Saturday, June 30, 2012

Been there, June that [182/365]

exactly, my reaction too!
So another month has rolled past.
Another month on that much needed sabbatical..

It has been a wonderful month for the scribes and looking at the sheer volume of newsreel wasted on controversies, it looks like we are right in the eye of the storm.

Lee got his pound of flesh and Hesh, the spoils of war. Sania became bait. Predictably she complained, but well, what else did she expect?
Pinky got fingered. In every sense of the word. The Asiad gold medalist was accused by her live-in partner and everyone (for their 15 minutes of fame) of being a man. S(he) raped her. In a culture where we frown and snigger at transvestites, this was gold. She was paraded through half a dozen nursing homes, and hospitals, made to strip and subjected to every atrocity known to Indians. God bless her. For a individual to go through this and survive takes nerves of steel.

Not to be undone, Fitch lowered India's credit rating and a G20 poll listed India as the 'Worst place for a woman'. Duh!
Our cops decided to play moral teachers and went on a spree raiding night clubs and discotheques. Scantily clad, half naked bodies of PYTs covering just their faces were shown on prime time television and national media. Hot news!

Pascal  Mazurier, a french consulate official, was accused by his Indian wife of raping their 3 year old daughter. What followed was many days of sensationalism and then the anti-climax- the DNA didnt match the sample on the child's private area. The last we heard was that the wife praising the husband and seeking privacy and respect for the family during this time. Well, if you ask me, lady, when you went to the press throwing about allegations, you signed off your death warrant. If you ask me, I think you are a gold-digger and you simply wanted to make sure you got a good 'deal' (aka alimony). But again, I would love to be proved wrong and I wish the guilty be punished.
Talking about child abuse, the Supreme court ruled that any kind of abuse towards children be treated differently from abuse towards adults. What took us so long to realize this? Isn't it natural to punish those to abuse children in a way that will affect them for life? I so wish my mother listened to me when I told her that a man raped me when I was just 11. But again, this is the problem with Indian parents. They simply don't know when to listen, and how to react. I am neither supporting nor accusing Mrs Pascal. But I think when her daughter first complained, she should have paid attention and brought this to the notice of the authorities then and not waited for a full year. 

Bollywood celebrated. Period.
President Pratibha Patil in a final act of grace, pardoned a dead man. Thank God, the Indian prez is just a nominal figure of the constitution or we may have had to suffer the ignominy of having another 'Bush'.

And while still on the topic of elections, Eygpt got their first democratically elected president after about three decades- the Muslim Brotherhood elect -Morsi. As he steps into the shoes of Mubbarak, lets hope he leads the most populous African nation into prosperity.

Here's to a great July!
Hic Hic Hurray!

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Olympic Quest [152/365]

Even as I write this, London is abuzz with activity putting the finishing touches to the greatest sporting extravaganza the world will ever see. Held every leap year, the Olympics has been the ultimate goal for any sportsperson worth his/her sweat.

Having lived abroad for a significant part of my life, I've seen athletes train hard and long just for that elusive Olympic gold.
Globally, nations have encouraged their citizens to choose a sport of their choice and actively groomed them. By catching them young, they achieve a level of perfection that we as Indians could never achieve.

I've wondered why as a nation of a billion and growing, can not produce competitive and successful sportspeople. What is the reason of our obsession with cricket? Why have we abandoned hockey? Why can't be groom children to be excellent in one sport?

Many argue that we have not produced sportspeople the way other nations have, because as a culture we tend to focus on academics more than we do on sports.
Somehow we are brought up to believe that sports can never secure our financial future. Not entirely untrue since many of our medalists are forgotten as soon as they are feted.
We are brought up to believe that a good degree is what will get us a secure job, a good spouse, and retirement benefits.
If you are not in the big league, you are just a statistic.
Training and competing in games that matter are never cheap and sponsorship is painful and slow. Politicians will only support you if you scratch their backs. Forget corporate sponsorship if you are not into cricket.

But thankfully, this is slowly changing. About time too.
Indian athletes and sportsperson are slowly getting the limelight they deserve. And it appears that we are excelling both in individual and team sports. Saina, Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania Virender, Abhinav and a dozen other sportspeople are bringing India much needed recognition and it appears we are finally being looked upon as a nation that can multi-task well.

We finally have individuals who are ranked in the top ten in their disciplines and no, its besides cricket.
What contributed to this is definitely not a change in the way we raise our children nor in the way our nation perceives our non-cricket playing sportspersons, but in the way that we have recieved training, support and funding.
Two of the most spectacular examples of how corporates are put their money where their mouths are is the Mittal Champions Trust (MCT) and the Olympic Gold Quest (OCQ).

Dismayed at how we have been performing in international events, corporates created a trust fund that took care of some of the most basic grouses of an athlete and their families. Be it the lack of infrastructure or financial support in times of any need, these Trusts have made a difference in the lives of sportspersons who would have otherwise struggled. And the results are there for everyone to see- this will be India's largest Olympic contingent in history.

Our athletes for the first time are better prepared and sufficiently equipped. Many of the individuals competing are exude confidence while being cautious not to appear cocky. Nearly all of them are safe in the knowledge that the Trusts have taken care of all of theirs and their families' needs.

With safe optimism, we can expect atleast a dozen medals in disciplines like Boxing, Shooting, Wrestling, Badminton, Tennis and Weight-lifting. While this is good for us as a nation, I can also see our politicians leverage any medal to their benefit.

All said, London is the place to be this July.

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