Paes and Bhupathi: The way forward

New Delhi: The Indian economy is on a tailspin. The inflation rate doesn’t look like slowing down. The monsoon is playing truant. The rupee is on a free fall. The Presidential election race is getting murky. There is more controversy over the possible candidature of Narendra Modi for the post of Prime Minister. Corruption-tainted Jaganmohan Reddy’s party scores major victory in the byelections in Andhra Pradesh. There is confusion over the confusion of IIT entrance exam.

In such a critical situation, it’s extremely reassuring to find the nation to be collectively worried over the shenanigans of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi on their possible double combination in the forthcoming London Olympics.

The story so far is: Bhupathi says he doesn’t want to partner Paes in tennis doubles as part of the Indian team in the Olympics. Paes retaliates in quick time by indicating that he is not interested in playing alongside Bhupathi, too. Rohan Bopanna, for his part, has said that he is willing to partner only Bhupathi. And vexed with all these things, AP J Abdul Kalam opts out of the Presidential race. OK, we may not have any empirical evidence to prove that Kalam was upset with Paes and Bhupathi, but neither can you disbelievers prove that he wasn’t.

Anyway, the question now is what will happen now. What are the possible scenarios that can play out in the coming days?  We at Crank’s News put on our thinking caps and went to sleep. And this is what we managed to think up in our sleep:

1)      All action in the court

Anything tennis can be fought only on the courts. And so Bhupathi moves the Supreme Court, and files a writ of habeas corpus seeking relief from playing with Paes in the Olympics. Paes files a writ of mandamus to restrain Bhupathi from participating in the Olympics. AITA, for its part, files a RTI application, to know the meaning of writ of mandamus and writ of habeas corpus.

And when you are talking of courts, can Subramaniam Swamy be far behind.

The redoubtable Swamy files a PIL seeking to prosecute Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, as because Chidambaram’s son, Karthi Chidambaram, is the vice-president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA). Swamy also indicated that Sonia Gandhi had a hand in tennis matters. After all, she was once a ‘server’ at a café in Cambridge, he said.

The court sends notices to the London Olympics organisers and adjourns all the hearing in the matter to Sept 15, a month after the Olympics actually ends.

2)      IOA’s lob

The Indian Olympic Association, and the AITA, unable to resolve the crisis between Paes and Bhupathi, does what it always does: Complicate the matter further.

The IOA grants permission to both Paes and Bhupathi to pick their own respective partners for the team. But the actual team to play in the Olympics will be chosen in the same manner that the Union Cabinet agreed to auction the 2G licences: First come, first served.

Since this being tennis, the first come, first ‘served’ will be wholly appropriate, the IOA said.

The IOA also contemplates sending two separate doubles team for the same match. In this, they seem to have historical precedent as it played the hockey team in the 1968 Olympics with two captains in the field.

3)      Mamata’s volley

Let us face it, there is not even a single issue in the country now over which the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee does not want to have a say.  At any rate, she has a genuine case to take up the matter, as Paes originally belonged to Kolkata.

She announces her support for Paes. But much to her chagrin, the Congress in the UPA decides to back Bhupathi. Later, it is learnt that the Congress went with Bhupathi because the strong Kerala lobby in the party, led by AK Antony, was inclined to support Bhupathi, who, needless to say, hails from most traditional part of Kerala, the Gulf.

The BJP, and the NDA, after hectic consultations, finally express their forthright decision, which is: Watch this space.

4)      Kapil Sibal at the net

With Bhupathi unwilling to partner Paes, the UPA government steps in to resolve the crisis by deputing Union Minister Kapil Sibal to fill the breach.

When someone doesn’t want to do some job, that job usually goes to Sibal. This is the cast-iron credo of the UPA. ‘This policy has worked very well in the past. So why should we change the policy now for this?’ asked an UPA spokesperson.

In the future, Kapil Sibal later said, the Indian tennis team would be picked through a Joint Entrance Exam

5)      And finally, the ace

Amidst all the vexatious exchanges and mudslinging, Paes and Bhupathi actually kiss and make up and finally agree to turn up together in the Olympics for the sake of one without whom the Olympic movement is inconceivable. And that one person is the Indian McEnroe: Sachin Tendulkar.

We will play together for Sachin, Paes and Bhupathi say.

And all is well that ends well

(Disclaimer: As we were going to print, the two-team theory seems to be becoming a reality. In this country, spoof cannot survive for long)