Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Does Dhoni's Stake in Rhiti Means Anything?

Mahi owns 15% stake in a Sports Management Firm. So what? The stake at first glance seems to be just a business investment (which unfortunately has the potential to be a business misadventure.)

Let me get this right.

The sequence seems thus. Rhiti takes on Dhoni's management for a considerable sum. Meaning it manages Dhoni's career, endorsements, public appearances, off cricket activities, etc. As any successful sports management firm will do - it has also signed on a few other promising cricketers like Suresh Raina, Ojha, R.P. Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, etc. Fine so far.

Dhoni - with money to invest - buys a stake in Rhiti. Its a minority stake. Just 15%. It means Dhoni doesnt take decisions. He just shares in the firm's bottomline. The only thing I can see here is Dhoni is backing himself. Make no mistake, any firm which has Dhoni's portfolio is going to be a huge success. So Dhoni backs himself to make the firm successful and buys a stake (I am sure as per the advise of his business advisers).

Now we come to the issue (non -issue) that the media is making out. Dhoni sits on the selection committee. So does that mean Mahendra Singh Dhoni will jeopardise the performance of the team by approving the selection of players that Rhiti has on board because Rhiti manages them? How will it help Dhoni? Will the 15% stake in Rhiti's profit be more than the endorsements that he will lose if the team loses? At last count Dhoni endorsed 22 firms. He is apparently more popular than Shahrukh Khan. Why? Because he is a winner. He gives his all for the team. He is dedicated, still simple and honest as per popular opinion. Will he risk all that to make Jadeja's or Raina's career. And Raina is not even in the test team. Suresh Raina despite his obvious talent has not recently been a part of the Indian team. The likes of Rahane, Murli Vijay, Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan got their chances - Raina didnt in the just concluded Test series against Australia. Apparently Raina has a shortcoming against the rising ball. That's funny - since most Indian players have that shortcoming. Remember Virender Sehwag?

Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev have all had majority stakes in Sports Management outfits. Has it never been in conflict with their other duties as selectors, mentors, coach, etc. So why Dhoni now? Dhoni being a VP at India Cements is being touted as a crime now. But isnt that Srinivasan's conflict? Dhoni is his Company's VP. He is the BCCI President. Does follow logically he will make Dhoni the Captain of India, right?

It seems its just the way of the media (and former cricketers) and people to bring down celebrities after hoisting them high on a pedestal. And Dhoni after being thrown really really high on to the ether world is finding the fall all the more harder. For nothing. Not on current evidence. But these stories will not go away unless Dhoni just decides to let his considerable income sit in a bank!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

5 Reasons Why Chelo Kebab is Not Nasi lemak

A few days back I had an amazing dinner of Chello Kebab at perhaps the World's most famous restaurant serving Chelo Kebab - Peter Cat in Park Street at Kolkata. During the course of my post prandial musings, my thoughts flew to another favorite meal with amazingly similar "apparent" ingredients but an entirely different result - the Nasi Lemak from Malaysia.

Both are complete meals with chicken, vegetable, egg on the side with rice at the centre. And thats where the similarities end between the two meals!

Nasi Lemak has flavoured rice as in Chelo Kebab. In Nasi Lemak, the flavour comes from lime leaves and lemon grass - while in Chello Kebab the flavouring is from butter and the smell of basmati rice.

Chicken is the main ingredient of Chello Kebab as the name suggests. It comes in the form of awesomely rich, grilled, minced chicken kebabs - whose ingredients and secrets go back perhaps 300 years or so. You also get barbecued chicken on skewers. The chicken in Nasi Lemak is a side dish, normally chicken rendang (a red red chicken in gravy - cooked with coconut) or simple fried chicken.

Chello Kebab may have a piece or two of cucumber on the side - but it is not accompanied by anchovies and peanuts as in Nasi Lemak. The other vegetable in chello comes barbecued with the chicken.

Eggs too come differently. While Nasi Lemak has a boiled egg served on the side, Chello Kebab has a poached egg placed delicately at the centre of the rice - with a dollop of butter near it.

And perhaps the most critical non-similarity! Chello Kebab is a princely meal, however meaningless the royal terminology may be in today's egalitarian world, loved and revered by people who have partaken of it at Peter Cat. Nasi Lemak is street food at its best, served in wrapped pandan leaves at street corners, for breakfast, lunch and dinner at most local restaurants and everywhere else in Malaysia - similarly loved and revered!

So enjoy both!!!