Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Apology Gardens.....

Indian cricket captain, M. S. Dhoni, appeared on TV a few days ago, apologizing to the nation for losing the key T20 cricket match , the loss of which threw India out of contention for the Cup.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that this is just a game.
Winning and losing are part of it. We dont have a monopoly on the CUP. There are no reservations here. Dhoni's job was to do what he knows best. Play cricket. Its not his job to play political games vis-avis the press. Its not his job to investigate someone's triceps. And its not his job to question, when the powers that be practice selective blindness. Neither is it his job to give interviews. For that there are many professional politicians in the Board of Control for Cricket(BCCI) in India, who make it a point to fly in and out of countries for the matches.

As the captain of a team, that has been flogged , without rest, flying in and out of countries, playing various varieties of the game, with scanty disregard for time zones, rest periods, tapering-off-techniques in practice, he did his best . The BCCI and its assorted associated profit making set ups (read IPL), treat these guys like machines, that must deliver, so revenue earned from 'production' is maximized. And so, after apologizing, he and his team fly straight away to the West Indies for the one Day form of the game. I think the chairman of the BCCI should have apologized for the horrendous schedule.

Should Dhoni have apologized ? No. Sure, he could have analysed the game. But an apology was not asked for. And he was playing a game. He was not playing with people's lives.

I can think of several more people who should be up there, queueing up on TV to apologize.

However, anticipating vast numbers who might want to use this as a quick publicity stunt, and in keeping with my concern for the nation in the form of Temper Parks, I am hereby suggesting something new.

Apology Gardens. Much as it sounds like a hifi name for an new housing estate promoted by someone who thinks anything ending with-ogy is posh, this is actually a Green way to apologize.

These will be gardens built on
land that is reclaimed ; not from the ocean, but from goons who organize slums illegally on someone else's land. There will be an audience area with seating, like in amusement parks. There will be a replica of a village on the premises, complete with a dry well, empty water vessels, lean looking cattle, and women walking around carrying 4 pots on the head, containing nothing. Another part of the park will have small village schoolrooms, complete with missing fans, crumbling walls, collapsed ventilation, and zero plumbing. The teacher's table will have one leg missing, and the chair will be totally missing. There will be also something called Pothole Plaza in a part of the park. There will also be special MCC; nothing to do with the cricket body, Lords, Devils, or Dhoni, but actually standing for Municipal Contractors Conclave.

Some leading candidates anticipated at the Apology gardens..... .

The PM :

Nothing personal against any specific person, but the occupant of the moment needs to massively apologize. 60 years into our independence and there are still 15,000+ villages that do not have drinking water facilities. Women walk for miles through hilly areas searching for places where groundwater is available to be used, and they lug it back, several pots at a time, several miles everyday. Within 50-60 miles of a place like Pune , you can see places that have no electricity. When a locally known girl made it as a winner in a National Children's Marathi Music show, residents walked/travelled 40 miles to watch her on TV.

Every time goals are not met and work falls short , the PM should make a mandatory trip to the nearest Apology Park. Music consisting of owls hooting, crickets chirping in the night, and little children on their mothers hips crying for water, will play, as the person makes several rounds of the designated area, carrying four pots. He will stop at a well, and try and draw water through a rusted pulley set up. This will be done several times. There will be special theatre artists playing lazy husbands , sitting around , playing carrom, as their wives trudge around for water. The PM must pull them up , and crack the whip. He may be helped in all these acts, by his cabinet colleagues . A ringing applause from the public in the audience area will signify the apology is accepted.

The Central and State Ministers for Education/Human Resources Development.

The Central Minister, totally infatuated with India's emergence as an IT player, goes overboard sanctioning Institutes of Higher Education, without seeing if premises, laboratory and other facilities etc exist. Locations are based on who sucks up to the ruling party. The fact that today's IT players have emerged from old conservative reputed institutes that have come up through sheer hard work is completely overlooked. 60 years after Independence, there are still rural primary schools, where money allocations don't reach schools, roofs leak, there is no potable water for the students, and the school teacher is at the mercy of the local village head. Text books never reach students, and yet, year after year, the same Ministry does full page ads in newspapers, displaying photos of those in power, who matter , saying "Each One , Teach One"....

The State Minister, treats the portfolio as a fun thing. There hasn't been a year when students passing their boards have not been faced with changing admission rules for college. The Minister specializes in introducing sudden rule changes two days before admissions start. The Chief Minister, on his own, issues an opposing edict. Every year the State Technical (Engineering, Medical, Pharmacy and Architecture) admissions are challenged in court and someone obtains a stay order, delaying admissions. One of the State ministers, even troubled the poor 4th class students, saying they would need to pass increasing number of intermediate tests every semester. And doesn't matter if the textbooks weren't available.

These guys should be welcomed into the Apology Garden by hoards of parents and children singing Hum Honge Kamayaab (our version of "We shall overcome") , and led to the schoolroom set up. The ministers will sit at the school desks meant for small kindergaarten children and get a taste of what happens when older children are allotted these places for exams. A minimum period of one hour spent sitting cramped at these desks, faced with taps hissing air, and fans that do nothing with or without current, all the while writing out 100 repetitions of "I will improve primary education facilities with immediate effect", will take them back to their schooldays , not to mention the trauma manifesting itself in their arthritic knees. A maximum sitting time of 3 hours is suggested to give them a taste of what the poor students face during exams. When someone walks out, bent and holding his back, apoplectic and speechless with anger, the apology will be considered as accepted.

And finally Welcome to the Pothole Plaza.

The Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, the Chief Minister, and Telephone Company Chief.

Amidst laughable and shameless declarations of converting Mumbai into Shanghai , the above three would be next in line for entry into the Apology gardens. It is suggested that a set of bulldozers escort them to the Pothole Plaza, with the aforementioned digintaries sitting in the digging limbs of the machine, for maximum visbility. While the audience watches, they will be given one of those road drills to mess up a sample road. The Pothole Plaza will have several permanently designed giant potholes. The 3 guys will be made to sit in the sort of cars you see in amusement parks , that bang into each other.

As soon as they assume expressions of honest regret (difficult, but not impossible), the cars will automatically start and proceed in Brownian motion through all the potholes, banging into each other at varying speeds. During a break, the MCC, will employ chaps to fill the potholes with substandard cement and water, so that once the cars start again, the occupants may get the benefit of huge blobs of dirt water, similar to what ordinary mortals in Mumbai get at bus stops in the monsoon. It is expected that these municipal leaders, sit in the cars with folded hands addressed to the audience, as a measure of their apology.

One suspects that such events may actually yield more results, than those achieved by filing
public interest litigations, in courts , already highly overburdened with cases. Publicity crazy officials will think several times before giving random interviews. There will be lesser numbers of people rushing to Delhi for Ministerships , knowing what happens if they don't perform.

You might ask who funds these parks.

I really don't know.

Just like I don't know, how, in one of our poorest states, the chief minister is able to get newer and newer state planes for personal use.

Just like I don't know how in a country with a President, Power behind the Throne, Deputy Opposition leader, and Speaker of Parliament, all women, they still can't get the Women's Reservation Bill to pass, and send it back for "review".

Just like I don't know, why so much funding is easily available for the trial of a terrorist, who was clearly seen in action against the country, killing and maiming innocent citizens, a shameless convict ,who smiles at the judge; but a quota exists for granting bravery medals at the highest level, to those who paid with their lives, and the government cannot bring itself to create an exception to the rule, that the number of medals is fixed....


  1. Dhoni should not have apologised.... absolutely no... their job is to try and that they did... we lost by 3 runs... we were strategically suprised... and in a 20 over game its difficult to come back... yes there were a few debatable decisions... but dhoni has them even when we win...

    He absolutely doesnt need to apologise... I m proud of my team even if they lost and I am proud he is the captain of my team...

    It is actually a reflection of our mob crowds... who ransack houses of cricketers when they lose... all they can do is point that he was smiling when we lost...

    they will only point that he does commercials and he doesnt care about playing ... entirely untrue...

    Fickle media and such fickle fans can go to hell...

    I can understand criticising tactics and asking explanations... rite... why ask about injuries and why he came and not... he is not the selector... really...

    Our media is so great they love pulling our own people down and rub their noses... instead of hiding a few whispers under the carpet.. they cant help... they can only help confound the problems...

    just read in hindustan times today that a few news channels paid money to a few people and got them to burn effigies of dhoni in Ranchi !!!!!!!!!!

    need we say more... !!

    poor guys... they give their best... and coz they are good at their job they get paid... a lot..

    and people cannot digest that... !!!

    but i salute them for the joys they have given us and they need not apologise.. it is them who are more disappointed than us.. !!

    sorry but i just feel too much about this issue so ... had to write a logn comment....

  2. Haha! First Temper Parks- now Apology Gardens!

    As for the funding- in a country where a Chief Minister of one of the more backward states can build giant stone elephants using Crores of Rupees of the tax-payers' money- we should be able to get the funding for these gardens! :)

  3. Powerful post.It is so sad that we always have such high expectations form our sports people but do not ask for the same accountability from those in power who are playing with lives.

    Poor guys losing by three. And you are so right about them being machines. There is no such thing as a season of cricket anymore. they play year round and they must be exhausted even though they are making lots of money.

    I shall be reading this post to Des and will let you know what he thinks.

    Apology Gardens - oh how they will be full.

  4. Very well written and heartfelt. Reading about each of the entrants in the gardens made me fume. They really take us junta for granted don't they?

  5. I am sorry. I am sorry.

    Now, i dont know why i said that. But am already in the mood for that garden that you suggest.

    Sounds like a super idea. And neither do i understand why the womens bill should go for review.

    Nor, why Kasab should be 'tried' !

    Seems like the Apology Garden is something that we would do well with.

  6. Hi,
    Came via "vivek-uvaach"

    What struck me is "hey I found someone of my age and concerns".

    Nice writing, thanks.

    I will continue to read, if u don't mind!

  7. There needs to be an apology garden in every country and a large one at that. Makes you wonder how people in power sleep at night.

  8. Maybe the apology was directed to those who use him as a brand ambassador for their products. They would have prefered a winner!
    It is time we stopped the welcome party when they do win a tournament. A few private gatherings at which they are honoured would suffice. Remember the huge reception and the open motorcade last time they won? It is this mass hysteria which should be prevented.

  9. Good one and I support the idea.

    Dhoni's apology is just 'correct' behaviour or etiquette. It may not disclose a penitent heart. Even then I liked what he has done.


  10. Thanks for this post! It contains so many elements of so many shameless people that its difficult to decide who to comment upon. But it shames me that after 60 years, we still don't have the choice of a better govt than what we got this year! Wasn't it like choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea?!