Friday, May 26, 2006

How to make India number one in cricket

Today evening, me, Arjun, Arvind played a game of cricket. But with a lot of innovation. You were out if you were unable to make the bat meet the cricket ball twice in a row and also if you made that bat-ball(cricket ball, I am making this clear to avoid unnecessary misinterpretations) contact more than four times. This led to a lot of funny ways of getting out. The game ended. But the innovative thinking (or stupid thinking, perhaps) continued.

We sat down to take some much needed rest after a not so tiring game of cricket. The issue of reservations came up for discussion, but in a lighter vein. We have heard about how reservations can be introduced in cricket team selections. We applied this concept more fully in that discussion(Doesn't this word sound very bureaucratic?). In the following passages, I shall explain how.(Doesn't this sentence sound like one from a textbook?)

The basic assumption is that the backward classes do not have access to quality primary net facilities and coaches. Consequently they will have low batting averages and very few number of wickets to their credit. So they need affirmative action to compete with upper classes who have obscenely high batting averages and who have taken a lot of wickets. ("Survey on batting averages of upper castes and wickets tally of upper castes - 1947-2006 by Yogendra Yadav" shows that all upper caste batsmen, on an average, had a batting average of 15,234 runs and had, on an average, taken 23,456 wickets).

In order to bring about social justice in cricket, the Government therefore, has to bring about some rules. One of them is giving 27 runs extra for every 100 runs scored by an OBC batsman. This can help the team as a whole because, if all batsmen are OBCs , then the team has to score only 73% of the target if batting second or the opponents have to score 127% of the target. That's why noted social scientist Yogendra Yadav says, "Reservations and affirmative actions help the country achieve higher glory". But there is one catch here. Other nations might not accept to this. Then we can simply pass a terse ordinance saying, "India is an Obscenely Backward Class Nation. Non compliant nations will have nothing to do with this new OBC nation".

Well, this isn't enough. We have to help our "oppressed brethren" even more. For every wicket that an OBC bowler takes, 3 more wickets will be added to his tally of wickets also resulting in 3 more batsmen getting out without facing a ball.
I can't emphasise more on how this will catapult India into the top slot in every form of criket among the cricketing nations of the world.

Also, all appeals by an upper class bowler against an OBC batsman will be referred to the "Committe (17 members) to look into oppressive appeals made by upper class bowlers against poor OBC batsman who have no access to quality primary nets". After the committe decides on the issue within a day or two that the OBC batsman was not out, the match proceeds.

Also, we can have shorter wickets for OBC batsman and longer ones for others. By all these measures, we can become the number one cricketing nation of the world. Our sucess will then be tried out by different countries. But since the competence of our politicians in this field is unmatched, they will always remain a step ahead in bringing about more such rules. Then, the other countries would have to just keep trying without the kind of success that we would have achieved.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Stuck in an elevator

The one thing that frightens me in a building is, elevator. Particularly, the automated one. Not that the old fashioned manual ones, that you dont find these days, didn't frighten me. But, atleast there you had more functions of the elevator, like opening and closing the door, under your complete control. Whenever I use an elevator, nightmarish thoughts like, "What will happen if I get stuck in the elevator for several hours? Will I be overwhelmed by claustrophobic feelings? Will I survive in the lift without food for hours?" never cease to cross my mind. Because of such apprehensions, I had hardly used the lift until I joined my engineering college.

Even in my engineering college, initially, I used the lift very rarely. But somehow I concealed my fears. After some time, due to sheer laziness to climb the stairs, I started to make use of the lift despite my innumerable fears about it.

For three years, my fears about the lift hadn't come true. So with only a couple of months remaining for my engineering course to complete, I had thought that these fears wont come true in my college. This was significant considering the fact that the lifts in our college (there are 4 of them) dont work properly all the time. But last month, the unthinkable happened, albeit in a smaller proportion.

On that evenful day, we (three of us - myself and my friends Guru Anandh and Satish) entered the lift in the fourth floor. This was a lift that was not in the operational mode very often. But that didnt deter us. As soon as we got in, I made sure that the lift would stop in all the floors that we would come across on our way to the ground floor by pressing the relevant keys for all the floors.

Unlike the Cyrius Cybernetics Corporation elevators, this one obediently stopped as expected in the third floor. Since no one was willing to use the services of the elevator at that instant of time in the third floor, we closed the door and proceeded downwards. Strangely, it didn't stop in the second floor. It started moving to its next stop - first floor. At this point, Guru (not me, my friend) wondered aloud, "What if the power goes off now?".(He just told this in a lighter vein, not out of any fears of the kind that I have). As soon as he finished saying this, the power went off. We were three fourths of the way down from the second floor to the first floor. The lift stopped since the generator wasn't turned on that day. The inner door of the lift was half-opened (though you will see only one door opening when it is functioning normally) with the outer one in the background closed fully. Fortunately, there was a small gap between the outer doors that was sufficient to communicate with the outer world. The upper part of the inner door was covered by the wall. To say that this was a frightening situation for me, would be an understatement. My legs were trembling. My heart was pounding in a way that it had never done before.

But the other two in the lift, far from panicking were amused at being stuck in a lift. My panic only added to their amusement. This, needless to say, added to my tension.
Anyway, all of us started screaming for help. Because of the strange position of the lift, not many realised that it was stuck. Finally someone came to our rescue. He called the lift operator who was conspicuous by his absence till now. By this time we had managed to open the inner doors completely by pressing the key normally used to open the door in toatlity. The lift operator, then did as simple a thing as turning a screw to open the two halves of the outer door completely. The sense of relief that the opened doors brought to me is something that cannot be described.
Since the lift was stuck quarter of a distance from the first floor, we had to jump out of the lift onto the floor below that was at a short distance. With this final act performed, this whole drama, that lasted for about ten minutes, came to an end. But its memory will remain with me for a long time to come.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Are we argumentative?

"India has always had an argumentative tradition", argues Amartya Sen in his book Argumentative Indian. He strengthens his argument using anecdotes from our epics and other incidents from our history. But looking at how this nation has reacted to some of the issues in the recent past, would raise some serious doubts about our argumentatitve nature.

Take for instance, the recent assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. Karunanidhi, won the elections based on promises like Rs. 10,000 for every woman below poverty line and Rs. 2 a kilo rice. These are promises that can never solve the problem of poverty and only help in keeping the poor, poor. This in a cynical way ensures that the "poor votebank" is intact. But how many of these liberal progressive thinkers came out strongly against such promises? Where was the counter-argument to expose the hollow nature of such promises?

Today there are protests going on against reservations in higher educational institutions. Barring a few informed discussions, all we hear about reservations on television is how the police lathi-charged the peacefully protesting students or how these protests compare with the mandal protests of the 90s. Let alone political parties, let alone the progressive liberals, even the media doesn't seem to have the courage to enlighten the masses about the counter-productive nature of reservations. Where is the counter point to the politics of Mandal?

Sometimes, to add to the lack of informed and healthy debates, what we get to see is vandalism. From Salman Rushdie to Khushboo, many have faced the wrath of such vandalism. Such vandalism is the result of intolerance to the opposing view.

Although, you might dismiss these as few aberrations, these surely do not reflect well on our argumentative tradition.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Harish is Guru, Guru is Harish

The blog name might suggest that this is a blog where you can get the latest spiritual news.But that is not the case. This blog's name has its origins in an incident that happened in my high
One day, in my high school, I had a quarell (a verbal fight, not a physical fight) with one of my friends, Arvind. Consequently, I got a bit angry. Arvind, never missed an opportunity to create a ridiculous story about me. My anger presented him one such opportunity. According to the story he made up that day, I would, in my anger, go and sit on top of an overhead tank that was in our school and do tapas on a single leg. I would then get enlightened and become the Guru. Thus I became Guru.
This story wouldn't have become well known but for the propoganda of two other classmates of mine. They ensured that on most desks of the class, "Harish Is Guru, Guru Is Harish", was inscribed. One among these two, Arjun, ensured that the "Guru" saga became well known in college as well.