Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bollywood "lifts" (chak de) the Twenty20 World Cup

So, the inaugural Twenty20 Cricket World Cup is over. The final was fought out in a nail-biting encounter between the old arch-rivals India and Pakistan. India held their nerves and saw themselves through a most inspiring and dramatic fightback by a lone Pakistani, Misbah ul-Haq, who all but took away the match from India. In the end it was to be a fatal mistake on Misbah's part, rather than the brilliance of an Indian player, that gave India victory. It was a great final and a great end to an exhilarating tournament that saw some really competitive cricket!

The cricket ends right here; enter bollywood - aptly led by Shah Rukh Khan of "Chak De" fame - on the shoulders of the Indian media. There is something about the Indian media that really bugs me to bits! Add to this the gullibility of people who are GLUED to such channels and brainwashed into believing that they are in some sort of lala land. As if that were not enough, the little objectivity that is left in people is completely inundated by the folks at Bollywood. The net result is a whole bunch of desis (I say desis and not Indians because a lot of Pakistanis susbscribe to this "New Order" as well) acting like total idiots!

Shah Rukh Khan "graced" the finals with his presence. I guess he was the official Indian mascot as he recently came up with a movie on the revival of Indian sports. It was released on the 15th of August being the Independence Day of India and ever since every Indian worth his vegetable curry is under the spell of "Chak De India". Suddenly, being Indian is all about being sporty (and not IT anymore). Everywhere you go (and Dubai is FULL of Indians) you hear "Chak De India" - in shops, in restaurants, on TV, in conversations. So much so that it is getting REALLY irritating.

Just before the finals, Star News, a popular Indian News channel, was constantly playing this "Chak De" song in the background and singing praises of the Indian cricket team. This being a stark contrast from their usual practice of negativity where every time India loses, they pick out a "match ka mujrim" (literally, "criminal of the match") and blast the poor guy to bits. Again, the Indian public jumps onto their bandwagon and what you see is the irritatingly negative side of India. Well, these days there is a surge of irritating positivity! Why can't we desis ever be balanced??

Here are some anecdotal beauties before and after the final match that could be heard on Indian TV (try playing the "chak de india" song in the background while you read this):

1- Indian ballaybaaz Pakistaniyon kay chakkay ura dengay!
2- India nay Pakistan ko dhool chata dee!
3- Chak De Team India!
4- Dhoni kardo Pakistan key dhulayee!
5- Yuvi kay ballay say hogi Pakistaniyon key pitai!

Nauseatingly sickening! There is so much more, but I really dont want to waste my already wasted time. The Indian media really harps on about how great India is and just raises expectations (I dont even know why people buy into it!) and the moment India loses, this same media (along with the "gullible billion" as I like to call them) thrash their own heroes. For example, when India lost a home series to Pakistan, Star News was running a caption "Kyon hogaye Dher India kay shayr!" Nonsense!

Unfortunately, knowing the Indian psyche (and India was not like this 10 years ago!) we will have to hear this "Chak De" crap till India is beaten by another team. Then everyone can snap out of Shah Rukh's "Chak De India" dream and look for a new dream that bollywood and Star News, NDTV, Zee TV and the gazillion other Indian channels cook up. The Australians are in India for a test series and it seems the partying is going to be short-lived.

Thanks to this crazy "Chak De" fever, I have this e-mail exchange going on with some friends where an Indian friend tried to joke (he says it is all in good fun and was just humurous mischief) with the rest of the list and it is all turning out a bit ugly. Here are a few excerpts from this crazy thread:

Indian friend:




And in the pakistani captains own words: "India Playsed a Good Game"

Moral of the match:
Think twice before migrating.
Migrate back :D

Pakistani friend replying back:

Muslims in India fit the proverbial “khisiaani billi khumba nochay”. They wish in their hearts to be Pakistanis, but to prove their Hindu masters that they are more loyal than the banias, they leave no chance to criticize Pakistan.

Another Pakistani friend:

I just don't understand how a funny cricket match picture led to this bullshit about migration and hindu muslim shit. I guess it explains why are we so far behind the rest of the world.

A different Indian friend:

It shocks me that as muslims IN THE MONTH OF RAMADAN we can express such extreme opinions which are born out of an artificial attachment to something which is considered a sign of jahiliyyah (the period of ignorance before Islam) which is called 'assabiya' in arabic denoting partisanship to something other than Islam. In this case-patriotism/nationalism or tribalism.

Some good sense prevailed towards the end, but I will just conveniently blame the entire episode on bollywood!

Friday, September 07, 2007

The last straw

Shoaib Akhtar is in the headlines again, and yet again for all the wrong reasons. The enigmatic "Rawalpindi Express" has the knack of getting himself in trouble repeatedly. This time he may have crossed the line after a spat with team mate, Mohammad Asif, led him to strike Asif with a cricket bat in front of a sizeable presence of the international media!

As much as he is the darling of the crowd that flocks to see him steam in and terrorize batsmen with his thunderbolts, he makes a very bad role model for youngsters. Arguably the fastest bowler in cricketing history (having clocked the fastest delivery ever bowled by any person), he is also the "bad boy" of cricket - ironically in a game that is known as a "gentleman's sport".

Shoaib's insolent behavior has been repeatedly tolerated by our ad-hoc cricketing governing body, the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board), which is led by an incompetent medical doctor (what the fudge is a medical doctor's business in a sport and that too as chairman?) Dr. Naseem Ashraf. The eerie doctor is best buddies with Musharraf. Enough said.

As much as I was waiting to see Shoaib back at the inaugural 20-20 World Cup, I am glad the PCB has finally made the right call and summoned Shoaib back to Pakistan effectively taking him out of the competition. It serves him right and it is about time. He has won us many games single-handedly and his "bad boy" image sometimes is a positive thing, too. But, such consistently brash behavior cannot be tolerated.

Shoaib actually represents the state of the ummah these days - highly talented, raw, showing immense potential in bursts, but lacking any vision or direction and a total contempt for laws. I am sure that even the most ardent supporters of Shoaib have lost all hope in him now.

He must be kicking himself in his long and lonely flight back home, but I am sure he is not going to learn anything from this experience. He needs to know that he is not bigger than the game and that the team can do without him. He not only gives a bad name to the country, but also deflates the spirit of his fellow team member in the wake of an important competition. I hope he is out for good now and I also hope that Dr. Naseem Ashraf is booted alongwith Shoaib.

(images taken from