Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Needless Criticism

The Indian cricket team lost miserably in the second and third one-dayers. This is nothing new, and not surprising as well. The Indians of late haven’t performed well overseas.

What was new this time, was the reaction that their performance evoked from an unlikely quarter – the Parliament. Several MPs went up in arms demanding the sacking of Greg Chappell, the Indian coach and held him solely responsible for the team’s dismal show at South Africa.

Chappell responded to the comments made by MPs, admitting candidly that several players in the side were out of form and that the MPs were being paid to do their job. In other words, Chappell simply said that the MPs were doing their job and were right in expressing their opinion.

This response by Chappell was misconstrued by MPs back home. Several of them mistook them as ‘offensive’ comments and expressed their ire in front of the media. Laloo was in his characteristic self, with pan parag in his mouth, stating in essence that Chappell mustn’t have said what he did. Renuka Chaudhary suggested that a privelege motion be moved against Chappell, if Parliament was willing. Another MP said that Chappell didn’t understand ‘the nuances of democracy’ (though whatever that’s got to do with this issue, I do not know). I was most disappointed when the Lok Sabha speaker too joined the bandwagon and stressed that ‘none should lecture’ any parliamentarian and that he was ‘concerned’ about the team’s performance.

Sidhu was one of the sensible few who came out supporting Chappell. He rightly pointed out that MPs should stick to running Parliament, just as Chappell stuck to his job of coaching. Pawar too was sensible, stating that he wouldn’t interfere in the functioning of the team or coach.

I’ve observed several things from the entire episode.

Firstly, why do the MPs give so much importance to cricket? It’s just a game, isn’t it? Second, how many of the MPs who commented actually know the nuances of cricket? Third, why is cricket alone picked up among all sports? Why doesn’t Parliament utter even a single word when Indians perform poorly in hockey (which, incidentally is India’s national game) or football? Doesn’t the speaker have any ‘concern’ for the national teams of other sports when they under-perform? The Parliament should be concerned about SPORTS in India, not CRICKET.

This only goes to show that sensationalism rides Parliament, not genuine issues. Every Tom, Dick and Harry in Parliament starts commenting when he finds something remotely sensational. Parliament should stick to its job of framing, enforcing and implementing laws with minimum disruptions and adjournments, and leave cricket to the BCCI.

Fleeing from Boredom

I am spending my vacation at home, and am finding it tough to find ways to spend quality time. The boring days just don't seem to end.

However, I did get a respite last Saturday. My parents stated that we would be going to Tiruvallur to visit a few temples there. (Of late my spirituality has dwindled owing to no particular reason, so I rarely go to temples on my own now and just tug along with my parents whenever they do.)

I was glad for two reasons. One, I would get a chance to visit Suresh (fondly called 'surs'), my friend and branchmate who resided there. Two, we would make the trip by train, and I like travelling by train. :-)

The journey was to take an hour or so. We got into a local and myself, as usual, stood near the door, despite repeated protests from my mom, while the others (dad, mom, aunt) took their seats. I read the day's paper for sometime and spent the rest of the journey messaging surs on how we would spend the day together.

We reached Tiruvallur went straight to the Veeraraghava Swamy temple in an auto. Surs managed to catch up with me at the 'kolam' (the temple tank). Both of us had worn the same t-shirts and mom exclaimed at the coincidence.( "You look like brothers!" :-) ) We stood in the queue and soon after, surs and myself started chatting. My aunt often asked us to remain silent in the temple premises, but who would listen? :-) I was awed when I finally managed to see Lord Vishnu lying down on Adisesha, with Brahma seated gracefully on the lotus, emerging from Vishnu’s belly. I stood for a few moments staring at the moolavar (the actual statue) with the utsavar (a scaled-down, lighter version of the moolavar, made of 5 metals or panchaloha, carried around during processions) in front. Later, we visited the Hanuman temple at Kaakkalur and Amman temple at Putlur, followed by the Panchamuka Hanuman temple, having a 30 - odd feet statue of Hanuman with 5 faces (those of Hanuman, Narasimha, Rama, Varaaha, and Hayagriva). Surs had invited us to his home and so we went after all major temples in the area had been exhausted.

What a home it was!! I, being born and brought up in the city, had never seen such an expansive (one might call it luxurious, only that it wasn’t so in the modern, conventional sense), well-lighted, and at times, amusing home, save in the movies. It had an indoor balcony, or an open mini-room facing the street, outside the main entrance (or was it a lobby for a residence? :-) ). Inside was what one could describe as a ‘hall’ in modern-day homes, with plenty of lighting from a large, open square top. There was the kitchen on the right, where Surs’s charming mother was making coffee and snacks for us. Straight ahead was another room which led to a rear exit. I might’ve missed a couple of rooms in my excitement on the ground floor itself, but surs noticed it and showed me the first and second floors!! (Yeah, you read that right.. First and second floors when its difficult to even get a complete floor for your home in the city :-) ). They would’ve been half of the ground in terms of area, and formed the front of the home. What made the home amusing was there were bathrooms at almost all places at the home :-). (one behind the rear exit, one attached to the kitchen!! And am sure a few more at other places as well which I would’ve missed :-) ).

Finally, it was a time for us to leave. We said good-bye, and invited surs to my home :-) for a few days as well. Sometime during this pleasant interlude, I got a headache yet again, a dull pain on both sides of the head irritating me often nowadays. It affected me during the most unexpected times, without any particular reason. We left, had some dosas at a hotel near the station, and came back to Chennai via a train. I slept peacefully on my aunt’s lap throughout the journey back, thanks to my headache, which had turned to a pounding now.

I was back home and slept for hours together, glad to have gotten a break from monotony and looking forward to yet another one.