I am off to Goa.... beastly weather, gorgeous people.
This appeared in the Sunday Times today.......
Let the ‘Ghaplas’ roll… while Lallu rocks!
He who tweets, lasts? No chance. He scoots! ‘I tweet, therefore I am’ , no longer holds true. ‘Ghaplas’ galore have replaced tweets and bores.I have been a diehard Lallu fan ever since I watched him playing Holi on television. What a guy, I said to myself. No six pack, not even a four pack, but an enormous, hard- as- rock pot belly. Yet,there he was rocking and grooving away like Akshay Kumar or Shahid Kapoor. Wah! That’s confidence. Ever since that defining moment, I have faithfully tracked Lallu’s countless antics and frequently dreamt about bonding with him while companionably milking cows on his farm. Last week, when he talked about the IPL ghaplas, I wanted to hug him ( I am sure Rabri wouldn’t have minded). ‘Ghaplas’ is such a delicious description for what has been going on… is going on. ‘Ghaplas’ cannot and must not be translated. Scandals, scams, fraud, corruption – does anybody react to those overused words? But the minute Lallu gives gyaan on the IPL ‘ghaplas’ we start paying attention. Why? Because who knows ‘ghapla territory’ better than the Governor General of Ghaplas – Lallu himself!
Mumbai describes such doings as ‘lafdas’ – which is also a great word since it kinda goes with ‘lafangas’ and even if those high flying IPL loafers do wear Gucci loafers, lafangas they remain. The IPL mess has become a ‘class thing’ (or ‘thingy as SRK tweeted when Sue Pushkar said she’d earlier offered her services to KKR). Considering it was Lalit’s tweet that triggered off the avalanche of muck raking that followed, that communication option instantly brought an elitist angle into the drama. For example – Lallu doesn’t tweet. But if he were to, he’d leave all the others way behind ( Salman Khan included). He could call himself ‘Ghaplawalla’ and break a whole lot of bhaandas on an hourly basis. Sharad Pawar isn’t on twitter either – but imagine what a following he’d get if he succumbed! He could adopt an appropriate twitter name – what about ‘Pawarplay’? Not sure whether Praful P is tweeting away yet? ‘Gadbadghotala’ would work great in his case. It is amazing how this crazy, deceptively harmless social networking tool became a game changer in IPL-Gate. Finger-happy fans have been in overdrive ever since LKM fired the first tweet… err…. shot. The twitter option is restricted to tech savvy, urban addicts, which is where the divide begins.
Like this joke doing the rounds…
“ Tweet , tweet…”
“Lalit Modi, who?”
“Don’t tell me I’m history already!!”
Given our insatiable appetite for Ghaplas and Lafdas, we are waiting breathlessly for the IPL sequel. If even half the colourful main players back off at this stage, and leave the proceedings to grim faced BCCI officials with zero charisma, the very people who have been taken for a royal ride ( cricket fans) will rapidly lose interest and look for the next big tamasha , quite forgetting that it will be pretty tough to beat this baby. Can it really get any bigger or grittier than it is? Number crunching is a tricky game, but since when has that daunted Lalit? Soon, such a complicated financial maze will be constructed that due diligence will be reduced to an expensive joke. It has happened with virtually every single national level investigation. So for every Ramalingam Raju cooling his heels in the clink, there are a dozen bigger ( and better connected) crooks taking the country for a ride.
One feels sorry for all those naive bachchas who regard cricket as a religion – their faith in the game has been cruelly shattered. They are the ones who need protection and reassurance before we plunge into the next IPL season. As of now, they are bewildered and disillusioned, unable to make the slightest sense of all the legalities and formalities that the ongoing investigation has entangled itself into. All they know is something murky and unpleasant tainted the IPL…. and some of their biggest icons. They are finding it exceedingly hard to come to terms with the dirt flying around. Who can explain to these trusting kids that the very same people who are key beneficiaries in this set up as it exists, have been appointed to look into its irregularities? Possible? Yes. But only in India!
These young, gullible cricket fans are the very ‘People of India’ Lalit Modi had the temerity to address directly via a live telecast during the presentation ceremony. I wonder whether they were convinced by his shrewdly worded oratory, or did they suspect it was nothing more than a veiled threat ? In a way, thank you, Lalit. You did draw your critics’ attention to the obvious fact that you weren’t exactly the swashbuckling Lone Ranger ( minus Tonto),undertaking hairy scarey deals in isolation. As has been asked by several concerned people – where were the blessed auditors for three years? And if they were sleeping on the job, why haven’t they been hauled in so far?
Lalit has obviously been born under an incredibly lucky star. And Teflon is his best friend. As of now, nothing is sticking, even though the wicket itself is beyond sticky.Preity Zinta described Lalit as a ‘magician’. Well, his magic has saved his derriere so far. His partners and good friends may not be as fortunate now that the heat is on them…. while he cools off and relaxes at his favourite spa. One has to hand it to the guy – a more chilled out customer would be hard to find! Talk about chasing a crooked shadow, this ‘who dunnit’ would have baffled Hitchcock himself. You know why? Hitchcock understood psychos…. but was clueless about ‘ghaplas’.