Tag Archives: India

Mid Tournament Musings-1

A random selection of my thoughts, observations and expectations on the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup.

  • Could the timings be any more frustrating for the vast majority of us who don’t live down under? Bah. #cricketinausornzproblems #suddenlybigonhashtagsfornoapparentreason
  • McCullum and his side both are spouting menace and intent, left, right and centre. Case in point- their absolute mauling of England.Has there ever been a NZ side this thorough and dangerous? I definitely don’t think so. Could this be New Zealand’s best shot at making the title theirs? YES YES YES. Home advantage-check. Competent captaincy-check. team balance- double check. Add to this generic list of pre-requisites, the searing form the kiwis have been in in the lead up to and in the first games of this tournament and the great touch McCullum is in, and you’ve got a threatening side that is definitely one of the favourites. Their hotly anticipated tie with the aussies is sure to be a match to watch out for. It’s definitely going to be a game of high passions, considering it marks the long awaited return of Clarke and Lehmann’s comments on radio (http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015/content/story/835999.html) are sure to cause a ripple-effect one way or the other. Probably the definitive game in this rather lacklustre group. Australia Nets Session???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  • India vs South Africa is set to start in a couple of hours, as I write this. As an Indian fan, this is the contest I, and indeed fans all over, have been waiting for. While it’s well understood that this isn’t a “make or break” contest, by any means, for either of the hosts, it’s importance need not be stressed. These are quality teams that will try to one up each other at any cost, to establish their status quo within a more or less sorted (in terms of who’s going ahead) group. (seriously, don’t even get me started on the sheer inefficiency of this tournament format; long live the bloody sponsors). Twitter is awash with the hashtag #IndvsSA. I must say I really enjoy this sort of uber-hype leading up to an important and competitive (i hope) game of cricket. It really confers a degree of legitimacy and real “feels” to the supposedly meaningless and end-less pursuit that watching sports is widely held to be. I would love to talk about whom to watch out for and conditions and all that but I don’t think I can add anything to what’s already been discussed at length on many other forums before. I’m just wildly excited at the prospect of a humdinger and am licking my lips even as I try to stay awake all night (damn you australia!) Personally, I am really keen on seeing how India deal with Amla, de Villiers and the pace battery. Some sort of a premonition tells me it’s going to be a special innings from Rohit (Wouldn’t read too much into that kind of nonsense though). MS Dhoni’s return to prime batting form is something Indian fans the world over are waiting for with severely bated breath. Would it be greedy/wishful to want to see something like the CLT20 2013 mauling of Steyn? Sigh.

CRICKET-WC-2015-IND

  • As I write this, Afghanistan have posted a total of 232 against Sri Lanka. I hate myself for repeating what has become a cliche by now in cricketing circles, but is anything being done by the ICC to promote/encourage the talent/interest in these regions?. Surely, their potential/performances merit investment- both monetary and otherwise. Ireland too, in the same breath.
  • For those of you who don’t know yet, ICC has launched a pretty cool fantasy league at fantasy.icc-cricket.com. Super fun and pretty cool prizes too (although, if you haven’t started by now, it’s gotta be mostly for the fun).
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Am I going to get raped in India?

Many a curious and adventure seeking soul ventures to think of making the trip to India  and indeed many do; But, in my own experience, the level of disparity in people’s perceptions of this country is something that astounds me in it’s polarity and incongruity. One may naively extend a weak argument that this could probably be attributed to cultural/linguistic diversity and all that. Not completely unfounded, but I’ve noticed something else; Beyond the confines of linguistic, economic, socio-political and provincial divides, there exists a larger Indian divide: one that I neither claim to understand the basis of, nor seek to define in crisp and clear terms (if “crisp and clear” is your motto, twitter, in my humble opinion, would be more to your liking). This divide stems, I feel, from one factor too many. The fact that the country in discussion has 1.4 billion (the last time i checked) combinations of the previously mentioned factors in addition to factors such as predispositions/natural inclinations, belief systems, moral codes, influences (external stimuli) and many more which my myopic haste doesn’t allow me to consider, is in itself a very convincing probable reason for this phenomenon.

Many a foreigner has asked me questions about india , the answers to which, would involve me making at least a conservative generalisation. I have expressly refrained (not that I completely disagree with the whole idea of generalising/categorisation of people; It’s convenient and accurate to a large part in a lot of cases). It’s because, despite having spent the first 17 years of my life here and intermittent periods in the next three, I still find it difficult to generalise Indians in most terms: be it behaviour, beliefs, what’s appropriate/acceptable, what’s not and so forth. I, being mildly pedantic, also resent it when others don’t accept this diversity of massive proportions, as such and try inaccurately to pigeon-hole people into vague categories like “western”, “orthodox”, “hip” and so on. But, i really think that sort of thing gravely underestimates the inaccuracy of it’s placements; And I don’t even say this from a philosophical POV. I say this in pragmatic terms, on the basis of first hand experience. So , if you are a prospective traveller, with a question in your mind like “what are indians like..?” or even “what are the bulk of them like”, well the answer I would give you is that, even by the most lenient of standards, I wouldn’t be able to say.

In the light of all the rape/molestation cases that have been under the media scanner lately, it is but obvious that apprehensions are running wild amongst those who once fantasised about getting to India someday. I am not going to be the guy who dismisses these fears as baseless and Im definitely not going to be the guy who delineates the entire country as unsuitable to travel to either. It is a sad truth that a substantial number of Indian men, thanks to a social setup, that, for most part is sexually repressed, have resorted to forcibly violating women (foreign and Indian alike). the argument that “rape happens elsewhere too” is a crappy one. It does happen a lot more here. It is what it is. Coupled with a rusty legal setup and a largely obsolete, apathetic and inefficient police force, the threat is definitely a viable one. But honestly, I severely doubt that it is as likely to happen as most western media/people claim. yes, you are likely to be harangued and even borderline harassed by many a local (that applies to male tourists too). But, I really don’t think the chances of getting raped, provided one takes the most minimum of precautionary measures, amounts to anything of significance. Again, you’ve got to bear the huge population in mind.  I really do believe that if one does a probable cost-tangible benefits analysis and vows to be about one’s wits, a trip to India still is, by my standards, worth it.

I read a blog entry a few weeks ago which was written by a British woman married to an Indian man. She tried to elucidate on the many archetypal indian men whose generalised attitudes/actions go unreported/unnoticed. She said, and i paraphrase (for i tried to find the blog but to no avail…maybe i’ll put up a link on a later date if i’m successful), “Everybody is talking about the Indian man that rapes; What about the Indian man that offers me seats on buses/trains? the Indian man that cares for his family to an extent unimaginable by westerners. The man that drives his sister/daughter to school in the pouring rain and patiently waits while his wife shops” and so on. I liked it despite it’s slightly flawed premise. Especially because, these examples that she mentioned, aren’t minorities but are stereotypical of the average Indian man. That, these people seldom will feature in a tourist’s interactions whilst in the country, is a different thing altogether

scooter

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India and me

After many forays into the arena of blogging: with polarised returns/successes, I came upon the idea of writing a blog about my travels through the subcontinent (pedants to be warned: I might just write something about one of my foreign travels   too). Much as there is to be proud of the vast piece of geographical significance that I inhabit, I never subscribed to any false claims of supremacy or greatness ascribed to this land by it’s fair share of jingoists. The country, and I do not compare, has it’s lion’s share of inequities, appalling evils and cringe-worthy idiosyncrasies. Nevertheless, I do feel that the chaos and the diversity (oh the cliche!) contribute towards it being a country of immense potential in terms teaching one a thing or two about the human condition. The mind boggling multitudes of people can be cited as a primordial reason. That these multitudes don’t inhabit the same cultural framework, economic stratum (oh by a long shot) or any semblance of a collective zeitgeist only adds to the aforementioned chaos; Throw in the scores of (might I add, mutually unintelligible) languages, about half a dozen religions and about a million self imposed demarcations, and you begin to get somewhere, in understanding the scheme of things that drive this nation.

I seek to perpetrate no illusion that I have a clear idea of what divine task I set out to accomplish through this spider-web journal. The idea took it’s birth solely as a collection of pieces I wrote every now and then, in the course of my myriad escapades through the country. As I got through the logistical axioms of setting up a WordPress account and instituting this blog, the wretched mind of mine had already started seeing tangential overtures to the pre-determined purpose of this endeavour. And now, as I write this historic first piece, I still (dare I say, unabashedly?), maintain that I would like this to run it’s course. But, what I do know is that I want this to be about India, being Indian or well you get the idea. I believe this is the closest I have (also possibly, will) come to a paean to the land that bore me (i’ll really try to avoid the cliches hence. honest!)

P.S: The address Indian travel junkie was already taken, much to the chagrin of my very individualistic self. So I had to swallow my intransigent pride at the behest of WordPress and accept the present address despite it’s pluralistic connotations.

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