Thursday, November 24, 2005
India: Midnight to Millenium - Shashi Tharoor
I just finished reading this book at the Mumbai Airport on my way back to SFO. It's an excellent book (thanks, Gaurav, for the recommendation). It tapers off towards the end into random musings, but the first two-thirds of the book is really tight and well reasoned. Tharoor, like Rushdie, seems to have been deeply influenced by the Emergency and the sections in the book on Emergency and on social changes in India are quite brilliant, because they are based on his own personal experiences.
He also is very pro-free market. From what I could tell, he went to the US for his Ph.D. and then joined the UN. I don't think he has any "grass-roots" background in domestic policy, business or NGO-type work, as far as I can tell.
I went to watch the One Day International match between India and Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad. It was extremely well-organized. The roads were dusty, the parking a little haphazard, but everything else - security, the food, the crowd - was just outstanding. I only watched the first innings. Even though Gautam Gambhir hit a century and India scored almost 300 runs, the match was mostly boring. The only entertainment was the endless series of Mexican waves that circled the stadium.
I don't think cricket - even one-day internationals - is a very good spectator sport. As Indians get more prosperous and busier, Bollywood movies will get shorter and either Twenty20 cricket will stick, or basketball, soccer etc. will rapidly become popular.