Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pajama Cricket in India & its patronising President

The President of the Board for Commercial Cricket in India (BCCI), Mr. N. Vasan , was getting ready to go to bed after a hefty dinner prepared by his daughter. Vasan was finding it difficult to untie the knot in the strings of his night pajama. He tried several times till he gave it up and left it as it is as his pajama hung precariously from his oversized waist. While slipping under the light bedcover, he was remembering the conversation he had with his daughter, who was anxious about the state of health of her jailed husband, Gurudas.

- Papa, they are giving him only dal and roti. Not even sambar. How will he survive?
- Don't worry. He will.
- No , papa. Have you seen him ? He hasn't shaved for so many days. Are they beating him at the police station, Papa?
- I hope not, Beti.

Mr. Vasan turned to his left on the bed and thought whether beating-for-betting-and-fixing is a legally accepted method for interrogation. Even Vasan was half in the mood of beating him when the police came knocking on his daughter's door for Guru. At that point of Guru's arrest , Vasan was enjoying his recess in his  Kodaikanal   farm house. Little did Vasan  suspect that his taciturn son-in-law would get arrested on charges of betting on Indian (under)Performance League (IPL) matches as well as for  passing on information about Chennai Super Kites (CSK) to bookies. Vasan had given him a free pass under an "Owner" badge and that gave him direct access to players, captain , coaches and rest of the staff members. Gurudas was otherwise a good-for-nothing guy with no demonstrable capability to organise a decent living for himself. Of course with his qualifications, he could've worked as  a clerk in any company that Vasan wished. But what will the people say? That the  son-in-law  of a rich and powerful President of BCCI is working as a mere clerk? Vasan couldn't risk that and allowed Gurudas to look after Vasan's pet franchise team, CSK that Vasan had bought while occupying the post of treasurer in BCCI. The constitution of BCCI  was amended to include positions in IPL in the list of exclusion of posts that an office-bearer of BCCI could hold simultaneously. And now the clock has turned full circle. Now people are asking how did Vasan compromise the position of CSK as well as IPL and BCCI by allowing his crook of a  son-in-law to cook the goose so brazenly?

Vasan's  position since the days of Guru's arrest was getting tied in knots after knots just like the tough ones in his pajama which refused to be untied. And like his pajama, he has to remain content with the knots till either the pajama gave way on its own or someone used a scissor to snip open the knot. Vasan could risk neither. Although publicly Vasan was claiming that the wrong-doings of his family-member did not necessarily imply wrongdoing on Vasan's part, the public was in no mood to listen. Everyone in the whole country was shouting , Shame, Shame  to Vasan not only for his brazen favoritism as well as nepotism but also because the glorious history of Cricket in general & Indian-Cricket in particular was now tainted with charges of rampant match-fixing .Finally before falling asleep, Vasan made a mental note to buy a new pajama the next day.

Early in the morning, Vasan stepped out of his pajama in the bathroom and proceeded to brush his teeth . The full-length Belgian mirror in the bathroom made Vasan look bigger than his height suggested. As he stared at himself in the mirror, suddenly time appeared to have stopped as a voice in his head quizzed Vasan, "Who am I?"  Vasan was stupefied but he let the philosophical moment blow away his resistance. A barrage of questions hit him from inside his head .
- Am I my cement company?
- Am I my IPL franchisee?
- Am I my family ?
- Am I my visiting card?
-Am I my consciousness?
-Am I just my brain ?
- Really, who am I ?

In the final philosophical analysis, Vasan realized in a Descartian moment of inspiration that he is because he thinks and it his brain that does all the thinking. So until and unless the rest of the country could demonstrate that his brain has been personally engaged in generously distributing favoritisms or nepotisms or in bringing Cricket into disrepute , he'll not step down from the President's post of BCCI.

Vasan was clever while drafting the terms of reference for the enquiry commission that has been appointed to look into the allegations against his son-in-law. He had purposefully kept certain conditions that appeared brazenly one-sided. Like keeping two members from BCCI in the 3 member Commission or by allowing the commission to submit the report to the 5 member disciplinary committee of BCCI. When pressure comes to shove , Vasan would concede those conditions & change them to what his detractors wanted. Giving them small victories would buy him the time to plot more moves to keep his position entrenched. He had to entrench his position otherwise if he resigned then his team will probably be scrapped from future IPLs and all these will have a cumulative-negative influence on the brand-image of his cement company that he'd built up leveraging the popularity of IPL & CSK.

Vasan washed his mouth , wiped his face and gently picked up his pajama from the floor. Vasan knew that he had to keep this pajama intact & use patience, guile & calmness to untie the knots that had engulfed the piece of clothing. At that moment Vasan had got the answer to the ultimate philosophical question, "Who am I?"

 He was none other than his own pajama.

3 comments: said...

Well board president is running BCCI like private firm from long time now. When he was treasurer of BCCI and bought an IPL team many people opposed this move as they feared that this can lead to serious consequences but like always fans and followers of the game are ignored. He was allowed to buy an IPL team by changing the rules and since then he is misusing his power to benefit CSK, now that these irregularities are surfaced he is completely denying the facts and expects people to believe him blindly.

Shantanu Banerjee said...

Liked your thoughts and imagery very much. But then many top leaders in India have continued on with their positions with dangling pajamas. Just wondering if someone would be courageous enough to cut the knot or pull down his pajamas.

Salty said...

@Creative Ujra, Shantanu
Thanx for your comments.
My view is that the biggest stake-holder in Indian cricket are the fans. Millions of them. They ensure the flowing coffers of the board but there's not a single representative of fans in the board. As a result, the board acts as a close club with unlimited powers of the President. From selection of players to buying of clubs although there are paper-committees to do those work. Its a board that manages various interests of the members including conflicts therein instead of working towards eliminating these conflicts and serving the game and its supportive fans.
Since the latter have blind faith towards the game, they get the raw end of the stick, always.