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The "RCB Ramayana" "script" has also been posted on the official website of Royal Challengers Bangalore under the Fan Club posts.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

RCB Ramayana - Our City, Our Team

Dravid being out of RCB is much like Lord Rama being exiled! And Bengaluru fans are reacting in much the same way as people of Ayodhya did! Perfect setting for a fertile mind to script a play!


The brain has two halves – right brain and left brain. A dominant right brain gives us the ability to imagine, see and distinguish “patterns” better than numbers. The right brain brings out the creativity in us.

The left brain gives us the ability to be logical and analytical. It is strong in remembering numbers and text.

To put it in a simple language, people who can recognize faces but cannot remember names are right brain dominant. And vice versa. In most of us, one of them dominates over the other.

Another example of right brain dominance is “some get a gut feel arising from their stomach; some others see images of patterns in their minds that tell them what has to be done to achieve a certain goal – numbers and text cannot explain such feeling.

Illogical, it may seem – but they cannot change that feeling! That’s Mr Vijay Mallya!!

Mallya has expressed his "genuine affection" for Dravid, saying he has known him since he was a small boy, that his father was working with the UB group, that Rahul is like his own son, etc. We should not doubt the sincerity of his feelings. At the same time, Mallya has another child – RCB. He wants RCB also to do well and come out top, exactly the way Rahul has scaled peaks in his career. This is the context in which he made the decisions he did! And plunge whole of Karnataka into grief!

Isn’t this similar to how Ayodha plunged into grief when Sri Rama was banished to exile by his step mother, Kaikeyi?

A perfect setting for RCB Ramayana to be scripted! My figment of imagination has made a beginning – though it is far from perfect!

In the RCB Ramayana I am scripting below, Dr Mallya is in an ideal position to play the dual roles of Dasharatha and Kaikeyi. Dasharatha to bring out his left brain characteristics and Kaikeyi for his right brain characteristics.

RCB Ramayana

Injecting the Poison
In May 2010, the time to think long term over his Kingdom of RCB had arrived. Torn between affection for Rahul and love for RCB, Mallya was often seen getting into deep contemplation as to how to do the tight rope walk and achieve both. His non-cricket business management team was unlikely to give a rational advice. His cricket management team’s advice in the past 3 years hadn’t helped either. So inside the UB think-tank, he spent a lot of time, sitting alone.
In June 2010, Gayatri Reddy – the Manthara of IPL – called up Mallya and suggested a “brainstorming” meeting of all IPL2010 non-finalists to find solutions for their problems that look similar. At this meeting, Gayatri suggested that “the iconic oldies are an obstacle to success, drain them financially and their larger than life public image stops owners from building their own persona and earning a niche in the hearts of the fans. The sooner we get rid of the icons, the better for our businesses”.
Shah Rukh Khan seconded her idea and said that he will definitely go with this suggestion. Preity Zinta also found this idea “cooool” since Yuvraj is getting fat and no one listens to Sanga.
Mallya had his reservations – he mentioned that Dravid and Kumble are in a different league and Bangalore is a different place when it comes to cricket. He gave examples of how Bangalore reacted when Dr Rajumar was kidnapped as well as when he died. He also mentioned about how the whole of Bangalore went into mourning when another celluloid hero, Vishnuvardhan, died a year ago.
SRK mentioned about Saurav being an equally great legend but he is taking a risk. They all cajoled Mr Mallya into being with them – and that if all do it together, it will be easier to handle negative sentiment of the fans. Mallya wants to, but fears the repercussions and eventually agrees but waits for CLT20 to get over.
The lone dissenting note came from Shilpa Shetty who felt that apart from being a legend, Dravid has been an extraordinary human being and that he should be given the privilege of deciding when to hang up his boots, She further made it known that if Mallya is dropping him, RR would be too happy pick him up. Shilpa gave her team’s success in IPL1 as an example of the value of “golden oldies”.
Mallya thanked Manthara for her plan, kept it a closely guarded secret till the auctions and decided to execute it when the auction begins – knowing fully well that he would be dropping an icon not just of Bengaluru but of world cricket.

Other External Forces

In another meeting in November 2010, Mallya discussed with N Srinivasan of CSK the IPL landscape as it would emerge post the auctions. In the course of the discussions, Mallya mentioned, in confidence, about the importance of Manish Pandey to RCB and that he would go any distance to get the young man.
Srinivasan – being a Narada and hence not the man to keep secrets – lost no time to call up the Ambanis about Mallya’s plan. That’s when the Big Ambani swung into action – he has always seen RCB as a threat to their own plans of lifting the IPL Trophy in 2011 and began to think of ways to weaken RCB.
His wife, Nita (Mandodari), did not approve of this. She told him that there are many young players who are unsung heroes and can be looked at rather than troubling Manish Pandey. But there is no way Mukesh would let go of a chance and a way to weaken the opponents. In the first of these plans, he suggested to BCCI that uncapped players be excluded from the auction. A suggestion accepted in a hurry by BCCI – without proper consultation and feedback from other franchisees.
Because in IPL, it is really The Big Ambani that calls the shots – invisible but powerful! The only thing Big Ambani can’t do is “buy the trophy!” – because Narada’s men are too strong and powerful to be overpowered without a contest!

Communicating to Rama - In Full Public View
When the auctions began, the Kaikeyi in Mallya - who was serious on executing the plans - took a prominent place at the auction table. She asked Mallya to banish Dravid to the forests – whichever forest can accept him! Sumantra (Brijesh Patel) advised him against doing it but there was no way Kaikeyi would relent. She ordered Sumantra to simply do his job of dropping Dravid in the forest in a Kingfisher flight!

A stunned Bengaluru watched the television with shock and dismay - till Arundhati (Shilpa Shetty) - the Morning Star of the Sapta Rishi constellation - put her hand up ans said "We want him". Almost the whole of Bangalore blew kisses at this beautiful damsel who saved "their hero in distress". Twitterverse was flooded with "I love you Shilpa" tweets for extending Dravid's cricketing journey.

And Dravid, the Sri Rama of Bengaluru Cricket, is banished to the forests of Ranathambore, near Jaipur. Dravid willingly but with a heavy heart, agreed to go and sought the blessings of his mother Kousalya (Katrina Kaif). A sad and sobbing Katrina blessed Dravid.

People of Bengaluru are upset, offended and were (and still are!) found wailing on the streets as well as on the internet. But the Kaikeyi in Mallya is unmoved.

The Journey Begins
Losing no time, Dravid packed his bags and got ready to head for the forests of Ranathambore. As he was about to leave, his step brother, Ross Taylor, decided to accompany him. And there was no way Manish Pandey (the sufering Sita in this family drama) would stay back in Bengaluru. Together they set out for a two year “Vana Vas”.
On the way, the three discussed about how nice Bengaluru and its fans have been, how they are worred about the health and success of Mallya and how evil Kaikeyi has been! At the forest, Dravid is welcomed by the representatives of Sage Valmiki (Lalit Modi) who wash his feet and garland him.
Dravid is also very impressed by the peaceful ambience in Valmiki’s hermitage. He is told that they will practise yoga everyday in the company of a yogini of international fame, who will also condition their minds for peak performance.
Virat Kohli is taken by surprise and is really unprepared to rule RCB – apart from love for Dravid, there is also the question whether people of Bengaluru would accept his coronation! Kohli visited Dravid in Jaipur to plead with him to return but was asked to take care of the fans of Bengaluru and not abandon his responsibility. Dravid, with his extreme love for Virat, gifted his shoes to him.
Overjoyed, Kohli consulted with astrologers and on an auspicious day, stepped into Dravid’s shoes. He now rules the kingdom from Nandi Hills, outside Bengaluru and has asked Abhimanyu Mithun (Shatrughna) to stay put at the KSCA and keep a watch on the emotions of the fans of Bengaluru.

The War Is About To Begin

Let's hope Dravid will ensure Shilpa has no anxieties like these

In the IPL battles that will follow, Dravid, Ross, Manish will go through lot of hardship – physical, physiological and psychological. It is two years of “ordeal by fire” and they will meet every kind of enemy – wicked, evil minded, enemical characters – some ferocious, some cunning and some jealous. But eventually they will surmount every obstacle with fortitude.
(At the time of going to press, Sita has already been kidnapped and a full search is on)
At the same time, Bengaluru also goes through many pains and pangs – although the administration and performance of RCB goes on as usual, the absence of Dravid, Manish, Uthappa and Ross does hurt the morale of the Bangalore fans.
We will not discuss whether RCB achieves its dream of winning the IPL Trophy! We shall leave that to our respective imaginations!
Two years from now, we will see if the extraordinary power of Kumble – the Hanuman – can reunite the original royal family. So that the King of Good Times and the young prince of RCB will have a team that can see the IPL trophy glitter in Bengaluru for a long time!

Dramatis Personae:

If you want to know some of the main characters of Ramayana and how they relate to the RCB Ramayana, take a look at the cast in the table below:

(Obviosuly, it is impossible to get a perfect 1 to 1 match between Valmiki Ramayana and RCB Ramayana! I am sure some characters would exist in the real RCB Ramayana! )

The IPL-RCB Ramayana Scene
Vijay Mallya
(Left Brain)

As Dasaratha
Good and noble King of Good Times, based in Bengaluru. Loved by cricket fans for his interest in the game and its fans. Treats RCB as his own baby-for-ever! Gives RCB the best of attention. Genuinely wants RCB to be at the very top.

Places Dravid in the same step of affection as his son. Dravid was the superstar of Indian cricket when IPL started and logically, was given the pride of place by Mallya within RCB.
Vijay Mallya
(Right Brain)

As Kaikeyi
The ambition for “her pet son, RCB” to win the throne makes her go to any lengths to go in pursuit of what she wants.

Hated by Bengaluru fans for leaving out their iconic cricketer from RCB.
Katrina Kaif
As Kausalya
With the King through thick and thin, though doesn’t necessarily approve of his actions; was very sad when Dravid had to be sent out of RCB. She also identified Dravid as one of the most gentlemanly cricketeres she has come across.

What more can we say of this beautiful lady, other than that she would have wished Dravid the very best of moments of his life on a cricket field in IPL4!
Rahul Dravid
As Sri Rama
For being the chosen one by Kaikeyi to be banished to exile and live in the forests
Ross Taylor
As Lakshmana
Has endeared himself to fans of RCB in particular and to whole of Bengaluru in general.
Manish Pandey
As Sita
Has to bear with serious hardships from time to time. The apple of the eye to many wild owners in the IPL jungle
Anil Kumble
As Hanuman
A very emotional friend of Dravid. Shows empathy for Dravid’s plight; helps Dravid take on the Ravanas of IPL and emerge victorious.
Virat Kohli
As Bharata  and

Abhimanyu Mithun
As Shatrughna
Steps into Dravid’s shoes after Dravid is sent away to Rajasthan.

Rules Bengaluru from Delhi, and asks Abhimanyu Mithun to guard the Bengaluru Palace at KSCA

Mithun and Virat are the only two ‘sons of original RCB’ left in New RCB. Mithun has the huge responsibility of keeping local fan interest alive.

We can expect these guys to be extra-charged up against DC!
Robin Uthappa
As Sugriva
Dravid and Robin work out a symbiotic relationship by which Dravid would help Robin get back his lost glory. Robin, in turn, would help Dravid through Kumble to get Manish Pandey for Rajasthan – since Manish is unwilling to go to Bengaluru without Dravid!
Preity Zinta

As Surpanakha
Made a half-hearted bid for Dravid. Jealous of a bid by Shilpa Shetty, put up a counter bid. She loved to have him but not willing to pay the price.
Sid Mallya

As Vishwamitra
Sid probably had no serious objection to Dravid but dad had made up his mind. Sid therefore arranged the “Swayamvara” of Dravid with Rajasthan Royals.

Sid was under considerable pressure from friend Dipika Padukone who would have not have allowed Dravid to be left high and dry!!
Dipika Padukone
As Menaka
With her enchanting beauty, she manages to convince Sidhartha that Dravid should be retained by RCB. If that is not possible, she coaxes Sid to ensure that Dravid is sought after by at least one team. She is the author of the arrangement that “if no one really bids for Dravid, RCB would bid and take him!”.
Mukesh Ambani

As Ravana
Smitten by the glitter of the elusive IPL Trophy and wanting to get it at any cost, any price. Mukesh Ambani is bent on demolishing RCB – seeing it as the main obstacle to their quest for trophy - and the best way is to chop off  Dravid and Manish. Very powerful man and can make anybody get into or get out of any IPL Team
Nita Ambani

As Mandodari
Nita is a concerned that in his pursuit of IPL Trophy, husband Mukesh is targeting Dravid and Manish as a way to remove the main obstacle, RCB. Being the righteous woman that she is, speaks to friend Shilpa Shetty and requests her to save Dravid by bidding for him. Nita also tried her best to let uncapped players stay in auction but Mukesh did not agree. Finally, she offered an option to Manish with some attractive side deals too.
Lalit Modi

As Valmiki
The author of IPL. What more shall we say of the man who got it all correct as long as he was at the helm!
N Srinivasan

As Narada
Mallya told Srinivasan that Manish is a good guy and he would bid him for any price. The higher the price Manish gets, the happier Manish would be. Srini probably leaked it out to Mukesh Ambani who promptly sent the suggestion for excluding uncapped players from auction.
Gayatri Reddy

As Manthara
At a meeting of non-finalists of IPL2010, she whispered into Mallya’s ears that she is packing of Gilly and VVS in her preference for youth. Not to be left behind, Mallya has followed suit.
Raj Kundra
As Vasishta  and

Shilpa Shetty
As Arundhati
Raj wished that his team should have a legendary Indian batsman in his team. Being in possession of the holy cow, Kamadhenu and its offspring, Nandini – he had the power that any wish that he desires would be granted.

Shilpa is the embodiment of all of the virtues of a married woman – she prayed for the fulfillment of her husband’s wishes.

Lovely couple!!! Bengaluru fans waved kisses at them when the couple  bid for their hero, Dravid!
Subroto Roy

As Jatayu
Manish Pandey is being coaxed into joining Mumbai Indians. Pune Warriors step into save Manish from the clutches of MI (the people responsible for getting Manish excluded from auction. When they are about lose Manish, Pune inform Rajasthan Royals who decide to take on the battle with MI.
Harbhajan Singh
As Kumbhakarna
When Indrajit hugged and lifted “mom” Mandodari Ambani after a win in IPL2010, every player wanted to be in MI! That wa an awesome display of mon-son affection, bond and emotions. “Dad” only confirmed it by showing his possessiveness for son by retaining Indrajit for IPL2011

One More Googly: A Tribute to Anil Kumble

The last ball has been bowled. The pitch has been covered and the players have walked back to the pavilion. And around the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, the grandstands are deserted and forlorn.

We have said farewell to cricket. And farewell too, to the King of cricket’s all time great bowlers. The game will come again with the World Cup and IPL. But the King will come no more. For the King is 40 and alas, the game has changed. The elephants of Nagarhole, the tigers of Kabini and the temple bells of Banashankari and Basavanagudi are calling him. As well as the cricket clubs and the young boys who throng the KSCA, aspiring to fame and stardom or at least a livelihood through a game that brings – sometimes cheer, sometimes heartburns – to a billion Indians.

No more shall we see him tripping down the pavilion steps, with the ball in his hand and leading an army of Royal Challengers. No more shall we see him returning to the pavilion after a rich haul or a miserly spell. No more shall we see the grim face battling it out in the middle and bowling with a bandaged head. The well graced player has already left the pitch and becomes only a memory in a world of happy memories. And “hats off” to the boy from Jayanagar, the young man from Bengaluru and the King of the great art of googlies.

It is undeniable that as a bowler, this Bangalorean will live as the supreme exponent of the fading art of leg spin and googlies – a claim that is easily sustained by his achievements. But we judge a bowler not so much by the wickets he gets but by the way he gets them. Any batsman who has been bowled by the King’s googly knows that he walked back as a loser.

In the quality of his play, commitment to the spirit of the game, and the attitude he carried throughout his career, he is unlike anything that has been seen on the cricket field, certainly in his time. How frustrating must it have been for him to be often ‘rested’ even while he was at his prime, and among the top few wicket takers in cricket’s history. To have equalled cricket's greatest bowling record at the highest level only to be in the 'wait list' a few seasons later. There was extraordinarily little display of disappointment in his demeanour. Yet, a seething anger and a resolute mind to get back could be seen in his eyes whenever he sat in the pavilion, twiddling his thumbs. Those must have been his lowest moments. Yet in our eyes, he was always held in the highest esteem.

His run up was unique and so different from most other bowlers of his genre. Only his upper half lounges forward, springs up and down, then his lower half and the legs and then they all seem to cooperate with each other and let the arm go up, the fingers letgo the ball and whizz in the air for a few seconds before it hits the ground. And mesmerizingly turn in any of many directions, leaving the batsmen clueless as to what game the bowler is playing.

Cricket has seen many bowlers who have played the game, taken many wickets and gone into oblivion. But few will be remembered for a long time. The Bengaluru Huduga (Bangalore Boy) ranks on top of that list. For he ran through an entire side in an innings – a feat that had been achieved only once before. A feat that was immediately recognized by his state and city in no less a way than by naming a prominent junction of Bengaluru’s most prestigious road, Mahatma Gandhi Road, after him. An achievement unparallelled by the greatest cricketers, or perhaps even the greatest sportsmen, anywhere in the world.

The Mahatma himself did not live to see the road named after him!

His bowling may be compared to the music of Kishore Kumar – there is action, entertainment and with so much melody. Or to the acting of Madhuri Dixit – there is beauty, there is sizzle and yet, so much charm and grace.

Very few cricketers of his stature have won so peculiar a place in the affections of their fans. Through his simplicity, in the midst of all his greatness, he was rooted to the man that he is – no airs, no complexes and very simply, proud to be an Indian, a Kannadiga and a Bengalurean. Never the type to shun the vernacular, on or off the field, his teammates and fans alike can't forget screams of “O du, O du” (meaning: Run! Run!!) with his good friend Srinath as they hung around with their bats in a spirited partnership to take India to a win over Australia while their mothers watched from the pavilion with anxiety and pride.

If the modest, yet accomplished Bangaloreans ever wanted their own man to be the voice of Indian cricket, the Bengaluru Huduga transformed into a Big Brother when he led India in Australia in 2008. How he handled the controversy that followed was best summed up by another of India’s greatest cricketing sons – Kapil Dev – who said the captain’s statement “only one side played in the true spirit of the game” will be etched in immortality. Those words, as we have seen, were the first mortal blows on the pride and history of Australian cricket. The men who received it would have preferred to be bowled by his googlies for a duck.

To the people of Karnataka, he occupied a very special place in every household. As a true "Mannina Maga" (son of the soil), Kumble demonstrated his affiliation by being one of the earliest to share his concern when crisis hit Karnataka during the kidnapping of Annavaru (Dr Rajkumar) or to pay tributes when Annavaru and Sahasa Simha Dr. Vishnuvardhan died. Fittingly, people of Karnataka have reciprocated his gestures by giving nearly the same legendary, folklore and iconic status to him as to these celluloid heroes.

So the King of Cricket’s greatest bowlers will now continue to work for his country, his state and his city – and ring in a new chapter in the annals of the game as well as its administration – but the holiday crowds will no longer see him on the ground – to bowl one more ball, to take one more wicket and to lead his team to one more win.

They are all happy memories of a soon to be “bygone era”.

(This article is dedicated to AG Gardiner (1865-1946), author of "The Jamsahib of Nawanagar", from whose work I have liberally borrowed words, sentences and style;

and to Late Mr K Nanjundaiah, English Teacher & Headmaster at National High School, Bangalore, during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and grandfather of Anil Kumble)

Legends Of An Era - 1: Don Bradman & Wally Hammond


I never realized creating a crossword could be so much fun – I just felt it was an essential ingredient of a tab called ‘Leisure’ on the RCB site. And when I did start it, I had the good fortune of getting into the awesome depths of cricket literature available on the net. On a relaxed Sunday afternoon, surfing, for once, seemed to be with a purpose.

As I started writing the clues, a train of thoughts came to my mind. How do I make the clue more interesting without making it difficult? How do I pick the right information about a player or a match or a dismissal? That set me digging for more information about the “word” I had in mind. So much has been written about cricket, I doubt if any other sport can claim such a vast number of records and amount of literature on the game.

I was particularly intrigued by the fact that Don Bradman does not figure in one of the most talked about and prestigious records in cricket – the aggregate runs record which our very own Gavaskar once held and our very own Sachin is the proud owner now. The Don did not figure in this record at any stage of his career.


I dug more and more and found that around The Don’s time, there was only one batsman who would perhaps have challenged Bradman’s claim to superstardom – Wally Hammond of England. And being contemporaries from fiercely rival nations (in cricket, no politics!) and having been part of the notorious Bodyline series in 1932/33, it is reasonable to assume that it would have been an intense rivalry.

Hammond’s debut was on 24th Dec 1927. Bradman made his debut on 30th Nov 1928, Hammond had collected 432 runs by then. There was yet another great player around that time – Sir Jack Hobbs – who had aggregated 4437 runs when Hammond arrived. When Hobbs retired on 22nd Aug 1930, he had aggregated 5410 runs – a record at that time, surpassing the previous best of 3,412 runs by Clement Hill of Australia.

The gap between Hammond and Bradman has all the ingredients of a roller coaster ride – see Graph 1 for their aggregate runs and Graph 2 for the gap.

Hammond, throughout his career, felt that the world was glorifying Bradman’s achievements while his own performance was no less significant – either in terms of runs scored or the manner in which they were scored. This added fuel to their rivalry – which was already intense because of the teams they belonged to.

Hammond played 140 innings in his career (13 of them before Bradman arrived on the stage) while Bradman played only 80 innings (including 15 innings after Hammond retired). In the period both were playing together, Bradman played 65 innings scoring 5773 runs, Hammond played 127 innings scoring 6817 runs. While none doubts Hammond’s class and competence, this simple statistic tells us how they were equals, yet miles apart.

Hammond retired on 25th March 1947 at the age of 44 while Bradman retired on 14th August 1948, aged 40.

A significant point to note is that during the Second World War, while Hammond played about a dozen tests (24 innings) and scored over 1000 runs, Bradman did not play a single test. This increased the gap – something Bradman did not appear to be bothered about! Had he played, these would perhaps have been the most glorious years of his cricket.

But why would he bother – for when he went out to bat for the 80th and last time in his career, his average stood at an astounding 101.39!

Bradman, at the time of retirement, was just 253 runs away from beating Hammond’s record. One more test, he could have surpassed Hammond’s aggregate if he wanted to!


Was it that The Don didn’t care for records? Was he oblivious of the fact that he was one big inning away from scaling the summit? Or was it simply that he had announced his retirement two series in advance and didn’t want to go back on his decision “merely for the record books”?

Many hours of Google-search finally led me to the answer:

On the website of Australian Broadcasting Corporation News Online, where Bradman is quoted as saying, (after he had scored 334 against England at Leeds in July 1930 - the highest individual score at that time)

“And I try and get as many runs as I possibly can. And if in getting those runs I break any records well naturally I'm pleased but I do not deliberately set out to try to break records,"

18 years later – in August 1948, on the threshold of surpassing Hammond, he walked back to the pavilion, one last time. His philosophy towards the game had not wavered.

Read the article of ABC News Online here


But why would the Australians not goad The Don to overtake Hammond’s aggregate?

I tried to find an answer but didn’t get any. My dad isn’t alive either to tell me why.

I imagine it was an era when gentlemen watched the game of cricket more to appreciate the beauty of the game than the beast of numbers.

To some, the thrill and the goal of a journey is in reaching the destination. To Sir Donald Bradman, the thrill was merely the journey itself!

Mount Everest must have felt like a dwarf and gazed in awe of the man.

MESSAGE FOR RCB PLAYERS IN IPL 2010: Just enjoy the game and the journey, you will reach the destination. There is a Bradman in each of you.


This post has been read, acknowledged and appreciated by Chris Naylor - @batlikebradman on Twitter - of the Bradman Museum, run by the Bradman Foundation. Here is the tweet from him:

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About The Author

Based in Bangalore, I am an IT Strategy, Business Process Management and ERP Implementation consultant in media research and healthcare domains. Writing on social media/technology and cricket is my hobby and special interest. My cricket blogs can be read at the Royal Challengers website.

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