‘Ferrari Ki Sawari’

That’s the name of a Hindi sports comedy film released this year but what Team Ferrari will be doing in India on Delhi Grand Prix is nothing sort of comedy, or is it?

Team Ferrari has announced that they would be racing in Indian Grand Prix with the Italian Navy flag on their cars. Not the country flag but the navy flag. Something that seems they have never done before. And for what? To support the two naval officers who are undergoing trial in India under the charges of murdering two fishermen in India.

If the team wanted to show solidarity(!) to the two accused and wanted to take a political stand, they should have withdrawn their team from the Indian Grand Prix altogether. But to race in India with their navy flag and a clear statement that it is in support of the two murder-accused is a clear challenge to India and the legal system here. And the government and the organizers don’t seem to be bothered (Update: India seems to have officially responded against this by noon today). Ferrari’s decision to fly the navy flag in support of the two accused is also an insult to it’s foreign drivers – Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa. The two drivers now have to carry the political burden imposed on them by their team owners.

The team doesn’t have a moral right to take such a stand in the first place. This is a clear case of murder and a fair trial is being offered to the accused under the Indian law. The way the two accused are being treated in India under trial is the way the VIPs are treated. So what moral right does the Ferrari have to take such a stand? It is not the Italians who are killed but two poor fishermen.

Interestingly, I don’t see many voices (or rather text) rising against Ferrari on this issue in the social media. The urban anti-corruption babies don’t seem to be bothered now about the killing of two fisherman at the southern coasts of India. They were before, because the issue involved an Italian connection (Sonia-Italy-Catholic-Christianity link) but not anymore in their fanfare for Ferrari. The politicians, the Catholic church, all seem to be untouched by this. Compare this to how the Italians are treating their own people, even the murder-accused, and we have some lessons to learn.

If at all any integrity is left in Indians, other than rallying behind demi-gods like Anna Hazare, those of us who can afford or plan to go to watch Delhi Grand Prix should go there and boo the Team Ferrari in the loudest voice possible when they race through the track. It will not be an insult to the drivers. In fact it will be in support of Ferrari’s non-Italian drivers because they have been dragged into this political drama. And it will tell Italy that we not just a bunch of blind fans of a sports brand. The question is, will anyone among us dare do this? It doesn’t take much courage but a little bit of integrity.

I don’t bleed blue; I never will

I spent the evening of ICC World Cup Cricket finals at a friend’s place with his other friends and a common friend. Even though I have no idea about Cricket as a sport and have never watched a full game, I thought at least I would spend some time with friends and take some time off baby-sitting. To add more jazz to the evening was vodka that my friend had bought, so we had a joyful time.

By the time the game reached at it’s peak, I was becoming curious to see if India would win and my friends would explain what each run or the remaining balls meant to decide the climax of the game. At that point, the game had become all the more interesting to me with the booze, cheering friends and a desire to see the country winning the world cup. And when that sixer came out from Dhoni we all cheered aloud for team India. When we went out after the game by nearly midnight, there were crowds of men celebrating the win with burning crackers and playing drums. Everybody was in full spirits that their country won a world cup in the last 28 years and were so happy about it, but no single word of abuse against Sri Lankans in all of those celebrations.

But when we won a semi-final against Pakistan, the response was different.

Just winning one match against the neighboring country had fueled our patriotism so much so that we dragged the women who were going home after work out of their vehicles and asked to them to dance with the mob. When refused, they were beaten up leaving one of them women with a bleeding nose. The news come from the same place where women were attacked for going to pubs and dancing, except that this time the women were asked to dance. (People from Bangalore also said that their vehicles were stopped and they were asked to sing “Vande Mataram“).

Just imagine if we were on a war with Pakistan and won and mobs like these knocking on our doors, forcing us to sing Vande Mataram, dragging our womenfolk to the road to dance with them, or beating them up for refusing to do so. Patriotism, fueled by a sport – and some sportsmen.

The blame is not to be put solely on those men of mobs, but also on some of the so-called “Men in Blue”. The same folks who are supposed to keep the ‘sportsman spirit’ of the sport. A young chap called Gautam Gambhir said ‘a win against Pakistan and a win in the final and that too in Mumbai should be dedicated to’ 26/11 victims. He says a win against Pakistan would soothe the pain of 26/11 victims. Either he is a stupid young man or he is very cautiously building up an image by banking upon a mix of patriotism and sports.

What does the Pakistani cricket team has to do with 26/11 anyway? And how is a win against Pakistan in a sport event going to “soothe the pain” of the 26/11 victims? And how does that win justify the violence against our own countrymen and it’s womenfolk in particular? Up to his standards, should Gautam Gambhir have rejoiced at defeating Lankans too? Because Rajiv Gandhi, a former Indian prime minister, was killed by a Sri Lankan group. Would he think that it would “soothe the pain” of those who were killed at Perumputhur? While boasting up on the media, Gautam Gambhir should have given it a serious thought.

And if it is this sport of hatred that is running in Gautam Gambhir’s, and the Team India’s, blood, I don’t bleed blue. I never will.

Also read: Soothing the pain


I didn’t know that there is such a sport called “Mallakhamb” (pole gymnastics) in India. Only when I got an email with the subject line “Amazing Indian Gymnastics” that I learned about it. See the amazing pole gymnasts performing “Mallakhamb”.

Wiki says:

Mallakhamb or Malkhamb is a traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs feats and poses in concert with a vertical wooden pole or rope. Mallakhamb also refers to the pole used in the sport.

The word “Mallakhamb” is composed of malla which denotes a gymnast or a man of strength and khamb which means a pole. Mallakhamb can therefore be translated to English as pole gymnastics.

Crickees – Online cricket prediction game

A friend of mine has launched a game portal, Crickees, for online cricket prediction. Here is an excerpt from their website:

Crickees.com is a skill based prediction game where you can play the game by simply predicting the outcome of upcoming cricket matches in three simple games – Match Result, Team and Scorecard.

(1) Match Result : Predict the answer to a few simple questions.
(2) Team : Predict the playing XI and the batting order of players
(3) Scorecard : Predict the match scorecard

Predictions have to be put in before the actual match is played. The more accurate your prediction, the better your chances to win.