A forgotten father,a maligned martyr

“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood”

Albert Einstein said this about Mahatma Gandhi decades ago and I still can’t stop wondering at how brilliantly it captures the essence of that man,the persona that the Mahatma was,is and forever will be,with his unshakeable legacy of nothing but the truth,non-violence and simplicity.That a man who stood for such principles should be subjected to so much  abuse and hatred and disrespect is a matter of the greatest of ironies. In fact, it might well be cited as an example of what defines an irony.
The nation of arm chair experts that we are, most of us conveniently blame him for partition without even bothering to know that he was the biggest obstacle for Nehru & Co on one side and Jinnah and his cohorts on the other side to see to it that one of the greatest bloodbaths in the history of mankind is staged here in the subcontinent- in the form of partition.  He was obstinate and stubborn in his opposition to split the country into two. I don’t even think he was ever convinced about the idea. They just chose to ignore him and go ahead with the power brokering and the detailing of how to separate the conjoined countries.
While most of them were busy in Delhi bargaining and arguing over who’d get what after the 15th of August 1947- this in the days/months leading up to India’s ‘tryst with destiny’ as famously described by Jawaharlal Nehru, the man we call mahatma was busy with something else. He was running from pillar to post and to pillar again, trying to pour some water of love and peace over the communal inferno that had engulfed the whole of Bengal. And then, he went on an obdurate,infinite fast- to bring to an uneasy compromise the heads of the two inexplicably antagonized communities waiting to slay each other at the drop of an eyelid.Irony indeed that he has,by many people , been described as selfish and cunning.Most of them would be ensconced in the comfort of their homes, hiding under their beds if and when a carnage of such magnitude were to occur.  
At a personal level, I was astounded at whatever I have read about him in others’ words and his own. I must confess that I couldn’t complete reading his autobiography- ‘The story of my experiments with truth’- it takes a whole lot of patience than what I have been able to muster, to do that. But whatever I had read it became increasingly difficult for me to fathom that such a man walked this Earth, true to what Einstein had remarked. I got to read more about him in that heck of a book-this time armed with more patience- about India’s excruciatingly painful journey to independence via that treacherous road called partition- ‘Freedom at midnight‘, brilliantly described by Larry Collins and Dominique La Pierre.
I cannot claim to follow any of his principles,just like most of us here. I believe it is too tough for mere mortals like me to have that kind of will power and steadfast belief  in those principles. I have though, been involved in arguments on him and his leadership, trying to defend his role against all the vitriol. At the end of it all, I once again, wonder at the irony that we even have to ‘defend’ what he did.I might risk using the word too much, but not least of all ironies was not only the bloodily violent manner in which he was assassinated, but also the venue-at a prayer meeting!
Far from the outset, I would like to underscore one point – don’t abuse him if you can’t agree with him or respect him. Because ,forget about being critical, most of us don’t even qualify to praise him.

Rants from a distant land

The last 25 days in my life in a way symbolize in concrete form the title of this blog.Things have happened completely out of the blue,unexpected and the pace of these happenings kind of left me unsettled. And now I find myself alone in a hotel room here in Irving,thinking of how to go about preparing my next meal.For someone who has entirely lived and been brought up in a ‘home’ environment, this is a remarkable change in settings. Things like groceries,cooking,washing clothes,searching for accomodation and the like were hitherto unbeknownst to yours truly.Not that I am complaining though. This ‘onsite’ opportunity is my chance to be independent,an experience I am sure will transform me as an individual,professionally and personally in equal measure.

Among the many things I stand to learn, the interesting ones include cooking,shopping for groceries,cutting vegetables,cleaning,washing clothes( the last one ,I tell you its real easy here 🙂 ).And driving of course. As a first step towards the latter,I’ve learnt how to tie my own seat belt! 😛 Besides that I have already acquired skills like operating a microwave also,for which I repeatedly pat myself on the back in self congratulatory mode.

Its been one week now that I have landed here and I’m sort of getting used to this new way of life. Work wise it has been okay so far but the next few weeks and months herald a lot of challenges for which I must gear up to face and conquer. Lot to learn and explore for sure.Everything I do from here on will be new which makes it that much more exciting.

As for the place,Dallas/Irving is quite warm and the weather took me by surprise as soon as I came out of the airport. Although I was well warned about this, the similarity with Chennai’s weather was prettly much there to be felt,minus the humidity. Things have cooled down a bit over the last few days with the onset of the fall season.But I have been told that Dallas is quite indifferent to those amazing fall colors that the leaves radiate elsewhere in this country.

One more thing that strikes me is the number of Indians in this place. Any store or restaurant you go out,you are invariably bound to bump into your compatriots. And there are these scores of desi grocery stores which try hard to look like an American supermarket selling Indian stuff but inside you cant help getting that distinctly Indian odour which actually amuses me. 🙂

Perhaps the only thing that I havent really liked about this place is the public transport system. The buses are pretty infrequent and run only at fixed times which makes it difficult for people without cars to commute. Thankfully I have a teammate who has a car and is kind enough to pick me up and drop me off. The number and sheer variety of cars you get to see here on the roads is quite amazing. Almost everybody owns one and that probably eliminates the need for a regular public transport service.

I can keep going on and on I guess, but that,in a nutshell describes my first week in the most powerful nation in this world. They really are blessed with a lot of prosperity.As a footnote,one more thing that I am trying hard to get used to is typing on a laptop. And this is tough! 🙂

Futbol Mundial-A game of beauty is a joy forever!

This is probably my nth attempt at writing a post on the football fever that is currently engulfing the world. I wanted to post this on the eve of the opening ceremony, but words betrayed me like  silence betrays a classroom full of kids sans a teacher.Basically I was( and still am ) brimming with excitement and anticipation of the world’s most watched sporting spectacle-the FIFA world cup. You can name the olympics and the sporting spirit that it brings along and celebrates, but to me all that dulls and fades in comparison to the passion and the fervor that this soccer world cup generates.

I mean which other sporting event creates this hype and frenzy among nations which are not even taking part.Not only that, it lives up to the reputation invariably. 32 teams wriggle it out for the trophy, but the audience cuts across countries,irrespective of nationality. Teams are ‘favorited’ -you even have opposing camps of fans getting into fisticuffs and the like for a team that has nothing to do with them. Especially the latin american teams-Brazil and Argentina have such a fervent fan following that supporters literally fight it out not sparing any effort to play up their favorite teams.What I’m saying here is obviously so obvious-you needn’t have to read Out of the blue to know this :P

Personally I’ve always followed football, though I can’t say I keenly watch the EPLs and the La Ligas. But that has never prevented me from checking out the league standings and stuff in the news and papers. The world cups, however have always been something that I don’t miss. I remember my first one was the ‘94 world cup in the USA when I was just getting initiated into soccer with all those stories about Maradona, Pele, Baggio,Ruud Gullit and others. Maradona of course was my hero by default- my elders used to describe his ‘goal of the century‘ against the Englishmen in the ‘86 world cup.The disappointment when he had to sit out following drug accusations, is still fresh in memory…

This time, FIFA comes to Africa. The proteas are hosting it, but they have rightly described this as something that belongs to the whole of Africa-a continent bruised,battered and ravaged by decades of fighting,suffering,poverty and hunger. For the host nation though, it is a chance for their populace to be united-a chance to forget the racial divide that still makes its uneasy presence felt even after the days of the apartheid-a chance to rally behind their Bafana Bafana. Sport has that unique quality to banish divisions and mistrust and hatred (within a country I must add!)…

Like every time, Argentina  is my favorite team. Lionel Messi of course is the man to watch out for though I’m apprehensive about club superstars because they seldom replicate their club success for their national teams(Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Thierry Henry of France also come to mind).The albicelestes,as they are known , are coached by the mercurial Maradona. I somehow have a feeling they will either come crashing down or go all the way. No intermediates I guess.The other teams that I’ll watch out for-Brazil(come on,how can one miss out on them?),the Netherlands,Spain,Italy(I still hate the fact that they’re the defending champs,coz they just didnt deserve to win the semis against a hapless Australia last time in Germany) and England(only because of Wayne Rooney,and nothing else. I sincerely believe they’re an overhyped side).

So for the next one month , every other sporting event can take a backseat. Even cricket. Even the dignity of Wimbledon. The beautiful game is here- in all its splendor and unmatched glory,as a feast to the eyes of millions worldwide. Nothing else is likely to get your adrenalin pumping so fast.The Jabulani has rolled,so here’s to Africa Waka waka!! :)

Guilty Pleasure

Yeah,its that time of the year again.When purists will cringe in embarrassment. Every principle fundamental to the system will be ripped apart.Basics will be scoffed at. Traditions will be flouted like never before. Commercialization will hog the limelight in a manner so unabashed and brazen.Raking in the moolah will be all that will matter,for the stakeholders involved. And those who will witness the so called spectacle will be divided along lines that didn’t exist hitherto.Villains will be cheered and heroes will be booed. A paradox of sorts will unfold. All this will last for a month or so-in an encore of an event that bull-dozes its way into the collective consciousness of a nation of a billion crazy people with an insatiable apetite for what is known as the game of cricket. Yes, the event I’m talking about is the Indian Premier League,or the IPL, which it’s mastermind Lalit Modi ambitiously (I’d say rather quixotic-ally) hopes will one day join the likes of the NBA and the EPL. Sigh!! Enough of a build up for an already built-up and over-hyped tournament.
Ever since T-20 has burst into the cricketing scene, it has had me confused. For a die hard purist like me,it has taken sometime to ‘accept’ this slam-bang-whack-wallop form of cricket.Somehow after we won the 1st world cup, I started taking it seriously. Then came the IPL. And with it, came along things that were witnessed never before in cricket-city-based franchises promoted by filthy rich businessmen and film stars who wanted to splurge and earn. Also not to forget, the skimpily clad cheer girls. The IPL is when my ‘love-to-hate’ or ‘hate-to-love’ relationship with T-20 began…
For those like me who mix cricket with patriotism, the IPL comes across as something that doesn’t quite fit in the whole scheme of things. Somehow,I’m yet to fall for the city-based loyalty concept.This is my 8th year in Chennai, but that hasn’t evoked any feelings of support for its Super Kings. So I really don’t care who wins or loses. It just boils down to having some fun watching some insanely high scoring edge-of-the-seat thrillers where some of my favorite players are involved.Talking of that, the only team I can claim to support or have a soft corner for, is the Mumbai Indians, which of course is attributed to the godly presence of a stalwart called Sachin Tendulkar. So once he gets out,the match can go to hell. 😛 What I miss is the sense of jubiliation or disappointment I feel on seeing India win or lose,respectively. That, according to me is the real essence of watching cricket.Unlike after every match that ‘India’ plays, I am not really drawn into passionate discussions on what went wrong or right or any such kind of post-match analysis that would ensue.
High octane cricket is fine,but it really is not the form of cricket which can tell the men from the boys. Supporters argue that events like an IPL provide a platform for the young domestic players to rub shoulders with international-class players and in the process gain valuable experience. But it is quite evident that apart from rubbing shoulders and laughing their way to the bank, T20 doesn’t necessarily make them better at the game,holistically speaking.
Having argued against T20, I will now contradict myself. 😛 At the end of the day, it is all about having some fun.Like say watching a typical masala movie where you leave your brains behind. You can appreciate serious Mani Ratnam flicks,yet find guilty pleasure in watching silly-leave-your-brains-behind movies. Yes,the IPL is all about guilty pleasure,as far as I am concerned. I will speak for the purists,yet not forget to watch or follow it(minus the passion,of course!).
Even as I type this out, Yusuf Pathan of the Rajasthan Royals is giving the Mumbai Indians a run for their money in pursuit of a mammoth score. 5 more overs to go and 70 to get. 😛 I better go and catch the action now. 😀

News…that isn’t news anymore…

One more weekend comes to an end. Roger Federer wins yet another slam, this time ramming into a hopeful Andy Murray who at the end of the day must have felt rather hopeless. Pakistan got thrashed once again by the Aussies who by means of the win lashed out their final few brushes of distemper on the former to complete a whitewash,3-0 in the tests+5-0 in the ODIs.Pity the Pakistanis.Time for a few lessons from us on how to give it back to the Aussies in their own backyard,what say?The Padma awards were announced and as is the custom it has left its share of disgruntled aspirants left in the lurch as also a substantial number of undeserving folks getting the honors(Saif Ali Khan is a padmashree-BION*). Ditto with the national awards…Arjun Rampal wins best supporting actor(I loved Rock on and Arjun’s performance too-probably his all time best) but a national award??The time is 8.13 PM to be precise and I am feeling slightly hungry. ‘Ibn-e-batuta’ from Ishqiya is playing on my computer. In fact it just finished and I need to enqueue a few more songs to keep me humming along. Don’t quite know what is for dinner tonight. Guess its chapati and subzi.As I scratch myself (on the head, mind you) to continue this orgy of meaningless rambling, I remember I need to pay for my declared investments and save myself some money from the tax net.Watched Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday on a Sunday,which happens to be today. Thought it was bloody brilliant. Hard hitting indeed. A pity such movies don’t get good enough publicity.Way to go Anurag Kashyap.It seems Shahid Afridi has earned a 2-match ban for ball tampering. Apparently he was caught chewing them!That reminds me, is he still 18 years old?I remember they kept showing his age as 18 for more than 3-4 years prompting Sunny Gavaskar to comment that “Shahid Afridi is an experienced 18-year old campaigner”. 😀 Had been to Bangalore last weekend and it felt so good there. Guess I am bored being in Chennai . Been 7 years now.One more friend of mine is getting married next month, following a bunch of others who have been surrendering their respective bachelors’ lives. Every friend who comes home with a wedding invite invariably ends up in me becoming the target of “when-will-you-get-married-blah-blah-blah” taunts from the elder ladies at home. My pleasure, let me get my girl, I say! 😉 Sania Mirza called her engagement off last week. The week before her grand plans of quitting tennis post marriage ‘to-be-wtih her-husband-otherwise-why-would-she-marry-followed-by-a- silly-laugh’ were announced after yet another 1st round loss at a grand slam. All in that stupid fake accent of hers of course. Which means there’s no end in sight to her now-legendary 2nd round (dis)appearances in all the slams. Way to go Sania. Hope I eat my words at the next one. May you win the Wimbledon. Err… does it sound a bit like Virender Sehwag taking two days to get a 100? Never mind. We’ll still watch out for her.BalThakeray has suggested SRK be awarded with Nishan-e-Pakistan for his politically incorrect statement on Pakistani cricketers getting IPL 3 berths. Take a bow, Balasahib, you deserve a Nobel,no less. We’ll ask them to give the citation in Marathi, scripted by none other than your de-facto heir-apparent and now estranged nephew Raj. And the category? A life time achievement award for inciting mobs,causing public nuisance,making insane remarks and for his tirade against innocent love-struck couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. A legend in true flesh and blood. In the meanwhile, I get a confirmation about tonight’s dinner- it is Chapati indeed. 😀 Heard Meghalaya now has 2 chief ministers. Apparently the deputy CM was not really happy being deputy.It happens only in India.Vidya Balan looks stunning in Ishqiya. She was gorgeous in Paa too.Rann released this weekend. Evidently,it takes a critical view on the way today’s news channels run and ‘manufacture’ news. Hard to miss the irony in the fact that the makers used the very same news channels for their pre-release publicity. That said I remain a big time Ram Gopal Varma fan( that excludes his Aag and other duds). Like him, hate him but you cant ignore him.Will definitely watch Rann irrespective of the reviews.The time now is 9.08 PM and dinner is still not ready though the sounds and smells of a delicious one are obvious. I had ‘revived’ my jogging routine a few weeks back which were interrupted by a morning shift yet again. Plan to get back on track tomorrow onwards. I never give up, you see! 😀 It seems there are only 1411 tigers left in India. Atrocious I say, for a nation which considers it as the national animal. Hope that number goes up in a hurry. With this I decide its time to spare the innocuous followers and readers of this blog from further agony. The sole aim of this write-up was to spew out non sense, just for the heck of posting something before 31 days have passed since the new decade dawned upon us.
* BION- Believe It Or Not . In case you are wondering why on Earth I mention this, just scroll to the 9th line from top and you’ll get the answer. 🙂

It would be a cardinal sin not to give credits where it is due. I wouldn’t want this blog to be a Vidhu Vinod Chopra-Chetan Bhagat type slugfest. Not that this will receive media attention,but what the heck.So here goes…
This blog wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the invaluable inputs derived from the following media groups:

1. TV18 for IBN Live
2. The Times group for ToI and Times Now
3.NDTV
4. The Hindu
5. Rediff.com
6.Aaj Tak
7. Star Sports and Star Cricket. 😀

Breaking News: I just finished my dinner, and its 9.44 PM now. On that note, we’ll take a quick break and on the other side,we’ll have an expert panel consisting of eminent personalities like Amar Singh, Rahul Mahajan, Rakhi Sawant, Lalit Modi and Santhakumaran Sreesanth pulling their collective hairs out on the issue of the melting glaciers and global warming. Stay tuned. 😛

Indian Cricket: The decade that was…

From being labeled ‘lions at home and lambs abroad’ to being crowned numero uno in tests, team India has taken a billion people along on an exhilarating  journey that has witnessed a lot of highs and a few lows. What follows is, in my opinion,a summary of moments that hold special significance in the team’s story during the last decade in chronological order.
  •  Champions Trophy 2000,Nairobi:Where it all began
The foundations of an aggressive and resurgent team India were laid right here, when India defeated Australia in a nail biting encounter, against all odds. Two guys- both southpaws-one with the bat and other with the ball-made their mark. Yuvraj Singh with a blistering 84 followed up Sachin’s aggressive cameo (one of the rare occasions where the little master actually swore at McGrath)  and Zaheer Khan’s bowling at the death which included that classic yorker to Steve Waugh turned out to be the defining performances of this match. The match might have faded into the horizon of public memory now, but this was the beginning…
  • Eden Gardens,2001: VVS Laxman,Rahul Dravid. Period.
Need we say more? In one of the greatest tests of all time,David had felled Goliath. And what a match it was. The Aussies had India by the scruff of their necks, and by the end of the 2nd day it appeared as though the final frontier would be conquered with ease. But standing there were two mild mannered gentlemen who turned  warriors and carried out one of the most impossible come-from-behind acts. And the rest,as they say, is history. To this day, teams around the world think twice before imposing a follow on. All thanks to this classic.
  • The  Lords’ balcony and Sourav Ganguly: The Natwest final ’02
“Bowled himmm!!! this was on the cards…”  screamed a despondent Harsha Bhogle from the commentary box as Ashley Giles castled Sachin Tendulkar with India tottering at a precarious 146/5 or something, chasing a then-monumental score of 326. Who knew that two youngsters, in their early 20’s would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat from there. Yuvraj Singh and Mohd Kaif’s inspirational partnership blended   frenzied running between the wickets and counter attacking stroke play and in the process scripted one of India’s most celebrated wins.The twosome did a Houdini act, right in front of an exasperated Nasser Hussain and team. And who can forget  that once-in-a-lifetime reaction from Sourav Ganguly which is now part of cricketing folklore.
  • World Cup 2003:The Australian jinx
If I’ve got my memory right, we lost only two matches in that whole tournament and both were against the eventual champions, Australia. Between these two matches however, Sourav Ganguly and his team played some really inspired cricket in the face of fans turning fanatics and going on the rampage back home after that humiliating first round loss to Australia. It took a certain Sachin Tendulkar to appeal for calm and support. The whole team rallied around each other and played like deserving champs, only to be humbled by the brats from down under.
  •  “Do you realize whose catch you’ve dropped?”
The tension was palpable and the hype leading up to this match had attained  fever pitch. The match lived up to all that hype and how. Sachin Tendulkar’s upper cut six over third man off Shoaib Akhtar in the innings of a lifetime elevated this contest to a different level altogether. Up against a stiff target set by Pakistan with their impressive line up of fast bowlers (Wasim Akram,Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar) the Indians rose to the challenge and maintained their world cup record against Pakistan unblemished. Not to forget that  assuring partnership from Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh which saw India home.
p.s. The quote at the beginning is what Wasim Akram said to Abdur Razzak after the latter dropped Sachin early on in his innings. This was said in Urdu of course.
  • India v Australia, 2003-04: Exorcising the overseas ghost
Steve Waugh almost ended up with a loss in his farewell series, thanks to  some really compelling cricket from the Indians. It all started with that brilliant 144 by Ganguly  at Brisbane on a seaming wicket. It all culminated in Adelaide with India’s first victory, the chief architects being Rahul Dravid,Ajit Agarkar(with the ball in case you are shocked!) and VVS. Though we lost at Melbourne, the final one in Sydney saw Australia just scraping through. The series was fought against all odds and considering that we were whitewashed 3-0 in our previous outing (’99), this one is right up there among the best.
  •  T20 World cup, 2007: A Mallu in every corner of the world, including one at short fine leg at the Wanderers
Misbah-ul-haq,more than anyone else will agree to this Indian adage about folks from Kerala.As Sreesanth tantalizingly held on to that scoop from the Pakistani  off Joginder Sharma, a nation erupted in joy. In what would later turn out to be the precursor for the IPL and the T20 revolution, this inaugural world cup gave us some eminently memorable moments-none more than Yuvraj’s six sixes in that ‘Broad’ over and that heart-stopping  bowl out against Pakistan in one of the earlier matches. For me, the more significant consequence of this victory was the emergence of MS Dhoni as a fearless and attitude oozing leader of men who would , eventually help India scale the test summit.
  • India v Australia, 2007-08: When Ricky Ponting ate humble pie
By this time, the India-Australia rivalry was (and still is) being spoken of in the same breath as that of the Ashes. This particular tour vindicated that hype. From  the infamous monkeygate  incident in the Sydney test to the redemption in Perth, the team gave back as good as they got. Anil Kumble’s leadership during those times is nothing less than the stuff of legends.Ricky Ponting and his men might have won the test series, but not any admirers. Anil Kumble stood vindicated with his “there-was-only-one-team-playing-in-the spirit-of-the-game” quote. We had lost but we won. As a sort of poetic justice that was to follow, the team under MS Dhoni thrashed the home team in the tri-series finals. This too, was after some of the seniors were axed from the ODI side and the seniors v juniors debate started raging. Not to forget, the little master’s brilliant innings in the two finals. 🙂
  • The fab 5
This is not about just one particular moment or series, but the relentless pursuit of 5 gentlemen known as Sachin Tendulkar,Rahul Dravid,Sourav Ganguly,VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble. The golden generation of Indian cricketers whose efforts in the last ten years or so have led us to the peak today.With their combined exploits, they helped build the team brick by brick, inspired youngsters,guided them and have been the source of joy for a billion fans. We have already seen the last of a couple of them,and the rest will soon hang up their boots sooner than later.
———————–
There have been many other moments too, which deserved a mention, but for the sake of keeping this short (I know it is already long) I’m not discussing them here. Some of those include the India-Pakistan matches at home and away, the famous triumph over Australia at home (which was Sourav’s and Kumble’s last series) , the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka and so on. The peak on which our team stands right now is actually the result of the journey the men in blue undertook ten years back and in due course they scripted many a memorable tale, some of which are highlighted above. Hope the next decade will continue to be as exciting, if not more, for we stand to witness the farewell of Sachin,Rahul and VVS in a few years time.

A figment of my imagination…

Time for some time-travel now. Lets go back to the future-say 16 years from now in the year 2025. Following is what I guess will dominate the headlines. This is just an extrapolation of the current state of affairs in the world in general and India in particular.
And yes, you’ll do well not to take it too seriously…
1.India submits yet another dossier on the 26/11 attacks to Pakistan; President Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari says proof still not conclusive. 
Pakistan today categorically dismissed India’s 100th dossier on the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008. In a press conference president Bilawal Bhutto- Zardari unequivocally reiterated the historical stand Pakistan has taken on all the dossiers and proofs provided by India so far, that it was still not good enough to say that the attacks were planned in Pakistan or by Pakistanis. He also accused India of trying to tarnish Pakistan’s clean image on the issue of terrorism.
2. Kasab trial drags on to a record 18th year;still no sign of a verdict.
Chief accused in the Mumbai terror attacks Ajmal Kasab continued his antics in the Mumbai high court and complained of the lack of high speed broadband connectivity at his Arthur road jail campus. He further went on to crib about various restrictions being imposed by the jail’s network support team which allegedly prevented him from downloading movies , songs  and viewing streaming videos. The judge then adjourned the proceedings for the day and directed the jail authorities to address Kasab’s issues under tremendous pressure from various human rights groups and intellectuals who have been accusing the government of inflicting torture on an under trial prisoner whose complicity is yet to be proven.
3. Narendra Modi praises Benazir Bhutto in his book, faces expulsion from BJP on grounds of going against the ideology.
Former BJP president Narendra Modi  invited the party’s ire after the his latest book on India-Pakistan relations hit the stands yesterday. In the book Modi  has apparently praised Benazir Bhutto as one of the most attractive women he had ever seen and has also admitted to having had  a crush on the slain Pakistan PM. The BJP ’s disciplinary committee for literary affairs rushed into a meeting and immediately came out with a suspension order on the former president on grounds of deviation from the party’s core beliefs. Modi  on the other hand displayed a devil-may-care attitude and went on to add that it was not as if he was attracted to Pakistani ladies only and that he has also harbored a deep infatuation for the yesteryear’s bombshell Mallika Sherawat.
4. China makes new claims over Madhya Pradesh,condemns PM’s visit to Bhopal.
In keeping with its outrageous tradition of making ridiculous claims on areas that are integral parts of India,China today raised the bar a few notches higher by crying foul over today’s Prime Minister’s election rally  in Bhopal. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman read out a strongly worded communique issued by the government which condemned the visit saying such actions in disputed territories would seriously undermine peace in south Asia. On the other hand, the Indian foreign affairs ministry  officials dismissed the claims as baseless and went as far as suggesting that they had better things to respond to.
5. Mayawati defies critics;announces plans  for more statues

Within weeks of being voted to power in UP after a landslide victory in the recently concluded assembly elections, CM Mayawati announced plans of building more  statues of herself  in a press conference held at Lucknow. Justifying the expenses that would be incurred for the same, she said that it would help generate a lot of  employment for a large number of sculptors and give opportunities to  thousands of laborers.She further added that she was just fulfilling the wishes of the public who have been yearning for more and more statues of her. On the question of land and space for the construction of the statues, Mayawati replied that no additional land would be needed as her statues would be replacing street lights on the roads and then fitted with tube lights. One of the reporters present at the press conference couldn’t help saying “what an idea behen-ji!!”
6. Test and ODI cricket to be part of history lessons in school says HRD Minister Sourav Ganguly
Union Minister for human resources development and former Indian cricketing great Sourav Ganguly said that the government has finalized plans to introduce lessons on cricket in history textbooks for class 6 onwards in CBSE affiliated schools. Elaborating on this he said that the current generation of kids were being brought up on a diet of T20,T10 and the more recent High-Fives’ and it was important that in a cricket crazy country like ours the younger generation ought to know the roots and origins of the game-the antiquated 5 day and 1-day versions. He also appealed to college goers to stop circulating SMS  jokes that mocked at the  the older versions, which he felt deserved a lot of respect.
7. T20 legend Rohit Sharma goes hammer and tongs at new format,says High-Fives is killing the game.
In a scathing attack on the newest 5-over format of cricket,batting legend 😀  😛  Rohit Sharma said that the latest version is out to kill T20 cricket,which according to him is sacrosanct. He also cautioned young and upcoming cricketers against getting carried away by what he called as ‘bikini’ cricket and said that the 20 over game was still the best and most challenging format of all the three,T10 and High-fives being the other two. Some veteran journalists present at the press conference however took this opportunity to remind him about how T20 had led to the extinction of the then-holy-and-sacrosanct ODIs and 5 day games.To this poser however, the former India player appeared defensive.
So with that,ends my news bulletin. 🙂

The more things change, the more they remain the same. This is the one liner that helped me spawn all these stories in  a futuristic light. However, these are just what the blog is titled- figments of my imagination.
p.s. I am an incorrigible optimist. So I hope and  know that none of the above will be true in 2025. May be the Mayawati one will,who knows! And of course the death of the longer versions of cricket. 🙂