Monday, April 27, 2015

The agony of IPL on TV

I am not the 'classiest' of cricket fans as I don't normally watch Test cricket at a stretch. I also don't care much for the IPL or its teams. Still, it has normally been watchable despite being quite forgettable. Post World cup fatigue is obvious this year like it was in 2011.

However, This IPL is probably one of the worst sports broadcasts in the history of the world. The trashy bollywoodization of the sport is now complete. It all starts with the 'theme' song - India ka tyohaar - which just shows dancing un-commentators like Siddhu, Shoaib Akhtar, Gaurav (started as a VJ) and some women I don't care to know the names of. If one just looks at this wedding style dance sequence, one can never guess that it is about a sports tournament.

The studio match analysis starts and ends with a bunch of girls doing a dance routine in cheerleader clothes. Except for titillating the horny Indian male, they serve no other purpose. The commentary in the studio is done by some TV artists with expert comments from Siddhu and Akhtar. There is not a single serious and half-decent sports commentator that has been recruited to give this tamasha feel like a tournament.
Who can shut him up?
Siddhu has gone from bad to worse. When he is not mouthing couplets, he is still mouthing couplets. There is no pause, only excited, meaningless poetry. In fact, he talks so much that Sony Max does not even keep a co-commentator during large stints of Siddhu's commentary. For our MBA loving society, this is gold. Commentator efficiency metric can be devised which leads to profit maximization due to this cost reduction of another commentator. If Siddhu can't keep the audience engaged, show made-up women conducting dumb interviews.

There is hardly any difference in our daily soaps, prime-time news and IPL broadcast. In this tackiness, the real cricket played by the players gets undermined.

Sadly, this tackiness is not only there on TV. It is also there in the stadiums. Sidharth Monga writes describes his agony trying to follow 'cricket' in the stadium.

Update: They have some decent, regular commentators like Gavaskar now in the studio.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Guilty Elite: The Bloody Poor #2

It is very common to hear statements like these from my family and friends -
  • Oh these poor people don't want to work...
  • You don't know these poor. I know them very well. All of them are lazy... 
  • They don't plan for the future but waste their money...
  • They should not be treated well or they will get used to it...
  • They want to live on subsidies and free stuff...
  • MNREGA and Food Bill has spoiled them. Why will they work?...
It is reminiscent of those movie showing the colonial British where they used to say: 'These bloody Indians....' The ignorance of their lives is the same. The transactional nature of the interaction with them which is devoid of any human relationship is the same. Clumping together a huge group of diverse people is the same. Most of all, the tone and the contempt for our fellow country men and human beings is ALSO the same. 

I came across this wonderful poem by Shefali. Her other wonderful poems and writing can be accessed here. I have attempted a very poor and literal translation in English as well.

आम  आदमी (The Common Man)

मेरे देश में इंसानियत न जाने किस कैफियत में जीती है,
पानी बहता है घर में, बाहर गरीबी दिनों की प्यासी होती है |

(I am not sure why humanity lives in such stinginess in my country
water flows in the house, outside poverty is thirst for days)

क्यों पालता हूँ मैं यह 15, 26 , 2 अक्टूबर के ढकोसले,
362 दिन जब मेरी मोहब्बत आँख मूँद कर सोती है |
क्यों स्वार्थ  का अंत नहीं मेरे, क्यों मैं कुछ बाँट नहीं पाता,
गाडी की चमक के सामने, क्यों उसकी रोटी की भूख छोटी है |

(Why am I part of the shams on 15 Aug, 26 Jan and 2 Oct
when my love sleeps peacefully for 362 days of the year.
Why is there no end to my self-interest, why can't I share something,
In front of my car's glossiness, why is his hunger for bread frivolous.)

"My boss is a sadist" goa के लिए छुट्टी देने से कतराता है,
मेरी 19 साल की नौकर का इक बार न आना, मुझे रास नहीं आता है |
"यह छोटे लोगों को छूट देना , होती है अच्छी बात नहीं",
झट से कह देता हूँ मैं, आती उसकी बूढी अम्मी याद नहीं |

(My boss is a sadist because he detests giving me leave for Goa,
Absence of one day of my servant for 19 years is hated.
"Giving leeway to these smaller people is not good",
I say it quickly without thinking about his old mother.

Pizza Hut में मैंने अपने बच्चे का जन्मदिन मनाया था,
उसके सामने 2 बच्चों ने हमारा कूड़ा उठाया था |
पेशावर में जो हुआ, उससे मेरा खून खौला था,
3000 बच्चों को भूख ने उस दिन, मौत की तरफ धकेला था |

(I celebrated by child's birthday at Pizza Hut,
2 children cleared out the garbage in front of it.
I blood boiled at what happened at Peshawar,
Hunger killed 3000 children that same day.)

भिखारियों को पैसा देना, माफिया को बढ़ाता है,
NGO को दिया पैसा तोह करप्शन में ही जाता है |
मेरा दिल फेसबुक पर गरीबों के लिए धड़कता है ,
पर मुझे अपना पैसा मेरे बैंक में ही अच्छा लगता है |

(Giving money to beggars strengthens the mafia,
Giving money to NGOs is adding to corruption.
My heart beats for the poor on Facebook,
but I like my money in my bank only.)

मैं कैसे कर लेता हूँ यह, सोच के मैं शर्मिंदा हूँ,
आम नहीं हूँ ख़ास हूँ मैं, यह सब करके भी ज़िंदा हूँ |

(I feel ashamed about how I manage to do this,
I am not common but privileged that I am alive even after doing all this.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Guilty Elite: Toilets #1

This is the first post in a start of a series (hopefully) which will show inequality. I will try and keep judgment out of it.

I went to watch Byomkesh Bakshi at R-City Mall today. When I was in the loo, it seemed like they had managed to fit in an inordinately large number of urinals in that space. I don't think anyone would ever have to wait for someone else to finish. Feeling very curious, I counted.

In a Cinema in Tokyo (from Wikicommons)
Another place where I have never had to wait is the public toilet at CST Station in Mumbai. It has many stalls for men to stand and pee on the wall. It doesn't have urinals. I remember counting the stalls there as well.

I did some basic finding and calculation about the number of people visiting at each location. R-City mall has 8 theaters. One theater I counted had around 250 seats. Let's take that to be the average. Tomorrow, 6th April Monday, there will be 42 shows running during the day. So the maximum number of people that can ever watch a movie in a single is day is roughly (250 x 42) 10,000. I think, R-City would be happy to have even 7,000 people in a day and the average would be more like 5,000.

So here are the statistics (minor errors possible):

Movie show timings - 9 AM to 1:30 AM
Train timings - 4 AM (ish) to 12:45 AM

Number of people visiting daily

  1. CST Terminus: More than one lakh -  > 1,00,000
  2. R-City: 5,000 average (10,000 is the absolute best case)
So CST has at least 10 (usually 15-20) times the number of people.

Toilet Facilities

  1. CST Terminus: 42 urinals. 4-5 taps. Don't know about toilets.
  2. R-City: 47 urinals. 7 wash basins. 7 toilets. 
More number of every facility and obviously, much better in quality. I don't have pictures of either since I couldn't find any of them empty at any point of time.

P.S. As much as things change, the more they remain the same. :)
Our consecutive seat numbers. 17 after 15