'Master of Puppets' and whizzing cars on a racetrack - integral parts of every young person's life! A perfect juxtaposition then, that a Metallica concert and the inaugural Indian Grand Prix was scheduled for last weekend. The only problem, though, was that all this was happening in India! And for some weird, random reason, everyone wants to scream out loud that 'India has arrived'. As certified by Metallica and Bernie Ecclestone????
So, Bryan Adams, Michael Jackson, Enrique Iglesias have all come here and performed. And we've always had tamashas with these performances! What with Bal Thackeray's Patel Shot with MJ, Enrique's risqué stage performance being blasted by our very own moral police! So when the greatest band of all time (Rolling Stones and Iron Maiden fans, please excuse) was coming to town, some 'locha' was expected. But no one knew, or expected 'Shining India' Indians to turn into hooligans. Now if someone had seen those village shows that featured folk art with rural, cheap liquor swigging bumpkins as audience, they might have had a glimpse of what real Indian audiences can be like! So when crowds got unruly, noisy, restless, nonsense was expected. And honestly, when 'sophisticated' audiences started breaking up equipment, the mind brought out the image of the village bumpkin! India shone, didn't it?
And now comes F1. When news of the race started appearing on TV, other news that aired at the same time, was that of 12 infants dying in Calcutta in a span of 24 hours! When India is unable to provide for healthcare in even the metros, can we really say that India is shining, because a handful of affluent Indians who know of no better use of 40,000 rupees, choose to go see a race for Facebook update purposes? When I said this to someone, they said," go see a race and you would know why it really is such a big deal". Well, honestly, having been to one, the experience is akin to climbing a nondescript mountain. You yearn to climb it, but once you do, you don't want to climb it again. So at a time, 25000 Indians blow off freshly earned excess money on a race. Does India churn out 25000 new moneyed yuppies each year? NO! So what happens in 2012? Will the same guys go and see the race again and post 'part of history.... Watched the Indian GP (pronounced as gro pri)....' on Facebook? Again?
And why should such an overpriced sport get tax rebates? A sport that even the participants find overpriced. And why should billionaire Ecclestone be subsidized by the Emerging Indian? Why do we yearn for certification by outsiders? Someone hyphenated India and China and so we Indians wannabe China! China conducted the Olympics and so we conducted the Commonwealth Games and gobbled up a lot of money! China has a F1 race, so we should too! Why? Why aren't we proud of who we are? We respect human rights more than the Chinese do. Gandhiji refused to dress up in a dinner jacket to meet the king, and he was ok with not meeting the king. But today, we're too much of the wannabe type!
Ask any European, American or Canadian whether he would blow off a 1000 dollars on a Formula 1 race. I did ask, and I was looked upon with derision, when I told them that the cost of the best tickets in India was 1000 bucks. "You Indians are like the Japanese of the Eighties," someone said. But India can never lose a decade like the Japs did, just because such blatant shows of moneyness comes from just a handful of Indians.
And 25000 Indians do not make 900 million Indians shine! So till we can provide food and healthcare to every Indian, WE HAVE NOT ARRIVED!