Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bowled by a Full Toss- Kolkata Knight Riders’ CEO reflects on how a gullible media was beaten comprehensively when the Fake IPL Player ‘broke’ dressing room news

After 16 months, another ‘insider’ Fake Pakistani World Cup player blog, and a ‘game-changing’ book, the Fake IPL Player finally revealed his identity.

Surprise, surprise. He isn’t someone from Kolkata Knight Riders. He isn’t someone from the Indian Premier League. He isn’t a cricket journalist. And he wasn’t even in South Africa. Turns out, he’s a person sitting in Bangalore, whose only sources of information were the net and newspapers.

I have few issues with Anupam. He wrote racy stuff—called himself the Fake IPL Player, so anyone believed him at his own risk—and generally had a blast tearing his imaginary team apart. As he admitted, he didn’t have the faintest idea that it would become so big. Good for him, though I have a feeling some of those nicknames will not have gone down well. If his revelations get him enough publicity to sell his film script or book or whatever it is that he is planning to peddle, that’s his gain.

My problem, specifically, is with the mainstream media I dealt with in South Africa at the time. In that period, I met journalists from every leading newspaper and most of the channels. Obviously, their one question was who I thought it was. And my stock answer was: he still thought that players in IPL teams had roommates (the Indian team has allotted single rooms for the longest time), that the team played water volleyball in Cape Town, which was freezing that April (also, the water volleyball happened a year ago in Kolkata), and that we had team meetings every other day. Conclusion: this guy was not even on the same continent as the IPL.

I went on to tell them not to believe a word I said but to check the easily verifiable facts. For example, did the team take a flight that morning as mentioned, was there a team meeting in the hotel on a particular day, did the team practise at the nets that day? All these facts were easily verifiable, and certainly not restricted information. Any journalist present there could have found out in half an hour that the blogger was writing absolute rubbish when it came to verifiable details. And if he was wrong about these details, why on earth should they believe him when he wrote about what transpired in nonexistent team meetings?

It has been argued that it was easier and more enjoyable to just follow the blog—whether it was true or not was immaterial. In which case, I have a hard time understanding why there was so much feverish speculation on the identity of the blogger. Obviously, there was a strong belief in the media that there was some inside information.

It didn’t seem to strike a single journalist that it made sense to just check out a few details to see how much truth there was to the blog. There were more than a hundred journalists in South Africa, and not one of them did a background check. Not one editor decided that this was bullshit, and therefore a great opportunity to leave the rest of the media with egg on their face by proving it was a complete fabrication. Most of all, a fabrication by a guy who called it the Fake IPL Player blog. As a friend remarked, which part of ‘fake’ did they not understand?

Sixteen months on, I still do not see a single publication admitting they got taken for a ride. Not one teeny-weeny bit of introspection, or an article or television programme about how they were misled. I would love to know if any editor has lashed out at his reporting team, asking them how they could have been duped so easily. Or is that asking for too much from our media?

The above article has been featured in OPEN- THE MAGAZINE. THIS IS A COPY PASTE EFFORT

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zoobi doobi zoobi doobi Ganapati Bappa Moriya

Zoobi doobi zoobi doobi pum paara
Zoobi doobi param pum
Zoobi doobi zoobi doobi naache kyun… ganapati bappa moriya!!

As I come back to Maxim city (just flew back in from GOA!!) besides the utter stench of garbage I am drawn to noticing Ganesh Pandals everywhere. They hit you as soon as you land on Mumbai airport as the city is immersed in celebration. As you come out from the airport & start to stare in-to most of these temporary celebratory constructions you start to understand the frailty & the utter essence less charade of this exercise!!
For someone in whose home the GOD comes & resides for all 11 days for more than the past 60 years I feel PISSED, really pissed!!
Let me explain why….
To first understand why this is a farce lets understand the true essence & background of the festival….
In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed this annual Ganesha festival from private family celebrations into a grand public event. He did so "to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them" in his nationalistic strivings against the British in Maharashtra. Because of Ganesha's wide appeal as "the god for Everyman", Tilak chose him as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule. Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesha in pavilions, and he established the practice of submerging all the public images on the tenth day. Today, Hindus across India celebrate the Ganapati festival with great fervour, though it is most popular in the state of Maharashtra.
So basically the essence is religion & inter-class unity. However both these objectives are not achieved in today’s day and age!
Now, today it’s just plain & simple dirty vote bank politics
Most Pandals take HUGE donations from local builders to fund for their Pandals (read Political party) after which huge sums of money are naively dropped into “Dakshina” boxes from unsuspecting believers..
what happens with this money is anyone’s guess!!
Where is the Money from LALLBAUG going!! Into a temple trust? NO. I don’t trust!!
Even within the Pandal where is the setting of religion! It’s more of a crass party with a part time DJ churning out the latest bollywood hits!
The matter is fully compounded on the last “Visarjan” day. People, hoards of people preceding huge trucks are dancing on insanely loud music!! In my entire life I haven’t seen people dance this way. You have to be either possessed or drunk!! & we all know what the obvious answer is!
The situation is sad, if not already pathetic. But the question is what can we do from here? How can we ensure something well within the law is done in the morally correct fashion? How can we ensure the real meaning & soul of the occasion?
To this question, I do not have any answers!! Maybe there is just too much money involved! I don’t know..
For now.. its just Zoobi doobi zoobi doobi naache kyun… ganapati bappa moriya!!