Andre Agassi : Love All, Tell All!!
I am astonished by Andre Agassi’s drug abuse revelations in his just released autobiography ‘Open’ ( great title), aptly dubbed the sports world’s ‘Dope Opera’.
Why now? It can’t be to sell the book – he is a millionaire, and so his wife Steffi Graff in her own right. He doesn’t need the publicity – his fan following is vast.It is a lose-lose situation whichever way one looks at it. He has risked his place in the Tennis Hall of Fame, and shocked his countless admirers by admitting he lied to the ATP, the powerful men’s governing body . And now he is mewing about how all he’s asking for is compassion in place of condemnation. Well, Martina Navratilova for one, is in no mood to sympathise with Agassi and has condemned his conduct, comparing him to baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, who is embroiled in a doping allegation. Boris Becker has accused him of greed.While Agassi himself insists he took
Crystal meth, a recreational drug, to combat depression. As an adult, that is his option. But as a world class sportsman, idolized by millions, his crime is that he lied about it after failing a drug test. That is cheating. And nobody likes a cheat.
The intriguing part of this on-going controversy is why, after so many years, has Agassi suddenly decided to come clean and confess all. One can understand his ‘wig abuse’ admission ( he was balding prematurely and chose to wear a flamboyant, blond wig while playing, so as to impress his fans ). That has to do with personal vanity. It’s perfectly acceptable for high profile celebs to resort to cosmetic tricks in order to keep their followers hooked. What’s a toupee or breast enhancement between friends? Most of our iconic movie stars resort to such props – it is one of Bollywood’s best kept secrets. But deception of the Agassi kind is not acceptable and is bound to create reverbrations in the billion dollar world of competitive sport. Agassi may also be stripped of his past titles, and worse, stripped of all honour and dignity.
So why did he do it?? His tell- all tale has triggered off an international debate. My own theory is that someone in the know must have threatened to expose him. It’s the old blackmailer’s trick. Rather than risk such ignominy, Agassi decided to pre-empt the move by revealing the dirty details himself. Agassi’s ‘misery machine’ ( familiar story of a brutal, abusive father etc etc) may find a few takers. His publishers may be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of selling millions of copies. But Andre Agassi has disgraced himself and his family forever. One feels for his kids – can’t be fun being mocked at school for no fault of theirs.How will the scandal pan out?? The next few weeks will be interesting to watch…there goes another personal hero!
From farmers’ suicides to citizens taking their own lives, there seems to be some sort of an epidemic on. As if dealing with typhoid, malaria and cholera is not bad enough, we now have the rather macabre scenario of Mumbaikars who can’t handle the growing stress and decide to say goodbye to it all. The latest one being the 24-year-old Bhandup trader, Dinesh Jain, who killed his wife and two young daughters before hanging himself. An 18- year-old IIT-Mumbai student also shot himself with his father’s handgun, saying he was unhappy with life. All these are ominous signs of a society under tremendous pressure. And we are not at all prepared to deal with panic attacks that lead to suicide.
We have a brand new State cabinet in place. Of course,there are many heavyweight political issues to tackle on a war footing. But what about addressing the human ones, too? Or is that too much to expect from men whose sole obsession is to grab power….and once grabbed, hang on to it!
I can’t wait to watch ‘Natrang’, the Marathi film ( with English sub-titles) that is the talk of the recently- concluded MAMI film festival. Atul Kulkarni has put in another brilliant performance as a wrestler who is forced to become a ‘naachya’ in a tamasha troupe. And Atul is also the star of another Marathi film, “ Sukhaant’ – The Final Wish, which deals with euthanasia and is generating a big buzz in discerning circles.
'Kissa Thappad Ka'. It was bound to happen. It has happened. Abu Azmi is dealing with a slap on his face. And he didn't turn the other cheek. Is Hindi really and truly the ONLY National language according to the Indian Constitution? The debate gets bigger and bolder. Arnab Goswami, Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt want me to come on their shows tonight and discuss the pandemonium that disrupted the swearing-in ceremony at the Mantralaya today, when Azmi refused to take the oath in Marathi , pointing out that Hindi is the National language..... provoking Raj Thackeray's guys to attack Azmi and deliver a stinging slap . I am in two and three and four minds.....