Sunday, January 22, 2012

Soup Boys Down Under

With the Indian cricket fan screaming from the rooftops of social networks and baying for the blood of the humbled Indian cricketer, the UPA Government finally caved in and formed an expert committee to probe into the pathetic performance of the Men in Blue in Australia. Disrupting the monthly aestivation period of the MPs, an emergency session of the Parliament was called despite threats from Agent Fog and Agent Snow, and it was unanimously agreed through a voice vote that while cricket will take its own course, the Parliament must do what it is expected to do – setup committees.

A four member working group was setup in due haste with Rahul Gandhi as the Chairperson and self-nominated loud mouths Suhel Seth, Asaduddin Owaisi and Arindam Chaudhari as its members. Suhel’s ability to mumble incessantly, when placed in front of a TV camera or a microphone, on sensitive topics like the mating habits of ostriches or the folk dances of Andaman was considered a plus point. Owaisi’s standing as a modern rabid fanatic Muslim who swears by his beard and is inspired by the gentle Taliban provided the secular perspective that Governmental committees needed while Arindam's  reputation which soared after the success of his classic Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch (described by The New Yorker as a work of post-modern surrealistic pastiche existential angst) gave the committee the intellectual celebrity quotient that it needed to make it acceptable to gossip hungry audience, who swore by the Mumbai Mirror.

In response to critics questioning Rahul Gandhi’s cricketing acumen to head this panel, Congress spokeswoman Renuka Chowdary, in her animated petite coquettish style, bloviated that Rahul was a natural leader and had captained the Toddlers United when it toured Guinea-Bissau as part of his granny’s efforts to promote democracy in the mid-70s. Unfortunately, since no statistics were available in Cricinfo to prove this claim, this could not be verified prompting Arun Jaitley to remark that Rahul Gs chequered career as a batsman was only limited to ducking Opposition bouncers and he was as clueless about the sport as Katrina Kaif was about acting.        

Nevertheless, acting with an exaggerated sense of responsibility, the committee (christened Kingfisher India Against Cricket or IAC in short) made a trip to Napier immediately after the Perth debacle. An ocean facing villa was taken on rent with a facility to travel daily to Australia to carry out the investigation; critics who pointed out they were too far away to do any meaningful work were scoffed at by angry Mumbaikars who said that it takes more time to travel from Virar to Churchgate and such an opinion was an insult to the famed resilience of the Marathi Manus.

The month long secret assignment by the IAC was covered extensively by the local news channels and India’s biggest entertainment channel Times Now. Videos of the panel members in various strip bars and pubs were widely circulated on YouTube, demonstrating the serious nature of the trip. The committee went around the length and breadth of Australia, spoke to the Twitterati, fans and the cricketers themselves and finally returned home to a grand welcome. Fearing the ire of the ever vigilant Election Commission, they were immediately frisked away by Home Ministry officials at the Delhi Airport to ensure that no information was leaked to the public.

Nevertheless, uninformed sources Wikileaks revealed that a copy of the slim 700 page report had found its way mysteriously into the lap of Arnab Goswami, the barking powerhouse conscience of the Indian media. We managed to bribe Arnab Sir and get a copy of the glossy looking report titled Soup Boys Down Under with a cover page photo of Dhoni's boys regaling themselves in a drunken stupor (The Hangover?) and Clarke pulling the strings (of his guitar) to the tune of Why this Kolaveri, Mite (sic)?

Tendulkar’s perennial wait for his 100th ton received wide coverage in the report. The IAC analyzed hundreds of videos of SRT, probed through all the widely trending discussions on Twitter, spoke to Aussie fans high on beer and finally concluded that there was an international conspiracy behind this (specifically not an Italian hand). As a one man entertainment industry who still caused dedicated office goers like 'Kodali' Dasan and 'Kattapurathu' Vilasini to bunk work and watch Test Cricket, there was wide spread fear that the moment, the ton-ton was reached, he would retire, people would switch off TV sets and start living normal lives and even be misled by the senile St. Anna.

The report suggested a cartel comprising democratic governments and media channels had paid off cricket boards across countries to prevent this catastrophe from happening in the cricket world. The IAC, however, recommended that SRT must be given an honorary ton, his name changed to Ton-dulkar and gifted a Bharat Ratna so that he can ride to the sunset gracefully.

It branded the seniors of the team as the Axis of Discontent who were determined not to contribute in Australia due to jealousy in the team over the share of brand endorsements that the captain had captured which was totally disproportionate to his abject dismal performances. Plotting a bewildering assortment of graphs and curves that would put even Vidya 'Entertainment' Balan to shame, the report showed how the seniors spent more time planning their post-retirement financial strategy than the actual playing strategy. The IAC also lambasted the selectors for modeling the team on a Brahmin Bania party like the BJP with minimum minority representation and suggested that they follow the England model which had a global all inclusive multi-racial line up.

The IAC absolved the team of its inability to face the rising ball, saying that that if the Finance Minister had no clue on how to handle rising interest rates, how could you single out the Indian team for a similar folly? The report attributed the lethargy shown by the team on the field to poor dietary practices and suggested that the solution to this may lie in Arindam Chaudhari's forthcoming book Count Your Wickets Before They Fall. The book advocates an Arindam diet comprising Beef and Toad Legs Soup, concocted with  aphrodisiacs from China (can't just ignore those bu****s) and sprinkled with cow urine to help cricketers to rise to the occasion and deliver; this delicacy is reportedly being served in IIPM canteens (except in Madhya Pradesh) to encourage students to dream beyond the IIMs. 

The report also underlined the importance of following the stars in the sky than in the team while deciding on cricket schedules. Quoting renowned astrologer Attukal Radhakrishnan, it said that the tour had been played when the Saturn was in retrograde in the 7th House – an inauspicious time to travel abroad. It recommended that a full time astrologer should be part of the Board so that such mistakes do not happen again. Additionally, it was pointed out that playing an important Test Series in the midst of the World Go Karting Championship was a blunder (especially with some of the cricketers having stakes in it) and the Board had not done its homework properly while preparing the itinerary.

To improve the team morale, the IAC report made several other recommendations including banning all Indian cricket jokes in the social space, doing away with post-match press conferences when the team loses, inclusion of the cricket team under the Janlokpal to ensure accountability (to placate the real IAC members  miffed at not being nominated to the panel), increasing the team strength to include a PR Manager, an investment adviser and a fashion consultant to take care of the interests of the players and present them in proper light, cross-culture training for youngsters like Kohli and Ishant Sharma (they had assumed that the middle finger salute was a way to cheer crowds in this part of the world) and very importantly, recalling Poonam Pandey as the Brand Ambassador of the team (Fans may recall her inspiring presence in the World Cup but since it is widely believed that she only exists virtually, this may not be possible to implement).

An additional point was added in fine print at the bottom of the report recommending that the IAC be made a Constitutional body and allowed to tag along with the team in all future foreign junkets. Rumours suggest that this may be the only recommendation that will be accepted when the report is tabled in the House since Constitutional bodies are widely accepted as the only Game Changers in this country. Also, the general opinion is that after plummeting to such depths, we can only go up now, as Virat Kohli had indicated so gracefully to the Sydney crowd. 

The report contents are too damaging to reveal and so only selective portions of the report have been leaked here; readers may keep in mind that care is also being taken not to hurt the sentiments of the Loyal Indian Cricket Fan –a species that is rap(b)idly going extinct.  Since most of the report talks about either Owaisi defending Salman Rushdie's right to offend the Prophet or Suhel Seth’s discovery of the promiscuous nature of Australian women or Arindam Chaudhari’s management quotes, we used our discretion and decided to publish only the cricketing facts and be loyal to the oldest profession in the world………. journalism. 

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  1. Good one….but, three words would have sufficed … Indian Cricket Team!!!!

  2. Really nice…try ur hand on a book or newspaper articles..

  3. I feel … da too long for a humor piece..
    “animated petite coquettish style”
    “surrealistic pastiche existential”
    “misled by the senile St. Anna”
    “concocted with specific aphrodisiacs”
    Remember Soman’s dialogue from the movie “lelam”??? too much playing around with words… keep it simple and short…

  4. In some places, it cannot be removed like ‘surrealistic…..’ was a deliberately used phrase since it was supposedly quoting a literary review done by a newspaper…Bloviated can be changed to ‘pompously asserted’; ‘misled by the ..Anna’ cannot be shortened and ‘concocted….’ maybe simplified to ‘sprinkled with aphrodisiacs and cow urine’; I need the aphrodisiac bit in it. Tough job, trying to shorten it when there are so many thoughts floating around…..I normally spend more time editing a piece than writing it, so it’s gone through multiple versions before finally publishing it online..Well, well, looks like I need a good editor!