Monday, 30th October 2017

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Parle-G, Britannia Marie, and 'chai pe charcha'

Perhaps the changing fortunes of these iconic biscuits reflect the gradual disappearance of the argumentative Indian

  • Published 25.08.19, 2:29 PM
  • Updated 25.08.19, 2:29 PM
  • 3 mins read
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Perhaps given the gradual disappearance — or should that be silencing? — of the argumentative Indian, the change in the fortunes of these iconic biscuits is only to be expected Shutterstock

Sir — To the generation of Bengalis for whom the evening adda at the local tea shack was an indispensable part of life, the news about the changing fortunes of Parle-G and Britannia Marie heralds the passing of an era. Relatively plain and perfectly absorbent, these biscuits make for the best accompaniments for milky tea and heated arguments. But perhaps given the gradual disappearance — or should that be silencing? — of the argumentative Indian, the change in the fortunes of these iconic biscuits is only to be expected. After all, not every chai pe charcha is welcomed with open arms.

K.S. Bhattacharjee,
Calcutta

Better than the best

Sir — The game of cricket has always been a spectator sport and thus one should not judge a batsman only on the basis of his batting average. It is thus unfortunate that Mukul Kesavan did not mention two of cricket’s most versatile entertainers, Jacques Kallis and Kumara Sangakara, in his piece, “An alien charm” (Aug 18). But it is beyond doubt that Steve Smith is one of the best batsmen at present. In league with him are Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root.

But before calling someone the best batsman, one should also consider the strength of the bowling attack he faces, his batting technique and style, the abilities of the other batsmen of his team and so on. This is perhaps why Vivian Richards, Clive Lloyd, Jeff Thomson, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Garry Sobers rate Sunil Gavaskar — who has an average of 51.12 — ahead of many greats having better batting averages.

At one time, it was common to have two or three great players in each team. This is rare now, there are just a handful of really good players across several countries. People knew that if Gavaskar got out early, Mohinder Amarnath, Gundappa Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Kapil Dev would follow. So whatever the disappointment one had to face at having to see one’s favourite batsman get out, there were others to compensate for the disappointment with their fantastic batting display. Identifying the greatest used to be extremely difficult. While it was important to have the likes of Desmond Haynes in the team, but the visually pleasing style of David Gower was equally important.

These are perhaps some of the reasons why Steve Waugh rated A.B. de Villiers as the best batsman as Kesavan mentioned in his piece.

Somnath Mukherjee,
Calcutta

Sir — Steve Smith is undoubtedly one of the best Test cricketers. While Smith’s technique is quite unorthodox, he amazingly manages to hit the ball clear of boundaries pretty often. He plays on-side flick with a delightful precision and has super strong arms and flexible wrists.

But cricket has changed. Performance in one-day internationals is now considered as important as Test match skills when it comes to deciding the calibre of a batsman. In this regard, Virat Kohli must be awarded the crown of best batsman. It is important that a batsman must change gear and style in the various formats to be successful. As far as this is concerned, Kohli is well ahead of Smith. The latter’s performance in ODIs cannot match that of Kohli’s.

Shameek Bose,
Calcutta

Fight anew

Sir — Now that Sonia Gandhi is back as Congress president, Rahul Gandhi’s leadership stint seems to have ended for good. This is unfortunate. He should have introspected on why he lost; his speeches hold the clue. Simply criticizing Narendra Modi exposed his immaturity. Rahul Gandhi should have avoided all personal attacks on Modi till he reached a certain level of success and maturity in his political life. Criticism of him and his family should have countered sternly instead of saying that he does not mind being called Pappu. There was no need for him to resign as the Congress president; by simply giving in he exposed his weakness. Rahul Gandhi should renew his fight and heed the requests of his party members and take up the responsibility of leading the Congress again. Stubbornness in politics can be suicidal.

B.K. Nundee,
Calcutta

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