Saturday, March 22, 2008

Price wars by the Hindu and the New Indian Express in Kerala!

By John Cheeran
Oh, I'm in Kochi, and I buy the Hindu newspaper.
The newspaper is priced at Rs 3.20 and I give the vendor a five-rupee note. He charges Rs 3.50 for the paper and explains that he has no change.

The next day I choose The New Indian Express. The paper is cheaper than the Hindu, and is priced at Rs 3.15. Again I end up paying Rs 3.50 for all the news and views.
I'm sure that both the Hindu and the New Indian Express managements are aware about this price devil and doing nothing about it.

At least change the listed cover price to Rs 3.50.

So that stray readers like me will not feel that we are being cheated by the news vendors. Editors cannot set the world right nor can they change the order of things in India, but they can change the price of their product to accepted levels.

Or will that be a tall order for them?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Indian Hockey and Cricket: the more you play, the more you win

By John Cheeran

There is much breast-beating about Indian hockey team's failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympics during the qualifying event in Santiago, Chile. It is the first time Indian team missing out of the Olympics hockey competition.

It is a significant moment. Olympics competition is to hockey, what's a World Cup is for cricket.
But we should pause to note that for Indian hockey, the defining moment had come with the lacklustre gold medal victory in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which was hit by the the US-led boycott. The decline in Indian hockey had begun immediately after India's World Cup win in 1976 in Kuala Lumpur. India had a disastrous World Cup in Bombay, I guess.

Forget about all that. Do you remember what had happened to Indian cricket team in last year's (2007) World Cup in the West Indies? It was in last March, the entire nation was ablaze with rage when the Men In Blue were dumped into the Atlantic Ocean by Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis. And now the same bunch of players, almost, are feted without a pause after their convincing wins over world champions Australia and runners up Sri Lanka.

How's this revival and turn around of sorts made possible?

Just compare how many international matches Indian cricket team plays in a year and how many Indian hockey team gets to play.

The simple truth is that the more chances you get to play, the more chances you have of winning. This principle has been vindicated recently in Australia. Manipulated by a self-serving Indian media, the nation is given only the winning moments in the performance chart.

Don't cry. Killing K.P.S. Gill will not resolve Indian hockey's crisis. Let them play more and more, much like these cricketers, and some how, some where, they will win some silver ware.

And we will keep our tirangas ready to unfurl.

Long live Indian Hockey!

Journalism with a human touch!

By John Cheeran

It is no secret that those who visit this blog knows that what an illiterate fellow this blogger is. Now wonder, then, that I find myself without a job these days. As an intelligent colleague used to remark "everyone gets what he/she deserves."

Be that as it may, do we deserve the Week magazine, as it is, from the celebrated Malayala Manorama Group?

I don't know. I recently picked up a copy of the Week, and was amused to see their new punchline for the weekly. "Journalism with a human touch."

Does that mean until now the Week was edited by a bunch of monkeys?

All of us are humans, so why so special about the "human touch"?

The Week has grown strong over the years, I presume. It can add more muscle to its pages with a little more thought.

May be they can try "Journalism with a humane touch."

Touching, indeed!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Indian cricket: Despair and delight - all in 365 days!

By John Cheeran

How fickle is fortune! Almost a year ago, on March 17, Bangladesh stunned India in their first game in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. Rahul Dravid's men never recovered their poise after that humiliating defeat. India crashed out of the World Cup party without reaching the Super Eights.

It was not just Greg Chappell who was made to bear the brunt of the cricket fandom's ire. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's house was attacked by the mob. Many other cricketers homes were subjected to the brickbats. Prabhu, my driver and India's No.1 cricket fan, vowed that he will never watch another cricket match.

Now with only a few days left for the first anniversary of India's World Cup nightmare against Bangladesh, the same band of cricketers - except Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly - are painted afresh as heroes, heroes who could not put a step wrong, life is being breathed into their cutouts again, on the basis of Team India's creditable display in the Commonwealth Bank (CB) triangular series involving world champions Australia and runners up Sri Lanka.

One cannot deny that Dhoni's men thrashed arrogant Aussies in the final by six wickets and nine runs thereby washing away their World Cup sins, substantially.

And for a change, Sachin Tendulkar hit runs when it mattered most -- in a tournament final. His century in Sydney and 91 in the Brisbane act were a treat to watch.

All these, indeed, are cause for celebration. And no wonder, then, the nation is celebrating almost in despair, fearing what calamity would hit the Team India next.

Not many, not even Sharad Pawar, would have thought a sudden turnaround in the fortune's of Indian cricket.

And just pause to think the Twenty 20 World Cup triumph and the CB Series crowning glory were achieved without the grand designs of a coach.

Now Gary Kirsten looks like the biggest fool in the world of cricket.

After such highs, what lows await Chappell's successor now?

Many had felt that Kirsten, though he was given the national coach's job by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (the BCCI) much earlier, was playing it safe by joining the Indian squad only after the side's toughest assignment, the Down Under trip.

By doing so, Kirsten has been left with little room for maneuvering with greats of the game such as Tendulkar, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in future. Had Kirsten showed the gumption to join the side earlier, he could have basked in the reflected glory of the men in blue.

But as they say, life is like that. And cricket, very much so.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

India's win in CB Series over Australia rewrites equations of supremacy

By John Cheeran
Comments can get tired on events such as these when India quite convincingly thumped world champions Australia 2-0 in the finals of the CB series limited overs championship. But not the players involved; not the least this irrepressible band of players led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India completed a remarkable trip to Down Under on Tuesday at Brisbane. For the first time they won a triangular series in Australia. (India’s triumph in the Benson and Hedges World Championship in 1985 will remain one of the sweetest moments in Indian cricket history)
The fact that India outplayed world champions and world cup finalists to win the CB series will go a long way to redeem India’s pride which was sullied during the disastrous World Cup campaign in the West Indies in 2007.
Some of the boys who have played a leading hand in the CB Series victory will grow into mature men who can guide the destiny of Indian cricket. Fast bowler Praveen Kumar has been a revelation in as much as in taking crucial wickets as well as maintaining an icy attitude on the follow through.
Rohit Sharma dug in most of the times when he got an opportunity and he should be the balancing factor to the other hot heads in the batting lineup.
All that is to follow.
For the moment it is fifty50.
Enjoy India.
John Cheeran at Blogged