Saturday, 26 July 2014

Maria Sharapova’s Apology to India

I admit it should not have taken this long but as we say in Russian: Лу́чше по́здно, чем никогда́. Or better late than never.

My friends in India, here I, Maria Sharapova, daughter of Yuri and Elena Sharapova, tender an unconditional apology to 1.2 billion of you (I suspect million but my manager insists it’s billion) for previously not knowing who the Great Sachin Tendulkar is.

While I admit that you’ve shown great restraint in confining your just anger to innocuous photoshopping and innocent defacing of my Facebook wall using words that have greatly enriched my vocabulary, I beg your sympathy and draw your attention to my inglorious upbringing where cricket meant a buzzing insect and nothing else.

As some of you probably know, I was born in Russia, the country languishing in obscurity until your Mithun Chakraborty arrived there to shoot a couple of films that thrust my shy nation firmly under the spotlight.

Soon after my birth, my parents moved to the United States, a country history will eventually remember for organising random spelling bee contests monopolized by kids from your great country.

Despite the strong India links, in the country of my origin as well as the country I’ve adopted, cricket is as popular as Mike Tyson was with Evander Holyfield’s family immediately after that 1997 bout in Las Vegas.

While it’s a lame excuse for my mind-numbing ignorance, I beg you kindly consider the circumstances in which I confessed not knowing who the cricketing God was.

I completely agree when many of you question if tennis can be considered a sport, let alone a global sport, and wonder what’s the big deal about this Micky Mouse tournament. Looking back, I realise I got carried away after winning a match at Wimbledon and was not in full control of my faculties when I was asked the question about Tendulkar.

Otherwise, I could have mumbled out something vague yet face-saving. Like “That’s a ridiculous question. Of course I know him! Who doesn’t? He is a living legend, a giant beyond his physical stature and an inspiration not only to our generation but to the entire world. It’s people like him who restores our faith in humanity. In fact when I was trailing in the match, his presence inspired my comeback.”

I am ashamed of the way I have conducted myself and to prove that I’m genuinely sorry, I have been reading everything I could about Tendulkar, even if meant skipping training and fighting with the coach.

Now I know his cricket stats by heart; I know the punch lines of the each of his 2086 TV commercials including “Visa power, go get it”; and I know the breed of each of his pet dogs.

Naturally my preparation for US Open next month is the best I ever had. I may not cross the first round hurdle at Flushing Meadows but if media ask me about Tendulkar, I bet I will surprise you all.

Kind regards

Maria Sharapova

(A work of fiction, if you still don't get it)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Budget 2014: 10 Random Observations

1. Honourable Finance Minister spoke for two hours but it's actually a one-line budget. Sardar Patel Statuetory warning: Smoking is injurious to wealth.

2. Oil products to be cheaper. Afraid it would boost sycophancy.

3. Cigarettes to cost more. It's clearly a pro-rich budget. Only the rich can now afford those diseases that smoking causes.

4. How do I pay "indirect tax"? Instead of giving it directly to the guy at counter, I submit it via pantry boy?

5. Rather happy with "Krishi Darshan". Finally something to bring smile on the face of poor farmers like Robert Vadra and Amitabh Bachchan.

6. Cigarette to cost more, footwear to be cheaper. The underlying message is: kick the bad habit or smoke footwear.

7. Soap to be cheaper. Munaf Patel should have no excuse now.

8. Cigarette to be costlier (leitmotif of this piece). It means Bollywood will have to be more creative. Any bidi/cigarette chewer cannot be passed as a poor street urchin, however shabby the dress is.

9. Finance Minister sipped water while presenting budget. Was Hema Malini around to make sure it was Kent RO treated?

10. Cigarette costlier, footwear cheaper. Can you still crush cigarette butts under your footwear?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

7 Reasons Why Rail Budget Was A Let Down

1. More than bullet trains, we needed a bullet IRCTC.

2. I have serious apprehensions about the proposed bullet trains. Ticketless passengers may reach destination even before negotiation with TTE ends.

3. The minister, much to the dismay of his own party supporters, did not announce a 'Train to Pakistan' to ferry NDA critics.

4. The Minister proposed retiring rooms at all stations, something even his leader LK Advani is not interested in.

5. No train was named after Ashok Kumar who did more for Indian Railways than anyone else with this:

6. The minister overlooked the need to have TTE rate chart, just like porters have, prominently displayed everywhere to facilitate ticketless passengers' hassle-free negotiations with the Men in Black.

7. There was no "bug-bite and blanket-allergy compensation" for Rajdhani passengers.