Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Edwards Endorsement. What it means?

Barack Obama long deserves a mention in this blog. I have probably never been influenced or felt more hopeful about a political personality. Barack Obama's struggle, from the community worker in Chicago's Southside, to a lone force looking to give a "sane" political alternative, in the neocon dominated American politics, is, to say the least, inspiring.

However, as Obama painfully realizes, as he is choking in the death overs (much like the Indian cricket team), that he is an "Outsider". His liberal values, extraordinary upbringing does not go down well with a large section of America's voters. The "white,blue collar" is more interested in trusting in a woman who had supported a needless war, and is breaking the ethics of intraparty politics in a series of vicious attacks.

In view of this white, blue collar votebank, the Edwards endoresement, which came a few days ago, can probably dramatically swing things in Obama's favor. For no one has talked about poverty, and the interest of workers in this election more than John Edwards. A joint ticket, will definitely boost the white voter's confidence in the Dems.

If it doesn't, then even if the numbers play out in favor of Obama in the convention, it can probably not carry him to the White House. As Hillary campaigns more aggressively, Obama's weaknesses are showing clearly. The average blue collar white swing voter (and even some Dems) going against him will kill the Democrat's best chance in a decade. A Democratic electorate fragmented over the issues of race giving an walkover to Mccain will really be a pity.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

This whole IPL thing

The corporate world had long realized that there was a huge,huge market to be trapped in the emerging "Shining" Indian Economy. "Cricket" is that one emotion, that almost every Indian is passionate about, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. From giant screens in plush shopping malls, to small,generator operated TV sets in shanties and slums, it is the thing that defines the sense of being Indian.

Back in my childhood, I remember, this was the one thing, except probably for politics, that sparked off raging debates in fish markets,roadside tea stalls, or in the young teenagers' smoking joints. The older generation fondly tells stories of how they had watched the '83 finals in their newly bought TV sets, on the common "paraa" ones. The 90s generation has its memories of the Hero Cup, the Pakistan match in the World Cup, or the Eden debacle against Sri Lanka. We have grown up with the art of Azhar, the genius of Sachin, and then found a new hero in Ganguly, the man whose mental toughness as well as cricketing skills have never ceased to amaze me.

Thus, if there is one investment that Corporate India can feel safe about, even among the fears of Worldwide recession, it is Cricket. It is therefore, of no doubt, that money has poured into the IPL, and Indian cricket has ceremoniously married its popular counterpart, "The Bollywood", in what could aptly be described as a marraige of convenience.

However, as I sat down to watch the IPL, I could not remain oblivious of the changes that the game has undergone in this attempt to become "Manoranjan ka Baap",(The Father of all Entertainment) as its catchline describes it. The ranting may seem a little cliched and conservative, but I could not but help noticing that the beauty that has been so long associated with the game and has kept us glued to TV sets throughout our childhood is fast vanishing, in this fast food packaging.

The ungrammatical shots, the baseball like pinch hitting, has reduced the game to a mere show of sixes,providing an adrenalin rush to a houseful crowd. The classic defensive shot, or an elegant square cut for a single, have become useless appendages that the batsman must cut off from his repertoire, for the game has now become less about the celebration of style, and more about "instant entertainment".

I wonder what a Gavaskar or a Geoffrey Boycott would have done, faced with a career option such as this. No wonder, Rahul Dravid, probably the most stylish and technically perfect Indian batsman in the last decade, has had little to offer to this form of the game, till now.

To add to this ridiculous circus in the name of cricket, is the Bhangra playing at the top of the voice with every hit. Somehow, it does not go well with cricket when the earth shattering "noise" takes away the mood, as one relishes the action replay of a stylish stroke (the few that there are).

The "loud",sometimes shameless, fast food entertainment should probably be given some other name, other than cricket. The name should probably be spared for a minority who still love to watch the older, quieter,slower form of the game.

There is certainly more to cricket (and to life) than adding more speed to it.