Cricket, Japan and Cutting Chai – I

by Pranjal Wagh
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Part I

“Sambha, did you see how we were one yesterday night? Did you see how each one of us, irrespective of religion & caste stood shoulder to shoulder to support Team India? Politicians may divide this country but Cricket brings us together!”

It was the morning after the India Pakistan Semi Final Clash of the Cricket World Cup 2011. India had demolished, humiliated Pakistan, routed them and sent them back to their country and were on their way to the finals.

My friend, Sambhaji was sitting along with me on the famous Shivaji Park Katta and we were excitedly chatting about the Indian triumph. Having seen the euphoria and the celebrations afterwards and the feeling of oneness that people showed during the match, I was exictedly talking about the magic of cricket and how it unites people in India,

Sambhaji, the wiser and more experienced of the both of us looked at me, smiled and shoved a copy of the day’s newspaper in my face.

“Read this! See how we Indians unite during matches and tease, harass and sexually harass our women & men too! See how many police complaints were registered yesterday night! A night which was supposed to be a night of joy has turned a nightmare for so many women& men!”

Not to be outdone by his sudden attack, I replied, “ I admit that these attacks should not have happened but then people were drunk and then the police should also have been on guard!”

“Is it? Is it only the police who are responsible for the security of our women? Do we need the police or some law enforcement body to tell us to control our carnal urges? Whatever happened to the so-called Glorious Indian Culture that we keep on harping about? As we sit below this statue of Shivaji Maharaj, do we forget his ideology? Parastree Mate Samaan (Other women are equivalent to Mothers).Do we forget that in this land of Shivaji Maharaj, once the Patil of the village Ranze near Pune had his arms and legs cut off for raping a woman? And today we the sons of this great country are raping our own women, molesting them in mobs? Are we not raping our own culture by doing this? Are we not raping this country itself, who we proudly call Bharat Mata?”

“Sambha”, I tried to cool him down, “Capital Punishment like this cannot be meted out today! Human Rights people will jump at this opportunity! And it is a democracy today and not a monarchy!”

“Pranjal, that is not the point! We are cultured individuals and our culture is indeed great. There is no doubt about that but somewhere we forget that we ought to respect other people too and in our enthusiasm to celebrate such occasions we cross the line! And this is not at all right. There should be some self-restraint! We Indians always think on a very low personal level. Think of how the other person would feel when you molest him or her. Think of how you would feel if a mob jumps on you and rips your clothes off. Think of how you would feel if your mother and/or sister were molested and stripped of their clothes and their izzat in public. How would you feel?”

An animal when cornered does two possible things. It completely surrenders or it launches a deadly attack as a last resort. Being a human being I did a mixture of both.

“Sambha, you are right!These things should not happen and we should certainly exercise restraint. And these hooligans should be dealt with severely and punished at the earliest.”

And now I wanted to divert the discussion and take it to a different aspect of the topic so that, for the sake of arguing, I could gain some ground in this battle. Management and Marketing Fundas, eh?So, I continued.

“ But my point was how we are united in such times. May it be Cricket or even Kargil War or the earthquakes and Tsunami. India has always been united in such times.”

I felt proud to have used such tactics to try and move the conversation to another level, after all I was an MBA graduate and an MBA should know how to talk at all times.

What I forgot was that, only a degree does not count. What matters is how you have lived your life and how many exams in life you have cleared.Sambhaji was clearly ahead of me in that. Both in terms of age and experience of life. He was a management graduate from the college of life, for god’s sake!

He smiled like an experienced General who watches his opponents feeble attempts to salvage something from the battle before he destroys him completely, and said to me,

“Earthquakes and Tsunamis? In that case what we must do is take lessons from Japan. That country is a true phoenix. It has got the courage to rise up from the ashes and be the best. In short, The Japanese have got balls to tell life, Do whatever you want. Hit us as hard as you can. Knock us down. You may kill many of us. You may physically hurt us. But by God, you can never even dampen our spirit, let alone kill it. No matter what you do, we will always get up and live life with pride!”

(Continued…)

– Pranjal Wagh

04 April 2011

Note: Inspiration for this story/post came from a e-mail I received from my friend, Anup Bokil about ‘10 things we should learn from Japan’ and also from the news about molestation taking place after the India-Pak semifinal match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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This work by Pranjal A. Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

21 comments

Abhinandan Honale April 3, 2011 - 10:50 PM

superbly written…waiting to read more pranjal…

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Anil Gaikwad April 4, 2011 - 12:38 PM

Nice article dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Pranjal Wagh April 4, 2011 - 2:30 PM

Thanks, do wait and read the second part!

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abha April 4, 2011 - 3:06 PM

you have opened 2 sensitive topics and then left them… hopefully part 2 will complete it..

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Tanveer Malhotra April 4, 2011 - 3:24 PM

Dude … You should seriously consider writing a book …
You’ll be famous in no time !!

Waiting for the 2nd Part … 🙂

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Sujan Salian April 4, 2011 - 3:28 PM

Enjoyed reading it, but the winning feeling is yet to sink in me. For the moment I am too happy that India won, what happened after that, how, etc is yet to be thought of!

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Pranjal Wagh April 4, 2011 - 3:40 PM

@Abha
which are the 2 sensitive topics?

@Tanveer
Mein Lakh books likhu…Koi publish kare tab na? 😛

@Sujan
This is before the finals re… 🙂

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Sharvari Khandeparkar April 4, 2011 - 6:47 PM

Loved ur post. Cant help but agree more with ur friend!
We has a country still have a long way to go…

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Prasad Karlekar April 5, 2011 - 12:52 AM

good one.. Bro.. waiting for second one.. 🙂 ..!!

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Abhinav Srivastava April 5, 2011 - 2:24 AM

well….i completely agree with the people who have posted above me…but i have two questions for all of us:
1)There have been many occasions (good ones and bad ones as well, unfortunately)…cricket, natural calamities, terrorist attacks and so on…we have shown our unity at such times…. then, how do these corrupt politicians manage to break our unity????
2)Why is our youth motivated more towards the western culture (predominantly the bad part)…why not take the good part of it???
I think each one of us should give a second thought on this…
Thanks Pranjal for writing such a sensitive topic!!

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Chinmay Vaidya April 5, 2011 - 2:25 AM

nice 1…keep writing dude…wud like to read more about this…

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Pranjal Wagh April 5, 2011 - 2:34 AM

@Abhinav
I will try to answer the questions to the best of my limited abilities.

1 .It is true that we have shown unity.It is true that inspite of that politicians divide us easily. Many times the politicians break down our unity based on topics sensitive and very close to our hearts. Religion, Region, Caste and so on. But let us have a look who is broken down. The working class, the people who live hand to mouth. They are shown dreams. The middle class and the higher classes do not come on the streets and kill each other. The lower income group does. Because they are shown a carrot that will satisfy the hunger in their bellies. Moreover, the mob mentality does not take time to take hold in peoples minds because in mobs things that people have only dreamt of doing are done easily. Hunger & Education — 2 main problems. Hunger we have too much of it…and Education we have too little. It should be vice versa

2. It is mainly because the media – TV, Radio, Newspapers – glorify the western culture…and that too aspects like drinking, smoking partying pubbing discos and such stuff. It is cool to wear short clothes and smoke and talk in english with an american accent to match. However,one of the good things we can take from the western culture is that kids over there start earning their own living by the age of 17-18 and move out and live their own life. How many Indian kids would be ready to do that? That makes the youth independent and responsible and is a good thing from the western culture. But sadly we want to take things that come easily to us and make us look cool!

I hope I answered your questions!

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Soumil Sarkar April 5, 2011 - 2:46 AM

Really well written Pranjal. I cant wait to read the next part

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Abhinav Srivastava April 5, 2011 - 2:47 AM

@Pranjal….
I agree with answer number 2….but i am not completely convinced with the 1st answer…i know hunger, education and population are the biggest problems that our country is facing…dont u think the government should be doing something about this???
I also think that we (middle class working people) should not be surrendering to the false promises made by these corrupt politicians…why cant we ‘launch a deadly attack as our last resort’, as u have mentioned, on these politicians???
we cannot just keep giving the same excuse over the decades that our country is poor….then where have these politicians taken it till now????
i guess giving a thought would probably be best for rectifying ourselves….probably!

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Anup Bokil April 5, 2011 - 12:13 PM

Superb article.. Waiting for part 2…
And that mail was really nice.. Every Indian must read that!

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amit April 5, 2011 - 12:37 PM

chan aahe pan eve teasing ha prakar anant kala pasun chlau aahe and tho chlau rahnar.( now a days gals tease and molase boys than last few centuries) .its not abt education or anything else but abt power and mob physo;ogy. . and u think that while football or any other game in europe or in u.s.a these thingd dont happen.i those thing happen in more worse manner than india.

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Chaitanya Wakhale April 6, 2011 - 1:10 AM

Pranjal

That was another nice piece from you! First of all Applause.

Let me add something to this ongoing healthy conversation.

It is good to see and look forward to Japan and their ways of handling disaster situations but when it comes to comparing it with a mighty nation like India then we better take some other insights into consideration. In India just take two states Maharashtra and Gujarat and it will account to cross over Japan in terms of population, whilst 26 other states are unaccounted. Quite difficult to administer like the way the Japan does. What you have outlined based on your discussions with Sambhaji Sir is an obvious outcome of emotional vacuum which everyone feels, as far as common man is under consideration. Now that India is 10 times mightier than Japan and falling to this, all the crest points favor the situation which we talk almost daily like poverty, crime etc. It is overwhelming to see Japan’s development after getting brutally thrashed to almost scrap after the nuclear attack. But there are significant differences between the people of Japan and the people of India ranging from culture to food habits, which makes this seem stupendous. Japanese people are known to work very fast in their working hours, while in India we see a deep black contrast to this. We see people engaging in petty fiddle-faddle, & workers dallying for N number of reasons. Yet we have N number of reasons to smile, celebrate our togetherness and keep the spirit going.

You will be happy to note that this year’s census results are far more better than expectations, which you pointed out rightly as there is still a hope which lies very close from now. Least to say 2021 census would be the year of mighty change as more and more people are getting aware of sense of sensibility.

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Chaitanya Wakhale April 6, 2011 - 2:25 AM

On the point of how politicians score well on dividing is because most of the people do not have an utilitarian approach.

Leaders best know the brains of their aam janta and here they run successful, a right example given by Pranjal. We always say that we should vote and vote for the one we think is right. Lately there was an emphasis that people choose their leaders who have education and not mere dumbs. So the 2009 assembly elections were contested on the fact that people would choose educated leaders and so likewise some leaders got themselves honrary degrees in their name, eg. Ganesh Naik (A prominent figure from NCP in Navi Mumbai) conferred himself with the tag Dr before his name and led people to believe that he received recognition from International Tamil University (no details known. just read somewhere and recollecting), a petition was filed during the same period with Bombay HC and soon there was a speculation running among media channels that this was for the cause of social engagement and not to boast educational might. Well many of us would laugh out, what rubbish? but many amongst us would peek a view on this. Actors are conferred honarary, and so sportsmen, so why not protagonists of democractic battle. Following that UPA won and we see key people having degrees, better to say that those who can openly share their background, Dr Manmohan Singh (His CV is circulated on mails, so no comments) Pramod Mukherjee (Lawyer from Calcutta University), P Chidambaram (Harvard Passout, Oh my God) etc (can’t name more because fewer more exist worth naming), all other cabinet positions are held by those who have mere education who are better at understanding the so-called mob psychology.

Now when we take into consideration our arch-rival & neighbour, China, we have reasons to appreciate them. In the Peoples Republic of China, a totally different system governs the selection of a leader. Students when at university and taking majors as political science, economics etc are under scrutiny. Toppers and performers are taken for further assessment based on their likes and skills, who are nurtured by giving smaller portfolios for handling the administration and then after sufficient experience and performance comes out a leader (This is just a outline, politics and niligism is also a part of this but bottom line remains same) So look for current Premier Wen Jiabao (Engineering Graduate with Geology as Major, and strong experience in economics, no other education details known) or the past premier Zhiu Rongji (can’t recall) electrical engineer with similar strong background.

Ponder on above two views and you can make out what makes us run behind. By this I don’t mean that just mere education will lead us to prosperity or drift us for that wanted change.

Good Work Pranjal, this article livens up the thinking on developing more responsible thoughts & further actions and should pinch butt of those who need it.

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Harshit April 11, 2011 - 2:40 PM

Amazing article pranjal.. i cud feel that i was present wen physically during this conversation.. u do it so beautifully..

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Harshit April 11, 2011 - 3:05 PM

@Abhinav Srivastava- ishall also try not to answr ur question but maybe know d reason y we dun hav d answrs..
i feel strongly dat we xactly knw d answr but not the right question here..
1.. we say we live in a united nation but we r still stuck on issues like religion, society ets. we live in minorities and our reservations are concentrated at d hands of dese politicians. yeah we are at mistake that we dont vote but my questions is even if we vote we will choose a POLITICIAN (pest of society) so is it worth??

2.. why are we so influenced by the west?? bcoz we can only see the greener side of the western garden. we see the progress, d development, d opportunities etc etc.. but wat we dun see is the crime , corruption and illegal activities going in the background.. similarly the firangs see India as a peacefull and brotherly state. for them all is good here. they LOVe our culture,our tradition but wat dey dun see is evils of society..

ultimately Its HUMAN tendency dat we like wat is not ours and try to get it. be it woman, wine or wealth 😛 😛 😛 :P..

P.S– cudnt help not addressing your questions.

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Pranjal Wagh April 11, 2011 - 3:49 PM

@harshit
thanks a lot for the comment!

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