Byline by M.J. Akbar :A Policket Quiz
Test your knowledge, analytical ability and skill as an astrologer through this simple quiz on two of the three great national entertainments of India, politics and cricket. Tick your preference, cut out, keep and check how right or wrong you have been by the end of 2008. (Even 2008 will come to an end, in about 360 days.)
1: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will
a) Abandon the nuclear deal and remain in office for another year
b) Go for it, and challenge the Left and Opposition to a sudden-death election in May
c) Do neither and hope for the best.
2: The Padma awards on 26 January this year will be
a) Dominated by CEO-types as government reinforces its liberalisation image
b) Full of handouts to unknown sycophants backed by unknown ministers
c) Go to those who genuinely deserve them.
3: The Union Budget will be
a) More leftist-than-thou, a sudden reversal to pro-poor policies
b) Packed with subsidies to minorities
c) A repeat of last year’s neither-here-nor-there prescriptions, but this time overdosing on quotations from Tamil poets.
4: The BJP will
a) Return to depression after losing in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan
b) Discover stability and an alternative economic policy and win
c) Behave as if it has already won the next general elections and swagger to another defeat.
5: Sharad Pawar will
a) Send flowers every month to Bal Thackeray
b) Smile at the Congress and sabotage it at every level
c) Import huge amounts of wheat when international prices are at their highest.
6: The decisive factor in the next general elections will be
a) The nuclear deal
b) Rising prices
c) Narendra Modi
d) Fractious alliances
e) Mayawati’s ability to cut the Congress vote in seats she can’t win.
7: Bengal’s chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will
a) Reinterpret Marxism through a thesis titled Bindas Capital, which will be popularly known as Buddhism
b) Be replaced as chief minister after severe reverses in the summer panchayat elections
c) Re-establish control over Bengal through guns, cadres and sops.
8: The Left will
a) Play hide-and-seek with the Third Front
b) Play hide-and-seek with the Congress
c) Play hide-and-seek with itself.
9: The Congress will paint Prime Minister-in-waiting L.K. Advani as
a) Modi without a beard
b) Modi without Gujarat
c) Modi without Modi.
10: The BJP will portray the Manmohan Singh government as
a) Do-nothing jee huzoors
b) Do-nothing minority-appeasers
c) Do-nothing except both of the above.
11: The Congress will
a) Taking a cue from Barack Obama, project Rahul Gandhi and ‘change’ as the theme song of its next election campaign
b) Stick to the comfort-level of Dr Manmohan Singh’s prime ministership
c) Leave matters ambiguous, wait for the results to come in, and then see how the politics of power play out.
12: India and Pakistan will
a) Let relations stagnate for yet another year, using the excuse of uncertainty at the top and instability at the bottom
b) Search for a surrogate war in Afghanistan
c) Miraculously discover common sense and realise that unless they sort out Kashmir, and swim together against terrorism India will suffer and Pakistan will sink.
13: Rahul Dravid will unfreeze when
a) He realises that he was nicknamed The Wall, not Wall’s ice cream
b) Gets written orders from his wife to relax
c) Listens to his personal manager
d) Drinks six large malt whiskies in half an hour at a good Australian bar
e) Gets dropped.
14: We will get English cricket commentary when
a) Ravi Shastri realises that "batter" is a mixture of flour, egg and milk or water, used for caking food before frying, and not a man with a bat at the crease
b) When some unmentionables stop saying that it was not a very difficult chance, but not an easy chance either
c) When other unmentionables stop reading English in the Urdu script
d) When a basic grammar test is a compulsory requirement for anyone aspiring to be a commentator
e) When one or two commentators learn that people are interested in cricket and not in the volume of gas in their vocal cords.
15: The Indian Cricket XI by the end of 2008 will have
a) The present level of four Permanent Oldies, two regular Middle-Agers and young floaters
b) Seven Oldies, two MAs and two floaters
c) Three members of the Supreme Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, seven Oldies and Shah Rukh Khan as coach-captain.
16: Sachin Tendulkar will score his fiftieth Test century in
c) At the age of 50.
17: Sourav Ganguly will
a) Be reappointed captain
b) Become chief minister of Bengal after Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
c) Refuse to retire until he signs a Rs 100 crore contract to advertise casual shirts that come off easily without tearing.
If by the end of 2008 you discover that you have mastered both politics and cricket, you will be made a member of the Rajya Sabha and chair a special committee to investigate the role of bookies in fixing cricket matches.