev? Or maybe its because its the only "worldwide" game that India seemingly excels in (apart from Kabaddi) and once in a while its nice to be able to subconsciously root for your own nation in a tournament which they actually have a decent chance of winning. 

I don't think I've ever watched a cricket game in its entirety. Forget entirety, I can't remember the last time I spent more than one minute watching any form of Cricket. To begin with, apparently there are numerous formats - Test matches, (Probably tested the patience of the players themselves since it must've been sooo boring!), One Day cricket (yeah ONE WHOLE DAY spent playing with balls and suchlike!), 20-20 format (can't be bothered to google what 20-20 cricket is.) Cricket fans actually spend FIVE whole days watching a Test match. No wonder the economy of India sucks and files move at such a slow pace in government offices. Even assuming that India plays a minimum of 10 test matches a year thats like fifty days of no work. And you can add the 30 to 40 one day games that India plays in a year to the list of "unofficial holidays"!! 

The only time I even read about cricket is when cricketing issues assume diplomatic proportions between countries such as when Harbhajan Singh called an Australian player a monkey or when I read about the bad boy of Indian cricket Yuvraj Singh's various romances. Apart from that it seems like every self respecting cricket player is in every second ad on TV. The other day I saw Yuvraj Singh endorsing some kind of energy drink (I'm not surprised he needs "energy" drinks..), Sachin endorsing some tyre brand and then that Dhoni fellow insisting how simple it is to go online on facebook using the Aircel network. At this rate they'll run out of things to endorse and the only thing left to endorse would be sanitary pads. I can only imagine how that would go down - "Sachin: Stayfree Sanitary Pads - So comfortable  that I wear them instead of normal batting pads for protection against fast bowlers!" 

My research on this topic also introduced me to various cricketing terms - 
silly point [I agree its pointless to play cricket], 
no ball [Is it because they forgot to bring a cricket ball to the game?], 
third man, [..but no first man or second man? What happened to them?], 
bouncer [Do these "bouncers" stop underage kids from watching a game?], 
leg break [Ooh sounds painful, careful fellas!],
maiden over [Did Yuvraj Singh bring a maiden over to his flat after the game?] 
Straight Bat [ Cricket bats have sexual tendencies? Poor homosexual bats :(] 
and so on and so forth..

Anyway back to this Cricket World Cup. It will be played in India/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka during the months of February and March with the grand final in Mumbai. If India does well and wins it then I'll probably say a tiny yay or something but apart from that, I won't be really paying attention to the goings on of Sachin Tendulkar and Co. To conclude this "testing" blogpost lemme add this explanation of cricket I found on some website -

The game of 'Cricket' VERY simply explained ......
  • You have two sides of eleven men, (not including the twelfth man). 
  • One side is out in the field and one side is in. 
  • Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out, he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. 
  • When they are all out, the side that's out, comes in, and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. 
  • Sometimes you get men still in and not out. 
  • When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. 
  • There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. 
  • After five days or so, when both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!    
Any questions? No, I didn't think so!!  :D 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This morning during breakfast, they showed this documentary on TNT (a charity organisation that operates as an orphanage, a rehabilitation centre, a homeless shelter AND an asylum) and the inhabitants therein. After they showed that montage, my mom, my sister and I all got the weepies and we abruptly left the dining table, leaving a flabbergasted dad behind.

Its easy to fall into the trap of romanticizing poverty and deprivation and maybe I too would be guilty of it. But Ive seen the documentary a few times and had been to visit the centre and the most touching aspect is that I have never gotten the impression of deprivation. Yes, there are orphans- children abandoned by families, children afflicted by AIDS and other debilitating diseases. And yet like all children, they laugh, they play, they squabble and they sing their hearts out. The older ones (older here being as young as 7 or 8) help to care for the younger ones, carrying them on their backs and feeding them.

There are the abandoned- a woman found in the woods who never speaks at all, but who creates beautiful knits out of secondhand woolens. A Bihari guy found beaten half to death on a ditch and who couldnt say where he comes from. Addicts driven out by harried families. Fallen women cast out by society.

Then there are the crazies- old men who mimic Bruce Lee all day, adult women thinking they are Bollywood heroines, grown men squabbling and crying at mealtimes, old women who sit and stare all day. And there are volunteers who wipe away snot and tears, bandage oozing sores, placate violent inhabitants and who give baths to grown men and women, without distaste or revulsion

But the craziest of all is the man who founded this centre with nothing on hand but a patch of land, a fierce need to help the unfortunate, and a faith that could, and does move mountains. Often he would spend nights praying for the next meal, aware that there is no food, no paise at hand and hundreds of mouths to feed. And the craziest thing is, they have never gone hungry, they have never gone without.

If you go there, you will see poverty, squalor, sickness and want. But you will also see laughter, companionship, solidarity, joy and most of all, as the Biblical saying goes, faith, hope and love.

Makes you feel ashamed for thinking that your life sucks, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another year
This year, some will find love and some will lose love. Babies will be born, deaths will be mourned. The economy will either rise or fall, and the poor will stay poor, and the rich will stay rich. We will be inundated once again with news of deaths, destruction, wars, disease and pestilence. And unsung heroes will remain unsung, while news of celebs' DUIs, divorces and drug problems will be splashed on magazine covers. New songs will be sung, and music purists will again complain about 'modern garbage'. Resolutions will be broken and we will revert back to our overweight, smoking, unmotivated selves. There will be suicides, rapes, murders. Elected officials will still placate with empty promises. There will be tears, heartache, a million tiny disappointments.

And yet as the year progresses, we will find reasons to go on, to keep on hoping, and to laugh and love. And when this year ends, and another begins, we will again look back with nostalgia, and be filled with optimism once again. Resolutions will again be made, jubilation once again in the air. 

Here's to the human spirit- indomitable, resolute, ever hopeful, and quite good at the heart of it all.