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To all angry fans out there, MS Dhoni is innocent. He is under threat from Srini and his cahoots. He cannot open his mouth if he loves his life. This is why he kept mum when reporters asked him questions on the spot fixing saga in recently concluded IPL.

The fans are disappointed. Journalists are feeling let down. Angry TV anchors are asking questions that nobody wants to answer. With each passing day the spot fixing saga is getting murkier and murkier. To this the Indian Captain MS Dhoni’s silence has added fuel to fire.

Now why did MS Dhoni buckle under pressure? Why did he choose to look the other way when he had an opportunity to express his views and feelings? Didn’t his loyal fans have every right to know how strongly their beloved captain cool feels about the spot fixing and players-bookies nexus for a widespread betting network across the country? Maybe, the loyal fans were expecting too much. Even the noisy reporters were creating obstacles for him by subjecting him to silly questions. The ever angry TV anchors were going over the top in a desperate bid to gain TRPs for their shows.

Everybody is wrong in asking MS Dhoni questions on spot fixing. Nobody should have asked him questions simply because he has won India a world cup. He has done a lot for the country. By this logic he is not answerable to either reporters or fans. He is answerable to the BCCI President. He will follow what the president says. In the bargain, if he has to lose a few fans, so be it.

After all, you cannot go on playing cricket forever. There is, of course, life post retirement. There are various career options available even after you hang your boots. You can become a coach or a selector or a commentator. But for this to happen you must be in the good books of BCCI,  mustn’t you?

This explains MS Dhoni’s silence. After all, he seems to have taken a leaf put of PM’s book. Silence is golden. Maybe BCCI has browbeaten him into that silence. But in times like this silence is the last resort. In a country prone to mind boggling scandals at regular intervals, soon spot fixing will be off the media radar. Sreesanth and co. will be out of jail after the dust settles. It will be back to business in another fortnight or so. Then why should MS Dhoni say something in the prime of his career and chuck it all away?

Silence is invaluable. What MS Dhoni has done is remarkable. He has come across as a diplomat dodging all bullets with a smile and without trace of remorse. Today MS Dhoni has lost a few fans but certainly gladdened the heart of his master and earned himself a lifetime membership in the elite club that matters the most.

The railways minister Mr. Pawan Bansal is the latest example of how government is effectively implementing poverty eradication programme. The opposition is asking for his resignation. Why? Because it is alleged that Mr. Bansal’s nephew accepted a bribe for recruiting top official/s in railways. How can we make uncle pay for the alleged sins of his nephew? As such CBI is overburdened with work load. Shouldn’t we spare a thought for hapless CBI before tossing every case of rape, murder and bribery into its overflowing basket?

Government is busy fire fighting on many fronts right from Sarabjit Singh’s ghastly murder in a Pak jail to Chinese intrusion into our territory. Amidst all this ha ha hoopla, where does it have time to sack Mr. Bansal whose life long dream is to eradicate poverty for all his generations to come after him? Let’s assume for a moment that PM cracks his whip and Mr. Bansal finds himself out, where would the suitable replacement for such an able minister come from?

Now almost all the leaders have successfully eradicated poverty for their next generations. Nobody will show willingness to step into his large shoes that will be difficult to fill for obvious reasons. Government is well aware of this challenge that may arise following unceremonious sacking of Mr. Bansal who is a complete family man as far as the Indian tradition is concerned.

People of this country have heard of minister helping their brothers and sons and daughters in their endeavour to eradicate poverty. But Mr. Bansal has gone one step ahead by extending support to his nephew. The last thing such an honourable man deserves is receive a red slip from his masters.

On the contrary, the more accolades we give, the less they will be for such a man of impeccable integrity. Mr. Bansal has done one more remarkable thing for which he has come in for praise from all the leaders cutting across party lines. That is when protesters demanding his resignation outside his residence were baking in the sun, he ordered cold showers on them so that they could brave the blazing sun and continue protest unabated.

Does such a caring man deserve the sack? How thoughtful of him. In fact, here’s a man who should be invited to Wharton to give lecture on how to successfully eradicate poverty in less than a year and ensure enormous wealth for generations to come. Our PM can spot the hidden talent and persist with it in a bid to brazen it out no matter what the opposition demands.

When country is ruled and run by such merchants of coals and 2G spectrum, it is the people of this country who should master the art of brazening it out. Government’s juggernaut ought to continue to roll and nobody should throw spanner. Whoever dares do so will only increase the workload of CBI. PM won’t step down. Ministers implementing poverty eradication programmes won’t call it quits. The status quo will continue till the day of reckoning after a year.

Amar’s heart was pounding against his ribcage as he made his way through the evening traffic of Bangalore to reach home. He had stopped feeling excited for past few days. All of a sudden the excitement had returned. He didn’t know how to deal with the excitement.

He knew that Reema was at his home. She was there with her mother. He didn’t want her to be there when he reached home. He was scared that something bad would happen. Something so bad that for which he would end up regretting forever.

But the battle was between the mind and the heart. The mind didn’t want her to be around when he reached home. At the same time the heart wanted her to be around. The heart, moreover, wanted her to smile at him when he reached.

While waiting for the signal to turn green, he pulled out his cell phone and nervously typed a text message that read can you please ensure that nobody is around when I reach home? He paused for a while before sending the message. When the signal was about to turn green, he pressed the send button and kick-started his bike after sliding his phone into his shirt pocket.

Amar had sent the text message to his wife Jyoti.

Amar had, once upon a time, a crush on Reema who was Jyoti’s cousin. There was a history of bad blood between Amar and Reema following the various attempts made by Amar to make Reema his ‘friend’.

Reema had initially kept those overtures a secret from Jyoti thinking that that would upset Jyoti and both husband and wife would end up fighting on account of her.

Amar had misunderstood her silence as a covert green signal and had gone to the extent of asking her out one evening after showering her with expensive gifts.

All this he had done after extracting a promise from Reema that she would never divulge a word of it to Jyoti.

God only knew how long all that love-struck behaviour of Amar would have gone on, had Jyoti not come across a text message accidentally in Reema’s mobile.

The message was from Amar asking Reema whether she would prefer dining with him at her favourite restaurant at Koromangala. Obviously, that had infuriated Jyoti who, in turn, had demanded to know what the whole thing was all about after accusing Reema of having an affair with her husband.

Bucketful of tears were shed as the accusations flew thick and fast. When Reema successfully proved that it was Amar who was stalking her, the attention shifted to Amar who was made to swear by their two daughters against any such future transgressions.

The doomsday had long gone. But its ugly aftermath kept casting its long shadow time and again. Amar had to prove his love for his hurt wife and commitment toward their marriage all over again.

The faith in their marriage was the main casualty. Now it was up to Amar to rebuild that faith brick by brick.

It was proving to be difficult as Reema was a family relative and her entry couldn’t be banned into their household. Time and again they ran into each other. Again the doubts cropped up and the old memories would come back to haunt the couple.

It was five years ago. But the wounds were still fresh. At times they both tried to pretend that it was a painful episode left behind for good. But in truth, those memories were always at the back of their minds.

While riding his bike he anxiously waited for his phone to vibrate against his chest in his shirt pocket. But the phone refused to vibrate indicating they were there to stay .

The evening was promising to be eventful as the hunter was about to see the prey after a gap of a couple of months.

Amar reached home and as feared Reema was there.

He nervously knocked at the door. As he stood waiting for the door to come open, the questions would Reema look at him, would she at least smile at him, will she give any indication that all was forgiven and forgotten and she was ready to move on raced across his minds making him go weak in his knees.

He felt like sitting down on the steps. Finally the door came open and he saw Jyoti and his younger daughter Sumi beaming at him proudly.

They both stepped aside to let him in. As he entered, Sumi asked, “Papa, what have you brought me?”

“Leave your papa alone, beti. He has returned home tired.” He heard Jyoti call out after Sumi as he walked into the bedroom for a change and shower.

Sumi was six years old and she snatched Amar’s Wildcraft bag and began to go through it frantically to come up with something for her. This behaviour struck Amar as odd.

His eyes were looking for Reema who was nowhere in sight. A pleasant smell pervaded in the air. The house looked cleaner than usual. The neat and clean bed-sheets adored the beds. The chairs were properly kept in the corner. The TV was switched off. The festivities were in the air thought Amar while throwing nervous glances around.

He continued to look around searchingly for their elder daughter. Even she was nowhere to be seen.

Jyoti could sense who Amar was looking for. She said, “Sara is over at Rosie’s place for the homework” while handing him over a glass of water.

Without a word Amar gulped down the water and handed the glass back to Jyoti who was standing there waiting for him to finish.

“Can you please say hello to aunt?” said Jyoti pointing in the direction of the kitchen.

He walked across to the kitchen and saw Reema and aunt huddled over the gas stove making dinner.

“Hello aunt, how are you doing?”

Aunt turned around to smile at Amar. But to his dismay Reema’s back continued to face him. Obviously, he was heart-broken.

Without bothering to wait for aunt’s answer, he turned back out of frustration and headed into the bedroom slamming the door shut behind him.

He was humiliated. On his own turf, there was a guest who was not interested in looking in his direction. He felt the snub had robbed him of all his self-pride in a single stroke.

The feeling of worthlessness grew more painful with each passing moment as he sat on the bed plotting the revenge.

Jyoti, sensing trouble, decided to stay out of Amar’s sight.

After half an hour, Amar heard Reema calling out to Sara. What he understood was Reema wanted Sara to accompany her somewhere for an urgent errand. He didn’t know what the errand was all about.

Suddenly an idea flashed across his mind. With a chuckle he got up and hurried out of the bed-room.

“Sara, what’s up? Don’t you want to say hello to your papa?”

Reema and Sara were at the door ready to go out somewhere.

“Hello Papa, sorry. Mommy asked me to let you sleep for a while. That was why I didn’t come in to say hello. Now give us five minutes. We are going out somewhere and will be back soon” said Sara with a naughty wink.

She was nine years and was very talkative. Everybody adored her in their family and neighborhood.

“No darling. How can you step out at this hour? Roads are unsafe out there. I want you to stay indoors”.

Reema and Jyoti exchanged nervous glances as Sara’s face lost all its colour.

It was futile to argue with Amar. Reema let go of Sara’s hand and looked in a corner where Sumi was seated on a plastic chair playing racing game on her PSP.

Amar knew what Reema was thinking. Without wasting a second, he said, “Sumi darling, can you press my head? I have a severe headache”.

Without a word, Sumi got up from her chair and rushed into the bed-room. Sara too followed her as Amar smiled a triumphant smile while closing the bed-room door behind them.

A silence fell over the house-hold. Nobody said a word for a long time. They ate dinner too in silence.

After dinner, Reema and her mother took their permission to leave.

It was eleven pm and the time to go to bed.

He went inside the room where his daughters slept to kiss them good night. Both had white cotton dresses on and they looked like angels. None of them looked up to smile at him.

Amar didn’t know what to do. He stood there for a while. It took him some time to realise that they were crying.

Amar sat next to his elder daughter Sara and cupped her small face in his palms. She looked at him and said, “Papa, you are really very cruel. How could you do that? Do you know how much you’ve hurt Sumi?”

He looked at Sumi who was sobbing loudly.

“Papa, go away from here. I don’t want to see your face. You remember nothing. Today was my seventh birthday. Forget about bringing cake and celebrating it, you haven’t even wished me. I will never forgive you. Please go out of my sight” yelled Sumi the birthday girl.

Amar felt like fainting right there.

“And you know what. While we were going out to bring a cake, even that you stopped from happening. Thank you for all your concerns. Please leave us alone now” cried Sara.

Amar noticed the presence of Jyoti behind him.

He turned around and walked past Jyoti as she mumbled, “For some human beings, their grudges and egos override everything else. They never change”.

Had the earth slid, Amar wouldn’t have minded falling into it.

The End














The breaking news of Vinod Mehta quitting Outlook – the weekly news magazine – has come as the biggest shock. Why has Mr. Mehta decided to call it a day all of a sudden? Was the writing on the wall? Have the readers and fans of both Vinod Mehta and Outlook failed to read it? This sudden development smacks of betrayal of the trust that the fans of Vinod Mehta have reposed in him for a period of almost two decades. In the Delhi Diary of the latest issue of Outlook, he fondly recounts his experiences at the Jaipur Literature Festival without giving any hint of this impending retirement. How could he manage to keep this decision such a tight secret? Is there more to this sudden announcement of retirement than what meets the eye? 

Having said this, Outlook and Vinod Mehta are synonymous. One cannot separate these two from each other. The most number of times sacked editor could take Outlook to such dizzying heights is the fact that defies all logic. Who can forget the controversial inaugural issue of Outlook? Who can forget the expose of match fixings in the Indian cricket team? The most recent are the shocking revelations of the Niira Radia tapes? With Mr. Mehta at the helm of affairs Outlook was the most awaited weekly magazine. Two segments of Outlook have hugely contributed to its success. I can say this with confidence as a devoted reader. One is the letters to the editor where readers calling Mr. Mehta all sorts of names can see their letters published. Another Delhi Diary written by the editor-in-chief himself where he can say the most outrageous things in his unique calling-a-spade-a-spade style and get away.

Now will the charm of Outlook remain the same with Mr. Mehta’s replacement in place or wither  away? This is a difficult question to answer. Maybe the answer will reveal itself over a period of next few Fridays when the latest issues of Outlook normally hit the stands across the country. What will Outlook look like without Vinod Mehta? Or rather what will Vinod Mehta be like without country’s number one news magazine at his disposal? Certainly these are the most painful times for both Mr. Mehta and its teenage baby Outlook.

According to me Mr. Mehta should try and write Lucknow Boy 2 in his free time now wherein he should reveal the secrets of what made him such an enduring presence with the Outlook Group. He should share all the trade secrets that changed the face of journalism in the country and made Outlook such a big house hold name. He should also hold forth on the possibilities of whether Outlook will survive without him or perish. However I am loath to write the obituary of this magazine I’ve grown up with with the departure of the man who launched it.

Let’s hope Mr. Mehta doesn’t disappear from the face of the earth. Let’s pray occasionally he comes out and voices his opinions from the retirement. It will be refreshing to hear this man once in a while who gave India a lot to look forward to over the weekends. No matter what Outlook does and how big it grows, the tall shadow of Vinod Mehta will forever linger over it. A big salute to the gritty and charismatic editor-in-chief whose notoriety this country loved to hate.

At last the Jaipur Literature Festival has begun. Like every year this year too the festival had its usual share of controversy. This time around the name of controversial novelist Salman Rushdie’s name as one of the guests was enough to stir the hornest’s nest.

Predictably, the powers that be gave in to the extremists’ demand of not allowing Mr. Rushdie to be a part of this world famous festival. The extremists may have scored a victory. But the fact remains that they are the biggest losers. This tantrum has not done any good to their image. Needless to say the powers that be seem to have caved in not out of any fear. But they chose to do so with an eye on the UP elections where they don’t want to lose the Muslim votes.

Anybody will tell you that the political class is more interested in protecting its own vote-bank than empowering it. Once in a while to appease the vote-bank if it’s seen as bending over backwards, it doesn’t mind. It’s the votes that count and not the artistic freedom especially if it is being termed as blasphemous. That’s another matter that in the whole process the community always ends up looking like a loser.

The recent incident has hurt the image of the Indian Muslims badly enough. Mullahs might have successfully created the atmosphere of fear and danger for Mr. Rushdie. The government too pooh-poohed the issue of providing him with adequate security during his stay. That left the novelist with no other option but to decide against participating in the JLF.

Whatever has happened is quite sad. What is even sadder is the fact that from within the community no liberal voices have come out in support of Salman Rushdie. No doubt that every Muslim loves the prophet. If Mr. Rushdie has indeed insulted the prophet in his banned “Satanic Verses” and is yet to offer an apology for this blasphemous act, then it is indeed a matter of grave concern. But the point here is the faith is a private matter between god and his followers. If Mr. Rushdie has committed sins, he’ll have to answer and atone for them. Who are we to punish him in this manner? This unruly behaviour is not only bringing bad name but further alienation also from the mainstream.

Ironically the powers that be never crack down on such undesirable elements. They never tried to bring to book those who made life hell for the painter M F Hussain so much so that poor painter had to flee the country, spend last few years of his remaining life in a far away land and eventually died a lonely death. The same is happening with the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen who has been living in India in exile. Who can forget the way she was hounded out of the West Bengal where she had initially sought shelter?

The type of censorship that the extremists want to impose upon those accused of blasphemy amounts to plain thuggery. It doesn’t do any good to any party. There are better ways to deal with an alleged blasphemous act than this. Why to read or watch or give importance to a work of fiction or painting that depicts gods in nude? If we all turn a blind eye to the filth that sometimes gets passed off as pieces of genius, will the writers or painters not feel discouraged and stop producing such provocative material? If only we stop overreacting to the silly games politicians play, there will be fewer controversies and more productive work that benefits everyone. Time to wake up from deep slumber has perhaps come now.


Virat Kohli – India’s right-handed middle order batsman – is in the news for showing his middle finger to the SCG crowd at Sydney. The reason for this action is while fielding near the boundary line, the cricketer received abuses from the Australian spectators directed at his mother and sister. As a result he lost his temper and ended up showing his middle finger to the crowd. This action has landed him in controversy now.

The Indian Cricket Team has been under tremendous pressure after winning the World-Cup Trophy at home last year in April. At present they are touring Down Under where the hosts are traumatizing our champions by preparing green top wickets. Ricky Ponting aka Punter has played himself back into the form by murdering the Indian bowling attack on the wickets that are undoubtedly helping him. Our Batting Maestro Sachin Tendulkar has got off to a good start. But unfortunately, much to everyone’s dismay his hundredth hundred has been elusive so far on this tour.

Given the mental state of the Indian players who are sweating it out to beat the formidable Aussies at their own backyard, it hardly comes as a surprise for someone as young and as temperamental as Virat Kohli to have responded to the provocation in that manner. He is under duress. The Indian fans can surely understand what he along with the entire team is going through. At the same time one cannot help but admire his courage to show the middle finger to the hostile crowd in a foreign land.

He is really a lion-hearted cricketer who decided to let his middle finger do the talking instead of his exploits with the willow. Out there in the middle he did it with more than a dozen cameras trained on him. Instead of vilifying the poor lad, we should idolize him. For the young cricketers like Virat Kohli represent the face of the young and aggressive India. Gone are the days when an Indian can be bullied on the foreign soil by the natives. He is confident now. He won’t take anything lying down. He will bounce back. The reason? He is successful not only in his own country but anywhere in the world.  And he likes to wear his success on his sleeve for the entire world to see.

Coming back to Virat Kohli and his middle finger, we all must unite in defending  this dare-devilry. The Australian press is likely to milk the incident to show the touring World Champions in poor light. The match-referee too may contemplate some punishment for the stylish and brave right-handed batsman.  This can be demoralizing for him and the entire team.  Here are a few suggestions to fend off the Aussie criticism and to boost the morale of our champions out there in the hostile conditions.

  • Virat Kohli is through gentleman. He was not showing the middle-finger to the unruly crowd. He was checking the finger out since he had injured it badly during the net session earlier in the day.
  • This incident is blown out of proportion. It smacks of some deep-rooted conspiracy to malign the World Champions who have so far not reacted to the Aussie players’s sledging.
  • The crowd was hired to provoke the touring side into abandoning the match since the hosts were finding it too difficult to face their bowling attack.
  • We all must urge Kapil Sibbal to demand the ban on the crowd behaviour after preparing the list of swear words that were hurled at Virat Kohli.
  • The crowd was sent in by Greg Chappell as a ruse to deflect Sachin Tendulkar’s concentration.
  • The crowd was jealous of the success of “Why This Kolaveri Di” and it took it out on the hapless Virat Kohli.
  • The BCCI must dispatch Mr Subramanian Swamy to Australia to defend Virat Kohli because he is the Virat Hindu who finds himself up against the scheming Aussies who are jealous of India’s status as the reigning World Champions.

Support for our champions is the need of the hour. As dedicated fans, this is the least we can do. The enemy is smart and he has smelt blood. We can demoralize him by showing solidarity with the Team India. Then it will be only a matter of time when the Captain Cool bounces back and the Batting Maestro rediscovers his touch to scale the height we all have been waiting for so eagerly.

Chuck De India!!!!

These days everybody seems to be talking about two things. One is Why this kolaveri di and another is disappearance of Veena Malik under mysterious circumstances. Veena Malik shot to fame for all the wrong reasons. She was recently in the news because of an infamous nude photo-shoot adoring the cover-page of FHM. She is in India to participate in a reality show Swayamwar. Now that she has gone missing, people are wondering whether the disappearance is real or some publicity gimmick.

Well, nobody seems interested in Veena Malik. Therefore the disappearance seems stage-managed to garner publicity for the upcoming show Swayamwar. The timing couldn’t have been better than this. The nude photo shoot on the cover-page of FHM got her some publicity both in India and Pakistan. Soon the euphoria subsided and it appeared as though the FHM controversy had died a natural death. Now Veena Malik is back in news again for her alleged disappearance.

Fake celebrities like Veena Malik’s hunger for any kind of publicity never gets satisfied. The more people ignore them, the more they crave for their attention. In India, she is up against the likes of Poonam Pandey and Rakhi Sawant. In the country of her home, mullahs have denounced her and have been baying for her blood. Poor Veena Malik is like a lit bomb that didn’t go off due to some unknown reasons.

The way nobody is surprised at the news of her having gone missing, nobody will be surprised when she surfaces somewhere on the eve of new year. The endless jokes about her will continue unabated. People like Veena Malik come and go. Who cares? If the appearance is stage-managed, chances are it is going to boomerang  badly as people seem to have had enough of Veena Malik and her endless tantrums in the recent past. It is likely to affect the TRPs of her upcoming show Swaymwar adversely provided she is found and the show manages to go on air.

All said and done, the million dollar question is where is she? Why has she ducked herself out of sight without informing her manager? The whole disappearance theme sounds inspired from John Grisham’s best-selling novels. First a nude photo shoot followed by a denial and then the ultimate act of disappearance when the new show is about to go on air. Veena Malik’s act of disappearance has got the people from both sides of the border talking. If her PR agency was looking to get her publicity, there couldn’t have been any better ploy than this.

Let’s hope she surfaces somewhere on the Juhu Chawpaty beach savouring the taste of Vada-Pau and Bhel-Puri. Mumbai is such a big city. Foreigners like her can get lost in the hustle and bustle. We should provide them guides so that they don’t melt into the crowd sending the countries into tizzy only to surface later to claim they had never gone missing in the first place and the whole saga was a result of a silly communication error.

Wow....!!! This Much Love.....!!!!

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