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Friday, October 26, 2007

Nobel gases 

One of the many beguiling aspects of the biggie from Oslo, capital of a whalo-philic Norway is the constitution of the process laid down itself, which seems to mandate the awarding of the prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, instituted by ol' Alfred to ensure no foreign policy influence, or some such quaint reason.

So while the raison d' etre of the Nobel Peace Prize archly spells out that it shall be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

So, for two years now, we have had two winners who clearly fit many criteria but not the ones outlines above. The Grameen Bank will continue to be a stellar tribute to the power of an economic model that so valiantly stands out against the grain of conventional knowledge, and certainly Gore and the IPPC will raise awareness in many more spheres and ways. The question is-Is the NPP the award their exemplary work merits ? Or are we better served by establishing a all-purpose Good citizen award that is beyond the pale of a politically motivated event of suspect motives ?

If this predilection were to stand, then Bono, Jay Leno, Narayanamurthy and such globally-adored chappies may also be accorded the NPP.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Not too long ago, a friend whose grasp of sport I admire was trying to convince me that sooner rather than later, there would be a time when every single athletics icon we had looked up to in our formative years would be unceremoniously dumped as they would be nailed for usage of performance-enhancing drugs. I had not believed him then and I daresay a respectable volte-face would be almost in order now.

“..Three-time Olympic champion Marion Jones pleaded guilty to lying to U.S. government investigators when she denied using performance-enhancing drugs, and subsequently announced her retirement from athletics. Outside the courthouse, Jones broke down in tears as she apologized for her actions, saying she fully understands she has disappointed her friends, family and supporters.
"I have let them down. I have let my country down, and I have let myself down," she said. "It is with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you I have betrayed your trust. "I recognize that by saying I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and hurt that I've caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me." “”

I have railed often against the limited coverage that athletics gets only because there is nothing better for a sports-lover to watch than the unbridled joy as a body explodes into action, or someone summons mind over matter in holding on-remember Butch Reynolds’ description of the 400m, or the metronomic discipline and will-power of a long-distance runner trudging lap after lap and still mustering the strength for a crowd-pleasing kick as the bell goes. And few would argue that Kelly Holmes coming from nowhere to win two Olympic Golds to rewrite an entire career that never took off, or a Guerrouj on the verge of maniacal desperation ready to shed all in a frenzied quest for that elusive gold, were accidents.
I just hope that when these efforts are discredited later on, someone will be kind enough to not let me know.

"I think the fans mind," "I think the fans have a little bit of a moral issue with it, but at the same time, they still love the game so much that it's hard for them to stay away.

Right Ho, It’s decided then, I stay !
о дальше, Yelena !!!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Of Glittering Gold and a myriad India 

Vividh Bharti today completed its fiftieth year of operations , more with the studied economy of movement associated with middle-age than with the carefree gait of a teenager. What was once a unifying medium and common frame of reference has predictably degenerated into a increasingly incoherent voice drowned in an incessant cacophony of information-entertainment-news, so overwhelming that it is neither necessary nor possible to tell individual strains apart.

My own association itself can hardly hark back to a maximum of two decades, and owes my sporadic patronage to the vagaries of spending long years in places where a persistent tweaking of the MW, SW1, SW2 & SW3 knobs on the portable ( and water-proof !) radio was one of the antidotes to a obstinate television channel and the newspaper and assorted reading material taking awhile to reach. Although I stayed predominantly with film-song based programmes- Jaimala, Bhule Bisre Geet, Chhayageet and scrupulously avoided the posturing Hawa Mahal and other histrionic audio-fests, I have been vaguely aware of high-minded cultural stuff dished out by a genteel and soft-spoken set of comperes and hosts. And of course, it was with VB that I careened on to Ameen Sayani and Binaca/Cibaca Geet/Sangeet mala.

By a quirk of fate, my day off work enabled at least a filtered but uninterrupted listening of the day’s offering. The team, headquartered somewhere in Borivli, meandered between the Delhi and Bombay recording stations and proffered a wide array of film songs spanning several decades interspersed with notable hosts talking about their most memorable experiences, the latter easily the best of the lot. Broadcasters and industry pioneers like Vijay Chaudhry, Pt. Narender Sharma, Madhup Sharma, Shehnaaz and Ram Sigh Thakur came off best in their pragmatic but pleasant narration of what moved them in all these years.

A rushed sequence of on-demand congratulatory messages from the likes of Lata, Manoj Kumar, Javed Akhtar was improved marginally by their recounting their first brushes with VB, and the cheesy idea of inviting newbies like Shaan and a few other singers fell flat as they could not either relive any memory, not enliven proceedings save a forced mention of the camaraderie that the average Indian household accords Hindi film music. And Ameen Sayani guest-anchoring an episode too..

For now, I cannot think of too many ideas that Vividh Bharti can use to pull back its unrivalled listenership, what with ADD, although I would still maintain that state-owned media would still sock it to most private folks anyday !!


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