14 Feb 2014

What the IPL is Doing For Indian Cricket

The IPL auction is over. Yuvraj Singh received the highest bid worth 14 crores. We are delighted with some players’ addition to our IPL teams. Lalit Modi is still screaming hoarse about match fixing. The media (and most na├»ve people) are busy accusing Dhoni of match fixing allegations. Amidst all this, we gear up for the biggest entertainment bonanza of the year while the Indian cricket team continues to perform dismally abroad.

Accept it! The Indian Premier League (IPL) has ruined Indian cricket. Players don’t care how they perform at the international level anymore as long as they earn big bucks while playing for the IPL. They lack patience to ply test cricket, the resilience to slug it out with tough teams abroad and the strategy to come up trumps after 5 grueling days.

Who can blame them? Even they have mouths to feed. A secure future (one with lots of money) is always preferred to an insecure one. But this secure future is also killing uncapped players’ drive to play for the country.

Well, what about us? What about common man? We spend hours watching the IPL auction live (perhaps even reruns of it), tweet frantically, spend hours discussing it and calling the team owners all sorts of things for paying too much to pick a player or losing out on a good one. And then we complain about the amount of money being splurged. Hypocrisy! And we argue about how a player from CSK is involved in match fixing, regardless of no evidence present. Who gives a damn about him being the captain of the Indian cricket team, right?

Then the IPL begins. We claim that the IPL is not real cricket, a waste of time, a display of money by the rich and everything that is evil about society. Yet we are hooked. We watch matches on the tube, internet and in stadiums as if life depended upon it. We boo Virat Kohli when he plays for Bangalore while forgetting, as he said, that “apart from playing for RCB, I play for India.” Mumbaikars support Kieron Pollard over MSD because the former plays for Mumbai Indians. Awesome!

All this while the Indian cricket team continues to underperform. Obviously fatigue sets in. We will keep saying that the players’ motivation is just money, but it is because we are paying them… we hype the IPL to unimaginable heights. Manoranjan ka baap, right? And we completely expose our players to cricketers from across the globe, exposing their strengths and weaknesses. And then we wonder why other teams are so effective and India is not.

So before blaming Indian cricketers for not performing, look at the reasons. You are just as responsible for our international team’s dismal performance. If you care about India like you claim, stop caring about which player plays for your IPL team. Support him if he plays for India instead of snubbing him if he’s performed well against your city’s IPL team. Y’all are not children. So act your age. Think like a mature person instead of happily feeding on the media and being fooled. It’s time you stopped deciding players’ capabilities based on their IPL performances. It’s time our players stop wasting time and energy training for and playing in the IPL. They are humans just like you and me. I've given up on the IPL 3 seasons ago. Time for you to see the light too... and no, it's not a freight train coming your way.

11 Feb 2014

Book Review: 'End of Story?' by Arjun Shekhar

What if your daughter has gone missing? And your boss is murdered on the same day? And while you’re trying to investigate all this (because you have to testify in court) you come across a sinister plot much deeper than you could have imagined?

Gripping – one word which describes Arjun Shekhar's 'End of Story?'. A thriller woven with precision, this book is unlike most fiction books you read; it has a touch of reality in it. It is especially intriguing for those who don’t trust mainstream media anymore. It’s courageous of someone to indicate what is happening in the real world by means of a story.

I’m not fond of fiction, but this book left me curious. I’ve stopped believing the media It wasn’t captivating enough for me to finish it at one go, but had me coming back to it; one novel in which I wanted to find out what happens in the end.
End of Story?

It starts off with Shukrat Ali, an anchor at the news channel ‘Khulasa’, worried about having to testify in because his boss was murdered a few months ago. He reflects of the events of the past few months, which begin with his daughter being kidnapped and end with the killing of his boss Satya Saachi Sengupta. As the events transpire, Shukrat Ali unearths a nexus between the media and the government and decides to expose it. Each chapter begins with a question posed in the courtroom to Ali, and his answer forms the rest of it. The plot, albeit left a little wanting for substance, is well woven and leaves no loopholes. Also, the description of the Gond tribes and the Vidarbha region, where most of the book is based, are awesome! Not only does the author describe the characters with amazing accuracy, he also uses language which matches the quality of renowned thrillers.

It would be mean to give away the plot. So no more details about it… It did not keep me awake at nights wanting to read more, but is powerful enough to ensure who picks it up finishes it. Like Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, the book becomes really slow at times. But be patient and pull through those pages because the climax more than makes up for them. It’s heartening to see Indian authors write books like this which don’t hand the story on a platter to the readers, but make them connect the dots and draw the author’s conclusion for themselves.

This book is a definite 3/5. So if you’re not reading a thriller currently, pick it up and enjoy a good break from your reading list. You will be left refreshed.

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