Thursday, March 18, 2010

Home Advantage

One of the most intimidating places to play cricket is Eden Gardens. With a capacity of 100,000 it isn't easy for visiting teams to play as the home crowd often doubles up as the 12th man for the hosts. The idea behind IPL was to create city based loyalties akin to the English Premier League. And it has been successful to a great extent. In the first season, Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur felt more like a cauldron to the visitors as they wilted in face of a hostile crowd and some great performances by the Rajasthan Royals. The combination was so effective that the Royals went undefeated at home in their succesfull 2008 campaign. And that's why the idea of teams holding their matches at adopted venues in 2010 is so mind boggling. Sample this, defending champions Decaan Chargers were treating D.Y.Patil stadium in Navi mumbai as their home for the opening encounter of this season. That they had no home advantage was obvious as the crowd couldn't feel a connect with them the same way that the Hyderabad crowd would have.

A similar scenario took place in Ahmedabad last night. Royals having given up Fort Mansingh as their home, due to some changed political equations, just didn 't have the sort of support that they would have liked. In fact when Sehwag took the attack to the Royals, the crowd literally switched sides and began cheering for him rather than getting behind the Royals.Would this have been the case in say EPL? One can't imagine ManUtd supports ditching thir team and start cheering for Lampard.

The idea of rooting for one's home team has actually started to materialize. The way Bangalore crowd was chanting 'RCB... RCB...' was phenomenal. The decibel levels being generated were simply surreal. So was the crowd support that one got to witness for the Mumbai Indians. Perhaps the IPL organizers, in their bid to massage some egos or to accommodate changed political realities, have missed a trick to firmly entrench the teams in the fans' hearts and ensure their loyalty towards their city teams. Let's hope IPL 4 recognizes the need of playing the home matches at one's own home and we don't have to worry about figuring out who the home team is in a fixture at Nagpur!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reservation Road

It has been 12 years since Sonia Gandhi took over an ailing Congress. And what a turn around she has scripted in these 12 years. A decade is a long time no matter which way you see it. It is even longer in the political space where equations change too often. As she moves into her 13th year at the helm of Congress, she has geared up to push through another landmark judgement; the Women's Reservation Bill. It has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha and could be presented in the Lok Sabha any day now. The question as to whether we really need this reservation is something that should have been debated a lot more than the structure and provisions of the bill itself. However seeing as that point is out of scope of the political debate, I too would focus on an issue that's being raised by a number of leaders, namely reservation within reservation.

To assume that women from all strata of the society are on the same level would be a mistake. However to provide for a quota within a quota for women of these categories would be an even bigger mistake. Whose fault is it after all that the women from these communities are still socially backward, that their rights are still repressed? Is it not a creation of society itself? Or to be more precise, aren't the very men who are demanding this quota responsible for the current state of affairs?

Their demand does not emanate out of any concern for the women belonging to the supposedly backward communities. It is another ploy to deepen the already existing communal fault lines in the country. A female friend of mine recently spoke out against the institution of marriage. In particular her ire was directed against marriage as institutionalised in her religion; a religion whose women would be allegedy at a disadvantage following the Reservation Bill. Her piece was nothing if not an indictment of the men who have been running things in our country for a long time. What has been happening to these women is wrong, but providing for a quota withing the quota would be wrong too. And two wrongs don't make a right.

We are already suffering from the effects of reservation. Growing up, I wasn't aware of any distinction of caste of religion. Yet as I matured, I realized that we had been taken for a ride. The various reservations had failed to have the desired impact. The benefits didn't really reach to those who needed them the most. What it in fact had succeeded in doing was denying me and millions others like me our right; the right that emanated from meritocracy. Today, when we look at people who have taken adantage of the various reservations, we can not treat them as equal. It's not that we don't want to. It's just that the fact that resrevation has played a role in someone's accomplishments leads to a tinge of doubt and anger in our minds. While the women's reservation bill may be needed,and it is debatable min you, creating quotas within it would ensure that another generation or two would be destined to grow up feeling cheated and wronged. Do we really want that?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

It's raining colours!!!

Dear Facebook users,

Most, if not all, of you would have been puzzled to see a 'colourful' facebook over the last couple of days as many in our friend lists decided to put a colour as their status message. It was cryptic to say the least. Why would a seemingly sane person put a colour as his/her status message? And even if one would decide to do it, how come so many of them decided to flaunt their favorite colour all of a sudden? And then, suddenly I observed a pattern. All those who had these colourful statuses were members of the fairer sex! There's definitely something going on here, I thought. The suspense was added to by the knowing comments that were being made on these statuses.

And so there I was, googling away to glory, till I discovered what the fuss was all about. And to say that I was surprised would be an understatement. Here was a group of women showcasing their support for a worthy cause in a unique fashion! I could not help but wonder as to how far we have come from the days, when these same women were not even allowed to show their face in public, let alone put up their bra color as their facebook status. It is a telling statement of the freedom that exists in our society. And for a change, the self-proclaimed custodians of morality haven't raised a ruckus over the issue; probably because their breed ain't well acquainted with facebook and more so because of the mystery around the movement.

As women all over facebook showcase their support and celebrate their femininity, we can just step back and soak in all the colors!