Bernie Ecclestone floated a new plan today that he believes will revive formula 1 and help the game survive the current economic conditions. His plan is quite simple. "I will make F1 car-less", he said, his eyes glinting in excitement. He then stared at his feet for the next 10 minutes before someone near him reminded that he was in the middle of making an announcement, he proceeded to explain. "If you look at the cost of operations of F1 teams and really break it down, it all boils down to the cars. Remove that from the equation and the operation becomes a profit making machine", he announced, his voice going up an octave in self-admiration. "I have discussed this with all the teams and they are very receptive of the idea", Bernie continued.
According to Bernie's new plan, teams will field 2 'runners' who will basically lap the track just like they used to do with a car. Bernie plans to mandate that these runners make suitable whining and grunting noises to imitate the sound of an engine and also expects that they maintain a 'racing line' around the track. Bridgestone will now supply the shoes to the runners in 3 standard variants: hard, medium and soft compounds.
"This is really a big change for us", said the president of the bridgestone formula 1 division. We have never made shoes before but thankfully nike has offered to team up with us. So hopefully with their support we will be able to provide reliable rubber to these runners"
Ferrari's chairman Luca Motezemolo welcomed the move saying that it will bridge the divide between the big and the small teams but warned his team that the emphasis on the pit crew has grown even further. "Our pit crew cannot goof up like we did in the last season. You cant make mistakes while inserting liquid food hose. There is a real danger you might end up hurting or worse, killing our runner"
Max Mosely felt that it was a paradigm shift for the sport and compared it to the time when Nazi's won the world war. When reminded that the Nazi's lost it, he had asked, "Are you sure?" and winked at the blushing female reporter.
Following the announcement, the aerodynamic engineers have started an intense crash course of human physiology hoping to turn themselves into health and physical training experts. "We think we can add a lot of value as aerodynamic engineers by being able to reduce some fat here and add some fat there.", said an anonymous source as his team runner's eyes widened. "The human body is not that different from a car", he concluded with a gruesome finality.
Lewis hamilton thinks that the new rule is good for the sport before quipping, "of course, nothing is going to change. As you all know, I am the best". He then proceeded to scream "drrrrrrr" before running like a maniac out of the room, yelling as he left, "You see?"
Mclaren did not have comment to give as yet. In the words of Fernando Alonso, "they will be busy trying to get ferrari's designs". When asked what designs are needed now that there are no longer any cars, Fernando's reply had become incomprehensible and distorted and his eyes had shot up in the sockets and a wierd electronic hum began to rise from inside his head. Falvio quickly guided a smoking alonso out of the room saying, "Excuse us, he is a little out of shape today"
Lost in all this was the lone dissenting voice of the formula1 fans. When asked about the rule, the fan had asked, "Isnt running already a sport?" Bernie has reponded to this by claiming that Formula 1 will take the International Assosiation of Athletic Federations to court for conducting "runner" based sports without paying royalties to the FIA.
So, I finally manage to get hold of the 'The man in the high castle' and complete it. It is frustrating when people borrow your books and dont return it. It is even more frustrating when you forget who that person is. But what caps it all is when people borrow a book when you are in the process of reading it, not bother to tell you and let you assume that you have lost it. I can be easily excused for using a few choice words to express my sincere opinions towards the person.
But this post is not about that. Its about a few passages that come right at the end of the book, that resonate very well with what happened in Mumbai a few days back. They are not spoilers of any kind so dont be afraid in case you plan to read the book in the future. Here goes...
"...The terrible dilemma of our lives. Whatever happens, it is evil beyond compare. Why struggle, then? Why choose? If all evil alternatives are the same . . .
Evidently we go on, as we always have. From day to day. At this moment we work against operation Dandelion. Later on, at another moment, we work to defeat the police. But we cannot do it all at once; it is a sequence. An unfolding process. We can only control the end by making a choice at each step.
He thought, We can only hope. And try.
On some other world, possibly it is different. Better. There are clear good and evil alternatives. Not these obscure admixtures, these blends, with no proper tool by which to untangle the components.
We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy. Where one can do right with no effort because he can detect the obvious......"
It looks like the battle in Mumbai is coming to an end. After nearly 70 hours of gun battle, horror, seige and drama, the terrorists may finally have been silenced. The taj, it seems, has been taken back, the nariman house, re-captured and oberoi flushed off the pests. Several lives have been lost and sacrifices made. A large section of the nation has sat glued to the media, some with real concern, some with a passing interest and perhaps some - if the cynic in me is allowed to say this - with a perverse excitement.
During this time, the mini-battle for the TRP was being waged among the news channels. Sensationalistic headlines, like 'India under attack', 'War on Mumbai' and one channel even went to the extent of branding it 'India's 9/11' rather than calling it what it was, were directed at capturing that valuable media share during this time of 'bumber fest'. I am so sick of the headlines and branding that is going on that i couldnt bring myself to think of a title for this piece. News channels showing live feed of 'strategic' commando operations - and thus, quite possibly compromising it - were, quite ironically, blaming the lack of responsibility of the political and bureaucratic system. As the eyes and ears of the country, I suppose they have no one to answer to.
As is typical, debates have raged on. The Raj Deeps of this country, seemingly passionate and overtly expressive have dissected the process, the system and the people behind it all to express barely contained outrage at what had happened. Eclectic groups have been assembled and opinions heard. If finger tips shot out laser beams, every section of our indian society would have been fried by the accusations being shot out. SMSes from serious, concerned Indians kept pouring in and emails have been written on what went wrong and what could be the solution.
Quite naturally, the government and its bank of inept ministers as well as the political leaders and their parties have seen the brunt of the attack. Calls for resignations have been heard. Pleads to the political system have been whispered. Angry threats and frustrated rants about the 'corrupt indian politician', which have been a popular feature for quite some decades, were heard with the renewed vigour of overused cliches. A few even dared to blame it on the lack of training and skills of the people who were asked to rescue the hostages. Some made subtle references to the training and equipment or the lack of it as being reasons why it took more than 2 days and a couple of hundred dead before ending the ordeal that gripped the city.
I have experienced some of the horrors of a city under seige syndrome in the past. I was living in Coimbatore in 1998 when the series of bomb blasts ripped apart what was a quiet, growing city at that time. I was in class ten at that time. Small city that it is, the attack was monstrous in proportion. It was more than sufficient to make the city come to a grinding halt. I could sense the incredible horror and fear that gripped us for that period. We spent the nights gaurding our communities and looking for suspicious strangers. Schools were off. It was harrowing. But it was also enlightening. I have never seen the city come together so collectively and unite so strongly like it did at that point. I remember the images of a bomb diffuser, clad in his explosion suit, deactivating a huge bomb right in the middle of one of the city's commercial heart. And I still remember the images of the armed forces and bomb disposal squads being given a heroes send-off by the entire city. There was a poignancy in it all, somwhere, but overshadowed convincingly by the sheer horror and sadness of the situation. Back then, with admiration for those men, i was just glad it was all over. A little sad, perhaps, that i had to go back to school next week. However unlike now, I either didnt sense all the polical and media drama being played on the side or it just was a little toned down.
To be fair, it is not just the media. I can sense the outrage in my friends and relatives and see their passionate response in terms of suggesting something incredibly revolutionary. I have seen an incredible amount of abuse being turned on our political system which is undeniably corrupt and ineffective. One of my friends was so taken in by the events, that he was suggesting that someone needs to take up arms and bring down the whole political fraternity by sniping them off, one by one! It is a little funny though, to realise that, no one - not a single person i met - considered themselves even remotely responsible for what is happening to our country right now. There is a sort of righteous anger among us and no sense of guilt!
A country's political system, its services, its armed forces and its bureaucrats all evolve bottom up. And however outrageous it may sound, the current political system is reflective of us as a nation. If they are corrupt its because me and you are. If they dont seem to care its because me and you dont. If they are accusing everyone and not taking responsibility its because we are doing the same thing as well.
I dont buy the argument that the youth of this country, the so called younger, more qualified men and women of this country will be more responsible leaders and the ultimate answer to all our ills. At least, I am yet to see any evidence of that. I have seen people passing out of elite institutes conviniently failing to pay their education loans, despite the fact that they are earning a very fat pay check. I have come across very few people of my generation who even have a voter id or have voted in one of the past elections in this country. I have seen people who fail to even follow the simple rule of paying road taxes for a state (me included) and then bribing the cop when they get caught. From failing to stop at a red light to trashing a public place it all adds up. In a sense we are accountable for the events that happened in Mumbai over the last 70 hours and its time we realized that.
Kevin Pietersen wasted no time after his side slid to a remarkably competitive defeat to set up a press conference to spill the beans on the real reason behind England's poor performance. Even before the match, KP had announced that there was a sensational announcement he was going to make and that it would cause fissures in the cricketing foundations across the globe. There was an air of inevitability around KP even before the match when he supposedly quipped to Dhoni at the toss, "We all know what the result is going to be, dont we". Umpire Daryll Harper, who was the only person to witness this encounter confided to a friend that the english captain followed the above statement with a charming wink to Dhoni. When a reporter asked Dhoni about the conversation he had become red in his face and thumped the hapless reporter in the face while screaming, "Nothing happened!"
As the match wore on, KP's teammates in the dressing room had gotten a little restless at the assuring calmness with which KP was letting his team meander towards defeat.
"I think they fixed the match", quipped Kris Srikanth, a barely sucessful opener for India. Like his batting, Srikanth has continued to throw in random accusations very much akin to his random shots. A devoted advocate of the law of averages Srikanth based his batting career on one infallible principle. If you throw your bat in the general direction of the ball enough number of times, you are bound to eventually hit one hard enough to compensate for all other misses. It was during those days when on a cruise to australia that he had met Nassim Taleb, who went on to apply the theory to markets. Coming back to Srikanth - he has continued to apply this 'black swan' concept to his commentary and opinions and at one point appeared in the limca book of records as the only living human in the world with all possible opinions (many a time contradictory) on all possible topics - the latest being the opinion that some sort of match fixing has happened with the india england series.
When the reporter asked him the reason for the accusation, he had stared back at him and replied, "Then, maybe they didnt. I never said they fixed this match. They probably didnt. But you never know. So let us assume they fixed it". The confused reporter was fired when the following headline appeared in the afternoon news paper
"Kris Srikath claims India England series is fixed or maybe not"
The reported is currently recovering from severe brain damage due to short circuiting of his neurons.
Given all this action behind the scenes, it was no wonder that KP was asked the question following the match on his much awaited revelation and about the exchange he had with Dhoni during the toss. An increasingly uncomfortable Dhoni blurted out, "Nothing is happening. KP may be gay but i am not! Ok? Stop this pestering", to the bewildered gathering of reporters, KP and Srikanth, who at this point rose up and boomed, "See! I told you. KP is gay!". After Srikanth, was forcefully escorted out of the room, KP made the following statement to the entire world audience.
"It may come as a bit of an shock and i am not saying this create any sensationalisam but the real reason why we have been performing so bad is that we simply are the second best team here. How do you expect a second best team to beat the best team?"
The worried reporters had then proceeded to give Pietersen some water and admitted him to a local hospital in bangalore. The team manager thought that the pressure of captaining england in India was too much to take for KP and he had cracked even as Dhoni heaved a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile it is rumoured that the cricket boards of england and india might have struck a deal by which the english players could become a part of the IPL.
China wasnt quite what i had expected. The jinx didnt work out so well, did it. It looks like Lewis has sealed the deal in china and will nail the lid on the coffin in Brazil. Massa looked positively gutted in China, most probably realizing that he is nowhere close to WDC material. But, lets just hope that somehow, by some miracle, Lewis manages to lose 2 titles in a row for, as much as i think Massa is not a worthy WDC contender, I think Hamilton is the most arrogant, spoilt driver on the grid. Now, how would such a miracle end up happening. Lets conjure up a few alternate realities.
Rain rain go away, come again another day, little Filipe wants to play...
We know that Ferrari hates rain and Massa is afraid of it like a rabid dog. We also know that the Hamster on the other hand, absolutely loves the wet weather. But then, no team goes into a race hoping for rain (except honda, maybe) for it tends to upset strategies and create unnatural results. There are so many different ways in which rain can screw up Hamilton's title chances.
A spinning Force India forces safety car...
...and Hamilton goes into pits and comes out at the wrong time. He is stuck behind slower cars (a la truilly train) and finally, somehow, manages to jump upto 6th place thus losing the championship to Filipe. Incidentaly, Filipe, who is running second controversially overtakes Fonzie with 2 laps to go. Fonzie then gets a Ferrari contract in 2010 and the rest is future. Force India is happy to 'play a part' in the world championships and Mallya promises that they will be a strong lower mid-field car next season.
Hami goes 'merry-go-around'...
...except it aint so merry. Hamilton, driving with absolute confidence in the pouring rain, screws up at turn 2, spins like a top and deposits his car next to the barriers. He slowly extricates himself and joins the field at the back only to realize that his car is not behaving like it should and jumps into the pits to make adjustments to his car. He completes a heroic race to end up 8th. Meanwhile Filipe, gifted second place by kimi (yet again), tries desperately to overtake a scorching vettel but end up 2nd anyway. He walks (crawls) away with the championship...
Hami gets DC'ed...
Not hard to imagine is it. Hami ends up behind DC by some quirk of fate and while attempting to overtake him (all in the rain), DC makes a strong 'defensive' manouver to keep his place (given that this is last f1 race) and that puts Hamilton into the barricades. End of race and i am jumping in joy.
"...reliability is so good, that infact, Hamilton has not retired from a race due to mechanical failure this season...", said the commentator during the chinese gp.
If f1 is anything like cricket, you can trust that one single sentence to jinx up Hamilton in Brazil. A simple DNF, and the opportunities are so many - tyre failure, engine blows, gearbox, brake, electronics...we can keep going on and on. But i would go for tyre failure. I can trust hamilton to screw up his tyres. However, I will take a Hamilton DNF in any other form as well.
The Fozie, Kubica and Kimi start trap...
...and Lewis walks right into it. He is pushed wide and in a moment of 'red mist' he tries to overttake all 3 at once and ends up stuffing it into the barriers. Ron Dennis 'retires'....
Have you heard the one with the nervous pit crew...
No, i am not talking about Ferrari here. Mclaren pit crew, on the verge of their first world championship in 9 years?, are a nervous wreck. The fuel hose fails to come out, lollypop goes up and Lewis begins to pull out. Thankfully, no one is hurt but Lewis loses 30 seconds. Filipe who had been leading all race, decides to rev down his engine and cruise to a victory.
I just realized something - hang on, i've got some mail. Let me see...competitor study...blah blah...end of day...blah blah....
3 hours later
Well, where was I? Oh yeah, i just realized - oh well, it is no longer 'just realized' is it. Ok, let me try this again. Here goes. I realized something this morning. I havent blogged since - there goes my outlook remider. Meeting - in 5 minutes. Oh damn! I was supposed to send an availability update before that. Anyway, i will get back to you in a while...
2 hours later...
Oh yeah, that blogging thing. I havent done it in a long time. But you know what the scariest part is, though. I kept thinking that i havent blogged in a while and that i should start again. In a while. For a while. It was always that. But today i check my last post and it was september 2007. More than a year! Bloody hell. This is what is happening to my life isnt it. Like millions of others. You just keep thinking that you are going to be doing whatever shit you are doing for only a short while and before you realize it - bam! - you have spent a quarter of your life doing the same shit.
Anyway, the point is i am going to fight back. The revolution begins here. This is part 2.