Monday, December 13, 2010

We, the Bet-ters

“We, the ‘Bet-ters’ of India, do hereby solemnly resolve to make ‘Bet-ting’ one of the biggest revenue earners for the country. And in this endeavour we would appreciate as many followers as possible…because with every addition, there would be an exponential increment in the output.”

This is the solemn pledge—though unscripted and unuttered audibly—taken by a large cross-section of the society…at times consciously and at other times circumstantially. And with globalisation of everything…from the weather changes to economy…this pledge too has found global acceptance. Yes, acceptance and if not acceptance at least not rejection also.

To take the best (ideally termed, the worst) example of the usage of this word is in the game of cricket. In fact cricket brought the term ‘bet-ting’ popularity and fame and in return became infamous. Well, everything is relative—it all depends from whose perception the issue is being considered.  Even earlier too betting used to operate, unabated, but in recent times it has shown a ‘remarkable’ growth! In fact it is one of the ‘better’ professions—as far as the income and job vacancies are concerned. Actually vacant posts are absolutely infinite in this profession…Thus ‘bet-ters’ can claim to be in a profession of a much ‘better’ yield…that has an added security of having an immunity from recession.

But staying with the ‘bet-ing’ in the cricket scenario, apart from the professional ‘bet-ters’--who get better everyday—are we not ourselves, abetting bet-ting?  Please think…

Do we find this menace of betting to have infiltrated others sports? And even if it has, the magnitude is well below the danger mark that normally attracts the attention of the media—print and electronic both—because given the hawk-eyed approach of media nothing can stay hidden for too long.

The popularity of the game in India transcends all other sports—thanks largely to the iconic players that we have been producing over the years and are of unimpeachable integrity. The accolades received by them are well deserved. So though cricket has made them what they are today—game being bigger than individual(s)—it is undeniably true that their feats and stature…not only as players but to some extent as human beings too… have gone a long way in ensuring the unbelievable popularity of the game. But this popularity gets extended to the extent of insanity due uncontrolled emotions of the people.

At the same time the players hadn’t ‘planned’ to make the game popular. It was their un-deterring dedication towards—complemented very well with commensurate talent, determination, devotion and discipline—fulfilling their duties when on the field and at the same time doing the job that is (was) closest to their heart, as also carrying themselves commendably off the field as well, that has had a cumulative effect. This in the long run has fetched India so many accolades…achievements of the individuals getting translated into a collective accomplishment for the team as well as the for the country.

This popularity for the game was never meant to bring the game so much shame.

But that has happened and hence I state that we have abetted betting—in fact caused its exponential growth. The logic lies in the ‘supply & demand’ theory of economics. The popularity of the game is directly related to the growth of betting. There could be no other reason…other sports being relegated to the secondary status…by people and almost non-existent by ‘bet-ters’. As other sports are neither popular to even a fractional extent as compared to cricket nor do they find any takers in bet-ters.

Bet-ters too would be drawn to where the general public is drawn…because to them, people are synonymous to money (currency) with the revenue generated being entirely dependent on the (fan) following for the game. And that is what has happened.

Under the circumstances, what could be done? Nothing it seems. Because the people who love the game would watch it, throng the stadiums, …allowing the sports channels to vie for the telecast rights as they know fully well that they would be able to regenerate the money that they invest. It is because of a select class of people, from amongst us, who indulge in such undesirable acts. And we cannot ask the fans not to watch or follow it…after all it is their money and their desire…dependent solely upon their discretion how it would be used and achieved. Science too is being used as a bane. But that doesn’t mean that science ceases to be a boon. It only depends on who is handling what.

With this IPL (Indian Paisa League) even the politicians are finding it difficult to stay away from their love of the game…after all the current of currency is in operation! So the circus of betting seems to get bigger with infinite potential.

There are many things…improbable though…that could be tried to check this menace…other than the legal actions. Legal actions alone cannot stop it…so long people are not morally uplifted. But what we could do is by at least behaving a bit responsibly. Excess of anything is bad. Maybe then there is a limit to an extent the sport is followed…instead of lapping up anything and everything that is served. I know I am suggesting something that would be highly unpopular. But then it is a probable option. Think it over. A collective consciousness on the issue is required. Whether you want to become popular by giving popular suggestion or an unpopular one? The excessive popularity has though taken away the tag of ‘gentleman’s game’ from cricket.

The decision to some extent rests with us. Because you bet, advertently or inadvertently, we and our money is abetting the bet-ters, which most certainly makes us, “We, the bet-ters”.

Copyright ©  Sushmita Mukherjee

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Irrelevance of Relevance

“I don’t know what you are saying, doing, writing or thinking. Neither do I want to know. Yet I do know, whatever it is, it is wrong—in fact bound to be wrong. And I say so because I know for sure.”

I know these words are bound to evoke amused expressions—not the least furrowed brows—all precursors to, in all probability, in their unanimity…the conclusions, that I have taken leave of my senses…that is if I had one according to some people! But let me assure you that I couldn’t be more in synch with my senses. I might be out of my mind, but not out of my senses…and that I prefer because it is my senses and feelings that I have helped me realize a number of things which the sole dependence on mind would not have catalyzed.

Well, this is a preamble to the fact—and you are free to contest it—that when we do not agree with something: it could be an action, person, conversation, writing(s)—we start calling the person and the issue concerned irrational, illogical, irrelevant, incoherent, pointless, imagination running amok…and what not. The list is actually endless!

All because we do not agree with (to) it?

But do we not know that likes and dislikes are all relative—and not absolute…quite contrary to the way we proclaim it to be? True, sheer acts of criminal nature shall always be absolute acts of crime—carried out for selfish reasons at the cost of the welfare of others. But apart from these acts, we cannot label the sundry, as mentioned above, just because ‘we think’ them to be so.

Are we really thinking or are we truly capable of investing the effort required to get under the skin of the corresponding topics concerned and do we really want to make that attempt?

Generally we pass mere statements—a by-product of our myopic perception—as declaration of truth. And, this generalization as ‘we’, includes me too.

If we really want to know the truth—which is of only one variety…Absolute—we would definitely opt for the best option which is to ask the person concerned as to what led to his/her action…eg: an author of a piece while criticizing a piece of writing. Each and everyone—the creator as well as audience—both have a right to their opinion. But the audience before forming an opinion of the opinion—the piece of writing—should take proper measures.

But instead of doing so, we opt for a ‘reaction of resistance’. We prefer to utilize our ‘freedom of speech’ too freely. True, if it is freedom it has to be free and we have that right to our right, but to be used in the right manner.

Disagreements are very normal phenomena but that doesn’t necessarily imply that to disagree we need to be disagreeable. But quite unfortunately this is what happens and the glaring examples are less than desirable reactions most frequently observed in disagreeable retaliations to literary expressions…books or an article. And the reason behind these disagreements is mostly found to occur what we cannot comprehend or which is juxtaposed to the conventional.

Since we human beings are too concerned with our image and external satisfaction we fear that if juxtaposition to convention gains acceptance that would lead to a paradigm shift in the thinking, and hence beliefs, of fellow humans. This thought instills a fear in the followers and propagators of ‘the conventional’. We are unable to accept the new because that would render our long-standing views—that we call beliefs—false and also because we are creatures of habit. Last but not the least, this generates—an irrational but factual—insecurity given the fact that we as propagators of ‘the conventional’ find our followers to decrease in number. Looked at from other angle, liberation of people from dependence—on us—makes us feel insecure.

There are various reasons…in fact many more…than the ones I have touched upon here and some, which I might concentrate later at some other time. This outright rejections of something, just because it had been hitherto un-encountered though might be ‘normal’—given the human nature emanating out of conditioned and habitual thinking—but to me is illogical, as I realise now. Illogical are not the views—newer ones—but is definitely so for their rejections.

So instead of accepting that it is we who are rejecting something just because we cannot come to terms—or don’t want to make even the minimum effort to do so—we label it to be an act of a person who is not normal—again a relative term. That person is either said to be insane or propagator of blasphemy. And in worst case called a spiritual person—spiritual being pronounced as some disease, if afflicting a person before a ripe, right and respectable age of sixty!

Hence many Relevant issues are put away as Irrelevant. After all Truth being always the difficult to accept—which is another paradox of life. Whereby Irrelevance of Relevance is flaunted though actually through the act—of outright rejection—Irrelevance of Irrelevance gets projected.

Yet to me NO THING is Irrelevant—as nothing happens without a reason and there is a season for everything. Even Rejections become incubators of Expression yet again hitherto Unexpressed. So while for some there is Irrelevance of Relevance to me there is Relevance of even Irrelevance.

Copyright © Sushmita Mukherjee.