Friday, October 08, 2010

The right to smoke

This is something that I have been thinking about for quite some time now. There was a ban some time back, and rightly so, on smoking in public places. However, this ban was not thought through properly and hence was a draconian system that really hurt smokers. Let me explain why I thought so.

Just like non-smokers have a right to not inhale cigarette smoke, smokers have a right to smoke. If there is a ban on smoking at the airport or the train stations then there ought to be a smoking zone demarcated at those places that allows smokers to smoke. Well, it is not an illegal activity. Every adult above the age of 18 has a right to smoke tobacco.

If one were to walk into an airport, and pee near the check-in counters, the person would be fined or put behind bars. The person would be told that ‘there are loos in this airport and that’s where you need to go and pee’. So to ensure that a person can answer the call of nature, all airports and stations have loos. After all, it is everybody’s right to go take a pee.

Somehow, this sort of consideration is not shown towards smokers. We need to go and indulge from time to time. It is legal. What is not acceptable is that smoking zones aren’t always given to indulge in a perfectly legal activity. Till the Bombay airport was refurbished, there weren’t any smoking zones. I am yet to hear of any train station having a smoking zone. The Calcutta airport does not have a smoking zone. Most restaurants and pubs have been dictated to ban smoking on the tables, but they have not been dictated to ensure that an area is given for smokers to smoke. I would certainly feel like a wretch smoking on a restaurant table and a kid sitting nearby inhaling that smoke. But why couldn’t Ramadoss feel like a wretch when I could not indulge in a perfectly legal activity?

There are also some who get into the MORAL of the whole thing. I have read and heard time an again, senseless things like ‘smoking should be completely banned in India’; ‘Cigarettes are the causes of so many deaths’ and so on and so forth. Well, let me put some statistics forward. Out of the total revenue that India earns, 8.8% is earned from excise duty of cigarettes alone. Bidis, cigars etc. contribute a further 3.3% to the government’s coffers.

Furthermore, the tobacco industry employs 62 lakh people in India. Bidi manufacturing is the biggest cottage industry in the country. So all those who want to ban smoking completely in India, please consider these facts. Banning smoking would not only lead to a huge dent in India’s revenues, it would mean 62 lakh jobless people in one go, just for some nonsensical people’s so-called high-moral ground.

Some might cite the fact that smoking leads to cancer and that needs to be a reason enough to ban smoking. This argument is rubbish. Firstly, smokers who get cancer are extremely heavy smokers and even among them not all get cancer. Secondly, there are more people in India who suffer from diabetes and high cholesterol than cigarette related diseases.

So, first ban sugar so that diabetics can live. Ban butter and cheese so that nobody in India suffers from cholesterol problems. Then talk about banning cigarettes. And, may I add, cigarettes give more employment and revenue to India than butter and cheese and sugar.

The same NGOs and saviours of the earth will not move their bums to ensure that a Govt. of India ruling – cigarette shops should not exist within 200 meters of any school – is stringently followed. They will not ensure that a person selling a fag to an underage kid is put behind bars. They will not work to ensure that there are no cigarette shops within 200 meters of a school. I can show you many cigarette shops in India that are within a few meters from a school.

Well, I hope the right of smokers is preserved. They are old enough; they are indulging in a legal activity; and they should be given their space to smoke. There should not be a draconian rule like what exists in places like, say, Phoenix mills in Bombay – where one cannot smoke anywhere in acres and acres of place.

Punish the irresponsible smoker who smokes at the airport. But also ensure that he has an option of walking into a smoking room somewhere nearby. That way both smokers and non-smokers would remain happy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The best in the world

An attempt at a short story.. Inspired by a true incident that came flooding back when I heard the song ‘The Greatest’ by Kenny Rogers.

It was raining, and the 11-year old could not go out to play cricket. He was restless and kept looking at the clock, for there was only an hour’s day-light to go. Sadly, Mother Nature didn’t seem considerate enough to relent. The boy’s restlessness was understandable. After all, he wanted to hone his batting skills, he wanted to drive and cut and pull; he wanted to be Sachin Tendulkar, he wanted to be the best.

His mother saw him forlorn and lost and asked him to play in the garage instead of waiting in the veranda. The boy saw sense in the suggestion. He picked up his bat and a tennis ball and walked in to the garage. He switched the light on and prepared to battle. The moment the light was switched on, he was transported to another world. This was no longer a garage, it was Eden Gardens. And he had to practice his craft here for the day; he wanted to be Sachin Tendulkar, he wanted to be the best.

The rules were simple. The garage shutters were pulled down behind him; stumps were drawn on the shutter using crayons. The boy would stand with the stumps (garage shutters) behind him and hurl the tennis ball at the wall ahead; and when the ball came back, he would hit it with his bat. It was a new bat and a heavy one at that. His father had suggested that it might be a tad too heavy for him while buying it, but the boy was adamant. After all, his idol used a heavy bat and so should he; he wanted to be Sachin Tendulkar, he wanted to be the best.

He threw the ball at the wall, and the tennis ball quickly bounced back at him. By the time he gripped the bat and swung it, he heard the sound of the ball crashing into the shutters behind him. Well, the bat was too heavy for him to lift and swing, in a little more than a second; for that was the amount of time the ball took to come back to him after being hurled at the wall. He could have under-armed the ball to the wall very slowly, but he wanted to face the fastest bowlers in the world. That’s why he insisted on throwing the ball with full force instead of gently under-arming it to the wall. He had to learn how to face the fastest bowlers in the world; he wanted to be Sachin Tendulkar, he wanted to be the best.

The boy composed himself and launched the ball again. He swung the bat at the ball and again heard the sound of tennis ball on garage shutter. He walked down what he imagined was the pitch, tapped it like the batsmen did. He kept a running commentary on, and at that time the commentator said that this was a very fast pitch. It would require immense grit and skill to save this one for India and the boy had it. After all, he wanted to be Sachin Tendulkar, he wanted to be the best.
This process kept going on and on for half an hour. Swing, miss, ball crashes into the shutter. Not once did the boy lose hope. Not once did he throw the ball a little gently on to the wall. But every single time he swung the bat, he did not hear the sound of the bat hitting the ball. Each time the ball hit the shutters, each thud louder than the last one. Then finally, his mom called. It was time for homework. He raised the shutter and crawled out, walked into the house with bat and ball. His mom smiled at him and asked him if he batted like Sachin Tendulkar. The boy gave a wide grin and said “no, Ma! I didn’t. Today I bowled like the best, I bowled like Allan Donald.”

Friday, April 16, 2010

Of goodbyes and comebacks

I have seen people, aged 60, finding their world coming apart once they retire. The day seems to be a continuous challenge to keep oneself active, to still remain important. It is not that they miss an active working life because that is what they were best at. They might have been better singers than architects, better painters than soldiers, but still they really missed their jobs once they retired. Just imagine what retirement means to sportsmen, keeping this thought in mind.

These retired sportsmen are young people, most of them in their 30’s. In our corporate world, people that age will still be young men with a lot of potential for growth. However, we aren’t that kind when we're talking of a sportsman in his 30’s. We refer to them as old, await their imminent retirement. And retirement would mean that they give up, unlike us, the one thing that they are best at. For most of them, that is the only thing that they can competently do, something that has been part of their lives once they crossed infancy.

Of all things that we comprehend when we watch sport, there are some things that we can never associate with as viewers. We can comprehend skill, strength perhaps, for that can be seen. We can never comprehend physical pain, and emotion. When our favourite sportsmen retire, we are dejected, but we learn to move on, find other sportsmen to idolize. But can we ever imagine what goes through the mind of a sportsman who gives up everything that mattered to him?

Once they leave, over a beer or a cup of tea we wonder if that chap had one more season left in him. For the great ones, we usually ask why they have retired and wonder if he can just come back once. Can he, just once more, drive through the covers? Can he, just once, curl in the free kick into the net? Can he, just once, pull that stunning overtake?

Over time, I have realized that the retired sportsman thinks of this every waking hour of his life. Perhaps, he sleeps just because he can dream of that comeback. Some of them then start to work on the comeback after retirement. One does not know how differently they train, but probably they put in harder yards to get an obstinate ‘older’ body back into competitive shape. And then, some of them come back.

Why do they come back? There is a reputation that they would put on the line, they would constantly be reminded of the fact that they already know – that they are past their peak. They might reduce themselves from being champions to also-rans in their second avatar as a competitive sportsman. These are arguments followers of sport would put across, and rightly so.

But the sportsman is not programmed to think like this. Their thought process is driven by a will to win, to excel. They have spent a lifetime thumbing opponents in the nose, scrambled to emerge victorious, and trained to become the best in the world. Perhaps that is why they hold on to their dreams. Body and mind are divorced, but they let their minds keep custody of their dreams. Body says – ‘can’t do it’, mind says – ‘give it a shot’. They have lived a life living their dreams, and excelled at it, probably they need to hold on to that dream a little longer and thus they come back from retirement to active sport.

This could be the reason why Michael Jordan came back, or why Michael Schumacher is racing, or why Lance Armstrong would compete in the Tour De France, or why Warne and Ganguly and Gilly are playing one last IPL.

Or perhaps, none of this is true. Perhaps they never come back to hold on. Perhaps they come back one last time to say goodbye. When they first retired, they said their goodbyes to their fans. When they come back after retirement, maybe that journey is just for them, to marry mind and body and get them in agreement – an agreement to say goodbye to their dreams for ever.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

IPL: Of captains and owners

It’s just one match. It’s probably too early to say it, but I will say it. The team that won today belonged to India’s greatest war-time general. Shah Rukh Khan owns Kolkata Knight Riders, true. But once they step on to the field, the team belongs to the captain. Shashank Manohar or Sharad Pawar never own team India, it is Dhoni’s team. The Australian team is Ponting’s team, not ACB’s. The team that won today, belonged to Sourav Ganguly.

Does this mean that there is no meaning to what Dav Whatmore and Wasim Akram would have done? It’d be incorrect to say so. But what ultimately matters is what the men do on the field, when there is no second chance. That performance is driven by the captain.

Rewind by a year. South Africa, IPL-2. Shah Rukh Khan thought John Buchanan was the guy who’d lead KKR to victory. The natural leader of the team was Ganguly. SRK had no guts to be forthright and say that he wanted to sack Ganguly. They came up with silly things like 4 captains for the tournament, and then the captaincy was taken away in a very wrong way. Yes, it is the owner’s prerogative as to who the captain should be and who should be given the sack. But things need to be done with dignity and as a man.

I saw KKR lose matches that they should have won. McCullum as a remote-control leader was uninspiring. The real leadership resided with Buchanan, who was sitting in the dugout. Players can’t look beyond the boundary line for leadership, they need to see it on the field. Coming to this match, now.

KKR looked like they’d lose this match, quite a few times. But the difference was that this year they came back from the brink and won a match they should have lost. The difference was probably in the leadership. Probably Whatmore and Ganguly have an arrangement that beyond the boundary line, Whatmore is the leader and when they step on to the field, Ganguly is. I saw the man make 3 bowling changes, and all of them produced wickets. I saw a charged-up team. It’s just one match, but I saw a change.

I don’t know if they can make it to the semis this year. That’d mean that they have played most of their matches well, leading up to the knock-out, and then they can hope for 2 good games. KKR finished last in the previous edition of the IPL, and that had nothing to do with the then captain. The owner screwed things up. This time, SRK has left his team in his captain’s hands. If KKR does better, it is because of Ganguly. If they don’t then the captain should take the flak.

And the self-proclaimed No.1 should realise that in a cricket match the heroes are the ones who are sweating it out on the field. Not the ones beyond the boundary line. Team sport is different. It is not like a film or a soft drink, for which you select a team to make a good product. In a team sport, the team is the product.

P.S. On 24th April, nothing would please me more than seeing Sachin Tendulkar lift the trophy on his 37th birthday. He represents the city that is my home. If not him, then it should be Sourav Ganguly. After all, he is the best person to have led my country in cricket

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Looking for a hero

As I saw Tiger Woods reading out his apology to his fans, for his extra-marital affairs, I couldn’t help but wonder if he needed to do it. One school of thought said that ‘he better have done it! He cheated his fans’. The other school of thought said ‘hold on! Why does he need to apologise to us?’ The former thought is probably something that would be more acceptable to fans, than the latter. The refrain would be – ‘he was a hero and a role model to so many, and he let them down’. This is what I am uncomfortable with.

I had read an article written by Rohit Brijnath (the best sports writer in the world, in my humble opinion) that said that these top sportsmen are sporting champions, not necessarily heroes. I so agree with him. What I fail to understand is the need to crucify Woods for cheating his wife, the need to crucify John Terry for having an affair.

How well did we know Tiger Woods? Yes, we may know about the majors he won; we might know of the incredible shot he pulled off at the 2005 Masters; we might know that his first name is actually Eldrick; but what else do we know about him as a person? Precious little! That is the truth. On the golf course, he is a champion; outside it, we do not know him. So, why does he need to apologise to his fans who know nothing about Tiger Woods the man?

Don’t we all hold sports stars and film stars to an extremely high moral standard? Now, just think that you had a friend, and he or she cheats on the partner. Would we expect that friend to apologise to the partner that was cheated upon or would we expect that friend to call all of us over and apologise to all of us? I don’t think we’d feel aggrieved if the friend did not offer us an apology. We might feel bad, though, if the aggrieved partner has not been apologised to.

That is what should have happened. The press and the fans should have just let Tiger Woods be. Let him apologise to his wife, let him sort his life out, the one he leads away from the golfing greens. And once he comes back to swing his club, let us welcome back and cheer the champion that he once was on his turf.

And I hope that we all realise that not all sporting champions are real heroes. They are people who can go wrong, who can be insecure, who can be obnoxious, who we should accept as human. If we are to look for real heroes, let us search a little closer. Well, I did that and found my real heroes.

I think of that wonderful lady who sat next to me and helped me with my homework, and did not even make the slightest mention of her back spasm that badly needed rest. I think of that caring man who rushed me to a doctor when I had a 101 fever, and did not even bother that he was himself running a temperature of a 102. When I was old enough to realise this, I realised who my real heroes are. Believe me; some of my sporting heroes have let me down in one way or another. That why I looked for real heroes. And they weren’t difficult to find.

So the next time people mention Tiger Woods or Terry, let’s accept them for what we know them for; their prowess in the sporting arena and nothing else, for that is the only part of them that we intimately know.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Name Is Khan: Review

One has seen lots of spoofs, funny ones, of big Hollywood films. Top Gun was spoofed in Hot Shots; Scary Movie series spoofs almost all the big Hollywood hits. Austin Powers spoofed James Bond and Star Wars. But these films are not by big directors and big actors. Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington do not star in them, and people like Martin Scorcesse, Speilberg, Tarantino do not direct them. Switch to Bollywood! Here things happen differently. The biggest directors and actors make extremely expensive spoofs. I saw one recently, it was called ‘My Name is Khan’. It starred Shah Rukh Khan and was directed by Karan Johar, for those who don’t know.

The movie was unintentionally funny, as was the whole premise behind the same. KJo usually reduces his heroes to simpering and crying retards in his films, albeit unintentionally. This time, he intentionally made SRK a retard. Well, those suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome (or autism) aren’t retarded. But King Khan played an autistic like a retard. He ran KKR like a retard in IPL – 2, made sweeping and retarded statements leading to the release of a movie, in which he acted like a retard.

Coming back to the spoof. Well, to begin with, one of the films this one spoofed was ‘Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay’. That was a comedy, so the spoof was serious. It’s natural. After all, serious movies are spoofed comically; so it makes sense if comic films are spoofed in a so-called serious way. The story of Harold & Kumar goes like this – These are 2 care-free American citizens of Korean and Indian origin, who love smoking weed. On the way to Amsterdam, on an American flight, Kumar decided to light a bong. That raises alarms, and the plane goes back to America. There, they are detained by authorities (the HOD is an arrogant dumb-ass) where typical racial profiling happens. They are sent to Guantanamo Bay, from where they escape. Then begins their journey across America to prove their innocence and meet the President to get a pardon. Also, Kumar is doing it for love, because the girl he loved is getting married to a douchebag.

I’m serious!! This is the story of that hilarious comedy. So very familiar to MNIK. There are other similarities. Rizwan Khan finds a sleeper cell in MNIK, Harold and Kumar find the Ku Klux Klan in their movie; Rizwan is sent to a detention center, so are Harold and Kumar; Rizwan’s family face troubles, so do Harold & Kumar’s parents; most importantly, Rizwan meets Obama (who knows all about him), H&K meet George Bush at his ranch in Texas (where they smoke weed with him).

The reason H&K was better (besides the comedy) is that the duplicate Bush really looked like Dubya. In MNIK, KJo cast the first African-American that he found as Obama. Haven’t we all heard that – ‘sab kale ek jaise dikhte hain’? KJo probably thought people are serious when they say that.

This movie has proven one thing. Just like the illustrator of Savita Bhabhi cannot be expected to paint The Last Supper, the maker of utopian rubbish like KANK and K3G cannot be expected to make a good film on racial profiling. And, one feels bad that an actor who played Mohan Bhargav and Kabir Khan had to reduce himself to a caricature called Rizwan Khan. And no, SRK wasn’t Dustin Hoffman (Rainman) and Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) rolled into one. Not in a million years!!

Mithun was a better desi James Bond in the Gunmaster G-9 movies, than SRK as Forrest Gump or Raymond Babbitt.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Saving Our Tigers: Exploiting a dying animal

Looking at the ‘Save Our Tigers’ campaign evokes a lot of mixed feelings. For the uninitiated, it is a campaign that Aircel has taken out. On one hand, I am happy that there is a lot of awareness that is being created which highlights the plight of our national animal, the most beautiful creature in our forests. On the other hand, I am not too sure if Aircel is in it for the long haul. Would this campaign last for very long?

I believe, if a corporate has come in for a long term then the cause being promoted is honorable. However, if they intend to use the tiger as a way to create goodwill for themselves with a short burst of publicity, then this is simply not done. We have seen, in the past, many celebrities and companies using a burning issue just to promote their films or products.

I do not know how much is being spent by Aircel to protect the tiger. What I definitely do not know is what the way forward with this campaign is. There are a couple of outrageously stupid links on the website that Aircel is promoting–

1) Speak up: This is what the text is on this link – ‘Write a letter or an email to editors of popular newspapers and magazines, asking them to support the cause and highlight the urgency to save our tigers. The more people we can reach and inform, the stronger our roar will be’

What I fail to understand is that why there are no articles by people actively involved in tiger conservation? Isn’t it important to highlight what people like Belinda Wright, Dr. Raghu Chandawat and Valmik Thapar have been writing and doing?

2) SMS, contact an NGO responsible for tigers, Preserve our natural resources, Be a responsible tourist.

Well, all is this utopian rubbish. SMSes do not help stop terrorism, where humans are killed, how is it going to save tigers? What NGOs do we get in touch with? All of us know that we must preserve natural resources and be responsible tourists. This is told to us right from our school days in moral science classes. But, almost all of us buy air-conditioners, use plastic bags without looking at the microns and litter when we travel. What is the use of writing this rubbish?

3) Donate: And here, they have provided a link to the WWF India website to make cash donations.

The third point takes the cake, in terms of stupidity of suggestions. Let me try and explain why.
As per the Project Tiger website, there are 38 reserves in the country which are project tiger reserves. There are other forests too, where tigers can be found, but these are not project tiger reserves. The government gave a grant in the 2009 union budget this year, to protect the tiger.

The generous grant was of Rs. 50 crores. That’s all the union budget of 2009 could spare for the national animal. This means, that just the 38 project tiger reserves would get Rs. 1.3 crores each, per annum to protect the tigers. And what all is needed to have a stronger tiger task force? Here is a very concise list:
  • Equipment to monitor tigers: This includes radio collars etc.
  • More number of people need to be employed to patrol the reserves day and night, so keep poachers out. The reserves are under-staffed and many vacancies are yet to be filled, and even if they are filled up, the number of rangers and forest guards still needs to double
  • Proper fire-arms and weapons: Today, the poachers have more sophisticated weapons than the forest guards. It is the sad truth• More vehicles to patrol the forests
  • Need to create more motorable roads so that the forests can be patrolled and guarded even during the monsoons. Currently, the forests are not guarded for 3 months of the monsoons and 50% of poaching happens then

This is a very small list, probably missing many more things that go in to save the tiger. But would Rs. 50 crores suffice to provide even half of the aforesaid? I seriously doubt it. This is where I find a disconnect. If Aircel is indeed hell bent on saving the tiger, the crores spent on making brand-films and plastering cities with campaigns could have added to the Rs. 50 crores of pittances the govt. has given. It would have done the tiger more good had a few extra equipments been bought out of that money than ensuring that a person in Juhu sees a Save Our Tigers hoarding.

Some may say, Aircel is not into charity. They are in the business of mobile services. That is exactly my point. If they are in a business, then run a business. Do not try and be clever and create awareness about your brand, using the plight of the tiger to your advantage.

And, there are many more pressing issues that concern the tiger’s existence that people need to be made aware of. The biggest issue is the one that concerns passing of the Tribal Bill in the parliament that has literally sounded the death knell for the national animal. Why don’t these corporate houses join hands with Wright and Thapar in revoking that bill?

If, after a few years, we realize that these campaigns about ‘Saving Our Tigers’ has resulted in the govt. waking up, I would take back all my cynical words about Aircel, and write an apology on this very space. I so hope I have to. I hope I am made to eat the pie, the one found in the ‘humble’ bakery, a few years from now. But, in my experience, online petitions and smses do precious little for causes, especially the ones that do not involve rights for some human being.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pakistanis not welcome!!!

Two things have been irking me for some time now, and both of them are in some ways related to each other. Firstly, the hullabaloo about Pakistani cricketers not being part of IPL; and secondly, the Aman Ki Asha campaign that The Times of India has been running (it is an event, I’m told. I do not read the squalid little rag). There have been these so-called broad-minded and accommodating voices that have been talking about both and my narrow mind feels they are irritating noises, not talk.

First, let me talk about the so-called injustice meted out to the Pakistani cricketers by not allowing them to be part of the IPL. Many have said that it was wrong and unfair, and that politics and sport do not mix. I have no clue which world they live in, that they make statements like these. Politics and sports have mixed since quite some time now. Through sports, statements are made about the political scenario.

When South Africa was banned from sport it was for political reasons, apartheid. The players suffered because of this ban, and I am not too sure if all the players that did suffer were perpetrators of apartheid, or racist. But, as a country South Africa went wrong and was ostracised from sport, thereby rendering the sport buffs slightly poorer for the fact that some wonderful sportsmen from that country could not display their talents to a world audience. Barry Richards is an example. And had the ban continued for another 10 years, we’d not have seen Jonty Rhodes and Allan Donald set the field alight.

Even if we look back at 1936, the Berlin Olympics, Hitler allowed only the people of the Aryan race to compete for Germany – for it was his belief that they were racially superior. We all know Hitler’s role in world politics. And closer, to 2008, the Olympics at China was taken up by the Chinese to make a statement to the world that China is the new super-power. This statement was made by the way the Olympics were organized and due to the fact that China won the highest number of gold medals.

Well, now will the pundits stop talking about politics and sport not going hand-in-hand? India’s relations with Pakistan are at its lowest ebb. Why should Indian franchise owners fund players from the country that funds terrorists to conduct 26/11 in India? Also, they do not know if the Pakistani players would be given a visa to play here. Most importantly, it is the owners’ bloody money and they have the right to not spend it on Pakistani players.

The Indian government has said that it has no role to play in what transpired. Yes, that is true. They did not have the guts to say that a country that is full of terrorists has no right to play any sport in India. They should have disallowed the Pakistan hockey team from participating in the World Cup too. Pakistan is a country where terrorists were allowed to attack a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers, it is an anarchy where democracy is a sham. What stops India from stating that Pakistanis will not be allowed to participate in any sport, or cultural programs, until they get their act right? It happened for South Africa and apartheid, didn’t it? Once SA got their act together they came right back in to the fold. The same could happen for Pakistan.

Which now brings me to Aman Ki Asha. Well, how can we hope for peace when Pakistan has shown no urgency to bring the perpetrators of 26/11 to book? How can we accept peace with a country that houses Dawood Ibrahim? Some will say that ‘that is for the politicians, citizens want peace’. That is rubbish. The 26/11 terrorists, and other terrorists, are treated as heroes in Pakistan. So much for the common people there wanting peace with India.

Yes, the Pakistanis are the T20 World Champions and have some very good players in their ranks. But this slap in their face should read as a statement to the Pakistani policy makers, and to the world, that till Pakistan gets its act right on terrorism and extremism their sportsmen and artists have no hope of any sort of participation. No asha of any sort of aman.

P.S. And TOI should refrain from such canard like Aman Ki Asha and do what they are best at. Reporting on the front page about mundane Bollywood stuff, passing them off for stories of national importance. At least, they would not be making any bigger fools of themselves than what they have been able to manage so far.