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Old bottle, old whine

india Updated: Nov 20, 2011 21:40 IST
Hindustan Times
Vinod Kambli

A month and a few days more and we will be all set to bid 2011 a grand goodbye. What a year it has been! But before we warm up for the year-end party, there is one season of Parliament fireworks to tackle with — at least that's we think. So we started tackling other serious businesses like exchanging our (non-political) party plans, checking the holiday options and taking stock of the rum and the malts. But, alas, for us here in the media business, there are no calm waters to sail. So what's the latest we now have on our table? Stale conspiracy theories (both of dodgy 1996 vintage) floated by cricketer-turned-actor-turned-we don't quite know what Vinod Kambli and former Union minister Sukh Ram. And unlike old wine in new bottles, these latest servings have turned quite vinegar.

The former cricketer has hinted that the 1996 World Cup semi-final match between India and Sri Lanka was fixed. He's also alleged that the loss impacted his career so much that he could never cement his position in the Indian team. As we all tried to remember the sequence of events that day in Calcutta's Eden Gardens, ex-telecom minister Sukh Ram came up with his own worn-out theory. He has said that he is a victim of political conspiracy. That would have sounded so plausible weren't it for the fact that he said that after a Delhi court sentenced him to five years' imprisonment for receiving Rs 3 lakh as bribe in exchange of a lucrative contract to a private firm in 1996. Oh dearies, how many times have we heard the 'victim of political conspiracy' line? (So you too think that even in 1996 money, Rs 3 lakh is fish tank food, right?)

Now thanks to these two gentlemen, our pre-winter session in Parliament festive mood is not so happy. We are left chasing the two stories, arguments and counter-arguments, through U-turns and dead ends. So whom do we blame: the two men who've let out blasts from the past? Or us, who have got all worked up by what they have to say? We suggest neither and just blame it on the onset of the silly season.