Monday, December 31, 2007

New Era ..... - Known Era

As my friend rightly put it , this is a New Era of Indian cricket. After all , not only did we did beat Pakistan at home after more than twenty years but also did it in style : beating one of the strongest Pak teams ever boasting such living legends of the game as Yasir Hamid , Salman Butt , Mohammed Sami , Sohail Tanveer and Yasir Arafat.
I think the other difference is that in the past one could predict Indian defeats with perfect certainity. One can't anymore. Take the first Oz test at Melbourne.
These were my predictions at the end of Day One :
- India crashing to a first innings score of 250
- Australia piling on 450 by lunch in their second innings
- Australia wrapping up the match by morning of Day Five.
And these were the actual outcomes :
- India crashed to a first innings score of 196
- Australia made only around 250 odd by lunch in their second innings
- Australia wrapped up the match on Day Four
I got it so completely wrong.
Didn't have to eat humble pie for breakfast though. Thankfully , there were steaming idlis and appams from the Mallu joint downstairs to go with the post-match ceremony.
Happy New , i mean Year. Have a great 2008 !

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Famous Laugh Words

- Synergy

- Holistic

- Strategic imperative

- Paradigm / Paradigm Shift

- Talent

- Solutions

- Quality Time

- In the business of / Not in the business of

Do add in a few more. I’m sure you've heard plenty more of the type.

As for me , I have to go and tend to the plumbing –er,beg pardon ,I mean Bathroom Solutions. The plumber – sorry , and I do mean Bathroom Solutions Manager - did a rather shoddy job, not perhaps spending much quality time on it. I never really used to get much into these things but I take a more holistic approach these days. You could say it’s a paradigm shift in synergy with today’s strategic imperatives. Still , I hope the Solutions Provider company find another talent to replace this guy . After all , I am not in the business of providing solutions to problems arising from solutions provided by Solutions Providers.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The influence of modern art on existentialist writing

Was Kafka’s K the first Cubist? Was Sartre’s Matheau an allegorical depiction of Picasso's Guernica ? Was Camus’ The Plague a lateral interpretation of Dali’s timepieces ?

Today we shall begin on a journey of inquiry : an examination of the influence of modern art on existentialist writing.

Having begun , as I haven’t an inkling what I’m talking about , we shall proceed no further.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A brief and bizarre history of Rock And Roll – 2 : Beatlemania !

The Beatles !

What can you say about them ?

They were the Fab Four !

There were four of them !

All four of them were from Liverpool !

Liverpool’s in England !

The Beatles were English !

They also did a couple of songs in German !

That’s because they did a stint in Hamburg , Germany !

They played nightclubs in Hamburg , Germany !

We don’t know what they did during the day in Hamburg , Germany !

Probably prepared to be famous !

At the time they recorded a very sissy song called My Bonnie !

I am glad it wasn’t my Bonnie !

John Lennon was photographed wearing a toilet seat around his neck !

Some neck !

Some band !

Then Brian Epstein came along !

The band was turned down by Decca Records !

The band was not turned down by EMI Records !

At first The Beatles wore suits !

Later they stopped wearing suits !

Brian Epstein died !

Of drug overdose !

Not because The Beatles had stopped wearing suits !

The Beatles slapped legal suits on one another !

I once got slapped !

In 1964 , The Beatles toured America for the first time !

In 1964 , The Beatles conquered America !

In 1914 , pizzas conquered America !

In 1964 , The Beatles starred in A Hard Day’s Night !

If you care about scripts and plots , it’s a hard day’s watch !

It was made by Richard Lester !

Poor Richard !

In 1965 , The Beatles starred in Help !

If you care about scripts and plots , you’d cry for help !

Poor you !

In 1965 , The Beatles released Rubber Soul !

In 1966, The Beatles released Revolver !

I like !

In 1966 , John Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus Christ !

The Ku Klux Klan didn’t like !

The Ku Klux Klan burnt their records !

They didn’t care much for Revolver !

Except when it came to shooting colored people !

The Ku Klux Klan really enjoyed shooting colored people !

But Revolver the album meant nothing to them ! They probably preferred Love Me Do !

Ku Klux Klan - ya fucking racist sissies!

With lousy dress sense to boot !

What the heck do you wear – bed sheets !

In 1967 , The Beatles released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band !

In 1967 , butter was discovered , margarine invented and cheese given rights !

1n 1968 , The Beatles released The White Album !

It had a song called I Tamed The Deviant Platypus !

In 1968 , The Beatles cartooned in Yellow Submarine !

In 1968 , The Beatles ate their dinner !

In 1969 , The Beatles released Let It Be and Abbey Road !

In 1969 , Neil Armstrong landed on the moon !

The Beatles had nothing to do with it !

Neil Armstrong had nothing to do with Louis Armstrong or Lance Armstrong !

In 1970 , The Beatles broke up !

Their fans broke down !

The Beatles had taken the world by storm !

If they were around today , they’d be called Katrina !

Girls swooned and fainted !

Boys shouted !

Yeah ! Shouted !

Yeah ! Yeah ! Yeah !

The Beatles got MBE’s from the Queen !

I know someone who has an MBA !

But not from the Queen !

Then The Beatles stopped touring !

They produced some great music in the studio !

This blog is named after one of those songs !

The Beatles floated a company called Apple !

This blog is not named after it !

The Beatles were too stoned to run Apple !

Apple sank !

Now you know why the Queen didn’t give them MBA’s!

Silly hippies !

John Lennon tragically lost his mother !

He wrote a song called Mother !

(But that was much later !)

Paul McCartney tragically wrote a song called Yesterday !

We’re waiting for a song called Tomorrow !

George Harrison was into India and Hinduism !

He was also into Patti Boyd !

Before Eric Clapton got into Patti Boyd !

(But that was a bit later !)

George Harrison wrote songs like Something and While My Guitar Gently Weeps !

His guitar was probably weeping because it was Clapton that played the solo !

George Harrison wrote a song called My Sweet Lord !

My Sweet Lord hasn’t commented on it !

George Harrison named too many Sweet Lords in that song !

It should have been called My Sweet Lords !

They couldn’t figure out which Sweet Lord he was talking to!

Was it Ringo !

Ringo tragically lost all drum sense before he was born !

He wrote a song called Octopus’s Garden !

I ’d really love to listen to it loud in my garden !

If I had a garden !

I’d water the plants every day !

And talk to them !

Paul McCartney hooked up with Linda Eastman !

She became Linda McCartney !

Poor Linda!

John Lennon had his Kodak moment with Yoko Ono !

He became John Ono Lennon !

They formed The Plastic Ono Band !

With Klaus Voorman on bass !

Klaus was a friend from the Hamburg days !

John Lennon underwent Primal Scream therapy from scratch !

The first POB album underwent primal screams from John Lennon !

Poor first POB album !

Paul McCartney formed The Wings !

Danny Lane , ex-Moody Blues , played lead !

Linda ostensibly played keyboards !

John Lennon said Paul McCartney played muzak!

Poor Paul !

George Harrison did a concert for Bangladesh !

Bangladesh never did a concert for George Harrison !

Poor George !

Ringo Starr acted in a few movies !

He set his time machine to 1965 and sang a song called Act Naturally !

The machine was easy to set as it didn’t involve any drumming !

The song was easy to sing as it didn’t involve much singing !

Poor Ringo !

John Lennon wrote a hit called Imagine !

It said Imagine no possession !

The sacrifice it took to write !

Cramped in his 70 acre mansion in Ascot , England !

Poor John !

And so !

The Beatles !

What can you say about them !

This post would never have been !

But for The Beatles !

Rock and Roll would have never been !

But for The Beatles !

The Great Wall Of China would never have been !

But for The Beatles !

The Not-So-Great Wall from Pink Floyd would never have been !

But for The Beatles !

Ptolemy , Plato , the Disney dog Pluto , the dialect Pushto , the nonsensical and utterly nonexistent word Plarishmoxtain and the character Penny Lane in Almost Famous would never have been !

But for The Beatles !

Ladies and gentlemen !

The Beatles !

Yes !

The Beatles !

I have a special Beatles quiz for you !

Here’s the question !

How do you spell ‘The Beatles’ ?

Beatles your answers to The Beatles !

For a chance to win exciting Beatles-based Beatles !

Ten main Beatles and Fifty consolation Beatles on offer ! (*)

But hurry !

Beatles limited !

(*) Contest not open to Beatles relatives. Winners determined by draw of parking lots. Beatles apply.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A brief and bizarre history of Rock And Roll–1:Progress to Punk

I played an old Immersion Lake & Palm Tree CD the other day and fell asleep about 46 minutes into the fourth keyboard solo. When I awoke a couple of hours later, the fourth keyboard solo was about to end. It was followed by a fifth keyboard solo which in turn led to the following solos:

1. Sax; 2. Keyboard ; 3. Bass; 4. Keyboard ; 5. Drums; 6. Xylophone; 7. Sitar; 8. Keyboard ; 6. Congas / percussion; 7. Organ; 8. Trombone; 9. Mellotrone; 10. Keyboard

In all, the song lasted 16 :23:11

It was great. During that time, I went out for dinner, watched a flick and caught up with my eight hours of beauty sleep.

Multitasking music you might call it. I guess the reason they call it Progressive Rock is it was way ahead of its time. Heck, I mean who the hell cared about Multitasking in the 1970’s!

I bet they didn’t even have Multivitamins those days.

Punk fever incubated in the reaction that was building up against the excesses of Prog Rock .

A 60 minute Achilles’ Last Stand was always going to generate more of a last-straw feeling than a whole lotta love even as increasingly larger numbers of people were saying no to Yes.

Punk exploded into Rock And Roll consciousness like a great big naked woman descend upon a church congregation of gay men in dark tweed suits.

Nothing since has perhaps quite equaled the impact. (By contrast, for example, Grunge exploded into Rock And Roll consciousness like a great big naked woman descend upon a church congregation of great big naked women.)

Punk revolutionised Rock And Roll by reinforcing its very basics. As a form, it was simple, basic, short and angry. Everybody forgot their fourth chord and nobody remembered a guitar solo anymore. The troubadours had failed to reach Bombay and every kid’s sympathy was for the new devil.

Nothing epitomized the Punk movement better than its most celebrated exponents – the Sax Canons fronted by that human tour de force Johnny Forgotten along with his equally compelling band mate Sid Vacuous.

Their seminal 1977 album Never Mind The Call Centres (Here’s The Sax Canons) , voted the second most influential Rock album of all time by Rolling Hypotenuse magazine , was a masterpiece of Rock minimalism. It combined edgy, oath-laden lyrics with stripped down instrumentation in a maelstrom of nihilistic energy.
The like of which hadn’t been seen since my neighbour lost her cat .

A few samples :

Long song (Duration : 00:03:44 ; No. of chords : 3) (*)
“ Hey ! #### ### , #### just #### ##### and #### me ####### ####
#### off , unless ## ##### #### here ### #### my ####### #### !
####### hell ### ####### ### that’s all ### #### to ####### do
And all I’m gonna ### #### ## #### ##### ### !
So hey , #### ### !
#### ###!”
(* Expletives deleted – Ed.)

Average length song (Duration : 00:02:10 ; No. of chords : 1) (*)
“ ####### #### ## ! ####### ### ## # ! #### ! #### !
####### #### ## ! ####### ### ## # ! #### ! #### !”
(* Expletives deleted – Ed.)

Short length song (Duration : 00:00:00 ; No. of chords : 0) (*)

(* No expletive to delete – Ed.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

This is an Emergency

This is an emergency. Or rather , an Emergency.
I see Shah Rukh Khan.

The strain of modern life has frayed ye olde blogger’s nerves.

I see Shah Rukh Khan.

And somebody called Sara Khan or Fara Khan or Lara Khan…some name like that.

But with Shah Rukh Khan always.

Shah Rukh Khan, you understand, I see every time.

Every time I switch on NDTV 24x7.

He’s on top of the screen, at the bottom of the screen, in the centre of the screen, by the side of the screen and probably behind the screen too. One of these days he’s going to reach out and whack my CD collection.

I see Shah Rukh Khan.

I tried 24x7 last night for a desi perspective of the Pakistan situation. I got Shah Rukh Khan, many commercials and then Shah Rukh Khan again.

I tried 24x7 this evening for a desi perspective of the Pakistan situation.

I got Shah Rukh Khan , this woman called Sara /Lara / Something Khan and a billion overdressed Bollywood types dancing to a song called , believe this , Om Shanti Om. What , have they all gone and bought themselves irony now?

I see Shah Rukh Khan.

It’s not as though you could try the other desi news channels. They are like a Shah Rukh Khan movie – only , with more song , dance and colour.

I see Shah Rukh Khan.

I must be nuts.

Dheela screw.

To expect a news channel to cover the news !

The stress of modern life has smashed ye olde blogger’s lemon to smithereens.

I see Shah Rukh Khan.

Perhaps MSD saw Shah Rukh Khan too. On 24x7. Once too often.

Tore off some hair ?

Don’t turn to 24x7 for a confirmation.

All you’re going to get is Shah Rukh Khan.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Of QWER Y keyboards ( or , minding my T’s)

They say given enough time, a dog and its master begin to resemble each other. They say it’s the same with couples - which of course is not great news for my wife. I must be spending a lot of time with my laptop . The keyboard has started to resemble my teeth. Sunk amidst cigarette ash , dust and uneven terrain are gaping craters where the 2 and T keys used to be.

Ruthlessly yanked out by my two year old without so much as an apology note. Gone are the days when two year olds would send apology notes after inflicting keyboard damage. These are terrible times. Rendered more terrible, I may add, by the strain of having to type the word ‘terrible’. Or any word with a t in it. I have to copy the letter t from an old document and paste the letter t on current document.

Not exciting.

Try constructing sentences substituting (ouch) Ctrl-V for t. You will likely end up doing the following :
A. Rush headlong into Existentialist Angst (stopping occasionally perhaps only to avoid typing the phrase)
B. See what a p. in the a. the letter t really is : hey, anyone have a word without it?

If you also likely end up doing things other than A and B, shan’t go into them here. Can’t have the list running beyond S. This may be the time and place for it but this is certainly not the keyboard.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The gangling conversation

Every now and then we are thrown a real live conversational challenge to confront. These challenges are usually thrown by the sort of people you’d rather have things thrown at . And heck , who’d not like to deny that sort the smug satisfaction of a put down ?

So we manfully face up to the googly , give the bullshit our all and desperately hope for the best.

The results can vary widely - as the following examples hope to demonstrate :

1. Spectacularly successful : rope-clearing , over- the -top bullshit driven off the front foot

Example A

The Other : Don’t you think Descrates’ Cogito Ergo Sum is a succinct summarization of the approach that Western civilization took as a building block for itself ?

You : Oh yes ! In fact , going further , I am reminded of Spinoza’s 13th Epoch thesis. You agree with the salient counterarguments of that thesis of course ?

The Other : Er , of course. How splendid to see so much sunshine at this time of year !

(Note hasty change of topic on the part of The Other to conceal total ignorance of Spinoza’s non-existent 13th Epoch thesis)

Example B

The Other : I am inclined to believe euthanasia may be just the panacea the National Health Service has been waiting for. What do you think ?

You : Certainly there’s much to be said for that. Oh, by the way, I don’t suppose you know that Mrs. Smith has filed for divorce after she discovered Mr. Smith in bed with his secretary ?

The Other : No ! Surely not !! I had no idea. Oh , do tell me more. Please do. Oh my !

(Note change of topic on your part is perfectly calculated to banish all considerations of Euthanasia , Panacea and the National Health Service from The Other’s mind )

2. Moderately successful : stonewalling with dead , straight- bat forward defence

The Other : Cubism expressed the zeitgeist of those times , didn’t it ?

You : Yes , it did express that.

The Other : Don’t you think Picasso’s Guernica was a prognosis of a more terrible war to come ?

You : Oh yes , my opinion exactly

The Other : Oh I’d be so glad to hear your views on that

You : Oh rather , those are views that I air very often.

The Other : And they are ?

You : Oh this and that and , not to put too fine a point on it , oh , ...just my views on the subject

The Other : I should be delighted to hear them.

You : Yes.

The Other : Oh do let us hear them !

You : Yes. Certainly.

(Note no runs scored but no wickets conceded either)

3. Unsuccessful : caught feebly fending at delivery

(Note : in the following two examples , you give it away and The Other , having cottoned on to your bluff , moves in for a swift final kill )

Example A

The Other : Ancient Chinese calligraphy displays a remarkable propinquity to work independently carried out at the same time among the Incas. Isn’t that remarkable ?

You : You don’t say ! Why, propane hadn’t even been discovered in ancient China let alone calibrated. Most remarkable indeed !

The Other : What then do you make of the malfeasance apparently manifest in Lao Tzu’s 6Th century Koans and how would you reconcile it with their inherently compassionate munificence ?

Example B
The Other : I find great perspicacity in the works of the Impressionists. What do you say ?

You : I think you’ll find that it’s probably because they didn’t have deodorants in those days.

The Other : Really ! Do you then suppose the evanescence of Van Gogh’s Night Sky was a sort of metaphysical tourniquet , as it were , that occluded the rather unrealistically ephemeral depiction style of the classicists ?

4. Spectacularly Unsuccessful : bowled all ends up clean through the gate

The Other : Don’t you believe that the fecundity of ideas in the 18th century was to fructify in the scientific juggernaut that swept in its wake the entire gamut of problems that had plagued mankind for generations , serving to meliorate life on the planet as a whole , and by an osmotic albeit screened process of assimilative diffusion influenced the course that the arts and the humanities were to - almost anachronistically - embark upon ?

You : Eh ?

The Other : Pray do carry on eating. I am so glad to see you use the fork with your left hand

(Note : The Other is pleased to believe that you are significantly less than an equal )

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Connoisseur of wine


We love !

They display character. They possess balance. They are expressive and they are exquisitely complex. They have finesse. They flaunt body. They boast finish. I knew one that could spell ‘onomatopoeia’.

I met a bloke the other day who said he felt a bit like Dr. Hannibal Lecter the last time he sipped his Bordeaux. He has been off wine ever since.

He still does art galleries though, and the occasional book reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ridiculous rejoinders

Got the idea for this from something I’d seen on MAD some time ago.

- Ah , so here you are !
- Oh no , actually I am miles away. You’re watching me live on TV.
- How are you ?
- Its for others to say of course but I think I am quite a sensation.
- Hey ! How’s it goin’ ?
- How’s what going exactly ? Could you describe ‘it’ in more detail

- preferably within a single A4 sheet , Times New Roman Font 12 ?
- Long time no see…!
- Oh I’m sorry to hear that. Have you tried Yoga ?
- It’s a pleasure meeting you !
- I’m afraid I need to know you better before I can say that back
- Get well soon !
- That’s rude . Do you mind adding a ‘please’?
- Take care !
- I’m sorry I can’t. There’d be no one to look after it.
- Au Revoir !
- Really ? It was alright for me

- Enjoy your vacation !
- What ! I am determined not to . And don’t order me around
- So was it a nice smooth flight ?
- You should ask the aircraft you know
- Bon voyage !
- Oh no , we won’t be camping out.

- So it’s raining !
- Wow ! Can you count too?
- Whoa , it’s hot !
- Not really – not compared to , say , the melting point of iron.
- Brrrr , it’s so cold in here !
- Phew, that’s a relief ! I knew it all along - you only look like a ghost.
- I knew the weather was too good to hold out for long
- Yes. My conversation skills aren’t great either.
- So what’s the weather like back home ?
- I can’t really see that far but you could look up . And bring me a print out so I can be sure you really did look it up.
- Wow ! Great weather , isn’t it !
- Yes - and what exactly did you say your role was in bringing it about ?

- I don’t know what you’re talking about !
- Oh I see. Why don’t you read up on it ? Or google it perhaps?
- Go to hell !
- Sticking with algorithm ,where exactly is hell located on the flowchart ?
- What the hell is wrong with you ?
- Kind of you to ask. Well , it’s a congenital inflammation of the tertiary pulmonary varicose schemata patheticplatosaurus at its originating point of psuedopneumonic intersection with the galloping didactic colloidal glucosystation on the right side of the hypoproxis plexus major leading to further secondary causative complications as evidenced by compression of the xenodiaphragmastic platitudinal minor and suggested by curvilinear T3 and T4 lines on the magneticresonant redolentramification ramrodstrait diremoonshine britelite titeasakiteograph cross section of the alphabetatheta omegaohmygoda bilenticular proto-spectrum.
The T1 and T2 lines though , I am glad to say , seem reasonably alright.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The blue bus is calling us. Driver where’re you taking us ?

Sadly this is where.

Jim Morrison lies buried in a reasonably celebrated 8’x4’ plot inside Cimetie’re du Pere Lachaise in Paris and has been for a while now. In fact , he has been dead longer than he was alive. In 1971 , all of 27 , this crystal ship sank in a Parisian bathtub. Small groups of tourists take pictures (of the tomb that is , not bathtub) . A dead joint stands out amidst the flowers . A cop watches nervously from a near distance. Mild sunlight filters through darkened trees . The trees stand mute and say nothing. The headstone inscription says Kata Ton Aimona , Greek for “True to his own spirit” or more literally (more apt ?) “According to his own demon”.

What spirit and what divine demon !

The music, Jim: that gets out alive.

I visited Lachaise recently. Several luminaries – Oscar Wilde , Chopin and Edith Piaf being some names I am familiar with – share this resting space with JM. While Chopin and Piaf are pretty much a wide-berth mystery to me , Oscar Wilde is one of ye olde blogger’s favourite lit. heroes. However , and make no m. , it was Jimbo this little sojourn was in honour of.

For resonance and a bit of atmosphere , I played The End as I entered the cemetery. Unfortunately , it was to be only the beginning. I made several rounds of the place before I finally found Revered Spot. It turned out to be in an area I’d walked past a few times.

My SOD is going from worst to worse. It was a rare evening when I located my hotel at one go. Darn , I really can’t seem to find anything. As Jim might have written :

“I woke up this morning
And couldn’t find myself that beer”

The End

Jim Morrison , 1943-1971 : R.I.P

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh I say old chap , Taarif Karni Paregi , what !

I followed a fair amount of the T20 on radio. It was covered live by a Hindi/Urdu FM station here. They had a set of Indian / Pakistani commentator - pairs doing a bilingual English / Hindi job. My favorite team did a very good job of covering the cricket - and provided splendid entertainment besides . Small snapshot :

Characteristics :
- Calm , composed and more Pucca than the Queen.
- Given to mixing up players and teams every once in a while
Sample :
- “Now , Maharoof made a fine Fortay Plus when Sri Lanka batted faehst. Oh , I am sorray it was Mubarak who made Fortay odd , and made them very swiftlay one might add ; Maharoof in fact did not bat at auwhl…(Pause) Or did he ? (Pause) No, I can confaehm that he did not…”
- “And with that ,.twentay ouevuhs have been bouewled and at the conclusion of twentay ouevuhs Indiaeh have made a hundred and eightay for , I do beg your pahdon , New Zealand have in fact made a hundred and eightay for five”
Frequency :
- Mixes up teams / players about once in 6-7 overs

Characteristics :
- Something of a dialectician , employing the Thesis- Anti Thesis -Proof route to make his point
- Excitable and with a marked predisposition towards saying “Taarif karni paregi”
Sample :
-"Aur yeh catch Rasel dwara……(animated / several decibels louder) DROP !!!!! Rasel yeh catch nahin le paye , yeh ek asaan sa catch tha …hala ki taarif karni paregi ki Rasel ne poori koshish to zaroor ki lekin nasafal rahe aur main samajhta hoon yeh Rasel dwara koi khaas fielding pradarshan nahi kaha ja sakta hain lekin taarif karni paregi …..” etc (*)
Frequency :
- Says “Taarif karni paregi” about once in five minutes

(*) His partner’s rejoinder : “Oh absolutelay nowht….!”

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Experience. Sponsors First.

After several fits and false starts in that direction , NDTV24x7 finally arrived at that Holy Grail of credible, hard hitting investigative journalism : product information.

The final question in a Sachin Tendulkar interview last night went something like this : "Sachin , why would you recommend Sunfeast to our viewers ? "

I missed Sachin's reply : as I was already at the grocery buying my nice pack of Sunfeast.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rainty 20 Day, Dream Away

A new survey conducted recently has revealed rain to be the biggest attraction for paying spectators of sporting events. According to the survey ,a whopping 83% of those polled say rain puts them in a philosophical frame of mind which they say helps negate some of the crass materialism all around .

At Durban Thursday evening , large groups of spectators were seen soaking in the atmosphere , many cheering on the downpour as it washed out the India-Scotland fixture. Said Mahesh Sangalikar who has flown down from Mumbai to watch the series. “You see, I have spent around Rs.10 Lacs (around US$ 40,000) on this trip , so naturally I am very happy.”. His wife Manju added that she loved nothing more than the feel of rain on her head as she sat drenched in the stands. “It’s a wonderful feeling ..the thrill of staring at the covers on the pitch for hours on end is a truly special one.”

Most spectators seem to agree. The play call-off announcement was greeted by a massive cheer that rang across the stadium. People were seen joyously hugging one another even as they reluctantly made their way back home. Martin Van Rip Offheimer sums it up : “We could enjoy the rain at home I suppose but it’s definitely more fun when you’ve paid a lot of money to enjoy it at the stadium !”

They were not so lucky the following evening as play repeatedly interrupted rain during the India-Pakistan encounter. Said a visibly peeved Patricia Schoonderbeek : “Frankly , this is ridiculous ! No sooner do we begin to enjoy the rain than the players come on back to the field. We’ve paid good Rands for the cricket so its disappointing that the cricket should get in the way”. Things came to a head on Saturday at Johannesburg as a section of the crowd took to the streets in protest against the non –rain interrupted match that had finally unfolded. Riot squads had to be called in though it all eventually petered out without any untoward incident. Many felt this was the one damp squib in an otherwise satisfactory tournament.

Sources say the findings have not come as a particularly big surprise for administrators who have more often than not got it spot on while planning games during the rainy season. On the rare occasion when they might have botched it up a bit , chance has inevitably come to the rescue by ushering in unseasonal showers.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

James Joyce’s Ulysses

What is the purpose of life ? Why are we here ? Is there an afterlife ?

These are the sort of thing we don’t have a clue about . They inspire awe.

I have a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses on my bookshelf . It’s a clean white copy with beautiful cover art. Its bright glaze finish is cool and soothing to the touch , the ampleness of its volume evokes a reassuring feel of solidity.

James Joyce’s Ulysses inspires awe

I’ve had a go at it many times - and I have never had an effing clue . Not one.

They call it Stream-Of-Consciousness .

Strange !

My best attempt has been the time I managed Page 1 without being swept away by a great stream of unconsciousness

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Crystal Balls to Twenty20

The cricket money is chasing increasingly shorter versions of game. Time was when matches were played over an indefinite period. An Eng-Aus match in the 1800s apparently ran to nine days and ended only because the Aussies had to catch their boat home - the absence of a well developed in flight entertainment system meant there were no planes in those days.

We- unlike average match durations - have come a long way since.

The 20/20 WC began yesterday. (Had Gayle lased a few overs longer it would probably have concluded yesterday as well). Three hour cricket matches ! What a spectacle and what a sight ! Lights , sexy cheerleaders , colours , sexy cheerleaders , Slam-Bam-Thank-You-Ajit runfests , sexy cheerleaders ….. Whoa ! It will go down a storm. As the philosopher has said (or was that a PowerPoint presentation ?) , this is the age of instant gratification - no wicked smirks please – and it can’t seem to get instant enough

Looking ahead , this is the evolutionary ladder that I just saw on my crystal ball (bought at at an instantly gratifying sale ):

Ten 10 cricket :
Five overs of Powerplay , boundaries shortened , bowlers docked points for each wicket

Five5 cricket :
Three overs of Powerplay , boundaries shortened further , wickets to cost bowlers match fee percentage , bowlers declared endangered species

Three 3 cricket :
Two overs of Powerplay , boundaries at 20 yards , bowlers awarded special constitutional privileges

One1 cricket :
Four balls of Powerplay , boundaries at 15 yards , bowlers used by vets to treat cases of depression among mules

Zero O cricket :
Match decided by the toss

Minus One -1 cricket :
Same as One1 – only , each team now plays for the other

Huh ? That one doesn’t sound very plausible. Let me check up on that crystal ball.

Uh oh , problem . Its a kookabulla.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Thursday – I Will NEVER Survive Summer Of ’69

The missus and I hit a club for probably the first time since the offspring’s arrival. Or rather , it hit us. The last time we’d visited this Asian nightclub , the Sri Lankan house band there had been really good. Things change . This band’s changed. New look , new line up , new output.

Bad output.

Now , I am as staunch a feminist as any but I draw a line at I Will Survive . The ease with which Madame Crooner turned this admittedly minor irritant into a major crime against humanity would rattle even the most battle hardened of bra burners. And when the rhythm guitarist / backing vocalist (whose off-key harmonies were always war clouds on the horizon) took center stage and unleashed Bryan Adams , it was made amply clear just how the very worst of my life these days really are .

The outing to this club had one very desirable outcome : it ended.

We stumbled some distance across town to a Brit Pub. The average table occupancy was around 30% . The average age of the customers was around 96 years which made me feel rather rum (the better half’s throat was feeling the beverage all evening anyway). Nothing like being youngest in a crowd – especially when you can’t remember the last time that happened ! One of the regulars joined the guitarist on stage and sang – quick , pinch yourself - Love Me Do. And , given the evening that had unfolded before this , we love him did. What’s more , I clean lasted Comfortably Numb , even going so far as to last it with a benevolent smile. In all fairness , the guitarist was decent. The Guinness was excellent.

Friday – Ram Gopal Varma ki UGH

Next evening was Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. Hand it to Ramu : the man has intestine enough to tag his name for posterity to a piece of utter rubbish. This monumental three- hour waste of time , popcorn and cola calories compares to Sholay the way grapefruit compare to scooter mileage. Ramu is now in serious danger of outdoing M.Night who took around five years to get from Sixth Sense to nonsense. For Varma , its now Satya to nothing in nine. Buckle up Ramu : we’re behind you - though probably not in front of the ticket counter next time around.

Saturday – in which Aleem gives it to those ones (and those ones accept it well)
And thence on to Lord’s. Where Foreign Finger sowed the initial seed of instability and the players thereupon proceeded to lovingly tend it to its natural fruitation. Yet another Finals story in the annals of Indian cricket. Not to read too much into an ODI series (especially in light of the Test series victory ) but an undeniable KLPD all the same. Having preferred - out of sheer superstition - to stay put at my desk over the choice of popping across with my colleagues to the building next door to watch the final five overs of the previous game , having subsequently lounged back in smug satisfaction at this act of willing fate to set up the series for a weekend decider and having spent Saturday morning expending copious quanta of Joie de Vivre , this was a KL that took a bit of recovering from.

Hmm , what could be worse ? Babban playing for India as Heroo threatens to jump from the Lord's media centre and Ghungroo sings I Will Survive ?

Possibly , possibly.