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Sanjay Jha
Thursday , July 05, 2012

A get well message for Rajesh Khanna, the ultimate superstar


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Last week I was taking an early morning flight to Bangalore and as we headed towards the Western Express highway after crossing the Bandra-Worli sea link, the mustard-coloured Lilavati Hospital gradually appeared in view. It felt acutely strange. 'The Phenomenon' was there somewhere on the 11th floor, apparently struggling with an unknown, but surely, a debilitating illness. I believe there have been very few visitors. At close proximity lay several film studios where his appearance once created traffic jams, a commotion hard to contain - screaming fans sporting his trademark guru kurta, film photographers battling the mayhem, love-struck Juliets ready to slash wrists and kiss his car's bonnet, curious onlookers simply amazed at the uncontrollable hysteria. The hospital is not too far away from that famous address in town either - Aashirwaad on Carter Road where people from all parts of the world would come to just see....


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Does India need to see a shrink?


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I read somewhere recently that Charles Dickens said of the USA that if its citizens were to be believed, America "always is depressed, and always is stagnated, and always is at an alarming crisis, and never was otherwise". Currently it seems germane to India for sure. A pervading gloom perhaps reflecting our pathological negativism seems to have afflicted us. Self-flagellation is du jour and might soon overtake cricket as our most popular sport. While I was in London a few weeks ago, I happened to see the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations held right outside the Buckingham Palace which was incidentally bombed during the War. But on that big day, there was a different kind of fireworks. London looked sozzled on draught beer, as pop artistes entertained an excited crowd. Elsewhere, at close proximity, the severe Euro crisis had engulfed Spain and Rupert Murdoch's unsavory shenanigans with former prime....


Monday , May 14, 2012

On Satyamev Jayate and our Sunday tear leader


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(The fact that we need an education from a Bollywood actor being paid an astronomical sum to understand our social woes is as much a commentary on the star as it is on ourselves). Finding a celebrity with a social orientation is as easy as finding a crowd disembarking from a local train in Mumbai. Bad boy Salman Khan, after non-chalantly driving over pavement dwellers in an inebriated condition and hunting down a black buck, runs a charitable entity called Being Human. These days celebrities exploit every available tool under the painstaking tutelage of their brand advisors for image enhancement. The impact can be exponential, humongous rise in dollar sum as endorsement fee and for advertising appearances. Everything is calculatedly commercial. ROI is staggeringly high. It is business. Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is uber media savvy, possessing just the right ersatz tear for every conceivable human anguish. On....


Thursday , May 03, 2012

Outbreak nation


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(We Indians are in a perpetual state of 'outbreak' these days. Moderation has deserted us completely. It happens sometimes in the cycle of growth when a country smells that big opportunity it has long waited for but is not fully prepared for it when it comes knocking on the door. A churn follows. Everything is challenged. Chaos reigns supreme. Expectations soar. But it is important that in this period of trial and turbulence, cynicism does not overtake good common sense.) By a peculiar coincidence, the S&P rating outlook downgrade on India took place amidst a hostage crisis in Odisha. Left to Ruchir Sharma's (author of the just-launched Breakout Nations) rather impractical hypothesis, (Don't distribute the increasing pie till it gets bigger), India would be run over by Maoist armies and truly become a banana republic. Please don't run for office, Mr Sharma! Rating agencies, worldwide, fancy their....


Monday , April 23, 2012

46 minutes to friendship and understanding


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The biggest political lesson from cricket for both India and Pakistan is to meet more often with or without specific goals and agenda. It lowers intensity, temperature and expectations. The reason why the prime ministers of India and Pakistan don't watch hockey for that elusive breakthrough moment in their turbulent relationship is because hockey is just a fading nostalgic memory while cricket is the dominant impulse of people pulverised by its passionate undercurrents. We produce colorful characters, raw natural talent that has seen them become world champions. Also, we have the common denominator of match-fixing. Despite the tragic bloodshed during those tumultuous days of 1947, paradoxically enough, India and Pakistan are today bound by a common religion - cricket. Thus is the emotional bond associated with that quaint British legacy that an American once described as "baseball on valium". Amongst the many....


Monday , April 16, 2012

Ides of April


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The brouhaha over the SIT report (incidentally not a court verdict) on Gujarat riots exonerating Modi was on expected lines; hard-core supporters of the bearded Narendra Modi celebrated as if it was divine intervention for the beleaguered chief minister, like the heavenly benedictions of TIME. Prime Minister Modi, went the collective chorus. But that euphoria overlooked basic math and typically as it were, missed the woods for the trees. Let me explain. On the day of the great electoral verdict of March 6, 2012, when the earth miraculously stood standstill on its rotating axis, I asked Mr Arun Jaitley of the BJP on Headlines Today if the party had exhausted the political utility of its Ayodhya card, given its diminished seats in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. At that time, it was reasonably certain that Samajwadi Party was headed north by northwest in a carefree solo race like Forrest Gump.....


Monday , March 12, 2012

Toast for the JAM


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Just how do you write a farewell piece on a cricketer and a person who is indescribable? Decency, I think, is in human DNA. Either you have it or you don't. Some things can't be taught at even Lovely University or the Harvard Business School. So is modesty, that rare virtue that differentiates an insufferable loudmouth from a reticent distinguished achiever. At Rahul Dravid's press conference in Bengaluru on March 9, 2012, it was quite apparent that the man, famously christened The Wall, was an embodiment of both unassuming demeanour and fine gentlemanliness. He looked understandably emotionally stretched at the very beginning but as he finished reading his prepared text, it seemed that the albatross of retirement blues was finally off his back. Unlike corporate citizens or 24x7 professionals, sportsmen retire at the peak of human life expectancy cycle (mid-thirties usually, unless you are a golfer). We....


Monday , February 27, 2012

Hey Kingfisher: Stay 'grounded' to fly high


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One of my most embarrassing moments happened on Kingfisher Airlines. Comfortably ensconced in the Business Class after a long day, a charming lady in red, the smiling air-hostess, asked me with immaculate solicitude: "Can I clean your reading glasses, Sir?" I was too dumbfounded to react, not quite accustomed to such archaic debauch excesses, and almost in a robotic reflex complied with her dictates. Evidently, the King of Good Times meant serious business. I also remember my American colleague from an investment bank in New York gulping, guzzling beer in an up-market bar in the Avenue of the Americas Street. "Man", he said, with prodigious satisfaction: "I love Kingfisher". A decade later in India, harried, worried airline passengers seem to have a totally reverse, adverse experience with that once revered brand. Kingfisher, may still be the coveted cheery bubbly for a bar-fest, but in the cut-throat....


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The lonely BJP candidate of UP


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The BJP has just one Muslim candidate among its 403 in Uttar Pradesh where there live 37 million Muslims. It is symptomatic of the party's parochial agenda and vote bank politics. I watched the BJP's spokesperson sporting the familiar self-righteous countenance indignantly trashing Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid's speech at Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh which has set the Ganges on fire. The Election Commission has been doing an outstanding job, so I will refrain from adding my three-bit of prudence on the EC's ire, excepting to say that other than usual electoral campaigning rhetoric that invariably occurs when addressing restless crowds, I did not see an orchestrated, deliberate attempt to undermine the constitutional authority of the EC albeit it may unintentionally have resulted in that consequence. It seemed like a spontaneous outburst amidst cacophonous wild energy of teeming crowds that made for magnetic sound byte. But anyway,....


Friday , November 19, 2010

THE LEGEND OF BHAJJI


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Only Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) can fry the Kiwi! To say that one was always aware of the unpredictable, irrational ways of Harbhajan Singh, India's brash, irreverent super-brat would be an understatement. Yet his pugnacious daredevilry, and tempered brilliance at Ahmedabad was pure class. Sure the placid wicket at Hyderabad may be used tomorrow for our infrastructure projects, but there is no denying the invaluable contribution from the chronic hot-head as he devoured the surprised New Zealand team on successive occasions. With nonchalant ease. Even more remarkable than Singh's consecutive centuries was his mature mind-set, a determined resolution to move ahead to complete an unfinished task with cool aplomb. As if by some divine intervention, Bhajji's partner-in-crime in that remarkable last wicket stand of 105 runs in the second Test was none other than another mercurial maverick himself, S Sreesanth. The same motor-mouth jabberer , a personification of....


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More about Sanjay Jha

Sanjay Jha is a hard-core “Congressi” largely on account of being enchanted by the incredible brilliance of the Gandhi-Nehru mystique, its array of inspirational leaders and the party’s secular ideology. HamaraCongress.com will soon assume a larger platform for like-minded thinkers. Sanjay is a former banker and asset management specialist, who chucked up the monotonous routine of fund management for pursuing more entertaining diversions such as cricket. He has worked with ANZ Grindlays Bank, Bank of America, Alliance Capital, New York and ITC Threadneedle ( a venture of BAT plc) . His venture CricketNext.com is now part of Network 18 media group. Currently, he is Executive Director of the world-famous Dale Carnegie Training, and specialises in leadership development, executive coaching and motivational practices, having delivered talks in India and abroad. Jha has authored 11—A cricket anthology, a collection of poems and writes frequently for mainstream publications, particularly Tehelka. He is an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur, and a post-graduate in economics from the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune University, having graduated with distinction from Fergusson College. Jha is an eternal optimist and believes that only inner-fighting and parochial politics can stop India from realising its true potential. He can be followed on Twitter@JhaSanjay.
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