Wonder what’s with the media men these days. With the first phase of elections just over yesterday, most news channels (and boy, aren’t there enough) have come up with their ‘indigeniously’ developed exit polls. I wonder what research, if any, goes into these exit polls, for the predicted results are so diverse I get the feeling they are just governed by mere whims of the men who hold the reins. And anyways, we have been so starved of news these days that our journos and editors devote full pages to how Inzy lashed out at Shoaib and what Sachin and Sehwag shopped for in the streets of Lahore…. For once, can’t we have some real news, puhleez.

Meanwhile Leander Paes – in my opinion, our greatest sporting hero, I’d rank him miles ahead of our glamour-soaking glossed-up cricketers – was battling it out for three consecutive days in the Davis Cup tie against Japan and how much coverage does he get. A small 150 word column on the top left corner of a page crammed with trivial issues about cricket. This for a man who time and again, has raised his game to a sublime zone each time he is on court for his country. Where it’s game, set, match India every time he wins a duel in the Davis Cup. I’m not panning out our cricketers here, even I was one of the ecstatic millions celebrating our thumping victory over Pakistan. But don’t we need to recognize other sporting achievements as well? Last weekend our hockey team made it to the finals of a four-nation event Down under, another event indifferently covered by the newspapers. Seems like cricket and elections are the only two things on the menu of most media houses these days.

As I’m writing this, another sporting legend, Diego Maradona, is battling for his life. My generation didn’t witness much of his genius, thanks to the self-destructing ways of the stocky magician. A man gifted with oodles of brilliant talent, his wizardry laid waste by a reckless addiction to dope. If only he had been more restrained, we could have seen more of his artistic footwork on the footballing greens. For the few years that he held centre stage, the world marveled at the creative skills of this Argentine conjuror. Modern day soccer may have Ronaldo, Owen, and Vierri, but Maradona was the first football superstar truly acknowledged the world over. And perhaps the most innovative one as well.


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