India November 14, 2009

Partying like it's 1899

 
72


Dhoni, in an extraordinary display of impudence, shares a laugh with Ponting at the last presentation ceremony of the series © AFP
 

Hold the front page! Saddle up your high horses and head for the moral uplands. Our old friend the cricket scandal is back in town, barging into forums and message boards across the cyber world, banging a metaphorical fist on a virtual table and demanding our attention. Yes, to the sound of several hundred million people tut-tutting in unison, it was revealed earlier this week that MS Dhoni and associates had been “partying” just hours after a cricket match that they’d had the appalling bad manners to lose.

When I first heard the news, naturally I was horrified. How dare they, I thought. What kind of heartless, selfish, irresponsible reprobates go out “partying” whilst a nation is still weeping over a defeat at the hands of Australia, a catastrophic event almost unheard of in the history of Indian cricket, certainly since the last one.

At first I resisted the temptation to click on the link inviting me to goggle at the sordid pictures of these debauched playboys getting up to all manner of disgraceful things. To click or not to click, that is so often the question. But after a millisecond or two spent weighing up the ethical issues involved, I decided to click. Invariably, I find it is better to have clicked and regretted it than never to have clicked at all.

However, for the benefit of those who did not click, I will tell you what you missed. Almost immediately, the scandal-seeking viewer was presented with a photograph of Dhoni, resplendent in a Michael Jackson t-shirt and beaming a well-scrubbed smile. Other photos followed, all of them featuring the Indian captain, the aforementioned t-shirt and an ever-present smile. Sometimes there were other people standing next to him. They were also smiling, though they were not wearing Michael Jackson t-shirts. I do not know their names. So far, so dull.

Then things started to get interesting. Just who was that mysterious man in the background? Could it be Praveen Kumar? Possibly. Well, guess what he was doing, this man-who-could-be-Praveen? Brace yourselves. You may want to make sure your children are not reading at this point. He was…(whisper it)…smoking! Yes, I know, I could scarcely believe it. But that wasn’t all.

Still reeling from the shock of Smoking-gate, I was confronted with a photo of Ashish Nehra. And what was that in his hand? It was a glass containing what appeared to be some kind of carbonated fruit-themed soft drink! Who knows how many he’d already had! Should he really have been drinking himself into a caffeine-frenzy in the middle of such an important series? Did his mother know he was out? What would Sachin say? What a scandal, what a disgrace… what a… what a… complete waste of our time.

Whatever Dhoni and chums were doing, it was certainly not “partying”, at least not in any meaningful sense of the word. They looked like a bunch of computer technicians relaxing in a provincial hotel between seminars on open source software and embedded systems programming. In other words, it looked like exactly the kind of tedious affair that you or I might have found ourselves at, not the carnival of celebrity bacchanalian excess I had been led to expect by the lurid headlines.

So just as Gary Kirsten will be analysing his team’s efforts against Australia, perhaps it is time that the Indian media held a performance review of their own. To help them out, I have compiled my own handy reference guide to help struggling journalists to tell the difference between a big fat juicy scandal and something that, er, isn’t. Here is just a brief extract:

Drugs test, failing of: Scandal
Coca Cola, drinking of (with or without ice): Not Scandal
Lap dancing club, visiting whilst on tour: Scandal
Michael Jackson t-shirt, wearing of: Not Scandal
Pedalo, falling from whilst drunk: Scandal
Pool, playing with friends: Not Scandal
Team-mate, hitting with cricket bat: Scandal
Grinning in company of consenting adults: Not Scandal

See how it works? We all love a scandal, but this, I’m afraid, was not it. Now raise your game, chaps, get off your comfortable office chairs, go out there and get us some real dirt. What’s that? Exclusive photographs of Graeme Smith looking at wallpaper samples just days before the coin toss for the crucial first Test? Ooh, that has to be worth a click…

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mithun on February 13, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    I dug this article out of the archives just to relive one of your best posts!! Fabulous, fabulous!!

  • Vijay Vikram on November 17, 2009, 19:23 GMT

    Andrews Hughes is clearly an excellent human being. Kudos.

  • Tilisha on November 16, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    Wow! A brilliant read...hilarious! I love your writing style Andrew:-)

  • Faraaz on November 15, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    great piece!! Loved reading it

  • sathish on November 15, 2009, 11:01 GMT

    U know, tis the same with most indians!!! just see how many of em have taken it seriously!!!

    Hughes... wonderful!!

  • Monteiro on November 15, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    Funny for the australians and the neutrals but seriously, the point being that India should have beaten this Australian side. They lost two close matches; and while chasing a modest 250 lost out because of the sheer professional attitude of the Australians not talent. Therefore, being a talented side, they should instill a bit of professional demeanour. Obviously, they can't cry everytime they lose but at least try to fight...also why is Jadeja in the side...he can't force the balls past the two feet area.

  • Jay on November 15, 2009, 3:40 GMT

    Funny!

  • cyaren on November 15, 2009, 2:20 GMT

    Well, I too saw those photos and was shocked. After a defeat, I didnt sleep well that night. Dunno how could these guys party. Well may be that party was not on that day, could have been on some other day. The most shocking was, as the author said was Kumar and Nehra.

    I believe they didnt party tat night after the defeat, Sachin was feeling very much that he could not win the match for India despite his mammoth run scoring. And if these guys had gone to party that night, curse them.

  • datta on November 15, 2009, 2:04 GMT

    well said

  • Prashant P on November 15, 2009, 1:29 GMT

    Fair point, but lets go back in time and try and make it more interesting: - fast bowler gets recruited into Australian team as a last minute replacement - said fast bowler under-performs, probably not up to international standard - effects microphone picks up voice speculating on the above - Can't bowl, can't field. One of hundreds of such on field sound bites during a cricket game - Speculation as to source of voice being Shane Warne - Instant Scandal - Apart from the obvious, why didn't whoever said it just own up. It wouldn't have been his worst admission, if it was Mr Warne. Except that it would have resulted in an even Bigger Scandal.

  • Mithun on February 13, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    I dug this article out of the archives just to relive one of your best posts!! Fabulous, fabulous!!

  • Vijay Vikram on November 17, 2009, 19:23 GMT

    Andrews Hughes is clearly an excellent human being. Kudos.

  • Tilisha on November 16, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    Wow! A brilliant read...hilarious! I love your writing style Andrew:-)

  • Faraaz on November 15, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    great piece!! Loved reading it

  • sathish on November 15, 2009, 11:01 GMT

    U know, tis the same with most indians!!! just see how many of em have taken it seriously!!!

    Hughes... wonderful!!

  • Monteiro on November 15, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    Funny for the australians and the neutrals but seriously, the point being that India should have beaten this Australian side. They lost two close matches; and while chasing a modest 250 lost out because of the sheer professional attitude of the Australians not talent. Therefore, being a talented side, they should instill a bit of professional demeanour. Obviously, they can't cry everytime they lose but at least try to fight...also why is Jadeja in the side...he can't force the balls past the two feet area.

  • Jay on November 15, 2009, 3:40 GMT

    Funny!

  • cyaren on November 15, 2009, 2:20 GMT

    Well, I too saw those photos and was shocked. After a defeat, I didnt sleep well that night. Dunno how could these guys party. Well may be that party was not on that day, could have been on some other day. The most shocking was, as the author said was Kumar and Nehra.

    I believe they didnt party tat night after the defeat, Sachin was feeling very much that he could not win the match for India despite his mammoth run scoring. And if these guys had gone to party that night, curse them.

  • datta on November 15, 2009, 2:04 GMT

    well said

  • Prashant P on November 15, 2009, 1:29 GMT

    Fair point, but lets go back in time and try and make it more interesting: - fast bowler gets recruited into Australian team as a last minute replacement - said fast bowler under-performs, probably not up to international standard - effects microphone picks up voice speculating on the above - Can't bowl, can't field. One of hundreds of such on field sound bites during a cricket game - Speculation as to source of voice being Shane Warne - Instant Scandal - Apart from the obvious, why didn't whoever said it just own up. It wouldn't have been his worst admission, if it was Mr Warne. Except that it would have resulted in an even Bigger Scandal.

  • Nav on November 15, 2009, 1:28 GMT

    Hahaha! Snap!

  • Ahsan on November 15, 2009, 0:18 GMT

    There is no doubt that the Indian media is the most pathetic media you will ever find anywhere! I am a Pakistani, and yet when I watched the clips on youtube from their very famous TV channels after the defeat of Pakistan, I started to have sympathy with the Indian team. One channel even conjured up the reason for the Indian exit is that Pak broke its promise to win against Australia and Pak cheated India!!!! Absolute disgrace that is Indian Media. What's next? Dhoni killing a fly on the window at his house equivalent of the assasination of Amitabh Bachan?

  • Rohit on November 14, 2009, 23:57 GMT

    Lol.. well written article.. Indian media should really let the cricketers breath..

  • Venky on November 14, 2009, 23:29 GMT

    Thanks for the click and clarification. You have done such a great service to the cricket community and the cricket loving public.

    You may accept the award next time Dhoni manages to beat Bangladesh or Kenya!

  • Arijit on November 14, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    This is bloody hilarious mate. Oh the humanity!

  • Vivek on November 14, 2009, 21:52 GMT

    A pointless article, went overboard in getting whatever little you had to say.

  • Gautham on November 14, 2009, 21:25 GMT

    Nicely put! But am afraid many Indians would probably end reading at para 6.

    If only ....

  • Don Tull on November 14, 2009, 21:05 GMT

    Point is not the classification of what is scandolous and what is not. The point is that the team is shameless in losing to a third string Australian team in home turf. For a country that is obsessed with the sport it is disheartening to see their heroes not even repenting, leave alone paying a price for underperformance. These guys are supposed to be professionals at the highest level paid like such professionals. They should be held to a higher standard.

  • Aruni on November 14, 2009, 20:56 GMT

    Fantastic! But who're you trying to change Andy? The idiotic readers of this media have produced such idiotic journalists form amongst them.

  • Hemanth on November 14, 2009, 20:54 GMT

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha.....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH...hang on...hahahahhahahhahahhaahahaha perfect! leave it to the Indian media to make mountains outta molehills.

  • dubblespike on November 14, 2009, 20:13 GMT

    I hope there is a special hell for Indian media hyperbole creators, although I cannot fathom what would be worse than the stuff they have to do for a living. I guess revenue growth and readership is important and morals are an antiquated principle but for their own sake I hope they recognize the law of diminishing returns that comes into effect when everyone cries wolf... I didn't click by the way, and I don't regret it. Go MSD!! Go Sachin !! Go India!! Better luck next time. Kudos to the Aussies...

  • Azim Khan on November 14, 2009, 19:11 GMT

    Bunch of millionaires, who cares about county or people. They win or lose money will come.

  • pradip patel on November 14, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    its shame for indian cricket. dhoni is too dame big headed .he is no were near to ganguly or sachin.he has to go very long way to get even near to what they achived.no words can explain what sachin has achived,not for only india, but for the game of cricket as whole.and sourav has transformed the game of cricket and the present indian team for india. he fule the fire and pride in to the players. he took a pride in his team as whole,unlike dhoni,who only cares about him-self and his image among his fans.

  • John on November 14, 2009, 18:58 GMT

    haha i like your sense of humor ,, i really do good sir :)

  • Amit on November 14, 2009, 18:53 GMT

    Good article..I really do not know why do Indian cricketers have to go through this scrutiny everytime they lose a game. What wrong with going out and having a drink after a game(Win or Lose) and frenen your mind,forget about the past and move foward..BUT NO..It's a crime as per Indian media (Which SUCKS).

  • Ram on November 14, 2009, 18:37 GMT

    Good One!!!

  • karthik garimella on November 14, 2009, 18:16 GMT

    bout time our media got a few lessons ...

  • navi on November 14, 2009, 18:01 GMT

    NewsX have got it all wrong. The said party was on Tuesday at JC Diwakar's ( A hyderabad based industrialist) farmhouse. .The match was on Thursday.

    The local media in AP reported this news on Wednesday night itself even before we had lost!!

    indian media should be ashamed of lying to eveone!

  • inswing on November 14, 2009, 17:42 GMT

    Hilarious, very good.

  • muqeet on November 14, 2009, 16:35 GMT

    excuse me mr hughes....i dunt tink u shud comment on the indian cricketers n v haven't lost a world cup final. cicket is about winning n losing. n abt smoking....m 100% sure u olso smoke.

  • Amardeep Dhillon on November 14, 2009, 16:27 GMT

    This Party Took Place On Tuesday And The Match Was On Thursday, Aaj Tak Reported This On Wednesday. Therefore This Party Took Place Before The Match And Newx Just Turned Into A Scandal For An Unknown Reason.

  • Baisil O.v on November 14, 2009, 16:23 GMT

    OMG ! This article ! =) The way it's expressed .... the way it's written...MWAH!!marvellous! It ethusiasticalli expresses the way the general public feel about the media picking on Our Indian cricketers like bullies just because they lost one series.. I just luved this article..brilliant work.. Ps... How about an article on the progress in cricket over the past few years eh ? that'll give us all a good laugh ;P keep up the good work =)

  • Baisil O.v on November 14, 2009, 16:22 GMT

    OMG ! This article ! =) The way it's expressed .... the way it's written...MWAH!!marvellous! It ethusiasticalli expresses the way the general public feel about the media picking on Our Indian cricketers like bullies just because they lost one series.. I just luved this article..brilliant work.. Ps... How about an article on the progress in cricket over the past few years eh ? that'll give us all a good laugh ;P keep up the good work =)

  • Kishore on November 14, 2009, 16:18 GMT

    Couldn't have said it any better myself... top class article... way to go!

  • Kirth on November 14, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Hilarious and very well said!

  • Satya Gorthy on November 14, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    Hillarious yet sharp needle..:-) I for one never watch those frenzied Indian TV channels because first of all, they all look so excited and talk at the top of their voices to tell us of mundane of mundane issues. As said correctly, they need to get their act straight

  • Nadeem Qureshi on November 14, 2009, 16:07 GMT

    Hilarious! I was laughing my head off. The Indian media's ridiculous antics are well documented on facebook pages, but it is so much more refreshing to see someone else scratching his head wondering just what this 'media' is creating all the hoopla about.

  • Sundar on November 14, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    That's the way to handle the PRESSURE by Indian players

  • vignesh on November 14, 2009, 15:47 GMT

    he is so right.indian media always goes overboard in praise and criticism.about time they stopped reporting on what our criceters did in the toilet!!!

  • coomare on November 14, 2009, 15:41 GMT

    can you please post the links to the pics..? thanks

  • vedder on November 14, 2009, 15:09 GMT

    Hilarious! great article

  • Ian Pereira on November 14, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    That was tongue firmly in cheek. The media has nothing better to do than try to cause a sensation. Like Steve Waugh used to say, "it is just a game". So what if they lost. They still need to unwind. If we have a bad day at the office or lose a deal do we sulk at home or do we go out and socialise?

  • Saurav on November 14, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    I totally agree with Andrew's concern. It's totally unethical to do something like this. Have they just become face of those companies who fill their pocket with loads of money? Aren't they concerned with the emotions that's attached to cricket in India? This is shameful.

  • Assy on November 14, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Yes - do not look for scandals for they will come to you. A good press officer quickly finds something better to do.

  • thewiseone on November 14, 2009, 14:32 GMT

    unwinding after a bad day at the office.....Not Scandal erroneously texting wife about tryst with gf...scandal spending my time reading this.....scandalously wasteful but not SCANDAL

  • A.S.Rajan on November 14, 2009, 14:31 GMT

    This is what has cost the team a series defeat. We take things lightly. It is a shame that Dhoni put a show like this before the media. Praveen Kumar should be banned, as this is not the first time that he misbehaved in public. Cricket lovers had enough of Indian players, who think they are demigods and can get away with whatever they do.

  • William on November 14, 2009, 13:37 GMT

    Great article Andrew :D Really, who knows how many fizzy drinks Ashish had that night and who knows whether Sachin was even told! But man, to be fair to the journos, what real dirt do they get.. It's so shameful for us India fans that no drug test, lap dance, pedalo or bat hit incident ever involves an Indian player. Where are the Warney, Freddie and their ilk in Indian cricket? Even Pakistan have had Imran and Shoaib; when is Indian cricket going to get its first serious playboy? Or with Sachin's saintly influence, has the whole good boy thing got completely out of hand??

  • Arun on November 14, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    Its a game, Gentlemen!! Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. Losers dont learn from their losses. And greatness doesn't come without losing. A few beers with the winners can send you down the contemplative lane.....

    Mooning and mourning has never bred victory.....It was a great series......virtually won by India....Mahi was right....we lost mentally.

    Guys go meditate and get objective, not emotional.

  • Sudhir on November 14, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    Haha!! Well said :) The media in our country is out of control and I am glad someone is calling it out. Satire at its best!

  • Abhishek on November 14, 2009, 13:03 GMT

    Great one. But you know, the first few sarcastic lines are the stuff that the Indian media says in all seriousness and could well have been quoted right out of a Hindi news presenter's mouth.

  • Timothy Burten on November 14, 2009, 13:03 GMT

    really good - made me laught a lot. Thanks

  • Bupinder Singh Jarman on November 14, 2009, 13:01 GMT

    Just saw a video on youtube..looks like those girls are all over captain MS...Jadeja also..

  • Abhishek on November 14, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    Great one. But you know, the first few sarcastic lines are the stuff that the Indian media says in all seriousness and could well have been quoted right out of a Hindi news presenter's mouth.

  • amit on November 14, 2009, 11:49 GMT

    That's hilarious. In these days of internet and twitter there's got be a story, er .. I mean scandal every hour. I wonder if Dhoni will change his shirt when he confesses his sin

  • Subhajit on November 14, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Hahaha.... I really had a good laugh. A really good one Andrew....

  • shirin on November 14, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    Hahahahaha.... great job man! Loved teh piece! the Indian media deserves it...

  • Suhas S Kulkarni on November 14, 2009, 10:38 GMT

    Mr.Hughes, I am an Indian cricket team fan. I completely agree with your opinion. Money has taken away everything from these young cricketers. There are lots of difference between Australian and Indian cricketers among which I appreciate Australian team, their dedication, determination and passion for cricket. No doubt the series would have ended in catastrophic 5-2 if not rain would have washed away the last match. That is the reason Australians are ruling the cricket world more than a decade and still they seem to rule.

  • Manu on November 14, 2009, 10:37 GMT

    Dhoni & team are first human beings & then cricketers, they do also have a personal life. Every person in this unverse has a good or bad day. This does not mean we don't go to parties. So why shouldn't our cricketers party? Just because they have lost a match. When we as people can party to forget a bad day, why can't the cricketers do the same? It is on the individual what he wants to do. Every person has different ways of motivating himself & we should let them do what ever they desire untill his commitment is 100% towards what he is doing.

  • Ravi on November 14, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    Guys, dont make this a big issue...Sports should be taken casually and enjoyed...and we shouldnt care about the result... This is the best team we have ever had and they are doing their best...sometimes things dont happen as we predict... so chill out...

    Even those guys are humans...they can party whenever they want to... its not like they have to practice all time...

    Thats my opinion...

  • Kirubahar on November 14, 2009, 10:23 GMT

    I dont think partying after a loss is that wrong. . . . You cannot party prior to a match, but partying after a loss doesn't going to affect anyone. Do you want our players to go inside the dressing room and weep for hours and come out for press with tears in eyes??

  • Abhilash on November 14, 2009, 10:03 GMT

    Ha ha ha...Good article dude...

  • Sriranjan Thirumalai on November 14, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    Haha ! Excellent Article ! The Indian Media really needs to know when to shut the hell up.

  • india on November 14, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    they are aloud to have fun sometimes but praveen kumar smoking thats disgusting

  • Bingo Haley on November 14, 2009, 9:39 GMT

    Nice piece Andrew! And to the Indian media: yawn

  • khurram on November 14, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    Its ipl age my dear...now you dont really care about losing a match atleast till the opponents are Pakistan..(im talking about the players)...Now the yuviz, the dhoniz and Nehraz are already booked for years to play for franchizez...thay are well assured of millions of dollars man...why feelim grimmmm for just a series loss...? this is not like 50, 60z era or Lala amarnath times..! Emotions arent that existive part of us...we are well ahead of them

  • Sudhir on November 14, 2009, 9:29 GMT

    Get a life...they are also human beings and should not be subject to scrutiny

    maybe by partying they will get their spirits

  • Alok on November 14, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    Two things that make it a scandal in a very Indian way:

    1. You lost a match 2. You lost a match when Tendulkar played his heart out, stood there for 46 overs and nearly chased down 350 all by himself when the rest of you jokers leaked more runs than Delhi Belly and couldn't bring yourselves to just hang around in the company of the great man.

    A lot of us who watched tendulkar bat, followed the match to the last ball were absolutely gutted when we lost.

    The least we can hope for is that the appropriate level of guttedness is evident on the faces of the jokers...

  • A Gupta on November 14, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    AMEN! Thank you for trying to put some sense into the hypercritical, and partly unqualified, Indian media!

  • anu on November 14, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Great article by Andrew Hughes.

    Shame on Indian Media. No doubt it was shameful defeat suffered by Team India..but it doesnt give the media any right to manipulate pictures and facts in such a shameful manner. this is more shameful than the defeat suffered at the hands of Australians.

  • Rusty on November 14, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    Perhaps they would have been better served by working on their testosterone levels, as Kirsten suggested!

  • Saravanan.NB on November 14, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    That was Soooooooper, Andrew. Hope our Journalists learn the difference.

  • Rahul Madadi on November 14, 2009, 7:37 GMT

    nice sarcasm!!!!!!!!

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  • Rahul Madadi on November 14, 2009, 7:37 GMT

    nice sarcasm!!!!!!!!

  • Saravanan.NB on November 14, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    That was Soooooooper, Andrew. Hope our Journalists learn the difference.

  • Rusty on November 14, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    Perhaps they would have been better served by working on their testosterone levels, as Kirsten suggested!

  • anu on November 14, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Great article by Andrew Hughes.

    Shame on Indian Media. No doubt it was shameful defeat suffered by Team India..but it doesnt give the media any right to manipulate pictures and facts in such a shameful manner. this is more shameful than the defeat suffered at the hands of Australians.

  • A Gupta on November 14, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    AMEN! Thank you for trying to put some sense into the hypercritical, and partly unqualified, Indian media!

  • Alok on November 14, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    Two things that make it a scandal in a very Indian way:

    1. You lost a match 2. You lost a match when Tendulkar played his heart out, stood there for 46 overs and nearly chased down 350 all by himself when the rest of you jokers leaked more runs than Delhi Belly and couldn't bring yourselves to just hang around in the company of the great man.

    A lot of us who watched tendulkar bat, followed the match to the last ball were absolutely gutted when we lost.

    The least we can hope for is that the appropriate level of guttedness is evident on the faces of the jokers...

  • Sudhir on November 14, 2009, 9:29 GMT

    Get a life...they are also human beings and should not be subject to scrutiny

    maybe by partying they will get their spirits

  • khurram on November 14, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    Its ipl age my dear...now you dont really care about losing a match atleast till the opponents are Pakistan..(im talking about the players)...Now the yuviz, the dhoniz and Nehraz are already booked for years to play for franchizez...thay are well assured of millions of dollars man...why feelim grimmmm for just a series loss...? this is not like 50, 60z era or Lala amarnath times..! Emotions arent that existive part of us...we are well ahead of them

  • Bingo Haley on November 14, 2009, 9:39 GMT

    Nice piece Andrew! And to the Indian media: yawn

  • india on November 14, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    they are aloud to have fun sometimes but praveen kumar smoking thats disgusting