25 January, 2021

Mandir & Mask

Hope, hype and hoopla vanished soon enough in Year 2000. This was the year of the grim reality check.

Mandir & Mask
All he believes are his eyes And his eyes, they just tell him lies. —Licence to Kill, Bob Dylan

YOU can’t judge a book by its cover. And the year 2000 came with a fiendishly deceptive one. So you thought Atal Behari Vajpayee was the moderate in a party of hawks? So you thought cricket was a gentleman’s game and the probity of its practitioners would never be put to question? So you thought the economy would be on a roll, fuelled by a resurgent stockmarket and the government would be breathing free with funds from selling its stock? So you thought there were no full-stops at dotcoms? And, yes, you also thought that in that fountainhead of democracy, the United States of America, the much tom-tommed presidential system exemplified the world’s fairest, cleanest and most ideal form of polity.

You were, obviously, wrong. The millennium year turned out to be the year of the grim reality check. Vajpayee’s friendly nationhood mask proved to be misleading, cricket’s reputation lay in tatters after match-fixing claimed some of the game’s finest players,...



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