This, that and the other. Mostly the other
It's night at the North Pole. Santa's village works away.
Santa: By golly, we are already in September. Here, elf, crank up the naughty-and-nice machine so we can get our Christmas list done.
On a giant screen, the naughty and nice lists appear.
Elf: Santa, you'll be pleased to know that we have upgraded our software this year so that now we can categorise the list according to age, location and misdemeanours.
Santa: Very good. Now move all the children on the naughty list to the nice list.
Elf: (shaking head) We do this every year, Santa. Why have a naughty list at all?
Santa: We have to work by the system and give people the chance to strive to be better. But everyone has some good in them, so everyone must be on the nice list.
All right everyone, that's enough work for tonight. Off to bed now.
It's dark and silent all around. Two huddled figures appear, whispering.
Dalmiya: Quit shoving me, Srini.
Srini: Quiet, you has-been megalomaniac! Really, they should have a cut-off age for cricket administrators. No one over the age where your bones creak so loud.
Dalmiya: My humble apologies, most excellent one. Now, I have located the machine. Let's start it.
Srini: Customise the preferences to cricket-playing countries, age over 50, and misdemeanours: offending the BCCI.
Dalmiya: Hmm, it asks to choose among a range of offences: not eating your vegetables, fighting with your sibling, disobedience, not making your bed, letting your dog eat your homework…
Srini: Reprogram it so it says: thinking bad thoughts about Srini, laughing at him behind his back, not investing in India Cements, not offering filter coffee, not hanging a life-size portrait of Srini in your living room, not bowing to him, not scratching his back when it itches.
Dalmiya: That will leave everyone on the naughty list, except maybe your mirror. I've programmed it to categorise anyone as naughty who doesn't act according to Srini's and Jaggu's decrees.
Srini: What have we got?
Dalmiya: Australia and New Zealand are planning a more successful World Cup than 2011, England aren't working hard enough on losing to India next year, Sri Lanka just googled "DRS". Oooh… Bangladesh "liked" a Bugs Bunny Youtube clip.
Srini: We don't like Bugs?
Dalmiya ( removes his spectacles, rubs his eyes and says patiently): Bugs Bunny sometimes features the character Tasmanian Devil.
Dalmiya: So it obviously means that Bangladesh secretly support Ricky Ponting in the 2008 Sydney saga.
Srini: Oh… they do? Right! Nuke them!
Dalmiya: West Indies are yet to unfollow Cricket South Africa on Twitter. Zimbabwe are good.
Srini: They are?
Dalmiya: Yes, they have embarrassed Pakistan.
Srini: So they have. Send the women's team for a tour there. Then propose moving the 2015 World Cup to India to serve a treat to the most passionate cricket fans in the world.
Dalmiya: Indeed. Nothing "whips" up the passion quite like a few lathi charges.
Srini: What are you grumbling about? I'll give Eden Gardens a few games.
Dalmiya: Not enough time! The grass will need to be mowed.
Srini: Surely you can get that done in two years?
Dalmiya: Surely you've never met a Kolkata gardener.
Srini: How do we punish the rest?
Dalmiya: The IPL can easily dismantle West Indies. We can arrange for Mahela and Sanga to be kidnapped - I can't bear their sanctimonious speeches. And we can continue to ignore Bangladesh.
Srini: What about Pakistan? Can they pose a problem?
Dalmiya: If they do, Afridi will take care of it.
Santa appears behind them.
Santa: Hello, hello, who are you?
Dalmiya: Er, we are the new elves, sir. IT maintenance for Santa Inc.
Santa: Ah new recruits! I like to welcome all the newbies with a spirit-of-Christmas pep talk.
Srini: Hold it! We lied. We are not elves. We are cricket administrators from the BCCI.
Santa: Oh, okay. But I can still give you that talk.
Dalmiya: No need, Santa. We know all about it. The joy of giving people what they deserve…
Srini: The concept of exchange - like tit for tat.
Dalmiya: Feeding the poor whatever scraps you want them to have.
Srini: Forgiving those who publicly ask for your forgiveness.
Santa: No, not quite…
Dalmiya: Look, Santa, we like you. We get you. You have a monopoly over the Christmas season. We respect that. Why do you think we never tried to cash in on the Boxing Day Test, unlike some other shameless, ungrateful creatures?
Santa: Look here…
Dalmiya: Yeah, Nick, you reinforce the idea of rampant consumerism. We rampantly disregard the feelings of our consumers. So basically we are on the same page.
Santa: Oh dear. This conversation is making me feel quite blue.
Srini: No, that's just this place. Six months of day, six months of night would make anyone go… Wait a minute. We could organise Test matches here during summer. There would be no bad-light problem!
Dalmiya: And they say we don't care about Test cricket! Hey, Santa, sign this lease agreement. Don't worry. You don't even have to read it. It's only got one clause.
Srini: Ha ha ha.
Dalmiya: You mean ho ho ho?
Srini: Well put, old friend.
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