Sunday, October 22, 2006

A bunch of clowns.

Once upon a time, life used to be really, really simple. Including the view from the Wankhede Stadium. Those were the days when I used to take interest in the game of cricket – like aam janata – and Mohinder Amarnath could get away calling the selectors by what came to be known as the most derogatory label in the history of Indian cricket. The true story I’m about to tell happened in 1996. I was a part of the pretentious “bunch of clowns” called ‘We’re Game’. We intended to operate as an independent think tank in order to help India XI win the 1999 World Cup. I have a bunch of papers from those days that actually contain a couple of think notes written by me in the form of articles. They are filed in a blue plastic folder. I found them the other day while cleaning up the storage shelves. The crawly stuff I wrote then sounds weird in sane retrospect. Nauseating stuff like: “Here we may seek enlightenment and insights from our HRD practitioners, social scientists and psychologists. [Yechhh!] We are perhaps in for a close encounter with Group Dynamics, the sociologist’s “work group” (people working on a common task) and the psychologist’s “interactive group” (any get-together of individuals for a common purpose). [Arrrraghhh!] In his book The Corporate Man, Anthony Jay hypothesized that there is a natural primordial size of the “hunting group” (translation: the “team”) no larger than a football team (nine) beyond which success gets much harder if not impossible to achieve.” The cheek of me! I actually presumed that I, who had never graduated beyond ‘terrace cricket’ in my childhood (I must write about that little-known esoteric version of the game some day), had garnered enough wisdom, expertise and knowledge to advise the India XI on how to get out of the “wrest defeat out of the jaws of victory” mode and win the 1999 World Cup. To tell you the truth, I have still not fathomed the aerodynamics of reverse swing. Fortunately, the ‘We’re Game’ never got the opportunity to unleash its expertise on the unsuspecting cricketing world. It died unsung and uncelebrated of inertia, inaction and sloth of the intending promoters and also, as I had suspected right from the start, lack of the right connections.

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