How mantri convinced maharaja about Twenty20

KPN photo

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN imagines a pow-wow between king and minister—maharaja and mantri—then and now, to trace the genesis of cricket’s latest circus.



Maharaja: Mantri! How are the people in my kingdom? Are they happy?

Mantri:  Raja! Never have they been happier. There is peace and tranquillity everywhere! Ever since you have taken over, dharma is ruling everywhere and people feel safe under your regime.

Maharaja: But the rains have failed this year! How can they be really happy? We need to do something quickly.

Mantri: Raja! It is true rains have failed in some parts of our kingdom, though in several places we have received more than adequate share. Our dams are full and the falls are back in resplendent glory.  If you allow me, I will arrange for distribution of rice, hesaru bele and cooking oil to people in drought-hit areas.

Maharaja: You can use our cavalry and infantry to carry and distribute the rations at the earliest. Also arrange for our Dhanvanthari and his assistants to visit villages and treat children and women suffering from fever and malnutrition. This time of the year fevers are generally rampant and we must take care of our people.

Mantri: I will do that immediately.   I will also move around these camps, incognito to see whether relief work is going on all right or not.

Maharaja: That is a good idea, Mantri. Let me know in advance. I would like to join you too incognito.



MaharajaMantri! How are the people in my kingdom? Are they happy?

Mantri: People are never happy, Raja! They always want something for excitement.

Maharaja: Although rains failed in some areas of our kingdom they are getting relief through NREGA scheme, aren’t they? Soon they will get cheap seeds and cheaper pump sets from China as a result of my chief minister’s visit to China. What else the need?

Mantri: Raja! Man doesn’t live on rice and hesaru bele and yenne alone. I know sometimes yenne alone will do. Thogari bele is too costly; even you can’t afford it. Man also needs houses , villas, bungalows, and apartmentss! He needs choice. We should convert our kingdom into housing blocks so that people will buy what they want.

Maharaja: But where does one get money to build houses? Why can’t we build simple houses as we were doing in ‘Agrahara’ instead of so many types?

Mantri:  Raja! Excuse me for saying your thinking is outdated and old fashioned. Now banks have so many attractive schemes loans, EMIs, deferred payments and 99 year lease, repossession and things like that. People now hate Agrahara type of houses. They want variety.

Maharaja:  What should we do?

Mantri: Even if they don’t have enough to eat our people are crazy about cricket.  Dengue, Chikun gunya and H1N1 viruses are rampant, but still people are mad after cricket. If you say ‘Cricket’ even dead body will get up to watch a match and pay for it. In the name of cricket, we can raise any amount of money. I have a plan.

Maharaja: Go on Mantri.

Mantri: We will ask our kazhanchi-cum-secretary Patela to get hold of young boys from our villages and few from our cities and make them play 20×20 cricket matches. He will negotiate and sell the teams to film stars, diamond merchants and mine owners. Patela is good in these sort of things. Once the matches start, money will roll in through TV ads and stadia ads. Money will pour from all directions unlike rain which only comes from sky.

Maharaja: Can I do anything to help out?

Mantri: Everybody helps himself out here! You organize catwalk shows with film stars, models, new cricket heros and promote Mysore silk wear and of course charge for it. I will get enough publicity to attract customers for their bungalows or villas.  Everybody will be happy.

Maharaja: Excellent idea! Let me call my silk designer. Thanks mantri.

Mantri: Anytime raja. Just give me a tinkle.

Photograph: Scenes from the inauguration of the Karnataka Premier League at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Wednesday(Karnataka Photo News)

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