Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Unforunate One

Yes, I confess. I didn't watch him play yesterday. Rather, I couldn't watch him. And I can't believe that. The first double hundred in an ODI and I couldn't watch it. But in my defence, I was travelling yesterday. I was sitting on the Delhi Airport when I heard the sounds of cheering and clapping. At first I thought a group is celebrating some occasion on the airport. But I could hear same sounds from other parts as well. After a while, people again clapped and cheered. And this time it was louder.

I didn't realize what was happeing. Because of all the exhaustion of travelling, it didn't register my mind that it could be something related to the match. But then I got a call from a friend and it was then that I got to know the reason. I first got surprised, sat in unbelief, and when I let the news sink in, I cursed. How could I miss the occason ?

I found out later that first round of clappings were for Amla who stopped a boundary and let Tendulkar take the strike. By the way, Dhoni should go and thank him personally sometime. God knows what would have happened to him if Tendulkar was not able to score that ever elusive double century in an ODI. I do remeber how people were criticizing Dinesh Kartik for not letting Tendulkar complete his century few weeks ago and this was even a bigger occasion. No prize for guessing that second round of applause were for the master himself. Though I am not the greatest of Tendulkar fans, I still feel that he deserved it.

I redeemed my sin as soon as I came back by watching the highlights. It was indeed a flawless innings with no lucky escapes. It was all brilliant timing and placement, a flat and faithful pitch and some loose bowling. And though I liked the match, I think that the pitches should be made more bowler friendly. At least give them something to work on. But neverthless, it was a nice match and I would always regret not watching it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review of Arundhati Roy's political essays

"Listening to the Grass Hoppers: Field Notes on Democracy" is Arundhati Roy's latest compilation of political essays presented in a book. This is my second reading of her compilations after "Algebra of Infinite Justice". Both these books consist of essays written by her over a period of time on subjects ranging from Narmada Dam, Gujrat Riots, Pokhran Tests to America's war against terror.

We are, often to our ignorance, fed with news which are manipulated and which are aimed at creating a public conscience over something for the benefit of some particular groups. Very often, we get carried away by the public sentiments and create opinions which are ill informed (after reading the essays, you will realize that even courts get carried away by these things). In this era of 24 hours news channels, its impossible to know which news to trust and which not to. Through these essays (which contain proper citations), she has tried to make public aware of the happenings from which we are otherwise insulated.

Arundhati Roy in the past has been criticised for what people perceive as cynicism, over exaggeration and irrationality. I for one don't know how much exaggeration is there in her books but I personally feel that it is sometimes required to raise issues which need to be brought to the public attention. The so called irrationality arises from the fact that she has an objective opinion and she gives a third party perspective to the things. This is something which remains elusive to most of us given the deeply etched associations and opinions that we hold.

Most of the times, her essays have left me cynical about the future of our great country (and the cynicism has just not been created for selling more books) but the fact that still there are people which are resisting the suppression(I am talking not just about her but also about the groups and people mentioned in her essays) is the silver lighning in the dark cloud. The essays are a great read and the product of the immense knowledge that she possesses and her first hand experiences because of her personal involvements and once you are finished reading them, you will definitely feel better informed.