Saturday, July 16, 2011

Not Cricket.....

For many years, long long ago in India, "minister", was considered a verb.

As a public "servant", you "ministered" to the needs of the citizens. Your "skills" and your "management" came from practice. Then one day, "management" became something you learned in a college by paying through your (clogged) nose, "minister" became "administer" where the only moving parts (instead of limbs and brain) were hands, automatic filling pockets, and a keen nose sensitized to a certain smell.

Shortly thereafter, "minister" became a noun, and has remained so, unchanged. Or perhaps, only changing for the worse.

And so it came to pass, that while children and youth across the country, wanting to excel at sports, braved trains, crowds, heavy kitbags, expensive kits, searing summers,torrential rains, bad facilities, terrible food, and worried parents, a whole bunch of political administering types, took over, surreptitiously, and not so surreptitiously, the control of sports.

It was the policy of "Nex(t) us!". You could play,practice, and slog all you wanted, but those in charge, would be THEM. There were so many discussions over "(t)ea" and few other secret things, that it actually came to be called a "Nexus".

The sports-political Nexus.

Click the graphic below for a clearer view. (Though I suspect some folks prefer things a bit vague and fuzzy).

So we come to the elections for the Presidentship, of what is increasingly being called the MCA, expansion as above. (And I always thought it was the Mumbai Cricket Association).

One of our illustrious cricketers, who has made centuries in the game, at the Mecca of Cricket too, and even served for a while in a learning position at the MCA, decided to offer his candidature for President of the MCA. Besides being an iconic cricketer, an initiator of systematic cricket coaching for young school children, he is someone with a keen eye for spotting cricketing talent.

But he never knew the unwritten prerequisites for the job.

Which the opposing candidate had in plenty.

Such as : Belonging to the ruling party; being able to sign on important documents, and then being able to say, that your position demanded that others worry about nitty-gritty facts, you did as you were told; a knack for participating in at least one scam per year; an ability to see the disaster tourism potential in any five star grevious city carnage; a love for hobnobbing with movie folks, and an ability to casually effortlessly flit , over short durations, from one Union ministry to another, like heavy industry, to rural development, to science and technology.

If you or your kin are associated with the sugar industry, you really qualify for the job. After all, the MCA history is studded with magnates from the textile, education, and sugar industry. Who knows, polymers and chemicals may be Reliably next. What really is decisive is your ability to read domicilary addresses and disqualify potential "Powar"ful competitors.

So what if you cannot hold a bat, so what if bail(s) is something the Court grants to a crook, and so what if you often get stumped, when questioned about things Adarsh. You are your own umpire !

Besides the opposing candiddate had history on his side. Who ever heard of a cricketer heading the MCA. Sheesh.

And whats more, he had "Powar"ful backing. Assorted cutlery, yes-men, all organized to vote.

Three previous MCA presidents were (ex) chief ministers of the state. Since 1992 they had ensured, that the Presidency of the Mumbai Cricket association, remained with the political heavyweights.

And so the Ministers vs Cricketers game, ended .

Lots of underhand bowling, one presumes. A first innings majority for the Minister. The cricketer, to his credit, ran an impressive 136 (versus the minister's 181).....

But like in all crucial matches, it rained. Copiously. The pitch was queered. And they had to go by the Yourworth-Who-is Rule.

(Me thinks, there should have been a third umpire, or at least and election replay. Maybe I should learn to do artistic snazzy actions like Billy Bowden, or glare like Daryl Harper).

Of course the real cricket loving types were disappointed. The Cricketer himself, smiled and accepted, that just knowing, playing , advising, living and breathing cricket was not enough. You had to know how to rent stadiums for money , you had to know how FSI for buildings next to stadiums could be increased to numbers like say , maybe 36, you had to be well versed in the finer points of appointing sponsors for the team.

You did not need to know how to run between the stumps, but you had to know how to read between the lines.

Stupid me. And I thought this was a game.

It probably is.

But it is not Cricket.


  1. "stupid you"? Hardly.

    On another note, I hope you are well and safe. I remember being in "Bombay" Airport for 4 hrs in 1969 en route from Thailand, where I had taught English, to London. One of these days, I'll visit India when it is more idyllic and not chaotic.

  2. I mean, I have given up expecting... ! Politics and politicians are everywhere there is money !!!

  3. Politics is now a game and there is politics in game .

  4. "But it is not cricket" describes everything politicians do the world over. They rig the game and never play fairly.

    You are so clever with your words; it's hard to believe that English is your second language.

  5. I second what Kavita bhen said above.. Politics is a Game and Every game now has politics ..

    I dont even want to waste any time or energy in talking about it ...


  6. congratulations for this :)