Cricket Diplomacy Oxymoron!

Two words, when combined, can create contradictions. Like “Honest Politicians” or say, “Junk Food”. We don’t associate honesty with politics; if it’s junk, why call it food? These figures of speech called Oxymoron are common to the language. It’s “fairly accurate” (again) to note that we use it without realizing.

One such word is “Cricket Diplomacy”. This Oxymoron erupts only when India meets Pakistan. While the players occupy the field, politicians indulge in a diplomatic ball on the sidelines. And playing ball is difficult than cricket. Cricket has an outcome. The same cannot be said of Indo-Pak diplomacy. It moves from one Gordian Knot to another and each time the tangle is irredeemable.

But it buys time for both sides. We cannot do anything and they won’t do anything. So the best way is to create a safe distance between our “cannot” and their “won’t”. Both sides are happy while those “dossiers” gather dust. Inherently, both sides pray for the problems to bury itself. Politicians are ready to help with the dust. They have considerable stockpiles in their government offices. Well, issues have their strategies too. It buries itself, waiting for an ambush.

India and Pakistan resemble two dogs holding on to the same bone. Both growl and bite and run around in circles. When tired, they leave the stupid bone aside to pant and clean their fleas. Cricket Diplomacy gives them time to sit peacefully, yawn and snap flies. When time’s up, they are refreshed, to haggle over the same bone again.

More than Cricket Diplomacy, we have Prisoner Diplomacy (Another Oxymoron). Imagine, prisoners spending years in Pakistani Jail waiting for an Indo-Pak Semi-finals for a reprieve. Likewise, how many semis and finals do we need to get all our brothers back to our soil? And those prisoners better hurry. If Pakistan loses and they are still hovering on the wrong side of the border, they will be herded back to where they were.

One should not mix drinks. It misfires. I am an expert here. Similarly, is with supporters. That’s why spectators are separated by stands. With what history we have, any mix will cause an exchange of blows.

Then what about our “Cricket Diplomacy” enthusiasts – Manmohan sitting beside Gilani with the Great Wall of China in between? As the game progresses, the Berlin Wall will also make a comeback and add to the high-rise. After a while, Manmohan and Gilani would be like veritable “Anarkali”, entombed within walls and throwing imaginative rocks at each other. I am sure; there would be no Dinner Diplomacy thereafter.

Cricket is Cricket and Diplomacy is Diplomacy and never the twain shall meet. It has not served well in the past, nor shall it in the future. But no harm trying! Probably it’s a ruse to break the ice, exchange pleasantries like boxers shaking hands before the bout. Animalistically, the exercise is to smell each other and mark territory. Then we hand over a few more piles of dossiers and they will claim it’s written in Invisible Ink. Another Oxymoron!

There is always heat and dust before and after any Indo-Pak game. This causes visibility problems. It affects not the Cricketers but our fair-weather politicians. When Australia plays England, it’s called the Ashes Series. When India plays Pakistan, we should name it Dust. Then it will be truly ‘From Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust.’ After all, it will all end with empty promises of a new beginning. So, Let us see the Friendly War. (Another Oxymoron)


Joke – A Play

I saw “Joke” at Prithvi theatres. This is my third Makarand Deshpande play after “Poha Gone Wrong” and “Miss Beautiful”. I have written on “Poha…” and I didn’t find anything interesting to catch on “Miss Beautiful” accept Miss Beautiful herself – Ahlam Khan. But “Joke” is worth a mention.

I like the treatment which Makarand Deshpande gives to all his plays. He mixes serious and comedy very well. He never lets the atmosphere grow too heavy. He puts in humour at junctures. This intermingling goes down well with the audience. The audience loves conflicts, the more the better. But a grim act, if stretched long, causes strain. And it’s difficult to maintain a sad rhythm. A wisecrack releases the pressure, creates a pivot and helps the story forward.

I have also seen a play which was tragic from beginning to end and most of the audience came out teary eyes. Here the women are better equipped. I could see them take out their kerchiefs and wipe there tears. I was so embarrassed to take out mine that I left the tears to dry on my cheeks. More on this another time!

“Joke” is a story of a man (also a woman) who wants to take “God” out of their life. He wonders why God should be so important. All good that happens is attributed to Him and all bad has to be us. Also, instead of festivals and celebrations all that we find everywhere is propaganda. Donations are taken in the name of God but wasted on self-promotion. Religion which is personal is masquerading as a world view and ends in a riot.

 “We need new problems” – says a dialogue in the play. One is tired with old, over used and repetitive problems. Like properties, same problems are getting passed on across generations. And these problems are created out of opinions. Like genes which hold our baldness; the same is with opinions. We seem to inherit the Opinions of our ilk. And also behave the same.

Our society handles us like “service packages”. You can imagine a society with a big container holding “certified” opinions. Each member holds assorted attributes from that container. The convention is that you can have different views, but none should be from outside the container. You conform or you risk reform. Reform stands for all the “social-work” society has to do to get you back into that container. 

There is a popular saying – Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I can’t say much about angles. But if you desire to see Fools rushing in – Just proclaim a different opinion. A Fool will appear promptly to tell how wrong you are. He doesn’t care what you hold. His reactions are “containerized” – so to say.

Understandings are very tacit. Almost everyone knows what’s right or wrong. Ask a smoker. Resistance does not stop us from breaking free. Actually, we cannot break free. We are conditioned. Do you think our brain only hold memory! Wrong. Our muscles also hold memory. Our hands! Ask any drunkard – How his Legs hold memory! Call me. And your body starts learning before your mind. Observe your kid.

“Joke” is not a joke. It’s thoughtful. It takes digs. It touches your nerve and releases it promptly. It knows you cannot take in too much. It’s like a fat man bending to touch his toe. A tap is enough for him for the time being. It gets the message across.