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When Raj gave Sachin a tennis elbow

>> By all accounts in a galaxy of some of the country’s most accomplished speakers, like Amitabh Bachchan, Mukesh Ambani, and Aamir Khan, it was Raj Thackeray who stole the show — and that too in Hindi!

The occasion was, of course, Anjali Tendulkar’s party for her husband Sachin at Waterstone last week, where all the retiring batsmen’s near and dear ones were called up to make speeches. Thackeray, apparently, began his by saying that he’d heard that Tendulkar was being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize, adding that it would be something he’d vehemently oppose.

After allowing time for the shocked silence with which the cricketer’s admirers greeted his remark, like the great orator he’s known to be, Thackeray continued, “I will oppose it on account of all the bowlers he’s destroyed, all the teams he’s demolished, all the havoc he’s played on the field in his career, how can such a man get the Peace Prize?’

This tongue-in-cheek wit was followed by the MNS leader’s fond recollection of his long friendship with Tendulkar, which evoked much laughter. “The last time we played cricket together,” said the MNS leader, “I bowled so hard that Sachin developed a tennis elbow and had to be hospitalised in London — where I had to fly to keep him company!”

The other person whose speech was out of the ordinary apparently, was Yuvraj Singh, who read out a long poem from his Blackberry recounting the Master Blaster’s, many milestones and achievements.

A highlight to this eventful evening was the bonding between Thackeray, Aamir and Kiran Rao who spent much time together outside. That, and the presence of both of Tendulkar’s fallen cricketer pals Azharuddin and Jadeja made it an evening that no one will forget in a long while! 

IPL 2014 and its travel plans
>> And though media reports say that Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the two likely countries the BCCI might consider shifting the entire IPL or a few matches to, on account of a clash with the General Elections next year, our sources say that South Africa, London and Abu Dhabi are also being talked about in the same breath.

And whereas the first two have been practically ruled out because of the Lalit Modi bogey (apparently, the flamboyant IPL founder has clout and influence in both places — something that Srinivasan certainly doesn’t want to risk) Abu Dhabi just might emerge as the dark horse. “After all, not only are its rulers on a big initiative to attract tourism and investment to the region, and what better way than through the IPL, but it’s one place where Sri and his cohorts are sure Modi will find it hard to camp in,” say our sources.

Why so we asked? “Don’t you know — because of the D-factor,” we were told nonchalantly. “Everyone knows LM had a falling out with ‘Bhai’ over unpaid dues!’

Whew, wheels within wheels, deals within deals.

How to do remorse
>> “If I was Tarun I would not ask for anticipatory bail, I would offer myself up for arrest and jail if it was on the cards,” said an animated Suhel Seth to us when we spoke to him before he prepared to go on TimesNow to speak to Arnab Goswami about the Tejpal incident last night. “I would not recuse myself. I would resign.


Suhel Seth 

As for Tehelka and Think, I would bury the brand, what’s left in it? It’s dead already,” said the country’s most voluble spin-doctor. “If a crime has been committed then face the consequences with the same courage with which you conducted all those investigations and stings up till now. And if jail is on the cards, face it like a man,” said Seth adding, “If Bill Clinton could survive the Monica Lewinsky scandal by paying the consequences, there’s hope for Tejpal too,” says the marketing guru and celebrated sound byter who admits that he’s being asked incessantly why he has not commented on the Tejpal affair so far. “I was unwell,” he explained. “And why hasn’t he tweeted on it?” How much can you say in 140 characters?” he replied.


Tarun Tejpal

“So tonight, I go on Arnab’s show,” he chuckled.

A cosmic morality tale
We live in the strangest times. One by one our heroes, demigods and stars fall.

International management luminaries caught with their fingers in the till, celebrated bankers shown to be rapacious sex offenders, squeaky clean sports stars revealed as serial adulterers even Mother Teresa’s name un-spared with articles citing her questionable methods of healing and conversion.

Who next Lord — and why?

Perhaps, all this is happening as a cosmic morality tale, one that quite simply teaches us the very necessary lessons of living mindfully and ethically. One that reminds us that no one is exempt from scrutiny or the long arm of the law. And that every moment counts.

So one by one as we watch our heroes fall, our idols exposed, our icons break, we learn the true meaning of Bob Dylan’s eerily prophesying song The Times they are A-Changin:

The line it is drawn /the curse it is cast /the slow one now /Will later be fast /as the present now /Will later be past /the order is /Rapidly fadin' /and the first one now /Will later be last /for the times they are a-changin.

One by one, we realise that the time for illusions has past and the times have really changed.

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