Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Game, Set, Match - The Sports Quiz
At the "Space Circle", in an auditorium teeming with 35 teams, the best informed sports lovers fought tooth and nail for top honours in "Game, Set, Match"; a sports quiz presented by "Adverb" and sponsored by "JP Realty", "Space Circle" and "Sugandha Garments".
In their new avatar as quizmasters were Mr. Ashok Sanyal and Mr. Somnath Chanda; otherwise team-mates in the prominent quiz outfit "Quizzing Unlimited". And they did not disappoint with their content - which covered an entire gamut of sports, incidents, achievements and trivia.
The written preliminary round was a 30 question knockout to decide the 8 teams who would qualify for the finals. The usual suspects were all there in fine fettle but there were a few rookie teams in the final as well.
The questions for the finals were designed to challenge even the stalwarts at their own game. "Which Sportsman was a weakling as a child before going on to excel in his family sport, having taken it up as a mark of respect to his brother who died in the field of play"? "What connects (in form of pictures) Zaheer Abbas, Deutsche bank, Somerset County(logo) and a West Indian calypso?"Which term in sport is technically a movement between 0.1 seconds of a certain sound having reached the human ear?"
In case you were clean bowled, the answers are Jahangir Khan, Sunil Gavaskar and "False Start". The Audience was knowledgable; grabbing some questions which the teams on stage could not answer and in the process, some nice audience prizes!
The battle hung in a fine balance right till the very end and all that seperated the top two were a mere 2 points. "Byapok Byatha" (Souvik, Soubhadra and Titash) finished on the wrong side of those 2 points, being edged out by the champions "Ump, Bump, Fizz" (Deepanjan, Debopam and Sounak). "Inmaniacs" (Gautam, Anirudh and Abhijit) finished second runners up.
The top three teams received generous cash prizes from the prize sponsors "JP Realty". "Adverb" promises to be back with more such events in the near future.
Know-it-alls or Poor Losers?
Actually Both! Indian cricket fans are a bunch of know-it-alls and more importantly, poor losers.
Admitted - no group of supporters or perhaps a few react kindly to defeat. However, most sleep over it and let it pass, instead of trying to pull down individuals and strategies over a million reams, reels and forums (the new age tool). Unsuccessful cricketers turned commentators - with either a legendary surname or some Ranji success as their credentials - fuel the fire over inane panel discussions, misleading the common cricket fan. Knowing the country's passion for the game, it is only natural that people should discuss cricket at "addas"; everything from what Dhoni did wrong to the best possible combination or batting order. However one expects the media to show these obsessed but illiterate cricket fans some perspective instead of going blatantly for higher copies/TRP.
Lets face it. There have been bigger shocks this year in sport.Rafa losing at Roland Garros and Celtics crashing out in the NBA (with the uncanny resemblance of having an injured key man) being the two which come to mind immediately. India losing in the T20 world cup does not even qualify along with these upsets (however upset we may be, emotionally).
Indian cricket has seen a lot of success in recent times. So lets not get greedy. MS and team India will have an odd bad day or 120 bad overs. But as long as they are putting in the effort, they are too good not to get back to winning ways. Lets say Vamos India! instead of being poor losers.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Trust the Indian mind to reach conclusions based on 'hunches', aka pop-psychology of the Indian variety. Throw in mild esteem issues or just pure defensiveness some cases, and the conclusions and implications are plain absurd and downright reprehensible. TOI / IANS, in their infinite wisdom, bring up, even though it's utterly irrelevant, the issue of 'proper behaviour' among some Indian students.
Firstly, the worthies quoted as expressing concerns are probably 'embarrassed' by the behaviour (in their perception) of some students who they may see as relatively unsophisticated or even downright uncouth (that is hardly ever the case). This reeks of utter condescension on the part of Indian immigrants or residents who almost recoil at the prospect of being identified with the 'student' crowd. In any case, the whole issue is brought up as if to suggest 'these people invited trouble'. If the argument was for taking a pragmatic view and maintaining a low profile, it may have made sense, but to assume an admonishing tone betrays insecurity and lack of empathy for the victims. No matter that often the worst behaviour comes from 'locals'.
Secondly, there is no question that there is indeed a racial element to at least some of the attacks. Non-whites have had to deal with such behaviour in many predominantly white societies over the years and still do. As in other places, this kind of thuggish behaviour often emerges not from some ideological moorings or brainwashing, but from problems within, particularly in urban environments. But each of the incidents has to be looked at separately and investigations must be thorough. Now that would be a victory for some of the student bodies that have rallied around the issue. I have respect for students who have been bold enough to try and make themselves heard in the face of apathy - bearing in mind, administrations are an end in themselves these days.
Third, Victoria Police have no business telling people to not speak in their 'native language' or loudly (a lot of Indians are actually quite soft spoken). The problem is the thugs who commit these acts, and if the police really wanted to do something, they had better go about it instead of throwing subtle hints at how people ought to conduct themselves. Practical tips are useful but they ring hollow when not backed by action.
Lastly, for emphasis, none of the victims was ever an aggressor - these were unprovoked incidents from what has been reported so far. They deserve commiserations, not a judgmental tone.