Perfect hundredth, flawed miracles

It finally happened. Just like my armpit rash which disappeared one fine morning after I thought I was stuck with it for life, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar finally got that large rhesus monkey (the rhesus monkey is normally quite large so there is no need to say large, and rhesus is like saying black and raven), off his back and into the forest where it belongs.

For the last year or so India had come to a standstill in expectation of his 100th ton. Now that it’s finally come, its business as usual, with defence scams, abusive parliamentarians and £500,000 poorer fugitive Lalit Modi.
Now, obviously, this landmark is a landmark landmark. No, it’s so huge that it deserves much more respect. It’s a landmark landmark landmark, equal to Hammurabi’s edict, for instance, from so many years ago. For those not in the know, Hammurabi ran the world’s first seaside restaurant a few metres outside Babylon and gave civilisation the first set of do’s and don’ts to be followed at a restaurant. Those rules may sound a tad antiquated today, such as, you can’t order more than one vegetarian dish, if ajinomoto is not required please say so, and don’t tip the customers.
However, dear reader, great as Sachin’s feat may be, there have been feats that almost materialised which may have run him close. Let’s examine a few.
Last year, in August 2011, the BJP nearly inducted two new members into their fold, men whose age at the time was less than 30. Imagine the BJP with two card-carrying members in their Twenties! Unheard of. It would have been a real historical landmark. Sadly, the two failed the BJP entrance test on all three counts: They failed to identify a leading hair-dye brand, failed to translate L.K. Advani’s last Hindi speech back into Hindi, and worst of all is what happened with their signatures. They both signed off as one and the same person. The same signature for two different young men!
But just for a moment, there was a flicker, a slight chance that despite having an average membership age of 77, the BJP would have two brand new shining inductees under the age of 30.
Subedar Theer Singh’s was another almost-miracle story. After serving in the Indian Army for over 47 years, he actually had no doubt of his exact age, 64, and had no known charge of corruption against him. Mr Singh had served in the 1962 war where he would have seen action, except for the small matter of his going in the wrong direction. In 1965, he surrendered before the war actually broke out, and in 1971 he was stuck in Europe after his visa expired (he had earlier gone there on a backpacking trip).
Six months ago, Mr Singh, who meticulously kept a chart of all his 64 birthdays — how they were spent, presents received etc — was in line for a citation as an example of an incorruptible force in the force who also knew his date of birth. Unfortunately, two days before the ceremony, he called up and offered `100 to postpone the ceremony date as it clashed with his daughter’s birthday. The registrar, an absolutely corrupt body, was taken aback by the low rate offered and in an effort to teach Mr Singh a lesson, conveyed his actions to the Army’s top brass. Thus, another modern miracle was scratched away at the final juncture.
There were a few other cases such as the parliamentarians who never used unparliamentary language; the music composer who had never stolen a tune; a filmmaker who had never stolen ideas from Iranian films but only Korean films; a politician who had retired at 59; a businessman who had no personal wealth stashed away abroad; a Naxalite who actually had a plan; and a woman who came into contact with Charles Sobraj and didn’t fall in love with him. Sadly, all these miracles were found to have tiny flaws in the end, but they don’t matter because India has Sachin.

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