Tag Archives: Sachin Tendulkar:

SO LONG BALDY………

SO LONG, BALDY…….

It wasn’t just another face staring at me from Page 10 of the Times of India. That’s where the dear departed are often featured. The Obit (Obituary) page of the newspaper.

For some reason, day after day year on year, irrespective of how much of the remaining sections of the paper that I consume, this is one page I spend a lot of time on.

Faces of the not-so-young. Or sometimes, young. Occasionally, even younger, obvious from the year and date of birth.

There would be some faces I had grown familiar to, possibly because they would appear with such unfailing regularity. The displayed picture would more or less remain unchanged.  The brief prose, or sometimes poetry accompanying the picture betraying the deep pain and anguish of those left behind.

For instance, it has been 13 years last month, (September 19, 2002), but, every year, conspicuous is a small stamp size picture and a few touching words of remembrance to a lady called Priya Tendulkar. My generation would recall the fire-brand television actor who became a household name through her character Rajani, which took on the corrupt.

On Monday, October 6, 2014, my eyes remained transfixed to a pair of eyes staring at me from the obit page. It wasn’t only because the picture was much larger in size compared to the other departed names.

A Gentle face, not so young and surely not so old. Cropped hair. But oozing warmth and an unusual calm in the eyes.

It was, but obviously, an untimely demise. I tried to make some meaning of the possible reason of death or the antecedents. Or what the person’s occupation or family background was. The names, a large mourning family left behind going by the printed list, too, did not reveal much.

Felt sad at this early departure.

The same morning, another newspaper, in one of it’s inside news pages spoke about a young business tycoon and heir to a family empire having died after a massive heart attack while jogging, during a business trip to Maldives.  It was the same name.

This helped me join a few dots this time. Kind face. Large family. Young children. Untimely death. Business tycoon, I thought to myself.

A single paragraph news piece in another broadsheet newspaper the same morning caught my eye. Sports page. ‘Cricketer of yester-years and Sachin Tendulkar’s first captain in first class cricket passes away.’ A few cricketers had mourned the untimely demise. It was the same name.

Sportsman too.

Later that day, on facebook, I saw common friends, with different professional interests and age groups, commenting on the untimely end of this person. Each ‘friend’ contributing a new and fascinating aspect to the departed one. Donor, Helper, Good Samaritan, friend. Ever smiling.

I was amazed at the multi-dimensional persona of such a young face. And to add to it, was the aura.  And yet, he was gone. Just like that.

Two evenings later, stepping out of my office, my ears caught a soothing strain of music and vocals. It did not seem far away. Trying to trace the source, it carried my feet to the auditorium adjacent to my office. The otherwise desolate entrance had a queue almost half a kilometre long. From the entrance, inside, I could see another hundred odd people making their way up, to the first floor auditorium even as a parallel line inched its way down. They all seemed in shock. But for the gentle music, all the people around seemed bound by a common thread of sadness and voluntary silence.

It is a prayer meeting, said the security guard.

I wondered what made me do so, but I silently merged into the queue and about 45 minutes later, managed to make my way into the auditorium. The place was packed. Overflowing. People from different age brackets, some seemed businessmen, corporate types, young and old. Men, women. Youngsters. Some having come straight from work.

What could have brought so many people together? Who could have? It takes generations of hard work for someone to have such a following. For people to come across and admire you for whatever you may have done. Especially in a city like Mumbai, where you have no time for the living. Pray, what could have led so many to assemble for someone who was no more?

My eyes gradually traced the queue, all slowly making their way to the front of the stage, where the family of the bereaved, stood. Folded hands and fingers held tight together, almost as if, as if, the clasped fingers holding the spirit from crumbling.

Behind them, was the portrait. Of the same young face. Smiling eyes. As if watching his friends, well-wishers, asking them to continue showering his family with the love that had brought them here. Overwhelming was the moment.

Here, I quote a portion of the Obituary written by my friend Shishir Hattangadi, for Rajesh Sanghi. The young man who was no more and for whom, so many had chosen to change their routine.

“He played golf, ran the marathon, did all the right things to stay afloat in a world that can easily distract you with temptations. He liked a laugh and was always around for a chuckle, for old-time’s sake.

One is shocked and confused, can’t even imagine what his close friends and family are going through.

Time, I am told heals, I’m yet to find a balm that can give us the answers we spend a life time searching.

Rajesh Sanghi be happy wherever you are, and Mr. Destiny you owe his family and friends an explanation, and it better be a bloody good one.”

It is rare to find good Samaritans. Rare to find ideals. A species extinct as we look around us. People for whom life is so much more than just living. And in death they leave behind such a rich legacy. (https://shishirjoshi.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/the-man-with-the-umbrella/)

I didn’t know Rajesh. Baldy, as I am told he was popularly known across circles.

I first met him in the Obituary pages of the Times of India. I so wished I had the privilege to met him outside of that.

Yet, he left me with a deep sense of void and a lump in my throat.

What a way to have gone…What a way to have lived…

Ends

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DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DOLLY BINDRAS IN THE MEDIA

This is not in defense of the media. As you read along, you may realize it. In fact, it is quite to the contrary.

Foremost, let me lay down some of the allegations against the media and some of the prevailing perceptions.

That the media is a king-maker. That it is corrupt. That it is far away from the realities impacting the society. It thrives on sensationalism.

Partly, it is the media, itself,  which is to blame. For the corruption. And for the perception.

 Let’s start with the most recent one. Media as the  king-maker. Allegations which have shattered the holier than thou image. And as noted  journalist Arun Shourie put it during  a TV show, “Time and again instances have come up where Journalists themselves have been responsible for the betrayal”.

Before the clarification, here’s a dummy’s guide to a media house.

Very few people really know and understand how a news organization  operates. In the fifty-odd people who work, in what is seen by the outside world as the ‘powerful’ editorial  of any news organization, a little less than half, say twenty or so,  are what they called designated Reporters (working Journalists in the real sense). They are the ones who have a contact with the ‘outside’  world. Or, that, the outside world really knows about.

Within those twenty reporters, barely four or five such Journalists deal with the high and mighty; by this, I mean, with Political heavyweights (covering  the political beat)  film stars (mind you, not any filmstar, but only the big five of Hindi cinema) and Sports, again, here not just any sport or any sports heavyweight, but Cricket.  

So now , of an approximate 50 odd, we have come down to the top five in any Editorial, who have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the Rajas.

All this also depends on the ‘importance’ of the media house based on readership/viewership (NDTV among  policy makers and Hindustan Times in Delhi do among  heavy weights, incidental that I am mentioning these two  in the same breath as we discuss th Radia tapes). Needless to say, holding a  fancy designation helps. For instance, If you are  Managing editor of NDTV or Advisory Editorial Director of HT, it just can’t get better).

 So if a Managing Editor is found to step into grey area or is caught on tape, arranging deals, it does not imply that the entire organisation or all the media that you know of, is corrupt, right?does not mean you brand all of media as corrupt, right?

Well, not correct, if perception and a bit of hara-kiri is to go by.

How often have we seen PRESS stickers on  two-wheelers and cars of media persons. Any self respecting journalist who holds a valid identity card from his organization will tell you that these stickers are not required. Not required unless ofcourse, it is used as a visa to ge past a traffic cop all set  to haul you for a traffic offence.

 At least thats  what the increasing perception is.  

But Press stickers are not by itself responsible for the perception. So called ‘king-maker’ journos often have events at home, or ceremonies where the high and mighty are  invited.  The event begins with the entry of the King and ends with wagging tongues because the big man has been pictured wining and dining with the journo host, back slapping and addressing him by his first name.

Who wouldn’t like a high-and-mighty  walk into your living room and back-slap you , chat up your family and share a chai with you, leaving your family, friends and neighbors in a daze? That, my dear sirs, is the addiction.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong in playing host to the high and mighty.

But, where the hacks go wrong, is when they believe that the Biggies will be friends with them, irrespective of the designations they hold.

 . I promise you, it can’t be further away from truth, in most cases.

Without as much realizing that when your community or neighborhood notices you, with the King, one half of the locality thinks you are powerful. The other half thinks you are corrupt.

You, in fact are an ass with a big bloated ego, refusing to see the writing on the wall. “You are so dear to me”, says the politician and you glean with pride. What you don’t read between the line is he muttering under his breath that I accept you only with your designation and organization.That is, IF you have a fancy designation.

The power of a   journalist , in today’s age(unless his good deeds speak volumes) is like the hair on the head, the tooth in your gums and the nail on your fingers. It is valued only when it is in its place. Worthless,  when chopped.

There was a time, when Journalists wielded the power of the pen. The power, by what they wrote. Based on facts and fair play. That was power. Real power laced with absolute respect.

Today, the power has corrupted. Absolute power (based on a belief that he is  the king-maker) has corrupted absolutely.

The far and few, but absolutely corrupt journalist is powerful not by what he is capable of writing, but his ability to WITHHOLD  information. . The power  to conceal a story, often at the cost of a favor, or as seems in the case of the Radia tapes, through an alleged TRADE OFF  makes the corrupt journalist in the lot nothing less than a white-collared  extortionist. 

But you hate them, you call them names and yet, you do not speak out against them. What is it that scares people when it comes to speaking up? Or speaking out? Unless it is in hushed tones?  Politicians have been hurling abuses at each other, taking names, in the spectrum scam. But no one has dared name the journalist(s) or media houses at all. Now, for once, much after Outlook and Open names the scribes, has a TV channel begun debating the role of the hacks.

While social Media has been active in this case, MSM (Main Stream Media) has primarily been  mute. Be kind to thy comrades for they  may one day come and lord over us, could be one logic.

But what stops the rest of the world from talking about these names in public? Two reasonings come to my mind.

One, Industry captains do not wish  to rub India’s much watched English channel the wrong way. “I am seen on it and would continue to wanting to be seen there” is what they believe. Any rubbishing of the network, or its key stake holders would mean, a black out.

The second, and more real fear  is of the  backlash. I call it the Dolly Bindra effect. Nobody wants to rub Media big wigs the wrong way. However wrong they may be. They maybe paper tigers but, Tigers no doubt. Their growl is more dangerous than the (non existent) bite.   They have a habit of bouncing back and, like the boxing cushion, slamming right into your nose.

So, however, much you dislike them, hate their guts, have evidence of their alleged wrongs or have taped  conversations of political coziness, you would rather shut up and lead your life.

After all,  we all know what happened to Shweta Tiwari and Samir Soni on  BiGG Boss season four when they took on Dolly Bindra, right? Shweta was stung in the face, Samir was ousted. And as I write this, Dolly Bindra ,  is back.

P.s.

Remaining quiet has never been a solution. Mute spectators to a crime too, are as much guilty as those perpetrating the crime.

 It  is time you speak up against those, whom you believe are corrupt under the garb of being honest. It is important too. For others, Citizen Journalism, or social media, is a solution.

 For, isn’t it a commoner like you and me who exposed the Adarsh scam or the CWG or the initial lid of the various scams in recent times?

Ends

The i-Pill of IPL

IPL will be played in a new avatar next year. The government has taken over the IPL. It may be named after shivaji maharaj or Mayawati. The finals may be played at Baramati or Amethi and commentary will  be in Marathi.
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Backgrounder:
 
With much shxx  having hit the ceiling over IPL , the Su-shi (as Shobhaa De named the awesome twosome) tamasha and then Lalit bhai and his  innumerable relatives, friends, patrons, politicians,  their daughters in and out of the playing field, the government has finally decided to take over IPL.
 
The next instalment is scheduled for March 2011.
 
Here is how the Five month countdown, to March 2011, took place:
 
November 14, 2010:
 
The government today held a press conference addressed by Kapil Sibal to announce the formal take-over of IPL. The breaking news  co-incidentally-coincided with chacha Nehru’s happy birthday but Ministers facing the camera vehemently denied the Congress hi-kamaan  influence had anything to do with it.
Outside, factions of elderly disgruntled congressmen raised slogans demanding Rahul-ji Gandhi-ji to be named chairman of the IPL. Their slogan shouting was not heeded to.
The congress said it was too early to state whether the IPL would be named after shri Rajiv ji Gandhi ji.”Madam will be consulted” they said.
Elsewhere, the CPI(M) and  and BJP held separate slogan shouting, alleging partisan behaviour and said it was a political-hijack of nation’s favourite sport. There was a lathi charge.
The press conference was hastily adjourned after a call from the PMO.
 
November  21:
 
The ruling government announced forming an all-party committee to decide the venues, auction process and team selection etc. The CPI  factions have boycotted the committee.
 
December First week:
The first meeting of the committee scheduled for the first week had to be called off. The meeting will now be held in South Africa.
 
January First week:
With barely two months to go, the government announced the venues for the IPL.
Baramati (Sharad Pawar’s kingdom  for those who are unaware) was chosen as one of them while Jharkhand said they wanted one as well. Within the NCP, Bhandara ( quite incidentally, a constituency of Praful Patel) was chosen as one of the venues. There would be nine matches in Amethi including one final and two sper finals. These details were not available nor could anyone in the Congress answer this as of now.
 
Meanwhile, a fresh trouble has erupted.
 
Mayawati has insisted that she will only allow IPL to happen in UP if the tournament is named  Dr Ambedkar IPL chashak ( trophy) and every match would begin with a Mayawati vandana (prayer) and garlanding of a statue of the honourable Kanshiram ji.
In a related development, the Shiv Sena also made a violent demand that the tournament be named after Shivaji  maharaj. The shiv chatrapati Shivaji maharajah ajinkya trophy.
In Mumbai, the Raj Thackeray led MNS burnt four taxis and beat up fifteen cab drivers over this issue They have demanded that all the match umpires should be Marathi speaking, and commentaries out of matches in Maharashtra do be conducted in Marathi.
(Last heard, Ravi  Shaz Shastri failed the marathi speaking test  Sunny managed to get past as a third upire commentator.
Ravi Shaz has been replaced by Balaji Namdeo  Sapkal from Parel who has been known to conduct tennis ball cricket coaching tournaments. He is also a shakha pramukh of MNS. He was earlier the vibhagh pramukh of the Shiv sena. )
 
March 2011:
 
There was a minor mishap at one of the stadium construction sites (the stadiums are not yet ready) . Incidentally, the contracts for construction have been given to political families from different regions to maintain parity and transparency.
There has been a call in Parliament to delay the IPL because the ruling party may face a no-confidence over choosing Baramati over Amethi for the finals.
 
Meanwhile, the congress party at a press conference announced the head of state of Swazi land (the african country where the king chooses his wives, annually, from a village fair and the remaining women are handed over to his ministers)  as the person to inaugurate the IPL.
None of the political parties protested( Shiv Sena and Samajwadi had not heard of him so they spared the buses and taxis).
 
The IPL was to be inaugurated on the 24 th of March 2011. However, on the 22 nd of March, certain vested interests have filed a PIL in the court of Justice Dinakaran who has ordered a stay on the tournament.
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Sachin, by the way, has migrated to Iceland, Ganguly is in South Africa, Gambhir , Sehwag and others  have opened restaurants. A few other senior players have joined political parties. Yuvaraj continues to attend parties on invitation and otherwise.
Bollywood stars who were earlier seen inside the stadium, are still there. This time, making real money thanks to more politically strong middle-men entering the fray.
 Lalit bhai  has decided to sue the new owners of IPL. The hearing has been adjourned to 2013.
Su-Shi   have have launched an event management company called nautanki. Details can be obtained from their website, type out the password” cattle-class”.
They have moved to Dubai.
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Some of the names in this piece have an uncanny resemblance to a few characters who are living. But behave dead(ly).
This is nothing short of a coincidence. No design or default intended.