Satire: Broad Ban Campaign

Image

Brisbane’s local rag, The Courier Mail, a broadsheet newspaper turned tabloid dished out an effusive campaign against the English cricketer Stuart Broad against the backdrop of the Ashes series. It is called the Broad Ban campaign.

The Broad Ban campaign is a lay out strategy adopted by the editorial desk to snub the player by not mentioning his name in the news line and without featuring his photograph. The tabloid acted smart – if Stuart Broad expected vehement gibes and vociferous jeers from the Aussie crowd, he was set for a silent treatment by them. Some players excel when provoked but a man gets a beating on his ego when ignored.

Courier Mail’s campaign jolted at its very first step. Stuart Broad ripped through the Australian batting line up on the first day of first test of the Ashes series.  The master brain behind the broad ban strategy fell awestruck. Despite that, the imagination of Aussie journo ran wild and broad.

The next morning, Broad straight up from his bed walked briskly in his boxers to the hotel lounge to catch a glimpse of his colourful picture in the daily along with praises of his previous day heroics. To his utter disappointment he could only spot a silhouette amidst his team mates. It is rumoured that Broad learned it was his silhouette from his girlfriend who was waiting on the other side of his Whatsapp messenger.

Broad’s mother back in the UK moved the court against the Courier Mail. ’27 year old English medium pacer’ phrase with a silhouette was appropriate for an obituary column, his mom inferred. However, she took a little solace from her Indian friend, a mother of two grown up girls when she mentioned it is customary in India for every bachelor/bachelorette to have an age-sex-location profile and a silhouette with free membership on Shaadi.com.

Andrew Flintoff wasted no time to express his rage and advised the tall little boy, Broad to carry the tabloid under his arm with his shirt off to the press conference. Being a shy kid since clobbered by Yuvraj Singh during the T20 World Cup in 2007, Broad decided to heed his senior statesman but with his shirt on. When enquired by the media, Broad said he was following the path of Mr. Arunanchalam Muruganantham who invented the cheapest sanitary napkin for women. Inspired by him, Broad found a cheaper alternative to sweat absorbent pad- which was the tabloid, the Courier Mail.

The Courier Mail has already charged Broad against denigration of their business. At the same time the England team management has filed a case at the International Court of Justice for breach of human rights. The plaintiff claimed Broad was denied the right to be photographed along with the team members. He was also denied the basic right of association and freedom of exposure.

Mean while, David Cameron, the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, after returning from the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka demanded an investigation into the issue by an international agency after his similar demand to instigate an investigation against human rights violations in Sri Lanka irked the President of Sri Lanka.

England Cricket Board (ECB) requested the government to behead the masthead of The Courier Mail circulating in the UK. They also vowed to burn the newspaper into Ashes for which the Ashes tournament will be played for in the subsequent years.

Disclaimer: All these stories have been later found ‘Cooked’ up in the English dressing room.

Sachin Tendulkar: The ‘God’ particle for the average Indian

It still remains a mystery who cleped Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Cricket, and when. A flock of fanatical fans of Sachin, probably, carrying around the world embellished displays of banners and posters sketching out the ever memorable proclamation ‘If cricket is a religion, Sachin is God’. Along with it, they carried a tune – a chant, ‘Sachinnn…Saachin’. It reverberated across the galleria like a devotional hymn. It could also be Barry Richards, former South African batsman who stated in black and white, ‘Sachin is cricket’s God’.

Nevertheless, since a person or time is mute before the theology of Almighty, faith prevails over hesitation – to blatantly accept what is believed universally true. Tendulkar is the God of Cricket, Sach Hain!

India’s diversity is represented at best by the innumerable idols and deities worshipped upon across the length and breadth of the country. The country is still as diverse as the flora and fauna that are yet to be accounted for by the scientific community. We have our own haunted Amazons as well as abysmally deep blue seas on the realms of social fabric.

In a culturally chaotic nation, there was only one place where the outcasts rubbed shoulders with the aristocrats and shared bhelpuri chaat – a cricket stadium, to catch a glimpse of their impression of God, Sachin Tendulkar. Irrespective of the delusion of religion instilled in every Indian, there was a common temple and a common God. Unity in diversity stepped to the fore.

There are several attributes ascribed to God, of which the prominent ones are omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.

Sachin is ubiquitous in the Indian household. The millennial India rose up in the morning to a mug of ‘Boost’ blended with secrets of Sachin’s energy. To be God, an apple from the Eden was not enough but a shot of thick chocolaty drink was very much needed. That was the trust carried over by generations.

A whole generation counted days, months and years around Sachin’s calendar of activities. Days since he played an international game, months since he hit a century and years since he played the last world cup. Every speck of life revolved around him like the rings of Saturn in the cosmic plateau. In schools, recess ran longer when Sachin was batting, school dispersed early when he was in his 90’s, rather kids leapt over the school fences to mark their presence before the television set when their idol reached another milestone. Missing the act of Sachin raising his bat was more sinful than failure to attend Eucharistic celebration every Sunday.

Bible says, the omnipresent God is sacredly present and becomes known in special places where God chooses to meet us. Sachin appeared at the Karachi, the Chepauk, the Eden Gardens, the SCG, the Sharjah, the Centurion, the Premadasa, and his followers fell on their knees to worship the omnipresent Sachin. Standing ovations he received was devotion at the highest order.

In the cricket’s universe, Sachin is the omnipotent deity characterised by unlimited power. He carried the heaviest willow around to negate the fiercest of zombies with a ball bulleted at his pedestal. ‘Power’ glued on top of his bat was mistakenly taken as an advertisement sticker. It was a word of caution from the heavens. The two impeccable centuries in Sharjah 1998 remains the authoritative signature of omnipotence over the mortal Goliaths who played the game.

In the later stages of the career, his meticulousness drove him to valleys of mature game plans. Unlike the old testimony in Bible where God is belligerent, the new testimony sermonize a benevolent and forgiving Lord. Similarly, in the later stages of his career, Sachin took a modest stance while accepting a few blows on his body. During that stage, ‘More Runs came in Fours’ –MRF. Until then MRF was unknown. Many believed it was a dilapidated rubber factory in the distant outskirts of Madras, and He himself came to their rescue.

Along the streets of His abode, children enigmatically engraved MRF on their cricket bats, especially the feeble ones whose bones couldn’t bear a brunt of hard leather due to calcium deficiency. For them, an MRF bat was the source of enough power and voluble confidence to stand upright against the thugs in the gullies, who otherwise clawed the fragile batsmen in them. MRF bat was the cross to evade the devil.

Inarguably, Sachin is the epitome of cricket. He knows everything that is there to know, hence he is omniscient. Cricket’s copybook was published long back, it was there to read. But the master illustrator was born much later named Sachin Tendulkar. Knowledge itself is power but when it is left unexecuted one falls prey to the miserable fate of Karna forgetting his knowledge of the most powerful weapons when needed the most. Sachin was not meant to succumb to such ill-fate. He was more than human.

During one of the recent IPL’s when Sachin drove Ishant Sharma straight down the wicket, Harsha Bhogle said, “Open the text book, turn to page no. 32”. That sums it all up.  As beautifully described by Rahul Dravid, “Sachin has everything a cricketer needs to have. You can’t get a more complete cricketer than Sachin”.

In the final lap of his marathon cricket career, he wields a bat embossed ‘Adidas’. That is a soulful prayer he would teach his disciples before he leaves for once and for all – ‘All Day I Dream About Sachin’. Yet man can’t help but be greedy – to see Sachin again – ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’.

 

Rahul Dravid: The guy who relished ‘overshadowed’ conditions

rahul-dravid1

As the old Malayalam adage goes, what is born out of fire will not wither away in the sun. Hiking into dried up and grimy battlefields under the scorching sun in the sub continent has been a routine walk in the park for all legendary batsmen India had produced till date. The imaginary line, Tropic of Cancer runs through the heart of India, and rightly so they were born out of fire. No visitor from the West, the East, the North or Down Under could wither us away. They, eventually, had to bit the red dust. Well, if they triumphed to spoil our legacy once a while, blame it on the sun that failed to reach its zenith at the Tropic of Cancer.

The ‘Warriors of Sun-Light’ but lost the sheen during their sojourns to meadows of the West. Clouds up above are heavy and dark. Cold breeze twirls the air with dampness. The red ball waggles around and zip past the warriors’ willow untamed. Embarrassment gives way to numbness. Fire won’t help, they realised. The pantheon of cricket Lords described it as ‘overcast conditions’.

The brashness and belligerence of the warriors welded under the sun was found rusty, hence none of them savoured the overcast or ‘overshadowed’ conditions of the West, in particular. One among them, who was presumably inducted late into the Indian squad, however possessed in his blood the natural remedy to cure the cold feet. The guy who relished overshadowed conditions, Rahul Dravid.

Rahul Dravid characterised the gentleness of a breeze that blew across the cricket field than the chillness of it biting hard at your arthritic ligaments. In the early mornings of Test cricket, when the dressing room is as foggy as the weather outside off incapacitated regiment with little left in the kit, he strolls down to endure the first few hours of whirlwind created by swinging and swaying red ball around the middle and off stump. Only then, his co-sergeants ever indulged in the croons of little morning birds, which had perched upon the surrounding trees wishing a good day.

Dravid’s predilection for overcast conditions has to be seen as innate. He excelled in alien conditions though he was overshadowed many an occasion. A mesmerising debut just fell short off as brilliant a debut as his fellow mate Ganguly’s. His valiant efforts to successfully stack up more runs than any batsmen in the 1999 World Cup held in England was flushed down with the sewage of team’s failure to cross the threshold of the knockout stage. When Ganguly molested Sri Lanka at Taunton, Dravid galloped to another chivalrous ODI ton. However, the molestation found headlines over chivalry. Another remarkable instance was, when Sachin scored his highest one day score against New Zealand in Hyderabad, the other end was gallantly guarded by Dravid. Dravid co-authored the historic win along with VVS Laxman at Eden Gardens against the mighty Australians. His innings was as special as Laxman’s very- very special innings. Time and again he was eclipsed and overshadowed by his teammates. His countrymen honoured him the medal of “unsung hero”. Probably, he was gifted to shine bright amidst the dark and mysterious shadows. When the country idolised the Little Master, Dravid was content and happy about the role of second fiddle he had to play, and that he was a master at it. He once said, “The talk is always about Sachin and in some ways it suits me as I get away quietly scoring a lot of runs”. His mysticism with murky shadows enabled him to don a golden halo during many such overshadowed conditions. He went unmentioned but he was never forgotten and desecrated. His presence was felt. He was like a crescent of sun glowing behind the greyish clouds of ambiguity. As long as he was there, there was hope. Hope to preserve the tribe’s pride, its legacy.

Dravid is a refined personality fine tuned with qualities of civility and elegance. He is an avid reader and a continuous learner. Although he picked books to take his mind off the game initially, his habit of reading shaped him into a rare breed of a sportsman, who is no non-sense, eventually. Reading makes a man complete. So was he. His thoughts spread so vast, his perspectives so estimable.

Former Indian coach John Wright in his book Indian Summers mentions of the debacle the team confronted when Dravid abruptly declared Indian innings against Pakistan at Multan. Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 194; hence there was a “hot potato in their hands”. Before the situation got worse, when Tendulkar felt let down, Dravid had the audacity to chat over the matter with the little master. Had it not been Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, the issue would have snowballed and created a rift in the team. Wright, rightly said “Dravid, like his batting is a combination of steeliness and serenity”. He envisions the bigger picture of an issue. Nothing fazes him, nothing overcasts his head. He stands tall, head straight just as he would face Alan Donald on a Durban turf.

Dravid’s latest fame to glory too sprouted out off overcast conditions within his IPL franchise, Rajasthan Royals. A man of integrity and self-respect was least deterred when a few of his trusted teammates betrayed him. For a cricketer who played the game with dignity above anything else, loyalty of team members is not too much of an asking. The reputation of his franchise was overshadowed by corruption, dishonesty and infidelity. Dravid’s equanimity ‘power-played’ all adversities. He found opportunities in overcast conditions. He majestically led his team to the coveted platform of Champions Trophy grand finale.

As he left the field for one final time, the cricketing fraternity felt ‘the gentleness of a breeze that blew across the cricket field than the chillness of it biting hard at your arthritic ligaments’. He simply relished the ‘overshadowed’ conditions.

The Legend says….

Dravid_SL_March_9_2012

We saw two legends of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid taking field for one last time in the Champions League T20 final. (Sachin might play a test or two before he hangs up his boots). As they walk off the field bidding adieu to an illustrious career spanning about two decades or more, apart from the techniques of straight drives, square cuts, and flick off the leg, they teach you some lessons for life too.

SACHIN TENDULKAR: If you’re born to win, you’ll. Time will mould you into a legend of an era. I would say it is wise to quote The Alchemist of Paulo Coelho which reads,”When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it”. Sachin did follow his dream, and the world carried him on their shoulders. You’re loved and respected.

RAHUL DRAVID: He is the spokesman of a life which is stranger than fiction. Sometimes your stars are only just aligned well enough for you to play the second fiddle, always. You toil and moil, work your heart out, push your limits, and live a life of giving for the pleasure of people around you. They may not celebrate you, but they’ll always look out for you when in need. Extend your heart and arms with grace. People will remember you when they’re in trouble. However, destiny has it you stay behind the curtains. Still you find peace and glory. You’re loved and respected.

-Dheepu

The Lost Companion

man-beach-02-goog

**************************
I’ve a pillow
Stuffed with feathers
Of your memories
Muffled with linen
Of love gone threadbare.
I’ve a pillow
I lend my ears deep
I hear you sing
Chuckle, and whisper
Like in a sea shell
That holds the sea.
I’ve a pillow
Like your belly
Luscious and soft
Tender as your cheeks
Grey lints of lust
Rolled out by my side
Stains of drool
In yellow, blue or black
Spread the fabric twists
Into a blotched map
Of no-where land.
Light faded
Night darkened
I, myself. Alone.
Stranded with the past.

I had a pillow.

Dheepu

**************************

Intoxicated !

robert-pattinson-kirsten-stewart-sex-scene****************
The little beads of sweat
Of yours glitter,
Dripping gently on to
your eyelashes,
I fall into the nape
Of your neck,
Smell of desires, the
Beads intoxicate,
My cracked lips dried out
Now taste bitter,
Intoxication of your sweat,
Of your love.
Delicious, Delightful

-Dheepu

***************