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BLOG - ER Ramachandran

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Coaching Indian Team......

There is an unnecessary brouhaha about who the next coach of Indian cricket will be. Will it be Whatmore, Moody, Buchanan, Bracewell…….?

Well, it doesn’t matter who India’s coach will eventually be.

What’s important is: what happens after that. Here’s the likely scenario.

Networks, frothing in their mouths, their cameras craning for angles will splash it all over. Except when he is in the loo, his appointment as the new coach will be covered or uncovered everywhere.

2. Before appointment, he would have been suitably’ ‘appraised’ by senior players, and after he gives in for their list of ‘do’s and’ don’ts’, they would have recommended him for selection.

3. The obsequious Coach next meets senior ex- cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri (1 Test-captain) etc seeking their help. They assure him of their support, keeping aside their knives for the time being.

4, The new coach starts his job by drawing a line in the middle of a paper and writing down who is most important on the Left side and who can be safely ignored on the Right side from among the Board, Selection Committee, Cricket Academy, State Associations, Sports correspondents, Networks etc. The outgoing coach would have briefed the new coach to get this right as his survival would much depend on this. He borrows additional sheets from Board Secretary Niranjan Shah.

5. In the evening he is asked to visit Raj Singh Dungarpur to pay his respects, who in turn gives a long lecture on Pentangular Cricket and takes him to his uncle to pay some more respects. After another long lecture, the coach comes back tired with a splitting headache.

6. At Night there is a call from kolkatha. The President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Prasun Mookherjee invites him to inaugurate the Sourav Ganguly temple in Beliaghata with Buddha Deb Bhattacharya and Ms. Karat as special guests. After he hangs up, there is one more call. Now, their rivals under Jagmohan Dalmia invite him for inauguration of one more Temple of Ganguly next to Amitabh Bachhan’s temple by Mamta Didi and Jyoti Basu. Both the callers hold a veiled threat that they can’t promise his security at Eden Gardens if he skips the function. The coach starts sweating mildly even in the A/C room.

7. Next day, the committee which selected him feels he should be hired on a temporary basis and given a contract only after he proves himself. Till such time, the coach will draw his daily wages from Treasurer Srinivasan. This is communicated to him by an email.

8.The new coach attends a felicitation function in which Mohinder Amarnath the ‘comeback Kid’ of Indian cricket fires a salvo saying the only reason BCCI goes for a foreign coach is because of its slavish mentality even after 60 years of Independence. Worse is yet to come, when Mohinder sings a Punjabi song and sings for another half an hour.

9. In the same function, Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma who are still in the West Indian hangover ask Ms. Rithambara, to consult her tarot cards and predict how long the coach will survive .The coach is asked to show his palm so that she can read between the lines and predict for him. Finally, she admits she can do so only after seeing BCCI President Sharad Pawar’s hand. Everybody knows, nobody in India can read Pawar’s hand, not even Mr. Pawar himself!

10. Next day, the players send a delegation of Advertisers to meet the coach .They feel a discussion between them could bring the players closer to the coach. At the end, coach does a Bhangra with the players joining him for the song ‘agale baar cup jaroor leayenge!’ which comes as ‘Breaking News’ by all Networks at 11P.M. News.

Late night, as he is lying on the bed he remembers he hasn’t opened his coaching manual yet.

Then, he remembers the parting words of the previous coach.

‘You won’t need those manuals as long as you are in India!’

E.R. Ramachandran 13 May 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Shed a tear for these very important persons…

Not VIPs of the sort who populate our pages and screens these days, not VIPs who put up banners at street corners wishing you for Ugadi or Rajyosthsava, but two very important persons whose very importance lies in their anonymous, faceless, unknown, unsung existence.
The two VIPs were Under Ground Drainage UGD workers. Two among the 3,000 or so UGD workers spread across the State, and who comprise a tenth of whom we grandly call pourakarmikas.
The two Mandya workers died due to asphyxiation. This happened on May Day when our politicians do a ‘ talkathan’ on protecting workers’ interests etc. Similar cases have been reported from Mysore and Malavalli. These deaths happen every now and then and are becoming all too routine to cause any discomfort.
How many more of these very important persons will have to meet their maker before the fake VIPs wake up?
The main job of UGD workers is to go underground and clean up the clogged mess in the pipes in the City. They endure unbearable stench, swim in swirling sewage, and, after working for a few years in that setting, are sure hosts of cancer, asthma, gangrene and skin diseases.
They are supposed to be given protective devices such as a helmet, a gas mask, gum boots, miners’ torch, gloves etc.
What do they get instead? Don’t laugh.
A long cane stick to poke clogged joints!
Even while cleaning a manhole they have to follow a method. After opening the manhole cover, kerosene and salt should be sprinkled to kill the bacteria swirling in the cesspool. Workers are supposed to wait for half an hour before they get in.
But, as the deaths demonstrate, safety norms are being flouted with impunity under the nose of inspectors, and all the Government seems to be able to do most of the time is shift the blame on the contractor.
Why are the safety norms not followed?
What is the Labour Department doing?
Shouldn’t some heads roll in these offices for sheer neglect when there are deaths statewide?
We are building mini-Vidhana Soudhas in the State and sure enough mini-Vikas Soudhas will follow. A tidy sum of Rs 30 crore has been promised to a Mutt to take care of native cows. What about UGD pourakarmikas—human beings like you and me—who do what neither you nor me are ready to: clean up everybody’s shit without proper equipment and guidelines risking their health everyday?
Which network follows their travails through the day with ‘Breaking News’? How many assemble studio guests to discuss their plight, their problems, their working and living (and indeed dying) conditions? How many ‘experts’ from civil engineering departments, concerned government departments, discuss the ‘Big Question’?
When will their lot improve?
Have the Mannina Maga or Mommaga done anything for the hapless people who spend their lives cleaning up other people’s shit?
Shouldn’t they be?
Tailpiece: Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation –HDMC- has been given an ISO Certification for its excellent work .How about a mutual transfer of officials and get Mr. Excellence here to clean up the mess that is My Sore!?
E.R. Ramachandran 07 May, ‘07