January 30, 2012

Hooliganism Apropos

Toll Plaza Blockade

Traffic Jam as Expressway

Our leaders can’t maintain basic discipline and professionalism in their own office – the parliament. However, they do want to have order and discipline with its populace. The hooliganism on the toll plaza is nothing but a reflection of our parliament and of how things get done in this country. Everyone has a perspective and we’d all be dumb if we all think the same way. There can be various arguments for and against the toll tax. However, the manner of protest only reflects what fits in with the Indian way of life.

While I believe that the toll-tax is wrong, I do have questions for those who protested at the plaza. Did you question your MLA? Did you ask him what he/she has done to look after your interest? Was he with you with a promise to stand by the people who voted for him? My request to these protestors is to NOT vote anybody again until they find someone who can appropriately represent their case. If it is you who had to go out and become the hooligan, your MLA quite obviously has failed you. It will be a shame if the same guy gets elected the next time round – It would be your failure then. I do not say that at the end of the day you will come out as winners and the toll tax will be removed. It most likely will not happen. But at least you will have a fair hearing. The outcome will be such that you will not feel like going out and behave like hooligans.

India is not yet ready for toll taxes. Never mind the so-called liberalization, we are still very much a socialist state. We may have considerably opened up the economy as compared to the past, there still are a vast swath of people who cannot survive without government subsidies. This is thanks to the ineffective control over leakage of money from the government coffers.  Becoming a capitalist system makes sense when the entire system works on a “Customer-Centric” model where the citizen becomes the customer. This is not the case in India – yet. Our citizens do not have the power, influence and education to dictate their terms. Large sections of our populate does not wield any influence with the people who make the world go round for the country.

An expressway provides a means to commute faster, safer, and in comfort. It is alright if one needs to pay for these luxuries. But it is ok only if a basic system already exists. It is like saying that until now you were travelling from point A to B on a bullock cart for free; now you will travel in a car but needs to pay for it. It does no good for a person who travelled in a bullock cart only because he did not have the money to buy the car. Now that poor chap can’t travel at all! An expressway with toll tax without any other sufficiently adequate (stripped of luxurious space) road makes sense in a country where it is recognized that all commuters have the capacity to pay for the luxury. It does not work if one of the connecting states (Haryana) has 41% of its population living below the darn poverty line (as per 2005).

Look at this from the perspective of an individual who used to travel on this route on a daily basis. His salary hasn’t changed much over last 5 years. Price for food has increased by 50%. His taxes have remained the same. The petrol he used to spend on the route has become expensive by at least Rs 10 per liter. How in the world can you justify an addition of a toll tax on his daily expense? The simple question he’d ask is “What the heck happened to the tax I gave you?”. He’d say you can’t just “replace” a free road with a paid one. It is ok if you “add” over it and I might “choose” to pay extra for it.

I may have used the term “free” but it is really not free. People have paid tax (supposedly) for it at an earlier time. Now there are two problems. First not everyone pays tax. The only people who end up shelling out the right amount of tax are the salaried individuals. Ironically this happens because in an otherwise broken system, the only control that works is to deduct the salary at source. The so-called small businessmen who oppose the FDI in retail do not pay a dime. Nor does the farmers. Either they are too poor to qualify or they are too aloof to bother. The big businessmen are in cahoots with the guardians of the broken system and get away too. Second problem is that whatever is collected gets swindled away in a system without sound controls. With this two problems into consideration, there is also no visible evidence that government is doing enough to curb corruption and fix the system. There is no dearth of money with the government if it comes out to making efficient and honest use of its resource.

There are good things to speak off as well. Metro has done a lot to provide comfort at probably the right prices. Crowds during rush hour on the metro is a sign of both good and bad. It is good as it shows so many people find it worthy of use. It is bad as it shows so much more is needed to be done. The Expressway has negligible public transportation. There should be a whole lot more public buses plying on the route. This would discourage private transportation and would help in many other aspects. Imposing a toll tax without adequately providing public transport is another reason against having it.

Replicating socio-economic models of other successful countries is alright if we also replicate the model of corruption-less governance. The way the things are currently, the toll tax on Delhi-Gurgaon expressway needs to be free.


December 25, 2011

A New Year Wish

By now I have read enough about the gloominess of the year that is about to end. Economic crisis, American wars, violent protests and the Indian corruption is not new to 2011. What is new is the increase in number of sob stories. I have the undesirable need of following news for three distinct regions of the world – Indian Sub-Continent, US and Asia-Pacific. I belong to the first, I work for the second, and I live in the third. It has always been gloomy to read about current affairs, but many times this year, the negativity actually unnerved me.

Besides the fact that I still have my job, I am not educated enough to comment on the economic crisis. My views are too polarized on the wars, the terrorism and India’s Maoism to be put out for a wide audience. Of the three regions I track, India is what I am most opinionated and passionate about. My prolixity below is in a response to the thickening pal of gloom that has supposedly engulfed my beloved country this year.

While I am not the ever optimistic kid who’d go digging through a pile of horseshit thinking there’s a pony inside, I sure do not think everything in the year that is about to end was gloomy. There was at least one thing I experienced myself that made me happy and triggered a smile of satisfaction. However before I mention this delightful experience, I would like to comment on a rather well known Indian trait.

Idol worship is not just a thing of religious rituals, it epitomizes our entire outlook towards life and way of living. Of all cultures in the world, it is most engrained in the Indian. We are a prayer frenzied society with a fetish for superstition. Besides worshipping inanimate objects of various kinds, we also carry an almost genetic desire to have someone to look up to. It is one thing to admire somebody for a quality and it is totally another to worship. Almost every day there is some instance of a protest (many a times violent) over someone saying something about someone who is revered in some community. Such examples are dime a dozen in Indian news. Indians revere not just the gazillion gods and their pets, but also cricketers, movie stars, singers, leaders and what have you. Every community, village, city, state, institution etc. has its own protagonists that they completely submit to. It is as if we must have a messiah to save us from ourselves. In fact it is only thanks to the British (and to the congress party of the past) that we were left with too big of a single country to not end up as several different dictatorial/authoritarian regimes. Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, North Korea, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Iran etc. belong to the endless list of states whose existence hinge (or hinged) on the reverence for an individual.

In India more than anywhere else we have a tendency to want a messiah to appear as a solution for all our troubles. Ram, Krishna, Gandhi and whoever you have in between, came and saved us from our miseries – We prayed and they came. I read a lot about people complaining that India is not progressing because there isn’t a credible leader to look up to. More often than not such writing comes from supposedly outward thinking, educated, liberated, or whatever-have-you thinkers and writers. It makes me realize the extent to which idol worship is engrained in the Indian psyche.

I have a hard time understanding why we need this messiah? Why is it that we needed a Gandhi then and why is it that we need it now? Why can’t we all, as individuals, go about our daily affairs to the best of our ability and satisfaction? Why can’t we not strive to meet our own expectations? Why do we elect crooks to run our country? The problem with our culture is we want solutions elsewhere and do not want to take the responsibility ourselves. We want some out-of-the-world personality to come and tell us what is the right thing to do, when we already know what it is. It is like getting convinced by listening to hypnotic chants in a temple that tells us love is good and hate is bad, when everyone already knows that to begin with. Why do we need to behave in a specific way because some ancient text or some revered individual says so? Why can’t we derive from our own thinking the right thing to do?

As I mentioned in the beginning, all the gloomy stuff that glooms us today did not get gloomy this year. It is just that we have come to realize the existence of this gloom only now – thanks to the increasingly competitive media sphere. Now that makes two things to feel good about. First is our newfound knowledge of the existence of these grave problems. Second is that our media industry is doing really well. To top it all, none of these are what I wanted to point out as the thing that made me smile to begin with. So then that, instead of the cake that I intended to, now becomes the icing on it!

I have lived in Delhi most of my adult life and I love this city. Delhi like everywhere else in the world, is at its best in the morning. My best time of the day was an early morning run in the Talkatora Garden or the Bangla Sahib area. When I grew up enough to be given the privilege of owning a scooter, I did not leave a single colony in the city unexplored. I know the streets of Delhi like I know the lines on my palm. This time the one thing that made me smile was the Delhi Metro. While it has been in operation for quite some time, it is only this year that people have started using it as part of the regular mundane commute and is no longer the “special thing”. Delhi like all big cities gets its workers from neighboring states. These folks do petty jobs for measly wages as office peons, delivery boys, helpers etc. Commuting in a big city with bad infrastructure hurts these people the most. This time I witnessed these minions rubbing shoulders with the white collars of Gurgaon and the hip crowd of Delhi University in the comfort of the AC cars of Delhi Metro. It was not very hard to imagine how the life of this “real majority” has changed. I used to travel from Rajender Nagar to Gurgaon in my own car and it was horrible. Dhaula Kuan was the worst place to get stuck in. Travelling in Metro, it was so much of a breeze that I had to invent chores to do in Gurgaon so that I can get another reason for a ride. In one of my rides, I saw a meager looking guy, wearing a chappal and holding a shabby bag of something sitting in the Metro. He personified the typical image of the “Bihari” as we have come to know in Delhi. Sitting next to him was this girl who looked as chic as chic could ever be. Trendy janpath jewelry, jazzy top, tight jeans, earphones, iPad and what not. She personified the image of the typical JMC girl which I happened to get acquainted with during my leering days of Delhi University. She was absorbed in her book, the Bihari was staring in space and I was staring at the Bihari. Now that I think about it, probably he was staring at me wondering why in the world am I not staring at the pretty lady next to him. Seeing these two contrasts sitting next to each other, going about their daily routine, unaffected by their radically different lifestyles, first amused me and then eventually brought a smile – I think of pride. It was progress I was staring at. I witnessed this mingling of contrasts numerous times in various different rides; and boy I rode the metro this time like I used to ride my scooter back then!

I do not live in India anymore nor do I live in a developed country of the west (or the few in east). Yet I live in a city that is considerably ahead of mine in infrastructure and public habits. Reasons for this are many but importantly incomparable, and hence I need not go into these. However, the fact is that I do get to see what “better” is. The city that I live in is statistically speaking more densely populated and the city administration is less richer than Delhi’s. Yet quality of infrastructure, value for money and comfort of living is much better. To add to the paradox, The Corruptions Perception Index reports that my current country of residence ranks 129th whereas India ranks 95th in the list of most corrupt countries in the world.

I also travel a bit to other countries. I have seen how infrastructure is created and what progress looks like elsewhere. So mind you, I have no illusions about the India Shinning story since the time of the BJP government. Based on what I have observed in other countries, the India Shinning story can be very crudely summarized as India walking one step ahead while the rest of the world does two (leave aside the war-trodden African states please if you will). This effectively makes us walking one step back in this inter-dependent world.

I visit Delhi once every year for a couple of weeks. This makes me notice change better than those living in it. There is absolutely no doubt that traffic has reduced during non-peak hours, pollution has drastically reduced over the years due to anti-pollution initiatives, and commuting has become better. However, at the same time there is and has never been any doubt in my mind that our comparable progress is one-step-backward. The only reason there is any infrastructure development in Delhi is because life will come to a standstill without it. Our infrastructure is developed not in anticipation of a need but as a reaction to an existing situation. That is gloomy no doubt.

So now you might wonder I am contradicting what I set out to prove. But no, I am not. All I am saying is that we were miserable since the beginning and it hasn’t got much worse in 2011. What has happened is that this year large number of people in my country seem to have visibly realized the existence of its problems; and that my friend is not gloomy at all. Now all we need to do is get rid of this we-want-a-capable-leader mentality and instead take Responsibility.

Prayer makes us ask whereas a wish makes us want. I believe anything can be achieved if it is wanted bad enough not if it is prayed hard enough. My wish for the next year is a step forward for my beloved India.

October 26, 2011

Deepavali Gods and prayer

Filed under: Religon — Tags: , , , , , , , , — HarryCool @ 12:45 pm

Here’s a reproduction of a vintage article from the most vintage (and my favorite) Sardar Jee of our times that sort of fits the occasion and my wishes on this Diwali. 

There are almost half-a-dozen versions of the origin of Diwali and almost as many gods and goddesses associated with it. It is the day Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya, the day Vikramaditya was crowned King-Emperor, the day Lord Krishna killed Narakasura, the day Shiva, having lost everything in a gamble to Parvati, had his domain won back for him by his son, Ganapati. But for some obscure reason, the deity most favoured for worship on this auspicious day is Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. That proves, if any proof were ever needed, that whatever be our pretensions to spirituality, when it comes to the crunch, it is material prosperity and our account books (bahee-khatas) that we worship. I am all for material gains and give a fig for Spirituality. l wish my readers more money and better health on this Diwali: happiness follows good health and a healthy bank balance as surely as day follows night.

While living in Maharashtra, l came across yet another version of  Diwali. There, they commemorate it as the day when Lord Vishnu deprived Raja Bali of his Kingdom. Maharashtrian women make effigies of Bali and pray, ‘May all evil disappear.‘

Since there is little likelihood of Bhagwan Vishnu being able or willing to banish all evil for all times to come, I will make my prayer less demanding: ‘Please Lord, silence all guns for just one week. If you can’t do that all over the world, at least do so in Punjab and Sri Lanka.’ *

Khushwant Singh in The Hindustan Times, 24 October 1987


PS: Since guns are silent in Punjab and Sri Lanka already, let’s hope it so happens in Kashmir and Afghanistan too.



February 12, 2011

Egyptians bring “The System” Down

Filed under: History, Politics — Tags: , , , , — HarryCool @ 6:37 pm

Egypt Revolution

These are historical times. The most significant and autocratic leader of the Arab world has been brought down in a span of two weeks without any specific trigger that impacted the people directly. The life in Egypt before the protests began was no different from what it was on any day for the past several years. The way one country’s revolution has impacted the people of another and now of several more in the region is a telling sign of how almost every Muslim is on the brink of revolt against their leaders’ inability to bring about prosperity, justice and dignity.

Egyptians were able to succeed with sheer will against a government which until two weeks ago had complete and unequivocal support of the most powerful country in the world. The success of this revolution is a convincing argument against those in Indian polity who conveniently escape responsibility by blaming the various separatist problems on support from other countries or a handy work of gangs of criminals (Maoists). A region’s affairs are run by the people who inhabit it. There always are opportunists and influencers, but eventually it is the locals who decide there own fate. If the Indian government really intends to govern with control and efficiency it must focus on bringing about prosperity to the people who belong to the region. The government, authoritarian or democratic must “earn” the support of its populace and not worry about fighting with the outside world. If Saddam and Mubarak ruled their countries for decades without any major issues, it has to do with the fact that they really had the support of its people. The people may have supported the governments reluctantly for lack of a better alternative but it definitely does not have anything to do with the autocratic rule of fist. Never mind the western minded concept of stability as a result of democracy; earning support and trust of its people is how even the kings in ancient times have ruled there kingdoms. Opportunists exist with opportunity, and there is a lot of opportunity in the Indian system. Unfortunately there isn’t much choice and that is why we are still struggling with our issues and lagging far behind the developed world in prosperity and development.

The way almost suddenly everyone in Egypt just got influenced by the success of Tunisia’s revolution looks as if some mind-altering virus has spread in the region and is now making its way to other Arab countries. This is the stuff Hollywood Sci-Fi movies are made of. This is also the stuff that my daydreams are made of. Unfortunately for me these are for my own country and not for some far away land that I remember exists only when I see “The Mummy” for the Nth time on Star Movies. However, I have also never felt this happy for any event outside of my own country before. I feel strange feeling happy about the revolution almost as if it happened in India. Maybe because I know this is the best I can get.

Protests in Egypt

With all the anti-Muslim propaganda, the scenes of hardliners protesting in Pakistan, the footage of Taliban executing people; never did I imagine ever in my life that masses of people chanting Allah O Akbar would sound pleasant. But then as I said in the beginning of this now garrulous blog, these are historical times. These are times of change.

Domino Effect of 2011

For the Americans, Ironically the “Domino Theory” coined by them during the Vietnam war more than four decades ago comes back to haunt them this time from the most unlikely of places. Americans could have predicted the fall of almost any government in the Arab world but not Egypt. From the perspective of long term future, if this domino effect succeeds unlike the one before which Americans were able to stop even though they lost the war, it will be the beginning of the creation of a third front for them. China is already quite ahead in solidifying itself as a second front.

From a historical perspective, the Arabs and Europeans controlled much of the world before the Industrial revolution left the former far behind. Many believe this change would sink the Arabs deeper into fundamentalism, but I believe it might and more likely do the opposite and yet for the worse for the rest of the world. Beliefs which are close to ones heart maybe controlled by authoritarian regimes but it is a free and jubilant environment that enables a willing change. This change will make the Arabs only stronger. However, the way this environment has been won, it is also likely to bring about extreme nationalism, and we all know what that could lead to. A friend of mine once pointed out to me that the world map has changed quite drastically almost every 100 years, it might very well be the beginning of the next change. The last change can be referred to 1991 with the collapse of USSR. I am definitely not going to be around by 2090s, so I guess I got nothing to worry about if I do make the prophecy that we are due for a major change by then and that this event in Egypt is a stepping stone. However, leaving the political map aside, the geographical one might change sooner on account of the global climate changes.

Sometimes I wonder why did Hindus not succeed as much as the Arabs or the Christians/Europeans in spite of having a richer, far ahead of time and more complex system of governance. The Indus Valley Civilization could not do what others could even though it had the edge in terms of modernity during its time. To put it simply it could be due to the over complexity of the caste system which divided the people and did not provide a single thread to bind a huge population. Hindus lost it because they tried to solve for everything. Too many freaking gods man. Muslims and Christians with their relatively simplistic belief system ended up being better. In the end the over intelligence, the analysis-paralysis killed us. We are taught in school that the British divided us and then ruled us. Well I think we were already divided. they just came and made the most out of it.

So going back to the Egypt revolution, where is my country in all this? Nowhere. India is just just too big and diverse for its own good. But today is not the day to be gloomy. Today is the day to celebrate the success of a side which has been the underdogs for far too long. For me by not being on any particular side, it is more fun to follow this event. It is like watching a wild card win a grand slam – thrilling. And thrilled I am indeed!

To finally end this feast of weekend prolixity here is a funny yet a curt reminder of what just happened – www.ismubarakstillpresident.com

January 27, 2011

Major Laishram Jyotin Singh

Filed under: People — Tags: , , , — HarryCool @ 6:57 am

… Singh crawled out from under the debris of his room and, unarmed, charged at the terrorist and pinned him down. He continued to grapple with the terrorist and did not let him go till the latter detonated his suicide vest, resulting in his death.


January 2, 2011

Time to scrap the sports ministry

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , — HarryCool @ 9:42 am

Comparing the number of medals to population is not the right approach. It is a little deeper than just this simple math. USA has won so many medals despite less population because of overall high standard of living; China has low medals per million purely because population density is just way too high. Having a large population will not mean proportionate number of medals – the country needs to weigh up on the development index as well; Australia on the other hand is highly developed, less populated – so more attention and resources per million people, and in spite of heavy development and privatization – the state has added more funds and resources – obviously they will end up with a very high medal tally as a result of private and state focus on sport. Jamaica is a small country with extreme focus on sport with a low population. In fact I think, the right balance of low population and high development is what is making countries like USA, Australia and those in Europe succeed. There are outliers like China where the state is heavily involved and drives results.

I think the right country to compare and compete with is China with similar Population and Social Development levels. The difference is in clean governance. India cannot compete with the likes of USA and Australia even with a willing government simply because the amount of resources we can statistically dedicate (even far ahead in future) to an individual will be much less than that of US and Australia due to difference in population. I would have also favored the mix of State and Private involvement in Sport like in Australia but then with a fucked up government, it will only be the private involvement with the lure of money that will drive a cultural change and nothing else. Government should just back off and let the money make the world go round for its populace. But unfortunately, it is the money that our netas are also after and so they will never back off!

Solution to all problems of this country in a nutshell is – revolution. We need an uprising of sorts to get things straight. As you have very rightly said Sports “reflects” our soft power. We cannot excel in sport and not excel anywhere else. We need to fix the basics first and other areas like Sports will change on its own.


Deccan Chronicle
news?cf=all&ned=in&hl=en&topic=s&output=rssTime to scrap the sports ministry
Hindustan Times
Can India win 20 gold medals in the 2020 Olympics? A preposterous suggestion, most would argue. After all, the tally in Beijing in 2008 was a paltry three, with a solitary gold for shooter Abhinav Bindra. To believe there could be a 20-fold increase in
A rollercoaster ride for Indian sportRediff
New athletes of new indiaDeccan Chronicle
Golden hopesDeccan Chronicle
Economic TimesTips from the T-ListWall Street Journal (blog)
all 18 news articles »

View article…

July 8, 2010

No need to Apologize

Filed under: Anthropology — Tags: , , — HarryCool @ 12:09 pm

My response to Joel Stein’s apology

I am an Indian and I love my country. I see absolutely nothing offending when I read your article. It’s just a harmless humor-oriented view on the Indians who have come to live in your town. I can imagine how everything would have changed there and anyone would have felt amused at the strange ways of a foreign community. This would happen the other way round as well. Imagine a community of Americans living on their own in a small town in India. All Indians will find their ways and manner strange and amusing. I live in Manila and find Filipinos to be really strange in the ways which are part of their everyday life and considered absolutely normal. I see no hatred or malice in your article.

Indians make fun of Indians all the time. Punjabies find South Indians (commonly mocked at as Madrasies) strange. Probably no one likes Bengalies (except for the Bengalies). All joke about the Sindhies. Sardar jokes go around like Blonde jokes in US. This all goes in good humor. Our films are full of fun and mockery at one set of community or the other. In fact the various states of India are more different from each other than the various countries of Europe. There is more a similarity between the culture and ways of a French and British then there is between a Sardar and a Madrasi. It is an absolute cultural wonder of the world that a Sardar and Tamil can stand next to each other and say they come from the same country.

I think the reaction to your article comes more from a sense of insecurity and inferiority complex. There is Jealousy at play here too. There is no need to Apologize

…. it is his opinion and he is entitled to it just as we are to disagree. Yet, instead of leaving it that, Indians have gone overboard in demanding an apology from Time and Stein. Frankly, that sucks.
Indians are too thin-skinned, taking umbrage at the slightest writings or statements.
It is nothing but sheer hypocrisy, the kind at which we seem very good at, that every praise of an Indian community is lauded and hailed, but on reading the slighting negative piece, the knives are out.

July 1, 2010

How Bastar battlefield turned into death bed

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — HarryCool @ 6:51 am

59 CRPF men against 200 Maoists is not a bad ratio. Or shall I say “should” not be as bad a ratio that the casualties end up as one-sided. Can you imagine 200 terrorists winning a one-sided battle with 59 US marines. There sure will be a bloodbath on the other side big enough that they won’t be able to take away weapons or their injured/dead with them.

The fact is that CRPF men would have tried to run away the moment they’d have been ambushed. They just wouldn’t have fought. How will they? They are poorly trained and don’t have enough/right arms to fight with. Shouldn’t this be the case for the opposite side? What a pity.

Why do we not have 59 CRPF casualties? Why did the rest not stay on to fight till the end? How did they let the maoists take away their dead/injured? How did the maoists afford to take the left over arms of dead CRPF? It is obvious that maoists didn’t just ambush and then run away. They stayed on and cleaned up their mess as there was no one else to kill. Either the enemy (CRPF) had been killed or it ran away.

Jo dar gaya, samjho mar gaya. That is what happened in Bastar.



Twenty-seven men of the 39 Battalion were ambushed and cut down by Maoists in Narayanpur on Tuesday afternoon. Most had crouched behind the mud walls of the field, taking cover and firing back at the Maoists. But it was an unequal battle since the Maoists were in a remarkably secure position: A 20 feet deep nullah or rivulet, which the police say, they used as a trench to launch the attack on the CRPF party.

“The party with 59 CRPF men and one special police officer had left the camp early morning to clear the road unto Jhari Ghati ahead of movement of buses and troops. They were on their way back when they were ambushed near the nullah 3km short of the camp,”

It was not clear if any Maoist had been killed. “Our men said they saw bodies of at least 10 Maoists being carried away on wooden stretchers,” said an officer, who did not wish to be named.
men fell to bullets in this piece of land about 10 metres long and 20 metres wide.CRPF men, exposed to a shower of lead fought to the end almost without cover, wounded and huddled in a tiny paddy field. Along the mud walls of a small paddy field, big splotches of blood had turned the brown earth and tiny green shoots red. A majority of CRPFAnd the

June 27, 2010

Yanks rub it in with last-minute goal

I was surprised by own feelings when USA won by scoring in the dying minutes against Algeria. A neutral viewer like me would in general not want americans to win irrespective of the side they are up against. While everyone in the world has their own reasons for not cheering for the Americans, I think broadly it is because of either or a combination of these two – american arrogance and/or jealousy. In my case, it is more of the later.

I come from a culturally richer and older civilization. Yet due to its own shortcomings the land I come from is nowhere near the prosperity and success of the americans. India being in dumps in spite of the fact that indians have as much potential if not more as the americans, makes me jealous of their success. While I look at all American actions with utmost criticism, I know fully well, had my country been as successful as the Americans, they’d have been just the same in their attitude and actions towards the rest of the world (eg fighting terrorism); and would have been worse if not the same on the arrogance index as the americans.

In spite of this clear admittance of jealousy towards the US, I still didn’t believe I would want so bad for them to lose. I think it was the fact that they pulled it off so dramatically that it just added to my feeling of loss just the way it would have had an opposite impact on an american. Well, my feeling of loss would not be as high in intensity (since I am not an Algerian) as the joy of an american with that last-minute goal, but similar concept.

The Yanks did fight till the end. Well, a Draw would have kicked them out just as much as a loss, so they didn’t have anything more to risk by going all out.

“This team embodies what the American spirit is about,” Donovan said. “We had a goal disallowed the other night. We had another good goal disallowed tonight (on an offsides call), but we just keep going, and I think that’s what people admire so much about America.”

See the way he goes on about the “american spirit” and all about how great America is and all that crap. We do that so much in India too. Indian culture, Indian diversity, India’s rich heritage, how great we are yada yada yada.

“We’re kind of like the cardiac kids at the moment,” Howard said. “That emotion, that passion is what American sports fans thrive on. Given the American sports psyche, this is probably going to be more amazing for them than if we played unbelievable and won 3-0.”

Again the same BS about “american psyche”. Which sports fan in the world will not find a dramatic end like this more amazing over a straight forward 3-0 win? It’s obviously more entertaining anywhere in the world and has nothing “american only” about it. The fact is that Howard is just looking inwards, absorbed in his own big well, unconscious of the fact that the feelings will apply to anyone anywhere in the world.


June 22, 2010

India should never qualify for the World Cup Football

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , — HarryCool @ 7:13 am

… at least not in my lifetime.

India is a cricket playing nation and I love this game (and Football too). One sport is already enough for me to worry about not losing that I do not want football to add to that. I watch Cricket only when India plays. When India crashes out of any tournament, I no longer track it. Even if it is world cup cricket, the moment India is out, I am out. I feel cheated whenever India loses. I consider the failure of my team to win as my own failure. It affects me personally. I no longer watch any other match until the next big tournament.

Soccer, I truly love. I have nothing personal at stake. All I have is the Joy of watching a great competition. When I watch a game I am watching a game not a team. I enjoy every great move, every great goal and every great piece of defending. I enjoy the action. I was thrilled to see North Koreans give Brazilians a tough fight whereas most of the Brazilians would have been stressed about what was going on. The very next North Korean game, I loved it when Portugal stripped them of all the respect they earned in the game with Brazil. I loved how Mexico beat France and I hated the fact that I could not see Spain getting beaten by the Swiss.

I do not want to spoil this one full month of entertainment and excitement which I wait for 4 years by having India take part in it. I will get emotionally attached to the success of one team. The moment India gets out of contention, I will lose my interest. The desire to be the best of the 32 teams will overshadow my love for the sport which I played like crazy in my adolescence and youth; and which I think had such a huge role in making me whoever I am today.

I love this game and that is why I do not want the country I love to be playing it. If they do, the game will no longer be beautiful, it will become a rat race just the way it is for all the countries which are participating.

I can relate to the pain of all the football crazy French who can no longer enjoy this tournament because their beloved country got kicked out so soon. It has happened to me every 4 years since last 20 years. French may still watch the cup, I am sure many will, but it will not be anywhere near as much fun had France still been in contention.

Finally, I have this solid intuition that 2011 will not be painful. Mumbai as the destination for the final is like fate deciding it finally that this is going to be Tendulkar’s cup. For all that he’s given to Cricket, I think it is time the game now rewards him with its penultimate prize. I will be there to watch HIM lift the cup in Mumbai. Amen.


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