Tuesday, November 2, 2010


This is an excerpt of the blog of a well known journalist.

Oh God! So much hot air – not just in that Rs 40-crore helium balloon floating over Jawaharlal Nehru stadium at the CWG closing ceremony – but all over India. There are those who will be saying, “Thank God, the Games are over, and India’s pride is intact.” Just like they’re saying, “Naak nahi kata, yaar.” All those horrible people who had criticized the blessed Games (villains and vamps in the media, please stand up!), should now curl up and die, eat their words, suffer! India is crowing, “Look world -- we did it! We put up a great big show – kya kool hai hum.”

Well… okay, guys. Sure we did it. What exactly that ‘it’ is, don’t ask. Our medals haul? The way our beleaguered athletes jumped, ran, stretched, punched, lifted and shot their way to glory? Of course! Our grand finale which once again relied on tribal dances without a trace of irony? Hmm, why not? Don’t we want to watch Zulu dancers when in Africa? Red Injuns and cowboys in Amrika? Maoris in New Zealand? Aborigines in Australia? Buddy, best to give the duniya what it wants – glimpses of incredible India, Kalaripayatu, Naga dancers. Let’s also bring on those bagpipers in kilts as a bow to our colonial cousins across the seas. This is us – we are bhel puri and dahi misal, chorchuri and avial, a messy but irresistible mix that celebrates the country’s diversity. Sanskrit chants, drummer boys, mantras and tantras, lasers and techo trance – the closing ceremony had it all, even as a grim-faced Sonia Gandhi sat through the proceedings like she was presiding over a public hanging.

Oh dear! Perhaps that was a taste of things to come? Though, knowing how we generally deal with a successfully executed national event (shock and awe, followed by euphoria), chances are we’ll remain on a high for a while, congratulating ourselves on something we actually managed to pull off. That’s the good part, the understandable part. If India is taking a collective bow right now, it is well deserved. God knows there is not all that much we do with any level of excellence, so a little chest-puffing is essential, given the sleazy background to the Games.

Now comes the hard part.

Will there be a postmortem (mind you, the correct term is just that – postmortem, not witch hunt) now that the party’s over, and the tracksuits have been mothballed for a while? Or, are we going to say philosophically “all’s well that ends well – full stop.” One certainly hopes not. Last week’s drama involving ‘The Czar’, ‘Commissioner’, ‘Emperor’ – whatever it is that Lalit Modi calls himself these days - unfolded like a vintage Salim-Javed script. How so? The Modi-Kalmadi episode is like a classic story of brothers separated at birth. But there’s a small twist this time. Instead of a good brother (cop) and a bad brother (dacoit), there were just two bad boys (no prizes for guessing the other baddie’s name). Both were given carte blanche by someone (we still don’t know the identity of this mysterious person). James Bond had a license to kill. Modi and Kalmadi had a license to make a killing!

Will the average Joe ever get to know the dirty details? Naah. A lot (seriously, it’s one hell of a lot) of lolly was made – no questions asked. We were told there was a Bigg Boss on the scene monitoring the stash. Who were the other inmates in the house? Now, that’s asking! Were there any Pakistani molls involved? Local thugs with criminal records? Former beauty queens and trashy models? Drugs, sex and rock 'n’ roll? Come on, guys. Grow up. Boys and their toys go together. We can keep digging, and some foolish journos can keep hyperventilating. But the Mystery of the Missing Millions will never be solved. You know why? Nobody really wants to know. Most important, nobody cares. We confuse efficiency with morality. We are so sick of incompetence, so embarrassed by our inability to get things off the ground, that anybody who is seen to ‘deliver’ suddenly becomes a demi- god.

Right now, even Kalmadi’s most trenchant critics are shaking their heads and saying, “Maan liya, he did it!” As if that feat nullifies the rot that preceded it. Modi’s sworn dushmans willingly concede, “Boss, only a Lalit could have pulled off the IPL.” All true. We adore bulldozers and bull ****ters equally. We worship people we believe are “capable”. Capable of what? Don’t be stupid. We know the answer.

 Kaun Banega Crorepati? A bit late in the day to be asking such a dumb question.
Ab jaaney bhi do, yaaron. India won. We lost.
Happy Dussehra.

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