Unmixed doubleshttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/unmixed-doubles/

Unmixed doubles

In tennis and in politics,partnerships last week were characterised by irreconcilable differences

In tennis and in politics,partnerships last week were characterised by irreconcilable differences

In a week of mismatches,is it any wonder that tennis stars Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes were playing mixed doubles with Rohan Bopanna? But this wasn’t only about who should represent India in tennis at the London Olympics.

Think back to seven days ago: we had political pairings like Bhupathi and Paes that became jigsaw pieces that would simply not fit together no matter how hard they tried. As the coalition parties looked for a suitable presidential candidate,television news captured these irreconcilable differences by juxtaposing the photographs or TV footage of the politicians as they switched partners.

First,we had the Sonia Gandhi-Mamata Banerjee doubles pair that swiftly changed to the Mamata Banerjee-Mulayam Singh duo when they announced their choice of three names for president,followed by the Mulayam Singh-Pranab Mukherjee da jodi after the SP leader deserted Mamata di and backed the finance minister,at which point Banerjee switched to A.P.J. Kalam. The BJP,meanwhile,found itself in Bopanna’s shoes: it wanted to pair with Kalam,with whom it had played ball previously,but it was being forced to consider P.A. Sangma instead,as Kalam dropped out of the game. Now,half of the BJP wants to partner Mukherjee,and so do JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar and Shiv Sena’s Bal Thackeray,but the other half is still searching for the perfect match.


Yes,it’s been that kind of “yes-we-will-no-we- won’t” week. The news channels could not have been more pleased: for once,they did not need to manufacture dissent — the politicians were producing plenty of it on their own.

In the event,what should have been Mukherjee’s TV-op with his family and friends showering him with praise has been another political saga starring Mamata Banerjee. His family barely got a mention as West Bengal’s chief minister came between them and the TV cameras with her daily presidential preferences. Will the prime minister who has never been PM ever forgive her for this?

All of these odd couples could learn something from Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa,our badminton doubles team. They seem to be ideal partners on the court. If you watched last week’s Go for Glory (CNN-IBN),a show devoted to Indians going for gold at the Olympics,you’d have heard them describe how well they complement one another.

Compliments to Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (Colors) for a new twist to the plot. It has decided that Madhuri Dixit deserved a new partner,but husband Dr Nene need not worry. The other man in her life is only Karan Johar on the talent show. He has replaced Malaika Arora Khan and joins Remo D’Souza alongside Maddy at the judges’ table. Question is: does Johar know as much about dancing as he does about the coffee he advertises or drinks on his talk show? We are about to find out. This year’s contest features the likes of swinging Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya,the Taare Zameen Par Darsheel Safary,and actor Ravi Kishan whose fondness for reality TV rivals that of Rakhi Sawant.

Jhalak is one of several shows launched after IPL withdrew from the field of vision. Indian Idol (Sony) and Masterchef Australia (Star World) have filled the void along with new soaps like Madhubala (Colors). And then of course there is Euro 2012. By the way,have you noticed the Carlsberg TV commercial? There’s a frosted empty glass as the banner proclaims,“Time for a Carlsberg” — and then nothing,so if you didn’t know that it was a beer,you’d think Carlsberg is an empty glass.

Dunno what Matthew Hayden’s Home Ground (TLC) is,or about,but it’s certainly not cricket. The former Australian opening batsman is seen on his farm doing everything but playing the game: he tends to the pigs,the cattle,repairs the homestead,cooks a meal and behaves as though the only field he belongs to is the green,green grass of home. Why do we have to watch this? We don’t.

An alternative is to watch another episode of the Queen. The BBC is still celebrating its monarch’s 60 years at the helm and so for the 60th time we watched her coronation (BBC News) as well as The Royals at Work. Tell you what,it’s a tough job sitting through these telecasts: we know diamonds are forever,but this one is losing its sparkle.