What does the ‘P’ in IPL stand for?

On the television screen, a runner flashes: “Meet the cheerleaders – call #xxxx @ Rs 10”.

Am I the only one who thinks this is not kosher?

Selling face time with players, perhaps — but cheerleaders?

I wonder what “Indian culture” has to say about this.


Radio silence starts now — see you back here tomorrow.

Sense, sensibility, and Sania Mirza

A friend, Mehul Shah, sent me this note in mail just now:

Sania Mirza is probably the saddest story in Indian sports these days. What seemed to be the start to a very promising career in 2005 has turned out to be a forgettable journey so far. I have been following her on Twitter for 3 months but hardly any tweet on her tennis or her insights into the world of tennis. I know she is recovering from an injury but sure she has better things to tweet about than the parties she attends and the personal travel she undertakes. The most shocking was a few weeks back: “Tennis is not my hobby, only my profession. Relaxing at home and watching movies is!” Not sure who was last forced to take up sports as a profession, that too in a country like India. Thousands of sports enthusiasts [count me in] would die to have the life/opportunity she got and she is just wasting it. A very good coach I know here in the US simply loves her simple yet powerful groundstokes and even told me once if her serve was as good as her groundies, she could be a top 10 player. I used to admire her for her ability to rise above the barriers that our society poses over minority / women especially for sports, not any more!

Sania Mirza’s Twitter stream.

Halal porn

The home page of El Asira, which means ‘Society’ in Arabic, is a sober black and grey street with a line down the centre, inviting women to enter on the left and men on the right.

What is the first thing a porn shop must do? Keep men and women far apart.

In related reading, the Daily Beast story on the rise of Islamo-erotica [a welcome change of pace, incidentally, from reading about “Islamic terrorism”.]

All is not fine with the IPL

The humongous fines being levied for sundry offenses has been a water cooler theme in recent days. Here’s Aakash Chopra on the subject:

While a fine is perhaps the only way to book the guilty, the flip side of it baffles me. The third offence not only led to Sangakkara’s ban but also another whopping fine of $250,000. Sangakkara might not have a problem in paying $110k ($20k for the first offence and $40k & $50k for the other two), others in the team, especially the local Indian recruits are sure to feel the pinch shelling out $30,000 each. Some of them are earning no more than a few lakhs for the entire tournament and if they happened to be fined twice, they may take home nothing. One more offence and these players will have to pay from their pockets to play in the IPL. Most franchisees would happily pay the fine, but it’s only a gesture. Since they are not forced to pay, one cannot really hold it against them if they decide otherwise.

Live, on Yahoo

@ 3.30 pm IST, as always, for another unscripted, free-flowing discussion.

Some fun friends you might meet there: Ramesh Srivats; Thejaswi Udupendra; Richard O’Hagan and others.

The live link, as always, on my Twitter and on YahooInNews and YahooCricket, an hour before show time.

See you guys there.

Oh, and tomorrow’s host is Aakash Chopra [Twitter, blog]. Questions for him here — or directly to him on his Twitter and blog.

Cities, hardbound

Writing New York

While unpacking my books the other day, I stumbled on a copy of Writing New York that I had forgotten I had. On the pretext of dusting the volume, I flipped through the pages — and to the disgust of the other half, that was the end of unpacking.

That led to a lament on Twitter that there wasn’t enough good writing, let alone great anthologies, on our Indian cities.

On her blog [For me, a daily stopover], Nilanjana Roy reprises an archival post — a collection of great writing on Delhi.

Maybe it is not that good writing on Indian cities does not exist; maybe it is just that I haven’t come across the best specimens, yet. Any and all suggestions gratefully accepted, guys.