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Let's laugh at India

By That Guy

At the end of last year, when the Bangladesh cricket team was humiliated by their Pakistani counterparts, it was depressing to watch. It was infuriating, it was shameful and I could write this entire piece with adjectives illustrating how bad it was. Well, that's exactly how cricket fans in India are feeling right now.

The Indians went to Australia in what promised to be a high-octane (if there is such a thing in Test matches), very competitive Test series. Yeah, that didn't happen. Calling it a walk in the park for the Aussies would be undermining the ease with which they plowed through a hapless Indian team in the two tests so far.

Defying the laws of gravity & tribal dance

India's fall from grace has been quick and painful. Six months ago, they went into the Test series against England as the best Test team in the world. If you don't remember what happened then, they got thrashed 4-0 by England in that series. This means that they have lost all of their last six tests away from home. But they had the excuse of injuries in England. This series was meant to be the comeback. 70,000 people showed up to see the opening day and India were doing well, with Australia suffering a middle order collapse, losing 3 wickets for 9 runs. They were bowled out for 333 the next day. Three Indian half centuries meant they were in cruise control of the match, until one Ben Hilfenhaus arrived on the scene. He celebrated his first five wicket haul, causing India to lose 7 wickets for 68 runs. Their second innings wasn't any better. Chasing 292 runs with one and a half day to play, their batting was dismissed for 169 runs, within 50 overs.

If they thought things couldn't get any worse in the second test in Sydney, they were horribly mistaken. The Indian batting was bullied by the Australian attack and they were bundled out for 191. And if they thought their bowling was decent in the first test, they had another thing coming. The trio of Ponting, Hussey and, most of all, Clarke made them look like amateurs. Ponting and Hussey, both passing torrid times in the Test arena, hit impressive centuries. But nothing compared to the master innings played by the captain himself. Michael Clarke led by example as he became the first player to score a triple century at the SCG. He called off the innings at 329 not out, the fourth highest score by any Australian.

Some say he could've broken Lara's record and he certainly had time for it. Others point to the prevailing notion amongst Australians that Clarke is a selfish player, which may have prompted the declaration as a measure of silencing critics. As if the triple hundred wasn't enough, Clarke also took the all important wicket of the sublime Tendulkar in the second innings, destroying any hope of an Indian resistance. In the end, Australia came out on top by an innings and 68 runs, again ending the test with a day to spare, with Tendulkar still chasing his elusive 100th century.

After the match the chief selector of the Indian team said that, “The batting did not click as a unit”. You don't say? India head into the third test at Perth with their tails firmly between their legs. Few are daring to hope that they can rescue the series against the high-flying hosts. It'll take a near perfect performance to regain their shattered dignity.

With Sri Lanka also getting battered by the South Africans, it appears that, other than Bangladesh, the only consistent sub-continental team at the moment is Pakistan. Heh!

Last week we had the topic Bippity boppity boo. A disappointing number of entries turned up. The article below, though very traditional in nature, still had an extra something in the narrative. Read it and you'll know. Next week our topic will be: Siren. Submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com before Sunday noon. Word limit: 500. Give us something good, folks.

Bippity Boppity Boo!

By Taufiq Islam Protick

Yeah, she's no Cinderella and this isn't a fairy tale. No prince charming is going to come and rescue her from the everlasting nightmare. So dreaming is futile.

Still, she dreams.

Rubbing her eyes in the faint morning light, she banishes the fantasies of returning to sleep. Her workday begins.

She never tries to figure out how comfortable, how secure it feels to sleep beside a teddy, with the warmth of the fluffy cushions beneath her head and her lithe frame covered with luxury. It's just easier not to think about it. She does envy the shouting matches between the parents and the children though; she only has a vague memory of her father. Her widowed mother she hasn't seen for more than a year now.

From morning till dusk she is honoured with a long list of chores that she can barely manage. The calluses on her hands become tougher and tougher and sometimes when she touches her cheek, she can feel the sharp edges of jagged scars, medals earned from the never-ending battle against the boti.

There are brief windows of pleasure though. While sweeping the floor, she sometimes finds herself staring at the TV while the mistress tries to swallow all the bizarre lexicons of the Hindi soaps. She sometimes wonders, “Hey! What's the difference? It's the same story all over again!” Nevertheless, she tries to copy them occasionally. “Bahoot accha, bahoot accha.” Her talent gets shot down when her mistress curses her and tells her never to talk like that and to get back to work.

After a hectic day, evening brings her a bit peace. She gets an hour with the kids and cheerfully spends that time watching cartoons. She is usually transfixed by the screen, her mouth wide open despite the fact that she doesn't understand a word being said.

The kids watch Cinderella and she just get overwhelmed by the spells of the fairy godmother. ”Bippiti boppiti boo!” and you have a horse-drawn carriage. Somehow, he show gives her hope. Life can be awesome if magic holds out its hand. She never cares for the story nor can forget the song she hears on TV everyday, “Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.” She can't pronounce it properly but magic doesn't require her to. When everyone goes to sleep, she takes out a pumpkin from the freezer and tries the spell. Nothing changes. She never really expects it to.

She chants the song to herself as she becomes drowsy and falls slowly into the cradle of sleep. A sleep where she's the only Cinderella. A sleep where the dreams prevail forever after.



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