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29 September 2007

What a paradox!!

" I am looking forward to two things during this India - Australia Cricket series," my friend Raj informed me.
" What are they?" I asked. Statements like these are similar to the off spinners Muralitharan. They demand the only possible response, which is the above question.
"One India should lose the series against Australia and two, Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguli should score a lot of runs" he responded earnestly.
While I nodded my head in understanding his strong feelings mentioned above, the full import of these statements stuck me only some time later.
And these were eye opening......
To understand the full meaning of Raj's strong feelings mentioned above, one has to know a little bit about Raj. You see, Raj is a software engineer. He entered the software industry some time in the late 90s and as the industry grew so did he. He was lucky to have entered the IT industry in India during the first golden phase of the industry which started in 1995-96. This was when Infosys was listed on the Indian Stock Exchange and was beginning to provide the kind of phenomenal returns which made it a darling stock of the stock market. The generation of Raj where the 'golden boys' of the IT industry and were rewarded copiously with ESOPs and other benefits and were soon touted as 'Gen Next'. The kind of generation which was to undo all the wrong of the past and take the country to its glorious future. These guys were the demi gods of that period and they looked at their previous generation as the spoilers who have handed over to them a rotten country which they felt they had to turn around.
No doubt they did a good job of that.....
Sceptics will point out that if it were not for the effort of Manmohan singh and Narasimha Rao, they would not have got the kind of opportunity that they got ten years later. Sceptics would have also pointed out that the much touted growth of IT industry was also significantly aided by the weakening rupee, which fell by almost 70% during the period....
Of course these were the voices of sceptics. They are always present to throw cold water on real achievements. Raj's generation was the 'Next' generation. They were different. There was a swagger in their approach. The 32 year old HR manager who counceled them against being arrogant was the 'old daddy'. They were the guys who could resign from a company because the food served on Fridays tasted like barley water (and will have 5 HR managers waiting with offer letters). They were the real kings. They powered the growth of the country....
News papers like Economic Times and Times of India went overboard in projecting the 'Gen Next'. The business class ranging from realty to automobile companies to banks created products tailored to this generation. Smart writers authored books on what makes this generation tick. Management institutes created special programs for HR Managers how to 'handle' this new generation. This generation began to be called as 'Gen Y' and were made to feel special.
That was the time of the troika of Indian cricket was at their best. There was phenomenal performance from the likes of Dravid, Ganguli and Tendulkar and these guys represented the empowering spirit of the 'Gen Y'. These guys were taking Indian Cricket to greater heights and 'Gen Y' was taking Indian economy to the next level.
The 'Gen Y' of the early 2000s is now more mellowed. The software Industry, while it is growing at a decent clip is not providing the kind of benefits that it used to provide earlier. ESOPs have to be bought at market price. The phenomenal returns of the past has dwindled.
The 'Gen Y' has been significantly jolted by India's early exit from the world cup and India's unexpected victory in the Twenty Twenty world championship. Most of these guys are in their early thirties and after India's phenomenal victory in the twenty twenty world cup has been feeling the pinch.
The new 'Gen next', which are the early twenty somethings are demanding that these 'senior' guys move out. This new generation, personified by Sreeshant is more aggressive and are beginning to obliquely blame the 'seniors' (?) for the mess of Indian Cricket. For them Yuvaraj is the king, Sachin is the oldie. And by the same logic, our heroes of 2000, most of whom are in their late 20s and early thirties are beginning to feel old and outdated.
Frankly, I think the newspaper Times of India is the biggest let down for this generation. The same news paper which projected them as heroes only a few years back (and cashed in on their shoulders by printing tons and tons of job advertisements, to the extent that some of them think that the name of the paper is 'Ascent' and 'Times of India' is a news supplement) has mercilessly brought them down from the pedestal and replaced them with the 'New Generation', the 'Twenty twenty' Generation or the DSY (Dhoni, Yuvraj, Sreeshanth) generation which wears their aggression on their sleeves.
For this generation, The ongoing series with Australia is fraught with a lot of consequences. If India wins under Dhoni and the seniors do not perform, they will be permenantly moved to the 'Previous' generation. If India wins and seniors play well, some balance will be restored to the debate and their generation could hold their head high along with the 'DSY' generation.
The best outcome for them is for India to lose while the senior pros perform creditably. All these hype and hooplah and the nonsense about 'New Generation' will extinguish and these guys could hold their head high as a 'Pampered' generation for some more time...
Folks, if you see a passionate supporter of Sachin during this series, you are probably looking at the representative of a generation whose existence itself is at stake....Sachin, you share significantly more responsibility than you possibly think....

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