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Sight Screen

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Tell me more...

Waqar Younis says -- listen up, peoples -- Sachin is still a legend. So now you guys can all heave a huge, collective sigh of relief, and get back to whatever you were doing.
I mean, surely it's time for such nonsensical reporting to end (and yes, I know, Rediff is not immune; no one is. Doesn't mean I have to like it, though).
Reminds me of this bloke who asked this other bloke, Do you know who I am? To which the second bloke said, 'If you have to tell me who you are, you aren't.'
When I used to do the regular press rounds, there were a few things that bugged heck out of me. One was when someone or other won an award, and reporters would go, first crack out of the box: 'You have won this Blah-Blah award, tell us, how do you feel?' Inside of me, I'd go, what the hell sort of question is that? What is the respondent supposed to say -- Oh, it feels horrible, excuse me while I throw up?
They teach you in journalism school (not that I have ever been to one) never to ask obvious questions -- and 'how does it feel to win an award' is the most obvious one in the book.
On similar lines, there is this question that is always thrown up, every single time any international player visits India for any purpose whatsoever: 'What do you think of Sachin Tendulkar?'
What, someone is going to grab the mike and go, 'Sachin who? Oh, that bloke plays for India? Sucks big time, man!'? Obviously, he will say he is a good/great player, legend in his lifetime, and lots more in similar vein.
So why bother? The oft-repeated question and its as-predictable response (already this year, Viv Richards has said Sachin is a legend; John Wright has said ditto; Shane Warne has added his identical two bits; now it's Waqar's turn -- who is it supposed to reassure? Sachin? He doesn't need it. Us fans? We don't need it either -- he's brought joy to some, moved others to anger; he will probably continue to do both till he hangs up his cricketing boots.
Oh, and? I used to be overfond of the use of the word legend -- till one guy, to whose name I appended that word, asked me son, ever looked up the meaning of the word?
Legend = An unverified story handed down from earlier times; A romanticized or popularized myth of modern times.
Um. :-)


  • Prem looks like the Journalists need to go back to schools wherever they did their journalism from :)

    By Anonymous Sri, at 14:26  

  • Exactly my sentiments Prem. And I guess TOI (Times of India) has hired some idiots as journalist who keep asking embarrasing questions to cricketers. I mean every time you open a page of TOI you hear such an story on Sachin Tendulkar. Me and some of my Pakistani friends were amused at this and discussing this months ago and wondering about TOI's obsession with Sachin Tendulkar. This is one of the reasons I have given up reading TOI.

    I mean what can Waqar or for that matter any Cricketer do if these journalist dont know their job well ? They(TOI idiots) even call up former cricketers at home, ask them stupid questions and then make a sensational story out of innocent comments (Remember whole Miandad Statement about Pathan). :)

    By Anonymous SP, at 14:28  

  • What do you expect from TOI they are after all from Mumbai;)

    By Anonymous Sri, at 14:30  

  • i hate it when people use words like messiah, legend ,god as adjectives to describe a player who participates in a team game. It irks me to no length people (media included) go ga ga over individual talents. its a team game for god sake..

    this is what happens when people watch too many bollywood movies and expect the same out of cricket players.

    By Blogger sachin, at 14:31  

  • Prem No offence to you in my previous message. rediff even though they are from Mumbai I know you have journalists from variety of places which makes it more neutral.

    By Anonymous Sri, at 14:32  

  • TOI is tabloid of india these days. There cricket reporting is probably the worst among all newspapers. The best they can come up with is ayaz menon and pradeep vijaykar (sometimes those are ok reads but nothing more than that) There other writers are horrible. Its a newspaper trying to dumbing down the masses by reporting the most obvious things. Not only cricket but everywhere. The only thing I still like about TOI is the sunday times columns : "Swaminomics" and by Gurucharan Das. Those are really good. Everything else is unadultrated crap in TOI

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:39  

  • Prem:

    A very good point about the level /quality of journalistic coverage. It seems as if the same questions are repeated asked to increase circulation.

    However, I beg to differ with you about the meaning of legend. While you are right about the basic meaning of legend, the word also has other connotations depending on usage. I quote below the meaning of the word legend from www.dictionary.com (I am at work and could not access my webster's dictionary readily). Please refer to the meaning under d. and the usage notes below:

    a. An unverified story handed down from earlier times, especially one popularly believed to be historical.
    b. A body or collection of such stories.
    c. A romanticized or popularized myth of modern times.
    d. One that inspires legends or achieves legendary fame.
    e. An inscription or a title on an object, such as a coin.
    f. An explanatory caption accompanying an illustration.
    g. An explanatory table or list of the symbols appearing on a map or chart.

    Usage Note: Legend comes from the Latin adjective legenda, “for reading, to be read,” which referred only to written stories, not to traditional stories transmitted orally from generation to generation. This restriction also applied to the English word legend when it was first used in the late 14th century in reference to written accounts of saints' lives, but ever since the 15th century legend has been used to refer to traditional stories as well.

    Today a legend can also be a person or achievement worthy of inspiring such a story -- anyone or anything whose fame promises to be enduring, even if the renown is created more by the media than by oral tradition. Thus we speak of the legendary accomplishments of a major-league baseball star or the legendary voice of a famous opera singer. This usage is common journalistic hyperbole, and 55 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:45  

  • I think the trend of asking obvious questions is something Indian journalists have acquired from the US ones. If you are following NBA, every single time a player gets asked "when you took that shot, what was going through your mind" Thats the stupidest question. What can go on in his mind :To take the shot and win the game, he won't be thinking about how good the sex was last night with perfect 10 model in the hotel. Of course not. Even the answers -- as Prem said -- are on standard lines "I let the game come to me man, we tried to be relaxed etc etc.. bull, more bull, .. " I liked the way Duncan answered a question the other day "What did you do differently to improve you free throw percentage?".. He says "They just go in now!" I really liked that, I mean what was he supposed to say. I am sure cricketers must be thinking the same when reporters ask them these dumb questions.

    But the way Wright answered the question was interesting. He says, (I am paraprasing) "there is another level waiting for Tendulkar. I thought he would get to that this year but with injuries it didn't happen" If wright really thinks that, and Sachin recovers, then it would be interesting if he really achieves that "another level"!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:47  

  • -:) what do you mean Sri? that people from mumbai are biased towards Sachin? that if most of the journalists at rediff are from mumbai, they did be biased towards Sachin? I am a southie, I still appreciate Sachin a lot!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:47  

  • I am at work but can access webster.And here is the Webster meaning for legend.There are many connotations to it.

    Etymology: Middle English legende, from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French legende, from Medieval Latin legenda, from Latin, feminine of legendus, gerundive of legere to gather, select, read; akin to Greek legein to gather, say, logos speech, word, reason
    1 a : a story coming down from the past; especially : one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable b : a body of such stories (a place in the legend of the frontier) c : a popular myth of recent origin d : a person or thing that inspires legends e : the subject of a legend (its violence was legend even in its own time -- William Broyles Jr.)
    2 a : an inscription or title on an object (as a coin) b : CAPTION 2b c : an explanatory list of the symbols on a map or chart

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:53  

  • Mumbaikars normally tend to look after their comrades. Prem of course is from mumbai. But do you know his actual root? Same is the case for many rediff journalists. Even the founder of rediff is a southie. With so many anon here it feels like a swarm of mumbaikars here;)

    By Anonymous Sri, at 15:00  

  • after reading the postings here (by mumbaikars and non mumbaikars).. i wonder why we blame bcci for their archaic mindsets.. the fans of the game also suffer the same disease inflicting the BCCI.

    By Blogger sachin, at 15:06  

  • With so many anon here it feels like a swarm of mumbaikars here;)

    that's just your insecurity speaking.. we won't hold that against you.

    seriously, do you think ToI is published only in Bombay? Never mind that, do you think someone will think Sachin is great only because he's from Bombay? In what way does that add or detract from his achievement? Get your head out of the parochial sand and be glad two of the best batsmen (statistically at least) are from India - so what if they're both from Bombay.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:07  

  • interesting Sri! you lombasted me for bringing up indians tendency to be biased with their regional players. I repeatedly explained myself, it is not only about Bengal etc. Now, you seem to be talking the same thing. I was only hoping to trigger a discussion about indians tendency to not analyze and get mired in 'bias' & emotion. If you watch any indian cricket, that is what I see and I left so many cricket forums because of that.

    anyway, I do agree with you. But, I think it is something common to all regions of the country. Remember the say , when we had around 7 players from Karnataka when Gundappa Vishwanath was the chief selector.Unfortunate thing is, cricket fans accuse the selectors and board of bias while most of the fans themselves are biased with emotion and regional feelings. Nepotism is huge problem in India in all walks of life.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:08  

  • I can never understand the obsession of fans or media with a particular player. Shouldn't every fan be more obsessed with the performance of the team as a whole?

    By Blogger sachin, at 15:12  

  • Its not a problem just with India. Nepotism is a "problem" everywhere. Over here in US, its called "networking". Business schools adveritise saying that we have 60,000 alumnis all over the world and all of them will be helpful if you want a job. the recent IIT get-together in Washington was also more about networking. Accenture hires WASP frat boys here while Goldman Sachs is big on jews and McKinsey is big on IITians. Spurs are hiring Ginobli's teammate from Argentina this year.
    I think there is some comfort level with the other person when you have something in common. In India we have nepotism based on castes, religion and regions. But look around and its everywhere based on some form of group. may it be your college, race, country, its still nepotism.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:16  

  • >>> Sri Said, "Mumbaikars normally tend to look after their comrades. Prem of course is from mumbai. But do you know his actual root? Same is the case for many rediff journalists. Even the founder of rediff is a southie. With so many anon here it feels like a swarm of mumbaikars here;) " <<<

    Sri, You couldn't be more away from truth. Mumbai is one of the best cities in India and Mumbaikars are one of the best people to hang out with. I have lived in pretty much every part of India, have family and friends in almost every state of India and I say this from my personal experience.

    And no I am not a Mumbaikar.

    By Anonymous SP, at 15:18  

  • I beg to differ with i. Networking is whole lot different from nepotism. Networking is to build contacts,know more people, so that more people remember you when they something. sort of like, word of mouth marketing. You are essentially trying to come in contact with the person who will give you business or offer you job. The person who offers you job/contract is not going to give you anything because of bias, but rather he knows you and is impressed enough with you.

    Nepotism is acting out of bias, at the cost of other more deserving people. It is worse when it is based on caste,region or religion. It breeds resentment among other castes and leads to more divisions and more nepotism. Networking as no such ill effects.

    Networking is noway related to nepotism.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:34  

  • Also Mr i. Apart from networking not being same a nepotism, there two things I want to mention

    1."Nepotism is a problem everywhere" attitude sort of reduces our own standards. If it is everywhere, don't you think, Indians should be thinking in terms of bettering the world rather than 'sab aisa hi hain " attitude.

    2. even if it is everywhere, the levels of it really matters. I heard so many people say, corruption is everywhere, but I think we all know the levels of corruption in India. Its everywhere isn't gonna cut it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:46  

  • in reality yes, but thats not the way neworking works in real life.

    In terms of job interviews, people get interview calls depending on which school they went to or which frat house they belonged to. As I sighted the examples above, Goldman Sachs is dominated by jews, McKinsey is dominated by IITians, and Accenture by WASP frat people. And they are all successful companies. But that doesnt mean that they hired the best possible talent. When there is a tie between 2-3 candidates, you would act on your bias towards a particular group.

    Another example is how schools select candidates here. If you are Bush, you get into yale, HBS. If you are Ambani you walk into Wharton or Stanford bschool. Today, Narayan Murthy's daughter is in Stanford B school, Azim Premji's son is in HBS, and Adi Godrej's daughter goes to HBS. Don't tell me that its networking based on talent. Its a selection based on the assumption that these guys are going to be rich and successful (because of the family they are born into). I am not saying they aren't talented. But I am sure there are more or equal deserving and talented people who were rejected.

    This happens in corporations, politics, sports, everywhere in every country. Just the degree to which happens is different.

    And I dont think nepotism based on "money", "school" or "frat house" is better than nepotism based caste, religion etc. Its a similar mindset.

    Even in cricket selections decisions are marginal at best. ANd another thing is cricket selection is not inherent bias for region, its a forced bias because of the votes involved. Thats different than the way you define nepotism. Its more like returning a favor which is closer to corruption than nepotism.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:52  

  • Let us not talk about Times of India at all - I use to think that it is the best English Daily from India. But they have just lost it. They use such cheap thrills like stories on sex and the other day there was a nude photograph of a lady on the Front page (granted it was from a fashion show) but who cares.

    Their Cricket coverage is now nothing but slide shows --- which are painful to read and have not material to offer.

    By Blogger @mit, at 15:52  

  • anon,
    I am not defending nepotism in India. I am saying that its a human trait. the extent to whcih it happens depends on the instituion and the checks and balances in place against it. All i am saying is that, I dont think indians inherently are more inclined towards nepotism. I dont think anyone has come to this conclusion based on DNA studies.
    If nepotism in India is more than nepotism here, then the problem lies in the insitution concerned. BCCI clearly has issues with accountability which it needs to sort out. Compared to that Infosys is a well managed organization, and doens't have a problem of nepotism to harm its performance (just an example, I havent sudied Infosys really well to comment, but an informed guess)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16:01  

  • i! If you check the stated recruitment/selection policies of major business schools, it is not about selecting the highly talented persons. It is more about what a person brings to the table, sort of like USP(unique selling point). They also have to think about getting the right mix in terms of diversity etc. Diversity is a stated policy with many US schools and that diversity in itself is a selling point for those schools. So, just because a few got into big schools pulling a few strings doesn't mean nepotism is prevalent. what's wrong in recruiting based on school? after all that is the ideal right, industry wants the education institutions to give finished products, so if a school is doing good in that respect, it is only for the industry to favour that school. Again, that is not nepotism.

    Ok. I will stop. I think we are digressing too much from cricket and I don't think Prem appreciates it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16:08  

  • point granted, we are straying from cricket, lets not hijack this.

    Regarding bschool admission policies, and hiring people based on school etc.. thats another point all together :-) We can discuss it on some other more appropriate forum about whether "diversity" and "USP" is something similar to white corruption!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16:20  

  • i! nobody is inherently anything. Only culture & systems make your attitudes & habits. Atleast as of now. Science is still trying to decipher how much is genes and how much is habit though.

    On that score, I think Indian set up , culture etc really makes it difficult to take independent decisions and family, friends, soceity etc apply tremendous pressure and that I think tends to breed nepotism. A strong family culture also contributes to nepotism I think. Thats probably why we hear these issues more in Asian cultures like japan , india and china

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16:27  

  • "nobody is inherently anything."

    I dont think thats true. Asian people on an average are shorter than caucasian. One person can be more intelligent than another (higher IQ, thats inherent). Brad pitt looks much better than me (inherent). Black people are inherently more black than white.

    But, Indians are not more inclined towards nepotism than other people. As you say, if you observe nepotism more in India, then its based on the society, culture or the culture of the said institution (BCCI in this case)

    All I think is that you can't generalize a subjective trait as nepotism trait based on race (Indians Vs americans).


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16:50  

  • duh!

    legend = LEG END = a heel :-)

    By Blogger chatura, at 17:47  

  • Prem, are you the Editor in chief of Rediff? In that case, can you do something about these kind of headlines:

    1. Laxman happy to be selected.

    2. Tony Blair wants 2012 Olympics in London.

    By Anonymous Saurabh wahi, at 02:31  

  • Somewhere in this chain, there was a mention of TOI.What can u expect from a newspaper that has moved Page 3 to page 1. I can quote(definitely not verbatim,bcos that is TOI's talent) hilarious headlines on the front page which goes like"Mamma Mia, Priyanka gives birth to baby girl" ...so, what is new about a woman giving birth.Or was TOI expecting something different. One other headline stating that Hrithik Roshan finally got married and broke hearts of a million girls across India..On the Front page...how sick can a newspaper get

    By Blogger Ravi, at 03:46  

  • Chatura...Leg end could also be the toes.Depends on which end you want to look at.And while we are discussing Sachin, Lara is consistently tiptoeing and is not far behind Sachin on the number of centuries. And talking of toes,Lara's batting in the Tsunami fund raiser was a ballet performance

    By Blogger Ravi, at 03:51  

  • Heel = Cad - now that is no compliment!

    Yes, Lara was tonking Kumble (and Kallis) to all parts of the field though Kumble had the last laugh. The Akhtar/Smith contest was also fun. Boy! Akhtar was bristling!

    By Blogger chatura, at 04:23  

  • And to realize that Pakistan actually did not consider him for the tour of WI!!

    By Blogger Ravi, at 04:42  

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