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Archive for July 2006

Wish I were a Mumbaikar…

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Mumbai has been taking a bashing lately. What with the rains flooding out most of the suburbs in the last week, the break out of violence in the aftermath of the statue of leader’s wife being allegedly defaced and now the worst serial bombings in the history of India.

Even the Reader’s Digest did not spare Mumbai. A survey on ‘politeness and good manners’ carried out by this illustrious publication found that ‘Mumbaikars’ (or people of Mumbai) are the most discourteous in the world. New York topped the list, being the most courteous city.

But the response of this city of discourteous people has been amazing in the aftermath of what is now being called 7/11 (should it not be 11/7, the way we write the date in India. Anyway ask Rajdeep about it ok?). Ordinary people were trying to rip apart blown out compartments, trying to help people. Commuters were heading straight to hospitals to donate blood that would be needed as the number of injured went up. People driving back home stopped in front of suburban train station to fill their cars (usually small Marutis) to the max and went out of their way to get people home. In a city where the cell-phone is the symbol of your ego, people were lending it to fellow-commuters to call home and assure family that they were safe.

All this in the most discourteous city in the world.

Mumbaikars may not be good at holding doors for people, saying please and thank you or even helping people who drop papers. But when it comes to the crunch, the spirit of Mumbai comes to the surface. And some times it needs a tragedy to bring out the best in people.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus asks the religious leaders and law experts who they thought was the neighbour of the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? The experts replied – “the one who stopped to help”. Mumbai has been called several names, not all of them good. But, the people of Mumbai, the Mumbaikars have shown that theirs is a city of ‘Neighbours’.

A day after the blast, trains were running full again. After going through the hell that was 11/7, I would have thought several times before getting into a train again. But, the for Mumbaikar ‘life must go on’, despite this.

Mumbai bounces back’ was the predictable news headline the day after.  The test of a top-form athlete is not how fast he runs, but how quickly he recovers and is able to run again. The speed with which Mumbai bounces back after each disaster show that the city and its people are in top form indeed.

Disclaimer: I do not live in Mumbai, sadly.

Written by jayanth

July 13, 2006 at 1:14 am

Posted in Opinion

The power of TV

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With all the debates about frivolous reporting and ‘Page 3’ culture, here is a lesson on the pover of television.  And where else but across the LoC, in Pakistan.

A channel took on the draconian Hudood ordinance, based on the Shari’a law and now the clergy, which plays an important role in Pakistani law is rethinking some of it.  Link here.

a quote from the article;

“We have already started reviewing the Hudood Ordinances and our legal committee has held several meetings,” says Mohammad Khalid Masood, chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council.

An inspiration to our channels, the RTI debate notwithstanding?

Written by jayanth

July 11, 2006 at 1:21 am

Posted in Media

Jogo Bonito? – more like a diving competition

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Sleepless nights, heart-stopping moments of pain and joy, professionalism, skill and grit.  These have been dished out almost every day, the last three weeks (Courtesy: SCV) in the name of ‘Jogo Bonito’ – the beautiful game.  While all of this is beautiful, there is bad taste in my mouth.  Let me tell you why!

I had the dubious honour of playing ‘the beautiful game’ for Madras University in 1991.  Well, it was like the World Cup for us.  And football, by nature is a rough game.  You were tripped up all over the field, you were pushed, you were ‘sliding-tackled’ and you just got up and ran after the ball.

But in this edition of the ‘beautiful game’, all you need is for someone to touch an opponent (sometimes not event that) and the next minute both of them are writhing in ‘pain’ holding some strategic body part and the team mates start begging for a card, yellow or red to be shown.  In fact, the histrionics are more pronounced from the side of the ‘fouler’ than the ‘foulee’.   It seems like they almost train for the dives and ‘pain simulations’.

And sometimes the acting goes on after the match too. 

Gary Bloom (at least I think it was him), one of the commentators on ESPN said that each match was a story.  I think this World Cup the story that will be told will be that of how you need ‘fall to rise’.

Well, we are almost at the fag end of the tournament.  Just hope that by the next one there is more football and less diving.

Written by jayanth

July 7, 2006 at 12:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized