Wednesday, October 12, 2005

TIME Magazine has goofed up again -

A discussion at on indiatimes blog ...................

I refer to Sania Mirza's selection as Time's Cover girl. Couple of years ago the Time Magazine goofed up by selecting Aishwarya Rai - a flop actress, as their cover girl and now they have done the same thing by selecting a very inconsistent tennis player with no grand slam to her credit as the cover girl. I wonder what criteria the TIME magazine adopts for selecting such non-performing Indian achievers like Aishwarya and Sania. I wonder what are the achievements of Sania Mirza. Yes, her climb from World Number 800 to World number 37 is a giant achievement but is not enough to warrant a place on the TIME's cover. She neither has any grandslam title to her credit nor has she beaten any top seeds in her entire career. She has not even reached the quarter finals of any grand slam event. Therefore like Aishwarya Rai, Sania Mirza has also been selected for her glamorous image. That they are actresses/tennis player is only incidental and an excuse. My request to the TIME magazine is not to lower their standard by selecting non-performers as cover girls and should instead consider some real Indian achievers who are far more eligible for the honour of having their face on the covers than the Aishwaryas and Sanias of India.
posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 5:02 PM

Moving from 800 to 37 is giant achivement but not good enough. Humm... Boss I think who warrants a place on the TIME's cover is best left to Time 's editorial staff.
10/5/2005 5:42 PM

If a leap from 800 to 37 does not warrant a place on Time mags cover, what does ? & with looks like the one she has got, one cant blame Time's judgement for putting her on the cover.
10/5/2005 5:59 PM

i don't gve a damn to be honest, she cud be on Times cover or Playboy, who gve a f cuk
10/5/2005 6:41 PM

I think the media is going crazy about Sania Mirza and just like the author i agree, she does not deserve the attention at all. We need to be more circumspect in such a respect. Let her win a major/wta tournament and its worth it then. People like becker, sharapova, aggassi were in their prime at 17 and she has a long way to go. However, if TIME puts her on the cover i would just skip picking that issue and reading it.
10/5/2005 7:42 PM

Well nothing new...Time mag. has done it again & again...earlier 2 it selected ..GAUTAM wanted in FLOOD RELIEF SCAM....among most powerful asians...just b'coz he once stopped LK ADVANI(then HM & DyPM) 2 deliver his speech.
10/5/2005 7:59 PM

i fully agree dat media has hyped d whole issue bt media is not wrong in doing so as dey hv dey need scoops to remain in business. in cut throat competition better d face value = better d sale. advertisement guarrentes revenue bt dis also based on circulation figures & trp rates. wot say???? shell nothing lasts forever.....
10/5/2005 8:23 PM

Come on is a marketing gimmick by Time magazine....their sale may be down so they targetted the great Indian gullible middle class Sania is on the cover..
10/5/2005 8:50 PM

Her achivement cant be ignored for sure, considering the fact that she is the only Indian woman player who has got something to show to whole word. And her looks and attitude make her the media's darling as well as peoples! But why are you complanining man, whts ur problem. Any Indian putting the india on world map is most welcomed!!
10/5/2005 9:15 PM

Thay want Indian content, indians are mad for ash and now for sania its just marketing gimmick
10/5/2005 11:30 PM

But she is the first Indian to even advance beyond the first round of a Grand Slam. She is breaking ground that
no Indian woman has before. And Ash wasn't on the cover because she is supposedly the greatest Indian Actres, she was on the cover because she is a world-wide phenomenon and a major figure of the TIME. Get it?
10/6/2005 12:28 AM

My friend Amjad , u obviously have a lot of frustrations in life , i guess one of them is the fact that you arent part of the time magazine team . What have you achieved in life Amjad ? i guess nothing will be an understatement .
10/6/2005 4:22 AM

dude.. let us first se your ass on the time magazine cover and then we all shall listen to your rantings.... i am not a fan of sania but i do believe that one should give credit where it is due
10/6/2005 9:38 AM

she is appearing on the times cover page not just on the basis of tennis talent but some other factors also.
1. she has totally transformed tennis in india. Something which even paes and bhupati could also not do. Kids are now taking tennis much more seriously. This is a great achievement.
2. No women tennis player from indian sub continent has achieved scuh heights.
3. She is a muslim who are considered conservative as far as gender equality is concerned. Its an extraordinary achievement considering this factor.
4. Last but not the least she has a high glamour value even in US and UK.

So i think time magzine has done nothing wrong by putting her on the first page. She deserves a place there. However i aslo feel that if she had been from US, UK or any other western country, her picture would have never appeared on times magzine.
10/6/2005 10:29 AM
ashish shekhar

Hey Ashish and all others who have commented Leander and Mahesh Bhupathi have won us several Grand slam titles but they are not worthy of the honour and here Sania gets the honour for not even entering quarter finals of any grandslam event. NOw now....THose who are spewing venom here please read this. As for Ash, well if giving just 2 hits (khan starrers) and 24 flops is enough for her face to adorn TIMEs cover then lets change the meaning of "achievement". And all you folks, have you ever heard things called "Good PR skills" "Media savvy", etc
. And those think that I am a kind of jealous person then let me tell you that if some real Indian achiever was chosen I would have felt proud. I will like if someone deserving gets the honour not some glamour girls who don't have anything worthwhile to show except for their assets and faces.

Amjad Maruf
10/6/2005 1:12 PM

Comparing Sania and Sachin invites criticism

Cynism Galore

"I'll have a Sania Mirza with extra hype and diet coke to go please....".............irritated blogger "Nunc Aut Numquam "at

"Nunc Aut Numquam " writes:

Now let me see. What's up? Sania Mirza. I mean come on. I might not have any moral right to say this but the dudette needs to loose some weight. And her backhand undoes everything her forehand tries to do. All that she has won is a junior wimbeldon event. I mean Sharapova is so much better. Well Sania IS the best we've ever got, but she certainly cannot be compared to Sachin. Its like comparing Ashton Kutcher to Al Pacino. And she talks like she's won the Noble Prize or something. And what's with that accent? Did she work in a Hyderabadi call centre? Why the phoney PR act? And those loud Tees. She's immature people. Not that I expect her to be mature. But we so need to stop iconising bimbettes like her. She's a pioneer alright. but look at the likes of Anjali Bhagwat, Malleshwari, Rajywardhan Rathore and many many more. I think Rathore's feat warrants more media attention than our Miss Biryani here. Why doesn't Rathore have a PR manager? Why dont Chinese ahtletes ever make it to the cover of Time? Simple. That's because Miss Hype is in it not just for the game. Allied interests. Media packaged patriotism. PR managed nationality. Deep fried interviews. Sania Mirza...with extra hype.

What Sachin took a decade to do......OOPS !


My name is L. Subramani, I was born in Salem ...............

The article below is an intresting story i found at

Blogger (MoB - Mafia of Bangalore) writes :-
Below is the story of a friend of mine, Subramani. He has surmountedall odds to work with Deccan Herald as a journo. He is very comfy withPC's and Tech stuff . He is as normal as we are except that he isblind. An avid tennis fan, here is how he recognised various shotsbeing played on the court ..

"Reporting on sports, particularly on tennis is quite easy, because, youcan hear the ball bouncing on both sides of the court and the chairumpire would tell the score. With the help of my fellow journalists likeK. Srinivasa Raghavan, tennis correspondent, The New Indian Express, Iwould decipher the shot that was played and record it in the palm-sizetape recorder. I would later listen to it and type my reports. If I cansay so, I was the first visually challenged sports journalist at that time."

Hold your breadth, he learnt to speak Japanese while working inChennai. Well, read on .....!!!
My name is L. Subramani, I was born in Salem (Tamil Nadu) and livedthe best part of my 32 years (dob: 06-07-1973) in Chennai. I belong tothe Brahmin community.
I had myopia from the age of five and was testing to change thespectacles in 1988, when my ophthalmologist told my parents I have RP,an eye condition that would lead to blindness. Though the doctorbelieved blindness may occur later in my life, it happenedsurprisingly early: two years after diagnosis.

I was doing higher secondary schooling and as my sight deteriorated, Iwondered how possibly I can complete the schooling. As it was toolate, government education department rejected my plea to have ascribe and so, I had to write the final school exams on my own. To mydisbelief, I secured 64 percent, for exams I wrote as half-blind.

My parents were devastated and thought life was over for me, evenbefore it started. Some relatives suggested I must stay at home andpursue my degree through distance education, which I rejected.

My mother N. Vijayalakshmi supported my idea of going to college andexplained about my problem to various college principals and requestedthem to admit me in the college. Her efforts paid off, as LoyolaCollege was ready to admit me in 1991. The college was where Icompleted my BA and MA. During my stay in the college, I met wonderfulfriends; some of them continue to be very close pals even today. Myfriends, Ashwin Chand, K C Vijayakumar and a few others, use to cycledown to my house and record all the study materials for me. ReadersAssociation for the Blind, an informal NGO comprising of educatedhouse wives in Chennai, lead by Mrs. Neela Ananthachary, also chippedin with reading assistance and acting as scribes for me and 30 othervisually challenged students of my college.

It was during the college days, I took interest in journalism, as Ienjoyed interacting with people and found knowing about theminteresting. I should mention thanks to my personal interactions withseveral people early on in my life as a visually challenged person, Icould learn ways of tackling my problems

Even before I lost my sight, sports events used to interest me a lot.I particularly loved watching tennis and as I was losing my sight, Isaw the Wimbledon finals between Edberg and Becker and struggledsubsequently with enormous pain in my eyes. And, at the end of thematch, I used to write down my observations, with inadequatevocabulary and flawed grammar. Little did I realise that was what Iwould end up doing (I think with much improved grammar and vocabulary).

After college, I tried hard to pursue higher studies abroad. But moneyand inadequate academic records (thanks to my blindness) were hugestumbling blocks. That was when my friends suggested to apply for a PGDiploma course in Journalism and I promptly did.The course led me to The New Indian Express, where I joined as atrainee for three months. I wrote my first article in 1998 and feltthrilled, when well wishers told me I have a promising career ahead.It also answered my critics at home, who didn't believe I can ever doanything close to that.

Journalism was quite challenging, as I felt it hard to use computers,despite knowing the keyboard operations, thanks to my brother L.Prakash. JAWS (a software fir the blind to use computers) wasexpensive and I had no choice but to learn to work on the PC withoutit. Surprisingly, apart from things like spell checking, I managedeverything without the speech software.

But, employing me full time was a decision the newspaper managementwas finding it hard to take, as they weren't fully convinced.Understandably, some higher-level managers raised questions about howindependently I could work. So, I had to continue my career onfreelance basis. I found newspapers encouraging and had mentors likeK. S. Latha, former Economic Times editor, who helped me hone myskills as a writer.

This was when an offer to join Chennai Online came, which I grabbedwith both hands. It was quite interesting, as I started writing onsports. I covered several matches for them, including twointernational tennis events (the Gold Flake Open, which subsequentlybecame Tata Open). I had more exposure and quite liked what I did.

Reporting on sports, particularly on tennis is quite easy, because,you can hear the ball bouncing on both sides of the court and thechair umpire would tell the score. With the help of my fellowjournalists like K. Srinivasa Raghavan, tennis correspondent, The NewIndian Express, I would decipher the shot that was played and recordit in the palm-size tape recorder. I would later listen to it and typemy reports. If I can say so, I was the first visually challengedsports journalist at that time.

I left Chennai online, after the dotcom burst and worked as a languageconsultant (effectively a technical writer) with a company calledSofil Information Systems, where I reviewed technical documentstranslated from Japanese.

The director of the company once called me and told me to teachEnglish for seven of our Japanese staff. I found it exciting, as, withno common medium of instruction, I had to explain most of the thingsto them by gestures. But, I couldn't believe myself, as in threemonths time, I learnt to speak Japanese. Today, my spoken Japaneselanguage level is quite comparable with anyone who can handle thelanguage, though I am yet to master the script.

During my stint with the software company, I continued to report ontennis tournaments for Chennai online on freelance basis andcontributed to famous dailies like The Hindu (metro plus supplement).When I decided to get back to mainstream journalism in 2003, Iresigned from Sofil and kept myself busy contributing for newspapersin Bangalore as well. This was the time, when I also did research workfor the memoirs of film actress Padmini.

In the same year, I was called for an interview at Deccan Herald andmy esteemed editor Mr. Shanth Kumar understood my condition and waswilling to give me an opportunity. A great feeling of triumph filledmy heart, as I could convince editor of a famous daily on my skills. From April 2004, I work in Deccan Herald, concentrating on editing andwriting assignments. I write on several topics, including ondisability affair. Sports, alas, isn't an option I have explored so far.

On the question of JAWS, I can afford it now, as my brother L.Prakash, went to work in Japan and bought that for me. My visualstatus is nothing more than total blindness.

The list of people I had interviewed includes:Film Stars Kamalhassan, Vikram, Surya, director Manirathnam, Dharani,music directors Bharadwaj, Harris Jayaraj, Hamsalekha, Gurukiran,Vidyasagar, tennis stars Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathy, Magnus Norman(former world no 4), Sjeng Schalken (present world no 20), ParadornSrichaphan (world no 12), Karol Kucera (former world no 6), GuillermoCanas (former world no 10) and Sania Mirza (who was a junior player in2000). (and the list isn't complete).


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sania Mania - What lies beneath

Sania Mania - What lies beneath

Found at is worthy of our time

The hype and hoopla surrounding Sania Mirza typifies what is wrong with Indian sports and reflects some serious loss of perspective. Even the thespians, I dare say are caught up in this fantasy – the fantasy of India having a potential Grand Slam winner in Sania Mirza.

I do not claim to be an expert in tennis but I have been an avid follower of the game for a long time – long enough to have seen a number of precocious talents burning out and a select few making it to the top echelons of the game. From recent memory, I can recollect a match between Serena Williams and the little known Angela Haynes who was dishing out winners more frequently than fries in McDonalds. Anybody who saw that match would vouch that Haynes has the tools to make it big - they just need to be harnessed. Likewise for Sania. I do not discard (wouldn't that be sacrilege?) any statements that have been made by our experts - she has a great forehand, she has the required measure of aggression, she has the potential to win a slam and so on. Well, May be. But then, may be not. More of that later.

Hopefully, everything that Sania's game promises will be achieved. But it all depends on how Sania's talents are tapped over a period of time and that makes it imperative that she does not lose perspective amidst all the surrounding jingoism. Not surprisingly , the most relevant statement about Sania was made recently by Mats Wilander (who is leading the Swedish Davis Cup team in India) - "The focus should be on becoming a better tennis player. It should not be on winning tournaments and rankings. It is the process that matters. Who knows, she can then be the top-two or the Number 1, or even win a Grand Slam”. Being a seven time grand slam champion, Wilander knows what he is talking about, which, sadly, is not the case with some of our national experts and columnists. Then there is this constant "She's only 18" fixation! Well, aren't they all that age? Graf, Hingis, Venus, Serena, Sharapova and many others were Grand Slam winners before they reached that age - some of them multiple times over. It's not the eighties any more when Tracy Austin and Andrea Jaegar were rareties. With the changing face of tennis, 18 is blooming time or at least close to it. From an Indian perspective, 18 is young but when you talk about winning grand slams you have got to take the global perspective. Sania has got to realize that and stop uttering the utterly defensive "I am only 18" one liner.

Coming to Sania's game, let’s dwell on those features that have been hailed by our tennis experts. Firstly, her forehand, which has already been labelled as "great" by all and sundry. "Potentially great" would, perhaps have been a better adjective, though. No single shot in tennis can be called "great" if it cannot break down your opponent’s game. Steffi Graf's forehand and Sampras' serve for example, were weapons which could absolutely mow down opponents. Sania has an explosive forehand but far from being relentless, it is sporadic and inconsistent. That was well highlighted in her recent loss in the Sunfeast open. Secondly, her aggressiveness, which at the moment, is more like Fernando Gonzales, the Chilean with a monster forehand who inevitably ends up having less hits than misses. All these plus more have to be worked upon to make a champion out of the Hyderabad belle. But it would require more than an ouce of perspective to achieve that.

The media of course has plummeted to an an all time low. Before Sania's match with Sharapova, there were more lines written about their T-Shirts and danglers than tennis. "The Telegraph" published a "face-off" profile of the two players in which we had things like "favourite movie","favourite song" etc. Excuse me! Are we in Broadway? I thought it was Flushing Meadows. Naresh Kumar, one of our veteran tennis experts, in one of his columns (again in "The Telegraph") expressed elation at Sania making Maria Sharapova "scamper" around the court. Well, Mr. Kumar, with all your knowledge and experience, you should know that it is the final scoreline that matters and not anything else. Rafael Nadal recently scampered his way to the French open crown as had Michael Chang in the past. Kim Clijsters was made to scamper by Venus Williams in the US open this year - but ended up winning it all. Sometimes top players are made to scamper - like Federer was, by Santoro recently - but they end up winning, all the same. I would, in fact go ahead and say that one of Sania's major weaknesses is that she cannot scamper. Far from that, her movement around the court is close to an embarrassment. The kinds of far-fetched comments and coverage that Sania is getting should ideally remain peripheral, but can affect a player in the practical scenario. Especially in a country like India where adulation can get to one's head, if you are as young as Sania is. We do not want Sania to be lured into a delusion about her game and what she has achieved.

So why doesn't everybody get out of the fantasy zone for once and get a reality check. Realize that "One forehand does not a champion make"! Or else Sania could end up among the pantheon of Indian sportspersons whose story has been "almost but not quite". And to the media, in Agassi's words "Go buy some perspective"!